Healthy Sweet & Sour Chicken | Grilled to perfection.

I have mentioned on numerous occasions how much our family loves Chinese take-out.
My kids love Sweet & Sour Chicken, really they love any Chinese chicken that is coated with a yummy sauce.
And while I love Sweet & Sour Chicken too I just never order it because it is so unhealthy, being fried and loaded with sugar. But yesterday I was craving it bad! Like I could taste it by just thinking of it, kind of craving.
So, since our summer theme is the “summer of the kabobs” I tried to give it whirl and bring a family favorite to the grill. Making this recipe healthier and a whole lot tastier.
Enjoy from our grill to yours, Healthy Sweet & Sour Chicken.

Healthy Sweet & Sour Chicken | Grilled to perfection.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 6

Healthy Sweet & Sour Chicken | Grilled to perfection.

Grilled Sweet & Sour Chicken makes this recipe healthier while still maintaining the authentic taste of this classic and favorite Chinese take-out dish.


  • 2lbs. chicken tenders or chicken breast, sliced into tenders
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 red pepper, chopped into large chunks
  • 1 purple onion, quartered and then each quarter halved
  • 2 cups brown rice, cooked and prepared by package directions



Mix rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, ketchup and apple cider vinegar in a medium mixing bowl and stir together until well combined. Place chicken breasts in marinade, cover and let it marinade in the fridge for 1-2 hours. I make it in the morning and let the chicken sit in a Ziplock bag with the marinade until dinner.

If you are using metal skewers skip this part, if you are using wood skewers follow the directions below.

Now I know there is a debate whether or not to soak your skewers and to each their own. But I soak mine, I have found that I get less wood pieces in the chicken and they don’t go up in flames. They still may char a tad, but not following apart or on fire.

I completely soak my skewers for 30 minutes, sometimes accidently longer. Make sure the entire stick is completely dredge in water. Once they have soaked, remove and start to assemble the skewers.


Remove the chicken from the fridge, one piece at a time grab a tender and lace through the skewer. I start at the chunkier end and do a weave motion. Or you can just slide the entire tender on the kabob and not make it all fancy like a wave. Either way, they will taste the same. After adding one piece of chicken, add 2 pieces of purple onion, and 1 red pepper piece, add another piece of chicken and repeat process until skewer is full. Set kabob on a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken, onions and peppers. Keep the remaining marinade, and baste chicken on grill while it is cooking.

Heat gas or charcoal grill. Place chicken on grill over medium heat. Cover grill and cook 3 minutes, then turn over the kabob, baste with remaining marinade and cook another 3 minutes. At this point check the chicken. To know if the chicken is done the juices should be clear and the center of thickest part is cut (170°F). If not done, continue to cook, at this point I leave the lid open and just turn the kabobs so they are cooked evenly on both sides. My chicken takes about 8-10 minutes.

Remove from grill and serve immediately with brown or white rice. Or cover with foil and serve later.


Total time does not include the time to let the chicken marinade.

Kids review: They loved this recipe, there was no whining or groaning! That alone made this recipe a keeper.

Marinade adapted from Damn Delicious


  1. says

    Awesome post.! Sandi, do you have a favorite place you like to buy your wooden skewers? I have noticed some differences in how they are made, their sturdiness, ease of handling, etc. There are a variety of skewer qualities out there. =)

    • Sandra says

      Diana – so honestly I pick them up where ever. Pier 1 to King Soopers (Kroger Foods) but my favorite are the metal ones from Bed Bath and Beyond, I got them several years ago.
      I like bamboo the best, and the medium thickness. The thick ones are hard to get the food off and the thin ones crumble in the grill, I have found too that the darker the bamboo the better, not sure why though. xo San

  2. says

    I do quite love Chinese food (along with many other different types of food) but Chinese food places are hard for me to eat at without feeling after-effects. Anything I can make at home is something I’m willing to try so thank you so much for the great idea and recipe!

    • Sandra says

      Thanks for coming by girl and I feel the exact same way about how you feel after….not good. Can’t wait for you to try. xo San

  3. says

    We were making a lot of kabobs last summer but haven’t since – it’s a on the deck and grill thing to make, Now that warmer weather is here again, I’m craving them – I need to try this recipe!

  4. says

    yum!!! I love kabobs and sweet and sour! I am not a HUGE fan of chicken because it gets so dry, but my husband is an amazing cook and he will figure it out so that it won’t be dry! Thanks for the great detail and recipe!

  5. says

    I pinned this just the other day, it looks delicious! I just recently tried Trader Joe’s vegetable fried rice, I think this would go amazing alongside it.

    • Sandra says

      KC so happy you liked it. The pineapple is a great addition. Thank you for coming back and giving feed back! xo San


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