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January 15, 2020

The Best Healthy Sweet and Sour Chicken (Paleo, Whole30)

You won’t miss take out with this healthy sweet and sour chicken. With crispy chicken, bell peppers, pineapple, and onion, it taste just like your favorite Chinese restaurant. All topped with a sweet and savory sauce you’ll love! Paleo, Whole30, gluten free, and soy free too!

I was inspired to make this healthy sweet and sour chicken recipe by my fiance.

He always orders traditional sweet and sour chicken from our local Hyvee grocery store, and complains a few hours later that he doesn’t feel good. I always roll my eyes and tell him, “Well…it does have a billion ingredients I’m sure. MSG, refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, natural flavors, unhealthy oils and artificial coloring. No wonder you don’t feel good”.

Honestly, I don’t understand the hype about Asian or Chinese food. I’ve had teriyaki chicken once, and there was so much sauce on it, I felt like I was slowly dying with each unhealthy bite. (I’m exaggerating here, but only a little).

Seriously though, you can’t tell me that you feel GREAT after eating takeout. I told my fiance that I was going to make a healthy version of sweet and sour chicken without MSG, refined sugars, artificial coloring, and soy.

He definitely had his doubts, and said he wanted it to taste exactly like the sweet and sour chicken that you get at restaurants.

Even I had my doubts. I recipe tested this healthy sweet and sour chicken 6 times, and finally got the approval from my fiance, Kyle. And trust me, if Kyle (the worlds most pickiest eater) likes this recipe, than you HAVE to try it out!

INGREDIENTS TO MAKE HEALTHY SWEET AND SOUR CHICKEN

Don’t let this long ingredients list fool you. This recipe is easy and quick!

  • pineapple juice (remainder from can)- You can use pineapple chunks from a can, or frozen. If you use frozen, let the pineapple chunks thaw before adding then into the skillet.
  • ketchup– I love Primal Kitchen’s organic and unsweetened ketchup. It’s free from high fructose corn syrup, and added sugars.
  • coconut aminos– I love the brand Coconut Secret! If you eat soy, than you can substitute the coconut aminos for soy sauce. However, you may need to adjust the other sauce ingredients as well.
  • apple cider vinegar– BRAGG Apple Cider Vinegar is the best!
  • chicken broth– If you don’t have chicken broth, you can use bone broth, or water.
  • honey– Buy local honey. Or you can use maple syrup, or coconut sugar.
  • arrowroot starch– I found arrowroot starch worked the best for me, but you could use tapioca starch, cassava flour, or regular gluten free all purpose flour.
  • ground gingerGinger is everything to this dish! If you don’t have it, I highly recommend you wait to make the recipe until you do.
  • boneless skinless chicken breast– you can buy boneless chicken thighs as well.
  • yellow onion- yellow and purple onion would work for this dish.
  • bell peppers: you can use any color of bell peppers.
  • can pineapple chunks– buy in 100% pineapple juice, not syrup.
  • sesame seeds– to garnish.

HOW TO MAKE HEALTHY SWEET AND SOUR CHICKEN

1. Make the sauce: Whisk together all the sauce ingredients in a sauce pan and set aside.

2. Prep your ingredients: Chop the bell pepper and onion, and set aside. Cut the chicken into 1″ bite sized pieces.

3. Shake it up, baby: Shake the chicken around in a zip lock bag until it’s all coated with the arrowroot starch.

4. Fry it up: Cook the chicken in batches for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.

5. Simmer the sauce: Simmer the sauce for 5-10 minutes.

6. Saute: Saute onions and bell peppers for 3-5 minutes, or until onion is translucent.

7. Add pineapple and chicken: Stir pineapple chunks and chicken into the skillet.

8. Pour the sauce: Pour sauce over chicken mixture in skillet. Stir around until all ingredients are coated evenly with the sauce.

9. Serve hot!: Serve with broccoli, cauliflower rice, or white rice.

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE SAUCE

The sweet and sour sauce is a major key (DJ Khaled voice) to sweet and sour chicken.

This sauce is amaze-balls because it not only taste exactly like your favorite Chinese restaurant, but it is so much healthier. Traditional sweet and sour sauce contains not-so-good-for-you ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, soybean oil, and refined sugars.

My sweet and sour sauce recipe contains simple ingredients:

WHAT TO SERVE WITH SWEET AND SOUR CHICKEN

This healthy sweet and sour chicken recipe can be served with roasted broccoli, cauliflower rice, or white rice.

TIPS FOR THE BEST SWEET AND SOUR CHICKEN

  • When frying chicken, make sure the bottom of the skillet is evenly coated with oil. If you find your pan is smoking, you may need to add more oil halfway through cooking.
  • Make sure to keep a close eye on the chicken while it’s frying in the skillet. It can burn very easily!
  • If you want to add other vegetables like broccoli or snap peas, I recommend adding them in last after you have added in the sauce. Simmer in the skillet until vegetables are tender. You can also cook the vegetables ahead of time, and add them into the skillet, covering them with the sauce.
  • Store sweet and sour chicken in an air-tight glass container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Reheat chicken in a glass container in the microwave for 1-2 minutes or until warmed through.

VARIATIONS

  • Arrowroot starchif you don’t have arrowroot starch, use tapioca starch or cassava flour instead
  • Coconut oil- instead of coconut oil, you could use avocado oil. I wouldn’t recommend olive oil, as it doesn’t have a high smoke point for frying.
  • Chicken breast- Use chicken thighs or shrimp instead of chicken breast!
  • Whole30- Leave out the honey if you are doing Whole30. I promise it still will be plenty sweet from the pineapples.

MORE EASY SKILLET RECIPES:

Print

The Best Healthy Sweet and Sour Chicken (Paleo, Whole30)


  • Author: Abbey Blackwell
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x

Description

You won’t miss take out with this healthy sweet and sour chicken. With crispy chicken, bell peppers, pineapple, and onion, it taste just like your favorite Chinese restaurant. All topped with a sweet and savory sauce you’ll love! Paleo, Whole30, gluten free, and soy free too!


Scale

Ingredients

For the sauce:

For chicken:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, or chicken thighs, cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 cup arrowroot starch
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 20-ounce can pineapple chunks, in 100% pineapple juice, not syrup
  • sesame seeds, to garnish
  • green onions, chopped, to garnish

Instructions

  1. Make the sauce by whisking together the pineapple juice, ketchup, ginger, garlic, coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar, chicken broth, honey, and arrowroot starch in a small sauce pan. Set aside.
  2. In a gallon size zip lock bag, pour in the beaten egg and chicken. Zip the bag and shake the chicken around so that the egg coats the chicken pieces. Add the arrowroot starch and repeat until chicken is evenly coated with the arrowroot.
  3. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of coconut oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add enough oil so that the bottom of the skillet is topped with oil. Working in batches (about 2), place chicken pieces in skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Using tongs, transfer chicken pieces to a plate.
  4. Place sauce pan on burner and simmer sauce over low-medium heat for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Heat coconut oil over medium heat in skillet. Add onion, and bell peppers. Saute for 3-5 minutes, or until onion is soft and translucent. Add the pineapple and chicken pieces. Pour the sauce over the chicken mixture in the skillet. Mix all ingredients to coat evenly with sauce. Serve hot.

Notes

  • Serve with: roasted broccoli, cauliflower rice, or white rice.
  • Store sweet and sour chicken in an air-tight glass container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Reheat chicken in a glass container in the microwave for 1-2 minutes or until warmed through.
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Asian

Keywords: chinese sweet and sour chicken, easy sweet and sour chicken recipe, skillet sweet and sour chicken recipe

white bowl filled with sweet and sour chicken, broccoli, and cauliflower rice and skillet of sweet and sour chicken in corner

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