Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken is a simple recipe made with tender chicken, fresh veggies, sweet pineapple, and a perfectly balanced homemade sweet and sour sauce.
You can permanently put down the take-out menu, and in less than 30 minutes enjoy a more wholesome version of Sweet and Sour Chicken thanks to the Instant Pot. Delicious served over Instant Pot Brown Rice or Cauliflower Rice.
My kids' favorite Chinese meal is Sweet and Sour Chicken. The sweet sauce and the tender chicken win them over every time.
I love to prepare their favorite take-out meal at home so that I control the added sugars and lower the sodium content.
Thankfully, with the the help of the Insatnt Pot, a healthier version of Sweet and Sour Chicken couldn't be easier to make. And don't worry, this healthier version is still every bit as delicious!
With only requires a few simple ingredients, this recipe for Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken comes together without much effort or time.
- Chicken: Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs.
- Apricot All-Fruit: 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.
- Peppers: Use any color of bell peppers or mini sweet peppers you like.
- Pineapple: Fresh pineapple slices are best for this recipe. Canned pineapple chunks tend to fall apart when pressure cooked.
- 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 Starch.
- Turn the Instant Pot to Saute and let heat for a couple of minutes.
- Add in the oil and cubed chicken and saute the chicken until lightly browned on all sides--about 2 minutes.
- Turn the Instant Pot off.
- Add in the chicken stock 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 high pressure 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.
- At this point, the sauce is very thin and needs to be thickened. Turn the Instant Pot back to saute and let 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 until the sauce thickens up.
- Turn the Instant Pot off and serve over rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice, and with green onions as desired.
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 for a 6 quart Instant Pot. For an 8 quart Instant Pot, add in an additional ¼ cup chicken stock or double the recipe.
Cooled Leftovers can be stored in an air-tight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator or frozen for up to 3 months.
As I stated earlier, the apricot all-fruit is a perfect way to acheive the flavors of sweet and sour chicken without added sugars. However, you can use apricot preserves or jam OR you can mix together ¼ cup ketchup with ¼ cup brown sugar.
I don't recommend preparing this recipe with frozen chicken, as the peppers and pineapple will overcook in the amount of time it takes for the chicken to cook through.
They certainly add flavor to this dish, but feel free to omit them for picky eaters.
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 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.
If you need this to be Gluten-Free, be sure to use Tamari.
Yes. I have used the pot-in-pot cooking method to cook the rice above the chicken. To do this, place equal amounts of rinsed long-grain white rice and water in a stainless steel bowl. Place a trivet above the chicken and set the bowl on the trivet. The rice needs a bit longer to account for the stainless steel bowl, so the cooking time of 5 minutes with at least 10 minutes of natural pressure release seems to work well.
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
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 tbsp 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 tablespoons minced garlic
- ½ cup chicken stock see note
- ½ cup apricot all fruit jam
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- Turn Instant Pot function to saute, add in the oil, and let heat for a couple of minutes.
- Once the oil is heated, add the chicken to the inner pot and saute just until lightly browned on all sides--about 2 minutes. Turn the Instant Pot off.
- Add the chicken stock to the inner pot and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the inner pot usinga wooden spoon or spatula.
- Add the peppers, onions, pineapple, apricot jam, soy sauce, ginger, rice wine vinegar, and garlic to Instant Pot and thoroughly stir.
- Close Instant Pot and 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 10 minutes and then do a quick release of pressure.
- Turn Instant Pot back to saute and let 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 sauce thicken. Serve over rice or as desired.
This recipe was originally published in 2017 but has been updated in 2021 with new tips.