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instant pot sweet and sour chicken over rice in a bowl next to chopsticks
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4 from 13 votes

Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken

Sweet and Sour Chicken with tender bites of chicken, bell peppers, and pineapple in a sweet and sour sauce can be made hands-off in the Instant Pot in just a few minutes. To make this Chinese take-out style dish even more weeknight-friendly, cook pot-in-pot rice at the same time.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time6 mins
Natural Release10 mins
Total Time26 mins
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: easy dinner, instant pot, pot-in-pot
Servings: 4
Calories: 549kcal
Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $9.00


  • 6-quart Instant Pot / pressure cooker
  • 2-inch tall Metal Trivet
  • 7-inch wide Glass Bowl


Sweet and Sour Chicken

  • 1 14oz can Pineapple Chunks in Juice, use both the pineapple and the liquid
  • 1 tablespoon Grated Fresh Ginger
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup Ketchup
  • ¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar (see note)
  • 3 tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Toasted Sesame Oil
  • ¼ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (optional - just add if you want some spice)
  • 1 ½ lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast, chopped into cubes
  • 1 Bell Pepper, cubed (red or green)
  • 2 tablespoon Cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoon Water
  • 1 tablespoon Chopped Green Onions / Scallions (optional)

Pot-in-Pot Rice (optional)

  • 1 ½ cups Long Grain Rice (Basmati rice works really well with this method)
  • 1 ½ cups Water


  • Strain the pineapple so that you separate out the pineapple chunks and the liquid (juice). You should have about 1 cup of pineapple juice, but don’t worry if you have slightly more or less.
  • In the bowl of the Instant Pot, combine pineapple juice (keep the pineapple chunks separate), ginger, garlic, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, toasted sesame oil, red pepper flakes (if using), and chicken. (Note: If you don't want to add the pot-in-pot rice, skip ahead to Step #6.)
  • Top the chicken and sauce with a 2” rack then with a 7-cup glass bowl. (Be sure that both the rack and bowl are approved for use in the Instant Pot.)
  • Rinse the rice well.
  • Fill the bowl with rice and 1 ½ cups water.
  • Close and lock the lid.
  • Set the steam valve to Sealing.
  • Cook on manual / high pressure for 6 minutes.
  • When done cooking, leave the machine on Warming (most machines automatically revert to this after cooking). Allow pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes. (Tip: I like to set a kitchen timer so that I don’t get distracted and forget.)
  • Manually release any remaining pressure.
  • Carefully remove the bowl of rice and rack and set aside, covered, to keep warm.
  • Turn on the Instant Pot’s saute function to Normal / Medium.
  • When sauce is simmering, add pineapple chunks and bell peppers to sauce and simmer for 1 minute.
  • Whisk together cornstarch and 2 tablespoon water.
  • Pour water-cornstarch mixture into sauce. Simmer, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Turn off saute function. Taste sauce. If you’d like it to be spicier, stir in some more red pepper flakes or some hot sauce.
  • Serve chicken and sauce over rice. Top with chopped green onions.


Apple Cider Vinegar - Apple cider vinegar works best in this sauce because it naturally has both sweet and sour flavors. If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, you can use white vinegar or rice vinegar, but reduce the amount you use to 2 Tablespoons to avoid the dish getting too sour.
Optional Pot-in-Pot Rice - Feel free to skip the pot-in-pot rice here. Just skip over the steps to add the trivet, bowl, and rice. Follow all other directions (including cook time) as written.


Calories: 549kcal | Carbohydrates: 70g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 1101mg | Potassium: 871mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1111IU | Vitamin C: 42mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 2mg