Please follow & like us :)

Simple Agrodolce Chicken (Sicilian Sweet and Sour Chicken)

April 20, 2022

Simple Agrodolce Chicken (Sicilian Sweet and Sour Chicken)

12 Comments

This agrodolce chicken recipe is a Sicilian classic made easy. A combination of vinegar and sugar provide the sweet/tart flavors that make this dish amazing! This is another recipe that has been part of my mother’s repertoire for years and is quite possibly her most requested dish.

A white plater with breaded chicken thighs in an onion and agrodolce sauce.

If you are getting tired of trying to find something new to do with chicken, look no further. I promise that you have never had sweet and sour chicken like this. This sauce is perfectly balanced but provides an incredible amount of flavor. Mom’s classic Italian chicken cutlets are always a hit, but I think this recipe may be everyone’s favorite.

What is Agrodolce?

“Agrodolce “is the Italian term for sweet and sour. “Agro” meaning sour and “dolce” meaning sweet. The use of agrodolce is very much a part of traditional Sicilian cooking. The concept of combining sweet and sour flavors to dishes is part of the Arab influence on Sicily that goes back to 827 AD.

You will find different versions of agrodolce throughout the island of Sicily and mainland Italy. The base of agrodolce is similar in that it is a combination of vinegar and sugar. The sour portion of the dish is sometimes achieved by making a reduction of vinegar and wine or just using vinegar. Fruits, fruit juices, honey or sugar create the sweetness.

You might see this as a simple sauce that is drizzled over pasta or pizza, or it might be combined with chunks of fruits or vegetables to make a condiment. Eggplant Caponata is an example of this, with it’s chunks of eggplant, celery and onions and the sweet-tart hints of agrodolce.

Breaded chicken in an agrodolce and onion sauce in a platter

Nonna’s Agrodolce Chicken is easy and tasty

Nonna’s sweet and sour chicken is a very basic version of agrodolce. It uses onions, vinegar and sugar to create the sauce that flavors a simple breaded chicken. When we were kids, she would make tuna steaks using the same onion based agrodolce sauce. I have to say that as a kid I was a finnicky eater. But this was one dish that I really liked and would eat without complaint. Now I have my own finicky eaters, but they all love this chicken!

Ingredients you will need

Chicken: I use chicken thighs when preparing this dish, because they are easy to work with and are a flavorful part of the chicken. You can easily substitute, breasts or legs.

Olive Oil: You will use this to coat and fry the chicken in so don’t use extra virgin olive oil as it does not have a high enough smoke point.

Onions: Thinly sliced. As you cook the onions they will give off some of their sweetness.

White vinegar: This is the sour part of the dish.

Sugar: This will further sweeten the sauce.

Seasoned Bread Crumbs: For coating the chicken

Pecorino Romano – Grated: Pecorino adds just the right amount of saltiness to this dish.

How to make this dish

  1. Brush both sides of the chicken thighs with olive oil.
  2. Coat the chicken in the bread crumb mixture.
  3. Cook the chicken on both sides until it is golden brown.
  4. Remove the chicken from the skillet and arrange in a baking dish.
  5. Add the sliced onion to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes, just until it starts to get tender.
  6. Add the sugar to the onion and stir coating all of the onions and cook for a minute.
  7. Stir the vinegar.
  8. Pour the onions and sauce evenly over the chicken thighs,
  9. Sprinkle some of the remaining breadcrumbs over the chicken, cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.

When the juices in the thighs run clear or the chicken has reached a temperature of 165 degrees it is done.

Tips for making this dish

  1. Use skinless chicken. There are 3 reasons for this.
    1. This recipe uses a lot of olive oil and the chicken will give off quite a bit of fat as well. The skin will only add to the fat and it really does not add any flavor.
    2. You also want all of the flavors from the breading and the agrodolce sauce directly on the meat so that it soaks it in as it cooks.
    3. I find that the way we bake the chicken in this recipe will not produce a crispy skin, so you may be disappointed in the texture.
  2. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels before brushing with olive oil or the oil will not adhere to the chicken and the breading won’t stick properly.
  3. Taste the sauce before you pour it over the chicken. Add more vinegar or sugar to your taste. I recommend starting with very small amounts and building up so you don’t over power the sauce.
  4. If you have leftover breadcrumb mixture, you can sprinkle a couple of tbsp. of the mixture over the chicken before you bake it.
  5. Bake the chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Agrodolce chicken is breaded and covered with white onions .

What to serve with Agrodolce Chicken

This chicken really takes center stage on the dinner table, so you may want to keep anything your serving with it, simple. Steamed or roasted vegetables, rice and risotto go well. When making pasta to go with this dish, something like an algio and olio would be delicious.

FAQ

How do I know when the chicken is done?

The chicken is done when the juices run clear if you cut into it. You should also use a meat thermometer to be certain. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken and away from the bone. When it registers 165 degrees the chicken is done.

How do you reheat the chicken?

This dish can be reheated in the microwave very easily and it does not loose it’s flavor or texture. A minute or so on high per piece works well in my microwave. If you have have a lot left over, you can reheat it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes.

Can you freeze Agrodolce Chicken?

Yes. Place it in an airtight container and warp the container with plastic wrap. It can be frozen for up to two months. Thaw it in the refrigerator before reheating it.

Other chicken recipes to try:

Easy Chicken Marsala

Nonna’s Chicken Cutlets

Simple Rosemary Roasted Chicken

Quick Chicken with Spinach and Tomatoes

Easy Herb Roasted Chicken

Marinated Stuffed Grilled Chicken Breasts

A white plater with breaded chicken thighs in an onion and agrodolce sauce.

Simple Agrodolce Chicken (Sicilian Sweet and Sour Chicken)

The perfect blend of sweet and sour to spice up your recipe box. This is my mother's recipe and one that gets requested repeatedly by the grand kids.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 10 servings
Calories 308 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 10 Chicken thighs bone in, skinless
  • 3/4 cup Breadcrumbs seasoned
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese grated
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Pepper
  • 1/2 cup Olive oil plus more for frying the chicken
  • 2 Onions, Yellow or Sweet thinly sliced
  • 5 oz. White Vinegar
  • 5 tbsp. Sugar

Instructions
 

  • Pre-heat your oven to 375°.
  • In a shallow dish, combine breadcrumbs, cheese, salt and pepper.
  • Brush the chicken thighs with olive oil on all sides and working with one thigh at a time, place it in the bread crumbs making sure to coat it well. Turn it over and coat the other side, pushing it down into the bread crumbs to make sure it is completely coated.
  • Heat the remaining oil in a skillet until it is glistening. Carefully place 3-4 thighs in the hot oil making sure not to crowd them in the pan. Cook the chicken about 3-4 minutes per side, until they are golden brown. Transfer the chicken to a baking dish. Continue to cook the remaining chicken thighs. You may need to add some additional oil to your skillet between batches. When all of the chicken has been browned, set the baking dish aside
  • Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel. Add 2-3 more tbsp. of olive oil to the skillet and heat.
  • Add the sliced onion to the skillet and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the sugar and stir into the onion with a wooden spoon.
  • Add the vinegar and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved and the onion is starting to get tender.
  • Pour the onion mixture evenly over the chicken. Sprinkle the chicken with 2-3 tbsp. of remaining bread crumbs.
  • Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. The juices in the chicken should run clear and the internal temperature should be 165°.

Notes

  • Use skinless chicken. There are 3 reasons for this.
    1. This recipe uses a lot of olive oil and the chicken will give off quite a bit of fat as well. The skin will only add to the fat and it really does not add any flavor.
    2. You also want all of the flavors from the breading and the agrodolce sauce directly on the meat so that it soaks it in as it cooks.
    3. I find that the way we bake the chicken in this recipe will not produce a crispy skin, so you may be disappointed in the texture.
  • Pat the chicken dry with paper towels before brushing with olive oil or the oil will not adhere to the chicken and the breading won’t stick properly.
  • Taste the sauce before you pour it over the chicken. Add more vinegar or sugar to your taste. I recommend starting with very small amounts and building up so you don’t over power the sauce.
  • If you have leftover breadcrumb mixture, you can sprinkle a couple of tbsp. of the mixture over the chicken before you bake it.
  • Bake the chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Nutrition

Serving: 10servingsCalories: 308kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 23gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 444mgPotassium: 302mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 45IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 82mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Chicken, Chicken Thighs, Sweet and Sour, Bread crumbs
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

12 thoughts on “Simple Agrodolce Chicken (Sicilian Sweet and Sour Chicken)”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


error

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)