Diethood » Recipes » Dinner Recipes » Chicken Recipes » Easy Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

Easy Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

This Kung Pao Chicken recipe is so much better than takeout! The sauce is spicy and sweet, with tender chicken that’s crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. This Chinese chicken dinner is so good, your family won’t believe you made it at home!

Skillet of Kung Pao Chicken

My Favorite Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

I love Chinese food! When I order Chinese take-out, my go-to orders are always hibachi chicken with teriyaki noodles. But when I’m feeling extra, I get me some kung pao chicken! It’s spicy, savory, and sweet, and with the hot chili sauce, sugar, and Tamari, it’s a real roller coaster for the taste buds. And, with a blend of juicy chicken, veggies, and a zesty sauce, this spicy, sweet, and savory rendition of mine is every bit as lip-smacking as what you’d get at a restaurant.

Why You’ll Love Homemade Kung Pao Chicken

  • Homemade Over Takeout: I enjoy the satisfaction of mastering a classic takeout dish right in my kitchen.
  • Balanced Flavors: The combo of spicy, sweet, and savory flavors delivers a perfect taste with each bite.
  • Better Choice: By controlling the ingredients, you ensure a lighter option than most restaurant versions – less oil, less sodium, and all the deliciousness.
Chicken breasts ready for the velveting process

Ingredients For Kung Pao Chicken

  • Chicken breasts cut up into cubes.
  • Salt & Pepper to enhance the chicken’s flavor.
  • Tamari/soy sauce to add that savory umami taste.
  • Dry sherry/Shaoxing wine deepens the flavor.
  • Granulated sugar to balance the spice.
  • Cornstarch helps in velveting the chicken and thickening the sauce.
  • Vegetable oil is used for stir-frying the chicken and veggies.
  • Red bell pepper to add color and a slight sweetness.
  • Sugar snap peas bring a needed crunch to the dish.
  • Garlic & Ginger are essential aromatics that elevate the flavor.
  • Hot chili sauce to dial up the heat.
Skillet with stir fried veggies

How to Make Kung Pao Chicken

  • Marinate: Marinate the cubed chicken in a blend of salt, pepper, soy sauce, dry sherry, sugar, and cornstarch. Let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Prepare the Sauce: Whisk together soy sauce, sherry, vinegar, chicken broth, hot chili sauce, sugar, and cornstarch. Set it aside.
  • Cook the Chicken: In a hot pan or wok with vegetable oil, sear the chicken until fully cooked. Remove and set aside.
  • Veggie Stir Fry: In the same pan, stir-fry red bell peppers and sugar snap peas. Add in minced garlic and ginger shortly after.
  • Combine: Return the chicken to the pan, pour the prepared sauce, and stir until everything is well-coated and the sauce thickens.

Tips for Success

  • Cut the chicken and veggies about the same size so they’ll cook evenly.
  • Heat your wok or pan fully before adding your chicken or veggies. You want it hot to start; you don’t want it coming to heat while stir-frying.
  • Be sure to continually stir and toss your ingredients while you stir fry. 
  • Adjust the hot chili sauce to your taste. Remember, it’s easier to add than to take out.
  • Experiment with other proteins like beef or shrimp, or add nuts like cashews for a twist.
Skillet filled with homemade kung pao chicken

Serving Suggestions

When considering side dishes to complement the robust flavors of Kung Pao Chicken, for starters, a bowl of fluffy instant pot jasmine rice acts as the perfect base to soak up the rich sauce. If you’re looking for something lighter, consider Asian cucumber salad. Steamed broccoli or baby bok choy can add a refreshing crunch. If you’re in the mood for more protein, these air fryer spring rolls make a nice pairing.

Make Ahead and Storing Instructions

  • Prep Ahead: Both the marinade and the kung pao sauce can be made in advance and stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator. The chicken can marinate for up to 4 hours.
  • For Storage: You can store your leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw before reheating.

More Takeout-Inspired Recipes

Skillet of Kung Pao Chicken

Easy Kung Pao Chicken

Katerina | Diethood
This Kung Pao Chicken recipe is so much better than takeout! The sauce is spicy and sweet, with tender chicken that's crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
5 from 12 votes
Servings : 4 serves
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients
  

For the Chicken
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Tamari or low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dry sherry or Shaoxing wine
  • ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon corn starch
For the Stir Fry
  • 1 tablespoon Tamari or low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry or Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • ¼ cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons hot chili sauce, use only if you like your Kung Pao spicy
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 2 cups sugar snap peas
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil, for garnish

Instructions
 

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cubed chicken, salt, pepper, soy sauce (or Tamari), dry sherry, sugar, and cornstarch; toss to combine, cover, and set aside for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sherry, vinegar, chicken broth, hot chili sauce, sugar, and cornstarch. Set aside.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large pan or wok over medium-high heat.
  • Add the chicken to the hot oil in one single layer; cook on all sides until done, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove chicken from the pan and return the pan to the burner.
  • Add the remaining vegetable oil to the pan and heat over high heat. Stir in peppers and sugar snap peas; cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until just tender. Stir in the minced garlic and ginger; cook for 20 seconds. 
  • Add the chicken back into the pan and toss to combine.
  • Stir previously prepared sauce and then pour it over the chicken; toss to coat all the ingredients. Cook and toss for another minute or two or until the sauce thickens.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Drizzle with sesame oil and serve.

Notes

  • Even Cuts: Ensure chicken and vegetables are about the same size for consistent cooking.
  • Hot Pan: Always preheat your wok or pan for best results in stir-frying.
  • Keep It Moving: Toss your ingredients in the pan to prevent burning and ensure even cooking.
  • Spice Control: Adjust the hot chili sauce to your taste. Remember, it’s easier to add than to subtract!
  • Mix It Up: Experiment with beef or shrimp instead of chicken, or add nuts like peanuts or cashews.

Nutrition

Calories: 306 kcal | Carbohydrates: 11 g | Protein: 26 g | Fat: 17 g | Saturated Fat: 10 g | Cholesterol: 73 mg | Sodium: 140 mg | Potassium: 602 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 7 g | Vitamin A: 1498 IU | Vitamin C: 69 mg | Calcium: 31 mg | Iron: 2 mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: chinese chicken recipes, chinese takeout, easy kung pao chicken
Did you make this recipe?Leave a Rating!

Categories:

Ask a Question or Rate this Recipe

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating:




20 comments on “Easy Kung Pao Chicken Recipe”

  1. Super tasty! Made it for a game night with 4 friends and I kid you not, everyone had thirds! Glad I tripled the recipe (I wanted leftovers for quick dinners later in the week). There were no leftovers lol. Added a lot of extra veggies so I doubled the sauce and it came out perfectly.

  2. Great quick meal … very tasty! I have to count calories & protein (following bariatric surgery), and I see that there are 306 cal. and 26 g. protein. I see that this serves 4, but how big is an actual serving, though? I realize that can vary but, in general, would you say that a serving in this case is around 1/2 a cup or 1 whole cup or ?? Thank you for your help, and I hope you all have a very safe and healthy holiday season!

  3. Great quick meal … very tasty! I have to count calories & protein (following bariatric surgery), and I see that there are 306 cal. and 26 g. protein. I see that this serves 4, but how big is an actual serving, though? I realize that can vary but, in general, would you say that a serving in this case is around 1/2 a cup or 1 whole cup or ?? Thank you for your help, and I hope you all have a very safe and healthy holiday season!

  4. This recipe tastes incredible and is still very easy! I am so excited to know I can make it at home.

  5. Avatar photo
    Chrissie Baker

    YES! I SO need this in my life! I’m a huge fan of Kung Pao, but never made it at home, thinking it would be too difficult. But this looks so quick and easy! Thanks for this incredible recipe.

  6. This is everything a gourmet meal should be, and then some! Adding this to my dinner line up for the week; definitely can’t pass this up!

Scroll to Top