Healthier Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken

Preparation Time: 5 minutesCooking Time: 10 minutes

This sweet and sour chicken recipe is a healthier alternative to Chinese takeout without compromising on flavor. Get the perfect sweet and sour chicken in just a few minutes by using your Instant Pot or any pressure cooker.

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Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken
Sweet and sour chicken with rice in brown bowl

Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken

Every time I eat Chinese food from a restaurant, I always opt for sweet and sour chicken. If you are anything like me, this Instant Pot sweet and sour chicken is for you. 

You get the tender chicken bathing in sweet, but not overly sweet sauce, accompanied by pineapples (my favorite part) and bell peppers. 

Because the chicken in this recipe is not breaded, you get a healthier version of this Chinese takeout favorite in my Instant Pot sweet and sour chicken. 

How to Make Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken

You want to make sure your chicken is dry and trimmed before going in the Instant Pot. Be sure to blot your chicken with a paper towel first and then trim off the fat. Next, cut your chicken into bite-size pieces. Salt and pepper your chicken to your liking. 


Then, you’re going to sauté your chicken in the Instant Pot. Start by turning on the sauté setting. Then, once it displays HOT, add in the oil. Now you can add in your chicken and sauté for a couple of minutes, or until the chicken is beginning to brown. Turn your Instant Pot off. 

In a separate bowl, mix your vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup, garlic, and pineapple juice. Add into your instant pot then add the peppers, onion, and pineapple chunks (as many or little as you like). 

Put your Instant Pot lid on and make sure your valve is set to sealing. Cook on manual/high pressure for three minutes. Then, you’ll do a natural release of 5-10 minutes after the timer goes off. Release the pressure and take off the lid. 

Set your Instant Pot at sautéing and mix in the brown sugar. Next, you’ll make your cornstarch slurry by mixing together the cornstarch and water in a separate bowl. Mix in your slurry to your Instant Pot and wait for it to thicken. This will happen pretty quickly. 

Your chicken is done! Serve with your favorite sides like rice and enjoy. 

Tips for the Best Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken

If you like your Instant Pot sweet and sour chicken on the sour side, add in less brown sugar. Add more brown sugar if you want it sweeter. 

Do not use frozen pineapple chunks, or else you will get a watery mess. I prefer to use the canned pineapple chunks or fresh pineapple with pineapple juice.

If you want more flavor when you add in your cornstarch slurry, add the cornstarch to some leftover pineapple juice instead of water when mixing together in the separate bowl. 

One last thing – try to use boneless skinless chicken thighs instead of breasts as they stay juicy. If you prefer, you can use chicken breasts, but you won’t get the same taste. 

Which Pressure Cooker Should I Use?

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I used my trusted Instant Pot Duo for this recipe. However, if you need an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, I have a ton of reviews and guides so you can pick out the right pressure cooker for you. Don’t forget to check out the other recipes.

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