How to Make Better-Than-Takeout Sweet & Sour Chicken

There’s no need to settle for takeout when you can make your own Chinese restaurant favorite at home. Our video shows how easy it is to make a healthier version that does not sacrifice any flavor!

Walking into a Chinese restaurant, you know you’ll be in for some comforting favorites. Perhaps it’s potstickers with a side of won ton soup, or maybe you’re in the mood for crispy egg rolls and some beef and broccoli.

Everyone has their favorites, and we’re betting that sweet and sour chicken (or pork) falls on that list.

After all, who can resist crispy chicken bites mingling with pineapple cubes, coated with a sticky sweet and sour sauce that you can’t help but lick off your chopsticks?

Even if this dish is not your favorite, we’re sure you’ve tried it. And you probably know that it’s not the healthiest dish on the menu. The chicken gets deep-fried in oil and the sweet and sour sauce can be pretty sweet.

So we decided to come up with a healthier, lighter version that you can easily make at home and satisfy your takeout cravings.

Takeout fake-out, you say? Yeah, pretty much. But there’s nothing fake about the flavors here. It’s just as good as the real thing (probably better, if we do say so ourselves) and you can feel great about eating it. And did we mention that it is super easy to make?

Watch this video here and see for yourself!


How to Make Baked Sweet & Sour Chicken

This healthier version of the take-out favorite that usually features deep-fried chicken lightens things up without sacrificing any flavor.

When you go make this tonight, here’s a quick tip: The sauce usually served with the typical restaurant dish is super sweet. Since you’re making this from scratch, be sure to taste and adjust to your preferences – add more sugar for sweetness or vinegar for sour. You can even add a pinch of chili flakes if you’d like some spice. For more tips on how to flavor like a pro, check out our Study of Flavor Profiles.

Don’t forget to snap a photo of your better-than-takeout dinner and share with us on Instagram with hashtag #cooksmarts! We’d love to see the deliciousness you are cooking up in your kitchen.

To get the full recipe for our Baked Sweet & Sour Chicken, sign up below for a free taste test. Pair with homemade potstickers and you can wave goodbye to takeout!

Weeknight Recipe: Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken via @cooksmarts


This is a healthier version of the takeout favorite that usually features deep-fried chicken. To lighten things up without sacrificing flavor, pan sear the chicken, add a classic sweet and sour sauce on top, and bake the entire dish with some vegetables added in for good measure.

Get the Recipe Here

Prepping Smarts

  • Veggies, meat, and herbs can all be prepped in advance to make cooking time a whole lot easier. Watch how to prep these ingredients here:

How to Chop Broccoli

Watch this video to learn how to chop broccoli for a variety of tasty uses.


How to Chop Cilantro or Parsley

Learn how to chop parsley using the 'pivot-and-fan' chopping technique with this short video.


How to Season & Tenderize Proteins with a Fork

Maximize flavor and tenderize proteins with this little trick.

Equipment Smarts

  • Saucepan – used to make the sauce, but you can also use it to cook rice
  • Dutch Oven – this also can be used to cook rice, but you’ll be using this to bake the entire dish, since it can be transferred from the stove directly to the oven
  • Rice Cooker – another tool to cook rice! This one definitely makes it very easy to cook fluffy rice. 😉

For more kitchen and equipment and tool smarts, visit our Essential Kitchen Cookware and Tools

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Weeknight Recipe: Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken via @cooksmartsWeeknight Recipe: Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken via @cooksmartsHow to Make Baked Sweet & Sour Chicken | Cooking Video by @cooksmarts

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