Gluten-Free Sweet and Sour Chicken

My healthy Gluten-Free Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe is Asian-inspired with sweet pineapple, juicy chicken, and an incredibly flavorful, naturally sweetened honey sauce. It’s full of flavor but easy on the spice for gentle digestion. It is the perfect base, so you can easily add more spice but everyone will love it!

Healthy Gluten-Free Sweet and Sour Chicken on a plate.

My healthy Gluten-Free Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe tastes even better than any restaurant version I’ve ever tasted. This Asian-inspired, homemade version of this popular Chinese takeout includes sweet pineapple, juicy chicken, and an incredibly flavorful, naturally sweetened honey sauce. 

My healthier version can be made in one frying pan and is full of flavor but easy on the spice for gentle digestion. It is the perfect base, so you can easily add more spice to meet your preference. But all your guests can enjoy it as a healthy meal with your choice of fresh sauteed vegetables. The best part is it’s all made in one pan. My favorite frying pan is the 12″ HexClad Hybrid Pan.

YouTube video

Why You’ll Love My Sweet & Sour Chicken Recipe

  • You only need a few major ingredients.
  • It is super easy to make for an impressive result.
  • The flavor-rich ingredients make it taste amazing!
  • All the ingredients are easily digestible for a gentle tummy.
Healthy Gluten-Free Sweet and Sour Chicken on a plate.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast: Substitute with boneless, skinless chicken thighs, tofu, tempeh, shrimp, or your preferred protein.

Light Olive Oil: Can be replaced with avocado oil, virgin olive oil or vegetable oil.

Carrots & Celery: Customize with your favorite vegetables such as bell peppers, broccoli, snap peas, green beans, or water chestnuts.

Chicken Broth: Vegetable broth or mushroom broth can also be used. Or substitute with water.

Pineapple Juice & Chunks: You can use canned pineapple or fresh pineapple. If using canned, you can choose from chunks, rings or crushed. Orange juice or apple juice can be substituted for pineapple juice.

Tomato Paste: Replace with ketchup or tomato sauce, adjusting the quantity for consistency.

Honey: Substitute with maple syrup or agave nectar.

Apple Cider Vinegar: White wine vinegar, rice vinegar, or white vinegar can be used as alternatives.

Rice Vinegar: White wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar can be used as substitutes.

Toasted Sesame Oil: Regular sesame oil or another nut oil can be used as a replacement.

Soy Sauce: Gluten-free tamari, coconut aminos, or liquid aminos can be alternatives.

Tapioca Flour: Also called tapioca starch. Corn starch or arrowroot powder can be used as a thickening agent.

Garlic: Use garlic powder as a substitute for fresh garlic.

Fresh Ginger: Ground ginger can be used in place of fresh ginger, adjusting the quantity to taste.

Pepper: Adjust the spice level with red pepper flakes or chili sauce, or omit it for a milder version.

Healthy Gluten-Free Sweet and Sour Chicken on a plate.

How to Make My Healthy Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe

Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients

Dice the carrots, celery, and pineapple chunks.

In a bowl, whisk together chicken broth, pineapple juice, tomato paste, honey, apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, tapioca starch, minced garlic, grated fresh ginger, salt, and a dash of pepper.

Stirring sweet and sour sauce.

Step 2: Cook the Chicken

Pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness. Season both sides of the chicken with flaky sea salt and pepper.

Heat 2 tablespoons of light olive oil in a frying pan, large skillet, or wok over medium-high heat. My favorite frying pan is the 12″ HexClad Hybrid Pan.

Add the seasoned chicken pieces and cook for 3-4 minutes until golden brown on the bottom. Flip the chicken and cook until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a plate to rest while you sautee the vegetables and thicken the sauce.

Two pounded and salted chicken breasts on a cutting board.
Two chicken breasts in a frying pan.

Step 3: Sautee the Vegetables

In the same large nonstick skillet over medium high heat, add the sliced carrots and celery. Stir fry the vegetables until they are fork-tender. Remove them from the pan.

Stirring carrots and celery in a frying pan.

Step 4: Add the Sauce

Carefully pour the sauce into the hot pan. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes until the sauce thickens.

Add the cooked chicken, cooked vegetables and pineapple chucks to the pan with the sauce.

Stir everything together until the chicken and vegetables are well-coated in the sweet and sour sauce.

Allow the mixture to simmer for a few minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.

Garnish with sliced green onions or sesame seeds for extra flavor and presentation. Serve and enjoy!

Stirring sweet and sour sauce in a frying pan.
Stirring sweet and sour chicken in a frying pan.
Healthy Gluten-Free Sweet and Sour Chicken in a frying pan.

Sweet and Sour Chicken with Vegetables Recipe Notes

Vegetable Selection: You can choose your favorite vegetables to serve with this sweet and sour chicken sauce. I have found green and red peppers and yellow peppers to be more heartburn-inducing for those with sensitive stomachs. Carrots and celery are a great option because they are mild in flavor but still bring beautiful green and orange color to the dish.

Spiciness Level: This recipe provides the perfect flavorful base with a tangy sauce that you can add more spice to, to meet your personal taste preference.

Chicken Preparation: Pounding the chicken to an even thickness first makes it more tender and allows it to cook more evenly. Cooking it first as a breast and then cutting it into bite-sized pieces after it’s had a chance to rest produces super juicy chicken.

Serving Suggestion: Brown rice and cauliflower rice are healthy choices to serve with this homemade sweet and sour chicken.

Refrigeration: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator promptly after the meal. Refrigerate within two hours of cooking. Eat within 3-4 days to ensure optimal taste and quality.

Separate Components: If possible, store the sweet and sour chicken, vegetables, and rice separately. This helps maintain the individual textures and flavors.

Reheating: Gently reheat leftovers on the stove or in the microwave. Add a splash of water or broth to maintain the moisture and prevent drying.

Freezing: While the texture of vegetables may change after freezing, the sweet and sour chicken can be frozen for longer storage. Place it in a freezer-safe container, leaving some space for expansion.

Thawing and Reheating from Frozen: Thaw frozen sweet and sour chicken in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave, adding extra liquid if needed.

Can I use a different meat or protein source?
Absolutely! You can substitute chicken with pork, tofu, tempeh, shrimp, or another protein of your choice. Adjust cooking times accordingly.

I don’t have tapioca starch. Can I use a different thickening agent?
Yes, you can use cornstarch or arrowroot powder as alternatives to tapioca starch for thickening the sauce.

Can this sweet and sour recipe be made vegetarian or vegan?
Yes, you can make this recipe vegetarian or vegan by using a plant-based protein like tofu or tempeh and replacing honey with a vegan sweetener like agave nectar or maple syrup.

Can I adjust the spice level of the sweet and sour sauce?
Certainly! You can customize the spice level by adding red pepper flakes or your favorite chili sauce to suit your taste.

Can I make the sauce in advance?
Yes, you can prepare the sweet and sour sauce in advance and refrigerate it. When ready to serve, reheat the sauce and combine it with freshly cooked chicken and vegetables.

Can I make this recipe ahead of time for meal prep?
Yes, this recipe is suitable for meal prep. Consider making larger batches and storing individual portions for quick and convenient future meals.

Healthy Gluten-Free Sweet and Sour Chicken on a plate.

Gluten-Free Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe

Dairy-Free diet-friendly recipe
Gluten-Free diet-friendly recipe
My healthy Gluten-Free Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe is Asian-inspired with sweet pineapple, juicy chicken, and an incredibly flavorful, naturally sweetened honey sauce. It's full of flavor but easy on the spice for gentle digestion. It is the perfect base, so you can easily add more spice. 
5 from 2 votes
Servings 6
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 stalk green onion
  • 1/2 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger
  • dash pepper

Instructions
 

  • Dice the carrots, celery, and pineapple chunks.
    In a bowl, whisk together chicken broth, pineapple juice, tomato paste, honey, apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, tapioca starch, minced garlic, grated fresh ginger, salt, and a dash of pepper.
  • Pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness. Season both sides of the chicken with flaky sea salt and pepper.
    Heat 2 tablespoons of light olive oil in a frying pan, large skillet, or wok over medium-high heat.
    Add the seasoned chicken pieces and cook for 3-4 minutes until golden brown on the bottom. Flip the chicken and cook until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a plate to rest while you sautee the vegetables and thicken the sauce.
  • In the same large nonstick skillet over medium high heat, add the sliced carrots and celery. Stir fry the vegetables until they are fork-tender. Remove them from the pan.
  • Carefully pour the sauce into the hot pan. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes until the sauce thickens.
    Add the cooked chicken, cooked vegetables and pineapple chucks to the pan with the sauce.
    Stir everything together until the chicken and vegetables are well-coated in the sweet and sour sauce.
    Allow the mixture to simmer for a few minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.
    Garnish with sliced green onions or sesame seeds for extra flavor and presentation. Serve and enjoy!

Video

YouTube video

Notes

Vegetable Selection: You can choose your favorite vegetables to serve with this sweet and sour chicken sauce. I have found green and red peppers and yellow peppers to be more heartburn-inducing for those with sensitive stomachs. Carrots and celery are a great option because they are mild in flavor but still bring beautiful green and orange color to the dish.
Spiciness Level: This recipe provides the perfect flavorful base with a tangy sauce that you can add more spice to, to meet your personal taste preference.
Chicken Preparation: Pounding the chicken to an even thickness first makes it more tender and allows it to cook more evenly. Cooking it first as a breast and then cutting it into bite-sized pieces after it’s had a chance to rest produces super juicy chicken.
Serving Suggestion: Brown rice and cauliflower rice are healthy choices to serve with this homemade sweet and sour chicken.

Nutrition

Calories: 204kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 10gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 1208mgPotassium: 490mgFiber: 2gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 5419IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 35mgIron: 1mg
Keyword carrots, celery, chicken, homemade, honey, one pan meal, pineapple, sweet and sour, take-out
Did you make this recipe?Please let me know in the comments below how it turned out 🙂

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