These sweet and sour chicken balls are delicious, easy to make, and super affordable! It doesn’t get any better than this.
They’re so mind-blowingly delicious, it’s as if they came straight out of a Chinese restaurant!
In the mood for a great Chinese recipe? Forget ordering takeout! This dish is all you’ll need.
Sweet and Sour Chicken Balls
Tender and juicy chicken chunks are coated in a light and airy batter and deep-fried into crispy and crunchy golden perfection.
It doesn’t end there! They’re also coated in a sweet and sour sauce for a ridiculously addictive dish.
For the Sweet and Sour Sauce
- Ketchup – Aside from the flavor, it’s also what gives the sauce its signature hue.
- Soy Sauce – It may be called sweet and sour, but it also has that amazing umami flavor, thanks to soy sauce.
- Vinegar – If you can’t take the intense sour flavor, use rice vinegar instead of white.
- Brown and White Sugars – To sweeten things up.
- Cold Water or Unsweetened Pineapple Juice – I prefer the latter because it adds such a wonderful flavor.
- Cornstarch – To thicken the sauce.
For the Chicken Balls
- All-purpose Flour and Cornstarch – The combo that gives the chicken that phenomenal crunch.
- Baking Powder and Baking Soda – For a light and airy coating.
- Garlic Powder – Add as much or as little to suit your taste.
- Granulated Sugar – Adds a bit of sweetness to flavor the chicken.
- Cold Water – To saturate the dry ingredients. Cold water makes a lump-free batter.
- Sesame Oil – Optional, but highly recommended for that unique Asian flavor.
- Oil – For deep frying. Use oil with a high smoking point such as canola and peanut oil.
- Chicken Breasts – Stick to boneless, skinless chicken, so it’s easier to cut. Slice it into even, bite-sized pieces for faster cooking.
- Salt – to taste.
Tips for the Best Dish
- You won’t need to stick with chicken. This dish is amazing no matter what meat you use – beef, pork, fish, even shrimp!
- For juicier chicken, use boneless and skinless thighs instead of breasts.
- While they’re technically called balls, the nuggets aren’t shaped as such. If you really want that spherical shape, use ground chicken instead.
- You can adjust the amount of cornstarch depending on how thick or thin you want the sauce.
- You can also adjust the amount of sugar and garlic powder in the batter.
- This recipe calls for white vinegar, but apple cider and rice vinegar also work.
- For a more substantial dish, add vegetables such as red and yellow bell peppers, onions, or water chestnuts.
- For an extra sweet and sour goodness, throw pineapple chunks into the mix.
- Dress up the dish by sprinkling sesame seeds and scallions over it.
- Aside from water and pineapple juice, you can also use beer to saturate the batter.
- If you have time, let the batter chill in the fridge before coating the chicken with it. Cold batter yields an airy coating!
- The oil has to be at the right temperature when frying, which is 375 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is too low, you won’t get that crispy, crunchy coating. If it’s too high, you’ll burn the coating while undercooking the chicken.
- You can tell the chicken is cooked through when the balls are golden brown and float in the oil.
- Have leftovers? Place them in an air-tight container and refrigerate for 3 to 4 days. Store in the freezer for a longer shelf-life – up to 3 months.
- Reheat leftover sweet and sour chicken on the stove over medium heat. Stir constantly until warmed through.
Side Dish Ideas
To me, the only way to eat sweet and sour chicken is with a bowl of rice.
Whether it’s steamed or stir-fried, white, brown, or black, it doesn’t matter. Sweet and sour chicken and rice are the ultimate pair.
Coming in a close second is noodles. Pad Thai, chow mein, low mein, stir-fry, you name it.
If you want a light snack, though, you also can’t go wrong eating it solo. Sweet and sour chicken balls make a perfect game day treat!
Storing Sweet and Sour Sauce
Aside from this recipe, you can also use sweet and sour sauce in other dishes.
It goes really well with any deep-fried dish, such as battered fish, meatballs, and pork belly.
That said, I highly suggest you make an extra batch of sauce and store it in case you’re in the mood for a meal with an Asian twist.
Once cooled, place it in an air-tight container and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks. Place it in a pot over medium heat to reheat.
If it’s too thick, just stir in water, a little at a time, until the desired consistency is achieved.
More Tasty Chinese Recipes to Make at Home
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