Kung Pao Chicken. Tender chicken stir fried in a savoury, sweet, spicy kung pao sauce with bell peppers, onions, peanuts and dried chilies.
What is Kung Pao Chicken?
Kung Pao Chicken is a popular Chinese dish that originates from the Sichuan province in China. It's a delicious, flavorful chicken stir fry dish featuring tender chicken, onions, bell peppers, dried red chilies, peanuts stir fried in a savory sauce. Kung Pao Sauce typically consists of regular and dark soy sauce, sugar, water, Shaoxing wine, cornstarch and Sichuan red pepper flakes or peppercorns. You can find this delicious Chinese food served at many Chinese restaurants or Chinese takeout places. It's a great main dish and served best with steamed rice to make it complete. Perfect for a busy weeknight meal.
I love making Kung Pao Chicken when I have fresh chicken thighs and bell peppers in my fridge. It's such a tasty chicken stir fry dish that comes together if you prepare accordingly.
Please scroll down to below recipe card for exact measurements.
Note: Your Asian grocery store will carry most of the Asian specific ingredients.
- Boneless skinless chicken thighs
- Regular Soy Sauce
- Shaoxing wine or sub with dry sherry
- Neutral oil
- Regular soy sauce
- Dark soy sauce
- Rice vinegar: or sub with Chinese black vinegar
- White granulated sugar
- Cold water
- Shaoxing wine or sub with dry sherry
- Sichuan red chili flakes
- Neutral oil
- Dried red chilies
- Roasted peanuts with skin removed
- Green onion
- Green bell pepper
- Red bell pepper
How to make Kung Pao Chicken
Slice chicken thigh into cubes, about 8 cubes per thigh. Marinate cubed chicken with marinade ingredients for 10 minutes as you prepare stir fry ingredients.
In a bowl, mix sauce ingredients until well combined. Set aside.
Stir Fry Chicken
In a hot wok set over medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil followed by marinated chicken. Quickly spread the chicken apart and let it fry on both sides until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove and transfer chicken to a plate.
Stir Fry Aromatics & Vegetables
In the same wok over medium high heat, add more oil if needed. Add dried red chilies, peanuts, white onions, and green onions. Stir fry for 1 minute. Toss in bell peppers and stir fry for 1 minute.
Toss in Chicken & Sauce
Add cooked chicken and toss with other ingredients. Pour sauce overtop tossing everything together. Cook for 30 seconds - 1 minute. Remove off heat to serve and enjoy.
Storage & Reheating
This dish will last up to 4 days stored in an airtight container in the fridge. To reheat, microwave for 2-3 minutes or reheat on the stovetop in a pan on medium heat until hot.
Below are tips on making my authentic kung pao chicken recipe:
- Prepare ingredients ahead of time! The cooking process is super quick, less than 10 minutes. So marinate the chicken, premix the sauce and prepare the stir fry ingredients ahead of time.
- Use chicken thigh for maximum tenderness! Chicken thigh contains more fat than breast giving it a tender juicy texture. It’s also more forgiving if you happened to overcook it.
- Slice peppers and white onion into same size. The ingredients will evenly cook if you cut them to the same size.
Here are frequently asked questions about this kung pao chicken recipe:
Can I use Chicken Breast?
Yes, but monitor the cooking time closely. Chicken breast tends to dry out faster than thigh due to lack of fat.
Are you supposed to eat the peppers in Kung Pao chicken?
In reference to the dried red chili peppers, you may eat them if you wish but they're meant to give aroma and flavor to the dish as opposed to eating them.
Is kung pao very spicy?
Kung pao chicken has a fairly mild kick that you can taste as the dish contains dried Sichuan red chili peppers and Sichuan chili flakes.
Other recipes you may like!
- General Tso Chicken
- Beef And Broccoli Noodles
- Orange Chicken
- Chinese Chicken Potato Stew
- Black Bean Sauce Beef And Broccoli
Quick & Easy Kung Pao Chicken
- 1.25 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs diced (skinless boneless)
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 1 ½ tablespoon regular soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (sub with Chinese black vinegar or white vinegar)
- 2 teaspoon white granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing Cooking Wine or dry sherry wine
- ½ tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon Sichuan red chili flakes or Sichuan peppercorns (½ teaspoon = mild, 1 teaspoon = spicy)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil as needed
- 10 dried red chilies
- ¼ cup roasted peanuts shells and skin removed
- 1 white onion diced
- 2 stalks green onion finely chopped
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- Slice chicken thigh into cubes, about 8 cubes per thigh.
- Marinate cubed chicken with marinade ingredients for 10 minutes as you prepare stir fry ingredients.
- In a bowl, mix sauce ingredients until well combined. Set aside.
- In a hot wok set over medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil followed by marinated chicken. Quickly spread the chicken apart and let it fry on both sides until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove and transfer chicken to a plate.
- In the same wok over medium high heat, add more oil if needed. Add dried red chilies, peanuts, white onions, and green onions. Stir fry for 1 minute. Toss in bell peppers and stir fry for 1 minute.
- Add cooked chicken and toss with other ingredients.
- Pour sauce overtop tossing everything together. Cook for 30 seconds - 1 minute. Remove off heat to serve and enjoy.
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