This Kung Pao Chicken is a delicious stir-fry loaded with chunky veggies and chicken and coated in a homemade tasty sauce. Ready in 30 minutes and way better than take-out!
What Is Kung Pao Chicken
Kung Pao Chicken also known as Kung Po or Gong Bao, is a stir-fried Chinese dish. It’s usually made with chicken, peanuts, vegetables and chili peppers.
Today, Kung Pao Chicken is a standard on any American Chinese menu. You can find it anywhere and everywhere. While it’s always a favorite when it comes to take-out or Chinese fast food, it’s always better when you make it at home because we can control what ingredients go in it.
As I always say, everything is always better homemade. Plus you can adjust ingredients to your preference. Want more heat? Add more dried red chilies or red pepper flakes. You can even add some hot sauce if you’re feeling brave. Want more veggies? Add more veggies! No veggies? No problem!
This is the beauty of cooking at home. While we are always short on time, with this dish you don’t have to worry about that, because it is ready in 30 minutes from start to finish. It could take longer for take-out!
What Ingredients Are in Kung Pao Sauce
There are 3 components to this dish. The chicken, the sauce and the stir-fry. The sauce is simple with only 5 ingredients:
- Soy sauce
- Dark soy sauce (optional)
- Dry Sherry
- Chicken Broth
These ingredients are ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry or fridge, maybe with the exception of the dark soy sauce. I like to add dark soy sauce to this dish simply because it will add the dark color to the chicken, that we all know and love. However, if you don’t have dark soy sauce you can simply just substitute it with regular soy sauce.
You can usually find dark soy sauce in the Asian aisle of your grocery store, or any Asian store will carry it.
What Ingredients Are in Kung Pao Stir Fry
For the chicken component of this dish, you only need chicken breast and cornstarch. While I used chicken breast, you could use boneless skinless chicken thighs as well. You’ll notice I didn’t season the chicken with salt and pepper. This is because the sauce we add to the dish has plenty of flavor, so no additional seasoning is needed to the chicken.
The stir fry ingredients consists of veggies, peanuts and dried red chilies:
- peanut oil
- red bell pepper
- dried red chilies
- green onions
- dry-roasted peanuts
How to Make Kung Pao Chicken
Kung Pao chicken is a quick and easy dish to make. The secret, as with many stir-fries is to get all the ingredients chopped up and ready to go. Once we start cooking, it’s all over in a matter of minutes. For this dish I used a wok, however if you don’t have one, a large skillet will work just as well.
Combine the chicken with the cornstarch. The cornstarch helps the chicken to brown nicely while staying juicy on the inside. Add some peanut oil to a heated wok or skillet. Add about half the chicken and cook for about 3 or 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooked through. Repeat with remaining chicken. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.
Add the remaining peanut oil to the wok and heat. Stir in the garlic, ginger, bell pepper, zucchini and stir-fry for 1 minute. Pour in the sauce and bring to a boil, while stirring. You’ll notice the sauce start to thicken from the cornstarch.
Once the sauce thickens slightly, add the chicken back to the wok, the red chilies and the peanuts. Stir everything together so that everything is coated in the sauce and cook for another minute. You’re all done!
How to Serve Kung Pao Chicken
My favorite way to serve this is over cooked rice such as Jasmine rice or Basmati rice. You could also serve it over noodles.
How Do You Store Leftover Kung Pao Chicken
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I usually just reheat in the microwave for a couple minutes before serving.
Can You Freeze Kung Pao Chicken
You can freeze this by storing it in an airtight container or freezer bags, once it has fully cooled. Store it in the freezer for up to 2 months. To thaw, take it out of the freezer the night before and place it in the refrigerator. The next day when ready to serve, either heat it up in the microwave and add it to a skillet/wok and stir-fry until heated through.
Try These Asian Recipes:
- Crockpot Chinese Pork with Noodles
- Chinese Chicken Skewers
- Instant Pot General Tso’s Chicken
- Chicken Lo Mein
- Instant Pot Beef and Broccoli
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Kung Pao Chicken
- 1 lb chicken breast boneless and skinless, cut into small cubes
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
Kung Pao Sauce
- 4 tbsp peanut oil divided
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp ginger minced
- 1 medium red bell pepper cut into small 3/4 inch cubes
- 1 large zucchini cut into 3/4 inch cubes
- 10 dried red chilies
- 3 green onions thinly slices
- 1/4 cup peanuts dry-roasted, unsalted
- Prepare chicken: Toss the chicken with the cornstarch, ensuring each chicken pieces is covered in cornstarch. Set aside.
- Prepare the sauce: In a small bowl whisk together all the sauce ingredients. Set aside.
- Cook the chicken: The chicken will have to be cooked in 2 batches. Add about 1 tbsp of the peanut oil to a hot wok or skillet. Add about half the chicken (shaking off any excess cornstarch) and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through. Transfer to another plate. Add another tbsp of peanut oil and repeat with remaining chicken. Transfer the chicken to the plate and set aside.
- Make Stir-Fry: Add the remaining 2 tbsp of peanut oil to the wok and heat. Stir in the garlic, ginger, bell pepper, zucchini and stir-fry for 1 minute. Pour in the sauce and bring to a boil, while stirring. You’ll notice the sauce start to thicken from the cornstarch.
- Once the sauce thickens slightly, add the chicken back to the wok, the red chilies and the peanuts. Stir everything together so that everything is coated in the sauce and cook for another minute.
- Serve: Serve this is over cooked rice such as Jasmine rice or Basmati rice. You could also serve it over noodles.