Kung Pao Chicken

4.89 from 27 votes
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Kung Pao Chicken – quick and easy chicken stir fry packed with veggies and a little kick. Add whatever veggies you want and have dinner ready in minutes!

Asian take-out is a staple for so many people across the United States, and I can’t blame them. It is just so good! But you can make some of those same dishes and home and they are even better!

Not only do they taste better, but it is really nice knowing what is in your food and adding what veggies you like, the spice level you like, the amount of salt you like etc.

kung pao chicken on a plate


Kung Pao Chicken is on pretty much ever Chinese take out menu there is. And it is one of those you can make at home in just minutes! It always has lots of vegetables, and it is really nice that you can use up what you have, and make it so your family enjoys it!

What is Kung Pao Chicken?

It is  stir fry Chinese dish with chicken, peanuts, and veggies in a spicy sauce. You can add whatever veggies you like or have on hand, which is part of the reason I like this.  If I have zucchini, I will throw it in.  A little broccoli, perfect just use it.  

This kung pao chicken recipe is one of my favorite weeknight meals for how quickly it comes together.  You can easily adjust the heat level for your families taste.  My family likes things spicy, so I go a little heavy with the chili garlic paste. But if you like it mild use less.

a plate of kung pao chicken and a serving spoon

Kung Pao Chicken Ingredients

The sweet and spicy sauce is made up of a few simple ingredients that you probably have in your fridge or pantry already!

  • Chicken Broth
  • Soy Sauce
  • Sesame Oil
  • Cornstarch
  • Chili Garlic Paste
  • Rice Wine Vinegar
  • Brown Sugar

Is Kung Pao Chicken Spicy

Yes, it is meant to be spicy.  You can adjust the heat level to make it more mild if that is what you like. But traditionally it has a kick! 

Does Kung Pao Chicken Have Peanuts

Yes, it is topped with peanuts.  If you have a peanut allergy you can leave them off or add other chopped nuts. But peanuts are traditional to have on top. We actually had a version of this when in China and it was served with whole peanuts on top, not chopped like I use at home. 

close up of kung pao chicken on a plate

Make your homemade take out night complete by serving with Egg Drop Soup, Wonton Soup, or Air Fryer Egg Rolls!

How to Make Kung Pao Chicken

  1. Make sure all of your ingredients are prepped and ready.  Have your veggies cut, meat ready, and everything in place. Stir fries cook quickly, so having everything prepped and ready makes it quick and easy to prepare.
  2. Mix all of the ingredients for the sauce together before you start.  Use a liquid measuring cup to make it easy. 
  3. Use a wok or very large skillet.  Make sure the pan is nice and hot before you add ingredients. 
  4. Brown chicken and then remove from pan to keep warm. Cover it with foil to keep it warm.  You want to cook the veggies and the chicken separate, so the chicken doesn’t get over cooked while you saute the veggies. 
  5. Add everything to the pan and let the sauce simmer and thicken. 

What To Add

You really can use whatever mix of vegetables you enjoy. I like to use about 2-3 cups total of whatever mix I have on hand.

  • Bell Peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Zucchini
  • Broccoli
  • Water Chestnuts
  • Scallions

And of course topping with chopped peanuts just brings it all together!

close up kung pao chicken stir fry on white plate

More Asian Dinner Recipes

Kung Pao Chicken - quick and easy chicken stir fry packed with veggies and a little kick. Add whatever veggies you want and have dinner ready in minutes!
4.89 from 27 votes

Kung Pao Chicken

By Erin
Kung Pao Chicken – quick and easy chicken stir fry packed with veggies and a little kick. Add whatever veggies you want and have dinner ready in minutes!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
  • 5 Tablespoons white wine or chicken broth, divided
  • 5 Tablespoons soy sauce, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons water, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon chili garlic paste
  • 3 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 6 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups vegetables, chopped
  • 1 small can water chestnuts
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • chopped peanuts, for garnish


  • In a large zip top bag, combine 2 Tbsp wine or chicken broth, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp sesame oil, and 1 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved with 1 Tbsp water.
  • Add chicken. Toss to coat. Marinate in the fridge for 30-60 minutes.
  • Meanwhile make the sauce. Mix together 3 Tbsp wine or chicken broth, 3 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp sesame oil, 1 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 Tbsp water, chili paste, vinegar, and brown sugar. Set aside.
  • Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the marinated chicken. Brown the chicken for 4-5 minutes, or until it is cooked. Remove from pan, cover with foil to keep it warm.
  • Reduce the heat to medium high heat. Add vegetable oil to the pan. Mix in veggies and cook for 4-5 minutes, until crisp tender. Mix in garlic and water chestnuts. Cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add chicken back to the pan. Pour sauce over the chicken. Mix and bring to a boil. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken.
  • Serve immediately over rice topped with green onions and chopped peanuts


Adapted from All Recipes


Serving: 1g | Calories: 317kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 27g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 1177mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Erin
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Course: Dinner Recipes
Cuisine: Chinese
Servings: 4
Calories: 317
Keyword: kung pao chicken
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About Erin S

Welcome to Dinners, Dishes, & Desserts where my love of food meets my busy life. My name is Erin and I’m a casual home cook who loves to feed people. On this blog, you’ll find hundreds of quick and easy recipes made mostly from scratch. My days are spent in the kitchen, creating new recipes to share with family and friends.

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