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Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken is 1000x better than any takeout! It’s crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside and exploding with flavor. There is a reason why this is our favorite recipe on the blog!

This meal is going to blow your family away! I love to complete this meal with this dishes like Homemade Egg Rolls, Cream Cheese Wontons or Easy Fried Rice.

Juicy, tender Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken on top of rice.

The BEST Sweet and Sour Chicken

I am going to keep this as short and simple as possible…you NEED to make this sweet and sour chicken recipe. This recipe is number one for a reason, it’s absolutely incredible. We have yet to find any takeout restaurant beat this recipe. (And that’s saying something, because I love Chinese takeout!)

A simple cornstarch batter makes each piece of chicken nice and crispy, and the sauce is to die for! It’s savory and sweet with the best hint of tang. The sauce thickens as it cooks, coating the chicken perfectly. Everything is super simple to make, so prepare for this sweet and sour chicken to be a regular in your weekly dinner rotation. Easy takeout at home, what could be better than that? (Find more “better than takeout” recipes here!)

Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken Ingredients

Restaurant-quality sweet and sour chicken, but from the comfort of your home! These are all the ingredients you’ll need to make the perfect crispy chicken smothered in a mouthwatering, savory glaze. All measurements can be found below in the recipe card.

  • Chicken Breasts: Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts for easy prep. This recipe also works really well with skinless chicken thighs or pork if you want to switch things up!
  • Salt and Black Pepper: Give the chicken its first layer of flavor. Add to taste!
  • Cornstarch: Creates a superb crunch.
  • Eggs: Helps the coating stick to each piece of chicken.
  • Canola Oil: Just enough to give the chicken a quick fry for crispiness.
  • Granulated Sugar: Gives the sauce a touch of sweetness. You can also use brown sugar if you’d like! It will give your chicken a deeper, more caramel-like flavor.
  • Ketchup: Adds some extra flavor to the sauce.
  • White Vinegar and Apple Cider Vinegar: I love adding a combination of both because it gives the sauce a tangy flavor, but a bit of sweetness too!
  • Soy Sauce: A must-add for any savory Asian dish! I used low-sodium soy sauce, but whatever you have on hand works great!
  • Garlic Salt: Adds the perfect punch of savory flavor.
Coating each piece of chicken in a cornstarch breading.

Sweet and Sour Baked Chicken Recipe

Making this sweet and sour chicken doesn’t take much effort at all! Once you get a taste, you’ll be happy you didn’t order takeout! The crispy breading and flavor of the sweet and sour sauce is seriously the best. You can’t beat the fresh flavor of making Chinese takeout from scratch!

  1. Prep: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut your chicken breasts into bite sized pieces and then season with salt and pepper.
  2. Dip: Add cornstarch and slightly beaten eggs to separate bowls. Dip the chicken FIRST in the cornstarch and then coat in the egg mixture.
  3. Flash Fry: Heat canola oil in a large pan over medium high heat and cook chicken until brown but not fully cooked throughout. Place the chicken in a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  4. Prepare Sauce: In a medium sized mixing cowl, whisk together sugar, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, soy sauce and garlic salt.
  5. Bake: Pour over the chicken and bake for an hour. Stir every 15 minutes to coat them in the sauce.
Frying the coating on Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken then adding it to a baking dish.

Tips and Tricks

These are a few tips to keep in mind so your chicken turns out as delicious as possible! I’ve also included a few ways to switch things up. That’s the beauty of making sweet and sour chicken at home instead of ordering takeout. You can customize it however you want!

  • Method to the Madness: Make sure you first coat your chicken in the cornstarch and then the egg. This method makes the perfect breading for the chicken.
  • Flash Frying: Don’t cook the chicken all the way through before baking. You just want to get the chicken lightly brown on the outside, and then it bakes to perfection.
  • Vinegar: You can use all apple cider vinegar, but I wouldn’t use all white vinegar, the flavor and zing will be different. If you want a lighter flavor you can also use rice vinegar, it’s still tangy but a little milder.
  • Make it Saucy: If you like your dish saucy, double the sauce recipe and place half on the chicken and another half on the stove in a pot at a simmer for 8-10 minutes until thickened.
  • Add Veggies: Feel free to add vegetables or pineapple chunks to the dish before baking. (You can even add a little bit of pineapple juice to your sauce!) Chopped red bell peppers, bamboo shoots, chopped onions, broccoli, or snow peas are all great options as well.
Top-down view of baked chicken in a white dish.

Storing Leftovers

One of the great things about Chinese takeout is that it’s super easy to store and reheat. It tastes just as good the next day! Heat up some rice and you have a quick and delicious lunch on your hands.

  • In the Refrigerator: Place leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
  • In the Freezer: Leftovers can be frozen too. Just place in a freezer-safe container or bag and freeze for 2-3 months. Let thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
  • To Reheat: Sweet and sour chicken is best reheated on the stove. Reheating it in the microwave can make the chicken rubbery and overcooked. Place leftovers in a saucepan on the stovetop and heat on medium heat, stirring often, until heated through.
Closeup of crispy, juicy, tender Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken.

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Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken

4.79 from 57 votes
By: Alyssa Rivers
Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken is 1000x better than any takeout! It's crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside and exploding with flavor. There is a reason why this is our favorite recipe on the blog!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 6 people

Equipment

  • Utopia Kitchen Cooking Knives
  • Fine dine Mixing Bowls

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces and season with salt and pepper.
  • In separate bowls, place cornstarch and slightly beaten eggs. Dip chicken into cornstarch then coat in egg mixture.
  • Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook chicken until browned. Place the chicken in a 9 x 13 greased baking dish.
  • In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine sugar, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic salt. Pour over chicken and bake for 1 hour.
  • I stirred the chicken every 15 minutes so that it coated them in the sauce.

Video

Notes

Updated on May 10, 2023
Originally Posted on July 4, 2013

Nutrition

Calories: 553kcalCarbohydrates: 66gProtein: 35gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 178mgSodium: 777mgPotassium: 627mgFiber: 1gSugar: 36gVitamin A: 215IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 20mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Asian American, Chinese
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!

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About Alyssa Rivers

Alyssa Rivers is the author of 'The Tried and True Cookbook', a professional food photographer and experienced recipe-developer. Having a passion for cooking, her tried and true recipes have been featured on Good Morning America, Today Food, Buzzfeed and more.

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Recipe Rating




434 Comments

  1. Can I add corn starch to the sauce so it will actually thicken? It was good but it needed to be thicker.

  2. 5 stars
    Love Love Love this recipe! I doubled the sauce as I love to use it on the rice, veggies, and fruit. I added sliced green and red peppers and pineapple. Yummy.

  3. 1 star
    my meal is absolutely destroyed by this sauce. the flavors are so exaggerated that the meat ends up in the trash. one cup of sugar…really?? 🤦🏼‍♀️ I should have followed my intuition and experience..

  4. 4 stars
    My family (son) loves it. I would like to ask for advice on the skillet cooking. I did it in batches, but the mixture all stuck together. Made it difficult to turn(stir) them. Thank you.

  5. 5 stars
    Love this dish so much. Even my husband, who is rather fussy, loved it. Will definitely try more of your recipes! Thanks for the post.

  6. 4 stars
    This dish was delicious! I don’t know if the chicken breasts I got from the store were freakishly large but I think I could have used half the amount of chicken. I have plenty of leftovers to freeze.

    My only complaint is the prep time estimate. I am not the strongest cook but I can’t imagine anyone who isn’t a professional chef who can cut the chicken, bread the chicken, prep the sauce, fry the chicken, and get it all into the baking pan in 20 minutes. I think all of the prep easily took me 40-60 minutes and my kitchen looked like a bomb went off. It could also be because I had an insane amount of chicken. My 4 chicken breasts barely fit in the baking pan. There was no room for stirring them throughout the baking process.

    P.S. I also marinated the chicken the night before in a mixture similar to the sauce but without ketchup and added ground ginger & hot & sweet mustard.

    1. This drove me crazy for years before realizing prep time assumes the ingredients are chopped, sliced, etc.—in other words, ready to go!

      Copy/paste from The Cooks Cook
      “The timing of a recipe is calculated with the assumption that the ingredients are ready for assembly when the cook sets to work. The preparation and laying out of all the ingredients is known by the French culinary term mise en place or “setting in place.”

  7. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious!!!!! The family begs for it now that I made it. It taste even better then the restaurant . I added some red bell pepper and some chunks of onion. Thank you so much for this recipe. Yay!!!!😊

    1. Hi! That’s an important part to getting the texture right on this chicken so I wouldn’t skip that step 🙂

  8. 5 stars
    I have made this recipe numerous times. There us never any left, so I make more than we will need. I also have to double the sauce to have enough t[ spoon over Jasmine Rice. Made additions include chunk pineapple, green pepper, and broccoli. I have found that the sauce never thickens unless I back it a good 1.5 to 2 hours.

  9. 5 stars
    I made this last night and it was amazing! I didn’t have apple cider vinegar so I used 1/4 rice vinegar. I also cut them into smaller bites. After frying I put them in for 30 minutes but stirred every 15 minutes and they came out great! My husband loved it too.

  10. 4 stars
    Took longer than the hour and at the hour mark we needed to turn it up to 350 and cover it. Otherwise, good.

  11. 5 stars
    This was so good!! Made it for the first time last night. Everyone loved it so much – I’ll double the sweet and sour sauce next time, like you mentioned. There was enough for the chicken and a little extra, but my family wanted more for dipping ….. it was that good!
    Thank you for sharing – and linking recipes. I came to this one from the chicken fried rice recipe. That was SO good, I knew I couldn’t go wrong making this one too.

  12. 5 stars
    I love this recipe, and I’m pretty fussy. I’ve made it multiple times. The only thing I do differently is I add vegetables. I’ve added peppers,onions, broccoli, and pineapple. Today I’m trying cauliflower, peppers and onions. Wish i had pineapple, but not this time!