Healthier Copycat Panda Express Sweetfire Chicken

Healthier Copycat Panda Express Sweetfire Chicken | Homan at Home

We love Panda Express at our house. Too much, really. I think we could eat there every night if we had unlimited dollars and no respect for our health. Unfortunately, we have very limited dollars, and occasional respect for our health, so it’s a no-go. Lately, I’ve been spending time online looking up copycat recipes, then modifying them to fit our budget. I’ve also been working on making them healthier too.

My greatest success so far has been with sweetfire chicken.  Thai chili sauce lends just the right amount of sweet and hot, and the combination of onions, pepper, and pineapple is so flavorful and colorful, it looks almost as good as it tastes. Sweetfire Chicken Wide 1

The problem was with frying the chicken. I hate frying things because it covers my kitchen in oil. Also, I invariably burn myself. And it’s not the best for the calorie side of things. The fix? Bake the chicken into nuggets before stir frying them with the rest of the ingredients. We actually can’t tell the difference here, but I bet our waistlines would thank us if they could. 

Sweetfire Chicken Tall 1

Copycat Panda Express Sweetfire Chicken
Serves 4
Sweet and hot chicken stir fried with spicy vegetables.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
  1. 2 chicken breasts
  2. 1/2 onion
  3. 1 bell pepper
  4. 1 can pineapple chunks
  5. 1/2 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
  6. 2 eggs, beaten
  7. 1 cup flour
  8. 1 Tbsp olive oil
  1. Chop chicken into bite-sized chunks.
  2. Dredge chicken in flour, then eggs, then flour and place onto lined baking pan.
  3. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes.
  4. While chicken is baking, chop onion and bell pepper.
  5. Stir fry onion and pepper in olive oil until onions are translucent.
  6. Add in pineapple and stirfry.
  7. Once chicken is done, add to pineapple, onion, and bell pepper. Pour chili sauce over chicken.
  8. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Serve over rice.
Adapted from Damn Delicious
Adapted from Damn Delicious
Homan at Home

Panda Express actually sells the sweetfire chicken sauce (you can get it at Smith’s/Fred Meyer). We’ve tried both, and my family didn’t think the Panda Express sauce tasted substantially different from the no-brand Thai chili sauce. Since Panda’s cost about $3.50, and the chili sauce only runs you $1.89 (at least in Logan, UT), I’ve made the obvious choice and gone cheap. 

In fact, this meal is really very frugal. One bottle of sauce will give you two recipes worth of sweetfire chicken, making the total cost for this recipe $3.58. That’s only 89¢ per serving!  Certainly a lot kinder to the pocketbook than going out to take care of that sweetfire chicken craving!

Do you have a favorite copycat recipe? Let us know in the comments!

Healthier Copycat Panda Express Sweetfire Chicken | Homan at Home
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Hi! I’m Diane, mom of two and wife to a pretty great guy. I love to cook and craft. I’m so excited to share my projects with you!

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