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A bowl of kung pao chicken over rice with a pair of chopsticks balancing across the rim of the bowl

Kung Pao Chicken

Nobody can resist the sweet and spicy goodness of a classic Kung Pao Chicken stir fry. This takeout sensation is even tastier when you make it from scratch – and it only takes 20 minutes! Gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free with paleo, Whole30 and keto options included.

Course Dinner
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword chicken stir fry, kung pao sauce, kung po chicken
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 425 kcal
Author Kelly


  • 3/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch pieces
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot / tapioca starch , use almond flour for low carb. Cornstarch works too if there are not dietary concerns.
  • 3 tbsp olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 medium red bell pepper chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 medium zucchini chopped into halves
  • 2 dried red chilis optional (add more to increase spice level)
  • 2/3 cup roasted cashews or roasted peanuts
  • Sesame seeds and chopped green onions for garnish (optional)


  • 6 Tablespoons gluten free tamari sub with coconut aminos for paleo / Whole30 version or use low-sodium soy sauce if there are no dietary concerns
  • 1 Tablespoon hoisin sauce , use gluten free if necessary or leave out for Whole30, keto or paleo and sub with 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons honey , sub with maple syrup, coconut sugar or low carb sweetener of choice such as Lakanto sugar-free maple syrup or liquid monk fruit etc. Omit for Whole30 or add in homemade date paste.
  • 2-1/2 Tablespoons arrowroot / tapioca starch , helps to thicken up the sauce. Sub with 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum for low carb or omit altogether if desired.
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more or less, to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup water plus more as needed to thin out sauce

For Meal Prep:

  • Cooked rice of choice (cauliflower, Jasmine) or zucchini noodles or noodles of choice
  • Lunch containers


  1. In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients for the sauce. Set aside.
    Top shot of kung pao chicken sauce in a clear mixing bowl
  2. Cut the chicken into 1-inch chunks. Season chicken with salt, pepper, cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of sauce/marinade.

    Top view of raw cubed chicken in a grey bowl
  3. Add oil to a wok or a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.

    Add the chicken and stir-fry for 5-6 minutes, or until brown. Transfer to plate and set aside.

    Side angle shot of stir fried cubed chicken in a black wok
  4. Return the pan back to medium heat and add more oil as needed. Toss in the zucchini, bell peppers and dried chili peppers (if using) and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the vegetables are crisp-tender.

    Pour in the remaining sauce and add the cashews along with the cooked chicken. Toss everything together and allow sauce to bubble and thicken. Season with salt, pepper or additional red pepper chili flakes as needed.

    A close-up shot of a kung pao chicken stir fry being stirred with a wooden spoon
  5. Remove from heat and serve warm on a large platter or over zoodles, cauliflower rice( paleo), quinoa or regular rice or noodles. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions if desired.

    A bowl of kung pao chicken over rice with a pair of chopsticks balancing across the rim of the bowl

Recipe Notes

  • For Meal Prep/Storage: Cook rice/noodles/quinoa and divide evenly into lunch containers. Add cooled stir fry, cover and store in fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Reheating: Reheat stir fry over low heat or microwave single servings for 20 seconds at a time. Add a splash of chicken broth or water before reheating to re-hydrate dish.
  • Freezing: Transfer cooled stir fry to a heavy-duty freezer bag and squeeze out all the air. Seal bag and freeze stir fry for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before reheating.
Nutrition Facts
Kung Pao Chicken
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 425 Calories from Fat 207
% Daily Value*
Fat 23g35%
Carbohydrates 29g10%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 13g14%
Protein 25g50%
* Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy using the WPRM recipe calculator. It is best to make your own calculations to ensure accuracy. We expressly disclaim any and all liability of any kind with respect to any act or omission wholly or in part in reliance on anything contained in this website. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.