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Sweet-and-Sour Popcorn Chicken

This sweet and sour chicken dish is one you’ll find yourself returning to again and again. Pre-cooked, frozen popcorn chicken simmered in a thick, homemade sweet-and-sour sauce is the secret to this fast and fabulous recipe. And what a great way to dress up frozen chicken nuggets! —Amy Corlew-Sherlock, Lapeer, Michigan
  • Total Time
    Prep/Total Time: 25 min.
  • Makes
    4 servings


  • 1 package (12 ounces) frozen popcorn chicken
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 medium green pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 can (20 ounces) unsweetened pineapple chunks
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Hot cooked rice, optional
  • Optional toppings: green onions and sesame seeds


  • Microwave chicken according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add green pepper and onion; stir-fry until crisp-tender, 3-4 minutes. Drain pineapple, reserving the juice in a 2-cup measuring cup; set pineapple aside. Add enough water to the juice to measure 1-1/3 cups; stir in vinegar, soy sauce and ketchup.
  • In a large bowl, combine brown sugar and cornstarch. Stir in pineapple juice mixture until smooth. Gradually add to the skillet. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in chicken and pineapple; heat through. If desired, serve with rice and sprinkle with green onions and sesame seeds.
Nutrition Facts
1 cup: 441 calories, 15g fat (2g saturated fat), 26mg cholesterol, 1143mg sodium, 65g carbohydrate (41g sugars, 3g fiber), 12g protein.

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  • TNbluffbaker
    Feb 7, 2021

    My family loves this!!!! It elevates chicken nuggets from ho hum to WOW! A time saving and tasty recipe.

  • Elizabeth
    Aug 13, 2020

    My grandkids loved it! They told me that I did a good job considering it was my first time ever making it. The granddaughter asked me how did I learn to cook so good!

  • Veronique
    May 13, 2020

    Oh myyyyy! So so good! A breaze to cook. Easy, fast and delicious. I double the sauce, put so brocoli and two peppers as well. I sub the pineapple juice for orange as I only had frozen pineapple on hand but wow, talk about a way to make kids eat their veggies! This recipe is going to become a staple in my house! Thanks a lot!

  • deblu
    Apr 26, 2016

    I have made this several times. I like to bake the popcorn chicken (not nuggets!) rather than microwave them. This keeps them crispier. Also I add the chicken at the very last minute. For leftovers the chicken does get softer again but that's just the nature of keeping them mixed in the sauce. If you want to keep chicken crispy keep it separated and re-toast or bake for a few minutes again to warm up. I also tend to use 1 green and 1 red pepper for color and a larger onion for extra flavor. Serve with rice or noodles for a very satisfying meal!

  • tdtyrolt
    Sep 29, 2015

    This recipe was very good. The chicken nuggets weren't really good. I had baked them first, then added to the sauce, but they were mushy. The next time I make this, I will probably just use chicken breast. I'm sure it will be even tastier! Thanks for the recipe!

  • ms11145
    Aug 6, 2015

    I have been making this since it first appeared in the magazine a few years back. I do cook the chicken in the oven instead of the microwave as we like our chicken a tad crunchy. I also add mushrooms, as per daughter's request.

  • katlaydee3
    Jan 27, 2015

    Delicious! I made this exactly as written and served it with the Fried Rice and Egg Drop Soup from the same reader.

  • jancan2
    Nov 30, 2014

    I love this recipe, it tastes just like take out but I know what ingredients are going into the meal. I do prefer using cooked cubed chicken as opposed to the breaded popcorn chicken. I need to make this again! It's great!!

  • pajamaangel
    Feb 2, 2014

    I made these for a group of friends last night who were just hanging out and they devoured them. I definitely prepped before I started cooking though and I put the chicken in the oven not the microwave to give them a crispier texture. Absolutely delicious!

  • JediCSI
    Jan 16, 2014

    I love this recipe. The sauce is wonderful!! The only thing about this recipe to be aware of is to prep everything before you start to cook. I'm a prep as I go cook and that was a little difficult with this recipe.