This delicious spicy Kung Pao chicken has the most delicious sauce. You’ll return to it over and over! Make this with boneless chicken breasts or boneless chicken thighs for a quick and easy dinner.

kung pao chicken in cast iron skillet with peppers

Why I love this kung pao chicken!

This Kung Pao Chicken is one of my favourite quick and easy dinners. It’s ready in just 15 minutes and uses pretty simple pantry items, so I know I can always whip this up. And it’s just the thing when I’m feeling the need for a little spice.

When it comes to Kung Pao Chicken, it’s all about the sauce and this kung pao sauce is a winner! I’ve used it here with boneless, skinless chicken breast cubes, but it’s also great with boneless, skinless chicken thighs, pork or shrimp. So tuck it away and use it any time you’d like a quick and easy dinner.

Ingredients and Substitutions

Chicken – as noted above, you can use boneless chicken breasts or boneless chicken thighs here.

Red Chili Peppers – I love to use fresh Thai red chili peppers in this dish, though you can substitute dried, small peppers and omit the crushed chili flakes. Do note though that the cooked Thai red peppers are not intended to be eaten, as they are extremely hot, even when cooked. The role of these pepper is simply to infuse a little heat. You can eat around them or simply discard before serving.

Recipe Tips

I cooked this one up in my cast-iron skillet, as the cast iron is perfect for quick cooking over high heat. If you don’t have a cast-iron skillet, any skillet, or a hot wok will work just fine, as well.

This delicious kung pao sauce is also nice with pork or shrimp.

15 Minute Spicy Skillet Kung Pao Chicken

Serving Suggestions

There is lots of sauce here, so plenty to serve over noodles or rice. I like to serve simple steamed or quick, sauteed vegetables on the side with this one. Greens like bok choy, pea pods or spinach are all nice.

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kung pao chicken in cast iron skillet with peppers

Get the Recipe: 15-Minute Spicy Kung Pao Chicken

A quick, easy and delicious chicken kung pao, starting with boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Change it up by using chicken thighs, pork or shrimp.
4.86 stars from 7 ratings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 people



  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 2 medium)


  • 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 Tablespoons white granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch

For Stir fry:

  • 2 Tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • 6-8 fresh small, thin red chili peppers, whole (Thai), optional
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed chili flakes
  • 3 green onions, white and green parts separated, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced or 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, chopped
  • Black or yellow sesame seeds, for garnish


  • In a medium bowl, stir together the marinade ingredients. Add chicken cubes and toss to coat. Let sit on the counter while you prepare the sauce.
  • In a small bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients and stir well until smooth. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add fresh red peppers and cook, stirring, until they start to brown in spots. Add red pepper flakes, white part of green onion, garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring, until onion softens, about 45-60 seconds. Add chicken and cook, stirring regularly, until chicken is just cooked through and no longer pink. Stir sauce and then add to the hot skillet. Cook, stirring, until sauce thickens. Add peanuts and 1/2 of the green part of the green onion. Stir to combine.
  • Note: The fresh Thai red peppers (if using) aren't intended to be eaten, as they are extremely hot, even after cooking. Their role is to infuse the heat in to the dish only. You can eat around them or simply discard before serving.
  • Serve over noodles or rice, if you like, with vegetables on the side. Garnish with remaining green onion and sesame seeds.
Cuisine: Asian
Course: Main Course
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 325kcal, Carbohydrates: 13g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 72mg, Sodium: 701mg, Potassium: 523mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 125IU, Vitamin C: 3.5mg, Calcium: 20mg, Iron: 1mg
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