Kung Pao Chicken

Absolutely the favourite stir fry in our household! It’s so easy and quick to put together, making it a perfect choice for a quick weeknight meal.

Chicken can be chopped up and stored in the refrigerator covered. So can be the veggies as well as the sauce. Meaning that the next day – all you need to do is 20-minute marinade, quick stir-fry and you are done!

Despite how easy it is, however, I love serving this dish for company. Everyone is always impressed and in disbelief that this is homemade and not take out!

If you do that and double the recipe, however, remember to cook your chicken in batches to ensure all pieces brown – do not overcrowd the pan.

Hope you give this beautiful and delicious recipe a try!

Kung Pao Chicken

Recipe by Ellen


Prep time


Cooking time






  • For the chicken:
  • 1 1/2 lb skinless boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 3/4-inch cubes

  • 1 1/2 TBSP soy sauce, ideally dark

  • 1 tsp dry sherry or Shaoxing wine

  • 1/2 tsp sugar

  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil

  • 1 tsp cornstarch

  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

  • For the sauce:
  • 1 TBSP hoisin sauce

  • 2 TBSP soy sauce, ideally dark

  • 1 TBSP dry sherry or Shaoxing wine

  • 1 1/2 TBSP sugar

  • 1 TBSP rice vinegar

  • 1 tsp sesame oil

  • 2 tsp cornstarch

  • 3 TBSP water or chicken stock

  • For the Stir-Fry:
  • 2 TBSP oil

  • 2 bell peppers (red and green,) diced – 1/2-inch dice

  • 2 celery stalks, halved lengthwise and chopped, 1/2-inch dice

  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced

  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed

  • 1 inch piece of ginger, shredded or minced

  • 1-4 small red chiles, optional

  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste

  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts or cashews


  • For the chicken: combine all ingredients well and let chicken sit and marinate for 20 minutes or so until you prepare the rest.
  • For the sauce: combine all the ingredients well in a bowl and set aside.
  • Heat 1 TBSP oil in a heavy bottom pan or a wok over high heat. In a single layer, add chicken and cook for about 1.5-2 minutes per side until browned in spots. The center can still be a bit raw as we will finish cooking it in the sauce. Do this process in batches if necessary, so that the chicken is in a single layer in your pan (having said that, large 12″ pan should accommodate this amount of chicken all at once.) Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  • Add the remaining 1 TBSP of oil and heat over high heat. Add peppers and celery. Cook for 3-4 minutes until browned in spots. Add peanuts and toss to incorporate. Make a little well in the middle and add garlic, ginger, green onions, red pepper flakes and chiles and cook for under 30 seconds, until fragrant.
  • Add chicken to the pan and stir in the sauce. Cook stirring and tossing for another minute or two, until everything is combined, the sauces is thickened, and chicken is cooked through. Serve on top of rice garnished with more green onions, if desired.

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