Sweet and sour chicken was always a childhood Chinese takeout family favourite! If you can relate, why not try making this chicken pineapple stir-fry at home? The sauce contains just six every day ingredients and it’s on the table in less than 30 minutes!
Coming up with an easy homemade version of a takeout classic always makes me happy. Especially when it’s as easy and delicious as this easy chicken pineapple stir-fry.
Perhaps sweet and sour dishes are one of those ‘love it or hate it’ kind of things. But if you’re a lover, here’s why I think you should give this version a go:
- It’s on the table in 30 minutes – less time than you can order a Chinese takeout, really.
- This is an EASY sweet and sour chicken. You only need 6 simple ingredients to make the sweet and sour sauce. Then all you need is chicken, a can of pineapple and a few healthy veggies. Add crunchy cashews for extra texture if you like.
- It’s healthy, made with pretty simple and innocent store cupboard ingredients… and lots of vegetables.
What ingredients you need
Apart from the easy sauce (see below!), this is all you need to make this:
chicken breast: chopped into small(ish) pieces. Or you can use chicken thigh if you prefer.
onion, garlic and ginger: for awesome flavour
vegetables for stir-frying: peppers, baby corn and snow peas are perfect, but there’s a bit of flexibility on which veggies you can use
a can of pineapple: use the juice in the sauce, and the actual pineapple in the stir-fry
cashew nuts: this one’s optional, but I like to toss in around a handful of cashews for extra taste and crunch
How to make the yummy sweet and sour sauce with pineapple
The cool part about this is that you use the juice from a can of pineapple in the sauce. Yum!
So here are the 6 ingredients you need:
- cornflour / cornstarch to thicken the sauce
- pineapple juice from a can of pineapple
- a bit of sugar
- tomato ketchup (yes, really!)
- a little soy sauce
The first thing you do is whisk a little of the pineapple juice into the cornflour/cornstarch to make a paste. Then you whisk in the rest of the sauce ingredients and set aside, ready to add to your stir-fry.
So easy, right? And apart from the pineapple, all things you probably have in your cupboard already.
How to make the stir-fry
Pro tip: When making any stir-fry, prepare all the ingredients before you start cooking. You can even do this earlier in the day. When you’re ready to eat, you can throw dinner together in minutes!
You’ve made your simple sweet and sour sauce, you’ve chopped up all your vegetables and opened a can of pineapple. Now what?
Step 1: Stir-fry chicken pieces until just cooked. Then take out of the pan for now.
Step 2: Stir-fry the vegetables for a few minutes.
Step 3: Add the cooked chicken back into the pan.
Step 4: Pour the sauce into the pan with everything else. Let it bubble for a few minutes to thicken.
Step 5: Stir chopped pineapple and cashew nuts through the stir-fry. Enjoy!
Prefer sweet and sour pork or sweet and sour prawns? No problem. Just stir-fry pork or prawns instead of chicken.
You can also vary the vegetables. Any vegetables that cook in a few minutes in a pan will work well. Some examples include:
- broccoli chopped into small pieces
- thin slices of carrot
- Chinese vegetables like bok choy
- small lenths of asparagus
How to serve your stir fry
As with most stir-fries, a side of plain rice is all you need to go on the side.
If you prefer, noodles would work, too – either egg noodles or rice noodles.
It’s best to serve your stir fry immediately, but if you have leftovers you can keep them in the fridge for up to a few days. The cashew nuts will go soft and soggy though if you reheat them, so if you think you’re going to have leftovers you can leave out the cashews. Or just don’t stir them into the stir fry. Just let everyone sprinkle a few over the top of their own dish.
More easy Asian meals
- 15 minute Thai basil pork stir fry (delicious!)
- This 20-minute chicken and cashew nuts is another quick and easy Chinese takeout classic!
- Perfect Thai chicken and butternut squash curry (On the table in 40 minutes and makes a TON. We ALWAYS have some of this in our freezer!)
- Sticky and delicious 15 minute Shanghai chicken
- Perfect Mee Goreng (spicy Indonesian noodles)
- Here’s the wildcard option – this Moroccan chicken tagine. It isn’t strictly ‘Asian’ but it tastes like a curry, except it’s more aromatic than spicy.
- Or take a look at all my Asian recipes!
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Chinese chicken pineapple stir-fry
Equipment (affiliate links)
Ingredients (UK/Australia? Click below for grams/ml)
for the sauce
- 2 tablespoons cornflour
- 1 can pineapple juice from a 14 ounce can of pineapple
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
rest of ingredients
- 14 ounces chicken breast chopped into small bite-size pieces (usually about 2 to 3 chicken breasts)
- 1 onion chopped into chunks
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 piece ginger (about the thickness of your thumb) peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 peppers (I usually use 1 green and 1 red)
- 4 ounces baby corn roughly (I usually use a 125 gram pack and throw it all in!)
- 4 ounces snow peas (sometimes called mange-tout or sugar peas)
- 1 ounce cashew nuts about a handful – optional
- 14 ounces pineapple roughly one can, chopped into chunks
- In a jug or bowl, add a bit of the pineapple juice to the cornflour to make a runny paste. Then whisk in the rest of the sauce ingredients. Put aside.
- Stir-fry the chicken in a little oil for a few minutes until cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add a little more oil to the pan, then stir-fry the onion for a minute or two. Add the ginger, pepper pieces, and sweetcorn and mange-tout/snow peas. Stir-fry on high for another few minutes.
- Add the chicken back into the pan along with the sauce. Let bubble for a minute or two. Stir through the pineapple, and cashew nuts if using.
- Serve immediately over rice.