This delicious and easy Kung Pao Chicken recipe is going to waken up all of your tastebuds with spicy chicken, ginger, garlic, green onions, and flavorful sauce! Serve it over your rice of choice for a quick stir-fry dinner.
Easy Kung Pao Chicken
Are you in need of a little spice in your life? If so, this is the recipe for you! This spicy, stir-fried Chinese dish is our take on this Chinese takeout classic. While this isn’t an authentic Kung Pao Chicken, it is our Americanized version of the popular Chinese food and we are obsessed with it! We love making it at home because it’s a great way to adjust the heat or spice to be just right for us. It is an easy stir-fry recipe that we have been making for years and we are excited to be able to share it with you.
Looking for another easy stir-fry recipe? Try our Shrimp Stir Fry – so good!!
History of Kung Pao Chicken
Want to learn more about the history of this Americanized dish – check out this interesting article from the LA Times that dives into it! And here is a link to an Authentic Kung Pao Chicken from Woks of Life if you want to check it out!
What Will You Need
- marinated chicken:
- boneless, skinless chicken breasts – we love using boneless skinless chicken breast for this dish but you could also use skinless chicken thighs.
- soy sauce – a traditional ingredient in any stir-fry recipe!
- dry sherry – this will add a slightly sweet and nutty flavor.
- cornstarch – used to thicken up the sauce to coat the chicken chunks.
- rice vinegar – another classic flavor added to this simple marinade!
- kung pao sauce:
- soy sauce, dry sherry, rice vinegar, corn starch & kosher salt – mix together a little more of the marinade ingredients to create the perfect stir-fry sauce!
- other ingredients:
- extra virgin olive oil – a tablespoon of oil in the pan to help cook up the chicken.
- red pepper flakes – add as much or as little as you want depending on how spicy you like it!
- garlic, ginger, & green onions – these bring even more great flavor to the chicken as it cooks in the pan.
- sesame oil – another essential ingredient when making any stir-fry recipe.
- peanuts – these add the perfect crunch!
- rice – just grab your favorite jasmine rice, white rice, brown rice, or even cauliflower rice from your local grocery store.
- garnish: sesame seeds & chopped green onions
- optional additions: bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, dried red chilies, or white pepper.
Is Kung Pao Chicken Spicy
Yes, this stir-fried dish definitely has a kick to it! Now, that being said, you can adjust that spicy level to your liking. This can be done by simply adding more or less of the red pepper flakes or you could really level the spice up by adding some Sichuan peppercorns or Szechuan peppercorns!
How To Make Kung Pao Chicken
To start things off you will need to cut the chicken breasts into small pieces and mix up the marinade in a small bowl.
Pour the marinade over the chicken pieces and toss to fully coat in a large bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 15-30 minutes or overnight, if you have the time.
While the chicken cubes are marinating, you can mix up the sauce ingredients.
When you are ready to get cooking, add a little bit of olive oil to a large skillet and bring it up to medium heat. Add the marinated chicken and red pepper flakes to the hot oil.
Move the chicken around the pan cooking for about 2-3 minutes on each side.
Now add the garlic, ginger, green onions, and spicy sauce to the skillet.
After the sauce has thickened a bit you can add the peanuts and sesame oil. Stir to combine and then check the chicken with a meat thermometer to make sure the internal temperature has reached 165 degrees F.
Serve over your choice of regular rice or cauliflower rice!
Made this recipe and loved it?! We would love it if you would take a minute and leave a star rating and review – it is also helpful if you made any substitutions or changes to the recipe to share that as well. THANK YOU!
Kung Pao Chicken – an easy and delicious Kung Pao Chicken recipe that is perfect for a busy weeknight meal! Makes amazing leftovers!
Marinade + Chicken:
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
- 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce (Tamari for gluten-free)
- 1 tablespoon cooking sherry wine (double check label if gluten-free)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon natural rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce (Tamari for gluten-free)
- 1 tablespoon cooking sherry wine
- 1 tablespoon natural rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- pinch of kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger, minced or grated
- 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup peanuts, crushed (more if desired)
- your choice of cooked rice for serving
- garnish: sesame seeds, additional sliced green onion and crushed peanuts
- Marinade: Add Marinade ingredients to a small bowl; whisk to combine. Place cubed chicken in a medium bowl or reusable silicone bag and pour Marinade over top. Ensure chicken is fully coated and let marinate 15-30 minutes, covered, in the refrigerator (or marinate overnight).
- Prep Sauce: combine Sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Set aside. Gather remaining ingredients so everything is ready to go before you cook the chicken.
- Cook Chicken: bring large cast iron skillet to medium-high heat. Add two tablespoons olive oil and swirl to coat. Add chicken to pan along with the red pepper flakes. Cook 2-3 minutes per side. Add garlic, ginger, green onions and Sauce (whisk again before adding). Move chicken around as the sauce thickens and coats the chicken. Ensure chicken is fully cooked (if not let cook another minute or two until it is fully cooked). Add sesame oil and peanuts. Stir to combine.
- Serve: Remove from heat and serve with your choice of rice. Garnish with additional crushed peanuts, sesame seeds and sliced green onions.
- Spice Level: feel free to decrease or increase the amount of red pepper flakes you use depending upon how spicy you like things.
- Veggie Add-Ins: feel free to add in some diced red and/or green bell peppers if you want (add in after the chicken has cooked a bit).
- Double it: I recommend doubling the recipe – it is so good and makes amazing leftovers!
- Storage: store leftover Kung Pao Chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Nutrition: estimated calculated nutrition provided does not include rice or any garnishes.
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 302
- Sugar: 1.8 g
- Sodium: 736.3 mg
- Fat: 16.9 g
- Carbohydrates: 8.3 g
- Protein: 29 g
- Cholesterol: 82.7 mg
Keywords: kung pao chicken