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Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

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  • Author: Maxine Dubois
  • Total Time: 1 Hour and 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


This Kung Pao Chicken Recipe is made with bell pepper, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, peanuts and dried chilies. 


  • 1 lb (450g) boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (adjust to your spice preference)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Green onions, chopped (for garnish)


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, cornstarch, sugar, sesame oil, and crushed red pepper flakes. Set aside.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add chicken pieces and season with salt and pepper. Cook until browned and cooked through. Remove chicken from the skillet and set aside.
  3. In the same skillet, add garlic, onion, and celery. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes until they start to soften.
  4. Add the diced bell peppers and continue stir-frying for another 2 minutes until they are slightly tender.
  5. Return the cooked chicken to the skillet and add the sauce mixture. Stir everything together to coat the chicken and vegetables evenly. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  6. Add the peanuts and stir to combine. Cook for another minute to warm the peanuts.
  7. Remove from heat and garnish with chopped green onions.
  8. Serve hot with steamed rice or noodles.


  • Take the seeds out of the dried chilies for a milder spice.
  • Prep Ingredients in Advance: Kung Pao Chicken comes together quickly once you start cooking, so it's helpful to have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go before you begin. Chop the chicken, vegetables, and garnishes ahead of time to streamline the cooking process.
  • Use High Heat: Kung Pao Chicken is typically cooked using high heat to achieve that signature stir-fry texture. Ensure your wok or skillet is properly heated before adding the ingredients. This helps to retain the crispness of the vegetables and prevent the chicken from becoming overcooked.
  • Maintain Stir-Frying Momentum: Stir-frying requires constant movement of the ingredients to ensure even cooking and prevent sticking. Use a spatula or tongs to toss and stir the ingredients continuously, maintaining a brisk pace throughout the cooking process.
  • Adjust Spice Level: Kung Pao Chicken is known for its spicy kick, primarily from the dried chili peppers. Adjust the amount of chili peppers according to your preference for heat. You can also remove the seeds from the peppers for a milder flavor.
  • Customize the Sauce: The Kung Pao sauce is a crucial element of the dish. Feel free to adjust the sauce ingredients to suit your taste preferences. You can add more or less soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, or other seasonings to achieve the desired balance of flavors.
  • Don't Overcook the Chicken: To ensure tender and juicy chicken, take care not to overcook it. Chicken breast slices should be cooked until they are no longer pink in the center, while still maintaining a slight firmness. Overcooking can result in dry and rubbery chicken.
  • Toast the Peanuts: Toasting the peanuts before adding them to the dish can enhance their flavor and add a delightful crunch. Simply place the peanuts in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently until they become golden and aromatic. Be careful not to burn them.
  • Garnish with Fresh Ingredients: Just before serving, garnish your Kung Pao Chicken with fresh ingredients like green onions or cilantro. These additions provide a burst of freshness and color to the dish.
  • Serve Immediately: Kung Pao Chicken is best enjoyed immediately after cooking. Serve it hot over steamed rice or noodles to fully savor the flavors and textures.
  • Prep Time: 1 Hour
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: Chinese