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Pressure Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken is the perfect easy dinner recipe for the entire family. Use your Instant Pot to make this easy family friendly dinner recipe – or use your crock pot!

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Table of Contents
  1. Why you’ll LOVE Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken
  2. Ingredients for making Pressure Cooker Chicken
  3. How to use a Pressure Cooker to make Chicken
  4. How do you pressure cook sweet and sour chicken?
  5. Tips for pressure cooking:
  6. FAQ about making pressure cooker chicken recipes
  7. Pressure Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe

Why you’ll LOVE Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken

I am super excited to share this recipe with you all today because it’s one I grew up eating. My mom made sweet and sour pork often when I was a kid and I always looked forward to that meal. Sweet and sour anything was my favorite Chinese food because of the sweetness and the yummy sauce. I wasn’t one for spicy back then, so I needed a bit of sweetness to get me on board.

When I thought about making sweet and sour chicken, I had to ask my mom for her recipe. I was shocked that I didn’t have it – and that I’d never made it for Jordan. That girl LOVES Chinese food so I’m kicking myself this meal wasn’t in the rotation before now.

Back in the 80s when my mom would make this recipe, she’d spend time cutting the pork into small pieces and dredge it in cornstarch and fry it before adding it to the sauce. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some fried food, but I do not love frying. It takes time and is messy, plus it adds extra calories we don’t need. I took her recipe and skipped the frying step: instead of fried cubes of pork I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Once they’re cooked they shred up easily and the shredded chicken in sweet and sour sauce is the perfect easy weeknight meal.

This might not be a traditional crispy sweet and sour chicken but it’s just as flavorful!

Ingredients to make shredded sweet and sour chicken in a pressure cooker

Ingredients for making Pressure Cooker Chicken

I love my instant pot – as you all know. I’ve used several different kinds of pressure cookers and you can make this in any brand. Making instant pot chicken is easy, fast and so good. I love making shredded chicken on Sundays and eating it all week or using it to make a fast dinner, like this sweet and sour chicken. I prefer to make sweet and sour chicken without pineapple, but you could add some if you like. (I prefer using pineapple juice instead of chunks of pineapple.) My mom always made it with green bell pepper, so that’s what I use.

Chicken Broth: Use your favorite, I love low-sodium

Soy Sauce: I always use low sodium

Pineapple Juice: Adds some sweetness!

Ketchup: Weird, but this is what my mom always used!

Rice Vinegar: Adds some acid to the recipe

Honey: Adds a little sweetness. You can also use agave.

Onion and Pepper: We always had it served with chunks of vegetables.

How to use a Pressure Cooker to make Chicken

When you pressure cook, you need to make sure and use at least 1 cup of liquid, which is why I use the chicken broth. A regular sweet and sour chicken sauce wouldn’t have much chicken broth in it, but the broth helps the instant pot come up to pressure to cook your chicken fast while sealing in the flavor.

I love making chicken in the pressure cooker because it always comes out perfectly moist. It tastes even better than when I slow cook it – but if you don’t want to pressure cook don’t worry. I’ve included directions in the recipe for making crock pot sweet and sour chicken too because sometimes you need to set it and forget it, especially on busy school nights.

I am always worried about getting dinner on the table and this machine is helping immensely. I am notorious for forgetting to start a slow cooker in time, so having the pressure cooking option is perfect. Plus, there is no need to get more pans dirty. So many roast or soup recipes call for browning meat before slow cooking: you can do this right in the Crock-Pot® Express Crock Multi-Cooker. It makes making chili or pot roast easy! You can also use an Instant Pot – whatever brand of pressure cooker you have is fine.

process shots how to make sweet and sour chicken in instant pot

How do you pressure cook sweet and sour chicken?

  1. To make the sauce, you whisk all the ingredients together.
  2. Pour it over the chicken breasts in the instant pot. Pressure cook it for 10 minutes then do a natural release for 10 minutes and the chicken is done perfectly.
  3. Then remove the chicken to rest and shred it. I shredded my sweet and sour chicken but you could simply slice it as well.
  4. Finish the sauce on the brown/sauté function.
  5. All you have to do is add some green bell pepper and onion and cornstarch to thicken it. You can even add chunks of pineapple if you want!
  6. Then add the chicken back into the pot and combine with sauce.
  7. Serve it over rice and you have a complete meal.
chicken in bowl with rice

Tips for pressure cooking:

  1. Make sure you use at least one cup of liquid for the pressure to work.
  2. When you’re first starting out, read the directions and make something simple, like this shredded sweet and sour chicken recipe.
  3. I use natural release for 10 minutes when I make this recipe. Natural release is when you wait to open the valve for a certain amount of time vs just opening it as soon as the cooking is done. Every recipe is different, so be sure to refer to the instructions before choosing one or the other.

Pressure Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken is an easy weeknight meal that the entire family loves!

chicken in bowl

FAQ about making pressure cooker chicken recipes

Do I have to use pineapple juice?

No but make sure you use at least 1 cup of liquid.

Can I cook frozen chicken in the instant pot?

Yes you can add the breasts frozen. Make sure they aren’t stuck together.

How long does it take to cook frozen chicken in the instant pot?

It will take 11-15 minutes for the frozen chicken to cook, depending on the size of your breast.

How to serve sweet and sour chicken?

We serve this with rice or salad, you could also use cauliflower rice!

How to store this recipe? Can you freeze it?

Store in the refrigerator for no longer than 3 days. It can be frozen in an airtight container.

Can you make crockpot sweet and sour chicken?

Yes you can use this same recipe to make sweet and sour chicken in a slow cooker! Place chicken stock, pineapple juice, ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar, honey and pepper in your crock pot. Whisk to combine. Add chicken breasts. Cover and cook on high power for 3-4 hours. Check the internal temperature of the chicken after 2 hours (done is 165°F). Remove from crock pot when it’s done, cover and rest. Make a slurry of 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water and stir it into the liquid in the crock pot. Cover and let cook on high for 15 minutes or so, until the mixture thickens. Add the chicken back to the crockpot and stir to coat. 

Other instant pot chicken recipes to try:

chicken in bowl

Pressure Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken

5 from 1 vote
Shredded sweet and sour chicken is an easy pressure cooker recipe. It’s perfect for an easy dinner and even the kids love it!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Yield 4 servings
Serving Size 1 /4 recipe

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup (118ml) chicken stock
  • 6 ounces (177ml) pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoons (15ml) rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup (59ml) honey
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon (8g) cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) cold water
  • 1 green bell pepper cut in squares
  • ½ small yellow onion cut into wedges

Instructions

  • Place chicken breasts in the bottom of the pressure cooker insert.
  • Whisk together chicken stock, pineapple juice, ketchup, soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey and pepper. Pour over the chicken.
  • Place the lid on the pressure and slide it into the lock position. Set the pressure to high and cook time to 10 minutes.
  • Once the time has elapsed and the machine beeps to signal the end of cooking time, allow a natural release for 10 minutes, then use a kitchen utensil to open the valve to release any remaining steam. Careful, steam will be hot. Remove the chicken to rest.
  • Meanwhile, turn the pressure to Saute and add the chopped pepper and onion. Bring to a boil. Meanwhile, shred or chop the chicken.
  • Stir together the cornstarch and cold water, then add to the sauce. Stir and cook until it thickens. Add the chicken back into the sauce and cook for a few seconds to combine the flavors. Turn off the pressure cooker.
  • Serve the shredded sweet & sour chicken over rice. Serve hot and store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

To make crockpot sweet and sour chicken:

Place chicken stock, pineapple juice, ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar, honey and pepper in your crock pot. Whisk to combine. Add chicken breasts. Cover and cook on high power for 3-4 hours. Check the internal temperature of the chicken after 2 hours (done is 165°F). Remove from crock pot when it’s done, cover and rest. Make a slurry of 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water and stir it into the liquid in the crock pot. Cover and let cook on high for 15 minutes or so, until the mixture thickens. Add the chicken back to the crockpot and stir to coat. Serve hot with rice.

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 recipe | Calories: 228kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 379mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 24g
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Author Dorothy Kern
Keyword chicken, instant pot

**Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!**

Collage of Sweet and Sour chicken with words

Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken is a super easy pressure cooker chicken recipe – the perfect 30 minute meal or weeknight dinner!

Last Updated on May 20, 2022

Dorothy Kern

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30 Comments

  1. I would love to win this Crock-Pot Express Crock Multi Cooker to make this recipe and lots more.  I love that it has different functions and seems easy to use,

  2. I’ve not yet tried this new pressure/crockpot but I am know as as the crockpot queen of my family because I cook so much in it. thanks for the chance to win!

  3. What a wonderful giveaway, especially now! All the stores in our area are out of them. They seem to be a really popular gift this holiday season. I can understand why!
    I have always wanted to try a pressure cooker but was always afraid to because of the horror stories about the old ones exploding. These new ones look like so much fun to use and safe too. I love all the features they have and the recipes you have posted will certainly be on my first to try list.
    Thankyou!

  4. This looks so good. Pinning it for later. Does the crock pot pressure cooker work the same as the Instapot? I don’t have either, but am hoping for one for Christmas.