This shop and the accompanying recipe for baked sweet and sour chicken has been compensated. All opinions are mine alone. Some links in this post are affiliate links that earn me a commission if you purchase through them.
I can’t believe it isn’t just New Year that’s come and gone, but the Chinese New Year is here on Monday already. Somehow.
In our house, we have a tradition to celebrate the calendar new year with Chinese food from our favorite takeout restaurant. On Chinese New Year, however, we tend to be focused on cooking at home.
While we sometimes forget, this year we have extra incentive to celebrate and remind my husband of the summer he spent teaching in China last year. While he was there, he had the fun of exploring Beijing and seeing a lot of the city that most of us never will.
On the day he came back to the States, my mom wanted to go out for Chinese to celebrate. While he wanted a little variety after eating nothing but very authentic Chinese food for over a month, anytime I suggest Chinese now, he’s all for it.
This year, I’m making my favorite baked sweet and sour chicken along with homemade fortune cookies. We plan to have a family meal Monday night to talk about some of his favorite memories and then spend some time after dinner going through his photos.
Because it’s a school night, I know I’ll need to cook up dinner in a hurry. The fortune cookies I can make in advance, which makes things a little easy. As long as I keep them in a tightly sealed container, I can make them on Saturday or Sunday.
Even though they aren’t authentically Chinese – he will be the first to point out that he had a grand total of zero fortune cookies during his stay – they’re tasty when made from scratch and the fortunes are always a hoot.
In fact, for this batch I made up some Chinese New Year fortunes that I will cut out and put in the fortune cookies. I shared yesterday how to make your own fortune cookies – and that patience and speed are the keys.
While I plan to have some Valentine’s focused fortunes for Little Miss’s class party later in the week, and I’ll often cut out some of my favorite jokes to put in them, Chinese New Year definitely calls for traditional fortunes.
This free fortune cookie printable has a ton to choose, far more than you would need for a batch of fortune cookies.
Dinner itself can be ready and on the table in a little over a half hour. Sweet and sour chicken – another Chinese restaurant staple that may not be the most authentic Chinese dish. Who cares – it’s still oh so yummy – is definitely on the docket.
Because I want to simplify dinner as much as possible so that I can help the wee ones with any homework and ensure I’m able to enjoy the dinner with my family, I picked up everything I need for my baked sweet and sour chicken to be ready as quickly as possible.
Wait, baked sweet and sour chicken? Yes, you heard me right. Baked.
For those who are afraid of fryers or don’t own one or just would like to enjoy a slightly better for you dinner, this baked sweet and sour chicken is right up your alley. You still have the tang and crunch that you look for but without the frying.
It’s simple to make and so delicious. One warning: you might end up with a slightly messy kitchen as you dredge your chicken.
It’s all worth it in the end when you bite into your baked sweet and sour chicken. The flavor plus the realization just how quickly you got your Chinese New Year dinner on the table make this a win.
For this baked sweet and sour chicken, where I’m focusing on a slightly better-for-you version, I use the a brown that gives a rich nutty flavor to the dish. Feel free to use your favorite rice, however.
I did “cheat” a little this time. I used a bottled sweet and sour sauce, but it’s simple to make your own. Need a recipe? Use my favorite sweet and sour sauce recipe – it’s ready in no time!
I feel like this whole baked sweet and sour chicken dinner is a score all around. My husband already asked me after my test go around to confirm that yes we really are having this again for Chinese New Year. Silly man!
How to Make Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken
Before you get started with your baked sweet and sour chicken, you want to get everything set up. This is one of the recipes where mise-en-place is crucial.
Turn your oven to 400 degrees, then set up your work station right away. You need a bowl for the Panko. Quick tip: I only put half in at a time then refill as I get low on the breadcrumbs.
Set out a bowl for the egg whites and water that you whisk together, as well as a bowl for the cornstarch.
Cut the chicken into bite size chunks. My family likes to enjoy their baked sweet and sour chicken a little bigger so that it’s two bites, but go with your favorite. Once you chicken cut all your chicken, take a piece at a time and push it through the assembly line.
I find it easiest to use one hand to gently dredge in the cornstarch. Shake off any excess, then dunk it into the whisked egg whites and water before you drop it into the Panko.
I use my other (clean-ish) hand to cover the chicken piece with breadcrumbs and toss it in the Panko. Then place the coated chicken onto the baking sheet. This keeps too much “goop” from building up on one hand.
If you do all steps with the same hand, the Panko really starts to build up quickly. Plus, the egg also creates clumps in the Panko that make it harder to coat the chicken.
Repeat with each piece of chicken. Once you coat all the chicken, place it on a lined baking sheet.
I use two baking sheets rather than trying to cram it all onto one. Place the baking sheets into the 400 degree oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove once the Panko starts to turn a golden brown color.
While the chicken cooks, prepare your rice. If you have a rice cooker, you can do this before you start the chicken instead.
The only other prep I need for my baked sweet and sour chicken is to drain the pineapple chunks. Make sure you save the juice because it’s tasty. I do that while the rice cooks.
Once you finish that, add the chicken to a large bowl and pour half the sweet and sour sauce over the chicken. Gently toss to coat.
Once distributed, add the remaining sauce and toss again until everything gets an even coat. Add the pineapple and stir. The wee ones like it when I add it and stir rather than adding it at the end!
Serve in a bowl over rice. In just over a half hour total, your baked sweet and sour chicken is ready to enjoy!
Think you might make baked sweet and sour chicken?
Use a bottled sweet and sour sauce or make your own (use this easy recipe). I often make this with brown rice for a nuttier flavor, but use your favorite rice - usually about 2 cups uncooked for this much chicken. As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 482 Total Fat: 8g Saturated Fat: 3g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 105mg Sodium: 518mg Carbohydrates: 55g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 16g Protein: 44g
Use a bottled sweet and sour sauce or make your own (use this easy recipe). I often make this with brown rice for a nuttier flavor, but use your favorite rice - usually about 2 cups uncooked for this much chicken.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases.
I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.