Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken is made with tender chicken, fresh veggies, sweet pineapple, and a perfectly balanced homemade sweet and sour sauce, for a fast and healthy spin on your favorite take-out dish!
You can serve Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken with a side of Instant Pot Brown Rice or Instant Pot Jasmine Rice to complete your meal.
I absolutely love using my Instant Pot to create take-out recipes at home.
From recipes like this Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken to Instant Pot Orange Chicken to Instant Pot Mongolian Beef, the electric pressure cooker works fast to create an insanely intense sauce. And not only do these homemade versions save you money, they also are much better for you!
This recipe for Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken is lower in sodium, fat, and sugar that traditional sweet and sour chicken, yet just as delicious.
And even though nutrition has been bumped up, the flavor has not been sacrificed. Using just a few simple ingredients, the sweet and sour sauce is everything you crave in good sweet and sour chicken and thankfully, this recipe comes together without much effort. In fact, I dare say that preparing Instant Pot Sweet & Sour Chicken is almost as easy as calling for take-out!
Notes on Ingredients
One reason I love preparing this recipe for Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken at home is that I can control the quality of the ingredients. Using lean chicken, fresh peppers, fresh pineapple, and a naturally sweetened sauce makes this dish not only taste better, but it is better for you!
- Chicken: You can use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thighs, or tenders. Whatever you prefer or have on hand.
- Apricot Jam: This may sound like an odd ingredient but trust me on this. The apricot jam has a similar flavor to that of Chinese Duck Sauce, minus the added sugar, sodium, and preservatives. It is a great substitute and gives this sweet and sour sauce a perfect flavor. I prefer using a version sweetened with only fruit juice, as a brand like All-Fruit, to control the level of sugar.
- Peppers: Use red, yellow, or orange bell peppers, not green bell peppers. You can opt to use either large or mini peppers.
- Pineapple: Fresh pineapple slices are best for this recipe, as canned pineapple chunks tend to fall apart when pressure cooked.
- Chicken Broth: Use low-sodium store-bought chicken stock, homemade chicken stock, or instant pot chicken broth, to keep the sodium level down. For this recipe, you only need ½ cup of broth if using a 6-quart model and ¾ cup of broth for an 8-quart model. The peppers, onions, and pineapple release a lot of liquid, therefore along with the soy sauce, vinegar, jam, and stock, you will have more than enough liquid to achieve pressure.
- Soy Sauce: Use low-sodium soy sauce. If you need this dish to be gluten-free, replace the soy sauce with tamari, liquid aminos, or gluten-free soy sauce.
- Oil: Select a neutral oil like canola, vegetable, or peanut oil.
- Cornstarch: A cornstarch slurry is necessary to thicken up the sauce. If you have an allergy to corn, feel free to use equal amounts of tapioca or arrowroot or tapioca starch.
How to Make Instant Pot Sweet & Sour Chicken
While this recipe is incredibly simple to make, if you are unfamiliar with cooking in an instant pot or the functions of your instant pot, be sure to start with How to Use an Instant Pot for the best results on this and future recipes.
- Turn the Instant Pot to saute, add in the oil, and let heat for a couple of minutes.
- Once the oil is heated, add in the cubed chicken and saute the chicken until lightly browned on all sides. This will only take about 2 minutes.
- Once the chicken is opaque, turn the saute function off by hitting cancel.
- Add in the chicken broth and use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the inner pot. This will help to prevent a burn notice.
- Add in the apricot jam, garlic, ginger, peppers, onions, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar and stir to combine.
- Secure the lid on the inner pot and be sure the vent knob is sealed.
- Set to cook high pressure, using the manual or pressure cook butto, and cook for 5 minutes on high pressure.
- Once the cooking time has elapsed, let the pressure release naturally for at least 10 minutes before releasing pressure. It is also fine to allow the pressure to release fully on its own.
- Once pressure has been released, remove the lid from the pressure cooker.
- At this point, the sauce is very thin and needs to be thickened. Hit cancel to turn off the keep warm function and then hit saute, to allow the mixture come to a bubble.
- Whisk together the cornstarch and water until fully dissolved and add whisk into the inner pot.
- Cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens up.
- Once the sauce has thickened, turn off the Instant Pot.
- Serve the sweet and sour chicken over brown rice, cooked quinoa, or cauliflower rice, and with green onions as desired.
- Substitute for Apricot Jam: If you don't have jam on hand, you can replace it with ¼ cup ketchup and ¼ cup brown sugar.
- Adding Spice: This sauce is on the sweeter side, which is GREAT for kids, or those with sensitive palates. Personally, I like to add Sriracha after dishing it out so that each person can control the heat level. If you this recipe to be spicier as a whole, add ½ tablespoon Sriracha or ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes before pressure cooking.
- Hate Peppers? The peppers add flavor and balance to the sauce, however, feel free to omit them if you despise them.
More Instant Pot Chicken Recipes
- Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings
- Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
- Instant Pot Chicken Tacos
- Instant Pot Butter Chicken
- Instant Pot Burrito Bowl
- Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
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If you enjoyed this simple Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.
Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken
- ½ tablespoon canola oil
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 onion diced into 1-inch chunks
- 1 red pepper diced into 1-inch chunks
- 1 yellow pepper diced into 1-inch chunks
- 1 cup fresh pineapple diced into 1-inch chunks
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ½-3/4 cup chicken broth/stock see note
- ½ cup apricot jam
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons water
- Turn the Instant Pot to saute, add in the oil, and let heat for 1-2 minutes.
- Once the oil is heated, add the cubed chicken to the inner pot and saute just until lightly browned on all sides--about 2 minutes. Turn the Instant Pot off.
- Add ½ cup chicken broth if using a 6-quart Instant Pot and ¾ cup broth if using an 8-quart Instant Pot. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the inner pot.
- Add the peppers, onions, pineapple, apricot jam, soy sauce, ginger, rice wine vinegar, and garlic to Instant Pot and thoroughly stir to incorporate ingredients.
- Close the Instant Pot, be sure the vent knob is sealed, and set to cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Hit manual or pressure cook and use the +/- buttons to adjust until it reads 5.
- Once cook time has elapsed, let the pressure release for at least 10 minutes.
- Turn the Instant Pot back to saute and let the mixture come to a bubble. Whisk together the cornstarch and water together until dissolved and then whisk into the bubbling sauce. Bring to a boil and let the sauce thicken, stirring constantly. This should only take a couple of minutes. Once thickened, turn off the saute function.
- Serve the Sweet and Sour Chicken over rice, cauliflower rice, or quinoa, and top with green onions if desired.
This recipe was originally published in 2017 but has been updated in 2021 with new tips.
Can I use canned pineapple rather then fresh thank you!!
Absolutely! I recommend using pineapple in 100% pineapple juice.
I just made your sweet and sour chicken. I was sloppy with liquid measurements so it was more soupy than I would have liked, but in the long run still tasty. I was intrigued with the idea of cooking the rice in the same pot at the same time. It worked like a champ. I have several pounds of Costco pork chops I didn't know what to do with, but sweet and sour pork coming up.
This will be fabulous with pork! So happy to hear you enjoyed Robert!
You are the master of the instant pot! Thanks for this yummy recipe. Sweet and sour is now a family favorite. My entire family gobbled it up. Keep up the great work, I really appreciate it!
I am so glad your family enjoyed so much Jill! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.
Totally easy and doable!