Sweet and Sour Chicken

Real food sweet and sour chicken recipe

In my college days, I loved eating Chinese food. Once I switched to a wellness lifestyle and realized what was in most restaurant foods, I stopped eating regular Chinese food, but wanted to recreate some of the same flavors with real food ingredients.

This quest led me to create my Parsnip Noodle Lo Mein and Cauliflower Fried Rice.

One of my favorite pre real food conversion dishes was sweet and sour chicken. Most restaurant versions are more like MSG and high fructose corn syrup chicken, so I wanted to make a version that was naturally sweet and sour.

Also, like most of my recipes, I wanted it to be simple to make and not create a lot of dishes. I also wanted it to be quick enough to make that I could make it on a jujutsu night without it taking forever.

This recipe was the result and it was enthusiastically approved by all five children, my husband, and the grandparents so it is sure to be a favorite in your home too. Instead of MSG and corn syrup, it uses honey, vinegar, coconut aminos, and citrus juices with natural herbs and spices.

I’ve included the basic spices I used, but feel free to add more or less to suit your preference.

This can be served over white rice or cauliflower rice. I’ve also found that it is good over zucchini noodles (made with a spiral slicer) or just roasted zucchini slices. I’ve also eaten it over wilted spinach to get some extra greens and it was delicious.

Real food sweet and sour chicken recipe
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4.5 from 4 votes

Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe

Sweet and sour chicken with coconut aminos, spices, and citrus juices is a real food alternative to this favorite.
Course Main
Cuisine Chinese
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 212kcal
Author Katie Wells



  • Cut the chicken into bite size pieces.
  • Heat the butter or coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the chicken, garlic powder, salt, pepper, turmeric, and paprika and cook for 5-7 minutes or until the chicken is mostly cooked.
  • Add the lemon juice, coconut aminos, fish sauce, and apple cider vinegar and cook an additional 4-5 minutes until the chicken is cooked in the center.
  • Meanwhile, dice the bell pepper if using.
  • Drain off any extra liquid and return to heat.
  • Add the tomato paste, orange spread, honey, and diced bell pepper and cook on medium/high for another 3-5 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken and chicken starts to brown slightly.
  • Remove from heat and serve over cauliflower rice or white rice and top with sesame seeds and green onions.
  • Enjoy 🙂


Coconut aminos are a soy free substitute for soy sauce, similar in taste


Calories: 212kcal | Carbohydrates: 32.6g | Protein: 6.2g | Fat: 807g | Saturated Fat: 402g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 569mg | Fiber: 1.7g | Sugar: 18.2g

Like this recipe? Check out my new cookbook, or get all my recipes (over 500!) in a personalized weekly meal planner here!

Ever recreated a recipe from a favorite restaurant? How did it go?

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