This Easy Kung Pao Chicken Recipe is a quick and easy Chinese inspired recipe that can be ready in less than 30 minutes and makes a great weeknight meal to celebrate Chinese New Year or for any time of year.
I originally published this Easy Kung Pao Chicken Recipe on PenneyLane.com in February 2015 for Chinese New Year when I was a contributor to that site.
However, that blogger stopped blogging and took down her site. Therefore, I have published the original recipe here.
This Easy Kung Pao Chicken Recipe offers:
- a quick and easy complete meal with chicken, vegetables, kung pao sauce, and rice in under 30 minutes;
- a restaurant quality Chinese dinner that tastes better than take-out, and is made using mostly pantry ingredients;
- a few tidbits of trivia about the upcoming Chinese New Year to impress your friends;
- an ahhhh-mazing sweet, spicy, and savory Kung Pao sauce.
Our favorite place for Kung Pao Chicken was a little family-owned restaurant near our house. We ate there for a number of years until the restaurant closed.
We tried several other restaurants afterward but their Kung Pao was not the same. We gave up trying to find another restaurant, and instead, now I make the Kung Pao Chicken at home.
To make this recipe you will need sesame oil and Hoisin sauce. Both of these have incredible flavor and I recommend making both a pantry staple. They are found in the International aisles of most grocery stores or should be available at your local Asian market.
I understand that you may not want to buy an ingredient just for one recipe, which is why I also recommend checking out some of my other favorite Asian dishes that use either Hoisin sauce or Sesame Oil:
- Pepper Steak in Wonton Cups – a wonderful Asian-inspired bite-sized appetizer
- Sticky Asian Chicken Wings – a sweet and spicy Asian-inspired chicken wings.
- Spicy Orange Chicken – a chicken dish in a sweet and spicy orange sauce similar to a popular restaurant chain.
- Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry – a quick and easy Asian stir fry that can be on the table in 20 minutes.
Tips for Perfect Kung Pao Chicken
- Use good quality ingredients for the best results.
- Don’t skip the cornstarch. Dredging the chicken in cornstarch makes it crispy.
- Use a good quality balsamic vinegar, one that is sweeter than regular vinegar. If you have one that is more vinegary, you may need to add some sugar to the sauce to offset the additional vinegar taste.
- I recommend using a lite soy sauce or one that is reduced-sodium because regular soy sauce is extremely salty and could cause the dish to be too salty.
- If you add more vegetables or like to pour sauce over rice, then you may want to consider doubling the sauce.
What Ingredients Are In Kung Pao Chicken
Here is a list of ingredients you will need to make Kung Pao Chicken. Scroll down to the printable recipe card to see the specific amounts of each ingredient.
- Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into cubes
- Minced garlic
- Green bell pepper, chopped
- Red bell pepper, chopped
- Green onions, chopped
- Roasted peanuts
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Hoisin Sauce
- Soy Sauce
- Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
- Vegetable oil
- Sesame Oil
How To Make Easy Kung Pao Chicken
Here are the basic steps to make this Easy Kung Pao Chicken. For more detailed instructions, scroll down to the printable recipe card.
- Heat oil in wok or cast iron skillet.
- Dredge chicken cubes in cornstarch.
- Add chicken cubes to hot cast iron skillet and cook until the chicken is no longer pink.
- Add red and green bell peppers and cook until they are just tender.
- To make the sauce, in a bowl stir together hoisin, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, sesame oil, minced garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables in the pan. Cook until the sauce is thickened.
Don’t wait until Chinese New Year to make this recipe! It is so quick and easy and delicious that you can make it all year round and skip the Chinese takeout.
This is the RECIPE that was formerly posted on PenneyLane.com. However, that site no longer exists.
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Easy Kung Pao Chicken
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into cubes
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 green bell pepper chopped
- 4 green onions chopped
- 1/4 cup peanuts roasted
- 1/2 red bell pepper chopped
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar (good quality)
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
Baking & Spices
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
Oils & Vinegar
- 2 tbsp Peanut or vegetable oil
- In a medium bowl, stir in the soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, sesame oil, and cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
- In another bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, and cornstarch. Stir until the cornstarch is dissolved and set aside.
- Heat peanut oil (or vegetable oil) in a wok or large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
- Stir in the crushed red pepper flakes.
- Add the chopped red and green bell peppers to the hot skillet and cook until they are softened. Stir in the minced garlic and grated ginger and continue stirring for about 1 minute.
- Add the chicken and continue stirring the chicken for about 4 or 5 minutes or until it is no longer pink.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables and cook until the sauce is thickened.
- Garnish with peanuts and chopped green onions. Serve hot over rice
Other Chinese Chicken Recipes
Spicy Chinese Cashew Chicken
Slow Cooker Asian Sesame Meatballs
I found your recipe on PInterest and I have a question for you. Nowhere in the recipe does it say when to add the green onion and peanuts. Can you clarify that please? I’m eager to try this! Thank you so much.
Hi Vicky, thanks for bringing this to my attention. I updated the recipe instructions. The peanuts and chopped green onions are added last, like a garnish, just before serving. Let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you enjoy the Kung Pao Chicken.
Heidi S. says
We’ve made this recipe many times before and love it but I noticed this version of the recipe taken from the original website no longer includes the celery even though it is still pictured in the photos of the dish. I hope to make it again this week and can just add a stalk or two when making it but I was just curious as to why it was left out.
So….when do we add the ginger and garlic?
After adding in the bell peppers and before adding in the chicken.
I made this today and it was delicious. I used the directions as written. The notes above the recipe talked about coating the chicken with cornstarch and frying but the recipe called for the cornstarch to be added to the marinade, then fried. Were there two different sets of instructions?
I made this recipe last night. At last I had good Kung Pao chicken! Delicious! Thank you for sharing
Sharmila Kingsly says
Looks beautiful just like how I see it in a restaurant.. I will be making some soon
Jacqueline Meldrum says
So quick and easy to make!,Perfect for a family dinner.
This looks and sounds delicious. My family loves kung pao. I will definitely give your recipe a try.
Yummy! This was such a delicious and very tasty dinner! So excited to make this again. Everyone loved it and devoured it! Such great flavor and definitely one of our favorites!
This is such an amazing meal! Perfect for weeknights!