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My Go-To Kung Pao Chicken Recipe for Dinner

kung pao chicken

Are you craving a restaurant-quality Chinese dish that you can easily make at home? Look no further than my go-to kung pao chicken recipe! This delicious stir-fry dish combines tender chicken, crunchy peanuts, and a medley of vegetables, all coated in a mouthwatering sauce.

While traditional kung pao chicken incorporates specialty ingredients like Szechuan peppercorns and Chinese black vinegar, my recipe takes a simplified approach using easy-to-find supermarket staples. You don’t have to be a master chef to whip up this authentic-tasting dish!

Get ready to tantalize your taste buds with the perfect balance of spicy, sweet, and sour flavors. Whether you’re cooking for yourself or entertaining guests, this homemade kung pao chicken is guaranteed to impress.

Key Takeaways:

  • Create a flavorful kung pao chicken stir-fry at home without the need for specialty ingredients.
  • Enjoy the perfect balance of spicy, sweet, and sour flavors.
  • Impress your guests with a restaurant-quality dish made in your own kitchen.
  • Customize the recipe by adding your preferred level of spiciness or additional ingredients like cashews or shrimp.
  • Pair your kung pao chicken with jasmine rice, steamed vegetables, or Asian cucumber salad for a complete meal.

Easy Homemade Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

This homemade kung pao chicken recipe is a delicious and convenient option for a quick weeknight dinner. With a flavorful marinade and a perfectly balanced stir-fry sauce, this Asian chicken dish is sure to satisfy your taste buds.

To start, marinate the chicken in a mixture of soy sauce, dry sherry, and cornstarch. The combination of these ingredients not only infuses the chicken with flavor but also helps to tenderize the meat, ensuring a juicy and succulent result.

The stir-fry sauce is made with a combination of balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and sesame oil. This blend of sweet and savory flavors adds depth to the dish, making every bite a delightful experience.

Once the chicken is marinated and the sauce is prepared, it’s time to bring everything together in a skillet. Cook the chicken until it’s browned and cooked through, then add in your choice of vegetables, such as bell peppers and celery, for added color and freshness.

Finally, pour in the stir-fry sauce and let it simmer until the flavors meld together and the sauce thickens. The result is a mouthwatering kung pao chicken dish with a perfect balance of flavors and textures.


Chicken Marinade: Stir-Fry Sauce:
– Chicken tenderloins – Balsamic vinegar
– Soy sauce – Soy sauce
– Dry sherry – Hoisin sauce
– Cornstarch – Sesame oil

And here’s a breakdown of the cooking process:

  1. Marinate the chicken in the soy sauce, dry sherry, and cornstarch mixture for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Heat a skillet and cook the chicken until browned and cooked through.
  3. Add your choice of vegetables and cook until slightly softened.
  4. Pour in the stir-fry sauce and simmer until the sauce thickens.
  5. Serve the kung pao chicken with steamed rice or noodles for a complete meal.

This easy kung pao chicken recipe is a crowd-pleaser that can be made in no time. With its bold flavors and tender chicken, it’s a dish that will impress your family and friends. So why not give it a try and experience the satisfaction of creating a delicious Asian-inspired meal right in your own kitchen?

Ingredients for Kung Pao Chicken

To make a delicious kung pao chicken, you’ll need a variety of ingredients that come together to create a flavorful and satisfying Chinese chicken dish. Here’s a list of everything you’ll need:

Ingredient Quantity
Chicken tenderloins 1 pound
Bell pepper 1 large, diced
Celery 2 stalks, sliced
Scallions 4-5, chopped
Garlic 4 cloves, minced
Soy sauce 3 tablespoons
Dry sherry 2 tablespoons
Cornstarch 1 tablespoon
Balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon
Hoisin sauce 1 tablespoon
Sesame oil 1 tablespoon
Sugar 1 tablespoon
Red pepper flakes 1 teaspoon
Ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon
Water 1/4 cup

These ingredients work together to create a vibrant marinade for the chicken, as well as a flavorful sauce that coats the stir-fry. The bell pepper and celery add crunch and freshness to the dish, while the combination of garlic, soy sauce, and spices brings out the authentic flavors of kung pao chicken.

Now that you have all the necessary ingredients, let’s move on to the next section to learn how to make kung pao chicken step-by-step.

How to Make Kung Pao Chicken

To make kung pao chicken, start by marinating the chicken in a mixture of soy sauce, dry sherry, and cornstarch. While the chicken marinates, chop the bell pepper, celery, scallions, and garlic. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients, including balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, sugar, cornstarch, red pepper flakes, ground ginger, and water.

Heat a skillet and cook the vegetables until slightly softened, then remove them from the pan. Cook the chicken in batches until browned and cooked through, then add the garlic and scallions. Finally, add the reserved vegetables and sauce to the pan and cook until warmed through and the sauce has thickened. Serve the kung pao chicken with rice for a complete meal.

Tips for Making the Best Kung Pao Chicken

Creating the best kung pao chicken at home is easier than you might think. Here are a few tips to help you elevate your chicken stir fry game:

  1. Do all of your prep work ahead of time to ensure a smooth cooking process. Chop your vegetables, measure out your ingredients, and have everything ready to go.
  2. Marinate the chicken for at least 15 minutes. This will help infuse it with flavor and ensure tender and juicy meat.
  3. Cook the chicken in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. This allows for even browning and ensures that the chicken cooks evenly.
  4. Adjust the amount of hot chili sauce according to your preference for spiciness. If you like it extra spicy, go ahead and add some more!
  5. Feel free to customize the recipe to your liking. You can add other proteins like beef or shrimp to create a different flavor profile, or throw in some cashews for an added crunch.

By following these tips, you can create a delicious and authentic kung pao chicken dish that rivals your favorite Chinese takeout. Now let’s dive into the details of this mouthwatering recipe!

kung pao chicken

Serving Suggestions for Kung Pao Chicken

Kung pao chicken is a delicious Chinese chicken dish that is packed with flavors. To enhance the meal and create a well-rounded dining experience, consider pairing it with some delectable side dishes. Here are some serving suggestions that will complement the flavors of kung pao chicken:

Jasmine Rice

A bed of fluffy jasmine rice is the perfect accompaniment to kung pao chicken. The fragrant and slightly nutty flavor of jasmine rice balances the spicy and savory notes of the dish. Its light texture allows it to soak up the flavorful sauce, creating a harmonious combination when eaten together.

Asian Cucumber Salad

Add a refreshing crunch to your meal with a side of Asian cucumber salad. Thinly sliced cucumbers tossed in a tangy dressing made with rice vinegar, sesame oil, and soy sauce provide a cooling contrast to the heat of the kung pao chicken. The salad adds a delightful burst of freshness to the overall flavor profile of the meal.

Steamed Broccoli

For a nutritious and vibrant side dish, serve steamed broccoli alongside your kung pao chicken. The tender-crisp texture of steamed broccoli pairs well with the tender chicken pieces, and its mild flavor complements the bold flavors of the dish. It also adds a pop of green color to the plate, making it visually appealing.

Baby Bok Choy

Another excellent option is sautéed baby bok choy. This leafy green vegetable has a subtle and slightly sweet taste that complements the spiciness of the kung pao chicken. Sautéing it with garlic and a splash of soy sauce brings out its natural flavors and adds a savory element to the dish.

Spring Rolls

If you’re looking to add a bit of indulgence to your meal, serve some crispy spring rolls alongside the kung pao chicken. The crunchy exterior filled with seasoned vegetables or meat creates a perfect textural contrast to the tender chicken pieces. Dip them in soy sauce or sweet chili sauce for an extra burst of flavor.

Feel free to mix and match these side dishes to create your own perfect combination. Whether you prefer a light and refreshing pairing or a more indulgent experience, these suggestions will elevate your kung pao chicken feast. Experiment with different flavors and textures to find your favorite way to enjoy this classic Chinese chicken dish.

Nutritional Information for Kung Pao Chicken

This kung pao chicken recipe provides a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. The nutrition information may vary depending on the specific ingredients used and portion sizes, but on average, a serving of kung pao chicken contains approximately 692 calories, 45g of fat, 42g of carbohydrates, and 31g of protein. The dish is relatively high in sodium due to ingredients like soy sauce and hoisin sauce, so it’s important to consume it in moderation. However, by making it at home, you have more control over the ingredients and can make healthier substitutions if desired.

Healthy Components of Kung Pao Chicken

The kung pao chicken recipe includes essential nutrients that contribute to a balanced diet. Here are some notable components:

  1. Protein: Kung pao chicken provides a good amount of protein, with 31g per serving. Protein is essential for muscle growth and repair, as well as supporting the immune system.
  2. Carbohydrates: The dish contains 42g of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of energy and are necessary for daily activities.
  3. Healthy Fats: Kung pao chicken contains 45g of fat. While this may seem high, it includes healthy fats from sources like peanuts and sesame oil, which provide important nutrients and help satisfy hunger.

It’s worth noting that the sodium content of kung pao chicken may be higher than recommended for some individuals due to sauces like soy sauce and hoisin sauce. However, you can still enjoy this dish by making some adjustments, such as using reduced-sodium options or controlling the amount of sauce you add.

“Kung pao chicken is a flavorful dish that can be a part of a balanced diet when enjoyed in moderation and paired with other nutritious ingredients.”

kung pao chicken

For those watching their caloric intake, portion control is key. Balancing the amount of kung pao chicken with other nutritious foods, such as steamed vegetables or a side salad, can help create a more well-rounded meal.

Remember, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to determine what specific nutritional needs and dietary restrictions you should consider when enjoying kung pao chicken.

Storage and Reheating Instructions for Kung Pao Chicken

Leftover kung pao chicken is a delicious meal that you can enjoy for days to come. To ensure its freshness and quality, follow these storage and reheating instructions:

  1. Transfer any remaining kung pao chicken to an airtight container.
  2. Place the container in the refrigerator and store it for up to 3 days.
  3. When you’re ready to enjoy the leftovers, take out the desired portion.
  4. To reheat the kung pao chicken:

    • Warm a skillet over medium heat.
    • Add the leftover chicken to the skillet.
    • Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is heated through.

It’s that easy! Within minutes, you’ll have a steaming hot plate of kung pao chicken ready to be savored.

  1. Package the chicken in a freezer-safe container or freezer bags.
  2. Label the container or bags with the date and contents.
  3. Store the kung pao chicken in the freezer for up to 2 months.
  4. When you’re ready to enjoy the frozen kung pao chicken:

    • Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight.
    • Once thawed, follow the reheating instructions mentioned above.

This makes kung pao chicken a great option for meal prepping or batch cooking. You can easily store and reheat the leftovers for quick and convenient meals throughout the week. Just remember to plan your portions accordingly to avoid any wastage.


Making kung pao chicken at home is a rewarding experience that allows you to savor the flavors of a classic Chinese dish right in your own kitchen. With simple ingredients and easy-to-follow techniques, you can whip up a delicious and spicy stir-fry that rivals the best takeout restaurants. Whether you’re planning a quick weeknight dinner or looking to impress your guests, this homemade kung pao chicken recipe is the perfect go-to option.

Don’t be afraid to get creative and customize your kung pao chicken by adding your favorite vegetables, proteins, or adjusting the level of spiciness. The versatility of this dish makes it an excellent choice for experimenting with different flavors and textures. So put on your apron, turn up the heat, and get ready to indulge in a flavorful homemade kung pao chicken feast that will satisfy your cravings for Chinese cuisine.

By mastering homemade Chinese recipes like kung pao chicken, you can enjoy the convenience of easy stir-fry dishes while also having control over the quality and freshness of the ingredients. Ditch the takeout boxes and embrace the joy of preparing a homemade meal that is both delicious and healthier. So why wait? Start exploring the world of homemade Chinese cuisine with this irresistible kung pao chicken recipe and bring authentic flavors to your dinner table.


What is kung pao chicken?

Kung pao chicken is a classic Chinese takeout dish of stir-fried chicken, peanuts, and vegetables. It is known for its spicy, sweet, and sour flavors.

How do I make homemade kung pao chicken?

To make homemade kung pao chicken, marinate chicken in a mixture of soy sauce, dry sherry, and cornstarch. Cook the chicken in a skillet, then add vegetables and a sauce made with balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, and other ingredients.

What ingredients do I need for kung pao chicken?

You will need chicken tenderloins, bell pepper, celery, scallions, garlic, soy sauce, dry sherry, cornstarch, balsamic vinegar, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, sugar, red pepper flakes, ground ginger, and water.

How do I make the best kung pao chicken?

Some tips for making the best kung pao chicken include doing your prep work ahead of time, marinating the chicken, cooking it in batches, adjusting the spiciness to your preference, and customizing the recipe with additional proteins or nuts.

What side dishes can I serve with kung pao chicken?

Kung pao chicken can be served with jasmine rice, Asian cucumber salad, steamed broccoli, baby bok choy, or spring rolls.

What is the nutritional information for kung pao chicken?

On average, a serving of kung pao chicken contains approximately 692 calories, 45g of fat, 42g of carbohydrates, and 31g of protein.

How do I store and reheat leftover kung pao chicken?

Leftover kung pao chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, warm it in a skillet over medium heat or thaw it overnight in the refrigerator if frozen.

What are some serving suggestions for kung pao chicken?

Kung pao chicken can be served with jasmine rice, Asian cucumber salad, steamed broccoli, baby bok choy, or spring rolls.

Is kung pao chicken an easy dish to make at home?

Yes, kung pao chicken is a relatively easy dish to make at home and is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner.

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