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The BEST Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken is the perfect weeknight dinner. It’s loaded with saucy chicken and veggies and is delicious over fluffy white rice. Skip ordering takeout, save some money, and make it at home.

A skillet with Kung Pao Chicken

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Kung Pao Chicken is loaded with veggies, protein, and the most amazing sauce, plus it’s made all in one pan! This is perfect for those nights when you don’t want to do a ton of dishes.

Hi there! My name is Natalya and I run the blog Momsdish. If you already follow me, you know I can’t get enough of easy meals that require simple ingredients. My family loves ordering in from our favorite Chinese restaurant, but making our go-to dishes at home has become an obsession.

A bowl of rice with Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

So, what exactly is Kung Pao Chicken? Traditionally, it’s a stir-fried, chicken dish that is tossed with peanuts, green onions, Sichuan peppercorns (Szechuan peppers), and dried chiles. The end result is a dish that is a bit sweet and a bit sour, with a nice punch of heat.

While you could get away with only using the above-mentioned ingredients, it’s also common for restaurants to add in some veggies. Bell peppers are great additions like we did with our Beef Stir Fry. Feel free to add broccoli, bok choy, zucchini or eggplant as well.

Note: Szechuan peppers are sold in most Asian markets. If you are not able to find them, that’s totally fine, just use a few extra red chilies.

Ingredients for the kung pao chicken recipe

Velveting the Chicken

Never heard of “velveting” before? It’s a marinating process Chinese chefs use to lock the moisture into the chicken that is going to be cooked over hot, stir-frying temperatures. Here’s everything you need for the Chicken Marinade:

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • Salt and pepper
  • Low-sodium soy sauce
  • Dry sherry
  • Cornstarch

Toss your chicken cubes in the above marinade ingredients and set aside for 10 to 30 minutes. When you go to add your chicken into the stir-fry pan, the coating acts as a protective shield against the heat. This results in ultra-tender and juicy chicken!

Velveting chicken process, marinade and pieces of chicken

Kung Pao Sauce

Prepare your sauce while your chicken is undergoing the velveting process. Simply whisk together the following ingredients and set aside the sauce until you’re ready to drown your chicken in it:

  • Chicken stock
  • Low-sodium soy sauce
  • Chinese black vinegar or great quality balsamic vinegar
  • Dry sherry
  • Dark soy sauce
  • Hoison
  • Sugar
  • Corn starch

When you are ready, pour the sauce directly over it and bring it to a simmer. This process will help the flavors meld together and thicken the sauce.

A pan with Kung Pao Chicken

How to Make Kung Pao Chicken

  1. Combine the Chicken Marinade ingredients together. Add cubed chicken to the marinade and set aside for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Prep all your veggies. This recipe moves quickly, so having them ready to go smoothens the process!
  3. Combine all the Kung Pao Sauce ingredients together using a whisk. Once the sugar is completely dissolved, set it aside.
  4. Preheat a large skillet with oil. Add chicken and cook until all sides turn golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  5. Using the same pan add garlic, ginger, bell peppers, and dried chilies. Cook for about 3 more minutes.
  6. Add in the sauce. Bring it to a simmer and allow it to cook until the sauce thickens. Add chicken back to the pan, toss to combine everything together.
  7. Add in peanuts and green onions. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve right away.

A step by step on making kung pao chicken

A Few More Asian Dishes:

We love re-creating takeout favorites like this Kung Pao Chicken, and homemade is always better because you know exactly what goes into the meal. If you love Asian recipes, don’t miss the recipes below.

Kung Pao Chicken

5 from 8 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Kung Pao Chicken in skillet

Kung Pao Chicken is loaded with veggies, protein and the most amazing sauce, this easy dish is made all in one pan!

Author: Natalya Drozhzhin
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $10-$12
Keyword: Kung pao chicken
Cuisine: Asian
Course: Main Course
Calories: 372 kcal
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

Chicken Marinade

  • 24 oz boneless skinless chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 4 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Dry Sherry wine or Chinese Shaoxing wine
  • 2 tsp oil

Kung Pao Sauce

  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp Chinese black vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Dry Sherry wine or Chinese Shaoxing wine
  • 2 tsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch

Stir Fry

  • 4 tbsp oil for frying
  • 6 red chilies chopped roughly
  • 1/2 large green bell pepper cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger
  • 4 large garlic cloves about 2 tbsp pressed garlic
  • 6 green onions cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds optional, garnish

Instructions

  1. Cut the chicken into bite-size cubes. Combine the Chicken Marinade ingredients together. Add chopped chicken and let it sit for at least 10 minutes to tenderize.

  2. In a separate dish, combine the Kung Pao Sauce ingredients together. Whisk until cornstarch is dissolved and the sauce is smooth then set aside.

  3. Preheat a wok or a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of oil. Add chicken and cook on medium-high until it's golden brown and almost fully cooked. Remove it from the pan and set aside.

  4. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the same pan. Add chopped bell peppers, pressed garlic, grated ginger and dried chilies. Toss it together in a pan and stir fry for 4 minutes.

  5. Add the prepared Kung Pao Sauce to the pan, stir everything together. As soon as the sauce starts to thicken, add chicken to the pan. Toss to coat the chicken with the sauce.

  6. Add chopped green onion, peanuts, and sesame seeds, then stir to combine.

Nutrition Facts
Kung Pao Chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 372 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Fat 20g31%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 73mg24%
Sodium 1041mg45%
Potassium 794mg23%
Carbohydrates 17g6%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 31g62%
Vitamin A 929IU19%
Vitamin C 90mg109%
Calcium 43mg4%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen

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Natalya Drozhzhin

Natalya is a food blogger who founded Momsdish.com to make cooking easier. Growing up on a farm in Ukraine, Natalya was inspired by the amazing dishes that were prepared using simple ingredients. Natalya is most notably known for making cooking approachable for any person.

Read more posts by Natalya

Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • Marian Jean Wolf
    September 17, 2020

    I made the Kung pao chicken. It was amazing. Thank you. I added pea pods, mushrooms, water chestnuts, & the rest of the ingredients in the recipe.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 17, 2020

      You’re welcome! I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Marian!

      Reply

  • marian Jean wolf
    September 15, 2020

    when I add the chicken to the kung pao sauce, do I discard the marinade or add that to the sauce as well.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      September 16, 2020

      The whole chicken mixture is added to the pan, no need to drain it.

      Reply

  • Irina
    September 10, 2020

    Natasha,

    Can I use chicken tenderloins in this recipe, instead of the breast?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      September 10, 2020

      Hi Irina, boneless chicken works best here but I imagine that will work too.

      Reply

  • Bev Hunt
    August 30, 2020

    Excellent!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      August 30, 2020

      Thank you!

      Reply

  • Jean
    August 22, 2020

    This sounds amazing! And I actually have all of the ingredients without a trip to the store, except dark soy sauce. Can I get away without it? or sub?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      August 23, 2020

      Hi Jean, Dark soy sauce will give you the more authentic flavor, but it should still work with regular soy sauce instead. Dark soy sauce is usually less salty than regular so add it to taste.

      Reply

  • Jenny Bell
    August 22, 2020

    Can I leave out the hoisin sauce?
    I am not sure what dried red chilies are. Can I leave them out?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      August 23, 2020

      Hi Jenny, I haven’t tried this without hoisin sauce but hoisin does add so much great flavor – it would be hard to substitute that. Dried red chilis can sometimes be found in the Hispanic food section of the grocery store if that helps.

      Reply

  • Pamela
    August 21, 2020

    I made the Kung Pao Chicken today for dinner. My family and myself loved it. Thank you for sharing. I did add some Sriracha to spice it up some.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      August 21, 2020

      Thank you for that wonderful feedback Pamela! I’m happy you enjoyed this recipe!

      Reply

  • Yuri Clingerman
    August 20, 2020

    I made this last night and the family loved it. I used Shaoxing wine, balsamic vinegar, hoisin sauce, dark soy sauce, etc. except I used regular soy sauce and chicken broth instead of the low sodium version called for in the recipe so I thought it was a tad salty. Next time I will adjust the amount and also add a little sesame oil.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      August 20, 2020

      Thank you so much for sharing that with us Yuri!

      Reply

  • Klaudia
    August 20, 2020

    It was amazing even that I didn’t have some ingredients, still was perfect thank you

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      August 20, 2020

      I’m so happy you enjoyed that Klaudia! Thank you for this amazing review!

      Reply

  • Sara
    August 19, 2020

    Can you suggest a “great quality balsamic vinegar?” What kind do you buy? My head spins when I read all the articles about and I come away not knowing what to buy. It’s so expensive that I hate to make a mistake.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      August 20, 2020

      Hi Sara, I look for one that says “of Modena” and I have been using this balsamic vinegar lately which I am enjoying.

      Reply

    • Stefania
      August 24, 2020

      I went to Costco and found the Kirkland name brand. It’s their “aged balsamic vinegar” or Modena. Delicious for many other recipes. I even use it as a salad dressing with spinach leaves, tomatoes and mozzarella. It truly is GREAT quality! My husband likes dipping sourdough bread in it too!

      Reply

      • Natashas Kitchen
        August 24, 2020

        Thank you for sharing that with us Stefania!

        Reply

  • Russ
    August 19, 2020

    A recipe without quantity is of little use. Am I missing something?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      August 19, 2020

      Hi Russ, we have all quantities listed on the printable recipe option towards the bottom of the recipe post.

      Reply

  • Heidi Anwar
    August 18, 2020

    Hi Natasha the recipe looks delicious n I’ll cook it when I get the chance when I buy the ingredients. Is there any chance that I could opt out the wine sauce? Is there any substitute for wine to add?!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      August 18, 2020

      Hello Heidi, I haven’t tried this without wine yet but I imagine using chicken broth as a replace should also work but the flavor wouldn’t be the same.

      Reply

  • Valentina
    August 18, 2020

    I LOVE this simple kung pao chicken recipe! This is my favorite dinner recipe when craving take-out.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      August 18, 2020

      Isn’t it simply the best!!

      Reply

  • Kristyn
    August 18, 2020

    One of the best dishes hands down!! Super flavorful, easy, & the chicken & veggies are so tender & juicy!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      August 18, 2020

      I am so happy to hear that you loved the recipe. Thank you so much for sharing your great review.

      Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      August 18, 2020

      Thank you for this wonderful review, Kristyn! It really is the BEST!

      Reply

  • Sara Welch
    August 18, 2020

    Tried this for dinner last night and it did not disappoint! Way better than the restaurant version; hands down delicious!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      August 18, 2020

      I’m so happy you enjoyed this Kung Pao Chicken Sara! Thank you for your lovely comment!

      Reply

  • Kimberly
    August 18, 2020

    One of my all-time favorites, the flavors in this really POP!

    Reply

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