Sweet and Sour Chicken Hong Kong Style

4 servings
30 min

· Print Recipe

Make Hong Kong Style Sweet and Sour Chicken at home with this easy-to-follow recipe. With perfectly crispy fried chicken pieces, stir-fried veggies and juicy pineapple chunks in a super tasty sweet and tangy sauce, you're sure to find this homemade Hong Kong Style Sweet and sour chicken utterly addictive. We're yet to have any leftovers in our house.

The post contains additional information and helpful tips to ensure the recipe turns out great the first time. Please use the link above to jump to the recipe card at the end if you are in a hurry!

Sweet and Sour Chicken Hong Kong Style
✅ 3 reasons why you'll love this recipe:

  • Tastes so good - Hong Kong Style perfectly crispy fried chicken pieces, umami onions, sweet and slightly crunchy peppers and juicy pineapple chunks in a super tasty sweet and tangy sauce.
  • Quicker, healthier, cheaper and tastier than a Chinese takeaway - with just 30 minutes of cooking and prep time.
  • Made with everyday ingredients - no trip to the Asian Grocery store required.

🛒 Ingredients and variations:

Which chicken should I use?

I recommend thighs instead of chicken breast because they are more succulent. You can use breast though as well as pork or tofu.

What is sweet and sour sauce made from?

My sweet and sour sauce is made from ketchup, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar and a little soy sauce. You can use rice or malt vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar, but you may need to adjust the amount of sugar and ketchup to taste. Note that my sweet and sour sauce is more on the tangy side. You can increase the amount of sugar if you prefer a sweeter sauce.

Which veggies can I use?

I've opted for red onions and red and green bell peppers. Red onions add a touch of umami and the peppers bring a little sweetness. You can swap these for other veggies like green beans, broccoli, courgette/zucchini or bean sprouts. Juicy pineapple adds more yummy tangy sweetness. I tend to use fresh pineapple because it's more flavourful but tinned/canned pineapple will also work well.

Sweet and Sour Chicken Ingredients
🧑‍🍳 Sweet & Sour Chicken in 5 easy steps

1. Marinade the chicken and make the sauce

Mix soy sauce and egg white in a small bowl, add the chicken and leave to marinate while you prep the other ingredients. Then mix the vinegar, ketchup, sugar, soy sauce and cornflour/cornstarch in a small jug or bowl.

Sweet and Sour Chicken step 1

2. Coat the chicken in seasoned cornflour/cornstarch

Mix the cornflour/cornstarch with salt, white pepper, ground ginger and garlic powder. Add the chicken pieces until each one is evenly coated.

Sweet and Sour Chicken step 2

3. Fry the chicken

Place a frying pan or wok on a medium to high heat and add oil. Add the chicken when the oil is hot and fry for a few minutes, turning regularly until lightly golden on all sides and set aside.

Sweet and Sour Chicken step 3

4. Veggies

Add the onions to the pan and fry for a couple of minutes. Add the peppers and fry for a few more minutes until they start to soften. Then add the pineapple and toss it in the pan until it gets hot.

Sweet and Sour Chicken step 4

5. Sauce & chicken

Add the sauce, and let it reduce for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Then add the chicken. Remove from the heat and serve immediately with rice.

Sweet and Sour Chicken step 5
Serving suggestions

A side of rice is a must. I tend to opt for jasmine rice, but another variety of white or brown steamed or fried rice will do nicely. Spring rolls and sesame toast are great if you want to enjoy something else on the side.

👍 Top tips

  1. Have everything prepped because things move quickly when you start cooking. Make sure the veggies are chopped and ready to stir fry.
  2. Leave the chicken to marinade in the egg white and soy sauce while you prep the other ingredients to make it more succulent and deepen the flavour.
  3. Coat each piece of chicken with a generous amount of cornflour/cornstarch to ensure you get the chicken super crispy.
  4. Add the chicken to the pan when the oil is hotto get crispy chicken. If you add the chicken too soon it will soak up the oil and become soggy and greasy. If you are unsure, drop one piece of chicken in first. It should sizzle up right away. If it doesn't, you will need to wait a little longer.
A serving of Sweet and Sour Chicken Hong Kong Style
🙋 FAQs

What is the difference between sweet and sour chicken Cantonese style and Hong Kong style?

Hong Kong style refers to a mix of Cantonese and Western cooking that was typically served in "Cha Chaan Teng" tea restaurants in Hong Kong. Hong Kong style sweet and sour chicken is a westernised version of the original Chinese recipe. The sauce is made with ketchup, Worcester sauce and pineapple juice and water or chicken stock. The fried chicken can be served in the sauce with stir-fried veggies and pineapple chunks or sweet and sour chicken balls are served with a dipping sauce on the side.

Can you air fry or bake sweet and sour chicken?

Air frying is a healthy alternative to frying. Spray the air fryer basket with oil, add the chicken pieces (make sure that they are not overlapping) and cook at 450°F (230°C) for 8 minutes, then turn the chicken (or shake the basket) and cook for another 5-6 minutes, until golden. You can also oven bake the egg and cornflour-coated chicken pieces at 200C or 390F for 15-20 minutes.

What is the difference between deep frying and shallow frying?

Shallow frying uses enough oil to partially submerge the food. With this method the food will need to be turned to get it cooked on all sides. With deep-frying, the food is fully immersed in the hot oil making it crispy on all sides within a few minutes.

What is the difference between cornstarch and corn flour?

Cornstarch is a fine white powder that is commonly used as a thickening agent. It is called corn flour in the UK. In the US corn flour refers to finely ground cornmeal used to make tortillas.

📦 Storage

Sweet and Sour Chicken tastes best when eaten fresh. However, you can safely store and consume any leftovers for up to 3 days. Just place it in an airtight container or bowl covered with plastic wrap and refrigerate as soon as the dish is cool. Make sure the leftovers are reheated thoroughly on the stove or in the microwave before eating. You can also freeze sweet and sour chicken for up to 3 months.

Note, that while you'll still be able to enjoy the tasty sweet and sour flavours after refrigerating or freezing the chicken will lose its freshly fried crispiness. I recommend refrigerating or freezing the sauce with the stir-fried veggies and cooking a fresh batch of fried chicken if you are planning to make the dish in advance.

😋 Check out my other takeaway-style recipes

Takeaway food can be bland-tasting, greasy, expensive and unhealthy. My takeaway alternatives are delicious, fast, easy to make, cost-effective and so much better for you and include Honey Chilli Chicken, Chicken Chow Mein, Mongolian Beef, Sesame Chicken and Prawn Fried Rice.

Chicken Chow Mein (better than takeaway)

Crispy Honey Chilli Chicken

Speedy & Spicy Sesame Chicken

Egg Fried Rice With Prawns

Did you try this recipe? It would be really great if you could leave a comment and a star rating ⭐️. I would love to receive your feedback and know that other readers find it helpful too.

Don't forget to tag on Instagram or @knifeandsoul on Pinterest!

📖 Recipe
Sweet and Sour Chicken Hong Kong Style
Recipe details
  • 4  servings
  • Prep time: 10 Minutes Cook time: 20 Minutes Total time: 30 min
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  • 4 tbsp (or ¼ cup) cider vinegar
  • 50g or (¼ cup) sugar
  • 75g (or ¼ cup) ketchup
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp cornflour/cornstarch
Remaining ingredients
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 350g (or 12oz) chicken thighs - cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 70g (or ½ cup) cornflour/cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4-5 tbsp  sunflower or vegetable oil
  • ½ red onion - sliced
  • 2 red or green peppers - cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 250g (or 1.5 cups) fresh or tinned pineapple - cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Rice to serve

Mix the egg white and soy sauce in a small bowl, add the chicken pieces and leave to marinade while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
Mix the sauce ingredients in a jug or bowl.
Mix the cornflour/cornstarch, white pepper, ground ginger, garlic powder and salt in a larger bowl.
Toss 2-3 chicken pieces at a time in the seasoned cornflour/cornstarch until evenly coated, ensuring you shake off any excess egg white first. Repeat until all chicken pieces are coated in a generous layer of cornflour/cornstarch.
Place a wok or large frying pan on a medium to high heat and add oil. Add the chicken pieces when the oil is hot and fry for a few minutes, turning regularly until they are golden brown on all sides, then remove from the pan and set aside. (Note 1 & 2)
Add a little more oil to the pan if you need to and fry the onion for a couple of minutes before adding the peppers and cook for a few more minutes until the peppers and onion begin to soften.
Add the pineapple and toss quickly in the pan until it becomes hot.
Pour on the sauce and let it boil for 30 seconds to 1 minute, add the cooked chicken, remove from the heat and serve immediately with rice.
  • Be careful not to crowd the pan. You may need to fry the chicken in two batches depending on the size of your pan and add a little more oil to fry the second batch.
  • Check the chicken is cooked by cutting one of the larger pieces in half to make sure it is white and opaque in the middle.
Helen | Knife & Soul
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