Monday nights are looking for a new recipe and they want Instant Pot Sweet & Sour Chicken Lettuce Wraps. It’s like your favorite take-out sweet and sour chicken but a whole lot healthier and it only takes nine minutes of cooking time on the Instant Pot!
Instant Pot Sweet & Sour Chicken
This sweet & sour chicken is great on lettuce wraps. You can serve it with butter lettuce leaves, maybe throw some peanuts or spicy minced peppers in there. But, it’s also awesome on top of rice like more traditional sweet & sour chicken. Either way, it’s a super easy recipe and can put dinner on the table in under a half hour.
The cook time on this is so short because I recommend dicing the chicken before cooking it. The smaller pieces cook quicker and 9 minutes on the manual setting with a 15 minute natural pressure release is all you need.
Why natural pressure release? That’s generally recommended for all meats so that they don’t dry out. When you do the quick release, it’s kind of a shock to the contents, pulling out moisture rapidly in the form of steam. This is fine for things like vegetables, but for pretty much all meats, you can count on natural pressure release.
After The Pressure Is Off
Once you’ve released the pressure, and drain off half of the cooking liquid, then I add in the fruits and veggies. 9 minutes of Instant Pot cooking for the meat is fine, but in order to keep some crunch and prevent the pineapple and peppers from turning to mush, I add them after the pressure cooking. Just switch the pot to “saute” mode and add in the remaining fruits and veggies and 1 Tbs of cornstarch as a thickener and once it starts to bubble, it’s good to go. Ready to serve!
Slow Cooking Instead
Want to do this in the slow cooker instead? You’ll follow pretty much the same instructions, except the chicken will cook on low for 4 to 6 hours. You could push it to 8, but the chicken will start to get mushy. And since there’s not a ‘saute’ function on the Crock Pot, when you add the remaining ingredients, just keep the pot on ‘low’ and keep cooking for 20 minutes.
An Instant Pot recipe for Sweet & Sour Chicken with Pineapple, Mandarin Orange and Peppers served with lettuce wraps.
- 2.5 lbs white meat chicken, diced into 1 in cubes
- 10.5 oz mandarin oranges packed in their own juice
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 Tbs miso paste *optional, but adds a great depth of flavor
- 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 3/4 cup fresh or canned pineapple, drained and diced
- 1 Tbs cornstarch
- 2 scallions, chopped
- Combine the chicken, juice from the canned oranges (reserve the actual oranges), garlic, soy, tomato paste, miso paste, and rice wine vinegar into the insert of the Instant Pot and cover with the lid and seal.
- Cook 9 minutes on manual and once the time expires, allow for 15 minutes natural release.
- Once the pressure is released, remove the lid and change the pot setting to ‘saute’.
- Carefully (watch for steam), with potholders, remove the insert and drain off half of the cooking liquid that’s in the pot (again, watch as you pour, it’s HOT!!!). Then return the insert to the pot.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the pot including the reserved orange segments and stir to combine. Once the sauce starts to simmer and starts to thicken from the cornstarch, it’s ready to serve.
- Garnish with scallions