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Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken

Transform frozen chicken breast chunks into a macro friendly, flavor packed meal in under 30 minutes with this air fryer sweet and sour chicken recipe. It’s as easy as air frying frozen chicken and vegetables together while you whip up a low calorie sweet and sour sauce.

Every serving has 15 grams of protein with only 6 grams of fat and 200 calories. That leaves plenty of room for serving with rice or cauliflower rice to make a complete meal.

bowl of rice with sweet and sour chicken, bell peppers, and onion

Ingredients for Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken

Like I mentioned, this recipe takes a shortcut with frozen chicken. Here’s everything else you’ll need:

  • Frozen Lightly Breaded Chicken Breast Chunks – I used Just Bare from Costco, but I’ve used a similar Perdue Farms product to make my honey sesame chicken and the Kirkland chicken to make my sheet pan buffalo chicken and cauliflower. They also make lightly breaded tenders you could cut into pieces.
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Green Bell Pepper
  • 1/2 a Sweet Onion

The vegetables are optional, but they add a ton of volume to the meal and increase the size of each serving.

What About Fresh Chicken Breast?

If you can’t find lightly breaded frozen chicken, you could make something like these crispy air fried chicken nuggets. Though if you go that route, you’ll want to cook them on their own without the veggies first.

You could also go with a non-breaded chicken option. Check out my sweet chili air fryer chicken and brussels or air fried Greek chicken and veggies recipes for examples of air frying everything together.

sweet chili chicken and brussels sprouts beside Greek chicken and veggies

For the Healthy Sweet and Sour Sauce

Traditional sweet and sour sauce is essentially a 1:1 blend of granulated white sugar and vinegar. Coloring or other added ingredients lend the deep red flavor you see in most Chinese American sweet and sour chicken dishes.

My sauce uses a common ingredient—ketchup—for a bit of red color but primarily sweetness to balance out the vinegar. Here’s everything you’ll need for the sauce:

  • Canned Pineapple Chunks in Juice
  • Sugar Free Ketchup
  • Honey
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • Corn Starch

If you like an extra sour sauce, you can omit the honey or increase the vinegar by a teaspoon or two. I thoroughly enjoyed testing different ingredient ratios. Tinkering is encouraged!

a bowl of rice topped with sweet and sour chicken

How to Make Sweet and Sour Chicken in an Air Fryer

I used an Instant Vortex Pro Air Fryer for this recipe, which has two racks to divide the frozen chicken and vegetables. If you’re using a single-basket air fryer, I would start the chicken on its own before adding the vegetables (about halfway through) to finish cooking.

Every air fryer is a bit different, so you may need to adjust cook times slightly. You’re looking for crispy golden brown chicken that’s fully reheated and tender crisp vegetables. Some charring on the vegetables is okay, but you don’t want to completely fry and start to dry them out.

If it’s easier, you can always sauté the veggies in a pan while the chicken is in the air fryer.

Speaking of, you’ll technically need a pan or saucepan to reduce the sauce. The sauce lacks the viscosity to be brushed on in the air fryer like my chili garlic air fryer chicken and broccoli. Though I really think it’s no big deal since you would need to dirty a bowl or dish to toss everything together anyway.

serving sweet and sour chicken from a skillet onto a plate with rice

Have any other questions about this air fryer sweet and sour chicken recipe? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll be sure to help you out. And once you try this recipe out, I’d love to hear your thoughts about it in a recipe review. I hope you enjoy it!

air fried sweet and sour chicken with toasted sesame seeds and rice

Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken

Yield: 6 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Air fried lightly breaded chicken breast, bell pepper, and onion join forces with a lower calorie sweet and sour sauce to make magic.


  • 1 pound Frozen Lightly Breaded Chicken Breast Chunks (I used Just Bare from Costco)
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1/2 Sweet Onion, cut into 1" pieces

For the Sauce

  • 8 oz can Pineapple Chunks in Juice
  • 1/4 cup (60g) Sugar Free Ketchup
  • 3 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Corn Starch


  1. Air fry the chicken and veggies for 8 minutes at 350ºF until the chicken is crispy golden brown and the veggies are tender crisp.*
  2. While the chicken and veggies cook, mix the sauce ingredients together, adding the corn starch last.
  3. In the last 2-3 minutes of air frying, add the sauce to a pan over medium heat.
  4. Once the sauce thickens and a spatula leaves a clean trail, add the chicken and veggies. Stir everything together until evenly coated.
  5. Serve with rice or cauliflower rice. Garnish with chile flakes or chili oil and toasted sesame seeds, if desired.


*I used a two-rack Instant Vortex Pro for air frying with the chicken on the top rack and the veggies on the bottom rack. For single-basket air fryers, air fry the chicken on its own for half the cook time before adding the veggies for the second half. You're looking for tender crisp veggies and crispy golden brown chicken.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: about 6 oz
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 200Total Fat: 6gCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 15g

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Sunday 7th of April 2024

This was amazing! My husband doesn't usually comment but he said wow, this tastes like a restaurant! I did sautee the veggies to keep them separate from the chicken because I wanted them pretty soft and I knew my toddler wouldn't eat it. Everything else I did the same. So good!


Sunday 11th of September 2022

I’ve got to say, I was pretty skeptical with this one considering the ketchup in the sauce. But I should know better than to doubt you, Mason! I used regular chicken breast and cooked everything in a pan on the stovetop. Yet another DELICIOUS recipe. Thank you!!

Mason Woodruff

Tuesday 13th of September 2022

Thanks for believing in me! Glad you enjoyed this one. Good to know it works all on the stovetop.

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