Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

Catalina Castravet
By Catalina Castravet

Kung Pao Chicken is a famous Chinese stir-fry dish that is crisp-tender and very easy to make at home! It has the perfect combination of salty, sweet and spicy flavor. 

If you are up for the challenge, then, these spicy recipes are for you! Recreate our recipes for Bang Bang Shrimp, Hunan Beef, and  Szechuan Sauce!

Kung Pao Chicken

The Best Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken has its roots in the Szechuan province in China where cooking continues to flourish. Lately, it has grown so popular that it has spread its presence throughout the world, including in the US.

We love this dish and order it quite often every time we go to a Chinese restaurant. Although there had been changes to the traditional recipe, what remains is the distinct spiciness and the way that the meat is cooked.

For this recipe, we marinate the meat in a cornstarch mixture that makes it silky and velvety. What we are after is to make it tender. Learn how to make this flavorful recipe so you can make it anytime you crave for that intense heat!

What is kung pao chicken?

It is made of tender and tasty chunks of white meat with a sauce that is sweet, salty, spicy, and sour all at the same time.

Also, it is so easy to make as it is just stir-fried. Vegetables like bell peppers and aromatics accompany the white meat. All these add flavors and another dimension to the dish.

Kung Pao Chicken

What does kung pao chicken taste like?

It has the right balance of everything starting from sweet to salty. However, the main distinction of this dish is that it is quite spicy. The authentic recipe one has Szechuan peppercorns that are mouth-numbing after all.

But this recipe was already adjusted to fit the American taste to make it sweeter. It has hoisin sauce that is like the Chinese barbecue sauce. Also, it contains lots of chilis which make it spicy and nuts that add texture and the nutty flavor.

How to make kung pao chicken

  • Marinate the meat: Cut the white meat into cubes then, marinate in a mixture of dry sherry, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and cornstarch. Cover it and allow it to sit for 30 minutes.
  • Make the sauce: In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the sauce then, set aside.
  • Fry the meat: Heat oil in a pan, then, brown the slices of meat, set aside. This will take about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Stir-fry: Add in more oil in the same pan, then, sauté the garlic, ginger, bell peppers, dried and fresh chili peppers. Then, stir in the sauce. Once the consistency starts to thicken, add in and stir-fry all the other ingredients aside from the green onions and peanuts.
  • Serve: Once every piece of the meat is coated, you may then serve this dish with rice!

Kung Pao Chicken

What is kung pao sauce made of?

All you need are the following ingredients:

  • low-sodium chicken broth
  • soy sauce
  • water
  • dark soy sauce
  • balsamic vinegar
  • dry sherry
  • hoisin sauce
  • brown sugar
  • cornstarch

What is the difference between kung pao chicken and General Tso’s chicken?

There are a few key differences although both recipes have meat that was pre-cooked before incorporating with the sauce. General Tso’s Chicken does not have peanuts, has a sweeter sauce, and it is not an authentic Chinese dish.

How many calories in kung pao chicken?

According to the USDA, this comfort food will set you back by 381 kcal for one package.

Kung Pao Chicken

How to store it?

  • Refrigerate: Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Freeze: You can put this in freezer bags and store frozen until 2 months. Make sure to remove any excess air and flatten the bags.
  • To reheat: Simply thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat in a skillet over medium heat until heated through. You can also reheat using the microwave.
  • To make ahead: Follow this recipe except for adding the cornstarch in the sauce as its thickening power degrades when stored or frozen. Reserve the garnishing, too. When it is time to serve, then, add in the cornstarch to thicken the sauce.

Recipe Tips

  • You can follow the same recipe but use other types of meat like shrimp, pork, or fish.
  • Add more fiber by adding crunchy veggies like cucumbers and celery.
  • For a vegetarian take, you can opt for mushrooms or tofu as a meat replacement.
Save Recipe
5 from 1 reviews
Kung Pao Chicken
Author: Catalina Castravet Serves: 4 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes Total time: 30 mins

Ingredients

Chicken:

  • 2 pounds  boneless/skinless chicken breast  (cut into 1-inch cubes)

Marinade:

  • 1 tablespoon  dry sherry 
  • 2 tablespoon  soy sauce 
  • 1 tablespoon  rice vinegar 
  • 1 tablespoon  sesame oil 
  • 2 tablespoons  cornstarch 

Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup  chicken broth  (low-sodium)
  • 1/4 cup  soy sauce  (low-sodium)
  • 1/4 cup  water 
  • 2 tablespoons  dark soy sauce  (low-sodium)
  • 2 tablespoons  balsamic vinegar 
  • 2 tablespoon  dry sherry 
  • 2 teaspoon  hoisin sauce 
  • 2 tablespoons  brown sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon  cornstarch 

Stir Fry:

  • 4 tablespoons  vegetable oil  (divided)
  • 4 cloves  garlic  (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon  ginger  (grated)
  • 1/2  red bell pepper  (seeded and diced)
  • 1/2  green bell pepper  (seeded and diced)
  • 10  dried chilies  (cut into ½-inch pieces)
  • 2  fresh red chiles  (cut into rounds)
  • 1  stalk green onions  (cut into 1-inch pieces)
  • 1/2 cup  peanuts  (roasted and unsalted)

Instructions

Marinate:

  1. Combine all ingredients for the Marinade in a shallow bowl; add sliced chicken cover and marinate for 30 minutes (if you have time).

Sauce:

  1. Whisk sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl until sugar dissolves and set aside.

Cook Chicken:

  1. Heat a large skillet or wok over high heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil, once hot, add the marinated chicken. Fry it for 3-5 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside.

Stir Fry:

  1. Add remaining oil into the same pan. Add garlic, ginger, bell peppers, dried and fresh chili peppers and stir fry for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Give the prepared SAUCE a mix, and add it to the pan. Sir and bring mixture to a boil while stirring.
  3. Once it begins to thicken slightly, add back the chicken and stir all of the ingredients with the sauce to coat. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the sauce, thickens more.
  4. Stir in green onions, peanuts. Cook for another 2 minutes.
  5. Serve with rice.
Calories: 618 Carbohydrates: 20 Protein: 56 Fat: 33 Saturated Fat: 14 Cholesterol: 145 Sodium: 1727 Potassium: 1138 Fiber: 2 Sugar: 9 Vitamin A: 920 Vitamin C: 36.1 Calcium: 39 Iron: 2.4
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Kung Pao Chicken

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Comments

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Brianne Tursi Manz

Kung Pao chicken will always be one of my top favorite Chinese dishes! Now that I have a great homemade recipe, I can make this for the family!

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Tara Pittman

This is a dish that I have been wanting to try. Now I do not have to order from the Chinese place down the street.

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Amu

This recipe looks so good! I have ordered Kung Pao chicken many times for takeout!

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krystal

This looks like an awesome idea for a weeknight meal! Looks so good!

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Mama to 6 Blessings

This sounds like a nice savory dish! It has protein and veggies - way to go! I do low carb so I would just modify the sugars that is what makes this recipe so great because it sounds like you can do that!

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Heather

This looks like a great recipe! I can't wait to give it a try!

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Ruth I

This for sure has explosive flavors to savor. I love all the ingredients that you have used here. My mouth is watering already.

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Rachel

I love making foods at home that have a deep flavor pallet. This looks so good.

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Krystel | Frugal Living

This looks really good. What's great is I have everything I need so I am going to try to make this today

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Kiwi

I love th Kung Pao flavor. I no longer can eat chicken but I can switch it out for shrimp!

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