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Kung Pao Chicken in a pan
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5 from 9 votes

Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

This Kung Pao Chicken recipe is the ultimate Chinese stir fry with chunks of chicken stir fried with peppers, scallions and peanuts in an easy, spicy sauce.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Chinese
Keyword: chicken, hoisin, Sichuan, soy sauce, spicy
Servings: 4
Calories: 348kcal

Ingredients

FOR THE CHICKEN MARINADE

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine or use dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 pound boneless chicken cut into bite-size pieces (use chicken breast, chicken thighs, or a combination)

FOR THE KUNG PAO CHICKEN SAUCE

  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar or use balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns (black pepper is an OK substitute)
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes

FOR THE KUNG PAO CHICKEN

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or use sesame oil
  • 10 dried Chinese peppers whole (or use chili de arbol - see recipe notes)
  • 2-3 fresh chili peppers medium-sized, chopped (I use jalapeno peppers, though you can use your favorites. If using bell pepper, only use 1 pepper)
  • 4 scallions chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts

FOR GARNISH

  • Extra roasted peanuts, chopped scallions, spicy chili flakes

Instructions

MARINATE THE CHICKEN

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, rice wine and cornstarch. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Set aside.

MAKE THE KUNG PAO CHICKEN SAUCE

  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, black vinegar, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, honey, Sichuan peppercorns and chili flakes. Set aside.

FOR THE KUNG PAO CHICKEN

  • Heat the vegetable oil to medium-high heat to high heat in a large pan or wok. Add the dried chilies and fresh chili peppers. Cook, stirring often, for 1 minute.
  • Add the chicken and stir fry for 3 minutes, or until the chicken is mostly cooked through. Be sure to stir vigorously.
  • Add the scallions and garlic. Stir fry for 1 minute.
  • Add the kung pao chicken sauce and peanuts and stir. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, then remove from heat.
  • Garnish and serve. Best served with cooked rice or noodles.

Video

Notes

Calories estimated without rice or noodles.
The Dried Peppers. The recipe calls for dried Chinese peppers, which can be found online or in Asian markets or a nearby Chinese grocery store. If you don't have access or can't find them, chile de arbol peppers are great here. Focus on smaller, brightly colored pods, not overly dark peppers, like ancho or guajillo, which would completely change the flavor of the dish. Skip the dried peppers altogether if you need to and focus on fresh peppers.
The Fresh Chili Peppers. I use jalapeno peppers or serrano peppers for extra heat, though they are not traditional. You can skip the fresh pods if you'd like, or use vibrant red Chinese peppers or other peppers available to you. Bird's eye peppers or Thai peppers are great here for a nice touch of heat. Use a bell pepper for substance without the heat.

Nutrition

Calories: 348kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 1261mg | Potassium: 691mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 663IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 2mg