Sweet & Sour Chicken with Brown Rice

Sweet & Sour Chicken with Brown Rice

12 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine, October/November 2006

In about the time it takes to order and pick up Chinese takeout, you can make this much healthier version of sweet & sour chicken. Our version loses all the saturated fat that comes from deep-frying, along with the extra sugar and salt. If you prefer, use tofu instead of chicken, and use your favorite vegetables; just be sure to cut them into similar-size pieces so they all cook at about the same rate.

Ingredients 4 servings

for serving adjustment
Serving size has been adjusted!
Original recipe yields 4 servings
Nutrition per serving may change if servings are adjusted.
  • 2 cups instant brown rice
  • ¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons apricot preserves
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 pound chicken tenders, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated or minced ginger
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 6 cups bite-size pieces of vegetables, such as snow peas, broccoli and bell peppers
  • 1 5-ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Prepare rice according to the package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk vinegar, soy sauce, cornstarch and apricot preserves in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, undisturbed, for 2 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink on the outside and just starting to brown in spots, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate.
  4. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, garlic and ginger to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 20 to 30 seconds. Add broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add vegetables, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the vegetables are tender-crisp, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in water chestnuts and the chicken. Whisk the reserved sauce and add to the pan. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened and the chicken is heated through, about 1 minute. Serve with the rice.
  • Ingredient note: Chicken tenders, virtually fat-free, are a strip of rib meat typically found attached to the underside of the chicken breast, but they can also be purchased separately. Four 1-ounce tenders will yield a 3-ounce cooked portion. Tenders are perfect for quick stir-fries, chicken satay or kid-friendly breaded “chicken fingers.”
  • People with celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity should use soy sauces that are labeled "gluten-free," as soy sauce may contain wheat or other gluten-containing sweeteners and flavors.

Nutrition information

  • Per serving: 481 calories; 12 g fat(1 g sat); 6 g fiber; 61 g carbohydrates; 31 g protein; 78 mcg folate; 63 mg cholesterol; 16 g sugars; 3,756 IU vitamin A; 148 mg vitamin C; 54 mg calcium; 3 mg iron; 728 mg sodium; 646 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (247% daily value), Vitamin A (75% dv), Folate (20% dv)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 4
  • Exchanges: 2 starch, 3 vegetable, 4 lean meat

Reviews 12

May 06, 2013
profile image
By: EatingWell User
Delicious! I used chicken breast tenders, zucchini and yellow peppers and it turned out great! I don't like water chestnuts so I skipped that. Instead of apricot, I went with 2.5 Tbsp of homemade fig preserves and used 1.75 cups of beef broth. Otherwise, I followed the recipe. It needed a bit of heat so I drizzled a little Gochujang (red pepper paste). Very satisfying dish! Will definitely make again. Pros: Nice consistency Cons: Made a couple of substitutions
July 13, 2012
profile image
By: EatingWell User
A Little Too Sweet I was excited to find this recipe because I am prone to cravings for standard Asian food, but would love to eat it in a more healthy fashion. Next time, I will prep everything ahead to make it simpler to just cook as I go. I liked the method for cooking the veggies in flavored broth for 4-6 minutes. I do think the sauce is too sweet with the two tbsp of apricot preserves; next time I will reduce the amount or find a less sweetened brand. Pros: Easy, straightforward and healthy Cons: Sauce thicker and sweeter than expected
February 21, 2012
profile image
By: EatingWell User
All that oil is not necessary I used Pam instead of adding all that oil to cook. That cut the fat in this recipe in half. I am going to add pineapple next time. Pros: tastes good Cons: Like some others I think pineapple would give it a little extra
January 13, 2012
profile image
By: EatingWell User
This turned out great for me! I'm not sure who said the sauce didn't thicken or them, but mine was a little too thick so I added a little more chicken broth. My husband said he would have liked it a little more saucy, but I thought it was just right. I used a frozen pepper and onion mix along with some snow peas. Very good! Pros: Tasty and easy Cons: Needed a bit more sauce
January 02, 2012
profile image
By: Debbie Vietzke
Needs pineapple Although I did like this dish, it wasn't wonderful. I followed the recipe closely. I like the way the veggies were cooked in the broth (I used green pepper, white onion, carrot and celery). I used Simply Fruit apricot spread, which is not as sweet. I may try it again with the pineapple and see if it works. Pros: Fresh foods, easy to prepare Cons: Lacks flavor,
March 16, 2010
profile image
By: EatingWell User
Made this the the letter. The sauce was real tangy like another reviewer said. I did miss the pineapple though. I should have added it. My sauce did thicken rather alot. The only things I would do different if I make this again is to add pineapple and cook the chicken more on the first cook, the second cook isn't long enough for the chicken to finish. Thanks for a good alternative to the fatty version.!
February 19, 2010
profile image
By: thezwomann
I really liked it. I took the advice of adding pineapple as the very last ingredient and letting it warm up a bit. I used frozen stir-fry veggies from Costco. Everything was very good. Sweet and sour. Yum! Even my seven-year-old liked it (and that's pretty good)!
December 20, 2009
profile image
By: EatingWell User
Not good. Vinegar left it too tangy. Added pineapple but that could not salvage it. Sauce never properly thickened.
December 13, 2009
profile image
By: EatingWell User
Its was great but less of the pineapple would be better
More Reviews