Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

Kung Pao Chicken
Here’s the recipe you all might have been waiting for – the legendary Kung Pao Chicken! I have wanted to make this for the longest time but have just finally got around to doing so now.  Kung Pao chicken first originated in central-western China and has become very popular in the United States. This is the westernized version of kung pao chicken consisting of wok fried chicken pieces, roasted peanuts, scallions and a spicy sauce. For those of you that have been waiting for a Chinese chicken recipe that doesn’t use a deep fryer – this is it. Even though you can deep fry the chicken pieces this time we are frying the chicken in the wok. Some versions of Kung Pao chicken use vegetables such as zucchini or red bell peppers. This recipe doesn’t call for those but you can add them if you wish. Serve on top of white rice.
Kung Pao ChickenKung Pao Chicken
1lb boneless-skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1” pieces)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons green onions (chopped)
3 garlic cloves (minced)
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon powdered ginger
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts

Cooking Instructions:
Kung Pao ChickenKung Pao Chicken
Step 1: combine chicken and cornstarch in a small bowl and toss to coat. Heat sesame oil in wok over medium heat, add chicken and stir fry 5-7 minutes or until no longer pink inside. Remove chicken from wok.
Step 2: Add green onions, garlic, red pepper flakes and powdered ginger to the wok and stir fry for 15 seconds.
Step 3: Combine vinegar, soy sauce and sugar in a small bowl. Mix well and add the sauce to the wok.
Kung Pao ChickenKung Pao Chicken
Step 4: Return chicken to the wok and coat with sauce. Stir in roasted peanuts. Heat thoroughly. Top with additional green onions if desired and serve over white rice.
Tags: , , ,


104 Responses to “Kung Pao Chicken Recipe”

  1. Kathy — January 27, 2010 @ 7:45 am

    One word….AWESOME!!!!

    Good with cashews instead of the peanuts :o)

  2. Lisa — February 2, 2010 @ 5:59 pm

    My family loves this recipe..don’t seem to make enough so I guess I need to double the ingredients.
    And, I included mushrooms and bell peppers (yeah…I’m in the South; TEXAS)!

  3. wayne — May 27, 2010 @ 6:57 pm

    Hey I tried out your recipe and it was delicious! But I had one problem – I couldnt get the cornstarch to stick to the chicken well. Does the chicken have to be dry? I had it defrosted in the fridge for 10 hours, but it was a little bit icy on the inside.

    Any help is appreciated 😀

  4. Bobby — May 27, 2010 @ 7:06 pm

    wayne – sounds to me the problem was not allowing the chicken to fully thaw. Try allowing the chicken to fully thaw next time.

  5. Josanne — June 24, 2010 @ 4:05 pm

    I followed this recipe, exactly. Just had my fill..it looked wonderful, it tasted quite good..Chinese food in Trinidad and Tobago is a lot more spicy though..

  6. akki — July 6, 2010 @ 12:05 pm

    This is a wonderful recipe.. i’m cooking this 2day for my husband… he loves kung pao chicken @ pf changs…

  7. Hutch — July 17, 2010 @ 8:21 pm

    My family loves it! Absolutely a wonderful dish!!! I have made it several times now, it’s easy and yummy.

  8. James Dean — August 25, 2010 @ 1:12 pm

    I tried this recipe of yours and it was AWESOME! most delicious chicken an amateur like me has prepared! one drawback though, it was soooo hot for me… I was steaming from the ears. Maybe it had something to do with the red pepper flakes accidentally spilling all over the chicken…. i rate this dish 5 stars!!!!

  9. wu — December 28, 2010 @ 10:48 pm

    This is more like General Tsao’s Chicken than Kung Pao Chicken, but it’s still good. 😛

  10. Sarah — January 10, 2011 @ 6:36 pm

    We made this tonight with a few substitutions (rice vinegar a splash of wine instead of rice wine vinegar, diced onion instead of green onion, fresh ginger instead of powdered, and cashews instead of peanut for the allergy-ridden) and it was pretty good! We added some veggie oil to help get the chicken crispy enough and we’ll probably tone down the spice next time, but the sauce came together surprisingly well – it wasn’t runny at all. Even our botched recipe was pretty delicious!

  11. tena — January 21, 2011 @ 5:29 pm

    im from croatia and i love your recipe… I searched for this recipe for a long time and finally i found it…Thank you so much! 🙂

  12. msdee — January 25, 2011 @ 3:12 pm

    I want to say I cooked this tonight , and boy did my Fiance and daughter love it!! I did not use peanuts at all in this recipe..however it was just as good I want to thank you for sharing this recipe !!!!

  13. PEARL , MARTIN — June 16, 2011 @ 12:32 pm


  14. Rayen — June 27, 2011 @ 11:47 am

    OMG THIS RECIPE IS AWESOME!!! Helped me sooo much to make the most delicious kung-pao! However, I had to use olive oil and red wine vinegar because I didn’t have the sesame oil or the rice vinegar but still came out great!! Wonderful recipe!!

  15. daniece — September 16, 2011 @ 5:55 pm

    We don’t eat rice so I added some stir fry veggies rave reviews!!!!!

  16. dave — September 25, 2011 @ 6:57 pm

    This is probably a stupid question, but do you remove some of the oil from the wok as well when u remove the chicken, before adding the onions and peper flakes..or does all that oil get added to the sauce?

  17. Bobby — September 25, 2011 @ 7:59 pm

    dave – if you are just using the 2 teaspoons of sesame oil, you wouldn’t need to remove any. If you are adding more for more of a deep fry on the chicken, yes I would recommend removing some.

  18. josh — October 6, 2011 @ 5:02 pm

    I just wanted to say thanks for the recipe. I have tried to make kung pao packets several times. This turned out fantastic. I definitely hit a home run with the family.

  19. Amy — January 14, 2012 @ 3:09 pm

    Great recipe. I made this last night, the only thing I changed was I doubled the sauce…its just so good! Also, to me it was very spicy, I’ll add less pepper flakes next time. Thanks for this recipe.

  20. Stefanie — January 17, 2012 @ 5:24 pm

    This was good, but my chicken did not look like yours did. Yours looks dipped in batter and fried, not just rolled in cornstarch. Maybe I did it wrong??

  21. Bobby — January 17, 2012 @ 9:31 pm

    Stefanie- nope, the chicken in the photo is just rolled in cornstarch.

  22. Nancy — January 18, 2012 @ 6:28 pm

    Oh my gosh!!!I am so glad I found this recipe.
    Thank you so much. My family just loved this. It is definitely a keeper for us.

  23. Jennifer — January 30, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

    I made this with my boyfriend and it turned out great! We added a lot more cornstarch to get a nice coating on the chicken (based on our experience with other Chinese recipes) and ended up using more Sesame oil in the pan also. We did not have to deep fry ours to get nicely cooked chicken, but if you want it as pictured and restaurant style, you’re going to need more like half a cup of cornstarch.

  24. Andrea — April 8, 2012 @ 9:37 pm

    I have no idea why everyone is raving about this being such a wonderful recipe. It just didn’t work for me. First of all, there was nowhere near enough cornstarch to coat the chicken. Secondly, there’s no way that look (in the last picture) can be achieved without deep frying it, so that should be at least mentioned in the directions. Lastly, I have no idea why, but in the final result you couldn’t taste any of the flavors that went into it 🙁 There was no sweetness, and only a little bit of spicyness. It was the worst result we’ve had with making asian chicken. Very disappointing 🙁

  25. Linda — September 19, 2012 @ 11:16 am

    in answer to Andrea on April 8th 2012: My daughter Andrea says Kung Pao chicken isn’t suppose to be very sweet. Andrea loves it and eats it all the time. She says at the place she gets her Kung Pao Chicken it has more of a hot taste rather than sweet taste. She is going to try this recipe for the first time.

  26. andrea — October 16, 2012 @ 9:18 pm

    Wonderful recipe thanks ! I did make a few changes to start of i marinated the chicken with soy sauce, garlic, rice vinegar, sesame oil an fresh ginger about 2 tbs it marinated all evening about 7 hours o so then when i was ready to cook it i iured the tablespoon of sesame oil ( by the way i divided the 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, one for marinating and one for stir frying) also i used 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and for sauce added about 1 1/2 or so of water hubby and i like a lot of sauce! Then added braggs to create that soy sauce flavor without half of the sodium 2 more tbs of rice vinegar and added 2/3 of a cup of peanuts , by the way i added brown sugar to marinade 2 tbs and finally served with jasmine rice it
    was amazing and saucy best kung pao chicken it tasted like a great take out 🙂

  27. Danny — February 17, 2013 @ 2:19 pm

    This recipe is awwwsome. I’ve made it several times so far and we love it!!

  28. Jessica — March 30, 2013 @ 8:54 pm

    I made this with slight changes. It turned out amazing!

  29. Dido — April 9, 2013 @ 2:00 pm

    Thank you so much for this recipe! It looks delicious. I will try it tonight.

  30. Lisa LaRocco — April 13, 2013 @ 8:34 am

    Hi from the UBP. I think this is wonderful–recipes from our favorite restaurants–thank you so much. Love PF Change!

  31. Maranda — May 10, 2013 @ 11:58 am

    Just did this. Super easy totally recommend it for a weeknight meal! I misplaced my sesame oil so instead I used about 3 tablespoons of canola oil(using a regular frying pan not a wok) and added a teaspoon of toasted sesame seeds in the last 2 min of stir frying the chicken. It still has the sesame taste needed. Very delicious recipe!

  32. Rita — October 8, 2013 @ 5:16 pm

    this is a fantastic recipe! I made it for dinner this evening, quick and delicious!

  33. Bolor — October 21, 2013 @ 9:03 am

    I cooked it today for my dinner. It is a very delicious recipe. I added some green chilly. The best part is that it is not deep fried. I had it with brown rice since I do not eat white rice. Next time I wanna make it with more sauce. How to make it with more sauce? Please advice.

  34. Bobby — October 21, 2013 @ 8:25 pm

    Balor – to make more sauce just double or triple the amount of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sugar.

  35. JOhnny — December 5, 2013 @ 11:09 pm

    Kung Pao Chicken is my favorite. It has that sweet spicy tangy flavor to it.

  36. Ron — January 14, 2014 @ 4:50 pm

    Off the charts! Boy, is this delicious. I doubled the recipe and it came out fantastic. Just the right amount of heat (spicy) too.

  37. Kirsten @ Green Global Travel — February 5, 2014 @ 9:21 am

    Can’t wait to try this!

  38. Luke — May 24, 2014 @ 8:43 pm

    Killer!!! Just a tip, I worked at PF Chang’s and they use Potato Starch instead of Corn Starch with their chicken.

  39. Karla — July 19, 2014 @ 9:52 am

    I have Red wine vinegar and a bottle of Rice vinegar……which should I use? Also, I have ground red pepper….will this be ok? The recipe calls for powdered ginger….I have ground ginger…..is that the same thing?? Can’t wait to make this…..hopefully this afternoon…….Yummm!!

    • Bobby replied: — July 20th, 2014 @ 7:52 pm

      I would use rice vinegar. Also, yes, ground ginger and powdered ginger are the same thing. The ground red pepper will probably work to add spice but you may want to add it only to your taste as I am not sure how spicy it is.

  40. NancyP — August 14, 2014 @ 8:12 am

    Can’t wait to try this. We are great fans of PF Changs but live 1 1/2 hours from the nearest one so this is great. Now if someone could copy the Chengdo (???) lamb recipe. They no long serve it,
    out season we were told. It is out of this world.

  41. Maxine Smart — August 21, 2014 @ 10:54 pm

    I thought this was wonderful and so easy to make. I agree with one other that there was not enough sauce so next time I will double that part. I made it exactly like the recipe and it looked exactly like the finished picture of yours.

  42. lynne — August 30, 2014 @ 1:34 pm

    Before I tried this I read the reviews and adjusted it from there. I’m so pleased with this dish. Beautiful on the plate and better in my stomach. This has now found a home in my recipe box. Thank you.

    P.S. I almost forgot….it’s twice as good warmed up the next day, if there is any left of course.

  43. Naz — September 11, 2014 @ 6:30 am

    Would like some advice regarding this recipe? What could I use instead of rice wine vinegar.

    • Bobby replied: — September 11th, 2014 @ 7:10 pm

      White wine vinegar would work. I hope this helps.

  44. Jack — September 16, 2014 @ 6:22 pm

    Can you add hoisin sauce or oyster sauce to the sauce? I just love the taste of oyster sauce.

    • Bobby replied: — September 17th, 2014 @ 7:14 pm

      You could try adding either of those sauces. It will give the recipe I different flavor though.

  45. Trina — September 18, 2014 @ 3:13 pm

    This recipe looks amazing! Can I use vegetable oil instead of sesame oil? We have a family member who’s allergic to sesame. Also, can I use a frying pan instead of a wok?

    • Bobby replied: — September 18th, 2014 @ 7:25 pm

      The answer is yes to both of your questions. Enjoy the recipe!

  46. Jacco — November 23, 2014 @ 4:27 am

    Made this recipe last night and very much enjoyed it. A few side not for me:
    -It needs more cornstarch: Mine didn’t look as nicely battered
    -2 teaspoons of sesame oil looks nowhere near the amount used in the pictures above
    -I halfed the chilly flakes (I am not a very spicy eater)

    The sauce is great, will try it again but with more cornstarch and more oil hoping to achieve the images posted with the recipe

Leave a Comment