This Sweetfire Chicken is a perfect Panda Express copycat with chicken, red pepper, onion and pineapple in a spicy sweet chili sauce.
Ingredients in this recipe
1 lb chicken breasts, diced
1 cup flour
salt & pepper, to taste
1 tbsp canola oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup pineapple chunks
1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
1 pinch chili flakes
4 green onions, sliced
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup white rice
1 tsp butter
1 pinch salt
How to make this chicken
Cook rice in a rice cooker or on the stovetop according to package directions.
Add eggs and flour to two separate bowls. Coat chicken in egg mixture, then toss in flour.
Heat canola oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. Add coated chicken pieces to skillet once oil is hot, then season with salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring often, until browned.
Add onions and red pepper, sauteeing another 2-3 minutes until veggies are tender. Stir in pineapple chunks, sweet chili sauce and chili flakes, tossing mixture until well coated and cook for 1-2 minutes until sauce thickens.
Serve chicken over rice and garnish with green onions. Enjoy!
What is sweetfire chicken?
This chicken entree is an offering on the menu at Panda Express restaurants. The dish is a combination of lightly breaded, tender chicken breast, red bell peppers and sweet pineapple, all covered in a mildly spicy sweet chili sauce.
Is sweetfire chicken spicy?
Thanks to the sweet pineapple and sweet chili sauce, the flavour is not terribly spicy. Red chili flakes are the only source of spicy heat in the dish.
Because the amount of chili flakes is easy to adjust, you can make it as spicy or mild as you want to.
- boneless chicken breasts – You can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead
- all-purpose flour – Cornstarch will work instead, though you may not get as thick of a coating
- eggs – You can use buttermilk instead (mix 1 tbsp lemon juice with one cup of milk if you don't have buttermilk)
- cooking oil – I use canola oil, but you can substitute it with any neutral flavour of cooking oil
- yellow onion – feel free to use white or red onion in place of the yellow onion
- red bell pepper – feel free to use any type of bell pepper in this dish
- pineapple chunks – using fresh pineapple gives the dish the best flavour, but you can use than canned pineapple chunks if you want to
- sweet chili sauce – If you're out, combine a tablespoon of your favorite hot sauce with 4 tbsp honey and 1 tbsp soy sauce
- green onions – the dish is garnished with scallions but you can omit them if you need or want to
Calories in this recipe vs Panda Express
Making restaurant dishes at home is a great way to save money, but you can usually save a lot of excess calories as well!
Using the ingredients shown in the recipe card below, one serving of this meal has 502 calories, including a one-half cup serving of cooked white rice.
In comparison, one serving of Sweetfire chicken from Panda Express has 380 calories, without the rice. When you add a side order of white rice, the total jumps to 760 calories!
Making the rice
If you want to serve the chicken over rice, you will need to cook it separately. I like to use my rice cooker for this, but there are other cooking options as well.
- Stove top– To cook the rice in a pan on the stove top, just follow the package directions. It takes about 20 minutes for white rice to cook, or 40 minutes for brown or wild rice.
- Crockpot– This option is my least favourite because it's very easy to over cook rice in a slow cooker. Of course, this means the rice will be very sticky and gummy.
- Instant Pot – For super quick-cooking rice, make my recipe for Instant Pot rice. You’ll have fluffy rice in less than 10 minutes!
Storing and reheating
Any leftovers should be refrigerated and eaten or frozen within 5 days. Be sure to place them into an airtight container with a lid.
The best way to reheat your leftovers is in a skillet on the stove top, over medium heat. You can microwave them but I find that it makes the chicken chewy and dry.
Freezing this recipe
If you store the food in an airtight, freezer safe container, you can freeze the meal for up to 3 months. Because it doesn't require as long to reheat, I suggest storing the cooked rice separately.
Defrost in the fridge overnight and reheat on the stove or in the microwave from there.
More Panda Express recipes
Meal prep tools for this recipe
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls if you plan on turning this meal into your weekly lunches
- I get all my free-range chicken from Butcher Box, conveniently delivered to me frozen
- Y0u can order sweet chili sauce online
- 1 lb chicken breasts, diced
- 1 cup flour
- 2 eggs
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cup pineapple chunks
- 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
- 1 pinch chili flakes
- 4 green onions, sliced
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup white rice
- 1 tsp butter
- 1 pinch salt
- Cook rice in a rice cooker or on the stovetop according to package directions.
- Add eggs and flour to two separate bowls. Coat chicken in egg mixture, then toss in flour.
- Heat canola oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. Add coated chicken pieces to skillet once oil is hot, then season with salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring often, until browned.
- Add onions and red pepper, sauteeing another 2-3 minutes until veggies are tender. Stir in pineapple chunks, sweet chili sauce and chili flakes, tossing mixture until well coated and cook for 1-2 minutes until sauce thickens.
- Serve chicken over rice and garnish with green onions. Enjoy!