Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken — The sweet and sour sauce is a staple in Chinese cuisine.

It’s typically made with pineapple, sugar, vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, and other ingredients. Although it can be made on the stovetop or in the oven to save time and energy, you might want to try this Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe instead. The secret ingredient? Keep on reading!

Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken
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Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken are amazing in the Air Fryer!! Where else do you get crispy chicken surrounded by a sweet and sour sauce?  This sweet and sour chicken dinner in the air fryer will take less than 15 minutes. And it is so much better than Chinese Takeout!

If you like Chinese Food, I have many tried and true recipes. Some of my absolute favorites are Air Fryer Crab Rangoon and a great Copycat Recipe for Instant Pot Chinese Fried Rice. 

This chicken’s taste is the same as the version you would receive at any Chinese Restaurant: light and amazing. 

Easy Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken 

I am all about the ease of preparing meals in the air fryer. After all, that is so why I started using it, easy and delicious.  I love Chinese food, so making this dish in the air fryer was life-changing.  If you love Chinese food, you will love this recipe.

It is a simple sauce that is drizzled on top of the chicken. The chicken is crispy and tastes just like the real version at the Chinese Restaurants. 

The key to this recipe is to toss the chicken with cornstarch, which will help it keep tender, moist, and delicious. 

Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken

Why You Will Love This Recipe!

You’ll fall in love with this sweet-and-sour chicken recipe for several irresistible reasons:

  • Crispy Perfection: Thanks to the magic of the air fryer, you’ll achieve perfectly crispy chicken that rivals your favorite takeout, all without deep frying.

  • Homemade Flavor: Homemade sweet and sour sauce means you can control the ingredients and tailor the flavors to your liking, resulting in a fresher and more delicious sauce.

  • Customizable: This recipe is highly adaptable. You can adjust the level of sweetness and tanginess and even add extra ingredients like pineapple or bell peppers to make it your own.

  • Healthier Option: By air-frying the chicken instead of deep frying it, you’ll enjoy the same delicious taste with significantly less oil, making it healthier.

  • Quick and Easy: With the convenience of the air fryer, this recipe comes together in less time than ordering takeout and is perfect for busy weeknights.

  • Satisfying and Comforting: The crispy chicken and sweet and tangy sauce create a comforting, mouthwatering dish that will satisfy your cravings.

  • Family-Friendly: Loved by kids and adults, this crowd-pleaser recipe makes family dinner a delightful experience.

  • Versatile: Serve it as a main dish with rice or as an appetizer for parties and gatherings—it’s a versatile recipe that suits various occasions.

  • Budget-Friendly: Making Sweet and Sour Chicken at home is more cost-effective than ordering takeout, and you can feed a family without breaking the bank.

  • Homemade Takeout: Enjoy the flavors of your favorite Chinese takeout without leaving the comfort of your home. It’s a homemade takeout dream come true!

In summary, this sweet-and-sour chicken recipe offers the best of both worlds: the convenience of takeout with the satisfaction of homemade goodness. Once you try it, you’ll make it repeatedly for its incredible taste and simplicity.

Ingredients Needed For Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken

Prepare to tantalize your taste buds with this irresistible Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe. With a few simple ingredients, you can make this delicious recipe, and it’s so much better than deep frying. 

Ingredients Needed For Air Fryer Fajita Chicken Breast

Remember the step-by-step directions and detailed ingredient list are below, in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post, as well as the nutritional information. 

  • Boneless breast of chicken: Succulent chicken breasts are the star of this dish, offering a lean and tender protein source that pairs perfectly with the sweet and sour flavors.

  • Large eggs: Beaten eggs bind the crispy coating, ensuring it adheres to the chicken for that delectable crunch.

  • Sesame oil: Sesame oil adds a hint of nutty and aromatic flavor, enhancing the overall depth of taste in the dish.

  • Cornstarch: Cornstarch is the secret to achieving that irresistibly crispy exterior on the chicken, creating a delicate and light coating. You can also use tapioca flour.

  • Kosher salt: Salt is essential for seasoning the chicken, enhancing its natural flavors.

  • Black pepper: Black pepper contributes a subtle kick and depth to the seasoning profile.

  • Five-spice: Five-spice powder infuses the chicken with an array of warm and aromatic flavors, adding complexity to the dish.

Sweet & Sour Sauce:

  • Granulated sugar: Granulated sugar forms the sweet foundation of the sauce, balancing the tangy notes and creating a harmonious blend.

  • Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar provides the delightful tanginess that characterizes sweet and sour sauce, adding brightness to the dish.

  • Ketchup: Ketchup offers a rich and savory tomato base, enhancing the sauce’s depth and color.

  • Soy sauce: Soy sauce imparts a savory umami flavor and a touch of saltiness to complement the sweetness.

  • Sesame oil: Additional sesame oil reinforces the nutty notes and complements the chicken’s sesame oil in the coating.

  • Brown sugar: Brown sugar adds a deeper and slightly molasses-like sweetness to the sauce.

  • Minced garlic infuses the sauce with its bold and aromatic flavor, enhancing the overall savory profile.

  • Water: Water helps to achieve the desired consistency for the sauce, ensuring it coats the chicken beautifully.

  • Cornstarch: Cornstarch is a thickening agent, allowing the sauce to cling to the chicken pieces and form a classic sweet and sour glaze.

These carefully selected ingredients work harmoniously to create Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken, a crispy and saucy dish with a delightful balance of sweet and tangy flavors.

How To Make Sweet and Sour Chicken In Air Fryer

Prepare to indulge in the deliciousness of homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken made effortlessly in your air fryer. Here’s how to create this crispy, tender, and tangy dish:

How To Make Sweet and Sour Chicken In Air Fryer  

 

Start by cutting the chicken into 1-inch to 2-inch pieces. Once you finished chopping the chicken, move on to make the dipping stations. Mix the cornstarch, salt, pepper, and five-spice in one bowl. Mix well.

How To Make Sweet and Sour Chicken In Air Fryer

 

In another bowl, beat the egg, add the sesame oil, and mix until well incorporated. Spray the basket with olive oil spray. Dip the chicken into the cornstarch mixture. Then, it goes into the egg mixture and back into the cornstarch mixture.

How To Make Sweet and Sour Chicken In Air Fryer

 

As you batter them, place them in your air fryer basket. Spray very generously with olive oil spray. Set the temperature to 370 degrees for 5 minutes, air fryer setting.

How To Make Sweet and Sour Chicken In Air Fryer

 

After 5 minutes, flip and spray with olive oil (completely covering them, so the batter gets crispy). Air fry for another 5 minutes.

How To Make Sweet and Sour Chicken In Air Fryer

Recipe Variations

Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken is a versatile dish that you can customize to your taste. Here are some recipe variations to explore:

  • Pineapple Sweet and Sour Chicken: Add canned or fresh pineapple chunks to the sauce for a tropical twist. The sweet and tangy pineapple complements the sauce beautifully.

  • Spicy Sweet and Sour Chicken: For a little heat, incorporate crushed red pepper flakes or Sriracha sauce into the sauce. Adjust the spice level to your liking.

  • Honey Garlic Sweet and Sour Chicken: Infuse the sauce with honey and extra minced garlic for a sweeter, garlicky flavor profile.

  • Bell Pepper and Onion Sweet and Sour Chicken: Include sliced bell peppers and diced white onion in the air fryer basket and the chicken for added crunch and a burst of color.

  • Ginger Sweet and Sour Chicken: Add freshly grated ginger to the sauce for a zesty and aromatic kick. It pairs wonderfully with the sweet and sour elements.

  • Vegetarian Sweet and Sour Tofu: Substitute tofu cubes for chicken to create a vegetarian version of this dish. Press and air fry the tofu until it’s crispy before coating it with the sauce.

  • Gluten-Free Sweet and Sour Chicken: Use gluten-free cornstarch and soy sauce (or a gluten-free soy sauce alternative) to make this dish gluten-free while keeping the same great flavors.

  • Battered Sweet and Sour Chicken: Instead of dipping the chicken in cornstarch, create a batter using flour, water, or sparkling water for an extra crispy coating.

  • Cauliflower Sweet and Sour “Wings”: For a healthy twist, substitute cauliflower florets for the chicken. The air fryer gives them a delightful crispy texture.

  • Tropical Fruit Sweet and Sour Chicken: Add a mix of tropical fruits like mango, papaya, and kiwi to the sauce for a unique and exotic flavor combination.

  • Sesame Sweet and Sour Chicken: Garnish the finished dish with toasted seeds for added crunch and a nutty flavor.

  • Thai Basil Sweet and Sour Chicken: Incorporate Thai basil leaves for a hint of anise-like flavor and a touch of Thai cuisine inspiration.

Feel free to mix and match these variations or create your own unique twist on Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken. The possibilities are endless, allowing you to tailor the dish to your preferences and create a meal that’s truly your own.

Pro Tips

Achieving the perfect Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken requires attention to detail and a few pro tips to ensure your dish turns out crispy, flavorful, and restaurant-quality. Here are some expert suggestions:

  • Cut Chicken Evenly: Ensure you cut the chicken into uniform bite-sized pieces. This ensures even cooking and consistent texture.

  • Preheat the Air Fryer: Preheating your air fryer is essential, just like heating an oven. Preheat it for a few minutes before adding your chicken for better results.

  • Coat with Cooking Spray: Lightly spray the chicken pieces with cooking spray before air frying. This helps achieve a more even and golden-brown crispiness.

  • Don’t Overcrowd the Basket: Arrange the coated chicken pieces in a single layer, leaving some space between them. Overcrowding can lead to uneven cooking and soggy results.

  • Flip Halfway Through To ensure both sides of the chicken are crispy, flip the pieces halfway through the cooking time.

  • Use a Meat Thermometer: Check the internal temperature of the chicken using a meat thermometer. It should reach 165°F (74°C) to ensure it’s cooked through.

  • Keep Sauce Separate: Toss the cooked chicken in the sweet and sour sauce before serving. This helps maintain the crispy texture of the chicken.

  • Adjust Sauce to Taste: Taste the sweet and sour sauce as you make it and adjust the sweetness or tanginess by adding more sugar or vinegar as needed to suit your preference.

  • Garnish Strategically: Garnish the finished dish with chopped green onions, sesame seeds, or fresh cilantro for added flavor and visual appeal.

  • Serve Immediately: Serve your Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken as soon as it’s coated in the sauce to ensure it stays crispy. Prolonged exposure to the sauce can soften the coating.

  • Pair with Sides: Consider serving your sweet and sour chicken with steamed rice, fried rice, or stir-fried vegetables for a complete meal.

By following these pro tips, you’ll be well-equipped to create a restaurant-quality Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken that’s crispy, flavorful, and sure to impress your taste buds. Enjoy your homemade takeout-style dish!

Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken

 

Faq’s

Can I use frozen chicken for this recipe? It’s recommended to use thawed, fresh chicken for the best results. Using frozen chicken may result in uneven cooking.

Can I make this dish with bone-in chicken pieces? While boneless chicken pieces are typically used for this recipe, you can use bone-in chicken pieces or chicken thighs. Adjust the cooking time accordingly to ensure the 

How can I make the sweet and sour sauce less sweet or tangy? You can adjust the sweetness or tanginess of the sauce by adding more sugar, pineapple juice, or vinegar, respectively, to taste. Start with small increments and taste until it suits your preference.

What is the purpose of the sesame oil in this recipe? Sesame oil adds a nutty and aromatic flavor to the dish. It complements the sweet and sour elements and enhances the overall depth of taste.

Can I use a different type of meat or protein source? Yes, you can adapt this recipe to your dietary preferences. You can use shrimp, tofu, or a meat substitute like seitan instead of chicken.

Can I prepare the sweet and sour sauce in advance? Yes, you can prepare the sauce in advance and store it in the refrigerator. Reheat it gently on the stovetop or microwave before tossing it with the cooked chicken.

What should I serve with Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken? This dish pairs well with steamed white or brown rice, fried rice, or stir-fried vegetables.

Can I double the recipe in the air fryer? It’s essential not to overcrowd the air fryer basket. You can double the recipe by cooking in batches if you have a larger air fryer. Overcrowding may result in uneven cooking and less crispy chicken.

Can I make this dish gluten-free? You can make it gluten-free by using gluten-free cornstarch and soy sauce (or an alternative).

How can I store leftovers?– Let the air-fried sweet and sour chicken cool to room temperature. Then store any leftover Sweet and Sour Chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat it in the microwave or oven until warmed through.

Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken

More Easy Air Fryer Recipes

Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken

Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 14 minutes
10 minutes
Total Time: 44 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings

Description

Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken — The sweet and sour sauce is a staple in Chinese cuisine. It's typically made with pineapple, sugar, vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, and other ingredients. Although it can be made on the stovetop or in the oven to save time and energy, you might want to try this recipe for Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken instead. The secret ingredient? Keep on reading

Ingredients 

Sesame chicken ingredients:

  • 2 pounds boneless breast of chicken
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon five-spice

Sweet & sour sauce ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Instructions

Sweet And Sour Chicken Instructions:

  • Start by cutting the chicken into 1-inch pieces.
  • Once you have finished chopping the chicken, move on to make the dipping stations.
  • In one bowl, mix the cornstarch, salt, pepper, and five-spice. Mix well.
  • In another bowl, beat the egg, and add the sesame oil. Mix until well incorporated.
  • Spray the basket with olive oil spray.
  • Dip the chicken into the cornstarch mixture. Then into the egg mixture and then back into the cornstarch mixture.
  • As you batter them place them in your air fryer basket. Spray very generously with olive oil spray. Set the temperature to 370 degrees for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, flip and spray with olive oil (completely covering them, so the batter gets crispy). Air fry for another 5 minutes.
  • Drizzle the sauce over the chicken.

Sauce Instructions:

  • In a small saucepan, mix the ingredients, except for the cornstarch and water. Whisk and simmer for about 4-5 minutes. Just keep on mixing the sauce so it doesn’t burn or stick.
  • Then remove from heat.
  • In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and water, whisk the cornstarch mixture into the sauce, and simmer for another 5 minutes until thickened.

Equipment

  • Air Fryer
  • Cooking Spray
  • Parchment Paper, optional

Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingCalories: 435kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 35gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 159mgSodium: 1017mgPotassium: 658mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 29gVitamin A: 190IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 31mgIron: 1mg

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