Sweet and Sour Chicken in the Air Fryer You’ll Love!

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Air Fryer Sweet And Sour Chicken In A White Bowl

Can You Air Fry Sweet And Sour Chicken?

A resounding yes! Made with just a handful of simple ingredients, this easy air fryer recipe will surely become a family favourite. This recipe can be made in any air fryer.

This is the meal I make the most in my air fryer it’s delicious!

The combination of perfectly cooked chicken and the tangy sauce is delicious cooked in the air fryer.


Serves 4

For the Chicken:

  • 300g boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • Cooking spray

For the Vegetables:

  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1 onion, cut into wedges

For the Sweet and Sour Sauce:

  • 60ml tomato ketchup
  • 118ml water
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp cornflour

How Long To Air Fry Sweet And Sour Chicken?

Enjoy a delicious meal with a perfect balance of crispy chicken and vegetables in about 25-30 minutes. So quick and easy.

Air fryer Sweet And Sour Chicken With Rice

How To Air Fry Sweet And Sour Chicken

Cut the boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts into bite-sized pieces. (I did find this easier using chicken breast).

In a bowl, marinate the chicken with light soy sauce, oyster sauce, pepper and cornflour. Ensure the chicken pieces are well-coated and let them marinate for 10-15 minutes. Even tastier if marinated overnight.

Place the marinated chicken pieces in a plastic bag along with the cornflour. Shake the bag until the chicken pieces are fully coated with the cornflour. Add more cornflour if not enough to coat all of the chicken.

Preheat the air fryer to 180C/360F for 5 minutes.

Place the chicken pieces in the preheated air fryer basket.

Spray with a light mist of cooking oil. Be sure to leave enough room for the air to circulate the chicken pieces.

Air fry for 15 minutes turning the chicken pieces halfway through the cooking time.

After 5 minutes, add the red and green bell peppers and the onion wedges to the air fryer for the last 10 minutes of the cooking time.

If you are using a Ninja Dual Air Fryer use the empty basket to air fry the vegetables for 10 minutes, turning halfway through.

While the chicken is air frying make the sweet and sour sauce.

Sweet And Sour Sauce

Dissolve 1 tablespoon of cornflour in 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl/cup. Make a slurry with a smooth consistency and no lumps.

Mix the tomato ketchup, water, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, and light soy sauce in another bowl. Stir the mixture thoroughly to blend the ingredients.

Pour the cornflour mixture into the bowl with the other ingredients. This serves as a thickening agent for the sauce.

Whisk the entire mixture until the cornflour is fully blended.

Pour the sauce mixture into a saucepan and cook over a medium heat until the sauce thickens.

Taste the sauce and adjust the sweetness or tanginess according to your preference. You can add more brown sugar for sweetness or vinegar for tanginess.

If the sauce is too thin add more cornflour mixed with a little water.

Once you achieve the desired balance of flavours and thickness, set the Sweet and Sour sauce aside.

Once the chicken is golden brown and the vegetables are tender-crisp. Remove from the air fryer.

Plate the chicken and drizzle with the sweet and sour sauce.

Serve hot, garnished with fresh herbs and boiled rice.

Sweet And Sour Chicken With Pineapple

Pineapple cut into slices

If you prefer the sweetness of pineapple juice, replace the apple cider vinegar with 2 tablespoons of pineapple juice.

Adjust the quantity of brown sugar to your taste preference, considering the natural sweetness of the pineapple juice.

Add 2 tablespoons of pineapple juice to the marinade mixture for an extra layer of tropical flavour.

If you enjoy pineapple chunks in your Sweet and Sour Chicken, consider adding fresh pineapple chunks to the vegetable mix.

Why Pineapple Juice?

Natural Sweetness: Pineapple juice brings a natural sweetness that complements the dish’s sweet and sour elements without the need for excessive sugar.

Tropical Twist: Pineapple juice adds a hint of tropical flavour to the dish.

Tenderising Effect: The enzymes present in pineapple juice can contribute to tenderising the chicken, resulting in a more succulent texture.

More Air Fryer Recipes

6 Sweet And Sour Chicken Variations

Spicy Sweet and Sour Chicken:

Add a kick to your sweet and sour chicken by adding chilli flakes, sriracha, or diced red chilli peppers to the sauce. This variation offers a lovely balance of sweet, sour, and spicy flavours.

Honey Garlic Sweet and Sour Chicken:

Infuse the sauce with honey and minced garlic for a unique flavour. This variation gives a milder sweetness and a hint of garlic.

Vegetarian Sweet and Sour Tofu:

Replace the chicken with tofu for a vegetarian version. Crisp up the tofu before tossing it in the sweet and sour sauce. Include vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, and snap peas.

Orange Sweet and Sour Chicken:

Add orange zest or orange juice to the sauce for a citrusy twist. The zesty flavour of orange complements the sweet and sour of the dish.

Teriyaki Sweet and Sour Chicken:

Mix the flavours of teriyaki and sweet and sour by adding teriyaki sauce to the mix. This creates a blend of sweet, savoury, and tangy notes.

Sesame Sweet and Sour Chicken:

Finish the dish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds for added crunch and a subtle nutty flavour.

Q & A

Moisture Content: Excess moisture on the chicken’s surface can hinder crispiness. Pat the chicken dry before seasoning and air frying to ensure a drier surface.

Temperature: Ensure that the air fryer is preheated. Cooking at a lower temperature might result in less crispiness. Typically, a higher temperature is ideal for achieving a crispy texture.

Coating: A thin layer of oil or a light coating of breadcrumbs can enhance crispiness. Make sure the chicken is evenly coated for better results.

Spacing: Avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket. Giving each piece of chicken enough space allows hot air to circulate and cook evenly.

Cooking Time: Check the recommended cooking time for your specific chicken cut. Overcooking can lead to dryness, while undercooking may result in a lack of crispiness.

Flip or Shake: Turn the chicken or shake the basket halfway through air frying. This ensures that both sides are exposed to the circulating hot air.

Cooking chicken for too long in the air fryer can lead to a rubbery texture. Overcooking causes the proteins in the meat to contract, resulting in toughness.

Using oil in an air fryer is not strictly necessary, but it can impact the texture and taste of the result. Oil plays a role in crisping up the exterior of foods. Without oil, items may not achieve the same level of crispiness or browning. The result could be drier and less crispy than using a small amount of oil.

While fresh chicken is recommended for the best results, you can thaw and pat dry frozen chicken before marination.

Absolutely! Feel free to experiment with the sauce ingredients to achieve the perfect balance tailored to your taste.

The air fryer’s versatility extends to various cuisines. Explore the world of Asian flavours with dishes like crispy spring rolls or teriyaki chicken.

The air frying process significantly reduces oil usage, making your dishes healthier without compromising on taste or texture.

Yes, experimenting with cooking times allows you to achieve the desired level of crispiness. Keep an eye on the dish as it cooks to find your perfect balance.

Consider serving your Sweet and Sour Chicken with steamed rice, noodles, or a fresh salad to complement the flavours.

While it’s best enjoyed fresh, you can reheat the dish in the air fryer for a few minutes to restore its crispiness. Avoid overcooking to retain the original texture.

Cooking display with herbs

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Storing Leftover Air Fryer Sweet And Sour Chicken

Freezer Storage


Store any leftover sweet and sour chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Eat refrigerated leftovers within 3-4 days for the best quality.


If you have extra sweet and sour sauce, consider storing it separately from the chicken. This prevents the sauce from making the crispy coating on the chicken soggy.

Freezing Leftover Sweet And Sour Chicken


Allow the sweet and sour chicken to cool completely before freezing. This helps retain the texture when reheated.


Consider dividing the chicken into individual portions before freezing. This makes it easier to thaw and reheat only the amount you need.

Air-Tight Containers

Use airtight containers or freezer bags to store the sweet and sour chicken. Make sure they are sealed tightly to prevent freezer burn and maintain flavour.


Label the containers with the date of freezing to keep track of freshness.

Freezing Sauce Separately

If possible, freeze the sweet and sour sauce separately. While the chicken can be frozen with the sauce, separating them helps keep the chicken crisp when reheating.

How To Reheat Sweet And Sour Chicken In An Air Fryer

meat thermometer

NOTE: Whichever method you use to reheat the chicken check with a meat thermometer the internal temperature has reached 74C / 165F for food safety.

Air Fryer Or Oven

For best results, reheat frozen sweet and sour chicken in an oven or air fryer. This helps to maintain the crispiness of the coating.

Preheat the oven to a medium-high temperature or air fry at 175C/ 350F for a few minutes.

Place the frozen chicken on a baking sheet or in the air fryer basket and reheat until hot.

Avoid The Microwave

While a microwave is quicker, it may compromise the crispy texture.

If using a microwave, consider finishing by crisping the chicken in an oven or air fryer for a few minutes.

Reheat Sauce Separately

If you have separated the sauce, you can heat it on the stove or in the microwave and pour it over the reheated chicken.


Hi, I’m Annemarie

Having recently retired, I found myself looking for a new project to channel my energy.

That’s when the idea struck to create a dedicated UK air frying website.

Combining my passion for cooking and the desire to promote healthy eating in busy households, I began developing a collection of recipes tailored for those looking for quick and nutritious meals.

Join me on my journey and discover delicious ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle without compromising on taste.

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