Please trust me when I say this is the best sweet and sour chicken I have ever had in my entire life! Better than any homemade version, better than any take-out version, better than Trader Joe’s/Whole Foods/anything version… even better than any fried version! (I can’t even guess how much healthier this must be than fried/takeout version, but its got to be monumental without sacrificing any taste!)
It so good, that along with my General Tso’s Chicken aka My Favorite Chicken Ever (which if you haven’t tried yet, YOU MUST TRY), it is often what I serve company, out of everything I could serve company!
It is also fabulous for company because after your prep is done, it simply bakes away, no last minute finishing touches or stress!
I was first introduced to a variation of this recipe from my older (and only) sister, Kimberly, who is an incredible cook!
Kimberly is the same sister who gave me a basket busting with 30 of her most favorite things for my 30th birthday (which became my favorite things!) and the same sister who gave me her kidney last October, which is also now one of my favorite things!!! I have always looked up to my sister in every way possible and now feel so honored to always have a piece of her awesomeness with me – literally :)! (You can read more about her in my Easter Soul Food)
Kim is not only responsible for my current well being, she is also almost single handedly responsible for my love of cooking.
I always liked to cook but when she gifted me a recipe binder at the beginning of my marriage for Christmas comprised of all of her tried and true recipes, it lit a fire within me. After I cooked every recipe in the binder (and because they were all her favorites, they were all delicious and turned out great!), I wanted to cook more, much more. So I started cooking new recipes almost every single night of the week and pretty soon, I started creating my own recipes almost every single night of the week.
Her baked sweet and sour chicken was always my favorite recipes from her binder. I have played with it over the years, increasing the sauce, simmering the sauce, adding spices as well as pineapple, carrots and bell peppers so it has become a baked sweet and sour “stir fry” all in one baking dish! The sweet and sour sauce is first simmered with onions and ginger and pineapple juice, to awaken and meld the flavors. The chicken is then dredged in flour then breaded in spiced cornstarch which tenderizes and flavorizes (you don’t mind if I make up words do you?) the chicken as it cooks.
After the chicken is browned, the sauce is then combined with the chicken, pineapple, carrots and bell peppers and bakes for 50 minutes. It might seem like a long time to cook chicken pieces, but in this magical 50 minutes, the sauce permeates the chicken and “stir fry” veggies and pineapple so each pillow of breaded juicy chicken and each and every pineapple, carrot and bell pepper piece seep with sweet and sour goodness – the perfect balance of of sweet and sour goodness, I might add.
After what seems like an impossible task of self control, the Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken with Pineapple, Carrots, and Bell Peppers is ready to be devoured when it has soaked up every last drop of the sweet and sour sauce.
When I make this Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken, I always think of my sister, Kimberly, and how she is such a generous, courageous, selfless person (did I mention she is also the perfect, patient mother to 5 children?).
When I eat this Baked Sweet and Sour chicken, I hope to become more like her, in more ways than just sharing matching kidneys.
So in honor of my sister Kimberly, I give you Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken with Pineapple, Carrots, and Bell Peppers – so you too can take part of her awesomeness with you.
- Chicken Breading
- 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 ½ pounds), cut in bite-size pieces)**
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Sweet and Sour Sauce
- 1/2 cup pineapple juice (from 20 oz. pineapple tidbits can below)
- 1 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons ketchup (6 tablespoons)
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1 (20 oz) can pineapple tidbits
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 cup carrots, sliced as THIN as possible (2-3 carrots)
- Add "Sweet and Sour Sauce" ingredients to a medium/large saucepan, stir and bring to a boil then reduce to a gentle simmer. Allow to simmer while you prepare the chicken and dice the vegetables, stirring occasionally (turn off if longer than 20 minutes). Note, the sauce will not thicken, simmering is to soften the onions and blend flavors.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- Whisk eggs together in a large bowl, set aside. Add ½ cup flour to a large freezer bag; set aside next to eggs. Whisk cornstarch, garlic powder, salt, pepper, ginger powder and onion powder in medium bowl; set aside next to flour.
- Add chicken to eggs and coat, then remove, allowing excess to drip off, then add to freezer bag with flour. Toss until evenly coated then discard any extra flour. Add cornstarch/spices to the chicken in the freezer bag and shake until evenly coated.
- Over high heat, heat enough oil (any kind) to generously cover the bottom of a large skillet until hot and rippling. Add chicken and cook 1-2 minutes per side, or until browned but not cooked through. (You may need to cook in 2 batches depending on size of your skillet). Transfer chicken to prepared 9x13 baking dish.
- Add carrots pineapple and peppers to the sweet and sauce and mix until well combined. Pour sauce over chicken and stir until sauce/chicken/vegetables are evenly combined. Cook, uncovered for 50 minutes or until sauce, stirring occasionally.
- Serve over rice. Enjoy!
Carlsbad Cravings Original inspired by Kim’s Sweet and Sour chicken
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