Easy sweet & sour chicken

Easy sweet & sour chicken

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(243 ratings)

Prep: 5 mins - 10 mins Cook: 15 mins


Serves 4

Ditch the takeaway and make our simple sweet and sour chicken recipe. This speedy Chinese-style rice dish is ready in under 30 minutes and packed with zingy flavours.

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal305
  • fat2g
  • saturates0g
  • carbs38g
  • sugars23g
  • fibre2g
  • protein36g
  • salt1.63g


  • 9 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 3 tbsp malt vinegar
  • 4 tbsp dark muscovado sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 skinless and boneless chicken breast, cut into chunks
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 2 red peppers, seeded and cut into chunks



    Also known as capsicums, bell peppers, sweet peppers or by their colours, for example red and…

  • 227g can pineapple pieces in juice, drained



    With its tuft of spiky, dusty green leaves and cross-hatched, golden orange skin, the pineapple…

  • 100g sugar snap peas, roughly sliced
  • handful salted, roasted cashew nuts, optional



    The seeds from the 'Cashew Apple' - a tree which bears bright orange fruit and is native…


  1. In a large microwaveable dish, mix the ketchup, vinegar, sugar and garlic thoroughly with the chicken, onion and peppers. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 8-10 mins until the chicken is starting to cook and the sauce is sizzling.

  2. Stir in the pineapple pieces and sugar snap peas and return to the microwave for another 3-5 mins until the chicken is completely cooked. Leave to stand for a few minutes, then stir in the cashews, if using, and serve.

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Comments, questions and tips

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30th May, 2020
So easy and quick I defrosted my chicken first but then used frozen peppers and frozen green beans and I added corn flour. Other half loved it. Will be on the favourites list from now on.
5th May, 2020
I hadn't cooked S&S chicken for a really long time, but the whole family absolutely loved it! I forgot to add the pineapple, annoying. It wasn't very sauce-y however, so I ended up adding light stock to give more juice, but otherwise, a bit family hit!
29th Mar, 2020
Microwaved as per recipe and it was fantastic - a proper Friday night fakeaway! I made a few small changes: one green and one red pepper for variety, switched the sugar snap peas for edamame beans as had some in the freezer, only put 3 tbsp sugar in (as per previous comments) and added a bit of soy sauce and chopped ginger to the sauce. Added 2.5 mins to the cooking time after checking some of the larger chunks of chicken just to be safe. Served with rice. Great easy recipe! It did not reheat as well the next day (lost some flavour) so next time I would only cook as much as needed for one night.
13th Jan, 2020
Wok method. Halved the sugar (very glad I did). Used rice wine instead of malt vinegar. Added 100g of baby sweet corn. Twenty minutes all around cooking time. Added cooked onion half way through. Pineapple 5 minutes towards end and lightly cooked veg in final few minutes. Yum! Will definitely do again. My fella loved it too.
Mikki Williams's picture
Mikki Williams
13th Apr, 2019
I was astounded just how delicious this chicken sweet and sour was. I served mine with a basic salad but it would be lovely with noodles too. I wanted to add a picture but it won't allow. Definitely need to give this a go...fab.
24th Mar, 2019
Really delicious! Changed around the veg and chicken quantities but it was so good!
15th Jan, 2019
Great, fresh tasting sweet & sour recipe. I used 400g chopped chicken breast, same amount of sauce ingredients (but just 2 tablespoons sugar) & left out the garlic. Using a wok I fried off the chicken until white, then added sauce ingredients and cooked for 20 minutes, adding veg halfway and pineapple the last 5 minutes. For authenticity I added a splash of soy sauce and oyster sauce. Served with egg fried rice for better than a takeaway! Would serve three but the two of us gobbled it all up!
Kirsty Thompson's picture
Kirsty Thompson
25th Aug, 2018
Microwave version; I followed the instructions with an addition of baby corn added at the pineapple stage and I reduced the sugar to 3 tbsp just to make it healthier, personally I felt you could even get away with reducing to 2 tbsp. Also I ensured the chicken was diced up fairly small to avoid undercooking. All in all in turned out really well. We enjoyed it with boiled rice and it will be one of our regular meals in the future.
18th Jul, 2017
Brilliant recipe! Cooked in the wok and turned out delicious
jadedermody's picture
5th Jun, 2017
Very tasty but took a very long time to cook the chicken. I didn't do it I microwave but oven and took over an hour to cook everything


18th Feb, 2015
After listening to the Food Programme on the radio, on microwavesi, I was convinced that I could use a microwave more if I had the knowledge of how to cook in it. Searching through recipes I found this one with over 150 5 star ratings. I culdnt believe my luck until I read through the commens and found that the majority had used a wok!!!!! Surely this recipe was tried and tested before posting , wasn't it? Are recipes thrown together for the public to try and ascertain whether they work or not or are we all under using our microwaves and increasing our energy bills? I would love to hear from anyone who is confident using a microwave for more than just defrosting or reheating. I think it is greatly underused and want to use mine more efficiently and reduce my energy bills.
goodfoodteam's picture
2nd Mar, 2015
Hi margaretforman, thanks for getting in touch. All our recipes are triple tested and this one was tested using a microwave. You're absolutely right though, some people have chosen to use a wok instead of a microwave for this recipe. This could be for a number of reasons; perhaps they don't own one or for whatever reason preferred not to. Glad that you are thinking of having a go at this recipe, we've got quite a few microwave recipes on the site now and this guide might be helpful too http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/what-cook-without-cooker Thanks again for your feedback.
14th Mar, 2016
Not a fan, tasted watery and flavourless!
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