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Kung Pao Chicken
4.89 from 18 votes

Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

This easy 30-minute Kung Pao Chicken Recipe is filled with tender, juicy bite-size pieces of chicken, sweet bell peppers, and buttery peanuts in a luscious flavorful Kung Pao sauce.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 359kcal


For the Chicken

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs - (or breasts) cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoon cornstarch

For the Sauce

  • 2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon dark soy sauce - (or light soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar - (see notes)
  • 2 tablespoon Chinese Shaoxing wine - or dry sherry
  • 3 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth - or water

For the Stir-Fry

  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil - divided
  • 5 cloves garlic - minced
  • 2 teaspoon fresh ginger - minced
  • 8-10 dried red chilis - more or less to taste
  • 1 red bell pepper - seeded and diced
  • 1 green bell pepper - seeded and diced
  • 5 green onions - green and white parts divided
  • 2 teaspoon sichuan peppercorns - lightly toasted and ground (optional)
  • ½ cup peanuts - roasted unsalted


  • Prepare the Chicken. Combine all ingredients for the chicken (cubed chicken pieces, soy sauce, and cornstarch) in a medium mixing bowl. Mix well to evenly coat the chicken with the soy sauce and cornstarch. Cover and allow the chicken to marinate for at least 10 minutes, time permitting.
  • As the chicken marinates, prepare the sauce. In a medium bowl whisk together the cornstarch with the soy sauce until completely dissolved. Whisk in the remaining ingredients (Chinese black vinegar, wine, hoisin sauce, brown sugar, and low-sodium chicken broth) until completely combined. Set aside.
  • Heat a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the cooking oil to the pan and allow it to get nice and hot (olive oil is not recommended). Add the chicken to the skillet, cooking for approximately 5 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Stir often. Remove chicken to a clean plate and set aside.
  • Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, and chilies. Cook for approximately 30 seconds, stirring continuously. 
  • Stir in the white parts of the green onions with the red and green bell peppers. Mix well to combine. Cook for approximately 1-2 minutes, stirring often. Mix the ground Sichuan peppercorns in with the peppers and return the chicken to the skillet. Continue mixing until everything is combined.
  • Give the sauce a final stir and pour directly over the chicken and peppers. Stir continuously and bring the sauce to a low boil. You will notice the sauce start to thicken. Reduce heat and continue to cook, stirring continuously, until desired consistency is reached.
  • Stir in the green parts of the green onions and the peanuts, mixing well to combine. Serve with your favorite rice or noodles. Enjoy!


  • Chinese Black Vinegar- available at many Asian supermarkets, you can also find it on Amazon. Substitutes include rice wine vinegar (1.5 tbsp) or distilled white vinegar (1 tbsp). Be sure to purchase a Chinese Black Vinegar that is "made in China" for best results.
  • Sichuan peppercorns- these are optional but recommended if you can get your hands on some. They are not spicy. If you can find pre-toasted and ground peppercorns, that is the best option. Otherwise, you'll want to toast them in a dry pan over medium-low heat just until fragrant and then grind them.
  • If you're sensitive to spicy foods, add half the recommended amount of dried red chilies (or none at all). The heat level of these dried red chilies varies greatly, making them somewhat unpredictable.
  • To make this recipe gluten-free - use a gluten-free soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and substitute the Shaoxing wine with dry sherry.
  • Originally published February 11, 2019


Calories: 359kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 143mg | Sodium: 1285mg | Potassium: 648mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 830IU | Vitamin C: 44mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 2.6mg
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