Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken Copycat

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Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken with zucchini, bell peppers and crunchy peanuts in an easy ginger garlic sauce, the recipe is authentically Panda Express!

Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken is Full of spicy chicken, zucchini, red bell peppers and crunchy peanuts in an easy ginger garlic sauce, this recipe is authentically Panda Express!Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken recipe straight from the source! A chef from Panda Express gave the recipe to a reporter in Honolulu and now I am bringing it to you with the addition of zucchini and red bell pepper just as it is served in the restaurants.

You know me, I absolutely love copycat recipes. There is just some part of me that finds something I love and then I need to figure out a way to make it at home. When I happen to land on authentic recipes that the restaurants have shared, then i feel like it is an even more exciting “get” and I move those recipes to the top of the list to test.

In fact in the list below the Spicy Cashew Chicken and the Kung Pao Chicken Spaghetti are authentic recipes released by the restaurants. Sometimes in obscure places like the Spicy Cashew Chicken that was only shared on a morning show on a local broadcast or this recipe which was shared in a local news story about a location opening up in Honolulu in 2007. Sometimes being an internet detective pays off!

Serve it up with your favorite Panda Express recipes… especially the ones you can find here on the Panda Express Recipes Index where I have EVERY SINGLE Panda Express recipe including Panda Express Orange ChickenPanda Express Chow MeinPanda Express Mushroom Chicken and more!

Or if you fancy additional Chinese food recipes but don’t need them to be Panda Express Copycats… check out:

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You’ll love this Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken, even if you have never enjoyed it at Panda because the amount of oil per serving is just 1 tablespoon and with the addition of white meat chicken, zucchini and bell peppers, this dish is very healthy even though it is “take out.”

If you want to cut down the fat even further you can either ditch the peanuts in the pan and just sprinkle a couple of crushed peanuts on top or cut down on the oil by using half.

Authentic Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken from Panda Express themselves and SO EASY!

Tools Used in the making of this Panda Express Kung Pao Spaghetti:
Soy Sauce: Nothing much to say here except Kikkoman has the best flavor overall and I always recommend reduced sodium.
Panda Express Kung Pao Sauce: If you don’t want to make the sauce yourself you can buy the bottled variety and follow the recipe for the vegetables and chicken to complete the dish.
Wok: The best way to cook quickly and over high heat for Asian dishes, this wok is the perfect stir fry pan.
Sesame Oil: The flavor of sesame oil in this dish is unmistakeable and not really able to be substituted. Some Asian grocery stores will try and sell less expensive options that aren’t actually sesame oil, so just be sure the one you’re buying is authentic sesame oil.

Recipe

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Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken

5
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Course: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Chinese
Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken is Full of spicy chicken, zucchini, red bell peppers and crunchy peanuts in an easy ginger garlic sauce, this recipe is authentically Panda Express!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 large egg
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon cooking wine (I used white wine)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce (I use Kikkoman Reduced Sodium)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil (divided use)
  • 12 whole dry chili peppers smaller than 3 inches; if longer, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup diced green onion white part only, in 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground garlic
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1/2 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 ounces dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 1 large zucchini cut into 3/4 inch cubes

Instructions

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Combine the chicken, 1/4 cup water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 egg, 1/4 cup cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
  2. In a small bowl add the wine, soy sauce and water and set aside.
  3. Heat wok/skillet on high heat 10 seconds, you want that pan to be nice and hot!
  4. Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil.
  5. Remove chicken from marinade and add to wok, cooking on high heat for 60 seconds.
  6. Remove the chicken from the pan, add another 1/2 tablespoon of oil and the red bell pepper and zucchini.
  7. Cook on high and cook for 1-2 minutes, until just caramelized and slightly cooked.
  8. Remove vegetables and add the chili peppers.
  9. Stir until they darken a bit, then add the green onions, peanuts, ginger, garlic, crushed red pepper, and sesame oil.
  10. Stir for 2-3 seconds and immediately add the wine/soy/water mixture.
  11. Bring it to a boil, then add the cornstarch and water mix and stir until it has thickened.
  12. Add the chicken and vegetables back in, stir to combine.
  13. To make my chicken more like Panda Express I actually cut the chicken into large cubes then pulsed it twice in the food processor for just a 1/2 second each just to break it apart and give is the same unique look.

Recipe Notes

To make my chicken more like Panda Express I actually cut the chicken into large cubes then pulsed it twice in the food processor for just a 1/2 second each just to break it apart and give is the same unique look.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 4 servings, Amount per serving: calories

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert, Inc.

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Here are some pictures from when the post was originally photographed in September 2015:

Full of Spicy Wok fired Chicken Breast, Zucchini, Red Bell Peppers and crunchy Peanuts in a Sesame Ginger-Garlic Sauce, this recipe is Authentically Panda Express! The recipe is straight from the source! http://archives.starbulletin.com/2007/01/17/features/story01.html BACK TO TOP art CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM Panda Express customer favorite Kung Pao Chicken. CLICK FOR LARGE Kung Pao Chicken is tasty, too No luck getting that Orange Chicken recipe, but Panda was willing to part with another of its top dishes. Kung Pao Chicken 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced into 1/2-inch pieces, rinsed and drained 1 teaspoon cooking wine 2-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce 1/3 cup water 2-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided use 12 whole dry chili peppers (smaller than 3 inches; if longer, cut in half) 1/4 cup diced green onion, white part only, in 1/2-inch pieces 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1 teaspoon ground garlic 1 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1/2 tablespoon water 1 teaspoon sesame oil 2 ounces dry roasted peanuts » Marinade: 1/4 cup water 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 egg 1/4 cup cornstarch 2 tablespoons vegetable oil Combine marinade ingredients. Add chicken; refrigerate at least 1 hour. Combine wine, soy sauce and water; set aside. Heat wok on high heat 10 seconds. Add 2 tablespoons oil and heat well. Remove chicken from marinade and add to wok. Stir-fry quickly, 60 seconds. Remove chicken; drain well. Add chili peppers. Stir-fry until they darken. If wok becomes too dry, add 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil. Add green onions, ginger, garlic and crushed red chili pepper. Stir-fry 5 seconds. Return chicken to wok; stir soy sauce/wine mixture and add; stir until sauce boils, then add cornstarch mix to thicken. Add sesame oil and peanuts. Stir and fold until ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Serves 3.Full of Spicy Wok fired Chicken Breast, Zucchini, Red Bell Peppers and crunchy Peanuts in a Sesame Ginger-Garlic Sauce, this recipe is Authentically Panda Express! The recipe is straight from the source! http://archives.starbulletin.com/2007/01/17/features/story01.html BACK TO TOP art CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM Panda Express customer favorite Kung Pao Chicken. CLICK FOR LARGE Kung Pao Chicken is tasty, too No luck getting that Orange Chicken recipe, but Panda was willing to part with another of its top dishes. Kung Pao Chicken 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced into 1/2-inch pieces, rinsed and drained 1 teaspoon cooking wine 2-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce 1/3 cup water 2-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided use 12 whole dry chili peppers (smaller than 3 inches; if longer, cut in half) 1/4 cup diced green onion, white part only, in 1/2-inch pieces 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1 teaspoon ground garlic 1 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1/2 tablespoon water 1 teaspoon sesame oil 2 ounces dry roasted peanuts » Marinade: 1/4 cup water 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 egg 1/4 cup cornstarch 2 tablespoons vegetable oil Combine marinade ingredients. Add chicken; refrigerate at least 1 hour. Combine wine, soy sauce and water; set aside. Heat wok on high heat 10 seconds. Add 2 tablespoons oil and heat well. Remove chicken from marinade and add to wok. Stir-fry quickly, 60 seconds. Remove chicken; drain well. Add chili peppers. Stir-fry until they darken. If wok becomes too dry, add 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil. Add green onions, ginger, garlic and crushed red chili pepper. Stir-fry 5 seconds. Return chicken to wok; stir soy sauce/wine mixture and add; stir until sauce boils, then add cornstarch mix to thicken. Add sesame oil and peanuts. Stir and fold until ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Serves 3.Full of Spicy Wok fired Chicken Breast, Zucchini, Red Bell Peppers and crunchy Peanuts in a Sesame Ginger-Garlic Sauce, this recipe is Authentically Panda Express! The recipe is straight from the source! http://archives.starbulletin.com/2007/01/17/features/story01.html BACK TO TOP art CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM Panda Express customer favorite Kung Pao Chicken. CLICK FOR LARGE Kung Pao Chicken is tasty, too No luck getting that Orange Chicken recipe, but Panda was willing to part with another of its top dishes. Kung Pao Chicken 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced into 1/2-inch pieces, rinsed and drained 1 teaspoon cooking wine 2-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce 1/3 cup water 2-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided use 12 whole dry chili peppers (smaller than 3 inches; if longer, cut in half) 1/4 cup diced green onion, white part only, in 1/2-inch pieces 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1 teaspoon ground garlic 1 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1/2 tablespoon water 1 teaspoon sesame oil 2 ounces dry roasted peanuts » Marinade: 1/4 cup water 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 egg 1/4 cup cornstarch 2 tablespoons vegetable oil Combine marinade ingredients. Add chicken; refrigerate at least 1 hour. Combine wine, soy sauce and water; set aside. Heat wok on high heat 10 seconds. Add 2 tablespoons oil and heat well. Remove chicken from marinade and add to wok. Stir-fry quickly, 60 seconds. Remove chicken; drain well. Add chili peppers. Stir-fry until they darken. If wok becomes too dry, add 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil. Add green onions, ginger, garlic and crushed red chili pepper. Stir-fry 5 seconds. Return chicken to wok; stir soy sauce/wine mixture and add; stir until sauce boils, then add cornstarch mix to thicken. Add sesame oil and peanuts. Stir and fold until ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Serves 3.Full of Spicy Wok fired Chicken Breast, Zucchini, Red Bell Peppers and crunchy Peanuts in a Sesame Ginger-Garlic Sauce, this recipe is Authentically Panda Express! The recipe is straight from the source! http://archives.starbulletin.com/2007/01/17/features/story01.html BACK TO TOP art CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM Panda Express customer favorite Kung Pao Chicken. CLICK FOR LARGE Kung Pao Chicken is tasty, too No luck getting that Orange Chicken recipe, but Panda was willing to part with another of its top dishes. Kung Pao Chicken 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced into 1/2-inch pieces, rinsed and drained 1 teaspoon cooking wine 2-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce 1/3 cup water 2-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided use 12 whole dry chili peppers (smaller than 3 inches; if longer, cut in half) 1/4 cup diced green onion, white part only, in 1/2-inch pieces 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1 teaspoon ground garlic 1 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1/2 tablespoon water 1 teaspoon sesame oil 2 ounces dry roasted peanuts » Marinade: 1/4 cup water 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 egg 1/4 cup cornstarch 2 tablespoons vegetable oil Combine marinade ingredients. Add chicken; refrigerate at least 1 hour. Combine wine, soy sauce and water; set aside. Heat wok on high heat 10 seconds. Add 2 tablespoons oil and heat well. Remove chicken from marinade and add to wok. Stir-fry quickly, 60 seconds. Remove chicken; drain well. Add chili peppers. Stir-fry until they darken. If wok becomes too dry, add 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil. Add green onions, ginger, garlic and crushed red chili pepper. Stir-fry 5 seconds. Return chicken to wok; stir soy sauce/wine mixture and add; stir until sauce boils, then add cornstarch mix to thicken. Add sesame oil and peanuts. Stir and fold until ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Serves 3.

We LOVED this Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken, it was so easy to make and the best copycat!
Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken is Full of spicy chicken, zucchini, red bell peppers and crunchy peanuts in an easy ginger garlic sauce, this recipe is authentically Panda Express!

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Comments

    1. Ok, hands down this was THE most delicious Kung Pao chicken I’ve ever tasted, better than at Panda. My family raved about it! Great job.

  1. Oh my goodness, this looks so flavorful! My fiance and I have been craving some good Chinese food lately. He doesn’t like spicy foods, so I would have to omit the peppers, but that’s okay because I know this recipe would still be good. Just looking at these pictures is making me hungry.

  2. Oh this sounds delicious. I always crave Asian food, but it can be so expensive. This is a much better idea, than ordering out. Thanks for the recipe.

  3. I could totally go for some of this! I’d love to make some for the family to try out. I need to get better at making Chinese dishes.

  4. We’re gluten free and can never eat chinese takeout. I’m so happy because all I have to do is substitute regular soy sauce for GF Tamari…YEAH !!!!!!!!!

  5. Hello! I’ve just made this for the first time. I’m packing away my ingredients and wonder when the sesame oil is supposed to be used? It is in the ingredients list, but not in the method.

    We drizzled some on the top to get the flavor, but it would be good to incorporate it into the recipe.

    Thank you!

    1. So sorry about that! The sesame oil is supposed to be added at the same time as a the green onions and peanuts – I just had a brain fart and left it out! The recipe is fixed now, thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  6. This recipe is great! Followed step by step but bought the wrong soy sauce and that threw it off a bit. Still very delicious!!

    1. Sorry this comment took so long to get to, it ended up in my spam filter somehow! I don’t have a nutrition calculator on the recipes, but I know there are quite a lot of them available on the web for free from back in the day I used to cook for clients on low calorie diets.

  7. Just tried this recipe today, I’m not sure if it was just me, but cooking the chicken for 60 seconds was not enough, parts were still raw. I also was not a big fan on the egg in the recipe, the flavor however was great. I used a wok and followed the instruction step by step. I think next time I will omit the egg. Thank you! (:

    1. Sorry this comment took so long to get to, it ended up in my spam filter somehow! How big were you cutting the chicken? If on a high heat in small chunks they should cook quite quickly. Another possible reason it could’ve taken longer is if your pan may have been a bit too full? Glad the flavor was good though!

        1. Sorry I don’t have the nutritional facts for recipes on the site but I know there are a lot of free resources on the internet from when I’ve cooked for clients with low calorie diets.

  8. The spices are on point, very close to Panda, increasing the wine and garlic powder used seemed to make it an even better match imo.

  9. If I want to make this for a large crowd, do I just double everything or is there another recipe? I’m making for 40 people

    1. Wow, that’s a lot of people 🙂 The recipe serves 4 so if you’re looking to feed 40, I would suggest making it in batches and the keeping it some type of warmer until served.

  10. The recipe doesn’t say if the ginger and garlic are fresh ground or dried. I am assuming dry, please let me know if this is correct or not. Can’t rate it yet as I have not tasted it. Hoping I will love it!

  11. Easy to follow directions. Tasty dish with plenty of flavor. My husband loved it. Thank you for sharing!

    Rating: 5
  12. Just made this, it is great! Added extra red pepper because I like it spicy and it was sooooooo good. Definitely keeping the recipe and will make again! So quick too! 

    Rating: 5
  13. Just made it tonight, and you have no idea how happy I was to see the end result looked so pretty, colorful and tasted amazing, just like the one at Panda Express!! Thank you for a great and easy recipe!! 

    Rating: 5
  14. This recipe is delicious.  I lived in Asia for two years and I think this recipe is as good as I remember.

    Rating: 5
  15. Very delicious! I had the Panda Kung Pao sauce in a bottle that you buy at the grocery store but prepared everything as instructed and added like 1/4 cup of the bottled sauce. It was delicious before I added the sauce. My boyfriend wants me to make this again and it hasn’t even been a week! Just printed the recipe to have on hand. Thank you!

    Rating: 5
  16. I love Kung Pao chicken and can’t wait to try this recipe… thanks for posting it! Can the wine be replaced with something else, though? If yes, what would you recommend I use?

  17. This recipe is amazing. I’m too novice to know better, so I did make some substitutions and alterations (clearly watching cooking shows has made me perhaps a little too confident). Used pre-cooked chicken, which didn’t take to the marinade as much as fresh probably would but still good. All spice for ginger. And I added baby corn (with the zucchini) and celery (with the onions). I also didn’t have Thai chilies at my local market so I substituted sweet chili garlic sauce and a splash of Sriracha and it turned out BETTER than the PE version (which is saying something because before I made this today was obsessed). Thank you so much for sharing!