Kung Pao Chicken (宫保鸡丁)
January 08th, 2014 194 Comments

Kung Pao Chicken (宫保鸡丁)

Kung Pao Chicken
Kung Pao Chicken pictures (5 of 6)

This Kung Pao Chicken recipe was originally posted on Nov 18, 2007. Updated with new photos.

(Popular and All-Time Favorite Chinese recipesBroccoli Beef, Sweet and Sour Pork, Egg Drop Soup, Chow Mein, Cashew Chicken, Fried Rice, Orange Chicken, Mongolian Beef, and more.)

Today, I am sharing with you a popular Chinese recipe that is well-loved by many in the United States and all over the world—the famous Chinese Kung Pao Chicken (宫保鸡丁).

Kung Pao is a cooking technique originated from the Sichuan province of China; the authentic Sichuan Kung Pao Chicken (宫保鸡丁) or Gong Bao Ji Ding calls for the staple Sichuan peppercorn for the numbing flavor, however, the version popular outside of Sichuan has since been adapted to many regional variations. For examples: in Malaysia, Kung Pao chicken is served without peanuts, but sometimes cashew nuts are used; in Thailand, fish sauce and sweet soy sauce are used to flavor a similar dish. However, the Kung Pao chicken we get in 90% of so-called Chinese restaurants in the United States is the heavily Americanized version that appears gooey, greasy, and sweet. You will also find all kinds of vegetables in the dish such as carrots, water chestnuts, celery, zucchini, and even broccoli.

Kung Pao Chicken (宫保鸡丁)

I tried to keep my Kung Pao Chicken recipe as authentic as possible, but feel free to tone down the quantity of dried chilies as you wish. I wanted to share the secret ingredient of Kung Pao chicken, which is vinegar in the sauce. It gives that subtle yet characteristic touch to complete the Kung Pao flavor.
If you like this Kung Pao Chicken recipe and Chinese recipes, you might also like the following recipes on Rasa Malaysia:


Chow Mein Broccoli Beef Sweet and Sour Pork Egg Drop Soup
Chow Mein Broccoli Beef Sweet and Sour Pork Egg Drop Soup
Kung Pao Chicken Cashew Chicken Fried Rice Orange Chicken
Kung Pao Chicken Cashew Chicken Fried Rice Orange Chicken
Crab Rangoon Mongolian Beef
Crab Rangoon Mongolian Beef
Click Page 2 for the Kung Pao Chicken (宫保鸡丁) Recipe
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194 comments... read them below or add one

  1. h_jubli says:

    I tried this dish last week and it was absolutely fantastic! Thank you for the recipe.

  2. buttoncat says:

    I’ve grown three large kung pao pepper plants, and they each have about 20-30 peppers on them, still green. This looks like the best Kung Pao recipe on the web. I’d like to reproduce the Kung Pao taste I love in San Francisco restaurants. Yum! I can hardly wait for my peppers to ripen. (P.S. Can I use green Kung Pao peppers if I can’t wait?)

    • Andi says:

      Yes you can. In fact these peppers have a richer more potent flavor when they are green. I love them fresh. They make an excellent addition to salsa. I also eat them raw with my hamburgers and they are a beatifull addition to soups. This is a wonderful little pepper packed with alot of good flavor. Warning- they do have a good kick when they are fresh. One of my Favorites.

  3. Bob Dobalina says:

    I like to eat cheese.

  4. SMM says:

    Thank you for this recipe. I have bookmarked it and will make it soon. We had great success growing kung pao peppers and have dried a great number of them. This is the first recipe on line that actually called for the use of the peppers. Thank you!

  5. EJ says:

    Thanks for putting up this recipe – just finished eating it for dinner and it was DELICIOUS. Will definitely be making again!

  6. Juhanah of Brunei says:

    Yes i love all your recipes,and i would like u to recomend me what type of soy sauce that you use to cook in your recipes.

  7. Tes from Kailua, HI says:

    Tried your recipe and it was definitely a champ dish! My husband and brother loved it. I added lemon juice to the marinate sauce. It’s really delicious. My husband says Fantastic and said he never imagined his wife making this- he gave me 5*. My brother in law said Yummy!
    Thank you.

  8. June Hendley says:

    I love many of your recipes. I just made Kung Pao Chicken tonight and it turned out fantastic. I added a green and red pepper for color. The cornstarch to liquid ratio is spot on. I’ve tried numerous times and thanks to you this is a keeper!

    • Hi June – thanks and I am glad you love my kung pao chicken recipe. Green and red pepper are great ideas!!! Yes, I don’t like it to be too sticky so I am glad you love it. :)

  9. Memoria says:

    I’ve never tried Kung-Pao chicken because I don’t like peanuts. I don’t it won’t be authentic if I remove the peanuts, but I really want to try out this dish. Thanks for posting the recipe!

  10. Pingback:Kung Pao chicken « Parlez-vous anglais?

  11. Harvin Paul says:

    Best dish ever !

  12. far says:

    Hello! Tried your recipe today, my first Chinese stir fry! Thanks for the recipe! It’s nice! But I added more chili for a stronger kick :)

  13. Jo says:

    Is it possible to post a link to this webpage & some of your food pics to my FB?

  14. Marc says:

    In your recipe for Kung Pao Chicken, you mention using dark soy. Are you referring to black soy? I have a bottle of Better Boy Black Soy. Please advise.


  15. Torrie says:

    OMG, this dish was AMAZING. I followed your directions exactly, except I made Kung Pao Shrimp (I don’t eat meat, only seafood). This was SUPER delicious. It had a very authentic taste. In fact, it taste very identical to the Kung Pao shrimp I’ve had at one of my favorite restaurants. I will definitely make this again. In fact, tonight, I’m making Kung Pao Tofu following this same recipe. The only thing I will alter, it was a little too salty for my taste, so I will add a little more sugar and water (as your tips recommended) The Pearl River Light and Dark soy sauce I have is VERY high in sodium. Is there a certain brand of soy sauce you would recommend? Also, if you could add more recipes for Tofu (or even Tempeh)for us vegetarians, that would be AWESOME. I would pay for your recipes. Thanks sooooooooo much for your wonderful recipes. You are AMAZING!!! I have a Malaysian friend and a Taiwanese friend who always cook and post pictures. Now, I can do the same, and my dishes will be equally yummy. I can’t wait to host an Asian themed dinner party. Also, fyi, my fiance and I LOOOOOVE Asian food. It’s our favorite. (We’re black LOL) Now we can save money and do it ourselves. All the ingredients we’ll need to purchase are actually an investment, as they will last through MANY dishes. Thank you ;-)

    • Torrie says:

      Also FYI, I’m in Maryland (United States) I wanted to make sure whatever soy sauce you recommend, is something I’ll be able to locate. I couldn’t find anything that said, “Black Vinegar” so the guy at the Asian Market told me to use Worcheshire Sauce, because he said in Chinese it meant “Black Vinegar”. Is that true? The dish still tasted very good, but I’m just wondering would it have been better with actual black vinegar.

      • You can use Kikkoman soy sauce, they are available at regular supermarkets. Worcheshire sauce is a good substitute if you can’t find black/dark Chinese vinegar.

        • Simon says:

          I’m jumping into the discussion maybe a lil late, but I have cooked this dish several times before. What I found to make a good substitute is a good Balsamic vinegar, it has a quite close taste to the chinese black vinegar.

    • Hi Torrie – thank you and I am happy that you love my recipe. Yes, each brand of soy sauce has different sodium level so adjust it accordingly. I have a Chinese cookbook coming out in Fall 2011, so you can “pay” for my recipes. ;)

  16. Chris says:

    Hello and thanks for this great recipe I#m addicted to it

  17. Jun Low says:

    I just made this tonight for the family and I think it’s their current favourite. Definately on par with your mongolian beef and ginger and scallion fish. The gf had thirds of the chicken and the mother in law was madly scooping the gravy :D

    Only thing I added was a pinch of grinded sichuan pepper and salt. I saw Kylie Kwong (this aussie celebrity chef) on tv once doing that to a similar dish and i thought i’d try. Thanks so much again!

    • Yes, you can add ground sichuan pepper. On my cookbook, out Fall 2011, the recipe will be revised and improved. Stay tuned, and it will taste closer to the taste in Sichuan.

  18. syammil says:

    hi im a muslim is there any alternative instead of using the wine for marinatiing?

  19. Joe says:

    Finally an easy to follow recipe! My Son love it and finally we can make it for him at home. I did a good size of sauce and put it away for future use. Great with beef and tofu also!
    Will try your other recipe also. Thanks.


  20. Ginger says:

    I am making this recipe for dinner on Tuesday . I read through the Cashew Chicken recipe and saw the comment on the baking soda. Do you use the baking soda with all of your chicken and meats or just select dishes? After reading the other recipe I was going to add the baking soda to the marinate with the Kung Pao but since this is the first time making it, I wasn’t sure if it would adversely affect the recipe.

    We have a wonderful Asian market where I live so it was easy to find all of the ingredients you listed. I am definitely purchasing your cookbook when it comes out!!! Reading your site has given me a renewed desire to cook again!!! Thanks for answering my email so promptly!!!

    • Ginger – for the baking soda tendering tips, you can use it on Kung Pao Chicken, if you use chicken breast. I don’t use the technique every time, but when I want to impress my guests or have extra time to invest in the recipe. Good luck and thanks for your sweet note.

  21. farangito says:

    i made this dish yesterday and it’s simply fantastic, thanks a lot for sharing! (just like many others – i just love this website of yours!!)

    could you please just specify what does “5 slices” of ginger mean, how much is that in other words? thanks! :)

  22. Raina says:

    I made this last night (my first Chinese dish) and it turned out splendidly! I used only 4 peppers and it was hot enough: I cannot imagine using 12! Yikes!

    Love this website!

  23. Andreabbk says:

    Hey, Just made your cashew chicken – YUM, YUM! Looking forward to trying this Kung Pao recipe next time. Question though: your recipe calls for Shaoxing wine – is this the same thing as rice wine? If not, where would I find this? Thank you!

  24. Martin H. says:

    Dear Bee, thanks a lot for this wonderful recipe! It was surprisingly simple, most of the ingredients being things you normally have in your inventory. It tasted just like the Kung Pao chicken I enjoyed when I was abroad, and nothing like the stuff you get at restaurants here (northeren Europe).

    Love your website, which has only mouthwatering recipes and pictures.

    @Andreabbk I didn’t bother to get the Shaoxing wine, but used Noily Prat instead (a dry vermouth). The dish turned out beautiful and I couldn’t taste any adverse effects of it. For dark vinegar, I used the canadian Minus 8 vinegar. That might help?

  25. Pingback:Kung Pao Chicken Forever « beinglorious.

  26. Pingback:Recipes From Around The Web « Food Thinking

  27. Nicole says:

    incredible! i tried the cashew chicken last night and this tonight, i havent had kung pao chicken like this for a long time!
    HOT HOT HOT! but boy its good!
    next time i will need to tone down the chillies, husband cannot handle it… husband adores the cashew chicken!
    best recipe on the web and so simple to make.

  28. Lena Ong says:

    Wow… I have to try this recipe! I’ve been in the US for 12 years now and I totally forget the real taste of my favorite kung pao chicken! I never like the American version of kung pao chicken. I’m glad that I found your website. :)

  29. Cynthia says:

    Fantastic recipe! I made them just yesterday and my hubby loves it!

  30. Chinadoll says:

    The kung pao chicken was easy to make and delicious.

  31. HooiFong Chee says:

    I made this tonight.. it was delicious. Will definitely make it again.

  32. Nimi says:

    tried and tested, except i use normal vinegar to replace black vinegar, and red wine to replace shaoxing wine cos i don’t have them, and it tasted exactly the same as those i have tried in chinese restaurant! and they were so easy to be made! thanks so much for the this and will cook it again and again :D

  33. Pingback:22nd week of cooking « A fulfilled life

  34. Vlada says:

    1/4 teaspoon of black vinegar means 1-2 drops, right? I wonder if it’s tablespoon, not teaspoon?
    May I rather replace black vinegar with red or white vinegar?

  35. Adrian says:

    1 question. what variety of chili pepper is used in sichuan recipes? I use the dried Japone chili pepper but i heard that this is not used in sichuan recipes

  36. Danny says:

    I found your website and decided to make the Kung Pao Chicken for dinner for the Chinese family my wife and I just moved in with. I thought I was going to die it was soooo good! So much better than wasting money on a restaurant! Everyone was satisfied, but I think I was the most excited about it! Thank you so much! If I was ever to start a restaurant I would use your recipes! My wife and I are white, but I swear we’re asian at heart! Great food!

  37. Amrita says:

    ive tried several recipes from your book and this was one of them and omg…after tenderizing it and cooking it…it tasted HEAVENLY…Because of your cookbook I havent lost all faith in my cooking skills and my future children may not have to suffer and live on rabbit food for life!…THANK YOU BEE!! <3, Amrita YOUR BIGGEST FAN from PERTH AUSTRALIA/SINGAPORE!!!!!

  38. Alyssa says:

    This looks fantastic and I have to try this recipe out. Kung Pao Chicken is my favorite dish to order at a chinese restaurant. Is there a substitute for Shaoxing wine, because I can’t find it where I live.


  39. Claire, Scotland says:

    This recipe is amazing. I have tried several times to make Kung Pao chicken like they do in China(I lived in Beijing for 1 year), it is my favourite dish. I am so glad I found your blog, and I can’t wait to try out some other Asian dishes, particularly the Cashew Chicken one.

    Thanks again!

  40. Lia says:

    hi there.. i’ve just bought your book “Easy Chinese Recipes”.. i find that the recipe for Kungpao Chicken there is slightly different from the one here… for example, your book suggests us to use Sichuan peppercorn oil but you didnt mention it here… i’m just wondering.. Which recipe is the best one for Kungpao chicken??

  41. amoresassy says:

    Hi chef, i usually refer to recipe and don’t leave any comments. But this is so good that I feel it’s only fair that I pen my compliments and gratitude. Coming from Penang, many friends commented that I’m hard to please when come to Malaysian food. This is very good and satisfying than some restaurant serving this dish. We downed everything including ginger and dried chillies ;)

    Thanks chef for such lovely recipe. Will look out for others :)

    To others who are trying, I don’t have Shaoxing (used sesame oil), scallion and black vinegar. It’s still awesome. Happy trying! :)

  42. Pingback:The Kung Pao Chicken « Trissalicious

  43. Sarah K says:

    Hello! This looks like a great recipe, but I just have a question. So, when it says 1 and 1/2 chicken breast, is that literally 1 and 1/2 chicken breast or is that 1 & 1/2 pounds or something?

    Thank you!

  44. i need some Chinese food recipes.

  45. Pingback:Kung Pao Chicken « abcooks

  46. Niko says:

    I can’t c the recipy can email to tq

  47. paulina says:

    Just want to let you know how much I love your book and all your recipes, I have yet to make something that doesn’t turn out good.

  48. Arthur says:

    Fantastic recipe. First time tried Chinese food making, got lucky to find your recipe. Thanks. Worked out well, very tasty.

  49. Roger says:

    why are you not using schezuan pepper in the recipe?

  50. winx says:

    Hi! Do I marinade the chicken just before I cook it? Or am I supposed to marinade and keep it in the fridge for hours before cooking?

    • winx says:

      Sorry, please ignore my question. I just realised it was stated clearly to marinade for 30min. Thanks for the wonderful and simple recipes!

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