This website may contain affiliate links and advertising so that we can provide recipes to you. Read my disclosure policy.

A takeout favorite for good reason! Kung pao chicken is pan-fried to crispy perfection and coated in a spicy, savory sauce that will leave you wanting more. Once you try making it from scratch, you won’t want it any other way!

Looking for more better-than-takeout recipes? Try these: dynamite shrimp, easy fried rice, and Szechuan beef!

Cooked kung pao chicken with bell peppers in a black wok.

Homemade Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

Craving some spicy-sweet Kung Pao chicken but short on time? This recipe is the answer. We’re ditching the deep-frying for a lighter pan-fry, but trust me, the flavor doesn’t skimp. The homemade kung pao sauce is so amazing – garlicky, vinegary, with a sneaky chili kick. Stir-fried together with chopped bell peppers and peanuts, this homemade Kung Pao chicken is the perfect combination of flavors and textures!

Homemade kung pao chicken is weeknight-friendly, party-approved, and guaranteed to leave your tastebuds singing. It’s always a hit with everyone! So grab your wok, crank up the heat, and let’s get cooking!

Ingredient List

Here’s everything you’ll need for the crispy pan-fried chicken and the amazing sauce to coat it with! All measurements are in the recipe card at the end of the post.

  • Chicken: Cut your chicken breasts into uniform, small pieces so everything cooks evenly.
  • Cornstarch & Eggs: For the crispy, golden coating! This duo creates a crunchy shell that seals in juiciness and lets the sauce cling around each piece of chicken.
  • Dried Red Chili Pepper: So the kung pao chicken has its classic spice. Remember, a little goes a long way!
  • Garlic & Ginger: Minced finely, they’ll infuse the whole dish with their flavor.
  • Soy Sauce & Rice Vinegar: The salty-tangy dream team! Soy brings umami richness, while rice vinegar adds a tangy punch.
  • Chinkiang Vinegar: Adds a complex, mellow sweetness that rounds out the sauce. You can find this online or at your local Asian grocer.
  • Red Chili Paste: This fiery jam packs a concentrated punch of spice. Use a light hand at first, you can always add more later if you want more spice.
  • Bell Peppers: Add juicy crunch and vibrant pops of color. They’re the confetti cannons of the stir-fry, making every bite a fiesta.
  • Peanuts: For texture and nutty flavor.
  • Green Onions: Chopped to add a garnish on top.

How to Make Kung Pao Chicken

Heat up that wok, because it’s time to make a knockout dinner! This homemade kung pao chicken is packed with so much flavor, everyone will love it!

  1. Season: Season the chopped chicken with salt and pepper and then set aside.
  2. Coating Mixture: Place the cornstarch and beaten eggs into two separate bowls. Dip the seasoned chicken into the cornstarch then coat in the egg mixture.
  3. Heat Pan: Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add the battered chicken to the pan, you may need to work in batches to avoid crowding the pan.
  4. Pan-Fry: Fry the chicken, tossing and turning them every few minutes to evenly brown the chicken on each side, about 8-10 minutes.
  5. Sauce Mixture: While the chicken is cooking, make the sauce by whisking together the minced chili pepper, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar, chinkiang vinegar, and red chili paste.
  6. Cornstarch Slurry: In a separate small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water to make a cornstarch slurry, set aside.
  7. Sauté Vegetables: Once all the chicken is cooked remove it from the pan and set aside. Add more of the oil to the pan and add in the red bell pepper, green bell pepper, and dried red chilis. Saute the vegetables until they begin to soften and brown.
  8. Combine: Add the chicken back to the skillet and pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables. Stir fry the chicken and vegetables in the kung pao sauce for 4-5 minutes.
  9. Thicken: Continue to cook until the sauce has thickened, stirring continually to coat all the chicken and vegetables evenly.
  10. Serve: Remove the pan from heat and serve the kung pao chicken over rice and garnish with peanuts and green onions.
6-photo collage of the chicken, sauce, and stir fry being prepared.

Reduce the Heat

Kung pao chicken is typically a fairly spicy dish, but if you are wanting to reduce the heat, remove the dried chilis and reduce the amount of chili paste used in the sauce.

Closeup of kung pao chicken, being scooped up with a wooden spoon.

Storing Leftover Kung Pao Chicken

Kung pao chicken is great for enjoying later! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

A serving of chicken and rice in a black bowl.

More Better-Than-Takeout Favorites

Pin this now to find it later

Pin It

Kung Pao Chicken

5 from 1 vote
By: Alyssa Rivers
A takeout favorite for good reason! Kung pao chicken is pan-fried to crispy perfection and coated in a spicy, savory sauce that will leave you wanting more. Once you try making it from scratch, you won’t want it any other way!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 people

Ingredients 

Kung pao sauce

Stir fry

  • 1 large red bell pepper sliced
  • 1 large green bell pepper sliced
  • ¼ cup dried red chilis roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup peanuts roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup green onions chopped

Instructions 

  • Season the chopped chicken with salt and pepper and set aside.
  • Place the cornstarch and beaten eggs into two separate bowls. Dip the seasoned chicken into the cornstarch then coat in the egg mixture.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add the battered chicken to the pan, you may need to work in batches to avoid crowding the pan.
  • Fry the chicken, tossing and turning them every few minutes to evenly brown the chicken on each side, about 8-10 minutes.
  • While the chicken is cooking, make the sauce by whisking together the minced chili pepper, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar, chinkiang vinegar, and red chili paste.
  • In a separate small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water to make a cornstarch slurry, set aside.
  • Once all the chicken is cooked remove it from the pan and set aside. Add more of the oil to the pan and add in the red bell pepper, green bell pepper, and dried red chilis. Saute the vegetables until they begin to soften and brown.
  • Add the chicken back to the skillet and pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables. Stir fry the chicken and vegetables in the kung pao sauce for 4-5 minutes.
  • Continue to cook until the sauce has thickened, stirring continually to coat all the chicken and vegetables evenly.
  • Remove the pan from heat and serve the kung pao chicken over rice and garnish with peanuts and green onions.

Nutrition

Calories: 460kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 38gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 179mgSodium: 596mgPotassium: 746mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 851IUVitamin C: 32mgCalcium: 39mgIron: 2mg

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

Additional Info

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Chinese, chinese american
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!
16 Quick & Easy 30 Minute Recipes!
(Plus weekly recipe updates)

About Alyssa Rivers

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Alyssa Rivers and the food blogger behind The Recipe Critic. The blog launched in 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family. Each recipe is tried and true, family-tested and approved.

More Ideas

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Kuh Poa Chicken 🐔 Is Absolutely Awesome & Delicious To Eat For Dinner Any Day Of The Week!!! Alyssa Has Some Awesome Awesome Dinner & Dessert Recipes & You Gotta Absolutely Love ❤️ Her Recipes That She Makes & Reading Her Recipes To Get Them Right On The Nose 👃 & I’m Grateful For Her Emails Dhe Has Sent To Me!!! Thank.You Alyssa For Awesome Awesome Dinner & Dessert Recipes You Make Yearly Especially For Christmas 🎄 Holiday Season 🎅 🎄!!! Most Definitely Have Your Favorites Like Roll Ups/ Crepes For Dinner Or Lunch Or Breakfast Any Day Of The Week!!! Suger Cookies & Spritz Cookies Any Day Of The Year!!! You Gotta Absolutely Love ❤️ Her Cookies Recipes & Roll Ups/ Crepes!!! Thank.You Alyssa Your Recipes Are Absolutely Awesome 👌 No Matter What Day Of The Week!!! Merry Christmas 🎅 🎄 To You & Your Family & Happy New Year To You & Your Family This Christmas 🎄 Holiday Season 🎅 🎄!!! Your Recipes Are Absolutely Awesome Everyday 👌!!! Charlie Andrew In Antelope California!!!