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. 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.

What To ServeBaked Brown Rice
Steamed Veggie
Spinach Strawberry Salad with Homemade Creamy Poppyseed Dressing

Sweet and Sour Chicken with Pineapple and Red Onion

Sweet and Sour Chicken with Pineapple and Red Onion


    Sweet and Sour Chicken:
  • ¾ pound boneless, skinless, chicken breast, 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 (I omitted this since I didn’t have on hand and it still tasted great)
  • 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


  1. Toss the chicken with the soy sauce and vinegar in a medium bowl; set aside for 15 minutes, tossing once or twice.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

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

25 Responses to Sweet and Sour Chicken with Pineapple and Red Onion

  1. Bri says:

    We love this. We have made it several times, and I’m making it tonight!

  2. Emily says:

    I know this recipe was posted and commented on long ago, but we tried this tonight and loved it. My kids thought PF Chang’s came to our house! I hate opening a can of tomato sauce to use 1 tbls., so I used ketchup instead. It was quick and easy. Thank you, Mel!

  3. Adrianne says:


  4. courtney says:

    YUmmmmm! This was so good. We just made it tonight. I didn’t have red wine vinegar so I did half balsamic vinegar and half rice vinegar and it was so so good!

  5. kamailesfood says:

    I had to laugh at your library book comment because I do that all the time. In fact, I pretty much do that before I buy a book. Your sweet and sour chicken looks yummy and healthier than what you might get at a chinese restaurant.

  6. Marisa says:

    This looks awesome! I love that you check out recipe books, too. I was a little slow on that concept and saw a whole shelf of recipe books one time in the library and then realized I should never buy another cookbook again. Well, unless it’s really good–but sometimes I buy them and only like a couple of recipes. So I’ll have to check out the one you liked from our library, too.

  7. grace says:

    when i was a kid, i always considered it a treat to go to mcdonald’s and get chicken mcnuggets with sweet and sour sauce. this sounds much better. 🙂

  8. Melanie says:

    Valerie – I’m glad you liked this. You are right – it does make a pretty dish with all the colors. Thanks for letting me know!

  9. Marsha says:

    That looks great — and different than anything I’ve ever made. I made your cinnamon rolls and they were fabulous – I stuck them on my blog. (My sis. Jen gave you the gorgonzola recipe a while back.)

  10. Melanie says:

    Tammy – hey, that’s a great description from your husband! Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed this!

  11. RecipeGirl says:

    Delicious! We must have been thinking alike this week… I made Steamy Kitchen’s version of Sw. & Sour a couple of days ago.

  12. Psychgrad says:

    Yum. I make a dish that is < HREF="" REL="nofollow">similar to this<>. I also include more than the single recipe of the sauce – it’s practically the best part. Plus, I include the pineapple tidbits in the meal.

  13. Aggie says:

    I just found you through Taste and Tell…excited about trying out this recipe! Looks delicious!

  14. Deborah says:

    I actually made your other sweet and sour chicken last week and loved it – so I don’t know if you can top that one!! But then again, this one does sound very good!

  15. Maria says:

    I am a big fan of the library! I only buy the books I really enjoy! What a great meal!

  16. Leslie says:

    Oh yum! This looks FAB!I do the library thing sometime too! Saves me soooo much $ on cookbooks!

  17. Psychgrad says:

    Opps – misread. You used the tidbits too. Ignore the last sentence.

  18. Stephanie says:

    I’ve never commented here before, but I’m coming out of stalker-dom to let you know that there’s an award for you on my blog. 🙂This sweet and sour chicken looks just wonderful. We just had sweet and sour for dinner tonight, and it’s always such a delicious meal.

  19. Tammy says:

    Mmm! Made this last night and my husband described it as “hearty” yet “refreshing” – we will definitely be making this one again. Thanks!

  20. Tasty Trends says:

    this looks wonderful! i love sweet and sour chicken but i don’t think i have ever made it! i will have to make this one!

  21. Melanie says:

    Deborah – glad you liked the other sweet and sour…this recipe is totally different than that one but still delicious!

  22. Valerie says:

    I made this and it tastes great. We really liked the taste and it has lots of different colors so it’s pretty too.

  23. Cooking Blog Stalker says:

    Oh yum, this looks so delicious. I am drooling all over my keyboard right now just thinking of this recipe.

  24. kitchenbelle says:

    This looks delicious! I am a sucker for sweet & sour! And I am with you on the extra saucy!

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