Healthy Kung Pao Chicken

We are the queens of stir fry and you are going to love our Healthy Kung Pao Chicken recipe! It’s made with just 10 simple ingredients and in less than 30-minutes!

kung pao chicken with brown rice

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 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.

How is this recipe healthy?

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.

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.

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 chicken in pan

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.
  • tamari – tamari is gluten-free, but soy sauce or coconut aminos work too!
  • 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

  • chicken breast – boneless, skinless chicken breast is best for this recipe, but you can do thighs too!
  • olive oil – also option to use coconut oil.
  • green beans – pretty much any veggie would work. You could try broccoli, peppers, onions, etc.
  • cornstarch – this is what will thicken your sauce at the very end. Option to skip this part!
kung pao chicken with rice

Easy Swaps

Another great thing about this kung pao chicken recipe is that you can make changes very easily, depending on what you have in your pantry.

  • 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 it With

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:

More Kung Pao Recipes

Watch how to make this recipe!

Recipe

Healthy Kung Pao Chicken

We are the queens of stir fry and you are going to love our Healthy Kung Pao Chicken recipe! It’s made with just 10 simple ingredients and in less than 30-minutes!

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
Author: Lee Funke
Yield: 4 1x
Category: Stir Fry
Method: Stove-Top
Cuisine: Asian
Diet: Gluten Free

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup tamari (soy sauce or coconut aminos)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon chili garlic paste
  • 2 tablespoons honey (or more, to taste)
  • 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
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

Optional toppings

  • sesame seeds
  • peanuts

Instructions

  1. First, prepare kung pao sauce. Mix together minced garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, sriracha, chili garlic paste, and honey. Set aside.
  2. Next, prepare chicken breast by thinly slicing into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over medium/high heat. Add diced chicken and season with salt and pepper. Saute for 3-4 minutes to partially cook. Then, remove from heat and set aside.
  4. 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.
  5. Place the lid on the skillet and let steam for 2-3 minutes. This will really help cook the green beans and ensure that the chicken is fully cooked.
  6. Remove the lid and mix. Then, scoot chicken and green beans to one side of the pan and add the sauce to the other. Sprinkle around 2 teaspoons of cornstarch on top of the sauce and whisk over medium/high heat.
  7. Mix sauce with veggies and chicken.
  8. Serve over your favorite grain with sesame seeds and peanuts.

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.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/4
  • Calories: 282
  • Sugar: 13
  • Fat: 11
  • Carbohydrates: 20
  • Fiber: 3
  • Protein: 34
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