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Skip the takeout and make this quick and easy Kung Pao Chicken at home. It takes just 15 minutes to make which means you may never order takeout again!

Chopsticks holding up a piece of kung pao chicken

We love a good 15 minute meal. And Kung Pao Chicken? It’s a total crowd pleaser. Why order take out when you can make it so easily at home? Plus, you never have to worry if the delivery guy accidentally spilled it on the sidewalk and scooped it back in the box. Anyone else worry about that? 

You can easily adjust the spiciness level in this recipe to give it more or less “pao.” Just add more or less peppers. In this recipe we use rehydrated Chinese red chiles. You can also use spicy red chile paste (found in the Asian section of your supermarket) or a fresh chile of your choice, either diced or sliced up. Add more or less depending on how spicy you want your Kung Pao Chicken. If you want to keep it kid friendly, you can even leave out the heat all together, but then it will mostly just be Kung Chicken.

Do I need a wok?

Woks might be be more authentic, but you can use any large skillet. 

Can I substitute peanuts for anything else? 

Cashews are a great substitute, but if you have peanut/tree nut allergies, you can simply omit all nuts.

Oil Options for Easy Kung Pao Chicken:

If you avoid cooking with vegetable oil for whatever reason, you can use any neutral flavored oil; avocado, grapeseed, and canola are best. In a pinch a ‘light’ olive oil, sunflower oil or peanut oil will do. 

Kung pao chicken in a cast iron skillet

Storage and Reheating Instructions:

Kung Pao Chicken is best eaten fresh. You can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat until warmed through. 

If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious Asian inspired recipes:

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTubeFacebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

Kung pao chicken in a cast iron skillet
Skip the takeout and make this quick and easy Kung Pao Chicken at home. It takes just 15 minutes to make which means you may never order takeout again!
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite size chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 8 small dried red Chinese chilies rehydrated
  • 1 green onion sliced
  • In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, and cornstarch. Set aside.
  • Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add in vegetable oil and let heat for 1 minute. Add in chicken breast chunks and cook in the oil over high heat until chicken is seared on the outside.
  • Add in bell peppers and sauce. Continue to cook until bell peppers are tender crisp and chicken is cooked through.
  • Add in peanuts, garlic, ginger, and chilies and cook 1 to 2 minutes more.
  • Serve hot and garnish with green onion.


Calories: 390kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 724mg | Potassium: 993mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1960IU | Vitamin C: 193.9mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 2.2mg
Course: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Kung Pao Chicken
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