Kung Pao Chicken

A week before Ryan and I were planning to leave for Italy I was sitting down planning our menu and writing the grocery list. As I started to think of pasta dishes, where my mind always tends to go, I decided that it would probably be best if we stayed away from Italian inspired dishes and enjoy some of the flavors that we might miss while we’re away. So next my mind immediately went to Asian cuisine.  I began thinking of various kinds of stir fries when I finally decided that Kung Pao Chicken would be a great choice.

If you have never had Kung Pao Chicken before, it is a classic spicy Sichuan dish with peppers, chicken and peanuts. I had a hard time finding the traditional Sichuan peppercorns that are often used in this recipe but that didn’t take away from the flavor. I used chili paste as well as dried red chilies to give it the kick it needs.

Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

Serves 2 - 4 Prep Time: Cook Time:

Marinade Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon chili paste
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts diced into 1 inch pieces

Kung-Pao Sauce Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • pinch of granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons oil (canola, vegetable or other neutral oil)
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts
  • 3-4 dried red chilies
  • 2 green onions, chopped for garnish



Combine marinade ingredients and chicken in a bag. Marinate for 1 hour.


In a bowl whisk together soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, chili paste, ground ginger and sugar.


After chicken has marinated, heat 2 teaspoons oil in a skillet. Remove chicken from marinade and brown over medium-high heat. Transfer to plate set aside.


In the same pan you cooked the chicken in heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat. Add peanuts and chilies. Cook for 2 minutes. Pour in sauce mixture. Add in cooked chicken and toss to coat. Continue cooking over medium-high heat until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is cooked through.


Transfer to serving dish. Sprinkle with green onions and serve.


Rice makes a great accompaniment for this as does Sauteed Spinach with Toasted Sesame Seeds. Enjoy!

Leave a Comment

  • Reply
    March 23, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    trying this on Sunday. Is the rice vinegar in the marinade the same as rice wine vinegar in the sauce? Can’t wait to try all these new dishes.

    • Reply
      March 23, 2011 at 4:27 pm

      Hey Diana- Yep the vinegars are the same. Sorry for any confusion!

  • Reply
    September 20, 2009 at 7:52 am

    Our family favorite asian dish:-) ordered take out yesterday. looks beautifully appetizing.

  • Reply
    Mrs. L
    September 18, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Kung Pao Chicken is a favorite dish of mine to order at local Sichuan restaurants but I’ve never actually made it before. This sounds easy and yummy.

  • Reply
    September 17, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    I love Kung Pao chicken. I’ll try this recipe.

  • Reply
    September 17, 2009 at 5:42 am

    I’m so glad I found your site! I love that so many of your recipes include items that I already have in my pantry. I bookmark so many of them and have successfully tried several. Thank you for your continued inspiration and great recipes!

    I wondered if I could ask about your photography. One of the main reasons I keep coming back is your incredible pictures. Do you have any pointers to share? I have a Canon DSLR but as you can see from 99% of my pictures, they’re not professional and the color seems to be the culprit. Do you take all your pictures in natural light? How do you do that at night when you’re presumably cooking dinner? Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance and keep up the good work!

    • Reply
      September 20, 2009 at 2:23 pm

      Hey Danielle, Thank you for the nice comments about the blog! I am so happy to hear that you have had such success with many of the recipes :) As far as my pictures goes, Ryan takes them but I have watched him so I know what he does. First of all, rarely do we use natural light (Gasp!). It’s just that the pictures you see are of our dinner and we usually eat dinner a little late after the sun has set. So to get the right lighting we have a small pop-up lighting tent that we put the food in. We then use our regular lamp with a compact fluorescent light and shine that into the box. Ryan got our light tent from work but I just did a google search and it seems like you can buy one for around $50-60. There also seems to be a few good tutorials on how to make one yourself if you don’t want to buy one. Once you have the tent just mess around with different angles and positions to find the feel that you want your pictures to have. I hope this helps!

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    Hi! I am Des! Welcome to Life’s Ambrosia where Dinner is served and memories are made. Here you will find over 1000 tried and true recipes for every possible occasion. In the last 10 years, this blog has helped millions of families put dinner on the table and create food memories. Let me help you too. Read more »

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