How to Make Sweet and Sour Chicken

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How to Make Sweet and Sour Chicken

Sweet and sour chicken is an entrée frequently served in Chinese restaurants in various Western countries. This version is more westernized than the typical sweet and sour chicken (cantonese version) for the simple fact that it’s fried and it’s not dredge in sauce but rather use the sauce as a dip instead.  The Cantonese version uses pineapple chunks, Green peppers and carrots.  The sauce of course is different as well, the sauce usually consists of ketchup, vinegar, sugar, salt or soy sauce, potato starch as thickener, wine and sesame oil.  Obviously, every restaurants or regions have their own twist on the sweet and sour chicken.

Chicken Breast: 1
Egg: 1
Water: 1 cup or 250 mL
Salt: 2 tsp
Garlic Powder: 2 tsp
White Pepper: A little bit
*Corn Starch: 1/4 cup or 31 g
Flour: 1 1/4 cup or 157 g
Veg. Oil: 3 tbsp
Cooking wine: 1 tbsp (optional)
Baking Powder: 1 tbsp

Water: 10 cups or 2.3 L (boiled down to) 8 cups or 1.9 L
Valencia Orange: 2 oranges
Lemon: 1 lemon
Ginger: 2-3 slices
Vinegar: 1 cup or 236.6 mL
Sugar: 2  cup or 473 g
Ketchup: 1 1/4 cup or 300 mL


(single servings)
Water: 1.25 cup or 300 mL (boiled down to) 1 cup or 236.6 mL
Sugar: 4 tbsp 1/4 cup or 60 g
Vinegar: 2 tbsp or 1/8 cup or 30 mL
Ketchup: 2.5 tbsp or 1/5 cup or 35 mL
Lemon: 1/4 of a Lemon
Orange: 1/2 of Orange
Ginger: 1 slice

*If you want the chicken to stay crispy a little bit longer, increase the corn starch amount to 2/3 cup or 158 g.
Valencia orange has less pith (white part), that part is usually the bitter part of the orange, more flesh or pulp. Valencia orange are the best kind to use as it’s the sweetest and flavorful. Navel Orange are also good to use as well. Navel has a thicker skin and they are less juicy compare to Valencia orange. They also have thicker pith (white part). So if possible try to get Valencia orange to make the sauce.


  1. Could you use ground ginger and it still be so-so okay? I know it would be the same as using the fresh. Also how long can the sauce last?

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  2. Hi I tried to make the chicken but it didn’t come out crispy or thick. Could u tell me what I’m doing wrong . The chicken came out very soft please help.

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    • Hi Al, If you could tell me what you did and how you make it then I can analyze what went wrong.

      So here is my tips. Make sure the batter is not watery. The temperature of oil has to be around 375F. The more chicken you put in the oil the lower the temp will be by approx. 10 degrees, so crowding will result in soft breading. Since you mention thick, did you put in baking powder? Baking powder release Carbon Dioxide when heated thus expanding the breading when it touches the oil. The flour has gluten which will hold the batter together. Also it’s important that you fried the chicken twice, to solidify the crispy outside until it turns somewhat yellow-brown color. As you fry the chicken, the water evaporates and CO2 is release leaving the breading structure intact. If it’s still soggy and not crispy, fry the chicken a little bit longer.

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  3. I have made this sauce and it was the best I have tasted. This sauce is cheaper than it is to buy the bottle sauce. Now, when I make the chicken, the crispiness loses its crispiness. Is this because the steam withing the batter softens the batter? What can I do to help the chicken stay crispy?

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    • Hi Jason,

      thank you for your comment. In regards to the chicken losing crispiness of the chicken, the best way is to fry it a little bit before the color change to golden yellow and let it cook down a little bit then refry at 375F until it turns golden yellow. The batter doesn’t tend to soften as the steam tried to escape so the best way is to let the steam escape and let the batter relax a while then refry it.

      I hope this help.

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  4. Could you please give us the Cantonese version with the measurement amounts.

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  5. Kimberly Hawthorne

    How much oil do you generally use for frying? I think that is the only part I didn’t see listed specifically. I dont want to use too little but at the same time, I dont want to use too much and overflow my wok. Oh and did you use just regular vegetable oil or more of a shortening?

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  6. You are really funny! Thank you for your video. If I want substitute chicken with pork. What type of pork should I use?

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  7. Looks yummy,ill try it
    Also i’ve noticed you ise potaton starch as a thickening agent rather than cornstarch in most of ur dishes…why?

    Can you also pleaae tell the authentic way to velvet beef,chicken and fish/prawns

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  8. hi what brand did you use vinegar in sauce how about ketchup? sweet or original?

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  9. Brent N McFarland

    I have a question for you. Asked the chinese restaurant, by my house for their sweet and sour recipe. 1.5 ltrs distilled malt vinegar, 3.3 ltrs water, 500 ml double concentrate of orange squash, 3 large oranges, 3 large lemons, 500g fresh ginger, 3 pieces of cinnamon bark, 8 star anise, 1 tsp of cloves, 250 ml tomato paste, 1.5 kg white sugar, 4 tbsp of sesame oil, 2 tsp maggi, 1lb of pork, 2 plumbs de-pitted, 1 tsp szechuan pepper corns. Is this recipe legit?

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