Easy Sweet and Sour Chicken

Skip the takeout tonight and make this Easy Sweet and Sour Chicken instead. A shortcut ingredient makes this dish super easy for any night of the week.

This Easy Sweet and Sour Chicken will quickly become a weeknight favorite. One shortcut ingredient makes this recipe a complete snap to make.

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I love an easy weeknight meal. We’re talking no thought, minimal, easy ingredients and less than 30 minutes from start to on the table. And today’s recipe fulfills all those requirements.

If you dig crispy chicken tossed in a sweet and tangy sauce, this is the meal for you. A secret shortcut ingredient makes this dinner ridiculously easy, guaranteeing this to become a new favorite weeknight meal.

Ingredients for Easy Sweet and Sour Chicken

We’re taking a shortcut on an ingredient for this recipe but I bet it’s not the one you thought. Instead of battering and frying the chicken for this easy sweet and sour chicken, we’re starting with popcorn chicken from the freezer section.

Because let’s face it. Frying food is not always fun at home. It usually makes a mess and stinks up your house. Using popcorn chicken takes all the extra work out of making your own Chinese food and speeds up the process.

It’s surprisingly easy and way more delicious to make your own sweet and sour sauce so that’s what I opted for in this recipe. Here’s what you need for the sauce:

  • Brown sugar
  • Ketchup
  • Soy sauce
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Cornstarch
  • Red food coloring, optional

Just a handful of super common ingredients and you have your own sweet and sour sauce. And I promise, it’s so much better than the bottled stuff.

If you are out of apple cider vinegar, you can use white vinegar or even red wine vinegar in its place.

How to Make Easy Sweet and Sour Chicken

Start by preheating your oven according to your package of popcorn chicken. While the oven is heating, make the sweet and sour sauce.

Yes, you can make it in the time it takes for your oven to preheat.

Add the brown sugar, ketchup, apple cider vinegar and soy sauce to a saucepan and stir to combine. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water then stir into the ketchup mixture.

Place the saucepan on the stove top over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer. Continue simmer for about 3 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened.

If you want your sauce the traditional red color, stir in a little food coloring at this point. Set aside while the popcorn chicken is baking.

After the popcorn chicken bakes, toss it with your desired amount of sauce. You will probably have some extra sauce. Drizzle it over your rice or keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

The Ultimate Weeknight Dinner

I have a few requirements when I’m looking for an easy weeknight dinner. First, it needs to be less than 30 minutes.

This easy sweet and sour chicken takes the amount of time the chicken takes to bake in the oven. The particular brand I used was 18 minutes. That’s a success right there.

Second, I don’t want to grab out a million ingredients. I want less than 10 and I want them to be either ingredients I already have or ones that I will always be able to find at the store.

I always have the ingredients required for the sweet and sour sauce on hand. So that means I just need to add a bag of popcorn chicken to the grocery list. Win.

More Fakeout Takeout Recipes:

Skip the takeout tonight and make this Easy Sweet and Sour Chicken instead. A shortcut ingredient makes this dish super easy for any night of the week.
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Easy Sweet and Sour Chicken

Skip the takeout tonight and make this Easy Sweet and Sour Chicken instead. A shortcut ingredient makes this dish super easy for any night of the week.
Active Time25 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: easy sweet and sour chicken
Yield: 4 servings
Author: Meg’s Everyday Indulgence

Ingredients

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • red food coloring, optional
  • 24 oz. package frozen popcorn chicken

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to temperature on the popcorn chicken package. Add apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup and soy sauce to a saucepan. Whisk together. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water. Add to the saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, until thickened. Set aside.
  • Once oven preheats, cook popcorn chicken according to package directions. Remove from oven and toss with desired amount of sweet and sour sauce. You will most likely have some leftover. Keep remaining sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

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