This easy sweet and sour chicken with pineapple and red onion is a quick, tasty, and healthy weeknight meal – it comes together fast!

Wow, was this a delicious stir fry!

My husband couldn’t stop raving about it (and who am I to stop him?) and the kids loved it, too.

One of my hobbies (I know, I am a total nerd…and a cheap nerd at that) is to check out cookbooks at the library and try out the recipes that catch my eye and my taste buds.

Chicken with pineapple and red onion slices on white rice.

This was a recipe that stood out to me in a Cook’s Illustrated Poultry cookbook and it was fantastic!

It came together extremely fast (like all good stir-fry recipes) and the sweet and sour sauce was a perfect compliment to the tangy red onions and sweet pineapple.

There were so many great recipes I tagged in the book, I may just have to break down and buy it! But it is hard to believe any of the others could beat this one. It was delicious.

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Sweet and Sour Chicken with Pineapple and Red Onion

4.19 stars (16 ratings)


Sweet and Sour Chicken:

  • ¾ pound boneless skinless, chicken breasts, cut into uniform pieces
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 1 (20-ounce) can pineapple tidbits or 2 cups fresh pineapple cut into wedges, (I used canned pineapple)
  • 3 medium scallions, green parts cut into ¼-inch lengths and white parts minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 recipe sweet and sour stir-fry sauce (see below)

Sweet and Sour Stir Fry Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons tomato sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoon pineapple or orange juice, I reserved the pineapple juice from the can of tidbits before I drained it completely
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  • Toss the chicken with the soy sauce and vinegar in a medium bowl; set aside for 15 minutes, tossing once or twice.
  • Heat a 12- or 14-inch skillet over high heat for 3 to 4 minutes (the pan should be so hot you can hold an outstretched hand 1 inch over the pan for only 3 seconds.) Add 1 tablespoon oil and swirl it so the oil evenly coats the bottom of the pan. Heat the oil until it just starts to shimmer and smoke. Check the heat with your hand as before.
  • Drain the chicken and add it to the pan. Stir-fry until seared and about three-quarters cooked, 2 ½ to 3 minutes. Scrape the cooked chicken and all of the liquid into a bowl. Cover and keep warm.
  • Let the pan come back up to temperature, 1 to 2 minutes. When it is hot, drizzle in 2 teaspoons oil. When the oil just starts to smoke, add the onions and stir-fry until just tender-crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the pineapple and cook 1 minute. Add the scallion greens and cook 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Clear the center of the pan and add the white parts of the scallions, garlic, and ginger. Drizzle with ½ teaspoon oil. Mash into the pan with the back of a spatula. Cook until fragrant but not colored, about 10 seconds. Remove the pan from heat and stir the scallions, garlic, and ginger into the vegetables for 20 seconds.
  • Return the pan to the heat and add the cooked chicken. Stir in the sauce and stir-fry until the ingredients are well coated with sauce and sizzling hot, about 1 minute. Serve immediately with rice.
  • For the Sweet and Sour Stir Fry Sauce: Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Because we like things a little more saucy in our family, I one-and-a-halved this recipe to give a little bit more sauce to the stir-fry.
Serving: 1 Serving, Calories: 295kcal, Carbohydrates: 46g, Protein: 14g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 36mg, Sodium: 779mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 42g

Recipe Source: adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Complete Book of Poultry