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.

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Kung Pao Chicken

4.96 from 115 votes
Author: Natalya Drozhzhin
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!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 6 servings

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 dried red chili peppers, 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

  • 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.
  • In a separate dish, combine the Kung Pao Sauce ingredients together. Whisk until cornstarch is dissolved and the sauce is smooth then set aside.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Add chopped green onion, peanuts, and sesame seeds, then stir to combine.

Nutrition Per Serving

372kcal Calories17g Carbs31g Protein20g Fat3g Saturated Fat73mg Cholesterol1041mg Sodium794mg Potassium3g Fiber6g Sugar929IU Vitamin A90mg Vitamin C43mg Calcium2mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Kung Pao Chicken
Amount per Serving
Calories
372
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
20
g
31
%
Saturated Fat
 
3
g
19
%
Cholesterol
 
73
mg
24
%
Sodium
 
1041
mg
45
%
Potassium
 
794
mg
23
%
Carbohydrates
 
17
g
6
%
Fiber
 
3
g
13
%
Sugar
 
6
g
7
%
Protein
 
31
g
62
%
Vitamin A
 
929
IU
19
%
Vitamin C
 
90
mg
109
%
Calcium
 
43
mg
4
%
Iron
 
2
mg
11
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: Kung pao chicken
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $$
Calories: 372

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

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

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  • William
    April 20, 2024

    Love most of your recipes, but NOT your website. There are FAR too many commercials going on a trying to open and pop up, which makes your page Reload several times and slowing it down tremendously. I can’t stand it anymore. Please redesign.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 22, 2024

      Thank you for your feedback, William. We are constantly making some changes on our website to make it better. Hopefully you get a beter experience soon but as for the ads, you can close them after a while.

      Reply

  • Donna
    April 8, 2024

    I think I followed the recipe exactly! We did not like it at all. I was too dark and salty, also way too many chili peppers.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      April 9, 2024

      HI Donna, did you use the correct amount of soy sauce and also make sure to use low sodium chicken stock which will help with the salty taste.

      Reply

  • Dale
    March 26, 2024

    I want to try this, with hesitation about my culinary prowess. I have so many spices/sauces etc laying dormant and hate the thought of buying more. After google search, I think 1 (max 2) tsp red pepper flakes vs 6 chopped dried chilies. I think I will buy the Sichuan Pepper (one reader suggested) as I thiink I can use it elsewhere too. I don’t have low sodium soy or chicken broth, it is what it is until they are used up, just won’t add salt (I rarely do anyway) Over rice with your “special cucumber side with added onion slices sounds good to me – Once again, I have a Costco vat of Thai Chili sauce – will try that to replace Chinese oil, although I want to try making that as well. Thanks for listening.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 27, 2024

      Thank you so much for sharing that with me, Dale! I hope you love it!

      Reply

  • M
    March 21, 2024

    Can I substitute rice wine for the shaoxing cooking wine with similar results?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 21, 2024

      Hi there, I have not tried that substitution to advise.

      Reply

  • Fiona Anderson
    February 29, 2024

    The flavors in this recipe are great, and I enjoy the flexibility of using whatever veggies you like! My one request is to note in the ingredient list that they are DRIED red chili peppers, not fresh. I have ended up using fresh because that’s what I bought a couple of times — still good, but the recipe calls for dried.
    Thanks!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 2, 2024

      Hi Fiona, I appreciate your suggestion about specifying the chili peppers in the ingredients list. We mention the chilis are dried throughout the recipe including in the summary of the post. Thank you for giving my Kung Pao recipe a try!

      Reply

    • Natasha
      March 2, 2024

      HI Fiona, thank you for pointing that out. I will update the recipe.

      Reply

  • Fable
    January 9, 2024

    You might want to update the cost of this recipe, these days, there’s no way in hell you’re gonna get 24 oz of chicken breast for less than $9, unless you buy chicken wholesale as a restaurant maybe. And the rest of it is definitely gonna be worth more than $4. 🙁

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      January 9, 2024

      Thanks for your feedback and suggestion. We’ll make sure to look into that.

      Reply

  • Ashlee
    January 2, 2024

    Absolutely amazing and easy to follow! I topped mine with chili oil. My kids said I knocked it out of the park with dinner tonight!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      January 2, 2024

      Yay thanks a lot for sharing!

      Reply

  • Brooke Atwell
    December 19, 2023

    If you substitute dry sherry for the Chinese Shaoxing wine does it change the flavor profile and consistency drastically? I made it recent using the Chinese Shaoxing wine and it was divine, BUT I want to make it for my family and they are all gluten free. I checked and the only other ingredient that could have gluten is the black vinegar and the one I used is GF along with the soys used. Thank you in advance for any input!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 20, 2023

      Hi Brooke I haven’t really tested that to advise. Feel free to experiment, we’d love to know how it goes if you give that a try!

      Reply

  • Amy
    December 10, 2023

    I was happy how this turned out. My husband and I are not a fan for a lot of heat in the dish. Did not have any chili peppers but did add 2 tsp of chili paste for heat. It was just the right amount for us. Added some snap peas and button mushrooms. Will definitely make this dish again.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      December 10, 2023

      Hi Amy! I’m glad you found a recipe to repeat! Thank you for sharing.

      Reply

  • Sshome
    September 29, 2023

    Hello, I’ve never had this dish before but dying to try it. My son has a peanut allergy. How important are the peanuts to this dish and any suggested alternatives?

    Thank you so much for your great recipes. Just ordered your book too!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      September 29, 2023

      I’m excited for you to get your copy! IF you wanted to substitute with another nut, cashews would work great too!

      Reply

  • Susan
    September 1, 2023

    Made this tonight for my husband and I and he is still raving! So good! Cooked as designed and it was very tasty.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      September 1, 2023

      Hi Susan! That’s fantastic. I’m so glad you both loved it! Thanks for the feedback.

      Reply

  • Samantha L.
    August 25, 2023

    Hi Natasha! I LOVE your recipes! I used them often! Could you make a video of this one please? 🙂

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      August 25, 2023

      Hi Samantha! I’m glad you’re enjoying them. Thank you for the suggestion.

      Reply

  • David Orme
    August 25, 2023

    Hi, just wondering what kind of roasted peanuts to use in this recipe. Just regular roasted peanuts in the shell or what? Thanks in advance.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      August 25, 2023

      Hi David! You can find roasted peanuts, ready to eat without the shell.

      Reply

  • Sara
    June 29, 2023

    I have a lot of fresh thai chilis, how many should I sub for dry?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      June 29, 2023

      Hi Sara! I’m not sure. I found this on Google if it helps, “one pound of fresh peppers will give you approximately 4 ounces of dried chiles, so one tablespoon of chile flakes is about 4 times as potent as one tablespoon of freshly-chopped chiles.” You can experiment with it and add to your preference.

      Reply

  • Scott
    May 8, 2023

    I just can’t see eating Kung Pao Chicken without Sichuan pepper. How much would you add to this recipe and where would you add it?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 8, 2023

      Hi Scott, we left it out due to preference, but you can totally add some to taste and preference!

      Reply

  • Melissa
    April 21, 2023

    Made it and added waterchestnuts. Diced Broccoli, sliced carrots, diced green beans. And gently chopped cashews in place of peanuts. Turned out delicious.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 21, 2023

      Glad to hear that you enjoyed it!

      Reply

  • Ali
    April 1, 2023

    Hi, looks like a great recipe. While I know Kung Pao Chicken is spicy, how spicy on the scale of spicy is this.
    Thanks

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 3, 2023

      Hi Ali! This recipe is pretty balanced with sweet, sour, spicy, and savory flavors but it does have a nice kick to it.

      Reply

  • Cortney Hull
    March 29, 2023

    Really good! Just not sure how big one serving is for the calorie count. Any update?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 29, 2023

      Hi Cortney! This recipe serves 6. Sorry, I don’t have the exact quantity. You’ll have to measure it evenly or weigh the recipe whole and divide that by six.

      Reply

  • Nicole Carver
    March 20, 2023

    I didn’t add sugar and I’mglad I didn’t. It was perfect without the extra sweetness added

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 20, 2023

      That’s great! Good to know that you liked the results!

      Reply

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