Home Dinner Chicken Sweet and Sour Chicken Balls

Sweet and Sour Chicken Balls

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! 

Sweet and Sour Chicken Balls with Fried Rice
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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.
Bowl of Sweet and Sour Chicken Balls and Fried Rice

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

Chinese Appetizers
Chinese Side Dishes
Chinese Desserts

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Sweet and Sour Chicken Balls



Prep time


Cooking time






  • For the Sweet and Sour Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup ketchup

  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce

  • 1/3 cup vinegar

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 3/4 cup cold water or unsweetened pineapple juice (or a mixture of both)

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

  • For the Chicken Balls

  • For the Chicken Balls
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup cornstarch

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

  • 1 1/3 cups cold water

  • 1-2 teaspoons sesame oil, optional

  • Oil for frying

  • 8 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • A pinch of salt


  • Make the sweet and sour sauce: stir together ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar, and brown and white sugars in a saucepan until combined.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together cold water or pineapple juice with cornstarch until blended. Pour the mixture into the saucepan. Whisk constantly over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and let it cool at room temperature.
  • While the sauce cools, make the chicken balls: combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and garlic powder in a large bowl. Pour in cold water and sesame oil, if using, and whisk until smooth.
  • Coat the chicken evenly with the batter.
  • Preheat the oil in a deep-fryer or Dutch oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Using a pair of tongs, carefully place the balls in the oil. Deep-fry the chicken for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to remove the balls. Let them rest on a serving plate lined with paper towels to rid of excess oil.
  • Sprinkle the chicken with salt. Serve hot with sweet and sour sauce. Enjoy!
Sweet and Sour Chicken Balls

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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