Skip to Content

What Does Kung Pao Chicken Taste Like?

What does kung pao chicken taste like? The answer is a little complex. The flavor of the sauce is derived from Sichuan peppercorns. These aren’t hot, but they provide a pleasant tingle in your mouth. You can substitute white pepper if you’re allergic to peppercorns. If you’re worried about consuming hot spices, skip this part and stick to a basic vinegar sauce.

Kung pao chicken is a popular Chinese dish originating in the late Qing Dynasty. It is traditionally made with dried chilies, peanuts, and Sichuan peppercorns. However, American kung pao chicken is made with less spicy ingredients, and the sauce is sweeter. It’s also commonly served with bell peppers. There’s no doubt that this dish is a favorite among Chinese food lovers everywhere.

What is Kung Pao Chicken?

Kung pao chicken, also known as “Chinese-style” chicken, is a classic Chinese dish. Authentic Sichuan dishes contain less than one-half the amount of saturated fat that the Sichuanese version does. Sichuan-style kung pao chicken is a spicy dish that originated in southwest China. Since then, it’s spread throughout the world. As a result, the recipe has many variations, depending on the preferences of the individual cook. As a traditional Chinese dish, kung pao chicken is often served with crunchy peanuts. It’s delicious, but if you’re not a fan of spicy food, you can stick with a more conservative approach and use less chili-based kung-pao sauce.

It is made with unique ingredients, including whole dried chilies and Sichuan peppercorns. While the original version is spicy, American kung pao chicken has more sweetness and peanuts.

What Does Kung Pao Chicken Taste Like?

In the US, kung pao chicken is mild, sour, and savory, with a touch of sweetness. The flavor of kung pao chicken is often sweet, and peanuts add a rounded flavor. It’s a favorite Chinese restaurant dish in most parts of the world, but what does kung pao do to the chicken? Aside from using a spice, it also adds a lot of savory and spicy components.

Stir-fried chicken, peanuts, and vegetables make up Kung Pao chicken, a popular Chinese restaurant dish. It’s traditionally made with Sichuan peppercorns, Chinese black vinegar, Chinese rice wine, and whole dried red chilies, among other ingredients.

What’s the Difference Between Szechuan Chicken and Kung Pao Chicken?

Chinese cuisine includes Szechuan Chicken and Kung Pao Chicken. Although both dishes are delicious and are commonly served in Chinese restaurants, they differ in some ways, making each dish distinct. The ingredients used, the flavor, the cooking method, and the manner of serving are all different.

  • Szechuan Chicken is typically a spicy dish made with dried red chili peppers (also known as Szechuan peppers), ginger, garlic, vegetables, herbs, mushrooms, and soy sauce. Crispy chicken thigh meat is used as the main ingredient. White rice, peanuts, and stir-fried vegetables are all included in kung pao chicken. Shrimp and tofu are frequently included in the mix.
  • Because there are nuts in Kung Pao chicken, it has a nutty and sweet flavor, whereas Szechuan chicken has a spicy taste with solid and bold flavors, possibly due to the garlic and chili peppers used.
  • Szechuan chicken can be prepared in various ways, including stir-frying, steaming, or braising. The only method of preparation for Kung Pao chicken is stir-frying.
  • Because Kung Pao Chicken has a nutty flavor, it’s often served with more peanuts. On the other hand, Szechuan chicken is usually served with a spicy sauce as a side dish.

What are the Similarities Between Szechuan Chicken and Kung Pao Chicken?

  • Peppers are used in Szechuan chicken and Kung pao chicken to give the dishes their spiciness. It provides the required spiciness, but it also imparts a delicious flavor.
  • Even though Szechuan chicken and Kung Pao chicken are made with different ingredients, they are pretty similar in that they both have a sweet and spicy sauce.
  • Both Szechuan and Kung Pao chicken can be served with steamed vegetables and/or noodles. Adding these side dishes to your meal can take it to a whole new level of deliciousness.
  • Szechuan chicken and Kung pao chicken can be served as an entrée (main course or only course) or as an appetizer (A part of the meal before the main dish or main course is served). In either case, Szechuan Chicken and Kung Pao chicken can be a delicious meal for any occasion.

Is Kung Pao Chicken Nutritious?

Fried, breaded chicken, peanuts, hot chilies, Sichuan peppers, and vegetables make up Kung Pao chicken. Although the dish is high in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, it contains significant amounts of essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.


A serving of kung pao chicken prepared in a restaurant contains 118 percent of the daily value (DV) of protein. Protein is required for tissue growth, maintenance, repair, and other vital functions, and protein is broken down into amino acids by the body. Some amino acids can be produced by your body, but others, known as essential amino acids, must be obtained through diet. Many essential amino acids, including leucine, valine, threonine, and lysine, are abundant in kung pao chicken.


The sodium content of a serving of kung pao chicken is 101 percent of the DV. Sodium levels are typically controlled by your body, which holds on to them when they are low and excretes them when they are high. However, some people are naturally sodium-sensitive, and diseases such as congestive heart failure, cirrhosis, and chronic kidney disease can impair the body’s sodium excretion. When this happens, the body clings to water, causing blood volume to rise. Your heart has to work harder to pump the extra blood. As a result, the pressure in your arteries rises, resulting in high blood pressure.


Kung pao chicken has 65 percent of the daily value for fat and 41 percent of the daily value for saturated fat per serving. Saturated fat raises cholesterol levels and raises the risk of heart disease. Mono- and polyunsaturated fats make up the rest of the fat in kung pao chicken. They lower cholesterol and lower your risk of heart disease when eaten instead of saturated fat. Most of the fat and saturated fat in kung pao chicken comes from the animal fats used to fry the breaded chicken. Peanuts also contribute a significant amount of fat to the dish.


A serving of kung pao chicken also contains 53% of the daily value for cholesterol. Atherosclerosis is a condition in which a waxy substance called plaque builds upon the walls of your arteries, restricting blood flow. Dietary cholesterol can increase your risk of atherosclerosis. Chest pain and heart disease can be caused by a lack of blood flow. A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is completely cut off, and a stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is disrupted. The high cholesterol levels in kung pao chicken are due to animal fats.

Minerals and vitamins

A serving of kung pao chicken contains 119 percent of the recommended dietary allowance for niacin for adult females and 104 percent of the RDA for adult males. Niacin is a B vitamin that aids in producing energy from food and is necessary for skin and vision health. The RDA for selenium, an essential dietary mineral, is 89 percent in a single serving of kung pao chicken. After digested, selenium binds to proteins to form selenoproteins, which help with immune and thyroid function, and antioxidants that help prevent heart disease and cancer. The majority of the niacin and selenium in kung pao chicken comes from the chicken.

How to Eat Kung Pao Chicken?

While there are no exact measurements of kung pao chicken, you can easily find an authentic version. It’s sweet, savory, and spicy and has the characteristic Sichuan pepper tingle. It is made using unique ingredients that you’d find in Chinese restaurants. The sauce contains Sichuan peppercorns, Chinese black vinegar, rice wine, and whole dried red chilies.

To create authentic Kung pao chicken, you need to take the time to cook it right. The meat should be cooked on medium heat, and it should be browned on both sides. If you’re eating it as a snack, take out some broccoli, green onion, and garlic because the sauce will be a great addition to the meal. If you’re not a fan of spicy food, you can always stick to the classics.


The ingredients for kung pao chicken are straightforward. Unlike other types of chicken, the sauce has dried chili peppers and a spicy sauce. The chicken is stir-fried with peanuts, bell peppers, and ginger. As it cools, the sauce will thicken. It’s best to start with a thin chicken layer in a pan and cook it in a single layer.

The sauce for kung pao chicken is a brown sauce that is not as spicy as the kung pao chicken that you’ll find in a Chinese restaurant. The chicken is cooked in a skillet with a sweet and spicy sauce. The chicken will be tender and juicy when cooked, but the sauce will not be as spicy as at a restaurant.

Subscribe to Blog Chef for the easiest recipes and cooking tips. Signing up gives your consent to emails and personalized ads. See privacy policy.