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Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken

You’ll never want takeout again after you try this Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe. It packs a powerful flavor and is ready in just 20 minutes.

It can be intimidating to make a recipe for sweet and sour chicken from scratch, but this recipe makes it super easy. This recipe is made without ketchup and relies on pineapple juice to give it the tang you know and love in the sauce.

Whether you’re a beginner at air frying or a pro, it’s a recipe you can master the first time and enjoy with a side of stir fry vegetables and rice.

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Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken served over rice on a white plate

I have a sweet spot for Asian chicken dishes – such as my Air Fryer Orange Chicken recipe.

I even put a Hawaiian spin on my stir-fries with Air Fryer Pineapple Chicken, so it was time to dive into my ultimate favorite sweet and sour sauce.

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My favorite part of this recipe is how healthy the chicken is when air fried compared to deep-fried. It’s also unbreaded and covered with corn starch instead to still create a crispy outer layer you’ll enjoy.

How to Make Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken

A full printable version of this recipe with ingredient measurements is available at the bottom of this post.

1. Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees. It will take a normal air fryer about 5 minutes to preheat to this temperature.

2. Cut your boneless and skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs into 1½ to 2-inch chunks. A bigger chicken chunk allows for the chicken to stay juicy inside with an extra crispy crust.

3. Batter your chicken in just enough corn starch to cover the chicken.

Cubed chicken covered with cornstarch in clear bowl

4. Place the chicken cubes in the air fryer and cook for 7 to 9 minutes, shaking the basket or flipping halfway through.

Raw cubed chicken inside air fryer

5. While the chicken is cooking, mix the pineapple juice, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and ginger in a medium saucepan on medium heat and bring to a simmer.

Cooked cubed chicken inside air fryer

6. Let the sauce simmer for 5 minutes, then mix the cornstarch and water in a separate small bowl.

7. Add cornstarch and water mixture to the sauce and stir until sauce thickens about one minute. Add in 3-4 drops of red food dye if desired for true sweet and sour color and remove sauce from heat.

8. Remove chicken from the air fryer and coat with sweet and sour sauce.

Closeup of Sweet and Sour Chhicken with rice peeking out underneath

Tips for Making This Air Fryer Recipe

  • Use just enough corn starch to cover the chicken. Using too much cornstarch will make a mess in an air fryer. The cornstarch should all adhere to the chicken and not create any white marks when cooked.

    I like to add half of the cornstarch to the chicken, mix, then add the rest little by little to ensure I don’t use too much.
  • The secret to getting juicy chicken in an air fryer is to stop cooking it as soon as it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. The overcooked chicken will start to turn dry on both the inside and outside.
  • To create a thicker sweet and sour sauce, mix another teaspoon of water and teaspoon of cornstarch in a bowl and add to the sauce while still on the heat.
  • Swap out the red food dye for some sweet paprika to create a more natural red coloring of the sauce. You can also choose to opt-out of the color additives completely. It will not affect the taste of the sauce, just the appearance.
Closeup of sweet and sour chicken with sesame seeds and green onions on top on a white plate

Can I Make This Recipe with Frozen Chicken?

Yes! If you’re short on time, you can make this recipe using frozen chicken nuggets or any other kind of frozen chicken.

It is difficult to use frozen chicken breasts or thighs as you need to chop up the chicken into bite-sized pieces.

How Do I Reheat Sweet and Sour Chicken in an Air Fryer?

Reheating leftovers is a favorite of mine. It saves on time and using an air fryer creates results that taste like they were just freshly made.

I recommend keeping the sauce and chicken separately for leftovers, but if they are combined, place them in an air fryer pan, like this air fryer pizza pan I use, to help with sticking and cleanup.

Cook the chicken in a preheated air fryer at 350 degrees for 3 to 4 minutes until warmed thoroughly.

Air Fried Sweet and Sour Chicken with rice underneath on a white plate

What Can I Serve with Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken?

I love serving Asian chicken as a stir fry. I roast up some vegetables, like these Air Fryer Green Beans or Air Fryer Bok Choy, and cook up some rice in the air fryer.

It creates the perfect balanced meal with protein, vegetables, and a starch.

Tools I Used to Help Make This Recipe

Other Air Fryer Chicken Recipes You’ll Love:

Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken served over rice on a white plate

Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken

Samantha Erb
A delicious sweet and sour sauce drizzled on top of air fryer chicken to create a delicious Asian dish.
4.40 from 116 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Air Fryer Recipes
Cuisine Asian
Servings 2 servings
Calories 702 kcal


For the Chicken

  • 1 pound chicken breasts or chicken thighs cut into 1 1/2 to 2-inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch or potato starch

For the Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger or 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water


  • 1/4 cup pineapple chunks
  • 3-4 drops of red food coloring for traditional orange look


  • Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees.
  • Combine chicken pieces and cornstarch into a bowl and mix until the chicken is just fully coated.
  • Place chicken in the air fryer and cook for 7-9 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through. Then remove from the air fryer.
  • Meanwhile, mix together the pineapple juice, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and ginger and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  • Mix together the cornstarch and water in a separate bowl to create a "slurry" then add it to the sweet and sour sauce along with pineapple chunks and red food coloring (if using).
  • Let simmer for one more minute then remove sauce from the heat.
  • Toss chicken and sauce together and serve alongside rice or veggies for a full meal.*


* sauce makes enough to help coat veggies or rice to serve alongside.
How to Reheat Sweet and Sour Chicken in an Air Fryer:
Cook chicken in a preheated air fryer at 350 degrees for 3 to 4 minutes until warmed thoroughly.
If chicken is already coated with sauce, place chicken on an air fryer pan to help with the mess.


Serving: 1gCalories: 702kcalCarbohydrates: 81gProtein: 72gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 193mgSodium: 624mgFiber: 1gSugar: 61g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


About Samantha

I’ve always had a love of cooking and creating new recipes, so it only made sense to create a food blog so I could share those recipes with you. This site is designed to provide easy and flavorful recipes with as little ingredients as possible. That means you still get great flavor combinations without all that extra time and effort. Read more...

13 thoughts on “Air Fryer Sweet and Sour Chicken”

  1. I made this recipe for the first time. I double the recipe and it turned out great, tasty and delicious, I would say this recipe it’s better than the restaurant.

    • Hi Charlotte, it sounds like the sauce may have been on the heat a little too long as it continues to thicken when it cools. You can also cut the amount of cornstarch and water in half as well to make a thinner sauce. Enjoy!

    • Yes! Just make sure you don’t overcrowd the basket of your air fryer depending on the size of yours. For this recipe, I recommend only doing a single layer of chicken and cook in batches if needed, but the sauce will multiply great.

  2. This sounds delicious, however, you never mention how much brown sugar, pineapple juice, rice wine vinegar or ginger. I hate to foul this up and I never been much of a cooker. However, this is one of my husband favorite foods. Love to surprise him with your cooking.

    • Hi Terry, the exact measurements for all of the ingredients are listed in the recipe card at the bottom of the page. Enjoy!

  3. Not sure what went wrong, the corn starch on the chicken didn’t cook, the chicken looked like powdered donuts.
    The sauce was sour, not so sweet.

    • Hi Kevin, I recommend spritzing the chicken with a bit more oil with an oil sprayer to get the white powder looking parts off the chicken. It’s also important to tap any excess amounts off as well. As for the sauce, I am not sure what happened as the sauce is made to be very sweet (not as sweet as the storebought though).

  4. Thanks for the help!!! I’ve tried several “air fryer” recipes that don’t work at all. A small amount of cornstarch added in small doses works great…wonder why I didn’t think of it before…duh.


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