This super easy Thai sweet and sour chicken with pineapple is full of flavors and textures. The tangy and sweet flavor mixed with fresh pineapple and vegetables makes this dish a delectable lunch or dinner. It's light and delicious!
My local grocery store recently had a huge pineapple sale, and they were sold for .79 cents each! I couldn't believe it, so I grabbed a few and thought of a few recipes I could use them for.
This is how this recipe came about, and I still have 3 more large pineapples left that I'm trying to figure out what to do with! You might see a few pineapple recipes popping up in the next month! (:
- What is Pad Preow Pan?
- Why this recipe works
- Ingredients for making sweet & sour chicken stir fry
- Vegetable suggestions for making this recipe
- how to make sweet and sour chicken with pineapple
- Helpful Kitchen Notes
- More Thai recipes you'll love
- Easy Thai sweet and sour chicken with pineapple (Pad Preow Wan)
- Recent Recipes
What is Pad Preow Pan?
You may have had sweet and sour dishes at Chinese restaurants. This Thai version is slightly similar to the flavor profile but much healthier and easier to make. No using cornstarch mixture, no deep frying of the chicken batter, and no extra gelatinous sweet chili sauce. We also use less oil and sugar than the version of our Chinese counterpart for this recipe.
Don't get me wrong. I love Chinese food. From my experience, sweet and sour chicken dishes in the United States have been with overly saturated sugar and red food coloring (the deep red hue in the sauce.) I've had sweet and sour in Beijing, China, and I remember how different and delicious it was!
This Thai version is slightly different from the Chinese-style sweet and sour. It's a bit healthier with options to add more vegetables, and it's still full of flavors!
If you love pineapple, this sweet-and-sour recipe is a must! This is our recent family favorite using pineapple in stir-fries.
Why this recipe works
- No deep frying. We will be stir-frying the chicken instead of deep frying.
- Versatile! You can substitute any protein with pork, beef, duck, shrimp, seafood, or tofu.
- Make it vegetarian by omitting the chicken and using crispy tofu, tempeh, seafood, or vegetables.
- You can make the sauce ahead of time for up to 3 days in advance! Perfect for several meals!
- It's quick and easy to put together, ready to serve in less than 30 minutes.
- It's an excellent dish for a quick lunch or a busy weeknight dinner.
- Great as leftovers for a few meals, you don't have to cook or clean as much!
Ingredients for making sweet & sour chicken stir fry
- Oil. Use neutral oil like avocado, canola, or vegetable oil.
- Pineapple. Fresh pineapple is best for this recipe.
- Chicken. I used skinless chicken breasts for this recipe. Chicken tenderloin will work just as well. Chicken thighs won't work as well until you want to cut them into small pieces.
- Garlic. Add 1-2 small garlic cloves if you love garlic. Garlic powder isn't the same as a substitute.
- Onion. Sweet onion works great for this recipe, but white or red onion works well too.
- Cucumbers. It may sound strange to use cucumbers in a stir fry. It's one of the best vegetables for stir-frying, and they are commonly used in Thai cooking.
- Tomato. Use Roma or large tomatoes and cut them into bite-size pieces tomatoes for this recipe.
- Carrot. Carrot chips are great for this recipe.
- Green onions. Also called spring onion. It adds a great texture and color to this dish.
The sweet and sour Sauce Ingredients
- Oyster sauce. Adds the velvety umami flavor to the dish
- Soy sauce. I Use Thai light soy sauce, but any soy sauce you have is fine. Adjust with more at the end if necessary.
- Fish sauce. This is the part where the Thai style of this stir fry comes in! Fish sauce adds a uniquely Thai flavor to Chinese-influenced stir fries dishes in Thai cuisine.
- Sugar. Use palm, white, coconut, or brown sugar. Honey or agave work great too!
- Rice vinegar. Use fresh lime, lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar for a tangy citrus flavor. White vinegar is fine, too, as a substitute.
Vegetable suggestions for making this recipe
The best part about this sweet-and-sour pineapple recipe is its versatility in terms of what vegetables can be used in the stir fry. Snap peas, bell peppers, cabbage, zucchini, baby corn, green beans, and colorful bell peppers. For added heat, use jalapenos or sliced Serranos are great options.
how to make sweet and sour chicken with pineapple
Step 1. Cut and prep the pineapple. Add the sliced pineapple chunks to a medium bowl, and set aside. Save what you don't use in an airtight container for the next meal. Check out this post on how to cut a pineapple.
Step 2. Make the sauce in a small bowl by combining oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, and vinegar, and set aside.
Step 3. In a wok, large skillet on medium-high heat, heat oil until hot, add garlic and stir until fragrant and lightly golden brown. About 15-30 seconds only.
Step 4. Add the chicken and cooed until the meat is lightly browned, about 3-5 minutes. Stirring a few times. Lower temperature to medium heat if the chicken starts to cook too soon. Each stove is different. Gage yours and adjust as needed.
Step 5. Add the veggies, carrot, onion, tomato, and cucumber. Let cook for 2-3 minutes until the vegetables are lightly tender.
Step 6. Add sauce and stir well. Let it cook for another minute to allow the sauce to season the meat and vegetables.
Step 7. Add the pineapple and green onion last. Cook for another 2 minutes. Adjust the flavors as needed here with more soy sauce, a pinch of salt, vinegar, and a light touch of sugar or lime juice. Turn the heat off and serve with white rice. Jasmine rice is my preference, but brown or basmati will work too.
Garnish with a tiny squeeze of lime juice, ground white or black pepper, or sesame seeds. Sprinkle a little chili flakes or cayenne pepper for added spiciness. Enjoy!
Helpful Kitchen Notes
- For extra tenderness of the chicken, tenderize it by adding 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of water to the chicken pieces. Let sit for 10-15 minutes before cooking. It will add a velvety and tender texture to your chicken.
- You will have extra fresh pineapple for this recipe. Make the sauce ahead of time for the next 2-3 meals. It will save you some time for the next batch of your sweet and sour stir fry.
- Try a different meat for the next time! Try making sweet and sour pork, beef, shrimp, or tofu. Why not if you have extra ingredients already, right?
- If using canned pineapple, drain the pineapple juice from the can and
- Using a large frying pan helps with the ease of cooking.
Pad Priew Wan in Thai means "stir-fry sour and sweet" (Pad = stir-fry, Priew = sour, Wan = sweet.) The term is referred to the stir-frying technique with sweet and sour flavors added to the dish.
Yes, you can. Though it won't taste as fresh, you can use pineapple from a can in a pinch. Rinse the liquid well and pat dry with a paper towel before using it to absorb some of the liquid before cooking.
Yes! You absolutely can jazz up the flavor with more heat! Use fresh Thai green or red pepper, jalapenos, dried chili flakes, or ground white pepper.
Absolutely. The sauce keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Make a double batch of this sweet and sour sauce recipe ahead of time and use it for several meals.
More Thai recipes you'll love
- How to cut a pineapple.
- Pineapple fried rice with shrimp, using leftover rice
- Catfish stir fry with red curry paste
- Thai soup sour recipe with fish
- Thai red curry with Pineapple and chicken