Black Pepper Chicken Stir Fry
Panda Express Takeout Fakeout
I can resist almost all fast food options.
When I’m out running errands, and I’m suddenly famished, I can drive right by all the burger places and fried chicken chains… But I have a hard time passing up Panda Express.
Even though it’s impractical to eat in the car. And even though some of the dishes are just as terrible for you
What is it about hot cheap Chinese takeout that makes it so irresistible?!
Gluten-Free Chinese Takeout
If you are
This always baffles me, because swapping gluten-free soy sauce for regular soy sauce is all it would take, in some of their dishes.
Regardless, we still love Panda Express with great passion, I just can’t take my daughter Ava there.
Instead, we make gluten-free versions of her favorite Panda Express dishes at home.
They taste just as (if not more) amazing at home, and we have full quality control on ingredients and portions.
Chinese Black Pepper Chicken Stir Fry
Black Pepper Chicken is my go-to Panda Express order, because it’s bold and zesty, yet is one of their lighter menu options.
It’s essentially made of chicken thighs, onions, celery, and a rich full-bodied spicy black pepper sauce.
Fortunately, this recipe is easy to replicate at home, using organic ingredients (if desired) and of course gluten-free soy sauce.
It takes just a few minutes to prep and cook, and would even be considered low
Ready to get started?
How To Make Panda Express Black Pepper Chicken (Gluten-Free!)
- Make the sauce. Mix the soy sauce, rice vinegar, cornstarch, ginger, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, and liquid smoke. The liquid smoke gives the sauce that unique Panda Express can’t-quite-put-your-finger-on-it flavor, so don’t skip it! Also, you will marinate the chicken in the sauce for a few minutes, then thicken the sauce in the pan.
- Chop, chop. Cut the chicken thighs, onions, and celery into small pieces. Place the chicken in the sauce.
- Crack that pepper. Grind the pepper on the largest setting. If you use fine pre-ground pepper the pepper taste will be too powerful. The pieces need to be mostly large.
- Sizzle it. In a wok, stir fry the onions and celery for about 1 minute. Then
addthe chicken to the hot wok. Stir fry for 2 minutes, stirring.
- Sauce it up. Add the sauce and the black pepper. Stir as the sauce thickens. Stir in the onions and celery. Simmer another 1-2 minutes.
Get the Full (Printable) Black Pepper Chicken Recipe Below
Easy Black Pepper Chicken Recipe
See how easy that was?
Our Black Pepper Chicken (Copycat Panda Express) is so inviting. The black pepper sauce is bold and spicy, not overpowering. It makes a perfect midweek meal, or takeout alternative for
P.S. If marinating the chicken in the sauce, then adding it to the pan weirds you out, you can make two separate batches. One for the marinade and one for the sauce.
To me, it all gets cooked so it doesn’t matter.
However, don’t skip the marination time. Even though the chicken only soaks in the sauce for a few minutes, it does impact the overall flavor.
More Asian Stir Fry Favorites
- Kung Pao Chicken
- Keto Thai Larb Rolls
- Instant Pot Sesame Chicken
- Sheet Pan Mongolian Beef
- Cantonese Pan Fried Noodles
- Paleo Lemon Chicken
- Paleo Cashew Chicken
- Korean Bulgogi
Black Pepper Chicken Stir Fry
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (or breasts)
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 cups sliced celery, 1/3-inch cut on a bias
- 1/2 cup low sodium gluten free soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil (or coconut oil)
- 1 tablespoon course ground black pepper (use a pepper mill)
- 1/4-3/4 cup water
- In a medium bowl, mix the soy sauce, rice vinegar, cornstarch, ginger, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, and liquid smoke.
- Chop the chicken thighs into small bite-size pieces, no more than 3/4 inch. (Panda express uses very small pieces.) Place the chicken pieces in the marinade.
- Allow the chicken to marinate at least 10 minutes, but longer is better. Meanwhile, chop the onions and celery. Grind the pepper on the largest setting. If you use pre-ground fine pepper the taste will be too powerful.
- Place a wok (or large skillet) over high heat. Add the oil. Once it’s hot, stir fry the onions and celery for about 1 minute. It should be just starting to cook, and still firm. Quickly remove from the wok.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade with a skimmer, reserving the marinade for later use. Place the chicken in the hot wok. Stir fry for 2 minutes, stirring.
- Whisk the marinade and pour it in the wok. Add the black pepper. Stir as the sauce thickens. If it thickens too much, add 1/4 cup water at a time to loosen the sauce until it’s the right consistency. It should be thick enough to coat the chicken, but not gummy. Stir in the onions and celery. Simmer another 1-2 minutes. Serve warm.
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