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. I decided to recreate some of the same flavors with real food ingredients. Sweet and sour chicken was one of my favorites, so I decided to come up with a recipe that was more naturally sweet and sour.
What Is Sweet and Sour Chicken?
Well, it’s just like the name says—sweet and sour. Traditional recipes use some type of sugar for sweetness and vinegar for sourness. It’s a really tasty combo. Usually, the chicken in sweet and sour chicken is the breaded and fried type. There are always chopped sauteed veggies thrown in and sometimes pineapple for a tangy-sweet kick.
Sweet and Sour Chicken the Wellness Mama Way
I do a few things differently when I make sweet and sour chicken. I make the sauce with honey or maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, tomato paste, and a delicious orange spread. And I use coconut aminos rather than soy sauce. The taste is similar, and I prefer to avoid most soy products.
And I don’t usually bread and fry the chicken. I do sometimes because it’s so, so good, but diced sauteed chicken breasts are really good too and much easier, faster, and less messy.
For the veggies, I just use whatever I have on hand. That’s the beauty of making your own Chinese food! You can switch up the veggies and protein based on personal preference, what’s in season, and what you have on hand. It’s pretty fantastic. Here are some ideas:
- Onion – I consider it a must in most of my Chinese recipes
- Bell pepper
- Snow or snap peas
- Zucchini – a great way to use up this super garden producer in the summer!
- Fresh pineapple – delicious in sweet and sour chicken
We usually eat our Chinese food 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.
More Wellness Mama Chinese Food Recipes
- Asian Ginger Vinaigrette – delicious on Asian Color Burst Salad
- Asian Lettuce Wraps
- Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry
- Cauliflower Fried Rice
- Chicken Stir Fry – not a specific Chinese dish, just a quick stir fry with Chinese flavors
- Kung Pao Chicken – a new recipe and a family favorite, has a nice heat kick
- Orange Chicken
- Parsnip Noodle Lo Mein
What is missing from this list? Maybe an egg roll in a bowl recipe with gochujang mayo drizzled on top? What’s your favorite Chinese food that you think I should try?
Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe
- 1 lb chicken breasts (or thighs)
- 2 TBSP coconut oil (or butter)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp Himalayan salt (or sea salt)
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 TBSP lemon juice
- 1 TBSP coconut aminos
- 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
- 1 TBSP fish sauce
- 1 TBSP tomato paste
- ¼ cup orange spread
- ¼ cup honey (or maple syrup)
- 1 bell pepper
- 2 TBSP sesame seeds
- 2 TBSP green onions (chopped)
- Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces.
- In a large skillet, heat the butter or coconut oil 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, apple cider vinegar, and fish sauce, and cook an additional 4-5 minutes until the chicken is cooked in the center.
- While the chicken is cooking, dice the bell pepper.
- Drain off any extra liquid from the skillet 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 the heat, and serve over cauliflower rice or white rice. Top with sesame seeds and green onions.
Ever recreated a recipe from a favorite restaurant? How did it go?
Discussion (34 Comments)
Hi, I loved this recipe! I was out of tomato paste so I omitted it. I also didn’t have orange paste so I juiced 3 oranges and added it toward the end of cooking and let it reduce a bit. I loved having all the juices left in the dish. It was so good! I will be making this often. Thanks for the great recipe.
Im sorry if I’ve missed this somewhere , but how many people will this serve?
Katie - Wellness Mama
Hi. I am curious to know exactly what coconut aminos are? Never heard of them before or even seen them at any store.
I love those recipe on sweet and sour chicken, i will give it a try.
Hi! I love your blog. I just wanted to say, honey should not be heated past 95 degrees!
Please remember that very few people use MSG at home. None of my chinese/asian family and friends cook with MSG (even the hidden kinds like soup-stock powders).
I’d love to give this a try, and I have everything on the ingredient list, except the coconut aminos… What are those for? Flavor or health reasons? Also if they are for flavor, what type of flavor is it and could I use something else in it’s place? Thanks! And by the way, I’ve tried quite a few of your recipes and they have all been hits with my family!
Katie - Wellness Mama
I added a link to them. They are used in place of soy sauce to avoid the wheat and soy but soy sauce can be used.
I bought the meal planner and cannot get logged on. Tried changing password 4 times. Does anyone know how to contact wellness mama?
Email me at [email protected] and include the email address you used to sign up.
Just wondering if the recipes listed on your app will be updated when you post new recipes to your site?
Katie - Wellness Mama
Eventually, but not right away.
This looks great! I gotta try this. Just have a couple questions.
Have you ever had orange peel chicken? I’d love to remake that recipe too.
Why not brown rice?