Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken and Rice

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Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken and Rice Recipe – a complete sweet and sour chicken dinner with rice in one Instant Pot! Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken Meal Prep Bowls are a delicious, easy, one pot meal the whole family loves! Make an entire week’s worth of meals in just one pot!

to do containers with rice and chicken with orange sauce and chives in it
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to do containers with rice and chicken with orange sauce and chives in it a piece of chicken on chop sticks

Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken and Rice

One of my favorite Chinese food indulgences is sweet and sour chicken. There’s something about the tangy zip of the sauce, a lightly breaded chicken, and a side of fluffy rice from a local joint that just can’t be beat. Until now!

Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken and Rice is a delightful one-pot meal that combines succulent, tangy chicken with fluffy, aromatic rice, all cooked to perfection with minimal fuss. This dish offers a harmonious blend of flavors, from the vibrant sweet and sour sauce to the subtle, earthy notes of the basmati rice, making it a comforting and satisfying meal for any day of the week.

to do containers with rice and chicken with orange sauce and chives in it

How to Make IP Sweet and Sour Chicken

First assemble the following ingredients:

  • Chicken (1 lb) – Tender chunks of chicken serve as the protein base, soaking up the rich flavors of the sweet and sour sauce.
  • Corn starch (1 cup) – Corn starch is used to coat the chicken for a light crispiness and to thicken the sauce, giving it a silky texture.
  • Eggs (2) – Beaten eggs are used to bind the corn starch and flour coating to the chicken, ensuring a crisp outer layer.
  • Flour (1 cup) – A dusting of flour helps to create a crispy coating on the chicken, adding texture to each bite.
  • Grapeseed oil (2 tbsp) – Grapeseed oil, with its high smoke point, is ideal for sautéing the chicken, ensuring a golden-brown finish without burning.
  • Sweet and sour sauce (8 oz) – The sweet and sour sauce combines tangy and sugary elements, coating the chicken in a glossy, flavorful glaze.
  • Basmati Rice (1 cup) – Fluffy basmati rice serves as a light, aromatic bed that complements the bold flavors of the sweet and sour chicken.
  • Water (4 cups) – Water is essential for cooking the basmati rice to perfection, ensuring each grain is tender and separate.
  • Sesame seeds – Toasted sesame seeds add a nutty crunch and an attractive garnish to the finished dish, enhancing both flavor and presentation.
  • Green Onions – Chopped green onions provide a fresh, sharp contrast to the dish, adding both color and a burst of flavor as a garnish.
bowl of chicken with orange sauce and sesame seeds on it, one spooned

Use this Method

Preheat. Turn instant pot on to sauté – let fully heat before adding any food for it to be truly nonstick.

Prep Chicken. Add cornstarch, flour, and eggs to small individual bowls. Whisk eggs thoroughly. Dredge chicken in cornstarch, followed by eggs, and then flour. Add oil to instant pot when hot.

Cook Chicken. Add dredged chicken, let brown on each side about 5 minutes, until golden brown and slightly puffy. Remove chicken from instant pot pan, and place in pan insert, top with sweet and sour sauce.

Add Sauce. Deglaze instant pot with water, make sure there are no bits stuck to bottom. Add trivet to pan. Add chicken pan into instant pot. Add rice and 2 cups water to second pot insert. Add lid on top of rice.

Cook and Serve. Close and seal instant pot. Set on high for 3 minutes, let naturally release for 10 minutes. Remove chicken pan from instant pot but leave rice in the instant pot with the lid firmly on (it needs to carryover cook for about 5-10 minutes to be fluffy.) Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions, if desired. Plate and enjoy!

to do containers with rice and chicken with orange sauce and chives in it a piece of chicken on chop sticks

Tips and Tricks for Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken

Brown the Chicken: Use the sauté function to brown the chicken pieces before pressure cooking. This step adds depth to the flavor and texture of the chicken.

Use Pineapple Juice: Incorporate pineapple juice in the sauce for an authentic sweet and sour flavor, adding a natural sweetness and tang.

Thicken the Sauce: After the chicken is cooked, remove it and set the Instant Pot to sauté mode to thicken the sauce with a cornstarch slurry (cornstarch mixed with water).

Add Vegetables Later: To prevent vegetables from becoming too soft, add bell peppers and onions after the pressure cooking phase, allowing them to cook in the sauce as it thickens.

Balance Flavors: Taste the sauce before serving and adjust the sweetness or acidity as needed by adding more sugar or vinegar to achieve the perfect balance.

Quick Release: Use the quick release method after pressure cooking to prevent the chicken from overcooking and becoming too soft.

Serve Immediately: For the best texture, serve the sweet and sour chicken as soon as the sauce has thickened to enjoy the contrast between the tender chicken and the crisp vegetables.

Garnish Wisely: Garnish with green onions or sesame seeds before serving to add a fresh element and a bit of crunch to the dish.

Experiment with Protein: While chicken is traditional, feel free to experiment with other proteins like pork or shrimp, adjusting cooking times as necessary.

Keep Leftovers: Sweet and sour chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and makes for delicious leftovers, with flavors that often meld and deepen overnight.

bowl of chicken with orange sauce and sesame seeds on it, one spooned, rice in the background

FAQs

How long can I store leftovers, and how should I reheat them?

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently in the microwave or on the stovetop, adding a splash of water if the sauce has thickened too much.

Can I use frozen chicken to make sweet and sour chicken in the Instant Pot?

Yes, you can use frozen chicken, but it’s best to add a few extra minutes to the cooking time. Keep in mind that frozen chicken might release more water, potentially diluting the sauce, so you may need to thicken it further at the end.

How do I prevent the chicken from becoming too dry or overcooked?

To keep the chicken tender, avoid overcooking by setting the correct time based on the size of your chicken pieces and doing a quick release of the pressure once the cooking cycle is complete.

What kind of vinegar should I use for the sweet and sour sauce?

White vinegar is commonly used for its clear color and sharp tanginess, but apple cider vinegar can also be a good alternative for a slightly milder, fruity tang.

Can I add other vegetables to the dish?

Absolutely! Feel free to add other quick-cooking vegetables like snap peas, baby corn, or broccoli. Add them after pressure cooking, during the sauce thickening step, to maintain their crunch.

How do I thicken the sweet and sour sauce in the Instant Pot?

After removing the cooked chicken, switch the Instant Pot to sauté mode and add a cornstarch slurry (mix of cornstarch and water) to the sauce, stirring until it thickens to your desired consistency.

Can I double the recipe in the Instant Pot?

Yes, you can double the recipe, but ensure you do not exceed the maximum fill line of your Instant Pot. Keep in mind that doubling the ingredients may require a slight adjustment in cooking time.

Can I make this dish less sweet or less sour?

Yes, adjust the amount of sugar and vinegar in the sauce to suit your taste preferences. Start with less and add more as needed, tasting as you go.

Is it possible to make this dish healthier in the Instant Pot?

For a healthier version, you can reduce the amount of sugar and use low-sodium soy sauce. You can also increase the proportion of vegetables to chicken.

Can I make this dish ahead of time for meal prep?

Yes, sweet and sour chicken makes an excellent meal prep option. Cook as directed, cool, and then portion into meal prep containers with rice and vegetables. Reheat when ready to eat.

to do containers with rice and chicken with orange sauce and chives in it

What to Enjoy with Sweet and Sour Chicken

Steamed Jasmine Rice: The fragrance and lightness of jasmine rice make it a perfect canvas for the bold flavors of sweet and sour chicken.

Fried Rice: For a heartier option, fried rice with vegetables, eggs, or even pineapple can add an extra layer of flavor and texture.

Chow Mein: Stir-fried noodles with a mix of vegetables can offer a delightful contrast to the sweetness and tanginess of the chicken.

Sauteed Vegetables: A mix of sautéed vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, and snow peas can add freshness and a crisp texture.

Spring Rolls: Crispy spring rolls can provide a crunchy and savory side that complements the main dish perfectly.

Egg Drop Soup: Start with a light and soothing egg drop soup to prepare the palate for the vibrant flavors of the main course.

Cucumber Salad: A refreshing cucumber salad dressed in a light vinaigrette can balance the sweet and tangy sauce of the chicken.

Dim Sum: A selection of dim sum, such as steamed dumplings or bao buns, can introduce a variety of flavors and textures to the meal.

Lo Mein: Soft, stir-fried noodles with vegetables can serve as a comforting and filling side dish. Or try spicy peanut noodles!

Mango Pudding: Conclude the meal with a light, refreshing mango pudding, which complements the sweet and sour theme.

Also be sure to check out our Instant Pot Chicken Fajita Bowls Recipe!

Try these Asian recipes next:

to do containers with rice and chicken with orange sauce and chives in it some on a fork

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Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken and Rice

Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken Meal Prep Bowls – delicious, easy sweet and sour chicken + rice all in one Instant Pot for a complete dinner!
Course Instant Pot
Cuisine American
Keyword instant pot, instant pot chicken, IP, main dish, one pot, sweet and sour chicken recipe
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 577kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell

Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken cut into small 1″ cubes
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • 2 eggs extra large
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp grapeseed oil or sunflower
  • 8 oz sweet and sour sauce I prefer Far East
  • 1 cup rice I use basmati
  • 2 cups water for rice
  • 2 cups water for pot
  • sesame seeds green onions to garnish

Instructions

  • Turn instant pot on to sautee- let fully heat before adding any food for it to be truly nonstick.
  • Add cornstarch, flour, and eggs to small individual bowls.
  • Whisk eggs thoroughly.
  • Dredge chicken in cornstarch, followed by eggs, and then flour.
  • Add oil to instant pot when hot.
  • Add dredged chicken, let brown on each side about 5 minutes, until golden brown and slightly puffy.
  • Remove chicken from instant pot pan, and place in pan insert, top with sweet and sour sauce.
  • Deglaze instant pot with water, make sure there are no bits stuck to bottom.
  • Add trivet to pan.
  • Add chicken pan into instant pot.
  • Add rice and 2 cups water to second pot insert.
  • Add lid on top of rice.
  • Close and seal instant pot.
  • Set on high for 3 minutes, let naturally release for 10 minutes.
  • Remove chicken pan from instant pot, but leave rice in the instant pot with the lid firmly on (it needs to carryover cook for about 5-10 minutes to be fluffy.)
  • Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions, if desired.
  • Plate and enjoy!

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 577kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 141mg | Sodium: 231mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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8 Comments

  1. Aaron says:

    Multiple thumbs up from all of my kids. The only variation I did to the recipe was adding red peppers and pineapple to the chicken and sauce for the 3 min cook.

  2. Louise says:

    How do you “carry over cook” the rice? Just put the instant pot lid back on, or turn the instant pot back on?

    1. Courtney ODell says:

      Just leave lid on for the container you cook the rice in for another 5-10 minutes – the container is still hot, so it will keep cooking the rice even when you open the instant pot and remove the rice container.

  3. Pamela Wile says:

    Sounds like a great recipe. Can’t wait to get an instant pot to try it.

    By the way, the colour of the font on your blog is very hard to read. It’s small, but I can enlarge it.

  4. Valerie says:

    Did you use plain white rice? Will 3 minute cook time also work for jasmine?

  5. Valerie says:

    When do you add the sauce? The sautéed chicken goes into the pan insert without any sauce or water?

    1. Valerie says:

      Nevermind. I just watched the video! But you may want to update the recipe. Thanks! Looks yummy!