You’re going to love this healthy Kung Pao Chicken recipe. And once I show you how to make Kung Pao chicken, you’ll want to make it immediately! It packs a major punch of flavor from the marinated chicken, sauce, and stir fried veggies. You can serve spicy Kung Pao chicken on a bed of cabbage, cauliflower rice, or zucchini noodles for a complete dinner. Everyone will be happy with this meal!
This easy Kung Pao chicken is hot, spicy, tangy, and creamy, all at once. You can adjust the heat level for your taste, but I adhere to the motto that the hotter it is, the better it is!
There are a lot of flavors going on, but they work so well together. And that’s one of the things that I love about stir fries. With a few easy stir fry guidelines, you’ve got an endless combination of proteins, vegetables, and flavors!
And even better, this Kung Pao Chicken recipe literally cooks in 10 minutes. Add in 5 minutes for prep time, and you’ve got a deliciously filling dinner on the table in less than 20 minutes. Told you everyone was going to be happy with this meal! 😉
What Is Kung Pao Chicken?
Kung Pao chicken is a delicious Chinese inspired dish that is loaded with lots of flavor and spices. Usually, the chicken is breaded and has a spicy sauce that can contain flour… both of which are issues if you’re trying to make a healthy stir fry.
Fortunately, my easy Kung Pao chicken is paleo, unlike what you normally find at a Chinese restaurant. No breading and no gluten!
How To Make Kung Pao Chicken
Once you learn how to make Kung Pao Chicken, I am confident it’s going to become a new go-to dish for weeknight dinners.
Here are the really easy steps for how to make this spicy Chinese chicken:
- Marinate chicken. Add ginger, garlic, tapioca flour, coconut aminos, white wine vinegar, coconut sugar, and salt together to make the marinade. Toss in chicken and make sure it’s coated with the marinade.
- Make the stir fry sauce. Whisk together chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, coconut aminos, sesame oil, and white wine vinegar.
- Stir fry the chicken. Add coconut oil to a heated wok. Stir-fry peppercorns and chilies, then add chicken and sear until golden brown.
- Stir fry the veggies. Add peppers and sesame oil, and cook until tender.
- Toss in cashews and scallions. Sprinkle in coconut sugar (skip for low carb!), toss and serve.
Does Kung Pao Chicken Have Peanuts?
Yes, Kung Pao Chicken normally does have peanuts in it. My spicy Chinese chicken recipe doesn’t contain any peanuts because then it wouldn’t be paleo! It was important to me to transform an authentic Kung Pao chicken recipe into a paleo one, so it fits our dietary needs.
TIP: If you want to add in some nutty crunch but keep it paleo, try sprinkling it with some crushed almonds or cashews instead.
How Many Carbs In Kung Pao Chicken?
Each serving of this healthy Kung Pao chicken recipe has 15 grams net carbs. It’s considerably lower than if you buy the deep fried version found in restaurants.
TIP: You can make this Kung Pao chicken low carb by either omitting the coconut sugar altogether or using a powdered sugar-free sweetener.
How Do You Store Spicy Kung Pao Chicken?
Store the kung pao chicken in the refrigerator in an airtight container. It will last 3-4 days in the fridge and makes excellent leftovers.
This is a perfect dish if you like to meal plan or do batch cooking. Then you can quickly toss it in the microwave or heat it in a skillet with oil.
Can I Freeze Healthy Kung Pao Chicken?
Yes, you can quickly freeze this healthy kung pao chicken. Allow it to cool after stir-frying and then place in an airtight container. Freeze for 1-2 months.
When you are ready to serve it, place it in the refrigerator to thaw it out. Once it’s thawed, you can put a little bit of sesame oil in a skillet until it’s heated all the way through. Or just pop it in the microwave.
More Paleo Dinner Recipes
If you love this Chinese chicken dish, you will go crazy for these delicious paleo dinner recipes.
- Paleo Orange Chicken Stir Fry – This is sweet and loaded with flavor.
- Paleo Low Carb Shrimp And Cauliflower Grits – The grits would also go amazing with this Kung Pao chicken!
- Sweet And Sour Pineapple Stir Fry – Reader favorite!
Spicy Healthy Kung Pao Chicken Recipe:
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Spicy Healthy Kung Pao Chicken Recipe
Learn how to make Kung Pao chicken in just 15 minutes! This paleo, healthy Kung Pao chicken recipe is super easy and totally delicious.
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- 1 lb Boneless skinless chicken breast (cut into 1 inch pieces)
- 2 tablespoons Fresh ginger (minced)
- 4 cloves Garlic (minced)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons Tapioca flour
- 1 teaspoon Coconut aminos
- 1 teaspoon White wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon Sea salt
- 1 tablespoon Cold water
- 2 tablespoons Chicken broth (or beef broth)
- 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Coconut aminos
- 1 teaspoon Sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon White wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon Sesame oil
- 8 medium Dried chili peppers (snipped on the ends)
- 1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 medium Red bell pepper (chopped into 1 inch squares)
- 3/4 cups Unsalted roasted cashews
- 1/2 cup Green onions (minced)
- 1 teaspoon Coconut sugar
- Cooked cauliflower rice or shredded cabbage (optional)
More TIPS about this paleo recipe in the post above!
- In a medium bowl toss the chicken with the marinade ingredients.
- In a small bowl whisk together the sauce ingredients.
Heat a large wok or stainless steel skillet over high heat. Add the coconut oil to the wok along with the chili peppers and peppercorns. Stir-fry 15-20 seconds until the chilies start to smoke. Push to one side and add the chicken in a single layer to the wok. Let sear for about 1 minute until a nice golden crust forms on the chicken.
Using a sturdy spatula stir-fry the chicken and chili mixture for 2 minutes longer.
- Place the tablespoon of sesame oil into the wok and add the bell peppers. Stir-fry another minute just until the pepper begins to soften. You don't want them mushy.
Throw in the cashews and scallions and toss to combine. Add the teaspoon of coconut sugar and give the stir-fry a good toss for about 20 seconds.
Serve hot with shredded cabbage, cauliflower rice, or by itself.
Serving Size: 1/2 entire recipe
Nutrition Information Per Serving
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database. Net carb count excludes both fiber and sugar alcohols (though the latter are rarely seen on this site), because these do not affect blood sugar in most people. We try to be accurate, but feel free to make your own calculations.
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I am always looking for new chicken recipes since chicken is something I incorporate into several meals a week. This is an amazing recipe with flavors that come together perfectly and deliciously! A true family dinner winner.
We actually made something similar the other night. So much healthier than ordering takeaway.
You’re right, reading this did make me want to run into the kitchen and make this immediately. Thank you for answering so many of the questions I had about kung pao chicken. They made it so easy to make the recipe. Delicious – will definitely make again!
I love eating this with brown rice! So wholesome.
I love making dishes with a little bit of kick and this one looks both delicious and healthy… not to mention easy enough to do on a weeknight!
This version Emilyof kung pao chicken looks delicious! I love using coconut sugar and coconut aminos in my cooking and can’t wait to try this!
So delicious and comforting! I love Kung Pao chicken – such a great dinner ♥
Yum! I’m totally on team cauliflower rice. This looks amazing!
Thanks so much Becky! Team cauliflower rice is the best!
This was delicious and I love how you gave this a paleo spin! 🙂
Good on you for adapting your general paleo style of eating to suit you- When I did whole30 I included cheese and potatoes because they were staples and didn’t really affect me negatively!
Thanks Arman! I definitely believe diet is a very individual thing and what works for one person may not work for the next. It’s all about trial and error. I still believe everyone would benefit eating a whole foods diet though! I’m slowly eating cheese again, mainly goats milk and blue cheeses and I LOVE it. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂
Stephanie L Stuart
Yum looks amazing! I love seeing these Paleo ideas! I will be sure so share this on my own Paleo page!
Ah! Come over to my dorm and make this for me!
hahaha sure thing Rebecca!
I’m with you about your body needing some carbs for balance. I’m the same way and feel/function so much better. Delicious looking kung pao chicken – I just recently purchased tapioca flour to experiment with for a baking recipe. Is it used here as a thickener? Also, I’m going to have to look up “coconut aminos” as I’m not familiar with it. Happy first day of spring! 🙂
Hey Cristina! Tapioca is used in place of cornstarch which allows the chicken to form a very thin crispy crust. It also helps thicken the sauce a bit too! Coconut aminos are a substitute for soy sauce. It tastes identical! Thanks for stopping by!
Though my website doesn’t reflect it, we eat a mostly paleo diet in our home, but white rice is a staple. Like for you, it just works for us. Love this recipe – Asian food is also a staple for us!
I pretty much love anything that can be stir-fried, and kung pao chicken is one of my faves! I love this for serving it over cabbage – although I do love my rice 🙂
Oh me too! Stir frying is the BEST. So quick and easy!!
I love making a stir fry for dinner too and I love it served over rice. The last time I made stir fry, I ate it with quinoa instead of rice and it was really good! Your kung pao was amazing!
Thanks so much Tonia!
Yum this really is amazing. It’s a beautiful dish! I agree it’s important to tweak ANY meal plan to your individual needs.
Thanks so much Marye!