Gluten-free sweet and sour chicken is healthy and easy! The chicken is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside! It's topped with sweet and sour sauce which consists of ketchup, vinegar, and gluten-free soy sauce. This classic Chinese recipe is an easy take-out dish to make at home.
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Sweet and sour chicken is a popular Chinese dish that consists of a breaded chicken that's usually deep-fried in oil until crispy. The chicken is topped with a sweet and sour sauce and mixed with peppers, onions and pineapple. Traditionally, green peppers are used, however red or orange peppers can be substituted.
This sweet and sour chicken recipe is 100% gluten free. The recipe uses tamari, which is a version of gluten free soy sauce. All other ingredients should be naturally gluten free, however always double-check the label!
There is no flour involved in this recipe, which makes it gluten free. The chicken is coated with corn starch, which helps make it crispy all while avoiding any added gluten.
It may seem like there are a lot of steps to this recipe, however, it really doesn’t take all that long to put together.
Reasons to Love This
- The sauce thickens in to a sticky consistency and is a perfect balance of slightly sweet and somewhat sour.
- This is a one pan dish; the chicken, sauce and peppers are all cooked in the same frying pan.
- This is a sugar free sweet and sour chicken recipe. The sweetness comes from the honey and pineapple juice. There is no extra table sugar added.
- This sweet and sour chicken is made with pineapple and veggies. These pack in lots of extra nutrients!
Chicken Breast- I like to use a boneless, skinless chicken breast. This recipe has not been tested with any other type of meat.
Pineapple: you can use either fresh or canned pineapple based on your preference. I prefer canned pineapple simply because it is easier.
Soy sauce: the soy sauce must be gluten free. This is often called “tamari” in the stores, which is simply a gluten free soy sauce.
Peppers: any color of pepper will work. I prefer red, orange or yellow because they have a sweeter flavor. I do not recommend green pepper because it provides a more bitter flavor.
Corn Starch- the corn starch can be substituted with arrowroot powder.
Peppers- I used orange and yellow peppers, however you can substitute with red peppers as well. I prefer fresh peppers, however the frozen pepper strips will work if you are short on time.
Ginger-the recipe calls for dried ginger, however you could also use a small amount of fresh ginger. Go easy on the fresh ginger, you can always add extra later on if needed.
Meat- The chicken can be substituted with chicken thighs, peeled/deveined raw shrimp, pork or tofu. Turning this into sweet and sour shrimp is one of my favorite variations to this recipe!
Vinegar- The apple cider vinegar can be replaced with rice vinegar.
Gluten Free Sweet and Sour Sauce
The sweet and sour sauce in this recipe is gluten free in this recipe because it contains tamari, which is a form of gluten free soy sauce. If ordering this dish at a traditional Chinese restaurant, verify they use all Gluten Free ingredients. The soy sauce usually contains gluten, so check to see if they use a gluten free version, such as tamari. Most restaurants use a sweet and sour sauce that contains gluten.
How To Make Gluten Free Sweet and Sour Chicken
Note: The full instructions are located at the bottom of the page in the recipe card.
Prep: Cut the chicken and peppers into small cubes, about 1 inch by 1 inch. Set aside.
Make the sauce: Combine the honey, soy sauce, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, pineapple juice, ginger, garlic and corn starch in a medium bowl. Stir with a spoon or fork until cooked and no clumps remain. Set aside.
Cook the chicken: Place a large skillet or frying pan on the stove and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Turn to medium heat and allow it to preheat for a few minutes.
While the skillet is heating, toss the chicken with corn starch until fully coated. Add the chicken to the frying pan and stir frequently, until cooked all the way through (chicken will reach 165F with a meat thermometer).
TIP: if the chicken is not cooking evenly, add a lid to the top of your pan for the remaining 3-4 minutes. Stir every few minutes. It’s ok if the lid doesn’t fully cover the pan, as long as it covers the chicken.
Cook the peppers: Once the chicken is cooked, set aside. Add the peppers to the pan and cook until soft.
Combine everything: Add the chicken back in, add the pineapple and add the sauce in. Cook over medium heat, until it starts to bubble and is thick. Once the sauce is thickened (it should not be runny), remove from heat. Enjoy!
Refrigerator: Store the leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Don't let the leftovers sit out on the counter too long, to help prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
Freezer: the GF sweet and sour chicken can be frozen. Place the chicken in a gallon-size freezer zip lock bag, squeeze out all air, and seal shut. For easy reheating, I like to freeze small amounts in multiple zip lock bags.
Reheating: heat in the microwave until steaming hot. Another option is to add a small amount of oil to a skillet and heat in the skillet until hot.
Tips to Make the Best Gluten Free Sweet & Sour Chicken
- Cut the chicken breast into the same sized cubes so that it cooks evenly.
- If the chicken starts burning on the outside, but is not cooking on the inside, cover the pan with a lid for the last 4-5 minutes (and stir in 1-2 minute intervals).
- Make sure to coat the chicken with corn starch – this is what makes it crispy!
- Double check all labels to verify your ingredients are gluten free!
This sweet and sour chicken is a healthy version of your normal stuff! Here are a few key points on the nutrition:
- The sweet & sour chicken is sautéed in a small amount of olive oil, rather than deep frying in a large amount of vegetable oil. Olive oil is considered a heart healthy fat.
- The honey and pineapple juice add extra sweetness to the sauce, rather than having to add a lot of extra table sugar.
- The bell peppers and pineapple are packed full of vitamins and nutrients. Feel free to double these for extra nutrition!
- This recipe is allergy friendly. The sweet and sour chicken is made without egg. The chicken is egg free and dairy free.
One serving is considered ¼ of the recipe. The sweet and sour chicekn has 300 calories, 26 grams of protein and 1 gram of fat per serving. There are 33 grams of carb in one serving of this recipe.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some brands of Gluten Free soy sauce?
When looking for a gluten free soy sauce, it's important to verify the label states it is gluten free. You can also check the ingredients label and make sure there is no wheat, barley, rye or any ingredients made from rye. Here are a few of my favorite brands, always double-check the labels! (Affiliate Links)
- San-J Tamari Gluten Free Soy Sauce
- Kikkoman Gluten Free Soy Sauce
- La Choy Lite Gluten Free Soy Sauce
- Sempio Gluten Free Soy Sauce
Is this sweet and sour chicken kid friendly?
This GF sweet and sour chicken recipe is kid friendly! I tested it out on my toddler and he enjoyed it! (I just had to cut it into small pieces). This recipe is not spicy, so it was perfect for a young child. All ages will love this!
More Easy Dinner Recipes
- Skinny Chicken Parm
- Tex Mex Casserole (Gluten Free)
- Almond Flour Chicken Tenders in the Air Fryer
- Chili Lime Shrimp Tacos
Gluten Free Sweet and Sour Chicken
- 1 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1 pound chicken breast raw
- 2 tbsp corn starch
- 2 medium bell peppers any color
- 1 cup pineapple cubes
Sweet & Sour Sauce
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp gluten free soy sauce (commonly sold as "tamari")
- 3 tbsp ketchup
- ½ cup pineapple juice
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- ½ tsp dried ginger
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp corn starch
- Add the olive oil to a large sauce pan and set to medium heat.
- Cut the chicken into 1 inch cubes. Place the chicken in a large bowl and mix with cornstarch. Use a spoon to mix the chicken until it is completely coated with corn starch.
- Add the chicken cubes to the preheated frying pan and cook until done. This will take about 10 minutes. Stir frequently. Tip: if the chicken is not cooking in the middle, place a lid on top of the frying pan for the last 4-5 minutes to help it cook.
- While the chicken cooks, remove the tops and middle of the peppers. Slice into squares, about 1 inch wide by long.
- Once the chicken has cooked, remove from the frying pan and set aside.
- Add the peppers and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently. Remove when hot.
Sweet & Sour Sauce
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the honey, gluten free soy sauce, ketchup, pineapple juice, garlic, ginger, apple cider vinegar and corn starch.
- Mix well using a for or whisk, until combined and no large pieces of corn starch remain.
- Add the cooked chicken back to the frying pan and set to medium heat. Pour the sweet and sour sauce on top.
- Stir frequently- you will notice the sauce starting to bubble and thicken.
- Once the sauce starts thickening, add the peppers and pineapple.
- Continue to heat until sauce is thick, about 2 more minutes.
- Remove from heat and serve warm.