Grilled Chicken with Blackberry Sweet and Sour Sauce

Grilled Chicken with Blackberry Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe

We don’t get many choices in Chinese restaurants in my town – all the joints are a jumbled mish-mash of Americanized Asian food and they all serve sushi (because it sells really well with high profit margins).

Last week, we went to one for lunch and Andrew ordered Sweet and Sour Chicken. The chicken was deep fried and the sauce served on the side was neon orange. There is no food item that I can think of that should come in this blinding shade of orange. My iPhone buzzed and flickered when the plate came to the table. I should have tested it for radioactivity.

Grilled Chicken with Blackberry Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe

Unfortunately, Andrew loved it (he’s his Father’s son) and asked me to make it at home. So here’s my version of a healthier, fresher Sweet and Sour Chicken with a delicious sweet, tangy sauce made with fresh blackberries.

Grilled Chicken with Blackberry Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe

The recipe was inspired by my friends at Driscoll’s Berries, who had invited Scott and me to Northern California to sample some fresh berries straight from the field. I promised to create a recipe using their plump blackberries! (see below the recipe for more photos from our trip)

Grilled Chicken with Blackberry Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe

Chicken Breast Tip

I’m a big fan of brining chicken breast and lean pork for grilling. It helps the lean meat stay super-moist and tender. Normally, I’ll place the meat in a brine mixture overnight, but I’ve also had very good results in just an hour. If I’m short on time, I’ll make sure that my chicken or pork is cut no more than 1″ in thickness. For chicken breast, I’ll butterfly the breast.

To brine for this recipe – Grab a big bowl (or use a soup pot) dissolve 3 tablespoons sugar + 4 tablespoons kosher salt* in 1 cup of boiling water. Once the salt and sugar have dissolved, fill the bowl with cool water and ice cubes – enough to make 8 cups of water total. Once the brine mixture is ice cold, add in the chicken. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

*If you are using regular table salt, use 2 tablespoons instead. Kosher salt is about 2x the size of table salt.

Grilled Chicken with Blackberry Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe Video



Grilled Chicken with Blackberry Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe

Servings: 4 Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes

Recipe options:
-Use thick cut pork chops or salmon instead of chicken.
-If you don't have cognac, use alcohol of your choice: rum, brandy, whiskey, red wine or white wine. I love cognac the best in this recipe!
-Instead of rice vinegar, substitute with cider vinegar, white vinegar or red vinegar


4 chicken breasts
1 tablespoon cooking oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup blackberry jam
2 tablespoons cognac
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
6 ounces fresh blackberries
1 teaspoon fresh mint, minced


Preheat grill to high heat. Brush each side of chicken breasts with the cooking oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill 3 minutes on each side, then turn the heat to medium-low and cover to cook for an additional 5 minutes or until cooked through.

In a saucepan or skillet over medium high heat, add all ingredients and stir to combine. Smash half of the berries with a fork to release the juices. Let the mixture cook down for approximately 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour over grilled chicken and serve immediately.

Grilled Chicken with Blackberry Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe

Driscoll’s Visit!

we got married at Pebble Beach 10 years ago!

Our tour of the Driscoll’s HQ was so fun! Scott and I got a chance to sneak away for a few days to California. Our tour included stops at various facilities and farm operations. We walked the rows of the strawberry fields and tasted different varieties of strawberries that they were testing.

One of the most important things that learned was all the effort Driscoll’s puts into food safety. Because their berries come from contract farms from all over the world, they have very strict guidelines and checks to ensure that the berries are in the best condition and are safe. What I loved most: the berries are only touched ONCE. The picker packs directly into the clamshells.

As big as Driscoll’s is, they are very family focused – in fact, their vision is: “to become the world’s berry company, enriching the lives of everyone we touch.” 

Part of our adventure was at a location that Scott and I are very fond of – Pebble Beach Resort. Ten years ago, we got married there! The resort hosted the annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival and we were treated to an entire afternoon of sips and nibbles.

Oh – and look who I got to hang out with!!! Cutie patootie Caleb.




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Comments 46

  1. I'd love to try this recipe. Are you using skin-on boneless chicken breasts? Thank you, Donna

    I’d love to try this recipe. Are you using skin-on boneless chicken breasts? Thank you, Donna

    1. SteamyKitchen

      Yes, I am. If you are using skinless, boneless chicken breast, make sure you brine the chicken (instructions are above in the body of the post)

  2. Mags

    I’m so glad I failed to cut back the space for the blackberry patch as planned – I now have the excuse I need for neglecting this task.
    Can’t wait to try this one now and later in the summer with my own blackberries.
    This recipe is exciting just looking at your scrumptious photos.
    Thank you, thank you.

  3. Laurie

    Interesting information about how berry picking path to consumer. It was not what I expected. Every bit of info about the food chain is helpful!

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  6. Charlene O

    Wow Jaden I just tried this recipe tonight and it tasted as good as it looks! The sauce is just so delicious and perfect I had to lick my plate clean. Thanks for the tip on brining the chicken – it truly makes it ‘super-moist and tender’. Yum!

  7. Mike

    So… Tonight’s dinner consisted of brined boneless skinless chicken breasts, baked until tender and juicy, with the blackberry sauce, and asparagus drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper, lightly caramelized in a skillet, then tossed with a bit of feta to add a creamy texture… My dinner guests are in awe.

    Thanks! I’ll be doing this again with a pork tenderloin when I cook dinner for my girlfriend’s parents for the first time in a couple of weeks, because it’s just that good. 🙂

  8. The Cocktail Lady

    WOW, what a great twist on regular sweet & sour chicken! My family does love chicken that way and now I’m tempted to try it with blackberries instead, looks delicious!

  9. Chris

    So you took a recipe and did a healthier spin on it. If only they had a TV show on Saturday mornings like that 😉 🙂

    I pinned this and can’t wait to try it out this summer.

  10. Chef Lauren

    Love the sauce inspiration and have been running it on a bone-in, brined pork chop @ the restaurant. Going with escarole saute and boulder style red potatoes!! All the best!

    Mackinac Island, MI

  11. timestep

    I made this tonight and my family loved it – including my pickiest of eaters who hates EVERYTHING. Thank you!!

  12. Rachel

    I don’t drink, so I never have any alcohol on hand. Do you have a suggestion for an alternative for the alcohol in the recipe?

  13. hannah

    Hello agian,

    I made this a couple of weeks ago. I marinated the chicken as indicated but it was very dry anyway. The sauce is great. If I make these again I will broil rather than grill.

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  25. Derick

    I appreciate, cause I discovered exactly what I used to be looking for.
    You’ve ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day.

  26. Dreamflyer

    I googled chicken with blackberry sauce and found your incredible recipe. The sauce is perfection. Thank you. Will be making it again tomorrow.

  27. Jaime Lyn

    So exited to finally make this amazing recipe for my boyfriend! Serving it with a spicy honey baked sweet potato ^.^ definitely making some extra sauce for the potatoes, tho I have a feeling I will be putting this beautiful sauce on everything!!!

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