Crunchy Mama’s Paleo Sweet and Sour Chicken (Gluten-Free)

Crunchy Mama’s Paleo Sweet and Sour Chicken (Gluten-Free)

Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Sugar-Free Chinese Paleo Sweet and Sour Chicken? Yes, please!

Paleo Sweet and Sour Chicken

My husband likes to joke that my sweet and sour chicken dish was what won him over and made him decide he had to marry me. My original recipe had many ingredients that were not Paleo-friendly. So, he was a little sad when I told him I wouldn’t be able to make sweet and sour chicken anymore until I figured out how to modify my recipe to be Paleo.

One of my first challenges was finding a soy sauce substitute. Soy sauce to Chinese cooking is like basil to Italian cooking – it’s used in pretty much everything. The key to my Paleo lifestyle co-existing with my Chinese heritage is this little bottle of amazing here, Coconut aminos.

Coconut aminos for Paleo Sweet and Sour Chicken

Low glycemic, raw, vegan and full of amino acids, minerals and vitamin C and broad-spectrum B, this tastes exactly like soy sauce to me and is a perfect substitute in my old recipes.

Let’s get cooking!

First, find yourself some fresh chicken pieces. I prefer chicken thighs but this dish can easily be made with breast.

Chopped Chicken for Paleo Sweet and Sour Chicken

Marinate the chicken pieces for at least 30 minutes. In the meantime, you can mix up the sweet and sour sauce. Don’t forget to use my simple Paleo ketchup recipe!

Sweet and Sour Sauce

The chicken pieces are battered up in tapioca flour (instead of traditional cornstarch) and then it’s time to fry them up in the pan. Instead of using vegetable oil, I used olive oil but this would work just as well with some bacon grease (mmm… bacon). Coconut oil would probably work too but I would worry a bit about taste.

Fry em up

The chicken should be done fairly quickly over high heat (about 2-3 minutes). You can take a piece out and check for color and doneness. The only thing I caution is to watch out for sticky fingers trying to eat up all the fried chicken pieces before you have a chance to complete the sauce part of this recipe.

fried chicken

Next, drain most of the oil out of your pan and fry up some green onions till they are aromatic.

Green onions

Then pour in your sweet and sour sauce and heat until it is nice and bubbly.

Sweet and Sour Sauce

Add your chicken back into the pan and stir until everything is covered in sauce and you are done!


Paleo Sweet and Sour Chicken Ingredients:

  • 2 lb of chicken thighs or breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • Marinade: 1 tsp sea salt, 2 TBSP coconut aminos, 2 TBSP tapioca flour, 2 TBSP cold water, 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup of tapioca flour to batter the chicken
  • 3-6 cups of olive oil or bacon grease for frying, depending on the size of your pan
  • 2 green onions chopped up

For the sweet and sour sauce:

  • 6 TBSP white vinegar
  • 8 TBSP raw honey
  • 8 TBSP Paleo-ketchup
  • 10 TBSP cold water
  • 6 tsp tapioca flour
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp sesame oil


    1. Marinate chicken pieces in marinade sauce and set aside for 30 minutes
    2. Mix ingredients for sweet and source sauce and set aside
    3. Heat up oil/grease in a large frying pan over moderate-high heat
    4. Coat chicken pieces in tapioca flour and fry in the pan for about 2-3 minutes until brown and cooked. This can be done in batches
    5. Set cooked chicken over paper towels and prepare the sauce
    6. Drain most of the oil out of the pan and fry up green onions until fragrant
    7. Pour sauce mixture into the pan and heat until boiling
    8. Put chicken pieces back in the pan and stir until evenly coated
    9. Serve with garnishing of green onions




  1. Delicious! I was skimpy with the tapioca since I don’t care much for the gooeyness it can form but was excellent without the whole amount stated. I served it with cauliflower rice and sauteed spinach. Thank you!

  2. Unfortunately I can’t have tapioca or arrowroot; would coconut or almond flour work? Thanks!

  3. How do you think this would do if the egg yolks were left out of the marinade? I have one with an egg allergy. I use flax for most substitutes but I’m not sure that would work in this case.