If you’ve been following this blog, you know that while some recipes are brand new creations, the majority of the recipes I post are ones I’ve been making for my family for years. Some of them are favorites of my kids, some are hubby’s favorites, and some are my favorites (ahem, all the gluten-free brownies)!
This gluten-free sweet and sour chicken is one of my absolute favorite meals! I so miss being able to go to a good Chinese restaurant and order Sweet and Sour Chicken, Broccoli Beef, or Lo Mein- my favorite Chinese menu items. So, now I make them all at home! I’ve posted my gluten-free chicken lo mein recipe already and will have to post my broccoli beef soon!
I love this gluten-free sweet and sour chicken recipe so much that I overeat every time I make it! You’d think I’d learn. It is very rare for me to eat any meal to the point of being uncomfortably stuffed, but this is the one that I do. If I had my own personal chef, I’d have him/her make this for me every week.
I tried many, many versions of sweet and sour chicken recipes, never liking any of them. A number of years ago, I stumbled on this Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. As I made this recipe over and over, I started making various tweaks to it, for ease, taste, preference and to make it gluten-free.
How to make gluten-free sweet and sour chicken:
Chicken pieces are easily coated with cornstarch, salt, and pepper by shaking them in a sealed ziploc bag, for easy clean-up.
After browning the pieces in a skillet with oil, but not cooking fully, the chicken is transferred to an aluminum foil lined baking dish. Lining the pan is just for easy clean-up. I’m all about finding ways to make clean-up easier!
A delicious gluten-free sweet and sour sauce is whisked together and poured over the browned chicken, and a can of pineapple chunks is added to the mix.
One hour in the oven, and you’ve got this amazing American Chinese style gluten-free Sweet and Sour Chicken ready to serve your family!
You can serve with the more traditional white rice or sticky rice, or with my baked brown rice. The rice bakes while I cut the chicken and assemble the sweet and sour recipe, and is ready to pull out at close to the same time that I put the sweet and sour chicken in the oven. After fluffing the rice, it can can just sit, covered until ready to serve.
Thankfully, this recipe doesn’t require a bunch of complicated ingredients. You probably have everything on hand already if you do much gluten-free cooking! Here’s a look at our ingredients:
Notes on ingredients for this gluten-free sweet and sour chicken recipe:
- Pineapple Chunks: I do not recommend getting the kind that is in a syrup. Get the kind that’s in 100% juice. I usually grab Del Monte 100% juice pineapple chunks. Make sure you drain the can of pineapple chunks. You can just drink the juice, you won’t be using it in the recipe.
- If you are using a fresh, strong smelling apple cider vinegar, I would recommend cutting the amount slightly so it isn’t overpowering. When I use store-bought apple cider vinegar, the 1/2 cup called for is perfect. When I use the freshly made, local apple cider vinegar that I get from an orchard, I definitely need to decrease it to 1/3 cup total.
- Soy sauce usually has wheat in it, so be sure to use a certified gluten-free soy sauce. The certified gluten-free soy sauce I prefer to use is San-J Tamari gluten-free soy sauce.
- If you don’t like your meals so sweet, feel free to cut the amount of sugar a bit. I like mine more on the sweet side than the sour side.
- Corn starch is naturally gluten-free, but I do prefer to buy containers of it from brands that actually claim it is gluten-free, such as Argo cornstarch. I do not recommend buying from a bulk bin due to cross contamination.
I like to serve this with a side of broccoli or green beans as well.
If you like this gluten-free sweet and sour chicken recipe, I think you’ll also like my easy, 5 ingredient gluten-free sweet chicken recipe.
If you make this and love it, please come back and give this recipe a 5 star rating in the recipe card! Feel free to comment with tips or to share any successful substitutions you made.
Gluten-free Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe:
- 1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken tenders (or chicken breasts)
- 2/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
- 1/4 cup oil (your choice)
- 1 can (20 oz.) pineapple chunks, drained
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (use slightly less if using fresh, strong cider)
- 1 Tbsp. gluten-free soy sauce (I use San-J gf Tamari)
- 1 tsp. garlic salt
- Using kitchen shears, trim off any excess skin, then cut the chicken breasts or tenders into chunks. I cut mine in chunks that are around 1.5" to 2" in size.
- Set a gallon sized Ziploc bag in a bowl and fold over the top to hold in place. Add cornstarch, pepper and garlic salt. Seal and shake bag to mix together. (You can also just do this straight in a bowl without using a bag - I often do the bag for easy clean-up!)
- Place the bag back in the bowl and fold over the top to hold in place again. Add the chicken chunks. Seal and shake the bag to mix together.
- In a large, non-stick skillet, add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add half of the chicken pieces and cook just until brown, but not cooked through, flipping pieces to brown two sides.
- Remove chicken from pan and place into a 9x13 baking dish. I use a 9x13 glass Pyrex that I line with aluminum foil for easy clean-up.
- Repeat with rest of chicken.
- Add one can of pineapple chunks (be sure to drain first) to the chicken in the pan. Set pan of chicken aside while you make the sauce.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the sugar, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, gluten-free soy sauce, and garlic salt. Pour over the chicken and pineapple.
- Bake for one hour at 325°. Every 15 minutes, remove from oven and stir, flipping chicken pieces.
- Remove from oven and serve over white or brown rice.
- Bonus: If you want extra sauce for drizzling, make a second batch of sauce and add to a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil. Whisk constantly and let it cook over medium heat until thickened and reduced, about 7 minutes. Then serve alongside the finished sweet and sour chicken for those that want additional sauce.
*Feel free to cut the amount of sugar called for if you like your meals a little less sweet.
*If using a fresh, strong apple cider vinegar, you may want to cut the amount slightly, to 1/3 cup instead of 1/2 cup.
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I hope your family enjoys this gf sweet and sour chicken as much as mine does!