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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

4.93 from 26 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
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

  • Aleksandra
    October 25, 2021

    I recommend the chicken thighs. I used them and it turned out tasty.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      October 25, 2021

      Thanks for your recommendation, Aleksandra. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      Reply

  • Lea
    October 5, 2021

    Hi Natasha! I’ve been wanting to make that recipe for a while now and I bought all the ingredients long time ago except for the Dark Soy Sauce! I can’t find it anywhere and I don’t like ordering any food items on Amazon. Any idea where i could find it? Could it have a name different from dark soy sauce? Or does it have to specifically say dark soy sauce? Thanks!

    Reply

    • October 5, 2021

      In a pinch, you could sub with regular soy sauce, make sure you are not using low sodium soy sauce.

      Reply

  • Dennis George
    September 2, 2021

    Excellent Kung Pao. It was quite spicy and still everyone devoured their dinner. Next time I will not chop the peppers. I did add a tsp pf Szechuan peppercorns. These don’t add all that much heat but they add a lot of umami.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      September 3, 2021

      Sounds like a good plan, Dennis. Thanks for sharing your feedback with us, we appreciate it!

      Reply

  • Ellen B.
    July 20, 2021

    Is it okay to leave the chicken in the marinade longer than 30 minutes? (To prepare a couple hours ahead). What do you suggest should be the time limit to marinade?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      July 20, 2021

      Hi Ellen, it may be okay to marinade it a bit longer, I would keep it in the fridge.

      Reply

  • sara
    May 20, 2021

    This was really good and very easy to make. The big people enjoyed this a lot… the little people don’t like spice, so they got chicken and rice :). Thank you!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 20, 2021

      That is the best when kids love what we moms make. That’s so great!

      Reply

  • Zoie Penick
    May 4, 2021

    Hi Natasha! My sister and I made this recipe for dinner today. It was a delicious dinner for us. We served it over brown rice. The sauce was divine. Thank you so much for the recipe Natasha! We have enjoyed making your recipes. They have always been good for our family 😋

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 4, 2021

      You’re welcome Zoie! I’m so happy you enjoyed that.

      Reply

  • Sana
    April 25, 2021

    Hi Natasha,
    What can we use instead of fry sherry or wine in the recipe?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 25, 2021

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

      Reply

    • Delia schneider
      May 20, 2021

      I have been using mirin and I think the taste is the same

      Reply

      • Violet Cowley
        July 28, 2021

        What is Mirin?

        Reply

  • Irina
    April 18, 2021

    Natasha,

    Would boneless skinless chicken thighs work in this recipe?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 19, 2021

      Hi Irina, I imagine that would work too. Please share with us how it goes if you try the recipe!

      Reply

  • Deanne
    April 16, 2021

    Hi Natasha, When do you add the Szechuan peppercorns in the Kung Pao recipe? I love your recipes!
    Thank you so much!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 16, 2021

      Hi Deanne, if you’re using them you can add them with all the veggies.

      Reply

  • Angie
    March 26, 2021

    This recipe is delicious and easy! My husbands favorite. We like to add white onion and sugar snap peas to the mix as well. SO GOOD!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 26, 2021

      Oh yum! That sounds delicious! Thank you so much for sharing that with me.

      Reply

  • Zahra
    March 14, 2021

    I’d love to try this recipe but would you be able to suggest a non-alcoholic substitute for the cooking wine please?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 14, 2021

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

      Reply

  • adriana
    February 24, 2021

    absolutely love it

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 24, 2021

      Thank you so much for sharing that!

      Reply

  • Toni Clingman
    February 21, 2021

    I made this recipe and it is wonderful, better than restaurants! Thanks! Have told many friends about your web site. And love your humor 🤗

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      February 21, 2021

      I’m glad you loved it, Toni. Thank you for sharing!

      Reply

  • Cathleen
    February 20, 2021

    Too salty, but everyone ate it.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      February 21, 2021

      Hi Cathleen, make sure to use low sodium soy sauce which makes all the difference in saltiness.

      Reply

  • Sylvia
    February 9, 2021

    It is a great recipe. I’ve made and my family was in awe. Based on their comments, the dish was better than take-out!!! Thank you Natasha. Truly fabulous recipe with amazing flavours🌞

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 9, 2021

      You’re welcome, Sylvia! Thank you so much for this wonderful review. It sounds like you found a new family favorite!

      Reply

  • Barbara Cohen
    February 5, 2021

    Great recipe. Marinade, then sauce is the magic I think. I used cashews, 1/2 the garlic, and added some mushrooms and steamed carrot pieces to the peppers. Family LOVED this dish. Thank You!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 5, 2021

      You’re welcome, Barbara. I’m happy you enjoyed that.

      Reply

  • Bobby
    January 21, 2021

    Just finished two plates, I guess that’s all you need to know…..bhahahahah

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      January 21, 2021

      Isn’t it the best!! I’m glad you enjoyed ALL of it!

      Reply

  • Bobby
    January 21, 2021

    looks good so far, about to put it on the plate. I love your receipes.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      January 21, 2021

      Enjoy! I hope you love this recipe!

      Reply

  • TDouglas
    January 20, 2021

    What can you do if you don’t have hoisin sauce and don’t want to go to the store to find it?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      January 20, 2021

      Hi, I haven’t tried this without hoisin sauce but hoisin does add so much great flavor – it would be hard to substitute.

      Reply

  • Barb Juarez
    January 3, 2021

    Sounds like keeper – I’ll try it w/a few “tweaks” – I’ll definitely be using Sesame oil, however. It brings Asian dishes to an all together different level.

    PS Been a fan since you & your husband very first started!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      January 4, 2021

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying our recipes, Barb! Thank you for that wonderful feedback!

      Reply

  • Jane
    January 3, 2021

    Made this last week and we loved it. My husband said that its a “keeper”!

    Reply

  • Erin T
    December 28, 2020

    Made this tonight for dinner and it was a hit. Will definitely make again. Thank you Natasha! Love your recipes!!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 28, 2020

      Yay, so wonderful to hear that. Thank you, Erin!

      Reply

  • Monica Frye
    December 18, 2020

    I don’t have Dry Sherry wine or Chinese Shaoxing wine, will it be okay if I leave it out? Or can I sub it with something else.

    I love all your recipes, I am so happy to have found you.

    God Bless you

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 18, 2020

      Hello Monica, 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

    • Delia schneider
      May 20, 2021

      Use Morin, you can find it at Wal-Mart or any Asian market

      Reply

  • Steven Patton
    December 9, 2020

    I made this last night for dinner. Loved it! Thank you Natasha for another Home-run! The only downside to my dish was the blanched peanuts I used from the Asian market were quite bitter, they’re the kind of peanuts one cooks with and not the kind that you enjoy by just munching. Anyway, these type of peanuts need to be cooked, and as I just threw them in at the last minute they retained most of that bitterness. I will make this again and either use a different peanut or cook them with the chicken or peppers. I only mention this to help others, and this in no way reflects on Natasha’s great recipe. This is a keeper, I have it in my “Natasha’s Kitchen Recipe Folder”.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 9, 2020

      Hello Steven, thank you for sharing your experience in making this recipe. We appreciate you sharing that info about the peanuts as well, it is so helpful. I’m glad you loved this recipe!

      Reply

    • Kung pao
      January 15, 2021

      hi, the next time you use cashews, you will definitely be better.And otherwise all the recipes we tried from Natasha were excellent:)))

      Reply

  • Vicki
    October 12, 2020

    Do you use fresh red chiles or dried? Not sure I can get the small, fresh red chiles in the stores around here.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      October 12, 2020

      Dried chiles were used in this recipe, Vicki.

      Reply

  • Chris Holmes
    October 9, 2020

    Hi Natasha – this looks a great recipe that I will make tomorrow. Can you clarify what sugar I should use ?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 9, 2020

      Hi Chris, we used granulated white cane sugar. We have it linked to the printable recipe card for you.

      Reply

  • 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

      • Callie Brannon
        February 19, 2021

        I was taught by some Germans who have traveled the world that true Modena vinegar only comes in a certain small size bottle. Unfortunately everybody puts Modena on it but it’s not authentic. Hope that helps love your recipes

        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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