We are the queens of stir fry and you are going to love our easy Kung Pao Chicken recipe! It’s made with just 10 simple ingredients and in less than 30-minutes!
Favorite 30 Minute Meal!
If you are looking for the perfect weeknight meal, you have to try this kung pao chicken recipe. There are only 10 ingredients and it seriously tastes like your favorite kung pao chicken take-out.
All you have to do is cook up your chicken and green beans, mix up your sauce, mix the two together, and you have a kung pao chicken. So easy and so delicious.
What is Kung Pao Chicken?
Kung pao chicken is a spicy stir fry dish that is generally made with chili peppers or paste, some kind of sugar, chicken breast, and vegetables. Kung pao sauce is used with many different proteins like chicken, shrimp, and tofu.
Not a meat-eater? You can also toss just vegetables with kung pao sauce for a vegetarian and vegan option just like our Kung Pao Quinoa Bowls.
What does kung pao sauce taste like? It’s spicy (thank you red chiles!) and a tad sweet to tame things down.
Is this Kung Pao Chicken Healthy?
Kung Pao Chicken is a healthy meal idea made with lean protein, tons of veggies, and an easy kung pao sauce. This recipe is:
Gluten Free: Our kung pao chicken recipe is made better for you and with more accessible ingredients! We wanted to keep things gluten free, which is why we used tamari instead of soy sauce.
Clean Ingredient Spices: The heat in this recipe actually comes from sriracha and chili garlic paste (2 very accessible ingredients). Typically kung pao Is made with dried red chili peppers, but we’re using pantry staples instead.
Natural Sweetener: Lastly, we’re using honey instead of table sugar in order to balance out the heat so your tastebuds can handle swallowing it!
Kung Pao Sauce Ingredients
Lucky for you our staple kung pao sauce is actually made from pantry staples! Check it out:
- Minced garlic: Option to use pre-minced garlic or mince your own.
- Soy Sauce: soy sauce adds a nice tang and salt to this sauce. Feel free to use tamari or coconut aminos instead.
- Sesame oil: A little goes a long way.
- Sriracha: the more the merrier!
- Chili garlic paste: We’re using chili garlic paste in place of dried red chile peppers.
- Honey: Honey tames the heat in this sauce. The more you use, the less spicy it will be.
We like to add a little sweetness to our kung pao sauce, which is generally pretty spicy. We found that adding a little bit of honey goes a long way!
If you are looking for a vegan option, try adding a little maple syrup or agave nectar. If you are a spicy food fan, try adding extra sriracha or chili paste!
What Else You Need
In addition to the the homemade kung pao sauce, you need just a few more things. Check it out.
- Chicken breast: Boneless, skinless chicken breast is best for this recipe, but you can definitely use thighs, too!
- Olive oil: Also option to use coconut oil.
- Green beans: Pretty much any veggie would work. You could try broccoli, peppers, onions, or whatever you have on hand.
- Cornstarch: This is what will thicken your sauce at the very end. Option to skip this part!
Another great thing about this kung pao chicken recipe is that you can make changes very easily, depending on what you have on hand:
Chicken: Not a carnivore? Swap with garbanzo beans or tofu!
Veggies: Choose whatever veggies you want for this dish.
Peanuts: Option to use cashews instead of peanuts.
What to Serve with Kung Pao Chicken
Stir fry always deserves to be served next to a grain. There are so many choices out there and here are some of our favs:
- Quinoa: Make it in the Instant Pot or on the stovetop!
- Brown rice: Both short grain and long grain would be delish.
- White rice: White sticky rice or even minute rice is a great option.
- Fried rice: Try our vegetarian fried rice recipe or my personal fav, Instant Pot fried rice!
Easy Kung Pao Chicken
Kung Pao Sauce
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/4 soy sauce or tamari for gluten-free variation
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- 1 tablespoon chili garlic paste
- 2 tablespoons honey or more, to taste
Kung Pao Chicken
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast
- pinch of salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lb. fresh green beans ends trimmed
- corn starch slurry: 2 teaspoons cornstarch + 1 tablespoon warm water
- sesame seeds
- First, prepare kung pao sauce. Mix together minced garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, sriracha, chili garlic paste, and honey. Set aside. Then, create a corn starch slurry by whisking together cornstarch and warm water. Whisk until the corn starch has dissolved and set aside.
- Next, prepare chicken breast by thinly slicing it into bite-sized pieces. We like to cut ours extra thin so it ends up like take-out style kung pao chicken.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil (or more, if needed) in a large frying pan over medium/high heat. When the olive oil is fragrant, add diced chicken and season with salt and pepper. Saute for 3-4 minutes to partially cook it. Then, remove from heat and set aside.
- Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and then add green beans. Saute for 3-4 minutes on medium/high heat. Once green beans are partially cooked, add chicken back in and mix.
- Place the lid on the skillet and let steam for 2-3 minutes. You can add a tablespoon or two of water to help this process if needed. Steaming will really help cook the green beans and ensure that the chicken is fully cooked.
- Remove the lid and mix. Then, scoot chicken and green beans to one side of the pan and add the sauce to the other. Bring to a simmer. Once simmering, add in corn starch slurry and continue whisking until sauce has thickened.
- Finally, mix kung pao sauce with the veggies and chicken until everything is fully coated.
- Serve kung pao chicken over your favorite grain with sesame seeds and peanuts.
Tips & Notes
- heat: this recipe has been edited to be a bit milder in spice. If you'd like to up the heat, double the sriracha or chili paste.
- nutrition information does not include rice.
- This recipe was slightly updated on March 29, 2020. We reduced the sesame oil along with making it a little less spicy. Otherwise, it's the same! Get the original recipe HERE.
- Photos were updated for this recipe on February 19, 2021.
Hi, how much soy sauce? It says “1/4 soy sauce or tamari” I’m going to assume 1/4 teaspoon?
I’ve always used 1/4 cup 🙂
This was super duper easy for a beginner cook like me! A one-pan dish that was absolutely delicious! Gave me the confidence to start cooking more often. 🙂
Aw, this is the best comment ever! We’re so glad this recipe inspired you in your own kitchen <3
I have made this many times and Could’ve swore it called for coconut amino’s I don’t even know the last time I bought soy sauce. I know Coconut Nemos is sweeter and soy sauce is saltier. Also it doesn’t say how much soy sauce is it tea spoons or table. Thanks
Hi! This recipe was updated in February, but we link to the original recipe here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1b9XVyudAJSw2Xpp9NAYaSCzRpSUJlX7t
This is my go-to recipe for an easy yet delicious week-night meal. My partner loves spicy and I can’t handle it but this is a good balance for both of us. Such an amazing recipe!
We made this for the first time tonight, using sliced pork chops because it’s what needed to be eaten first. It was AMAZING!!!! Even our young kids loved it and didn’t complain that it was too spicy. Love that it’s a one pot recipe too. So delicious!
I LOVE the pork chop idea!!
I have made this multiple times and it’s so delicious. Sometimes I use broccoli, and I usually add peanuts or cashews since I love crunch. I’ve also never replaced the sesame oil with any other cooking oil, and it’s been fine. I use a stainless all clad skillet so not sure if it would turn out differently with sesame oil in another pain. I love that everything is done in one pan. Can also double the sauce if you like it a little more saucy! Thank you so much for this clean delicious recipe!
Awesome recipe! Loved the spicy bite and very easy to make.
Seriously, SO DELICIOUS! such an easy meal, and so much flavor!
Made this recipe tonight and it turned out well. Like a previous reader mentioned, sesame oil should only be used as flavouring element, rather than as a cooking oil so I used avacado oil which is more suitable for high heating. Everything else I left as is. Superb! Will definitely be making this on a weekly rotation.
I added more chili and sriracha to spice it up but by far this is the best kung pao chicken recipe! Quick and easy!
This is so delicious! It’s fast and easy to make! I will omit seasoning the chicken with salt prior to frying in the future.
Just tried it and it’s de-li-cious!! I added a bit more chilli, cause I like it hot and 5 stars all the way! Thank you Lee for this recipe! 🙂
This recipe is easy and delicious!
So easy and absolutely delicious!
thanks! don’t drown out your page with ads next time. super annoying. great recipe though 🙂
She’s giving you FREE recipes and amazing content. Deal with the ads.
Quick, easy, and ridiculously delicious. My kids loved it even!
This is the best recipe I have made in months. Everyone loved it. Made it twice last week and it will go into weekly dinner rotation. I could eat this every night.
YAY! So glad everyone loved it!
Making this tonight! Can I sub canola oil for sesame oil? Will it still turn out?
I looove this recipe! I don’t change a thing aside from putting the sriracha on at the end to taste because my kids don’t like spicy. However, they eat extra servings of this. Mom and kid approved. It doesn’t get much better than that.