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

4.96 from 116 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
Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

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 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

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating




Comments

  • ne
    March 19, 2023

    Where can I find dark soy sauce and what brand do you recommend that is also low sodium. Thank you

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 19, 2023

      A local Asian market may be the best place to find it. Dark soy sauce will give you a more authentic flavor, but it should still work with regular soy sauce instead if you can’t find it. Dark soy sauce is usually less salty than regular so add more salt to taste if needed.

      Reply

  • ne
    March 16, 2023

    I want to try this weekend, where can I buy the dark soy soy sauce. Thank you

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 16, 2023

      A local Asian market may be the best place to find it. Dark soy sauce will give you a more authentic flavor, but it should still work with regular soy sauce instead if you can’t find it. Dark soy sauce is usually less salty than regular so add more salt to taste if needed.

      Reply

  • Theresa W.
    January 9, 2023

    I made this tonight! YUM! It was fantastic! Love your recipes!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      January 9, 2023

      Great to hear, Theresa! Thank you for the feedback.

      Reply

  • RM
    September 4, 2022

    Hi Natasha, this looks so good! We don’t use any alcohol in our food. What would be a good substitute for the wine. Will use the balsamic vinegar and not black vinegar if that affects the choice of wine substitute.
    Thanks!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      September 4, 2022

      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

    • Melody Upha
      March 20, 2023

      Just FYI, we have alcoholics, and the families who are very careful about not serving alcohol in our home. However, the alcohol in the wine cooks out, so it is not a problem. Just saying since I don’t know why you’re not using alcohol and cooking. The wine has a very definite flavor that is ‘Kung pao chicken’. you can leave it out or substitute, but it will change the ultimate flavor.

      Reply

  • Brittany Brazza
    August 29, 2022

    Hi there! Looking forward to trying this recipe tonight! As a mom with a toddler, I try to prep as much as I can during her nap time, which is typically about 4 hours before we cook dinner. Can I marinade the chicken and have the sauce prepped and in the fridge for that entire time? Thank you!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      August 29, 2022

      Hi Brittany! I think that would be fine. 🙂

      Reply

  • Tami
    August 1, 2022

    I’ve made this over a dozen times, and never have any leftovers! Only change I’ve made is using mini sweet peppers because red chilies is not an easy find where I live. LOVE this recipe!!!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      August 1, 2022

      So glad to hear that. Thank you for the wonderful review.

      Reply

  • Nrao
    July 25, 2022

    Love your recipes and videos! On this particular one, though, I was a little confused. The description mentions dried red chillies and Szechuan peppercorns, but the ingredients list says “red chillies” implying fresh, and the peppercorns are not included at all. Just seeking clarification. Thanks!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      July 26, 2022

      Hi Nrao, we used dried red chilies! Traditionally peppercorns are used; as mentioned in the recipe description, you’re welcome to add them! I hope that helps!

      Reply

  • Crystal Kirtley
    June 17, 2022

    Hi there, love all your recipes!
    Have you made this with beef? Would you follow the same recipe?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 17, 2022

      Hi Crystal, I haven’t tested that but I think it could work. If you experiment, let me know how you liked the recipe!

      Reply

  • Rudy
    April 29, 2022

    Thank you so much for all your Recipes I see a new one I print it out.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 30, 2022

      That’s awesome Rudy! This comment made my day!

      Reply

  • Paul
    April 27, 2022

    Had to comment, this is the 5th or 6th recipe I have tried from Natasha’s kitchen. Every single one has been fantastic. This was the best yet, tasted better than the kung pao from the local Chinese takeaway!

    Thanks so much for your recipes!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 27, 2022

      Aww, that’s the best! Thank you so much for sharing that with me. I’m all smiles!

      Reply

  • Darrah
    April 2, 2022

    If one doesn’t have fresh chilies on hand, sambal works like a charm. Really good stuff. Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 2, 2022

      Hi Darrah, you’re welcome! And thank you for sharing that with us!

      Reply

  • Ross
    March 8, 2022

    Hi! This recipe is amazing!!!
    thanks for this blog!

    Regards from Mexico

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 8, 2022

      I’m so happy you’re enjoying my blog and recipes, Ross! Thank you so much for sharing that with me.

      Reply

  • Renee Mikulin
    February 17, 2022

    This was delicious but was a little too salty. I did use low sodium soy sauce. How could I make and reduce sodium more?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 18, 2022

      Hi Renee, it’s hard to say without being there, but ensure your broth is also low sodium. I hope you give this another try soon!

      Reply

  • Dave
    February 9, 2022

    You’re right. This is the best sauce! I find myself looking for larger bottles of the sauce ingredients when I go to the store, so I don’t run out. That Kung Poa chicken is next on my list. Thanks so much.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 9, 2022

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

      Reply

  • Natalya
    January 24, 2022

    Thank you so much for the recipe!
    This recipe is very delicious 😋

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      January 24, 2022

      You’re welcome, Natalya. I hope you will love all the recipes that you will try!

      Reply

  • Kevin Roman
    January 19, 2022

    Made this for family dinner tonight. Youngest (11) said it might be his new, favourite dish! 🙂
    Will def make again, next time with Shanghai noodles he says.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      January 20, 2022

      Lovely to hear! Thanks a lot for sharing that with us, Kevin.

      Reply

  • Real Twin Soul
    November 13, 2021

    Very delicious. However, I only used 2 chicken breasts (16 OZ), one entire broccoli head and regular soy sauce instead of Low sodium. The flavour was not too salty for us with these changes, just perfect. Thank you.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 13, 2021

      I’m so glad it was perfect! Thank you for your fantastic review!

      Reply

  • Jessie Salvador
    October 30, 2021

    Natasha, my husband and I had a date night last night and made the Kung Pao, and although I didn’t have a couple of the ingredients, I substituted and it was FANTASTIC. So much better than take-out! You ROCK, girl!!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 30, 2021

      Isn’t it the best! I’m so glad you loved this King Pao, Jessie!

      Reply

  • 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

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