Sweet and Sour Chicken

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Wellness Mama » Blog » Recipes » Sweet and Sour Chicken

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
  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • 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

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

Sweet and sour chicken with coconut aminos, spices, and citrus juices is a real food alternative to this favorite.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Calories 344kcal
Author Katie Wells


4 servings



  • 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.
  • Enjoy!


Nutrition Facts
Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 344 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat 12g18%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 73mg24%
Sodium 1198mg52%
Potassium 628mg18%
Carbohydrates 34g11%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 29g32%
Protein 26g52%
Vitamin A 1319IU26%
Vitamin C 43mg52%
Calcium 67mg7%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


Coconut aminos are a soy-free substitute for soy sauce, similar in taste.
Feel free to use any vegetables you’d like!
If you’d like crispy breaded and fried chicken in your sweet and sour chicken, follow the frying instructions in the orange chicken post.

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?

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


34 responses to “Sweet and Sour Chicken”

    1. Suzanne Avatar

      Not quite the same, but similar enough if flavor that you could use marmalade instead if you’d like. The orange spread has less sugar than marmalade so you may want to reduce the amount of honey you use to start.

  1. Loretta Avatar

    5 stars
    I have to say, I love your site– I use it all the time for recipes!! In fact, generally when I cook or bake, I google whatever food I want and type “wellness mama” after the search 🙂 thank you for many great meals and treats!

  2. Kristina Avatar

    I’m allergic to oranges but would love to try this recipe….do you think a lemon preserve would work??

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      You could try it… the taste would obviously be different, but it might still be quite good. I say it’s worth experimenting!

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