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If there's one absolute CLASSIC Chinese recipe you have to try making, it's gluten free sweet and sour chicken.
This is an absolute staple when it comes to a Chinese 'fake-away' spread.
Tender chunks of chicken are coated in a crispy gluten and dairy free batter, before being swirled in a tangy sauce with peppers, onion and pineapple.
This gluten free sweet and sour sauce is so easy to make too, and uses really easy-to-find storecupboard ingredients.
To be honest, I'd guarantee you have most of the ingredients in your kitchen already!
If you have coeliac disease or are gluten intolerant and missing a Chinese take-away then this is the gluten free dinner you need.
I promise it's not as hard to make as you might think - I even have some cheats in the blog post below to make it even easier!
I know it looks like this recipe has a lot of ingredients but most of them are storecupboard staples.
There's a full recipe card below with the quantities and method but here's a bit of an explainer of some of the ingredients.
- Chicken Breast: You can either buy this ready diced or whole chicken breasts into bite-sized chunks. Of course, if you prefer you could use pork, beef or even tofu.
- Peppers: I love using red and green peppers because they add a burst of colour and a lovely crunch. But you can use any veg you like or omit these if you prefer.
- Tinned Pineapple Chunks: As well as the pineapple chunks, you'll also need to use the juice for the sauce. If you'd rather omit the chunks then you'll need to buy some pineapple juice instead as this is key to the sauce.
- Plain Gluten Free Flour: You'll want a plain or all purpose gluten free flour blend as this is key to the batter. I also add cornflour (corn starch in the US) to my batter too.
- Tomato Ketchup: This is the key base to the sauce. As well as giving both sweet and tangy flavours, it also gives the dish it's classic red colouring.
- Gluten Free Tamari: Soy sauce is not gluten free which is why people with coeliac disease often cannot have sweet and sour sauce. You can find gluten free tamari in the free from aisle which to me, tastes the same.
- White Rice Vinegar: This is key to giving that lovely sour tang. If you don't have any, you can use apple cider vinegar instead.
- Caster Sugar: This is the 'sweet' to the sweet and sour sauce. If you omit this to try keep the sugar content down you'll find you have a 'sour and sour' sauce instead!
Don't forget the full ingredients list is in the recipe card, but this just helps to explain some of the reasons behind the ingredients used.
A lot of these ingredients can be used in other dishes too - such as my gluten free chicken with cashew nuts recipe.
How to make gluten free sweet and sour chicken
Making gluten free sweet and sour chicken looks lengthy but actually the whole thing can be done in half an hour.
The recipe involves two steps - making the battered chicken, and then cooking it up with the veg and the sauce.
Making gluten free battered chicken is actually relatively simple and can be done using a deep fat fryer or in a pan.
Once the chicken has been cooked, let it drain off on some kitchen towel once you whip up the sauce.
Then it's simply a case of frying the veg, adding the sauce and then stirring in the cooked chicken pieces.
You can mix the veg up as much as you like but I just love the colours of the red and green peppers - and the delightful crunch!
And of course the pineapple chunks are completely optional.
I know for a fact my other half will sit and painstakingly pick all of these out, but I adore pineapple chunks in sweet and sour sauce so I added them in!
Of course, this is just an overview - keep scrolling for the full recipe card with a more detailed method for you.
Cheats to make this recipe quicker
If you're in a bit of a hurry I do have a few ways to cut corners, though I do think you won't get the full experience without making this properly!
If you're nervous about deep frying you can always look to use an Air Fryer for the chicken itself.
You could also use a non-battered chicken (this would make it a bit healthier too!) and just cook it in the pan before adding the veg.
And if you want to cheat even more, look out in Sainsbury's and Aldi for their tempura chicken fillets which are accidentally gluten free.
You could simply bake these in the oven while making the sauce and then add them once cooked.
Though like I said, even though you can cut corners, nothing beats the taste and texture of making the battered chicken yourself.
And if deep frying freaks you out don't worry, it used to scare me too.
But after investing a whole £8 into a food thermometer I've realised how amazingly easy it is - this makes me feel a lot safer as I can constantly check the oil!
Whatever you choose to do, I know you'll absolutely be converted once you try this sweet and sour dish!
My gluten free sweet and sour chicken recipe
This gluten free sweet and sour chicken recipe is not as difficult as you might think - and it's so tasty too!
This recipe makes enough for two people - serve it up with egg fried rice and a side of gluten free prawn toast for a fakeaway feast!
Plus I've got a handy recipe video to show you exactly how easy this is to make too!
And if you loved it, please do leave a review to let others know you loved it too! It would mean the world to me.
- 300g diced chicken breast
- 1 red pepper (roughly cut into chunks)
- 1 green pepper (roughly cut into chunks)
- 1 onion (roughly cut into chunks)
- 75g tinned pineapple chunks
- 1 litre vegetable oil (for frying)
For the batter:
- 90g plain gluten free flour
- 25g cornflour
- 1 heaped tsp baking powder
- Pinch salt
- 1 large egg
- 130ml cold water
For the sauce:
- 65g tomato ketchup
- 1 tbsp gluten free tamari
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 2 tbsp white rice vinegar
- 1 tsp chopped garlic
- 1 tbsp cornflour (mixed into 2 tbsp cold water)
- 100ml pineapple juice (drain from the tin of pineapple chunks)
To make the battered chicken:
- Mix the gluten free flour, cornflour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl or measuring jug. Crack in the egg and pour in the cold water and whisk until smooth.
- Add the chicken pieces to the batter and mix well so all the chicken is coated. Leave to stand while you heat the oil - the batter will thicken up a little in this time and coat the chicken better!
- Pour the oil into a large saucepan until it is around half-full. You want it to be deep enough that the chicken pieces don't touch the bottom! I highly recommend using a food thermometer to do this safely and ensure the oil isn't too hot. Alternatively, if you don't have a thermometer you can drop in a small amount of the batter - if it sizzles and rises to the top, the oil is ready. If it is smoking or violently bubbling, it is too hot.
- Using tongs, add 4-5 pieces of chicken to the oil, one at a time. You don't want too many otherwise they'll all stick together! Fry for around 4-5 minutes until golden and remove from the oil with a slotted spoon onto a plate lined with kitchen towel. Repeat until all the chicken is cooked then set to one side.
To make the sauce:
- Add all of the sauce ingredients to a bowl and mix well until combined. It may not be as vibrantly red as expected but don't worry, this will change when it cooks!
- Heat a little vegetable oil in a wok or large frying pan and place on a high heat. Once hot, add the peppers and onion and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes. You want them to stay relatively crunchy!
- Pour in the sauce mixture - it should come straight to the boil. Turn it down to a simmer and stir-fry for a further minute. The sauce should thicken up nicely.
- Add the battered chicken and the pineapple chunks, stir well so that the chicken is fully coated and then serve immediately.
- You can keep any leftovers in the fridge but the batter will lose its crunch. It will still be OK to eat though, as long as you reheat it thoroughly. I wouldn't recommend freezing this.
- If you don't want to use chicken, try this recipe with pork, beef or even tofu instead.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 643Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 221mgSodium: 1263mgCarbohydrates: 83gFiber: 4gSugar: 37gProtein: 58g
Need some more gluten free meal inspiration?
If you want to have a go at some of the other gluten free Asian-inspired dinner recipes on the blog, why not give some of these a try?
They’re perfect for creating delicious comfort food when you need it!
- Chicken with cashew nuts
- Gluten Free Chow Mein
- Gluten Free Prawn Toast
- Chinese Chicken Curry
- Gluten free Egg Noodles
- Gluten Free Salt and Pepper Chicken
And if you have any recipe suggestions, please let me know in the comments what you’d like to see next!
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