Air fryer sweet and sour chicken is a Chinese stir-fry dish made with crispy chicken, bell peppers, onion and pineapple. Battered chicken is air fried until crispy and then tossed in a sweet and sour sauce.
Sweet and Sour Chicken
This air fryer sweet and sour chicken recipe takes inspiration from Asian and Southern cuisines to present a flavorful, colorful dinner that you’re going to absolutely love. With juicy, sweet bell peppers and chunks of pineapple, and tender, perfectly cooked chicken in a starring role all wrapped up in a delicious sauce, what’s not to like?
Reasons To Love
- This stir fry really stands out because it’s ready so quickly and it’s quite healthy, too.
- With plenty of protein and fiber, we’re air frying the chicken to make sure it stays crisp and crunchy.
- Crispy, crunchy veggies are packed with vitamins and minerals, and of course your chicken will be perfectly cooked and a great source of protein.
To make this Chinese-style chicken dinner, you will need simple ingredients.
How To Make Sweet and Sour Chicken
- Combine honey, rice vinegar, soy sauce and ketchup (or tomato paste) in a medium bowl. Keep aside.
- In a small bowl mix together the cornstarch and pineapple juice. Keep aside.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
- In a shallow dish mix together flour and cornstarch.
- In a separate shallow dish whisk eggs.
- Coat the chicken with the flour mixture, next dip in the whisked egg, then again coat in the flour mixture.
- Preheat your air fryer. Place the chicken in the air fryer basket. Cook at 360°F|180°C for 9-10 minutes or until cooked through. Work in 2-3 batches not to overcrowd the basket.
- In the wok heat oil over medium high heat . Once it is hot, add the garlic and onion and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
- Add the red and green bell peppers, and continue cooking for 1 minute.
- Add in the pineapple and stir fry for 1 minute.
- Finally add the chicken and the sauce and bring the sauce to a boil.
- Add the cornstarch slurry to the wok and cook until the sauce thickens (stirring constantly), about 1 minute.
- Garnish with green onion and sesame seeds.
You can serve this pretty much straight away on a bed of rice or with cooked noodles.
How To Store Leftovers
If you’ve made too much for everybody to eat in one sitting, don’t worry! We can put together some great leftovers. However, if you want to make leftovers of this meal, you need to be careful of one sweet, subtle ingredient: pineapple.
Have you ever had leftover food with pineapple as an ingredient, enjoyed it fresh, and then tried to reheat it only to find it far from the beautiful meal you remembered?
The perpetrator was your pineapple!
Pineapple naturally contains bromelain, an enzyme that breaks down protein. This is the same enzyme responsible for the “tingling” feeling you might get in your mouth when eating fresh pineapple. For this reason, pineapple makes a great marinade! You can easily tenderize a tough piece of meat, or imbue it with tropical sweetness, thanks to this enzyme. However, when it’s in a sauce with chicken, this isn’t quite as ideal.
That’s why, if you plan on making leftovers, we add only as much fresh pineapple as we need to this recipe. Don’t add it during cooking, only at the end, and only to the meals that will be eaten. If you have excess chicken and veggies, keep the pineapple separate until it’s time to reheat. You can simply adjust your chicken-to-pineappe ratio and the quantities you’re using to accommodate this.
Pineapple juice, with its lower bromelain content, and its relatively diluted quantity in this recipe, won’t have the same tenderizing effect.
If you do end up with leftovers, you can store the main part of the sauce in a separate airtight container in the fridge. You can store your pineapple separately, keeping them apart until it’s time to eat your leftovers.
Tips For Making Sweet and Sour Chicken
- Cut your chicken into small, bite-sized pieces of roughly even size. This way they will cook through during browning, and maintain even consistency by cooking evenly.
- We strongly encourage you to use fresh bell peppers and fresh pineapple when you can. It tastes so much better and has a better crunch factor.
- You can add chopped carrots or sliced mushroom to this recipe when you’re cooking your veggies.
- Serve this immediately, like all great Chinese street food, so your chicken and vegetables are still nice and crunchy. You want crisp, healthy veggies, so avoid mixing everything together until you’re ready to eat.
- Pineapple’s sweet taste can easily overpower other flavors in a dish. You can always add more, but it’s hard to take away from a sauce. For that reason, we recommend that you err on the side of caution and use smaller quantities of pineapple with this recipe just in case.
- If you’re using fresh pineapple, remember the bromelain enzyme. Only add fresh pineapple at the end, and only to the meals you know will be eaten. If you’re planning to have leftovers, keep fresh pineapple away from the portion of the sauce to be stored.
It’s easy to put this meal together. In fact, it takes only thirty minutes, including prep time!
To serve, we recommend Jasmine Rice, Instant Pot Brown Rice or Chinese noodles. Simply spoon your sweet and sour chicken on top of the carb and you’re ready to go. For a garnish, try dried shallots, a lemon wedge, or some freshly chopped cilantro.
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