An easy Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe made healthy, gluten free and without pineapple! Paleo, Whole30 and done in under an hour.
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Everyone loves takeout from time to time, but having your favorite takeout meal made fresh at home with better ingredients is so much better!
This sweet and sour chicken is so delicious, easy to make, and a healthier version of one of your favorite takeout meals.
In less than an hour and with only 10 ingredients, you can have this delicious sweet and sour chicken on your dinner table.
What makes this recipe healthy?
There are so many reasons we love this healthy sweet and sour chicken! Here’s what makes this recipe much healthier than other recipes:
- low sugar – There are 13g of sugar per serving.
- high protein – A whole 51g of protein per serving!
- veggie loaded – Over 4 cups of veggies are recommended in the recipe, but you could definitely add more. See below for our recommended substitutions as well!
- clean ingredients – We took traditional sweet and sour chicken and chose cleaner ingredients for our healthier recipe.
- pan cooked, not fried – The typical takeout sweet and sour chicken is battered and deep fried which adds a lot of calories, so we decided to pan cook our chicken and it still tastes so delicious!
This is not an authentic sweet and sour chicken recipe, but a lighter version of one of my favorites foods that has been made paleo, gluten free, dairy free and nut free for everyone to enjoy.
Sweet and Sour Chicken Ingredients
To make this easy sweet and sour chicken you will need these 10 simple ingredients:
- chicken breasts
- red onion, red bell pepper, broccoli florets
- olive oil
- coconut aminos
- apple cider vinegar
- orange juice
- garlic (minced)
For ingredient substitutions, see below.
How Do You Make Sweet And Sour Chicken From Scratch?
It is incredibly easy to make this sweet and sour chicken!
- In a pan, cook the chicken breasts in olive oil for 10-15 minutes until browned on all edges. While the chicken cooks, mix together the sauce ingredients. Set the chicken aside once it is done cooking.
- Add veggies to the same pan and saute for 3-5 minutes until softened. Don’t overcook! Set the veggies aside once they are done cooking.
- Add the sauce to the pan over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer for about 2 minutes. The sauce should naturally thicken and start to pull away from the pan when you scrape it with a spatula. Be careful not to burn it!
- Add cooked chicken and the veggies back to the pan. Stir to coat with sauce and heat over low until warmed through.
- Serve over rice, cauliflower rice or as is. Enjoy!
SUBSTITUTIONS FOR SWEET & SOUR CHICKEN
This recipe is pretty versatile. Here are a few ways you can customize it!
Orange Juice – You can substitute regular bottled orange juice with freshly squeezed orange juice.
Chicken – You can substitute chicken breasts with chopped chicken tenders or boneless skinless chicken thighs.
Coconut Aminos – You can sub coconut aminos with soy sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, but the recipe will no longer be paleo. If using Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, use HALF the amount – Bragg’s is much saltier.
Apple Cider Vinegar – We don’t have any substitution recommendations for the apple cider vinegar. It really is essential in the flavor of this dish.
Ketchup – You can’t substitute ketchup in this recipe, it’s essential for the sauce. However, any brand of ketchup should work; we do recommend looking for one with no or low sugar.
Garlic– Fresh garlic will definitely give the best flavor, but you can substitute with 1 teaspoon garlic powder or granulated garlic if necessary.
Vegetables – Pretty much any vegetables will work in this recipe. Some other veggies we think would taste great are green beans, mushrooms or carrots.
WW Note: Points calculated with the following values:
Is Sweet And Sour Chicken Healthy?
Typical takeout sweet and sour chicken is battered and deep fried which adds a lot of calories in addition to the added sugar that is typically in the sweet and sour sauce.
Our recipe is cooked in a pan and doesn’t have additional added sugars (just the sugar occurring in the sauce ingredients) which allows it to be a healthier option than your typical sweet and sour chicken takeout.
Sweet & Sour Chicken FAQ
The standard sweet and sour chicken is chicken that is battered and deep fried with the sweet and sour sauce on the side. Hong Kong style sweet and sour chicken typically serves the battered and deep fried chicken tossed in the sauce.
Add the sauce ingredients to the pan over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer for about 2 minutes. The sauce should naturally thicken and start to pull away from the pan when you scrape it with a spatula. Be careful not to burn it!
Typically, sweet and sour sauce isn’t considered “good” for you because of all the added sugar. It definitely depends on your individual dietary needs how “bad” a partial food is though.
Serving Paleo Sweet & Sour Chicken
Feeding a family? Serve it over a giant bowl of rice/quinoa with lots of veggies tossed in the sauce or on the side.
Trying to keep paleo? Skip the rice and serve just the chicken and veggies on their own or over cauliflower rice.
Not a huge fan of cauliflower rice? This sweet and sour chicken would taste great over zoodles!
Storing Sweet & Sour Chicken
Fridge: I keep this easy sweet and sour chicken in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Reheating: You can reheat this sweet and sour chicken in a pan or in the microwave until warmed through.
Freezing: We have not tried freezing this sweet and sour chicken, but I think it would freeze fine!
Other healthy takeout recipes:
- Healthy Orange Chicken
- Chicken Pad Thai
- Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry
- Lighter Chicken Fried Rice
- Healthy Sesame Chicken
- Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli
- Healthy Shrimp Stir Fry
Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe
- In a pan heat olive oil. Cook chicken breasts for 10-15 minutes until browned on all edges.
- While the chicken cooks, mix together sauce.
- When chicken is finished cooking, remove from the pan and set aside in a dish.
- Add vegetables to the pan that the chicken cooked in and saute for 3-5 minutes until softened. Don’t over cook, we don’t want them to be mushy!
- Once vegetables have cooked, remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add sauce to the pan and turn onto high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once boiling reduce to a simmer for about 2 minutes. The sauce should naturally thicken and start to pull away from the pan when you scrape it with a spatula. Be careful not to burn it!
- Add cooked chicken + vegetables to the pan. Stir to coat with sauce and cook over low heat until warmed through. If the sauce is too thick, add a tablespoon of orange juice.
- Serve over rice, cauliflower rice or as is!