Panda Express Firecracker Chicken Breast (Copycat)

Panda Express Firecracker Chicken Breast is the latest in the roundup of Panda Express recipes on this little blog. In case you’re wondering what is with the full court press of these Panda Express copycat recipes, it is because I am putting the finishing touches on the Panda Express eCookbook with ALL the recipes.

This Panda Express Firecracker Chicken Breast recipe is a really well seasoned, delicious recipe that is a great option for you if you are watching your weight. With only 3 tablespoons of oil in the entire recipe, you’ll love that you’re enjoying a great takeout option and it is so low in fat! Panda Express Firecracker Chicken Breast with marinated white meat and peppers in a spicy black bean sauce. An authentic recipe from Panda Express!
And some basic Chinese food cooking tips for your reference:
  • Invest in a wok. It can be a second hand one or an inexpensive option on Amazon, but a wok will make your prep and cooking infinitely easier.
  • Learn to slice meat thinly, against the grain. Most Panda Express recipes include beef or chicken cut wide and thin (I think it is to make the pieces look larger, haha) so pay close attention to your prep. If you slice the beef too thick it will NOT be as tender.
  • Prep your vegetables ahead of time. Once you’re working with your wok everything has to be in grabbing distance and able to be added quickly or your food will overcook.
  • Cook quickly. When you’re working in a wok, things happen fast and flavors stay crisp, so don’t keep simmering or cooking the food.
  • Authentic ingredients. Yeah it may suck to spend 8 dollars on a bottle of sesame oil, but that sauce will make you so many delicious meals that by the time you finish the bottle you will be completely at peace with the cost of it. 😉

Panda Express Firecracker Chicken Breast with marinated white meat and peppers in a spicy black bean sauce. An authentic recipe from Panda Express!

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Panda Express Firecracker Chicken Breast (Copycat)

Panda Express Firecracker Chicken Breast with marinated white meat and peppers in a spicy black bean sauce.
Yield 4 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Chinese
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 12 ounces chicken boneless skinless breast , cut into long thin pieces
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 8 pieces whole dry chili pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black beans , washed (these are pretty optional, but I left them in to preserve authenticity)
  • 1 red bell pepper , diced into 1" strips
  • 1 yellow bell pepper , diced into 1" strips
  • 1/2 white onion , sliced into ¾ inch wedges
  • 1 teaspoon white wine (any cooking wine would work here including Shaoxing wine)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water


  • Mix the sesame oil, cooking wine, soy sauce, cornstarch mix and water in a small cup.
  • Heat wok over high flame. Add canola oil until it is heated through.
  • Add chicken breast and cook over high heat for 1 minute.
  • Remove the chicken and add in the onions and red and yellow bell pepper and cook for 30 seconds.
  • To the pan of vegetables, add whole dry chili peppers into skillet and stir until they darken, for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the ginger, garlic, crushed red chili pepper and washed black beans into skillet and stir for another 30 seconds.
  • Add the chicken and the mixed sauce ingredients to the pan and stir until the sauce thickens.
  • Serve immediately.


Authentic Recipe from Panda Express!


Calories: 213kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 363mg | Potassium: 517mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1695IU | Vitamin C: 95.5mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 0.9mg
Keyword: Panda Express Firecracker Chicken Breast (Copycat)
Panda Express Firecracker Chicken Breast with marinated white meat and peppers in a spicy black bean sauce. An authentic recipe from Panda Express!
Panda Express Firecracker Chicken Breast with marinated white meat and peppers in a spicy black bean sauce. An authentic recipe from Panda Express!
Panda Express Firecracker Chicken Breast with marinated white meat and peppers in a spicy black bean sauce. An authentic recipe from Panda Express!

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. Hi. This is by far my absolute favorite dish to get at Panda Express. I think I could eat it for every meal 🙂 just had it today and thought I’d take a chance to see if there was a recipe..and voila!!!

    Can you please tell me the name of the firecracker hot red peppers? I really want to get the correct ones.

    Thank you so much!

  2. Had firecracker chicken today. Only comes around during Chinese New Year, but not every year. Last time we found it was 3-4 years ago. Last year was Firecracker Shrimp. Year before that was some Chinese sausage dish.

  3. Never had the Panda Express version, but this made a nice black bean chicken! I increased the black beans to 1.5 tablespoons and added a little extra soy and toasted sesame oil at the end.

  4. Based on some of the comments I think that some folks are reading the recipe as requiring regular canned cooked black beans. I used Chinese fermented black beans, rinsed and mushed to a paste, assuming that was the intention in a Chinese dish. As stated in my previous review, I did increase the quantity somewhat. The result was great and quite authentic.

  5. I’ve made this and several other recipes from the Panda Express Collection. All were delicious – especially the beef and broccoli – but I felt this one lacked a bit of depth in the sauce. As Lissi says in the comments, I think it needs some black bean paste added – the description says ‘in a spicy black bean sauce’ but then the black beans are ‘pretty optional’. If you leave them out from the recipe, there is no black bean element at all to create a ‘spicy black bean sauce’. So I’m thinking that 1 or 2 tablespoons of black bean paste added in Step 1 would give a bit more depth to the flavor, and also deliver on the ‘spicy black bean sauce’. However, we still really enjoyed this recipe and all the others we’ve made! They are DELICIOUS!

  6. In this recipe it says to use 1 1/2 teaspoons black beans. Surely that’s a typo…or is it? Are those canned black beans?

    1. Haha, it’s correct. There are hardly any beans in this recipe but to keep it authtentic, I added them but you could definitley just leave them out if you don’t already have a can of beans opened.

  7. I’m going to give this a try, but just thought I’d let you know that the recipe from Panda also carries Black Bean Paste to the sauce 🙂 so I will probably be adding that into this recipe  (I used to work at Panda and this was/is my favorite)

  8. 1 1/2 t. black beans? I’m thinking that’s like only 6-8 beans ( maybe mine are mutant size 😉 ) . Is this correct? Thanks.

    1. Yep, haha. There are hardly ANY beans in the recipe, I’m not sure why they are even in there. When I did side by side comparisons and I measure the beans away from the rest of the ingredients it was MINIMAL. That’s why I even made them optional. It seems silly to open a can for so few beans.

      1. Thanks for your response, I’ve just never seen beans measured in teaspoons before. I love black beans so there’s always an open container in our fridge. We made this and enjoyed it, would recommend this for anyone who’s recipe browsing.

    1. I’m so happy you liked it! I’ve got plenty more Panda Express recipes for you to try! 🙂

  9. Okay, I seriously need to get my butt to Panda Express. I’ve never been, not sure if they have them here or not. But I’m so intrigued. This looks positively delicious. I could eat 3 helpings of this.

    1. Oh yes, you NEED to try Panda. As far as fast food options it is one of the best. When you walk into the restaurant all the vegetables are still whole and in clear tubs in the see through refrigerator. I love seeing the whole, fresh ingredients!

  10. This sounds amazing, I’ve never had this dish at Panda Express before but your version looks so delicious that I must make it at home!

    1. I think it was one of the newer options, but I am a huge fan of it. Probably because I have an unhealthy love for stir fries with bell peppers!

  11. This bowl, piled high, looks so delicious! Love that it’s good if you’re watching what you’re eating! So excited to see your eBook with all these tasty features!

  12. I love Panda’s Firecracker Chicken because it isn’t breaded! This looks like a delicious recipe to make any night of the week! Thanks for sharing your copycat version!

  13. Beautiful photos, and I love all of your cooking tips! This recipe is one I am pretty sure my husband and I would love.