Healthy Sweet & Sour Chicken – This homemade sweet and sour chicken recipe is made lighter and healthier, with all the same delicious flavors we love in the classic! (Gluten-Free, Paleo-Friendly)
T-t-t-takeout fakeout is the name of the game today!
We’re still trying to support our local restaurants for takeout and delivery about once a week most weeks, but we’re still doing plenty of cooking at home.
On nights when I’m doing the cooking, I think it’s so fun to bring some of our takeout favorites home to us in an easy, healthier way. This healthy sweet and sour chicken is a perfect example. Tender chicken in a tangy sweet and sour sauce with colorful veggies and sweet pineapple, made in under 30 minutes. That’s faster than I could get a lot of takeout!
Healthy Sweet and Sour Chicken is just a few minutes away! Here’s all you need to get started…
HERE’S WHAT GOES INTO MY HEALTHY SWEET AND SOUR CHICKEN:
CHICKEN BREAST. I use boneless, skinless chicken breast for this healthy sweet and sour chicken recipe. I’ve skipped the fuss of deep-frying, but we still get some golden brown on our chicken when it’s cooking. (Plus, it’s ALL about that sauce!)
ONIONS + BELL PEPPERS. A colorful trio of white onions and green and red bell peppers makes this healthy sweet and sour chicken so pretty. Plus, you get to fit some veggies in!
PINEAPPLE. I usually use canned pineapple packed in 100% pineapple juice because it’s just so convenient! It’s already cut for me, has all that pineapple flavor I’m looking for without any added ingredients, and I can use the pineapple juice in the sweet and sour sauce. Win!
GREEN ONIONS. For garnish, I add some sliced green onions. It’s another subtle layer of flavor and really makes the sweet and sour chicken look pretty.
A HEALTHIER SWEET & SOUR SAUCE. My healthy sweet and sour sauce uses natural sweeteners (like naturally sweet pineapple juice and a little honey) along with savory and umami ingredients like vinegar, gluten-free tamari (or coconut aminos/soy sauce depending on your needs), water, garlic (+ginger!), and a little ketchup. I don’t usually use ketchup in my day-to-day cooking, but no matter what other substitutes I tried, nothing tasted quite the same without it. Feel free to grab naturally sweetened ketchup or paleo-approved ketchup as needed!
FAQ + TIPS AND TRICKS FOR THE BEST HEALTHY SWEET AND SOUR CHICKEN
WORK IN BATCHES TO COOK THE CHICKEN. For the best results, I recommend cooking your chicken in batches. When the pan is less crowded, the air circulates better, which means crispier chicken. When the pan is more crowded, your chicken is more likely to steam, which means less crisp chicken.
CAN I USE FRESH PINEAPPLE INSTEAD? You totally can, you’ll just also need to make sure you buy some pineapple juice to use for the sauce.
WANT MORE VEGGIES? Feel free to try mixing and matching! I sometimes toss in some halved sugar snap or snow peas when I have them on hand.
A TRICK FOR CRISPIER CHICKEN. For crispier chicken, you can try the same method I use for my Healthy Orange Chicken–coating the chicken in a bit of cornstarch or arrowroot before cooking. The tiny bit of starch on the outside crisps up a bit when cooked and still saves you the deep-frying!
LOVE TAKEOUT FAKEOUT RECIPES LIKE THIS? YOU MIGHT LOVE:
- Healthy Orange Chicken
- Egg Drop Soup
- Healthy Beef and Broccoli
- Paleo Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- Healthy Sesame Chicken
HELPFUL FOR THIS SWEET & SOUR CHICKEN RECIPE:
Healthy Sweet & Sour Chicken – This homemade sweet and sour chicken is made lighter and healthier, with all the same delicious flavors we love in the classic! (Gluten-Free, Paleo-Friendly)
FOR THE CHICKEN + STIR-FRY:
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed into 1” pieces
- 2 Tbsp. avocado oil
- 1 small onion, cut into 1″ cubes (about 1 cup)
- 1 green bell pepper, cut into 1” cubes
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1” cubes
- 1 cup pineapple chunks (I prefer canned in juice–you’ll use juice in the sauce)
- 1 green onion, sliced for garnish
FOR THE SWEET & SOUR SAUCE:
- 1/4 cup pineapple juice
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar* (can sub white or apple cider vinegar)
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 Tbsp. gluten-free tamari, coconut aminos*, or soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp. honey
- 2 Tbsp. ketchup*
- 2 Tbsp. cornstarch or arrowroot*
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 tsp. fresh ginger (recommended, but optional)
FIRST, PREPARE THE SWEET & SOUR SAUCE:
- Pour 1/4 cup pineapple juice from the canned pineapple into a liquid measuring cup. Drain and store remaining pineapple juice for other uses (like smoothies!).
- Add vinegar, water, tamari, honey, ketchup, cornstarch/arrowroot, and garlic to the pineapple juice and whisk to combine.
- Set aside while you cook the chicken and veggies.
THEN, COOK THE CHICKEN & VEGGIES:
- Place chicken in a medium bowl or container. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. cornstarch or arrowroot. Toss with a fork to coat the chicken well.
- Heat avocado oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add the chicken and cook 4-5 minutes on the first side. Flip and cook an additional 4-5 minutes on the second side, or until completely cooked through.
- Remove chicken from pan and set aside on a clean plate.
- Add onion and bell peppers to the same pan and cook 3-4 minutes or so, until the veggies are crisp-tender.
- Return cooked chicken to the pan with the veggies. Add pineapple to the pan.
- Stir sweet and sour sauce one more time (in case the cornstarch has settled), and pour sauce into the pan.
- Cook 2-3 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. (It should look translucent and glossy)
- Serve warm plain or over rice or cauliflower rice.
*PALEO NOTES: For paleo, use white or apple cider vinegar, paleo-approved ketchup (like Primal Kitchen brand), coconut aminos, and arrowroot.
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stir-Fry
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Healthy Sweet and Sour Chicken, Paleo Sweet and Sour Chicken, GLuten-Free Sweet and Sour Chicken, Sweet and sour chicken recipe