Sweet and Sour Chicken

From time to time it comes up that I just don’t want to cook dinner (and even the lazy dinner secret of a bowl of cereal won’t do) my husband and I tend to order Chinese take out food.  It is possible to have it be healthy, and out in the sticks it’s one of the only easy choices.  Sweet and sour chicken is a classic dish on virtually all Chinese take out menus.  Today, I took this classic dish and made a version that doesn’t require any frying, breading, or driving!

08Sweet and Sour Chicken

Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe
(About 4 servings)

Ingredients for the Sauce:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce

Ingredients for the Chicken:

  • 1 pound chicken, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 cup corn starch
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions for the Sauce:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the white sugar, ketchup, garlic powder, vinegar, and soy sauce.

Directions for the Chicken:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and set it aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the chicken, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and corn starch.
  4. In a small bowl, beat the egg.
  5. In a pan, heat the oil on Medium heat.
  6. Dip the chicken into the beaten egg and then place it in the pan and cook it.
  7. Once the chicken is cooked, place it on the baking sheet.
  8. Pour half of the sauce over the chicken and bake it the preheated oven for 6 minutes.
  9. Remove the chicken from the oven, flip the pieces over and pour the remaining half of the sauce over them.  Place the pan back into the oven and bake for an additional 6 minutes.
  10. Serve immediately.

Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.


This dish does have several steps to it, but it’s not time consuming and can be done on a week day.  I created an assembly line of bowls.  One bowl is for the chicken, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and corn starch.  The other bowl is for the beaten egg.  Dip the chicken into the egg bowl.

01Sweet and Sour Chicken

Then cook the chicken in about 2 tablespoons of oil.  In essence you are sauteing the chicken, instead of frying, because you’re cooking it in less oil.  Don’t over cook the chicken.  You still need to bake it, where it will cook some more, obviously.

02Sweet and Sour Chicken

To speed up making the dish, I decided to make the sauce while the chicken was cooking.  Time is precious on a week night so I multi-task more than normal.  Combine all of the sauce ingredients together and set it aside.  It should be thick enough to coat the chicken but will still pretty thin.

03Sweet and Sour Chicken

When I first made this recipe I wondered if I could skip the time in the oven and just pour the sauce over the cooked chicken.  Nope.  The oven time is important because the sauce will thicken and stick to the chicken.

I love the option of making sweet and sour chicken at home instead of take out.  #1 No frying!  Let’s face it, fried food is delicious, but sometimes I’m not in the mood for high fat, greasy food. #2 I can control how much sugar I want in the sauce.  #3 My chicken is barely breaded at all.  You know what I mean if you’ve ordered this at a restaurant, a lot of the time you get more bread than chicken.

06Sweet and Sour Chicken

I don’t know about you but I get tired of the same old chicken dinner.  This sauce takes a savory chicken dish to an awesome level.  It’s a bit tangy from the vinegar and that offsets the sweet of the sugar and the salty of the soy sauce nicely.  There’s enough extra sauce to de-boring-ify the rice too.  Oh so yummy.

I garnished the dish with chopped scallions.  It’s not just for presentation points.  The added crunch and mild onion flavor goes great with the sweet and sour sauce.

05Sweet and Sour Chicken

If I didn’t make this dish I would have thought it was straight from a restaurant.  Maybe next time we have this I’ll ask my husband to make it in order for it to feel like I ordered take-out.     😉


3 Hats


Adapted from: I Heart Nap Time


Not in the mood for Asian food?  How about some Italian food, with Italian Meatballs.

03Italian Meatballs_1024x768


Or how about some Mexican food, with Black Bean & Chicken Chilaquiles.



  1. Talxie says:

    I can’t wait to try this. I’ll have to do it with a Splenda/sugar free honey as a replacement since i m sugar free, but I bet it will be good! I’m looking forward to having this dish back in my diet!

    1. Tina says:

      Those sound like great alternatives! Let me know how if you end up making it. Thanks for stopping by Crystal. 🙂

  2. This looks way better than take-out, I can’t wait to make it! I’m a sucker for all things sweet and sour 😉
    Have a lovely weekend, Tina! x

    1. Tina says:

      Oh I hope you love it as much as I do! Let me know if you end up making it. Have a beautiful weekend. 🙂

  3. Definitely on the list to try, can’t wait to make it!

    1. Tina says:

      Awesome! Let me know how it turns out. Have a great weekend. 🙂

  4. Thoughts on if this would work with a sugar replacement? Trying to avoid white sugar!

    1. Tina says:

      First of all, kudos to you for avoiding white sugar! I think that’s a great question. In general, I don’t cook or bake with artificial sweeteners (like Splenda) so I don’t have any experience with those ingredients.

      I have used honey or maple syrup as a sugar substitute where appropriate and as desired. While I have not tried this recipe using either option (meaning I have no idea how it would taste), I think either option would be your best bet instead of using white sugar. Honey and maple syrup are healthier options than white sugar. However, they do contain levels of sugar so if you are looking for zero sugar then you’d need to seek a variety that specifically says it’s sugar free.

      I hope that helps. If you end up trying this recipe using a sugar replacement I’d love to hear back from you to learn what you discovered. 🙂

  5. Oh man, this sounds so good! I love that there is no breading involved…that is one of my least favorite things to do when it comes to cooking. 🙂 Since my 2 year-old would be eating this as well, I like your suggestion above about substituting the white sugar with honey. I think I will try that version out first and let you know how it goes! Thanks for the great recipe.

    1. Tina says:

      One of my nephews (and godson) is 2 and 1/2 years old…just love that age. 🙂 I’ve actually been thinking about the honey option since mentioning it last night and am curious to try it too. Let me know if you end up trying it. I appreciate you stopping by. Have a beautiful weekend!

  6. I have lazy dinner nights, too. But we don’t have any take out places out here within a 30 mile radius. So it’s up to me to even fix something fast for this household full of boys. They would really dig this dish! Especially for their lunches when they come home from school to eat. Love your white plates…so pretty, Tina. Pinning!

    1. Tina says:

      Thank you for your kind words and pinning! This white plate was $3 at my local discount store… love a good bargain! Wow, that’s quite a distance for take out food. This dish would definitely satisfy your craving for take out food. We live about 15 minutes away from restaurants and sometimes I think that’s far, but when I’m not cooking it’s worth it. I wish I lived closer to you because I’d bring you dinner to give you a well deserved break. 🙂

  7. This is my husband’s favorite whenever we go to Chinese restaurants. Looks delicious and homemade ones are way better than take-outs. Thanks for the delicious recipe Tina!

    1. Tina says:

      I agree…some how homemade versions always taste better… maybe because we cook with love. 🙂

  8. Oh yeah, this is a classic that never gets old!

    1. Tina says:

      So true! Thank you for stopping by. 🙂

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