Healthy Sweet and Sour Chicken
This quick and easy recipe for healthy sweet and sour chicken skips the batter and deep fryer, and it’s better than takeout!
We Skipped the Batter, and It’s Even Better.
Don’t get me wrong—I love to indulge in battered and fried treats as much as the next food nut. But it’s really nice to have healthier alternatives to whip up in your own kitchen! This healthy sweet and sour chicken is one of them. A lot of the sweet and sour sauce I was served as a kid was just sweet; a gelatinous red sauce that tastes like pure sugar. But this stuff brings tanginess to match the sweetness to create a sauce worth smacking your lips over. You can eat this dish on it’s own, or serve it with rice or noodles.
The List of Flavorful Ingredients.
I always like to remind folks that when it comes to any stir fry type of dish, you can add or omit veggies as you see fit. Some people love adding water chestnuts or baby corn. You do you. Here’s what we throw in here:
- Boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Peanut oil (avocado or olive also work)
- Fresh ginger
- Red bell pepper
- Yellow onion
- Low sodium soy sauce
- Rice wine
- Sea salt
- Sesame oil
- Black pepper
- Rice vinegar
- Raw honey
How to Make Sweet and Sour Chicken.
A quick marinade is all you need, though you could let your chicken bathe in it for an entire day if you want to get a head start. After that, it’s easy peasy. Here’s what you’ll do:
- Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a large bowl, then place the cut up chicken into it; toss to coat.
- Pop it for about 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.
- While the chicken is marinating, prepare the sweet and sour sauce. Just dump all of the ingredients into a large bowl and whisk until well combined! You could also put the ingredients into a glass jar, cover it with a lid, and shake it until it’s nicely blended.
- Once the marinade is done, set it aside and prep your vegetables.
- Heat the skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and simmer it until it’s golden brown. Transfer the chicken to a bowl and add a drizzle of oil to the pan again if needed.
- Pop the vegetables into the pan and cook until they’ve softened—about 2 minutes.
- Bring the chicken back to the pan and cook for another minute.
- Stir in the sweet and sour sauce, tossing all of the ingredients to coat. Bring the sauce to a low simmer just to thicken it a bit.
- Stir the scallions into the mixture, top with sesame seeds, and serve!
How Many Calories Are in Sweet and Sour Chicken?
Your typical sweet and sour chicken can have upwards of 600 calories per serving. This recipe contains 330 calories per serving, which I calculated with the help of a trusted calorie counting app.
Useful Tools for This Recipe:
Recipe Tips + Tricks.
- For an even healthier option, use homemade ketchup in the sauce! This allows you to control the sugar content if you’re keeping an eye on that stuff.
- I use chicken thighs in this recipe because I love how tender and flavorful they are. But if you prefer breast meat, you can absolutely use that instead.
- Any color bell pepper will work in this recipe, but we like the sweeter varieties (red, yellow, orange).
- A lot of sweet and sour recipes out there include pineapple chunks. You could definitely add those in when you add the vegetables for an extra pop of sweetness.
Have You Made This Recipe?
If you enjoyed this recipe, please consider leaving a STAR rating & commenting below with feedback!
You can also show off your creations on Instagram by tagging @killing__thyme
You May Also Like These Easy Dinners…
- Easy Healthy Cashew Chicken
- Easy Soy and Sesame Beef Stir Fry with Noodles
- Sesame Shrimp Stir Fry with Ramen Noodles
- Garlic and Ginger Turkey Meatballs with Hot Honey Glaze
Get the Recipe:
Healthy Sweet and Sour ChickenThis quick and easy recipe for healthy sweet and sour chicken skips the batter and the deep fryer so you can enjoy this takeout classic guiltlessly.
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut up into bite-sized chunks
- 3 TBSP peanut oil, Olive or avocado oil are also fine.
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped into bite-sized chunks
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped into bite-sized chunks
- 1 large carrot, julienned
- 2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tsp rice wine
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp sesame oil
- A few cracks of black pepper
Sweet and sour sauce.
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup raw honey, You could also use agave nectar.
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
- Whisk all of the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl. Place the cut up chicken into it and toss to coat. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.
Sweet and sour sauce.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the sweet and sour sauce ingredients until well combined. (You could also place the ingredients into a glass jar, secure the lid, and shake until combined.)
Bringing the dish together.
- Heat a skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Once the skillet is hot, transfer the marinated chicken to it and let it simmer, stirring occasionally, until golden brown (about 3-5 minutes). Transfer the chicken to a bowl and set aside.
- If necessary, add a bit of oil to the pan. Add the vegetables, and let them sauté until they've softened—about 5 minutes.
- Bring the chicken back to the pan and cook alongside the vegetables for another minute or until the chicken registers an internal temperature of 165ºF. Stir in the sweet and sour sauce and toss all of the ingredients to evenly coat them. Bring the skillet to a low simmer and let the sauce thicken a bit.
- Turn off the heat, stir in the scallions, and top with sesame seeds.
- Serve with rice, noodles, or as is!Serving: 1g, Calories: 393kcal, Carbohydrates: 50g, Protein: 28g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 65mg, Sodium: 390mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 38g