Interrupting the holiday feasting with an easy, healthy crockpot chicken recipe that you can toss into your slow cooker, forget about for a few hours, then return with delight to find dinner prepared! Crockpot Sweet and Sour Chicken.

Easy healthy crockpot sweet and sour chicken with peppers, chicken breasts, and sesame seeds

This recipe is my slimming spin on the classic takeout sweet and sour chicken that I remember loving at our mall food court in high school.

I ate a fair amount of fast food growing up. These days, I much prefer recipes made with real, whole food ingredients, but I certainly haven’t lost my affinity for take-out style Asian food.

Creating healthy crockpot versions of those fast food favorites has become one of my preferred recipe genres, and many of those recipes have become reader favorites too: Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken, Pineapple Chicken, Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli, Crock Pot Cashew Chicken, Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken, Asian Lettuce Wraps…it’s one tasty list!

Combining juicy lean protein, fresh vegetables, and a sweet, sticky sauce, then serving the whole shebang over fluffy rice—what is not to crave about this situation?

If you enjoy Asian flavors and are looking to add another healthy crockpot chicken recipe to your dinner routine—or if you are just busy and stressed and the idea of cooking dinner sounds overwhelming to you right now—this sweet and sour chicken recipe is here to make your nightly routine easier.

You’ll love the leftovers warmed up the next day too!

Crockpot sweet and sour chicken with pineapple juice served in a bowl

About Sweet and Sour Chicken

Despite being a staple of most Chinese food restaurants in the United States, the sticky and brightly-colored sweet and sour chicken we know today did not actually originate in China.

  • A version of sweet and sour sauce was used in China, but it was typically served with fish and was not nearly as sweet.
  • When Chinese restaurants started to gain to popularity in America, chefs began to make a more flavorful and colorful version of the sauce using common ingredients like ketchup and sugar for sweetness and white vinegar for the sour flavor.
  • The chefs also began serve the sauce over chicken or pork instead of fish.

While the sweet and sour chicken recipe we know and love may not reflect traditional Chinese cooking, it is both delicious and easy to make.

Plus, just like this Crockpot Chicken and Broccoli, this recipe is much healthier than the version you’d get from your local takeout place.

chopsticks resting on a bowl of crockpot sweet and sour chicken

How to Make the Best Crockpot Sweet and Sour Chicken

My goal for this recipe was to make it with simple, natural ingredients, including sweetening it more naturally.

Believe it or not, 99% of the sweet and sour chicken recipes I found online call for brown sugar and ketchup, an ingredient that is high in sugar and often made with high fructose corn syrup (even the slow cooker sweet and sour chicken recipes from Cooking Light and Taste of Home mention it).

This recipe leaves out both ketchup and brown sugar, without sacrificing an ounce of flavor. You’ll feel like you are eating a gourmet slow cooker sweet and sour chicken, and it’s better for you too.

Peppers, onion, and carrots in a slow cooker for making crockpot sweet and sour chicken with pineapple juice

The Ingredients

  • Chicken. I used chicken breasts, as we always have them on hand in the freezer. I think boneless chicken thighs would be even better, as they do not dry out as easily.
  • Fresh Vegetables. I used a myriad of bell peppers, carrots, and onion. They give the dish great color and boost its nutritional value.
  • Tomato Paste. My workaround to make this recipe without ketchup. It gives deep flavor, without the processed ingredients.
  • Honey. Putting the “sweet” in “sweet and sour.”
  • White Vinegar. For the “sour.” White vinegar is mild, so the sauce won’t be too tart or acidic.
  • Canned Pineapple. Be sure to look for pineapple in 100% juice, not syrup. You can also make this crockpot sweet and sour chicken without pineapple, though you will still need juice to make the sauce.
  • Pineapple Juice. Make the most of your canned pineapple; use the juice too! It also sweetens the recipe naturally. Some recipes call for brown sugar, but I found the sweetness of the pineapple juice to be perfect.
  • Worcestershire Sauce. A surprising, but oh-so-effective ingredient! It gives the sauce a deep, umami factor (just like in this Crock Pot Pepper Steak).
  • Low Sodium Soy Sauce + Fresh Ginger + Fresh Garlic. Building blocks for any stellar Asian recipe.
Ingredients in a slow cooker for making crockpot sweet and sour chicken with pineapple juice

The Directions

  1. Add the chicken and vegetables to the slow cooker. In a bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients, then pour the mixture over the chicken.
  2. Cover and cook as directed. Check early to ensure your chicken doesn’t overcook. When done, transfer the chicken to a cutting board, and cut it into small pieces.
  3. Drain the pineapple juice into a measuring cup, and whisk in the cornstarch. Pour mixture into the slow cooker. Place the pineapple chunks in the refrigerator.
  4. Cover and cook on HIGH for 30 additional minutes to thicken the sauce. Add the chicken and pineapple, and stir to coat. Serve with desired sides and toppings. DIG IN!
a bowl with slow cooker sweet and sour chicken with pineapple

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Place cooked and cooled leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • To Reheat. Gently reheat leftovers in a large skillet on the stovetop until warmed through. You can also rewarm this recipe in the microwave until hot.
  • To Freeze. Store crockpot sweet and sour chicken in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

What to Serve with Sweet and Sour Chicken

Like the other DOZENS of healthy crock pot chicken recipes on my site, this recipe is an all-in-one meal. But if want to serve this recipe with a side dish, here are a few ideas:

  • Salad. This Ramen Salad is a family favorite, and it would pair nicely with this recipe.
  • Fried Rice. For extra flavor and veggies, serve your crockpot sweet and soup chicken over a bed of Homemade Fried Rice or Healthy Fried Rice.
  • Broccoli. An easy and healthy side of steamed or roasted broccoli would be delicious.

Recommended Tools To Make This Recipe

A bowl of delicious and easy crockpot sweet and sour chicken with pineapple juice

Raise your chopsticks (or your forks, no shame) to this easy, healthy crockpot sweet and sour chicken. Over here, I’ll also be raising a spoon. The sweet and sour sauce is far too tasty to let a morsel be left behind!

Easy healthy crockpot sweet and sour chicken with peppers, chicken breasts, and sesame seeds

Crockpot Sweet and Sour Chicken

5 from 10 votes
This Crockpot Sweet and Sour Chicken is made with simple, healthy ingredients like juicy chicken, bell peppers, and pineapple. Quick, easy and so delicious!

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 5 hrs
Total: 5 hrs 20 mins

Servings: 5 servings


  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs or chicken breasts
  • 2 medium carrots peeled and sliced into thin coins
  • 2 red bell peppers cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 yellow bell pepper cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 small yellow onion cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic about 3 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons sambal oelek ground fresh chili paste plus additional to taste
  • 1 can 8-ounce can pineapple chunks in 100% juice
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion for serving
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds for serving


  • To a 6-quart or larger slow cooker, add the chicken, carrots, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, onions, and carrots. To a medium bowl, add the soy sauce, honey, Worcestershire, white vinegar, tomato paste, garlic, ginger, and sambal oelek. Whisk to combine. Pour over the chicken.
  • Cover the slow cooker and cook on LOW 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours or HIGH for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours, until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. The timing will vary based on your particular slow cooker model, so check early to make sure the chicken doesn’t overcook, especially if you are using chicken breasts. Remove the chicken to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, shred or cut into bite-sized pieces. Cover and set aside.
  • Drain the pineapple juice from the can into a measuring cup, stopping as soon as you have ¼ cup. Whisk in the cornstarch, then pour into the slow cooker. Reserve the pineapple chunks in the refrigerator.
  • Cover the slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 30 additional minutes, until the sauce is thickened. Stir the chicken and reserved pineapple back into the crock pot to coat. Serve over rice, sprinkled with sesame seeds and green onion.


  • TO STORE: Place cooked and cooled leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. 
  • TO REHEAT: Gently reheat leftovers in a large skillet on the stovetop until warmed through. You can also rewarm this recipe in the microwave until hot. 
  • TO FREEZE: Store crockpot sweet and sour chicken in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. 


Serving: 1(of 5); about 1 cup without riceCalories: 308kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 33gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 86mgPotassium: 955mgFiber: 3gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 5710IUVitamin C: 115mgCalcium: 48mgIron: 2mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. Erin, can this recipe be made in the instant pot. We live on our sailboat, so no room for my crockpot right now. Love so many of your recipes!

    1. Hi Judi! Unfortunately, I’ve only tried this dish in the slow cooker, so I’m afraid I don’t have any specific advice to offer. I suggest checking out my full list of Instant Pot recipes for inspiration.

  2. I LOVE the flavor of this recipe, so delicious!
    Question – the chicken almost tastes like it was rolled in the cornstarch (which I didn’t do) Did I do something wrong to make it have this consistency? Do you have any tips?5 stars

    1. Hi Cameron, did you whisk the cornstarch well before adding it to the slow cooker? I’m not sure what else might’ve caused the cornstarch flavor. I’m so happy you still enjoyed the flavor of this dish!

    1. Hi Jacquie! I used raw chicken for this recipe, and it cooked with the veggies in the slow cooker. I hope this helps!

  3. This was super easy and very healthy. I finished off the leftovers today for lunch. Delicious! I did not change anything in the recipe and it turned out perfect.5 stars

    1. Hi Tonya! I’ve never tried this recipe without the chili paste, but you could experiment with it. I hope you enjoy the recipe if you try it!

  4. Excellent meal, so easy and so tasty. I made for friends’ lunch. Everyone asked me for the recipe.5 stars

    1. Hi Angela! If you look at the top of the post, you can click the “jump to recipe” button. It will take you right to the recipe. I do invest hours and hours of time into making my posts helpful resources that include important information about the recipe. If you do not feel you need this information, I suggest either using the jump to recipe button I mentioned or seeking out a different, non-blog recipe resource, like All Recipes.

    2. Recipe was amazing and so delicious! For what it’s worth, I also work 60+ hour weeks and appreciate your posts – Angela’s attitude was unnecessary.5 stars

    1. Hi Melisa! Since the “sour” flavor in this dish comes from the white vinegar and rice vinegar has a completely different flavor profile, I’m afraid swapping it would impact the outcome.

  5. Since this is my 1st comment ever here, let me say that your idea for cooking chicken breasts in the crock pot has been a total game changer in the kitchen for me.
    I have completely reworked my repertoire of your recipes to add dishes like this one.

    What could I substitute for the chili paste? (any one feel free to offer ideas. I know Erin in busy)
    Campers have bigger kitchens than I have at home and it’s just not possible for me to have such a diversity of spices and such.

    Thanks for all you do.

    1. Hi Steven, you could use tomato paste instead but the flavor will be slightly different than the one intended. Hope you enjoy it!

  6. No measurements were added for some of the ingredients mentioned. This isn’t a practical recipe because of this.

    1. Hi Brandon! Which ingredients are you referring to? Also did you see the entire recipe in the recipe card? There is a “jump to recipe” button to help you get there quicker. Hope this helps!