This Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken with pineapple is a one pot rice dish with a 5-ingredient sauce – it tastes just like takeout!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Canola oil – or another neutral cooking oil such as olive oil.
- Chicken breasts – boneless skinless chicken thighs or chicken tenders would also work.
- Salt & pepper – to taste.
- Diced pineapple – you can use fresh, frozen or drained canned pineapple for this recipe.
- Rice vinegar – apple cider or white wine vinegar will provide a similar flavour.
- Honey – maple syrup or agave can be used instead.
- Ketchup – tomato paste with brown sugar would be a good substitute here.
- Soy sauce – coconut aminos or tamari are the best soy sauce alternatives.
- Garlic – freshly minced garlic is best but jarred minced garlic will work in a pinch.
- Chicken broth – use vegetable broth instead.
- Jasmine rice – swap out for another rice of your choice like brown rice, just keep in mind that the cooking time will vary. Find tips for cooking each type in my Instant Pot rice guide.
- Bell pepper – use any colour bell pepper of your choice.
- Scallions – green onions would also be good or you can leave these off altogether.
- Sesame seeds – black or white sesame seeds are good for garnishing.
How to make sweet and sour chicken in the Instant Pot
- Cook everything but the peppers in the Instant Pot.
- Add in the peppers after cooking.
- Stir and let sit.
- Serve and enjoy!
What to serve with sweet and sour chicken
This dish is typically just served over rice since it already contains meat and vegetables. However, it’s easy to pair it with noodles or additional veggies. You could also make one or two other Asian-inspired entrees for your very own takeout buffet!
Here are some easy side dishes that will go with your sweet and sour chicken:
- Chow mein or lo mein
- Steamed vegetables or green beans
- Sauteed zucchini
- Veggie eggrolls or spring rolls
Frequently Asked Questions
Sweet and sour chicken is a popular takeout dish made with chicken and veggies in a sweet and sour sauce, typically served over rice.
Traditional takeout can be high in calories, sugar and sodium. However, you can easily transform this dish into a healthier alternative at home! There’s no added sugar other than a small amount of natural sweetener in the honey and there’s way less sodium, especially when you’re using a low-sodium soy sauce. Plus, the chicken is steamed for this recipe instead of breaded and fried, which reduces both the number of calories and the amount of fat.
This dish only contains 399 calories per serving, meaning you can enjoy a low-calorie meal without sacrificing any of that sweet and sour goodness!
The name ‘sweet and sour chicken’ comes from the combination of flavours in the sauce. While there are dozens of variations, the base ingredients usually include some kind of vinegar, sweetener and ketchup. When those come together, it creates a sauce that is both sweet and sour for an irresistible bite.
Storing and reheating
Transfer any leftovers to a sealed container or divide the entire dish between individual meal prep containers. The dish will last in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
Reheat the leftovers in the microwave or on the stovetop until warmed through. I suggest sprinkling some water over top before reheating so the rice and chicken don’t dry out!
Freezing this recipe
Allow the chicken to cool completely before transferring it to a freezer-safe container. This prevents ice crystals from forming, which causes both freezer burn and watery sauce when defrosted.
Your sweet and sour chicken should last in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating as normal following the instructions above.
More takeout-inspired Instant Pot recipes
Meal prep tools for this recipe
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls if you plan on turning this 30-Minute Sweet and Sour Chicken into your weekly lunches.
- I get all my free-range chicken from Butcher Box, conveniently delivered to me frozen.
- Get a meat thermometer to make sure your chicken is cooked through.
- Use these Ziploc bag holders if you’re marinating the chicken then freezing it.
- Freeze this recipe in glass microwave-safe bowls up to 3 months.
Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 1 lb chicken breasts, diced into 1 inch pieces
- 1 pinch salt & pepper
- 1 cup diced pineapple fresh, frozen or canned and drained
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup dry jasmine rice
- 1 each red, green and yellow bell pepper, diced into small pieces
- Scallions, to serve
- Sesame seeds, to serve
- Add canola oil to bottom of Instant Pot, followed by chicken. Sprinkle salt & pepper over chicken. Add remaining ingredients in the order they are listed, except for bell peppers. Do not stir rice, just pat down lightly into liquid.
- Place lid on Instant Pot and make sure valve is set to seal. Press the pressure cook button and set to high, then cook for 5 minutes. Instant Pot will take about 5-10 minutes to come to pressure then pressure cook for 5 minutes.
- Do a quick release of the pressure on the Instant Pot by flicking the switch at the top with a spoon. Open the lid when pressure gauge has dropped and the lid opens easily.
- Stir in the bell peppers, then replace lid on the Instant Pot and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Serve in large bowls, topping with scallions and sesame seeds if desired. Serve and enjoy!