The Easiest Sweet and Sour Air Fryer Chicken Recipe

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air fryer sweet and sour chicken

Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken

Can you make sweet and sour chicken in the air fryer? Of course, you can! If you are new to Fabulessly Frugal or my YouTube channel, welcome aboard! If you aren’t, then you already know how much I love to make tasty and simple 5 ingredient recipes. Especially any recipe with chicken! Today I am sharing simple instructions to make sweet and sour chicken in the air fryer that you will just love!

Keep reading to discover a few tips and tricks for when you make sweet and sour chicken in the air fryer!

Easy 5 ingredient Sweet and Sour Sauce

sweet and sour sauce and fried chicken ingredients

To make the sweet and sour sauce for this deliciously air fried chicken, you will need these simple 5 ingredients.

  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt

Then, keep reading to learn how to air fry the chicken for this sweet and sour sauce.

How to fry chicken in the air fryer?

Sweet and sour sauce tastes so good with fried chicken. But, can you fry chicken in an air fryer? While it won’t be the same as a deep fried chicken, it is healthier and still tasty! To fry chicken in the air fryer (and for this recipe), you will need:

  • 2½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 scant cup cornstarch

Note: You can cut the chicken into cubes if you prefer to eat the chicken in bite size pieces. 

Tips for air frying chicken

Tip #1: Preheat the air fryer. The first thing you will want to do is preheat the air fryer for at least 5 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 204 degrees Celsius. Learn more about preheating your air fryer in this YouTube video.

how to air fry chicken

Tip #2: Coat the chicken. To make the fried chicken for your sweet and sour sauce, you need to first coat the chicken in cornstarch. I like to do this by placing the chicken in a Ziploc bag along with cornstarch. Then, shake the bag to to coat the entire chicken.

how to air fryer chicken in cornstarch

Tip #3: Use a high smoke point oil. Next, cook the chicken in the air fryer. Lightly spray the air fryer basket with a high smoke point oil like avocado oil or olive oil. Then, place the chicken in the air fryer basket.

use a high smoke point oil

Tip #4: Don’t finish the chicken. Spray the top of the chicken with some more oil then. Cook the chicken in the air fryer at 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 204 degrees Celsius for 4-8 minutes, or until the chicken is almost cooked through and a little golden brown. You want to make sure it is cooked enough that you can’t see any remaining cornstarch.

How do you cook sweet and sour chicken in the air fryer?

homemade sweet and sour sauce

While the chicken is undergoing its initial frying phase. Prepare the ingredients for the sweet and sour sauce.

5 ingredient sweet and sour sauce

First, whisk the sauce ingredients together in a cake barrel dish or a similar air fryer safe dish. Then, add in the chicken and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until the chicken and sauce is warmed through. Chicken will register at 165 degrees Fahrenheit or 74 degrees Celsius with an instant read thermometer once it is finished cooking. Adjust the time as need until the chicken reaches the safe internal temperature.

Get my FREE internal temperature guide and 18 air fryer tips.

air fryer sweet and sour chicken

Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce

With the remaining sauce from the chicken you can add a thickener to make it more thick and sauce-like, or you can serve it as is.

how to air fry sweet and sour chicken

If you want to make the sauce thicker, try combining 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of cold water together in a small bowl. Stir it together to make a slurry. Then, add the thickener to the already warm and/or simmering sauce until it becomes thick. Transfer the sauce to a sauce pan to warm it up if necessary. You can also try placing the sauce in a microwave safe bowl and heating it up in the microwave for 30 second to 1 minute.

Serving Suggestions

sweet and sour chicken serving suggestions

Air fryer fried sweet and sour chicken is so simple and tasty. You will love to pair this recipe with some rice, noodles, pineapple, broccoli, carrots, bell peppers and onions, or other vegetables or stir fry mix. Try garnishing the chicken with some green onions or scallions. Or, just serve as is. Whatever you do, it will be so tasty and good!

air fryer sweet and sour chicken

Final Thoughts

Air fryer sweet and sour chicken comes together quick and easy! This is a great dinner to prepare on a busy weeknight or if you are looking to serve some homemade Chinese takeout. We love the great, easy, and simple flavors of this recipe.

What do you like about this recipe? Share with us in the comments below!

easy air fryer sweet and sour chicken

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you cook frozen chicken in the air fryer?

When you are frying chicken in the air fryer it is best to use raw, unfrozen chicken. However, you could also try this recipe with raw, frozen chicken.

If you are using frozen chicken, I would use the air fryer to help the chicken thaw. Then, once it is mostly thawed, prepare the chicken with the cornstarch and finish up the cooking process.

You will need to adjust the cooking time slightly if you are using frozen chicken, so check out this how to make frozen chicken in the air fryer post for some hints for cooking frozen chicken in the air fryer. 

I don’t have a cake barrel dish, what do I do?

The air fryer cake barrel dish came in an air fryer accessory kit or you can buy it separately. However, you can use any dish that will fit inside your air fryer, is large enough to hold the sauce ingredients, and is oven safe.

Learn more about air fryer tools and other dishes

Can I use flour instead of cornstarch for frying?

Cornstarch is lighter than flour so really helps the food fry more crispy, especially if you are deep frying it. However, since we are air frying, does it really matter? Flour will work to help achieve the deep fry taste and texture, but it won’t be the same as using cornstarch. It is likely that the chicken won’t be as golden brown or crispy. It also might take longer to become fried, so it is also possible that your chicken will be overdone.

sweet and sour chicken in the air fryer

More Tasty Chicken Air Fryer Recipes

Air Fryer Tips and Tricks

Watch Fabulessly Frugal YouTube Channel for Air Fryer Recipes

air fryer sweet and sour chicken

air fryer sweet and sour chicken

Air Fryer 5 Ingredient Sweet & Sour Chicken

Air fryers use hot air to fry food. The food tastes crispy, but it's not deep fried in oil. Check out these tips to making our easy, 5 ingredient, sweet and sour chicken recipe.
5 / 5 ( 1 Review )
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Prep Time: 13 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes
Serves: 4
Adjust Servings: 4

Equipment

Ingredients

Air Fried Chicken

  • 2 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup cornstarch 1 scant cup

Sweet & Sour Sauce

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt

Instructions

  • Preheat the air fryer at 400°F/200°C for 5 minutes.
  • Dice or cube the chicken if desired. Add the chicken to a Ziploc bag along with cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Shake well to coat evenly.
  • Spray the bottom of the air fryer basket with avocado or olive oil.
  • Remove the chicken from the bag and shake off any excess coating.
  • Add the chicken in a single layer in the air fryer basket and spray the tops with avocado oil or olive oil.
  • Cook the chicken in the air fryer at 400°F/200°C for 4-8 minutes, or until it is almost cooked and slightly browned. Flip at the halfway point.
  • Whisk sauce ingredients together in a cake barrel dish or other oven safe dish. Add in the chicken and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until the chicken and sauce is warmed through. Chicken will register at 165˚F/74˚C with an instant read thermometer once it is finished cooking. Add time as necceassry until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Optional. With remaining sweet and sour sauce, make a thicker blend. Combine 1 tablespoon of cold water with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch together in a bowl. Combine with warm to simmering sauce until thickened.

Recipe Notes

Recipe also adapted from Fabulessly Frugal

Nutrition

Calories: 589kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 61g | Fat: 7g | Sodium: 2058mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 32g

Recipe Adapted From: Garnished Plate

Ingredients: Apple cider vinegar, Chicken, Cornstarch, Garlic Salt, Granulated Sugar, Ketchup, Rice Vinegar, Soy Sauce, Sugar
Meal Type: 30-Minute Meals, Main Dish, Fall, Spring, Summer, Winter
Categories: Meat and Poultry, Air Fryer

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