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Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken

When it comes to ordering Chinese takeout, sweet and sour chicken is always a favorite. But the next time you’re ready to pick up the phone to order from your favorite restaurant, why not try making it at home instead? With the help of this quick and easy air fryer sweet and sour chicken recipe, you can whip up your favorite takeout meal at home in less time than it would take for the delivery to make it to your house.
Overhead view of Sweet and Sour Chicken in a white bowl with rice and chopsticks on the side of the bowl.

When it comes to ordering Chinese takeout, sweet and sour chicken is always a favorite. But the next time you’re ready to pick up the phone to order from your favorite restaurant, why not try making it at home instead? With the help of this quick and easy air fryer sweet and sour chicken recipe, you can whip up your favorite takeout meal at home in less time than it would take for the delivery to make it to your house.

Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken Pin

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What Do I Need to Make Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken?

Making your own Chinese takeout at home may seem intimidating. But once you see the short list of ingredients in this simple recipe, you’ll be ready to start cooking. To make sweet and sour chicken at home using your air fryer, you’ll need:

  • Chicken breasts or chicken thighs
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cornstarch
  • Olive oil spray (or other high heat cooking oil)
  • Pineapple chunks
  • White onion
  • Red bell pepper
  • Green bell pepper
  • Green onions
  • Ketchup
  • Sugar
  • Rice vinegar
  • Water
  • Minced garlic
  • Pineapple juice
  • Sesame seeds

Overhead view of Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken Ingredients.

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How Do I Make Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken?

Sweet and sour chicken is typically fried in oil. But there’s no reason to make a mess in your kitchen when you have an air fryer at home! Just follow these five simple steps to make this mess-free recipe.

Step 1: Coat the Chicken

To add a crispy coating to your sweet and sour chicken, start by cutting the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Toss each piece in corn starch seasoned with salt and pepper. After coating each chicken piece, place it in the basket of your air fryer, making sure to coat the basket with olive oil cooking spray first.

Corn starch coated chicken in the air fryer basket.

Step 2: Air Fry the Chicken

Lightly spray the chicken pieces with olive oil, then place the basket in the air fryer. Cook the sweet and sour chicken at 380 degrees for eight minutes. Halfway through the cook time, remove the basket from the air fryer and shake to toss the chicken pieces.

Step 3: Add the Vegetables

When the chicken has cooked for eight minutes, remove the basket from the air fryer. Shift the chicken pieces to one side of the air fryer basket. Lightly spray the pineapple, onion, and bell peppers with olive, then add to other side of air fryer basket. Return the basket to the air fryer and set it to cook for another eight minutes. After four minutes, remove the basket and shake it to mix all the ingredients together, then continue cooking for four more minutes or until chicken reaches internal temperature of 165 degrees F when checked with a meat thermometer.Chicken and vegetables in air fryer basket.

Step 4: Prepare the Sauce

While the chicken is cooking in the air fryer, you can take a few minutes to prepare the sweet and sour sauce. Add the ketchup, sugar, rice vinegar, water, minced garlic, and pineapple juice to a small saucepan. Cook the ingredients over medium heat until the sauce comes to a boil. Add in one tablespoon of corn starch and whisk to thicken. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool and thicken.

Note: For reference this is the Air Fryer that was used for this recipe-Chefman TurboFry Touch 8 Quart Air Fryer w/ XL Viewing Window & Advanced Digital Display. Please keep in mind that cooking times vary between make, model and size of air fryer. For best results, always check the temperature of the meat with a meat thermometer.

Step 5: Mix in the Sauce

When the cook time is up on your air fryer, remove the chicken and vegetables from the basket and transfer the ingredients to a serving bowl. Top the pieces with sweet and sour sauce and stir to coat. Serve the sweet and sour chicken topped with chopped green onions and sesame seeds.

Bowl of mixed sweet and sour chicken.

Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe Ideas

Now that you now how easy it is to make your own Chinese takeout at home with your air fryer, you’ll want to make this quick recipe every week. And with these recipe ideas, you can change up the flavors in your dinner to create a new dish every time you cook.

Add more veggies. While onions and bell peppers are standard veggies to mix in with your sweet and sour chicken, there’s no need to stop there! If you want to add even more vegetables to the mix, there are a variety of different options to choose from. Try mixing in these other veggies to add more flavor and texture to your Chinese takeout at home:

  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Zucchini
  • Snow peas
  • Water chestnuts
  • Mushrooms

Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken

Add some spice. Sweet and sour chicken often has a mild flavor thanks to the inclusion of sweet pineapple juice and tangy vinegar. If you’d like to add some heat to your sauce, you can easily take the flavor up a notch with the help of some red pepper flakes or spicy chili flakes. Simply add the spices to the saucepan with the rest of your sauce ingredients.

Mix in some nuts. Another simple way to add more flavor to your chicken dinner is with the help of nuts. Mixing in some chopped peanuts, cashews, or sliced almonds is a simple way to add flavor and crunch to your sweet and sour chicken.

Overhead view of Sweet and Sour Chicken in a white bowl with rice and chopsticks on the side of the bowl.

What to Serve with Sweet and Sour Chicken?

Once you have your homemade takeout cooked in your air fryer, you can immediately start to dig in. That’s because this recipe could be a full meal on its own thanks to the mix of chicken, fruit, and veggies. But there’s no reason you can add even more flavor to your dinner!

If you’re looking for side dish ideas for your sweet and sour chicken, try these quick and easy recipe ideas:

  • Steamed white or brown rice
  • Fried rice
  • Rice noodles
  • Lo Mein noodles
  • Cauliflower rice or fried rice
  • Eggrolls

Overhead view of Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken

Overhead view of Sweet and Sour Chicken in a white bowl with rice and chopsticks on the side of the bowl.

Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken

When it comes to ordering Chinese takeout, sweet and sour chicken is always a favorite. But the next time you’re ready to pick up the phone to order from your favorite restaurant, why not try making it at home instead? With the help of this quick and easy air fryer sweet and sour chicken recipe, you can whip up your favorite takeout meal at home in less time than it would take for the delivery to make it to your house.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Air Fryer, Chinese
Keyword: Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 287kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

For the Chicken:

  • 2 pounds chicken breasts or chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 cup corn starch or potato starch
  • olive oil cooking spray or other high heat cooking oil
  • 1 15 ounce can pineapple chunks drained with juice reserved
  • 1 white onion chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper seeds removed, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper seeds removed, chopped
  • 2 green onions for garnish, if desired
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds for garnish, if desired

Sweet and Sour Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 water
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons reserved pineapple juice
  • 1 tbsp corn starch more if needed to thicken sauce

Instructions

Step 1: Batter the Chicken

  • Combine the corn starch, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the cut-up chicken pieces and toss until fully coated.
  • Lightly spray the chicken pieces with olive oil (or other high heat cooking oil) and add them to the basket in the air fryer.

Step 2: Air Fry the Chicken

  • Cook at 380 degrees for eight minutes. When the chicken has cooked for eight minutes, remove the basket from the air fryer and shake the chicken to redistribute.

Step 3: Add the Vegetables

  • Shift the chicken pieces to one side of the air fryer basket. Lightly spray pineapple, onion and bell peppers with olive oil, then add them to the other side of the air fryer basket. Return the basket to the air fryer and set it to cook for another eight minutes. After four minutes, remove the basket and shake it to mix all the ingredients together, then continue cooking for four more minutes or until chicken reaches internal temperature of 165 degrees F when checked with a meat thermometer.

Step 4: Prepare the Sauce

  • While the chicken is cooking in the air fryer, prepare the sweet and sour sauce. Add the ketchup, sugar, rice vinegar, water, minced garlic, and pineapple juice to a small saucepan. Cook the ingredients over medium heat until the sauce comes to a boil. Then, add in corn starch and whisk to thicken. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool and thicken.

Step 5: Mix in the Sauce

  • When the cook time is up on your air fryer, remove the chicken and vegetables from the basket and transfer the ingredients to a serving bowl. Add in sweet and sour sauce and stir to coat. Serve the sweet and sour chicken topped with chopped green onion and sesame seeds.

Notes

Note: For reference this is the Air Fryer that was used for this recipe-Chefman TurboFry Touch 8 Quart Air Fryer w/ XL Viewing Window & Advanced Digital Display. Please keep in mind that cooking times vary between make, model and size of air fryer. For best results, always check the temperature of the meat with a meat thermometer.

Nutrition

Calories: 287kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 565mg | Potassium: 653mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 1215IU | Vitamin C: 68mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1mg
5 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating




Katie Crenshaw

Saturday 29th of June 2024

I can't believe how good this turned out in the Air Fryer!! It was delicious! Fantastic recipe.

David

Monday 28th of August 2023

Amazing sweet and sour recipes