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.
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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.
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.
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
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!
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
- 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.
How to Make Kung Pao Chicken
- Combine the Chicken Marinade ingredients together. Add cubed chicken to the marinade and set aside for at least 10 minutes.
- Prep all your veggies. This recipe moves quickly, so having them ready to go smoothens the process!
- Combine all the Kung Pao Sauce ingredients together using a whisk. Once the sugar is completely dissolved, set it aside.
- Preheat a large skillet with oil. Add chicken and cook until all sides turn golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Using the same pan add garlic, ginger, bell peppers, and dried chilies. Cook for about 3 more minutes.
- 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.
- Add in peanuts and green onions. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve right away.
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.
- Chow Mein – Chicken chow mein is a great meal prep dish.
- Sweet Sour Chicken – with juicy pineapple, bell peppers, and onions.
- Chicken Stir Fry – an easy, 30-minute dinner
- Yakisoba Noodles – perfect for quick dinners and busy weeknights
- Lo Mein – all about the sauce, this dish will surely win your over.
Kung Pao Chicken
- 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
- 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
- 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
If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen