Family-Friendly Kung Pao Chicken

By Jess

5 from 1 ratings

Kung pao chicken is a favorite in Chinese cuisine. You may have already heard of it at your favorite hole-in-the-wall because it’s tasty and pairs well with steaming hot rice. Those who are familiar with Chinese culinary know that their food is extremely flavorful and prepared fairly quickly due to stir-frying with lots of cooking oil. This dish can be prepared in around 20 minutes minus the excess calories from oil and monosodium glutamate. Also, you can use cauliflower rice in place of white rice to get the full effect.

chicken recipe

Here’s our take on a traditional Chinese recipe that the whole family is sure to enjoy. Kung Pao Chicken is one of the most popular dishes in Chinese cuisine and for good reason. The unique sauce for Kung Pao Chicken is sweet, sour, spicy and salty, which puts your taste buds on a rollercoaster of different flavors with each and every bite. Additionally, those who follow a strict paleo diet will be delighted to find out that this recipe is completely paleo-friendly including sauces and marinades.

A Wok is Considered A Must-Have in Chinese Cooking

A wok is a Chinese cooking vessel which is much larger in surface area when compared to regular frying pans and has a large, rounded bottom. Our kung pao chicken recipe is best cooked in the wok by stir frying. Stir-frying is a Chinese cooking technique that involves the use of high heat and very hot oil. Ingredients are placed in the wok in small amounts, fried, and then set aside. As the vegetables and chicken are cooked separately, they eventually are put back together in the work along with the sauce. The cook should constantly mix the ingredients in the wok while using his other hand to toss the wok.

We highly recommend using a wok when cooking this dish. A non-stick jumbo wok would be best when cooking for larger groups, however, feel free to use only the amount of cooking oil that you are comfortable with.

preparing sauce

cutting chicken

Adjust Your Ingredients If Needed

Kung pao chicken is known for having a little bit of heat but of course, not everyone can tolerate spicy food. Instead of using 6 Asian chili peppers as the recipe calls for, you can use half that amount and you will definitely notice a difference in terms of spiciness. This recipe change is recommended for those who are cooking for children. Another way to offset the spice is by adding more raw honey to your sauce. Remember to make sure that the honey you use is paleo approved.

prepping vegetables

Furthermore, you don’t have to use cashews for this dish. Traditionally, cashews are the nut of choice for kung pao chicken but they can be substituted for walnuts or pine nuts. Adding more nuts to this recipe will not only add more flavor to your dish, but it will also increase the protein content.

sauteed chicken and vegetables

You no longer have to go to a Chinese restaurant to eat delicious kung pao chicken since it can now be cooked in your very own kitchen. The best part about cooking this dish is having the ability to prepare it in the manner of your choosing, so no need to endure those massive headaches from having too much monosodium glutamate and soy sauce all at once. Some like having the sauce very spicy, while others prefer to have it on the milder side. You can also add other vegetables to this recipe such as green beans, broccoli, asparagus, and cauliflower.

paleo kung pao chicken recipe

Kung pao chicken is an extremely versatile dish and can be cooked using a variety of ingredients. But one thing that is common regardless of what recipe you follow is that it is sure to be an explosion of different flavors that everyone will enjoy.

P.S. The perfect dessert to the bold flavors of Kung Pao Chicken is a delicious, cooling mango chia pudding. The mango chia pudding recipe is a must-try for all pudding lovers. 


  • For the sauce
    • ¼ cup coconut aminos
    • 1 tablespoon raw honey
    • ½ tsp ground ginger or 2 tsp minced fresh ginger
    • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon arrowroot flour
    • 3 tablespoons water
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • The rest of ingredients
    • 2 tablespoons avocado or coconut oil
    • 6 dried Asian chili peppers, deseeded and cut into small pieces
    • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
    • 2 stalks celery, very finely sliced
    • 1 ½ large red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
    • 1/3 cup cashew nuts, chopped
    • 2 green onions, sliced


  1. To make the sauce, combine the arrowroot flour and 3 tablespoons of water in a bowl.
  2. Add the coconut aminos, honey, ginger, balsamic vinegar and garlic and mix to combine. Set aside.
  3. Heat the oil over high heat in a wok.
  4. Add the chili and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the chicken and fry until cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes.
  6. Remove the chicken from the wok.
  7. Add the red pepper and celery and cook for 1 minute.
  8. Return the chicken to the skillet.
  9. Pour in the sauce and cook until the sauce has thickened.
  10. Add the cashew nuts and toss to combine.
  11. Sprinkle with sliced green onions and serve.


Serving Size





Total Time

20 minutes

Prep Time

10 minutes

Cook Time

10 minutes

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1 Comment

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  1. Delicious! and very easy to make. Substituted chinese cabbage for the celery (since we didn’t have celery). Will definitely make this again!

    Rating: 5

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