Skip to Content

Kung Pao Chicken

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my privacy policy.

 Kung Pao Chicken is a delicious and easy way to satisfy your Asian food craving without leaving the house! The simple marinade and sauce add incredible flavor, and this dish is on the table in about 30 minutes

This post and recipe card updated February 22, 2020
overhead shot of finished Kung Pao Chicken over rice on a white plate, with 2 wooden chopsticks on the right side

Asian food is one of my favorite cuisines. I love the flavors, the variety, and the vibrant colors. The problem is, many dishes at Asian restaurants are high in calories and sodium, and the dinner portions are huge.

Because of all that, I’ve begun making more Asian style recipes at home. Most of the basic sauces are widely available at grocery stores, and many are very easy to make at home.

One of the first sauces I learned to make was for my Asian Quinoa Meatballs. When I’m craving fried I love my Fried Asian Chicken Wings. And then Baked General Tso’s Chicken is a much healthier take on the restaurant classic.

One day a recipe for Kung Pao Chicken appeared on my Facebook feed, and I immediately stopped what I was doing to check out the recipe. I rarely order it at restaurants, but I made some changes to the recipe I found and made my delicious version of Kung Pao Chicken

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
  • You can determine the amount of spice
  • It’s on the table in about 30 minutes
  • It’s easy to make for a crowd, and perfect for leftovers
close up angle shot of finished Kung Pao Chicken over rice on a white plate with wooden chopsticks on the right side
INGREDIENT TIPS FOR KUNG PAO CHICKEN

I use Cocktail Peanuts and toast them in a dry skillet for a few minutes first. This releases the oils and develops a deeper flavor.

Red Pepper Flakes adds all the heat, and a little goes a long way. I recommend going a little lighter on the pepper in the beginning, and then you can add more just before serving.

More is more when it comes to the bell peppers. I use red, yellow and green peppers because I usually have them all in the fridge. You can use your favorite combination. I also add snow peas when I have them. You can omit the snow peas, or add snap peas if you prefer.

CHICKEN AND MARINADE/SAUCE

I always have boneless/skinless chicken thighs in the freezer. They are incredibly versatile and I use them in lots of dishes. I’ve always preferred thighs/wings over chicken breast, but you can certainly use chicken breast if you prefer.

The marinade and sauce have the same ingredients but I always make them in 2 separate bowls. That way there’s no chance I forget and put the raw chicken into the entire thing.

Most Asian sauces have Sesame Oil as an ingredient; it’s very powerful, and a little goes a long way. For this dish, I use sesame oil for the marinade and avocado oil for the sauce.

Use a good-quality Balsamic Vinegar for the marinade and sauce. You want a vinegar that is rich and flavorful, and many of the generic store versions are not.

IMPORTANT REMINDERS
  • Drain the excess marinade before adding the chicken to the wok, so the liquid doesn’t clump
  • Whisk the sauce briskly before adding to the wok, so the ingredients are fully incorporated
  • Add the sauce slowly and in batches, stirring well each time. This helps the sauce thicken
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS

Combine all of the sauce ingredients except cornstarch in a bowl. Set aside.

Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl, stirring well until the cornstarch has dissolved. Add the chicken, toss to coat, and marinate for 15 minutes

overhead process shot: chicken in marinade in a glass bowl

In a large wok or skillet, toast the peanuts over medium heat for 3 minutes. Remove peanuts and set aside

In the same wok, heat the oil and red pepper flakes over medium-high heat. When the flakes begin to sizzle, add the bell peppers and onion.

overhead process shot: bell peppers and onions added to oil and red pepper flakes in a black wok

Cook for 3-4 minutes, until slightly softened. Add the ginger and garlic, and cook for 1 minute

Drain the marinade from the chicken, and add the chicken to the wok

overhead process shot: drained chicken added to bell peppers and onions in a black wok

Combine the chicken and vegetables and cook for 5-7 minutes, until the chicken is no longer pink.

overhead process shot: cooked chicken and vegetables in a black skillet

Reduce the heat to medium and add snow peas.

Add the cornstarch to the sauce and whisk well until fully combined. Add the sauce slowly, about 1/2 Tablespoon at a time. Stir well before adding more sauce, to allow the sauce to thicken

overhead process shot: all ingredients mixed together in a black wok

Garnish with spring onion and toasted peanuts. Serve on its own or over rice

close up shot of finished Kung Pao chicken over rice
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I use a different protein? Absolutely! Try it with pork, steak, chicken or tofu.

Can I use different vegetables? Of course. You could add green beans or asparagus with or in place of the peppers. You could also include your favorite type of mushroom.

How about leftovers? Stored in an airtight container in the fridge, it will last about a week. I recommend storing the rice and Kung Pao Chicken separately, or the rice will get really soggy.

MORE DELICIOUS CHICKEN RECIPES
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? COMMENT AND RATE BELOW, THEN TAKE A PICTURE AND TAG ME ON FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM: @KARYLSKULINARYKRUSADE

FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM AND PINTEREST FOR MORE RECIPES! 
Kung Pao Chicken - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Kung Pao Chicken

Yield: 2 people
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Kung Pao Chicken is a delicious and easy way to satisfy your Asian food craving without leaving the house! The simple marinade and sauce add incredible flavor, and this dish is on the table in about 30 minutes

Ingredients

MARINADE

SAUCE

CHICKEN

  • 2 boneless/skinless chicken thighs, diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon avocado oil or canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more or less, to taste)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion, sliced
  • handful of snow peas, sliced diagonally in thirds

GARNISH

  • 2 Tablespoons peanuts (I use roasted & salted)
  • 4 green onions, chopped

Instructions

  1. Combine soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, canola oil, and cornstarch in a bowl until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Marinate chicken for 15 minutes
  2. In another bowl combine sauce ingredients (soy sauce, hoisin, balsamic vinegar, and oil). Set aside.
  3. In large wok or skillet, toast peanuts over medium heat for 3 minutes. Toss occasionally, until golden brown. Remove peanuts and set aside
  4. In the same wok or skillet over medium-high heat, add oil and crushed red pepper flakes.
  5. When the pepper flakes begin to sizzle, add the bell peppers and onion. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until slightly softened. Add in garlic and ginger, and cook for 1 minute. 
  6. Move the vegetables to the side of the wok. Add the chicken, toss to combine, and cook for 5-7 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink.
  7. Reduce the heat to medium, add snow peas, and stir to combine
  8. Add sauce slowly, about 1/2 Tablespoon at a time, tossing well each time. You want the sauce to thicken slightly
  9. Garnish with spring onions and peanuts, and serve over rice

Notes

The marinade and sauce have the same ingredients but I always make them in 2 separate bowls. That way there’s no chance I forget and put the raw chicken into the entire thing

IMPORTANT REMINDERS

  • Drain the excess marinade before adding the chicken to the wok, so the liquid doesn’t clump
  • Whisk the sauce briskly before adding to the wok, so the ingredients are fully incorporated
  • Add the sauce slowly and in batches, stirring well each time. This helps the sauce thicken


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I use a different protein? Absolutely! Try it with pork, steak, chicken or tofu.

Can I use different vegetables? Of course. You could add green beans or asparagus with or in place of the peppers. You could also include your favorite type of mushroom.

How about leftovers? Stored in an airtight container in the fridge, it will last about a week. I recommend storing the rice and Kung Pao Chicken separately, or the rice will get really soggy.

Adapted from Penney Lane

Roasted Mushroom and Green Bean Farro Salad - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade
Previous
Roasted Vegetable Farro Salad
Spinach Ravioli with Asparagus Garlic Butter Sauce - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade
Next
Spinach Ravioli with Asparagus Garlic Butter Sauce

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to Recipe