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For most of us that live in a decent-sized city, it’s really easy to find a Chinese restaurant with good Sweet & Sour Chicken. And yet, I never order it.  BUT…I often have it.  I just make my own.

I’ve mentioned this before, but the main reasons that I can think of to make something homemade rather than buying it are:

  1. Cost
  2. Taste
  3. Quality

That’s why I make my own.  It’s fairly inexpensive to make this recipe for my family of 6, where it’d be really pricey to buy it from a restaurant.  And with diet restrictions in our family, eating out isn’t really a good option – it’s hard to know if a meal out is wise.  When I make something at home, I know it’s safe for my whole family.  And taste? That’s usually been my main reason to make something at home — I can make it taste the way that I want to.

“The way that I want to” in this case?  Lots of sauce!  And lots of peppers and onions.  I like the chicken, for sure, but when it comes to peppers and onions?  Well, let’s just say that I’m a BIG fan!

Now traditional Sweet & Sour Chicken usually has breaded chicken, but I don’t.  I leave it unbreaded.  1) It’s easier that way.  2) It’s healthier that way.  3) It makes it easily gluten-free that way (a concern for my family.)  And 4) I like it that way.

And traditionally, it’s made with green and red peppers.  But I use whatever I have.  Green peppers are usually the cheapest of the bell pepper colors, but I often get those 3-packs of colored peppers at Aldi, so I’ll use whatever colors I have.

We pair it with rice for a complete meal. I keep frozen cooked rice ready in the freezer, so this meal comes together quickly! 

This is a big favorite in our house.  We have it often, especially since we’ve gone gluten-free. (Check out my list of 20 simple gluten-free recipes.) This recipe is easily made gluten-free with the right soy sauce and that was a huge help for me as I was learning new recipes to cook.  Love that!  It’s definitely been a comfort to me in the kitchen.

Sweet & Sour Chicken

Homemade Chinese food

Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword sweet and sour chicken
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 5
Author Jayme


  • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped


  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons cold water


Make the Sauce:

  1. Add sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic powder, onion salt, and ketchup to a medium sauce pan. Stir and bring to a boil.

  2. In a small bowl whisk together the 1 tablespoon corn starch and cold water until dissolved. 

  3. Add to sauce pan and stir until thickened, then reduce to low heat.

Make the Chicken & Veggies:

  1. Drizzle a large pan or skillet with oil. Add chicken and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat. 

  2. Add peppers and onions. Continue until chicken is browned and cooked through.

  3. Add sauce to chicken and peppers. Stir. 

  4. Serve over cooked rice.

Jayme is a wife to 1 and a mother to four little boys. She tries to coupon, builds a smart stockpile, and always meal plans. While she likes to cook, she’s in the stage of life where simple is usually better – she never knows how many hands she’ll have free at dinner time! You can find her on Instagram.

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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Alexandra January 10, 2020, 9:51 pm

    I did your recipe for dinner today and it was a big success! I didn’t have onion powder and added half a can of pineapple to the sauce. Easy and simple. Thank you for sharing it Jayme!

    • Jayme January 11, 2020, 8:42 pm

      Yes! Sounds like the pineapple would be a great addition!


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