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Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken is a Chinese classic made with chicken breasts, chili peppers and fresh vegetables in a spicy sweet sauce with nuts. Serve with cooked rice for a quick homemade Chinese dinner that will rival any takeout recipe.
Kung Pao Chicken - Classic Chinese takeout recipe made at home from scratch. An incredibly delicious chicken recipe coated in a thick sauce with vegetables and cashews.

This homemade version of Kung Pao Chicken is inspired by the classic Asian restaurant dish made to taste tangy and sweet all in one dish. My Kung Pao Chicken recipe is better than any restaurant recipe you’ve ever tried before! It’s so easy to make and can be ready in 35 minutes! Made with fresh ingredients in a delicious sticky sauce that will quickly become a weeknight staple.

Our family loves Kung Pao Chicken because it’s a dish that is packed full of Asian inspired flavors that we always crave.  I always opt to make my homemade sauce recipe because any store-bought Kung Pao Sauce doesn’t compare to the flavors I use. The combination of flavors I use is authentic to Kung Pao Chicken but the flavor is outstanding compared to any Asian restaurant.  This recipe features a variety of easy to find grocery store ingredients so that anyone can make it at home.

Make from Scratch

Kung Pao Chicken is served with a variety of fresh vegetables and nuts. Over the years, I’ve had it served a number of ways but when I make homemade Kung Pao Chicken, I make it with red and green bell peppers, chili peppers, zucchini, Salad Ready Tomato Wedges, garlic, cashews, and green onions. Some versions include carrots and other vegetables but I really like to stick to this list of ingredients.

Kung Pao Chicken Recipe - Easy Kung Pao Chicken made in 25 minutes. Chicken breasts, bell peppers, zucchini, red chili peppers coated in a delicious rich garlic sesame sauce. Serve with rice.

Kung Pao Ingredients

Chicken: I like to use chicken breasts for this recipe. Simply cut the chicken into bite size chunks. The chicken will cook much quicker.

Vegetables: Bell peppers, zucchini, red chili peppers, tomatoes, garlic, green onions. These classic vegetables add flavor and crunch.

Soy Sauce: Soy sauce adds a deep flavor to the dish. Tastes great sweetened with honey.

Honey: Sweetens the sauce and adds a nice flavor.

Cashews: Crush up cashews and garnish the dish with it.

Cornstarch: Turns the liquid into a thick sauce that coats the vegetables and chicken.

Best Kung Pao Chicken Recipe - A quick 25 minutes. Easy Kung Pao Chicken made with chicken breasts, bell peppers, zucchini, red chili peppers in a delicious rich garlic sesame sauce. Serve with rice.

Better than Takeout!

Dinner doesn’t have to be complicated.  Some of my favorite meals are made in under 35-minutes and right now I can’t get enough of Kung Pao Chicken recipe. I made this as a healthy alternative to Chinese takeout that we normally get. At the start of the New Year, I decided I wanted to focus on healthier homemade recipes by recreating some of my favorite Asian restaurants inspired recipes and this Asian chicken recipe is currently our favorite. We love it so much that it’s part of our meal rotation calendar.

What makes Kung Pao Chicken different than other Chinese recipes is that it uses fresh vegetables and chili peppers. The combination of fresh bell peppers with Salad Ready Tomato Wedges makes this traditional Chinese dish hearty and flavorful.

Kung Pao Chicken - Spicy Chinese Kung Pao Sauce coated chicken with fresh vegetables.

Grown in California, Salad Ready Tomato Wedges in Olive Oil and Italian Spices are unpeeled, gently cooked and come in two varieties – classic red and vibrant tri-color featuring red, orange and yellow tomatoes. The tomatoes are marinated in olive oil and Italian spice blend that gives them a great hint of flavor. From field to sealed in just five hours – a process that locks in freshness, flavor and nutrition – these delicious canned tomatoes are available for you and your family to enjoy any time of the year. 

Using canned Salad Ready Tomato Wedges cuts down on added moisture in the sauce. This is important because the sauce needs to thicken to coat the entire dish before serving. I start by draining the can of tomatoes and add them to a hot pan with oil to stir-fry them with other vegetables.

Kung Pao Chicken with stir-fry vegetables. A spicy Chinese chicken recipe with homemade Kung Pao sauce and rice.

Now available under your store-labeled products in the canned tomato section of grocery stores nationwide, including Walmart, Salad Ready Tomato Wedges in Olive Oil and Italian Spices are perfect for any season. That means that Walmart’s Great Value brand carries Salad Ready Tomato Wedges – just look for the red embossed 10 oz. cans. They are perfect when you’re craving fresh tomatoes out of the summer season.

Kung Pao Chicken - Easy 25 minutes chicken skillet recipe. Thick kung pao sauce with chicken breasts, vegetables, and nuts.

The key to creating Kung Pao Chicken is to use fresh vegetables. A homemade sweet and tangy Chinese stir-fry sauce takes this recipe to the next level.

By creating a quick marinade then coating the chicken in cornstarch before adding it to a hot skillet allows the chicken to crisp. Once the Kung Pao Sauce and stir-fried vegetables get added to the skillet with the chicken, everything remains crisp without becoming soft or soggy.

Asian Inspired Recipes

For more Asian inspired recipes, try this Garlic Sesame Chicken. It’s a 5-star rated recipe that the whole family will love. For a healthy Asian recipe, try these Asian Garlic Sesame Chicken Lettuce Cups. You’ll love this Egg Roll in a Bowl recipe with a delicious honey garlic sesame soy sauce. Finally, serve this Kung Pao Chicken with Vegetable Fried Rice or Vegetable Lo Mein.

Kung Pao Chicken - Classic Chinese takeout recipe made at home from scratch. An incredibly delicious chicken recipe coated in a thick sauce with vegetables and cashews.

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken is a Chinese classic made with chili peppers and fresh vegetables in a spicy sweet sauce with nuts. Serve with cooked rice for a quick homemade Chinese dinner.
5 from 10 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Chinese
Servings 5
Calories 400 kcal


  • 2.5 pounds chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds removed, diced
  • 12 small red chili peppers OR 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 10 ounces Salad Ready Tomato Wedges, can drained
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 7 green onion stalks, diced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds


  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

Kung Pao Sauce

  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth or water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • dash of sesame oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cashews or roasted peanuts


  • Dice zucchini, bell peppers, garlic, and green onions. Place in a bowl. Drain tomatoes from can then place in vegetable bowl; set aside.
    2. Cut chicken breasts into strips then cut into cubes. Place in large plastic bag or bowl. Add in wet marinade ingredients then toss together. Add cornstarch and shake to coat well. 
    3. Using 2 medium skillets, pour 1.5 tablespoons oil into each. Heat over medium heat. Add chicken to skillets. Be sure to not crowd skillets. It works best to use 2 skillets for this step as you don’t want the chicken to steam and become soft.
    4. Cook chicken until golden brown then flip chicken and repeat. This should take about 10-15 minutes, total.
    5. Meanwhile, make the Kung Pao Sauce. In a small bowl, combine sauce ingredients and whisk well to combine. 
    6. Remove chicken to small bowl. 
    7. In skillets, pour 1 tablespoon oil in each. Heat stovetop to high. Pour in vegetables and saute until it picks up color; about 3 minutes. Remove to bowl; set aside. 
    8. In a skillet over medium heat, add cooked chicken and Kung Pao Sauce. Cook sauce down by stirring until thick and just a few tablespoons of sauce remain. Stir in sauteed vegetables and nuts.
    9. Serve with cooked rice, green onions, and sesame seeds. 


Calories: 400kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 53gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 145mgSodium: 1079mgPotassium: 1295mgFiber: 2gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 1215IUVitamin C: 68.6mgCalcium: 64mgIron: 2.9mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate and it’s accuracy is not guaranteed to be exact.

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This post has been sponsored by Silgan & Pacific Coast Producers. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

13 Responses

  1. 5 stars
    Can you believe I never tried Kung Pao chicken!?! Yes I know, sooo weird. It always sounded so complicated but now I see it’s super easy to make. And I have all the ingredients in my house already. I’m soooo making this!!! Can’t wait 🙂 Looks so good!

  2. I loooooove homemade chinese food, or “take out fake out” as we call it. It’s usually so fast (like this – can’t believe it’s only 35 minutes!), healthier, and SO much better tasting. Adding this one to our rotation for next week!

  3. 5 stars
    Kung Pao Chicken is one of my favorite dishes to make at home. I’ve never made it with tomatoes though…very interesting twist. I may have to give it a try

  4. 5 stars
    This looks so good! I love kung pao, but have yet to try it at home. Will definitely give this a go, I know my home family will love this.

  5. 5 stars
    Kung pao chicken is an absolute favorite. We sometimes go out for dinner to a Chindian restaurant in Bombay and always make sure to order Kung pao chicken, this looks very similar to the dish we order. I can’t believe I can now make yummy kung pao at home

  6. 5 stars
    This looks so colorful and sounds delicious. I think that tiny bit of honey and balsamic must balance the heat really well. This looks like an awesome option for meal prep for the week!

  7. 5 stars
    Ooh this looks scrumptious. I’ve never made my own Kung Pao sauce but we are huge fans of anything Asian for dinner. Going to have to try!

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