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Sweet and Sour Chicken


Add distinctive flavor to dinnertime with this easy recipe for a Chinese buffet favorite.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 8

Source: Everyday Food, April 2005


  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 bell peppers (green, red, yellow, or a combination), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 scallions, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces, white and green parts separated
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Cooked white rice, for serving (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper


  1. In a large bowl, toss chicken with 1 tablespoon each soy sauce and cornstarch, salt, and pepper. In another bowl, combine remaining soy sauce and cornstarch, vinegar, ketchup, sugar, and 1/2 cup water; set aside.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Cook half the chicken, turning occasionally, until browned and almost cooked through, 4 minutes; remove. Cook the remaining chicken in another tablespoon oil; remove.

  3. Add remaining oil to the pan. Add peppers, white parts of scallions, and garlic; cook over medium-high, stirring, until peppers are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.

  4. Whisk soy sauce mixture; add to pan. Return chicken; add scallion greens. Cook, stirring, until sauce has thickened and chicken is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately over rice, if desired.

Cook's Notes

Cut the vegetables ahead of time; refrigerate, in separate airtight containers lined with damp paper towels, for up to a day. For sweeter flavor, add up to a cup of cubed pineapple along with the scallion greens in step 4.

Reviews Add a comment

  • kdsobel59147
    13 APR, 2016
    If you've never had decent Chinese food before, this probably tastes OK; it definitely caters to the midwestern palate. However, for those of us who know what decent Chinese food tastes like, this is horribly disgusting. I should have known when I saw ketchup as an ingredient, especially in that quantity, and when ginger wasn't included. The dish tasted like ketchup, but not in a good way. Kids who normally devour Asian flavors (and who love ketchup) wouldn't touch it. Had to throw it away.
  • ctaylor88
    2 AUG, 2015
    Incredibly easy and delicious! Our 4 and 6 year old absolutely loved it, and we all had seconds!
  • paulakgriffin
    8 FEB, 2013
    This dish has a beautiful presentation. We did not care for the sauce, was bland...should have been sweeter in my opinion...but the dish was gorgeous looking!!
  • Kb2121
    4 OCT, 2011
    Great meal. Thumbs up from the family who have all lived in Malaysia. Seemed to be too many peppers even with using three.
  • paytonduino
    21 JUN, 2011
    This was a really good meal. I have to say 5 stars. I served with whole grain rice.
  • lorihmatthews
    9 APR, 2010
    This recipe is awesome. It is always delicious. Definitely add the optional pineapple!
  • nspiratn
    8 FEB, 2010
    This dish tasted primarily of ketchup. If I can find something to reduce that taste it would be quite good. For a quick meal it is still ok.
  • jills1
    11 NOV, 2008
    AWESOME!! My no-vegetable-eating husband LOVED this dish and asked me to make it again. Great for my 5 year old too!
  • MS12151067
    22 SEP, 2008
    This was great! I made it this weekend and it was a real hit. I found the pineapple really added the right about of tang to this dish. It was not the same without it.
  • jmarshall
    17 SEP, 2008
    I made this last night. While not gourmet both of my kids enjoyed it and the picky one even at some pepper. I used yellow and orange peppers. Thanks!