Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe

Dive into a bowl of comfort with this slow cooker sweet and sour chicken recipe. It's a perfect blend of sweet, tangy, and savory flavors, cooked to perfection in a slow cooker. This dish is not only delicious but also quite easy to prepare. The slow cooker does most of the work, allowing the flavors to meld together perfectly.

Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe
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Photos of Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe

While most of these ingredients are likely already in your pantry, you might need to pick up a few things. Sriracha hot sauce is a type of Asian-style hot sauce that you can find in the ethnic food aisle of most supermarkets. The other ingredient that might not be a regular in your pantry is cornstarch, which is used as a thickening agent for the sauce. Lastly, don't forget the fresh ingredients like pineapple, bell pepper, and onion which add a burst of freshness to this dish.

Ingredients for Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken

Chicken breast halves: The star of this dish. Choose good quality chicken for the best results.

Chicken broth: Adds flavor and moisture to the dish.

Light brown sugar: Gives the dish its sweet flavor.

Sugar: Enhances the sweet taste of the dish.

White vinegar: Provides the sour component in sweet and sour.

Lemon juice: Adds a fresh and tangy flavor.

Soy sauce: Gives the dish its savory, umami flavor.

Tomato paste: Adds richness and a bit of color.

Garlic powder: Enhances the flavor of the dish.

Ginger: Adds a bit of warmth and spice.

Black pepper: Adds a hint of spice.

Sriracha hot sauce: Gives a kick of heat.

Cornstarch: Used to thicken the sauce.

Pineapple: Adds a sweet, tropical flavor.

Onion: Provides a savory note.

Bell pepper: Adds crunch and freshness.

One reader, Elora Biggs says:

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This slow cooker sweet and sour chicken recipe is a game-changer! The flavors are perfectly balanced, and the chicken turns out so tender. It's incredibly easy to make, and the whole family loves it. Plus, the aroma while it's cooking is simply mouthwatering. Highly recommend trying it out!

Elora Biggs

Techniques Required for Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken

How to prepare the chicken: Cut the chicken breast halves into bite-sized pieces.

How to thicken the sauce: In a small mixing bowl, stir together the ⅓ cup chicken broth and ⅓ cup cornstarch. Whisk until well-blended, then gently fold the cornstarch mixture into the chicken mixture.

How To Make Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken

Try our sweet and sour chicken recipe made in the slow cooker, and surely nothing would beat a weekend night dinner spent deliciously with this dish!

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 5 hours 20 minutes
Total: 5 hours 35 minutes

Serves:

Ingredients

  • 3chicken breast halves,boneless, skinless, about 1½ lb, cut into 1-1½-inch pieces
  • ½cupchicken broth
  • ½cuplight brown sugar
  • ½cupsugar,granulated
  • cupwhite vinegar
  • 3tbsplemon juice
  • 3tbspsoy sauce,low-sodium
  • 3tbsptomato paste
  • ½tspgarlic powder
  • ¼tspginger,ground
  • ¼tspblack pepper,freshly-ground
  • ½ to 1tspSriracha hot sauce,optional
  • cupchicken broth
  • cupcornstarch
  • ¾cuppineapple,fresh, diced, or canned
  • ¼onion,diced into 1-inch pieces
  • ½bell pepper,green or red, diced into 1-inch pieces

Instructions

  1. Place the diced chicken in a slow cooker.

  2. In a mixing bowl combine the ½ cup chicken broth, brown sugar, granulated sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, soy sauce, tomato paste, garlic powder, ginger, pepper, and Sriracha hot sauce.

  3. Whisk until well-blended. Pour mixture over chicken in the slow cooker, and press chicken into the sauce to cover. Cover the slow cooker with the lid, and cook the chicken on low heat for 5 to 6 hours.

  4. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the ⅓ cup chicken broth and ⅓ cup cornstarch. Whisk until well-blended, then gently fold cornstarch mixture into the chicken mixture as the chicken will be very tender.

  5. Fold in the diced pineapple, onion, and bell pepper. Cover the slow cooker with the lid and cook the mixture on low for an additional 20 to 30 minutes until the sauce thickens, and fruits and veggies are slightly tender.

  6. Serve warm with white or brown rice.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 307.58kcal
  • Fat: 5.53g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.55g
  • Trans Fat: 0.05g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 2.25g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.18g
  • Carbohydrates: 51.31g
  • Fiber: 1.36g
  • Sugar: 39.38g
  • Protein: 13.57g
  • Cholesterol: 34.61mg
  • Sodium: 824.11mg
  • Calcium: 34.24mg
  • Potassium: 399.65mg
  • Iron: 1.25mg
  • Vitamin A: 40.06µg
  • Vitamin C: 36.74mg

Helpful Technique Tip for Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken

To ensure your sweet and sour chicken is tender and juicy, avoid overcooking the chicken in the slow cooker. Overcooking can make the chicken tough and dry. Also, adding the pineapple, onion, and bell pepper towards the end of the cooking process ensures they retain their texture and don't become too soft. Lastly, if you prefer a thicker sauce, you can increase the amount of cornstarch mixture. Remember to add it gradually while stirring to avoid lumps.

Time-Saving Tips for Making Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken

Prep ahead: Chop and measure all ingredients in advance to streamline the cooking process.

Use pre-cut veggies: Save time by using pre-cut vegetables from the grocery store.

Multi-task: While the chicken is cooking, use the time to prepare other parts of the meal or clean up the kitchen.

Slow cooker liners: Consider using slow cooker liners for easy cleanup.

Invest in a good slow cooker: A reliable slow cooker with a timer and multiple settings can make cooking more efficient.

Leftovers for another meal: Make extra and use the leftovers for another meal to save time in the future.

Organize your kitchen: Keep your kitchen organized to easily find ingredients and utensils, saving time during meal prep.

Follow the recipe: Stick to the recipe to avoid mistakes that could waste time and ingredients.

Clean as you go: Wash dishes and clean up spills as you cook to minimize the mess and save time after the meal.

Substitute Ingredients For Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe

  • Chicken breast - Substitute with boneless, skinless chicken thighs: Chicken thighs are more flavorful and tend to stay moist during slow cooking, making them a great substitute for chicken breast in this recipe.

  • Light brown sugar - Substitute with dark brown sugar: Dark brown sugar has a stronger molasses flavor, which can add a deeper richness to the sweet and sour sauce.

  • White vinegar - Substitute with apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar can provide a slightly fruitier and milder acidity compared to white vinegar, adding a different dimension to the sweet and sour sauce.

  • Lemon juice - Substitute with lime juice: Lime juice can offer a tangy and slightly different citrus flavor that complements the sweet and sour profile of the dish.

  • Soy sauce - Substitute with tamari: Tamari is a gluten-free alternative to soy sauce and has a slightly richer and less salty flavor, which can enhance the overall taste of the dish.

  • Tomato paste - Substitute with ketchup: Ketchup can provide a similar tomato base and sweetness to the dish, while also adding a hint of tanginess.

  • Garlic powder - Substitute with minced garlic: Using fresh minced garlic can offer a more intense and aromatic garlic flavor compared to garlic powder.

  • Ginger - Substitute with ground cinnamon: Ground cinnamon can provide a warm and sweet flavor that complements the sweet and sour profile of the dish.

  • Sriracha hot sauce - Substitute with chili garlic sauce: Chili garlic sauce can provide a similar level of heat and a garlicky flavor, adding a spicy kick to the dish.

  • Cornstarch - Substitute with arrowroot powder: Arrowroot powder can be used as a thickening agent in place of cornstarch and provides a similar silky texture to the sauce.

  • Pineapple - Substitute with mango: Mango can offer a sweet and tropical flavor similar to pineapple, adding a unique twist to the sweet and sour chicken.

  • Onion - Substitute with shallots: Shallots can provide a milder and sweeter flavor compared to onions, adding a subtle depth to the dish.

  • Bell pepper - Substitute with cubanelle pepper: Cubanelle peppers have a similar shape and texture to bell peppers but offer a slightly sweeter and milder flavor.

Presentation Ideas for Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken

  1. Elevate the plating: Arrange the sweet and sour chicken in a visually appealing manner, ensuring that each component is showcased beautifully on the plate.

  2. Garnish with finesse: Sprinkle a touch of finely chopped green onions on top of the chicken to add a pop of color and a hint of freshness to the dish.

  3. Incorporate vibrant colors: Integrate colorful elements such as red bell peppers and pineapple to create a visually striking and appetizing presentation.

  4. Utilize negative space: Embrace the concept of negative space on the plate to allow the dish to stand out and captivate the diners' attention.

  5. Employ geometric shapes: Consider using the ingredients to create geometric shapes or patterns on the plate, adding an artistic and modern touch to the presentation.

  6. Balance the components: Ensure that the sweet and sour chicken, along with the accompanying fruits and vegetables, are harmoniously balanced on the plate, creating a visually appealing composition.

  7. Emphasize the sauce: Drizzle the luscious sweet and sour sauce over the chicken strategically, enhancing the visual appeal and adding a glossy sheen to the dish.

  8. Highlight the textures: Showcase the varying textures of the dish by layering the tender chicken with the crispness of the bell peppers and the juiciness of the pineapple, creating an enticing visual and sensory experience.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making Sweet and Sour Chicken

  • Slow cooker: A countertop electrical cooking appliance used for simmering food at a lower temperature over a longer period of time.
  • Mixing bowl: A bowl used for combining ingredients and mixing them together.
  • Whisk: A kitchen utensil used for whipping and mixing ingredients together.
  • Small mixing bowl: A smaller bowl used for combining and stirring together smaller amounts of ingredients.
  • Knife: A tool used for cutting and preparing ingredients.
  • Cutting board: A flat board used for cutting and preparing food.
  • Measuring cups and spoons: Tools used for accurately measuring ingredients.
  • Spatula: A kitchen tool with a broad, flat, flexible blade used for mixing, spreading, and turning food.
  • Can opener: A tool used for opening cans.
  • Saucepan: A deep cooking pan with a long handle, used for making sauces and cooking food.
  • Cornstarch: A fine, white powder made from the endosperm of the corn kernel, used as a thickening agent in cooking.
  • Food tongs: A tool with two long arms that are joined at one end, used for picking up and holding food.
  • Ladle: A long-handled spoon with a deep bowl for serving soups, stews, and sauces.
  • Rice cooker: A kitchen appliance used to cook rice.

Storing and Freezing Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken

  • Allow the sweet and sour chicken to cool completely before storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to 4 days.
  • To freeze the sweet and sour chicken, transfer the cooled dish into freezer-safe containers or resealable bags. Remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Label the containers with the date and contents.
  • Frozen sweet and sour chicken will keep for up to 3 months in the freezer.
  • When ready to eat, thaw the frozen sweet and sour chicken in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Reheat the thawed sweet and sour chicken in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it is heated through. You may need to add a little water or chicken broth to thin out the sauce if it has thickened too much during storage.
  • Alternatively, you can reheat the sweet and sour chicken in the microwave. Place the desired portion in a microwave-safe dish, cover with a damp paper towel, and heat in 1-minute intervals, stirring between each interval, until heated through.
  • For best results, store the rice separately from the sweet and sour chicken. Reheat the rice in the microwave or by steaming it until heated through before serving with the reheated sweet and sour chicken.

How To Reheat Leftover Sweet and Sour Chicken

  • The best way to reheat leftover slow cooker sweet and sour chicken is to use the microwave or stovetop. If using the microwave, place the chicken and sauce in a microwave-safe dish, cover with a damp paper towel, and heat in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until heated through.
  • For a crispier texture, you can also reheat the chicken in a skillet on the stovetop. Add a small amount of chicken broth or water to the pan to prevent the sauce from drying out, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is heated through and the sauce is bubbling.
  • If you have leftover rice, you can reheat it separately in the microwave or on the stovetop, and then serve the reheated chicken and sauce over the warm rice.
  • To add some freshness to your reheated meal, consider garnishing with some chopped green onions, cilantro, or a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
  • If you find that the sauce has thickened too much during storage, you can thin it out with a little bit of chicken broth or water when reheating.
  • For best results, store the leftover chicken and sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat thoroughly before serving to ensure food safety.

Interesting Fact About Sweet and Sour Chicken

Sweet and sour chicken is a popular Chinese dish that originated in the 18th century. It was introduced to the United States by Chinese immigrants and has since become a staple in American Chinese cuisine.

Is Making Sweet and Sour Chicken at Home Cost-Effective?

This slow cooker sweet and sour chicken recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. The combination of affordable ingredients such as chicken breast, brown sugar, white vinegar, and soy sauce makes it a budget-friendly option. The addition of pineapple, onion, and bell pepper adds a delightful twist without breaking the bank. With an approximate cost of $15, this recipe can easily feed a family of four. Overall, I would rate this recipe an 8 for its affordability and delicious flavors.

Is Sweet and Sour Chicken Healthy or Unhealthy?

This slow cooker sweet and sour chicken recipe, while delicious, has some aspects that could be improved from a nutritional standpoint. The recipe includes a significant amount of added sugars, with both brown sugar and granulated sugar, which can contribute to excess calorie intake and potential health issues if consumed in large quantities regularly. Additionally, the recipe lacks a substantial amount of vegetables, which are essential for providing vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Reduce the amount of added sugars by half or replace them with natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup
  • Increase the variety and quantity of vegetables in the dish, such as adding carrots, broccoli, or snap peas, to boost the nutrient content and fiber
  • Use low-sodium soy sauce to reduce the overall sodium content of the recipe
  • Opt for lean chicken breast meat and remove any visible skin to reduce the fat content
  • Serve the sweet and sour chicken with a side of brown rice or quinoa instead of white rice to increase the fiber and nutrient content of the meal

By incorporating these changes, you can enjoy a healthier version of this classic dish without compromising on taste. The increased vegetable content will not only provide essential nutrients but also add a variety of textures and flavors to the dish. Reducing the added sugars and sodium will help to create a more balanced meal that still satisfies your cravings for sweet and savory flavors.

Editor's Opinion on This Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe

The slow cooker sweet and sour chicken recipe is a delightful balance of sweet and tangy flavors. The combination of brown sugar, vinegar, and soy sauce creates a rich and savory sauce that perfectly complements the tender chicken. The addition of pineapple, onion, and bell pepper adds a refreshing and colorful touch. The slow cooking process allows the flavors to meld together, resulting in a delicious and satisfying dish. This recipe is a great option for a convenient and flavorful meal, and it pairs beautifully with both white and brown rice.

Enhance Your Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes with a hint of roasted garlic, perfect for soaking up the sweet and sour sauce.
Grilled Asparagus with Lemon Zest: Tender asparagus spears grilled to perfection and finished with a sprinkle of fresh lemon zest, adding a bright and refreshing contrast to the rich flavors of the sweet and sour chicken.
Crispy Sesame Green Beans: Fresh green beans coated in a crispy sesame seed crust, providing a satisfying crunch alongside the tender chicken and pineapple.

Similar Recipes to Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken

Grilled Vegetable Skewers: Marinate your favorite vegetables and grill them to perfection for a healthy and delicious side dish or main course.
Braised Beef Stew: Slow cook tender beef with a variety of vegetables and herbs for a hearty and comforting stew that's perfect for a cozy night in.
Mango Coconut Popsicles: Blend ripe mangoes with creamy coconut milk and freeze into refreshing popsicles for a tropical treat on a hot day.

Appetizer and Dessert Pairings for Sweet and Sour Chicken

Appetizers:
Stuffed Mushrooms: Impress your guests with these savory stuffed mushrooms, filled with a delicious mixture of cheese, herbs, and breadcrumbs. They're the perfect bite-sized appetizer to kick off any meal.
Caprese Skewers: These colorful skewers are a fresh and flavorful appetizer option, featuring juicy tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and fragrant basil. Drizzle with balsamic glaze for an extra burst of flavor.
Desserts:
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and velvety chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The smooth and decadent texture will leave your taste buds craving for more.
Apple Crisp: Savor the warm and comforting flavors of a homemade apple crisp, with a crispy oat topping and tender, cinnamon-spiced apples. Pair it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the perfect balance of sweetness and tartness.

Why trust this Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe:

This slow cooker sweet and sour chicken recipe is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. The combination of tender chicken breast, tangy vinegar, and sweet brown sugar creates a harmonious balance of flavors. The addition of pineapple, onion, and bell pepper adds a delightful burst of freshness. With carefully selected ingredients such as soy sauce, garlic powder, and ginger, this recipe promises an authentic and mouthwatering experience. Trust in the expertise behind this recipe, and you'll be rewarded with a delicious and satisfying meal that will surely become a family favorite.

Share your experience making this Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum and let us know how it turned out!
FAQ:
Can I use chicken thighs instead of chicken breast?
Yes, you can use chicken thighs instead of chicken breast. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly as thighs may require a longer cooking time.
Can I make this recipe without a slow cooker?
Yes, you can make this recipe without a slow cooker. You can cook the chicken in a large pot on the stove over low heat for 1-2 hours, or until the chicken is tender.
Can I use fresh pineapple instead of canned pineapple?
Yes, you can use fresh pineapple instead of canned pineapple. Just make sure to cut it into small pieces so it cooks evenly with the chicken.
Can I omit the sriracha hot sauce?
Yes, you can omit the sriracha hot sauce if you prefer a milder flavor. Feel free to adjust the amount to suit your taste.
Can I use a different type of pepper instead of bell pepper?
Yes, you can use a different type of pepper instead of bell pepper. You can use red, yellow, or orange bell peppers, or even add some heat with jalapenos or other chili peppers.

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