This Keto Sweet and Sour Chicken only takes about 15 minutes from start to finish. A sugar-free version of this famous Chinese dish, this sauce is just the right combination of sour without being sickeningly sweet. Add some red peppers, onions or chopped broccoli and you can have a delicious keto weeknight dinner!
Keto Chinese Restaurant Recipe
No matter where you go, sweet and sour chicken (or more often pork) is featured on almost every Chinese restaurant menu. It’s an Asian staple. Packed with carbs and sugar, pieces of meat are deep fried until golden brown and, then tossed in a vibrant red food coloured sauce.
Doesn't exactly sound like a healthy protein-sparing chicken recipe that you want to serve your family, does it?
Well, lucky for you, I have taken this recipe and converted it into a Keto Chinese restaurant recipe that can be made in about 15 minutes!
Why this Keto Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe Works
- Easy - We all need some quick and easy recipes for weeknight dinners, especially school back in. From start to finish, this recipe takes about 15 minutes and only 1 wok to clean.
- Healthy - No red food dye, frying or tons of sugar make this keto sweet and sour chicken much healthier than any Chinese take-out.
- Taste - Not too sweet or too sour, this easy keto chicken dinner recipe is perfectly balanced.
- Leftovers - This keto Chinese restaurant recipe actually tastes just as good (if not better!) the next day so don't hesitate to double the recipe!
Sugar-free Sweet and Sour Sauce Ingredients
Here’s what goes into this sugar-free Sweet and Sour Sauce. It gets the red colour from the tomato paste which means no red food colouring required!!
- Sweetener - You can use either Swerve Brown Sugar Substitute or Sugar-free Honey by ChocZero. I prefer the sugar-free honey but realize that not all of you may have this in your pantry so use the Swerve subsitute instead. As a last resort, you can use Lakanto Golden; however, the sauce will lose some depth in terms of flavour.
- Vinegar - Use apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar or Shaoxing rice wine for a more authentic taste. Shaoxing Wine (sometimes spelt Shaosing Wine) is a type of rice wine that is a staple in much Chinese cooking.
- Soy sauce - Adds the unami flavour and tang to this sugar-free sweet and sour sauce. You can use coconut aminos instead, if you want.
- Ketchup - You can find sugar-free ketchup at almost EVERY grocery store but if you can not find it, you can use tomato paste instead and add a little extra sweetener.
- Optional - Cornstarch - Although technically speaking, cornstarch is not keto friendly. However, cornstarch is the best thing out there to help to thicken the sauce. Sweet and sour sauce is thicker than most stir fry sauces which helps this tangy sauce cling to the pieces of chicken. One tablespoon of this thickener adds about 6 grams of carbs to this entire keto sweet and sour chicken recipe. You can omit this but your sauce will not be as thick.
Ready to make this copycat keto Chinese restaurant recipe?
In a small bowl, combine the sweet and sour ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water. In a third bowl, add the diced chicken and toss it with the dried garlic and ginger powder.
Heat the oil in a wok on high heat. Once heated, add the chicken and cook, stirring frequently until the chicken is white on the outside but still pink on the inside.
Add the sugar-free sweet and sour sauce to the wok and stir until it begins to bubble.
Stir in the cornstarch slurry (if using) and continue to simmer until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Taste the sauce and add any additional salt, pepper or sweetener to suit your taste.
Remove the wok from the heat and divide evenly between 4 dishes. Sprinkle with chopped scallions if desired.
Hint: Do not over cook your chicken as it will turn out dry.
What to serve with this keto Chinese restaurant recipe
For extra vegetables, add a side of Roasted Cauliflower Tomato Salad, or for fresh options, try Easy Keto Cucumber Dill Salad, or this Asian noodle salad, and replace the chicken in the recipe with keto sweet and sour chicken.
Is rice vinegar keto friendly?
Yes. There are virtually no calories in rice vinegar.
Is Shaoxing wine keto friendly?
Although there are more carbs in Shaoxing wine than in rice vinegar, there are still only 3 grams of carbs in ¼ cup of Shaoxing wine so if your diet allows for it, I highly suggest using Shaoxing wine.
What is does Protein-Sparing mean?
A protein-sparing modified fast or PSMF diet is a type of a very-low-calorie diet with a high proportion of protein calories and simultaneous restriction of carbohydrate and fat. It is an alternate-way of fasting that includes food.
Why is this sugar-free sweet and sour sauce not as red as in Chinese restaurants?
This sauce is not as crazy red you get at restaurants because I chose not to use food colouring. Red food dye is a neurotoxin and does not add any flavour so I chose to omit if from my recipes.
What are the carbs in Arrowroot vs. Cornstarch?
Tablespoon to tablespoon, both arrowroot and cornstarch powder have similar number of carbs. However, arrowroot has more fiber and you need less arrowroot powder versus cornstarch to thicken sauces.
Can I use Arrowroot starch as a thickener?
When arrowroot is used to thicken a sauce, you should first make a "slurry" by mixing the arrowroot into cold water. Whisk until it's smooth and then add it at the end to your prepared dish to thicken it. When adding arrowroot as a thickening agent, the trick is to add it in at the end of the cooking process right before serving. Doing so will guarantee that it's not exposed to heat for long periods.
Can I use xanthan gum instead of cornstarch?
Yes, however, the sauce will have a slightly more gummy texture and will not have the same consistency as cornstarch. If you are adding xanthan gum, remove some of the sauce and place it in a small bowl. Whisk in the xanthan gum and once fully incorporated, add the mixture to the sauce and stir it in.
How can I make this sweet and sour chicken more keto friendly?
If you want to increase the amount of fat in this recipe, you can use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts, cook the chicken thighs in more oil and/or drizzle some sesame oil over the chicken dish when it has finished cooking. By using chicken thighs and adding a total of 2 tablespoons of oil in the wok along with adding 2 tablespoons of sesame oil at the end, each serving will contain approximately 17 grams of fat instead of only 7 grams.
Keto Chinese Restaurant Recipes
Looking for other keto Chinese restaurant recipes like this? Try these:
These are my favourite dishes to serve with keto Sweet and Sour chicken.
For the chicken:
- 1-1.5 lbs chicken, boneless, skinless (use chicken breast or thighs)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp ground ginger powder
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
For the Sweet and Sour Sauce
- ¼ cup brown sugar substitute (best option is Swerve)
- 6 tbsp vinegar (rice, Shaoxing wine or apple cider vinegar)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1-2 tablespoon sugar-free ketchup (depending on taste preference)
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp water
Prepare the Sauce and Thickener:
- Mix together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water (if using). Set these bowls to the side.
Prepare the Chicken:
- Add the diced chicken to a bowl and add the garlic and dried ginger. Toss to coat the chicken pieces.
Assemble the Dish:
- Add the oil to the wok and heat the wok on high heat. Once heated, cook the chicken until it is white on the outside but sill pink on the inside.
- Add the sweet and sour sauce to the wok and stir until the sauce begins to bubble. Next, add the thickener and continue to simmer the sauce, stirring constantly until the sauce becomes syrupy, approximately 3 minutes.
- Taste and add additional salt, pepper or sweetener to taste.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Main Meals
- Method: Stove-top
- Cuisine: Chinese
- Diet: Gluten Free
- Serving Size: ¼
- Calories: 197
- Sugar: 1
- Fat: 7
- Carbohydrates: 5
- Fiber: 0.5
- Protein: 26
Keywords: copycat, Chinese, Restaurant, Asian, keto, protein-sparing, high protein, low carb, sugar-free, weeknight recipe, dinner