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Sweet and Spicy Chicken is made with a sauce that’s the perfect mix of heat and sweet. Made in just one pan, it’s an easy weeknight dinner that’s better than take out!
Chicken is a staple for dinners in our house, so I’m always looking for ways to spice things up and add variety to our weekly menu. Sweet and Spicy Chicken definitely does that! Don’t worry, though-you can adjust the heat to your liking.
If you have a multi-cooker like the Crockpot Express, you can cook the rice at the same time you’re working on the spicy sweet chicken. That way everything is ready at the same time-in under 30 minutes! Read how to make fluffy white rice in the Crockpot Express here.
For the chicken:
- chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
- cornstarch-this for coating the chicken and giving it a crispier outside for the sauce to grab onto
- olive oil-or your favorite cooking oil
- garlic, minced-make it fresh or use jarred minced garlic
- ginger, grated-or you can use ginger paste
- red pepper flakes-eliminate these if you’re trying to cut back on the heat
- chopped green onion-some for stirring into the sauce and some for garnish
For the sauce:
- seasoned rice vinegar-this is different than regular rice vinegar because it’s been sweetened
- soy sauce-use low sodium soy sauce or swap out with coconut aminos if you’re watching salt intake
- water-make sure it’s cold water and not hot (so the corn starch will dissolve properly)
- brown sugar-brown sugar has a nice rich taste thanks to molasses
- chili garlic sauce-can be found on the international foods aisle; this is really spicy, so start with a small amount and add more to your taste
- cornstarch-for thickening the sauce
How to Make Sweet and Spicy Chicken:
Start by prepping the vegetables and the chicken.
In a large bowl, toss the chicken with cornstarch until it’s well coated. Then mix together the sauce ingredients and set aside for later.
Brown the chicken on both sides until it’s cooked, and then add the ginger, garlic and pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute and then pour the sauce over the chicken and cook until thickened.
Remove from heat and serve over rice. Yum!
This hot and sweet chicken is all about the sauce. For the perfect sweet and spicy sauce, you definitely need to get a jar of chili garlic sauce. It packs a punch when it comes to flavor and heat.
If you’re concerned about the amount of heat in the dish, start small. Eliminate the red pepper flakes and just try 1/2 tsp of the chili garlic sauce. Taste, and then add more as needed. If you really don’t want to use the chili garlic sauce, try this Homemade Sweet Thai Chili Sauce.
Even with a bit of heat, the combination of sweet and spicy makes it enjoyable. The heat isn’t overwhelming when you blend the two. It’s a taste of something sweet, followed by the warm spice that lingers in the back of your mouth.
How do you cook chicken breast without drying it out?
The key to avoiding dry chicken is not overcooking it. Keep the pieces even in size and thickness so cooking is even.
Chicken needs to be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 (F) degrees. Invest in a meat thermometer and use it every time. It will save you from dry chicken.
Because the pieces are small, this is a quick recipe. It only takes about 3-5 minutes on each side for the chicken to brown and heat through. Keep a close eye on that thermometer and remove from heat when it’s done cooking.
What side dishes should I serve with Sweet and Spicy Chicken?
Pull out your rice cooker or multi-cooker (I love my Crockpot Express) and make a big batch of jasmine, white or brown rice to serve with your spicy sweet chicken.
Sweet and Spicy Chicken
For the chicken:
- 1.25 lbs chicken breast cut into 1 inch cubes
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic minced (1 ½ tablespoons)
- 1 Tablespoon ginger grated (can use ginger paste)
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ⅓ cup chopped green onion
For the sauce:
- ⅓ cup seasoned rice vinegar
- ⅓ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1.25 lbs chicken breast, ⅓ cup cornstarchIn a large bowl, toss chicken with the ⅓ cup or cornstarch
- 3 Tablespoons olive oilHeat oil in a large skillet until it sizzles when a drop of water hits it
- Add chicken, and let brown on one side – about 3-5 minutes – then flip, and brown on the second side, making sure chicken is cooked through
- ⅓ cup seasoned rice vinegar, ⅓ cup soy sauce, ½ cup water, ¼ cup brown sugar, 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce, 1 Tablespoon cornstarchWhile chicken is cooking, whisk sauce ingredients together
- 4 cloves garlic, 1 Tablespoon ginger, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakesWhen chicken is brown on both sides, add garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes
- Cook, stirring, for one minute
- Pour sauce over chicken, and stir until thickened
- ⅓ cup chopped green onionStir in green onions
- Remove from heat and serve over rice