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Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

This Kung Pao Chicken recipe is a delicious and easy-to-make dish that brings the flavors of a popular Panda Express favorite right to your home kitchen. The tender chicken is coated in a flavorful sauce and tossed with veggies and dry roasted peanuts for the perfect crunch. 

With just a hint of spiciness, this Panda Express copycat Kung Pao Chicken is perfect for serving over rice. It is just the most satisfying meal!

Kung Pao Chicken served in a white bowl with rice.

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This Kung Pao Chicken recipe hits all the right spots. It tastes just like my favorite takeout dish, but this is even better because, well, it’s homemade! That means I can control all the ingredients and the flavor and can make a big batch for the leftovers (which are delicious, by the way). 

The sauce is so simple to make and packed with sweet, savory, spicy flavors. The trick is to get the vegetables just cooked but not mushy- you want them to have a bite. 

Speaking of a bite, the peanuts are the quintessential kung pao chicken ingredient that adds the perfect savory crunch. 

I love serving this over a bed of rice to soak up all that saucy goodness. This Kung Pao Chicken recipe is a lifesaver for those busy days when you need a tasty meal but don’t want to splurge for takeout. 

Ingredient Notes

See the printable recipe card below for all ingredients, specific measurements, and complete instructions.

Ingredients to make Kung Pao Chicken set out on the counter.
  • Boneless, Skinless Chicken: You can use chicken breasts or thighs, depending on your preference.
  • The chicken gets coated in egg, cornstarch, and salt for the perfect light breading.
  • Oil: Used for cooking both the chicken and veggies, bringing it all together.
  • Red Bell Pepper: Adds a pop of color and a sweet, crunchy bite.
  • Zucchini: Another veggie for that perfect mix of flavors and textures.
  • Dry Roasted Peanuts: Brings the crunch and a hint of nutty goodness.
  • The sauce is a winning combination of green onions, garlic, crushed red pepper, powdered ginger, soy sauce, red wine vinegar, water, and cornstarch. 

How To Make This Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

Chicken, salt, cornstarch and egg in a mixing bowl.
Chicken coated with salt, cornstarch and egg in a mixing bowl.

Start by tossing diced chicken with salt and cornstarch. Mix it up well; you want every piece coated. Crack an egg and mix it in – it helps the coating stick during cooking.

Chicken cooking in a skillet with oil.
Stir-frying red bell peppers and zucchini in a skillet.
Stir-frying sliced green onions, minced garlic and peanuts in a skillet.

In a hot skillet, cook the chicken with some oil. Brown it nicely on all sides. Once it's cooked through, set it aside.

Next, add in red bell peppers and zucchini. Stir-fry until they start to soften but keep a bit of crunch. Remove them from the skillet; we'll bring them back later.

Add sliced green onions into the pan and give them a quick stir. Now, add minced garlic and peanuts. Stir-fry for that perfect combo of garlicky and nutty goodness.

Kung Pao Chicken sauce thickening in a skillet.
Stir-fried Kung Pao Chicken in a skillet.

In a separate bowl, whisk together soy sauce, red wine vinegar, water, and cornstarch. Pour it into the skillet. Stir until the sauce thickens up. It should coat the back of a spoon.

Bring back the chicken and veggies. Stir everything together until it's all coated in that flavorful sauce. Take it off the heat and we're ready to serve!

Spoon it over rice, and you have an amazing Kung Pao Chicken that's homemade and downright delicious.

Kung Pao Chicken in a square white dish.

What other vegetables can I use in Kung Pao Chicken?

I went super simple with the vegetables and added just red bell peppers and zucchini, but feel free to get creative! Any of these vegetables would be delicious in your Kung Pao Chicken:

  • Broccoli
  • Mushrooms
  • Snap Peas
  • Carrots
  • Water Chestnuts
  • Baby Corn
  • Snow Peas

What type of rice is best to serve with Kung Pao Chicken?

Jasmine or long-grain white rice complements the flavors well. Brown rice or quinoa can be healthier alternatives with a nuttier taste.

Can I reduce the spiciness of the dish?

Sure! Adjust the amount of crushed red pepper in the sauce to control the spiciness according to your preference. You can start with less and add more later if needed.

Storing and Freezing

Store: To store leftovers, transfer the Kung Pao Chicken to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Freeze: For longer storage, consider freezing. Portion the cooled dish into freezer-safe containers or resealable bags, removing as much air as possible. Frozen Kung Pao Chicken maintains quality for up to 2 months.

When ready to enjoy frozen leftovers, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. Reheat in a microwave or on the stovetop.

Recipe Tips

  • When dicing the chicken, try to make the pieces evenly sized. This ensures they cook uniformly, preventing some bits from being overcooked while others are undercooked.
  • When cooking the chicken, give it some space. Overcrowding can lead to steaming instead of browning, affecting the texture.
  •  Stir-fry veggies quickly over medium-high heat. This keeps them crisp and vibrant. If they release too much water, they might end up steaming instead of stir-frying.
  • When adding the cornstarch mixture to the sauce, stir continuously. This prevents lumps and ensures a smooth, thickened consistency.
 Kung Pao Chicken in a bowl with white rice.

Need more Asian, Chinese-style dinner ideas? Here are a few more delicious recipes.

You'll love this Kung Pao Chicken because it captures the Panda Express magic with every bite – the savory chicken, crunchy veggies, and that perfect blend of soy-garlic-ginger goodness. It's like your favorite takeout, but better - homemade and oh-so-satisfying!

Kung Pao Chicken is served in a square white dish.

Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

Author: Judy Wilson
This Kung Pao Chicken is a delicious and easy-to-make dish with tender chicken coated in a flavorful sauce and tossed with veggies and dry roasted peanuts for the perfect crunch. 
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Chinese
Servings 4
Calories 336 kcal


  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken (diced to 1-inch cubes)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 1 red bell pepper (cut into 1-inch pieces)
  • 1 zucchini (cut into 1-inch pieces)
  • cup dry roasted peanuts

Sauce Ingredients

  • ¼ cup sliced green onions
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch


  • Combine chicken, salt, and cornstarch in a bowl and mix well.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil n a large skillet over medium heat until oil sizzles.
  • Add chicken in a single layer, cook until brown on one side; flip and stir, and cook until done.
  • Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
  • Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet and pepper and zucchini.
  • Stir fry for 3-4 minutes, until vegetables begin to soften. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  • Add sliced green onions, and stir-fry for about one minute.
  • Add garlic and peanuts, and stir-fry for an additional 30 seconds.
  • In a small bowl, combine the sauce ingredients. Stir to combine.
  • Add to skillet and stir until sauce is thickened and clear.
  • Add chicken and vegetables back to skillet and stir to coat with sauce.
  • Remove from heat and serve over rice (or as preferred).


To store leftovers, transfer the Kung Pao Chicken to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.


Calories: 336kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 31gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0.04gCholesterol: 113mgSodium: 1260mgPotassium: 776mgFiber: 3gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1334IUVitamin C: 50mgCalcium: 42mgIron: 2mg
The nutritional information provided is approximate and should only be used as a general guideline. It is an estimate that will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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