This Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken is chopstick licking good and only takes about 25 minutes of hands-off cooking time! two bowls of sweet and sour chicken served with white rice

I LOVE sweet and sour chicken. There’s something about that flavor combo that is just mouth-watering.

If you’re with me AND you love a good hands-off meal, this Instant Pot version is for you! 

ingredients for sweet and sour chicken placed in an instant pot

How to Make Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken

This recipe is super easy to make thanks to the Instant Pot. Only 10 minutes of prep. And then you throw all the ingredients into the Instant Pot. Set to pressure cook for 5 minutes. Natural release for 10 minutes and then quick release. It’s 25 minutes of HANDS-OFF cooking time. So you can clean up, do the dishes, and dance to Lizzo around your kitchen (no? just me?) while it cooks. This is my kind of weeknight dinner.

two bowls of sweet and sour chicken served with white rice

You’re gonna go cray for this recipe if you like:

  • quick & easy 
  • Instant Pot (or slow cooker!) recipes
  • sweet & tangy flavors
  • saucy chicken
  • Asian-inspired flavors
  • Chinese take out
  • Saving money
two bowls of sweet and sour chicken served with white rice

So get your chopsticks ready and add this to your weeknight dinner line up! Or, add this sweet dish to your Valentine’s Day menu tomorrow!

two bowls of sweet and sour chicken served with white rice Print
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Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (9 votes, average: 4.11 out of 5)


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 lbs chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1, 20-ounce can pineapple chunks in juice
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • Rice, for serving
  • Optional: sesame seeds and green onion for garnish


  1. In the Instant Pot, add olive oil and set to Sauté. Sauté chicken until slightly browned, 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and let sauté until fragrant, about one minute.
  2. Add bell pepper, pineapple chunks and juice, apple cider vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce and brown sugar.
  3. Secure lid onto Instant Pot. Close the steam vent (should be on sealing). Set to high pressure for 5 minutes. Allow natural pressure release for 10 minutes.
  4. After 10 minutes, use quick release valve to release steam.
  5. Once pressure is released, open lid and stir.
  6. In a small bowl, mix together cornstarch and water until slurry is formed. Stir cornstarch slurry into chicken mixture.
  7. Set Instant Pot to sauté until mixture is bubbling and thickened, about 3-5 minutes.
  8. Serve chicken with rice.
  9. Optional: Garnish with sesame seeds and/or green onion.


How to make sweet and sour chicken in the slow cooker:

  1. Add all ingredients (except olive oil, corn starch and water) to slow cooker and set to low for 7-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. After chicken is done cooking, add cornstarch slurry to slow cooker to thicken mixture.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Chinese

Keywords: sweet and sour, chicken, instant pot, Chinese

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  1. marie

    I had problems with sauce thickening. I even added another TB of cornstarch and water. What I’m I doing wrong? Thsm


    • Hi Marie – did you let the mixture saute? I would let it saute longer until the mixture is bubbling and thickened.

  2. Barb

    LOVE your recipes …. do you list the calorie count anywhere?

  3. Wow this looks so good! It looks more delicious than any takeout version. I’ve never tried making my own sweet and sour before! x