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Kung Pao Chicken

Scott Phillips

Servings: 4

It’s easier than ever to reproduce your favorite Chinese dishes without smoking up the house or running across town to pick up specialty ingredients. Kung Pao chicken is an iconic Sichuan stir-fry; this version of the classic requires only a large skillet and everyday supermarket ingredients. The dish comes together in about a half hour, plenty of time to steam some white rice.


  • 3/4 cup low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1-1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3 small hot red dried chiles, such as Thai chiles or chiles de arbol, split lengthwise (reserve the seeds)
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced, whites and greens kept separate
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 inner ribs celery, cut crosswise 1/2 inch thick
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped salted peanuts

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on four servings
  • Calories (kcal) : 470
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 230
  • Fat (g): 26
  • Saturated Fat (g): 3.5
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 8
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 13
  • Cholesterol (mg): 95
  • Sodium (mg): 1090
  • Carbohydrates (g): 20
  • Fiber (g): 3
  • Protein (g): 40


  • Whisk the chicken broth, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, 1 Tbs. of the cornstarch, sesame oil, and sugar in a measuring cup. In a large bowl, toss the chicken with 3/4 tsp. salt and a few generous grinds of pepper. Add the remaining 1/4 cup cornstarch and toss with the chicken (you may want to use tongs as the cornstarch has a chalky texture), shaking off any excess cornstarch.
  • Heat 3 Tbs. of the canola oil in a large (12-inch), heavy-based skillet over medium-high heat until it’s shimmering hot. Sauté the chicken, flipping after 2 minutes, until it’s lightly browned on two sides, about 4 minutes total (it’s all right if the chicken sticks slightly and if the sides of the chicken are still raw). Add the remaining 1 Tbs. canola oil to the skillet. Add the chiles and their seeds, the ginger, and the whites of the scallions and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the red pepper and celery and cook, stirring, until they soften slightly, about 2 minutes. Add the sherry and cook until it almost completely reduces, 30 to 60 seconds, scraping the bottom of the pan to incorporate any browned bits. Give the chicken broth mixture a quick whisk, stir it into the chicken and vegetables, and bring to a boil (the sauce should immediately thicken). Slice into one of the thicker pieces of chicken to see if it’s cooked through. If still pink, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook a few minutes more. Serve immediately, ­sprinkled with the peanuts and scallion greens.

Serve the chicken with Basic White Rice.


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Reviews (19 reviews)

  • Dabendan | 07/25/2021

    always delicious

  • User avater
    J_aime_la_Poutine | 05/02/2021

    Simple and tasty!

  • Krispie | 05/26/2017

    I didn't have hot dried chili peppers - mine were mild - so perhaps that's where I went wrong however, this was totally lacking in flavor. I will probably not make this again.

  • BKfromChicago | 05/04/2017

    This was very tasty; my family enjoyed it. But I think I would like garlic and hoisin in this. I set the cooked chicken aside as recommended but the crunchy bits stuck to the pan and then I had to cook the chicken longer at the end, which overcooked the broccoli a bit. Good enough to try again though.

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