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Thai Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chicken

20 minutes. Cook
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Thai cuisine is renowned for its vibrant flavors that dance on your taste buds, balancing sweet, sour, salty, and spicy elements in perfect harmony. One dish that encapsulates this culinary symphony is Thai Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chicken. This recipe is a delightful marriage of succulent chicken, tropical pineapple, and a symphony of Thai ingredients that will transport your palate to the bustling streets of Bangkok.

Historical Context                                                   

The concept of sweet and sour dishes in Thai cuisine has been influenced by Chinese culinary traditions. In Thailand, this balance of flavors has been adapted and elevated, making it a unique Thai staple. Pineapple chicken, or “Gai Pad Sam Rod,” as it’s known locally, has a delightful mix of flavors that can be traced back to the influence of Chinese immigrants in Thailand.


1. Marinate the Chicken:

  • In a mixing bowl, combine the soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and white pepper. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Add the chicken pieces to the marinade, ensuring they are well coated. Set aside for at least 15 minutes while you prepare the sauce and other ingredients.

2. Prepare the Sweet and Sour Sauce:

  • In another bowl, whisk together the pineapple juice, white vinegar, ketchup, sugar, fish sauce, and tamarind paste. If you prefer a thicker sauce, you can dissolve the cornstarch in a tablespoon of water and add it to the mixture.
  • Set the sauce aside.

3. Heat the Wok:

  • Place a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add two tablespoons of vegetable oil and swirl it around to coat the pan evenly. Let it heat until it shimmers.

4. Stir-Fry the Chicken:

  • Add the marinated chicken pieces to the hot wok. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes until they are cooked through and have a lovely golden color. Remove the chicken from the wok and set it aside.

5. Cook the Vegetables:

  • In the same wok, add a bit more oil if needed. Toss in the minced garlic and Thai bird’s eye chilies (if you like it spicy). Stir-fry for about 30 seconds until fragrant.
  • Add the bell peppers, onion, and cherry tomatoes to the wok. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until the vegetables are slightly tender but still crisp.

6. Combine Chicken and Sauce:

  • Return the cooked chicken to the wok with the sautéed vegetables. Pour the sweet and sour sauce over everything.

7. Add Pineapple Chunks:

  • Gently fold in the pineapple chunks. Continue to stir-fry for another 2-3 minutes until everything is well-coated with the sauce and heated through.

8. Serve and Garnish:

  • Transfer the Thai Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chicken to a serving platter. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and sliced scallions for a burst of color and freshness.

9. Serve and Enjoy:

  • Thai Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chicken is best enjoyed hot and pairs perfectly with steamed jasmine rice. The combination of succulent chicken, sweet pineapple, and tangy sauce will transport your taste buds to the vibrant streets of Thailand.

prep time
40 minutes.
cooking time
20 minutes.
4 servings.
total time
40 minutes.


  • Wok or large skillet

  • Mixing bowls

  • Cutting board and knife

  • Wooden spoon or spatula

  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • Small whisk

  • Plate or bowl for marinating chicken


  • 1 lb (450g) boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce

  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper

  • 1/2 cup pineapple chunks (fresh or canned)

  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice

  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons ketchup

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce

  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch (optional, for thickening)

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks

  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into chunks

  • 1 onion, cut into chunks

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • Thai bird's eye chilies (optional, for extra heat)

  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

  • Sliced scallions, for garnish


Marinate chicken
Prepare sweet & sour sauce
Stir-fry chicken and veggies
Combine with sauce & pineapple
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