Pressure cooker sweet and sour chicken thighs are going to become your new favorite weeknight dinner! This Whole30 recipe is gluten free, grain free, sugar free and so simple to make! Ready in the less than 30 minutes, this recipe is better than takeout!
Sweet and Sour Chicken
Growing up we lived on a street with a Chinese Takeout Restaurant on the corner and my dad loved that place! He would order sweet and sour chicken and egg rolls every Friday night. Making the sauce for this sweet and sour chicken thighs recipe instantly reminded me of those nights with my dad.
This pressure cooker sweet and sour chicken can be made in about 30 minutes and doesn’t require a ton of ingredients! Everything cooks in the pressure cooker and it's pretty hands-off for the most part!
I love weeknight meals like this because they are packed full of flavor but don’t require a lot of babysitting, so I can get other things done while dinner is cooking! Thank goodness for the Instant Pot!
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Don’t fret though, if you don’t have an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, you can make this easily in the slow cooker or on the stove!
What is sweet and sour chicken made of:
- Chicken thighs
- Pineapple juice
- Roasted red pepper
- Coconut aminos
- Fresh grated ginger
- Rice wine vinegar
- Arrowroot flour or tapioca flour
- Pineapple chunks
- Green onion
How to make sweet and sour chicken thighs in the Instant Pot:
Start by making the sauce. Combine pineapple juice, roasted red pepper, coconut aminos, fresh grated ginger, rice wine vinegar and salt in a high speed blender.
Combine the chicken and the sauce in the pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for about 12 minutes.
Take the chicken out and shred it or cut it up into cubes.
Add an arrowroot flour slurry to the sauce (without the chicken) and allow it to thicken on the saute function.
Once thickened, add in the chicken, pineapple chunks and green onion.
How to make sweet and sour chicken thighs in the slow cooker:
- Make the sauce and pour it over the chicken thighs in the bottom of the slow cooker.
- After cooking for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low, take the chicken out and shred it (or cube it).
- Turn the slow cooker back on high and add the arrowroot slurry and stir well allowing the sauce to thicken.
- Once thickened, add back the chicken as well as the pineapple and green onion.
Substitutes and ingredients:
- Chicken thighs – use boneless, skinless chicken thighs in this recipe. The chicken thighs are really best for this recipe since they are less likely to dry out when cooking. With that being said, you could always use chicken breast, just know that thighs are more forgiving. If the chicken breast is really thick you may want to push the high pressure up to 15 minutes.
- Pineapple juice – If you don’t have this on hand, you can use the pineapple juice you strain from the can of pineapple chunks and add ¼ cup of water to the mixture to make sure it will come up to pressure.
- Coconut aminos – coconut aminos are a soy free and gluten free version of soy sauce. You can also use soy sauce or liquid aminos instead of coconut aminos
- Arrowroot flour or tapioca flour – the arrowroot thickens the sauce allowing it to really stick to the chicken and pineapple chunks. Be sure to combine arrowroot flour with cold or room temperature water before adding it to hot liquids. It will clump up if added directly to hot liquids. You can also use cornstarch to thicken this dish.
- Pineapple chunks – I always have a few cans of pineapple chunks in juice in the pantry. Add the canned pineapple at the end so they don’t turn into mush during pressure cooking. If you want to use fresh pineapple, you may want to add it to the sauce when you add the arrowroot slurry so it has some time to cook down a bit or it will be very crunchy.
What goes with sweet and sour chicken?
To keep this sweet and sour chicken Whole30 friendly, you can serve it with cooked riced cauliflower, riced broccoli, even broccoli slaw.
If you are not following a Whole30, you could also serve this with regular rice.
Other veggies you could add to this Whole30 Sweet and Sour chicken:
- Chopped bell pepper
- Shredded carrots
- Sweet peas
- Sugar Snap Peas
Add these veggies when you are adding the arrowroot slurry to the sauce so they can heat up but not turn to mush.
What to do if the sweet and sour sauce is too thick or too thin:
After adding the arrowroot slurry to the sauce, it has to cook over heat for a few minutes to thicken. If you find that after 5-6 minutes of cooking that the sauce isn’t thick enough you could add another ½ tablespoon of arrowroot powder + 1 tablespoon of water mixed together. Allow that mixture to thicken for 3-4 minutes.
If the sauce is too thick, just add a few tablespoons of water at a time until it reaches your desired consistency.
If you love this recipe you should try:
Pressure Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken (Whole30)
- 8 oz can pineapple juice - can use juice from canned pineapple chunks + 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup coconut aminos
- 1/4 cup roasted red pepper
- 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger - up to 2 tbsp depending on your preference
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 pounds chicken thighs - boneless, skinless
- 2 tbsp arrowroot powder
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 can pineapple chunks in juice - juice drained
- 3 tbsp chopped green onion
- Combine the pineapple juice, coconut aminos,, roasted red pepper, fresh grated ginger, rice wine vinegar and salt in a high speed blender and blend until smooth.
- Add the chicken thighs to the insert of the pressure cooker and pour the sauce over them.
- Put the lid on the pressure cooker and make sure the valve is set to seal.
- Turn the pressure cooker on high pressure for 12 minutes.
- After the pressure cooker is done cooking, manually release the pressure (watch your hands and don’t stand directly over the pressure cooker).
- Take the chicken thighs out of the pressure cooker and shred or cube the chicken on a plate.
- Before adding the chicken back in, combine the arrowroot flour with water and stir to fully dissolve the flour. Pour the flour/water mixture into the pressure cooker and turn on the saute function for 5 minutes.
- Allow the sauce to come up to a boil and thicken, stirring occasionally. Once the sauce has thickened, add back in the chicken and stir well to coat.
- Add in the pineapple chunks and chopped green onion. Stir well.
- Serve with your favorite side dish (cauliflower rice, rice, veggies).
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