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Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken

Instant Pot sweet and sour chicken made with frozen popcorn chicken is the easiest meal ever that everyone loves! Panda Express copycat recipe for sure. 

Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken

I am all about easy, and delicious when it comes to dinner. That is where this Instant Pot sweet and sour chicken comes into play! With NO breading or batter required it is quick with lots of veggies. One of our favorite chicken Instant Pot recipes on The Typical Mom. (originally published 8/19, affiliate links present)

  • I love copycat recipes! When it’s way too hot or cold outside to go out to dinner, or we’re trying to save money these come in handy.

Our Instant Pot sesame chicken is a close second to this one. I bet they will become new family favorite one pot meals you’ll love too. You can make both in your Ninja Foodi too. Let us know what you think. 😉

Let’s start with a few basic tips:

For reference, this is the pressure cooker I have and use for all recipe creations.

star wars instant pot

We also love recipes with pineapple like this one. A few other Instant Pot chicken recipes have it too. Want to use fresh chicken breasts or thighs instead to make something similar?

If you want to use fresh meat then follow our Ninja Foodi pineapple chicken recipe instead and add diced green peppers to that. Both are delicious so I’d suggest you try it both ways and see which you prefer.

Sometimes you really need quick and easy, throw in what’s in the bag kinda’ meal. You know what I mean I am sure.

diced chicken thighs

Here are a few questions you might have right now you want answered before you get going on this:

Is sweet and sour chicken the same as orange chicken?

The taste is slightly different but yes they have similar flavors. You can use our Instant Pot orange chicken recipe for the latter.

How do I make sweet and sour sauce from scratch?

We will show you how here! With ketchup, apple cider vinegar, and a variety of seasonings this one tastes fantastic and is homemade. You can make air fryer popcorn chicken and then use this sauce.

Is sweet and sour chicken healthy?

All in moderation with all things. Using frozen breaded bites like we did here isn’t as healthy as fresh diced chicken breasts. You can substitute that if you’d rather.

Of course as always you can make this in any sort of pressure cooker you have including as an easy Ninja Foodi recipe too.

pressure cooker sweet and sour chicken

What is Chinese sweet and sour chicken made of?

Using bite sized pieces of chicken (or pork) it is stir fried in a homemade sweet and sour sauce typically made of:

  1. Sugar
  2. Ketchup
  3. White vinegar
  4. Soy sauce
  5. Some include pineapple, green peppers and onion

You’ll want a whisk too to mix the sauce really well before you add that into your pot.

  • I like my veggies cut into large chunks. That way they keep some texture and aren’t mushy at all once the cooking is over. The smaller you cut them the softer they will be. Just a tip.

Use any and all colors of bell peppers you like. If you only really like green though, then stick with those. Totally up to you.

sweet and sour sauce

Instant Pot sweet and sour chicken recipe

  1. Instant Pot
    1. I HIGHLY suggest you get this nonstick pot
  2. Bag of popcorn chicken or make air fryer popcorn chicken homemade
  3. Pineapple chunks
    1. could substitute a bit of pineapple juice for broth for a sweeter taste
    2. maybe 1/2 of a cup at most
  4. Bell peppers
  5. Onion
sliced onions
  1. Sesame oil
  2. Ketchup
  3. Soy sauce
  4. Sugar
  5. Apple cider vinegar
  6. Chicken broth
  7. Cornstarch to thicken sauce a bit

We serve this on top of our Instant Pot white rice.

the typical mom instant pot recipes

Is sweet and sour chicken the same as orange chicken?

Well, or Instant Pot orange chicken is not breaded, and this one is.

  • Both are covered in a glaze like sauce, typically served over rice though orange chicken is usually lighter colored.

Why are we using frozen popcorn chicken instead of breading it ourselves.

  1. It makes things REALLY easy and quick.
  2. Honestly it’s a mess to bread meat and try cooking it in a pressure cooker. It’s really better to fry or air fry it so it sticks well.
  3. These actually taste great and create just like at a restaurant

Copycat Panda Express sweet and sour chicken

At the end of the day it’s cheaper vs. all the ingredients necessary to make your own breaded chicken.

sweet and sour sauce

This has such a short cooking time too! Just 4 minutes on high pressure to heat up the sweet and sour sauce, add the chicken breast pieces, cook and then quick release.

I would say from start to finish including prep time, sauteeing, and pressure cook time it’s under 30 minutes which is great.

Time needed: 9 minutes.

Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken

  1. Saute

    Chop all vegetables and whisk together your sauce mixture EXCEPT the cornstarch in a bowl. Set your pressure cooker to saute for 10 minutes.

    Add your sesame oil and once it’s warmed add your vegetables. Cook until they’re beginning to soften, 3-4 minutes. Then pour in your sauce mixture and stir. Allow to heat for 3 min.

    Put cornstarch in a small bowl with some of your hot sauce from the pot and whisk together until smooth.

    Dump this into the pot to allow the sauce to thicken until time is up on saute function, about 2 min. Turn saute function off.

    Pour in your frozen popcorn chicken and stir. Add pineapple chunks and stir.

  2. Cook

    Put pressure cooker lid on and close steam valve. Set to pressure cook high for 4 minutes. Do a quick release. Stir and serve over rice topped with green onions.

So easy right? You can really boost the amount of veggies to add in to this. There is a suggestion below as to what was added here but that is up to you. Remember they should all have similar cook times though.

easy sweet and sour recipe

Firmer is a bit better that is why onions and bell peppers work so well as you can see here.

What do you serve with sweet and sour chicken?

If you have an air fryer you could have both pots going at the same time and make:

A simple batch of air fryer cauliflower is always the perfect side dish.

ninja foodi sweet and sour chicken

And there you have it!!

Pressure cooker sweet and sour chicken

Can you make this chicken in a Ninja Foodi too?

  • Yes!
  • This recipe will work in any brand you have including a Crockpot Express pot.
  • Follow directions below to enjoy it tonight.
pressure cooker sweet and sour chickcen recipe

Other Asian Instant Pot recipes:

Nutritional facts including saturated fat and calories are listed below in this printable recipe card.

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Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken

Instant Pot sweet and sour chicken made with frozen popcorn chicken is the easiest meal ever that everyone loves! Panda Express copycat recipe for sure.
Course Entree, Main Course
Cuisine American, Chinese
Keyword chicken, instant pot, popcorn chicken, pressure cooker, sweet and sour chicken
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 105kcal
Author The Typical Mom

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Chop all vegetables and whisk together your sauce mixture EXCEPT the cornstarch in a bowl. Set your pressure cooker to saute for 10 minutes.
  • Add your sesame oil and once it's warmed add your vegetables. Cook until they're beginning to soften, 3-4 minutes. Then pour in your sauce mixture and stir. Allow to heat for 3 min.
  • Put cornstarch in a small bowl with some of your hot sauce from the pot and whisk together until smooth. Dump this into the pot to allow the sauce to thicken until time is up on saute function, about 2 min. Turn saute function off.
  • Pour in your frozen popcorn chicken and stir. Add pineapple chunks and stir.
  • Put pressure cooker lid on and close steam valve. Set to pressure cook high for 4 minutes. Do a quick release.
  • Stir and serve over rice topped with green onions.

Video

Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken
Amount Per Serving (3 oz)
Calories 105 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 1019mg44%
Potassium 212mg6%
Carbohydrates 17g6%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 11g12%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 690IU14%
Vitamin C 45.7mg55%
Calcium 13mg1%
Iron 0.6mg3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Recipe Rating




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Jan

Thursday 14th of January 2021

could you air fry it at the end to get it crispy?

Penny

Wednesday 13th of January 2021

What kind of popcorn chicken do you use? Most of the one's I've tried have tasted like cardboard.

The Typical Mom

Wednesday 13th of January 2021

Tyson has a good one using white meat

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