Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken

This is so superb, trust me.  You may (indeed may not) like your local Chinese Sweet and Sour, but after you have made this, you will probably stick to homemade.

This is for four adult people, or 8 kids, or two 18-year-old boys, so adjust for how many you are feeding for.

If you have someone to stir the sauce whilst you do the chicken then, makes it easier.

Given it is rather sweet,  then this is a treat, perhaps not a weekly dish.

Price list:

  • Tin of pineapple 0-80p
  • Diced chicken – £3-60p
  • 2 peppers £1-10p
  • Spring onions – £0-50.
  • Total £6-00.  Plus, an estimated £1-00 for other common kitchen items.

This is not only a terrific meal, but at £7-00 for 4 adults, not only will it be better than the Chinese shop, but less than a quarter of what they charge.

If any is left, it can be frozen, but I have never done that as I have 1 adult portion, the boy has 2 portions, then he finishes off the last of it for supper, as part of his 5 meals a day.

It’s not that difficult, just quite a few ingredients, which are:

For the Chicken and Veg:

Two Chicken breasts, or about 1 and a ¼ pound of diced chicken which you cut into small bite sized chunks.  I find the ready diced chicken has far too many big bits in, so I cut them up as well).

  • 3 tablespoons of cornflour.
  • A bit of salt and ground pepper
  • If you like a bit of spice, then just a few sprinkles of dried chili.

For the Veg:

  • 2 peppers, preferably different colours, I try for one Yellow and one red.
  • A generous half of a large white Onion or whole medium size one.
  • Peppers and onion to be cut into about 1” square pieces and set aside.

Chicken preparation: 

To prepare, add the chicken, cornflour salt and pepper (plus chili flakes if using) into a zip-lock plastic bag, and squish around so all the chicken is covered.  Put into the fridge whilst you carry on with the rest.

For the sauce:

  • One small tin of pineapple chunks including the juice.
  • ¼ inch of fresh ginger, grated.
  • 2 cloves of garlic which I grate.
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar.
  • 1/3 cup white sugar.
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour, and water to mix in the cornstarch as a thickener for later.

Sauce preparation:

I find it easier to prepare all the ingredients before adding to the saucepan.  Apart from the cornflour and water which is mixed later, put all the sauce ingredients into a saucepan Place all the ingredients into a saucepan and gently whisk whilst under a medium heat until boiled.

Once boiled turn the heat to low and add the mixed cornflour and water to thicken, then more gentle whisking, it does not take long to thicken.  Once thickened, turn off the heat.

Cooking the Chicken:

Add a generous amount of Olive Oil to a large casserole dish or similar.  I prefer to use a mixture of garlic infused oil, combined with some chili infused Olive Oil.

Get the oil hot. Then turn down to a medium heat.

Add the chicken from the bag and stir.  If it sticks, turn the heat down a bit and add some more oil.  Cook and stir for a good 5 mins.

Take the chicken out with tongs and put in a dish.

Add some more Olive oil and put all the cut-up peppers and onion into the casserole dish.  Cook and stir for 5 minutes.  We want slightly crunchy veg, so do not overcook.

Put the chicken in with the peppers and onion and stir for a further 3 minutes.

Pour your sauce into the dish and cook and stir for a few minutes until it is just about boiling.

Serve with rice or whatever you fancy.


Sprinkle some sesame seeds over the sweet and sour and add a few chopped spring onions.

After one taste, you will be hooked and the word “fresh” will spring into your head.  If you have kids, they will absolutely love it.

© text & images Phil the ex test manager 2023