Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken

The BEST Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken Recipe with a sauce that offers the perfect punch of heat.

The BEST Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken Recipe! #ASpicyPerspective #lowcarb #chinese #pressurecooker

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I have been obsessed with Kung Pao Chicken since I was a little girl.

The glistening dark spicy sauce, crunchy peanuts, and whole Szechuan chiles, just daring you to take a bite, make this dish my #1 Chinese takeout pick!

I’ve made Kung Pao Chicken, that actually tastes like the version I ate in China, in a wok for years.

However, anytime I share a wok recipe, I get asked if it can be made in an Instant Pot.

So today I’m working backwards… I guess more people have electric pressure cookers than woks these days. *wink*

Classic Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken Recipe! #ASpicyPerspective #lowcarb #chinese #pressurecooker

What Does Kung Pao Sauce Taste Like?

The standout quality that makes Kung Pao Chicken Sauce different than other popular Chinese stir-fries, like General Tso’s Chicken or Orange Chicken, is the unique spicy heat.

The spice is derived from Szechuan chiles and peppercorns.

Szechuan peppercorns create a tingling (or even slightly numbing) sensation in your mouth, so that’s always fun. However, they are not extremely hot on their own.

Szechuan chiles, however, bring the heat! The combination of the chiles and peppercorns together is like a disco party in your mouth.

Ingredients: Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken Recipe! #ASpicyPerspective #lowcarb #chinese #pressurecooker

Is Kung Pao Chicken Spicy?

Yes. Yes, it is.

However, you can omit or reduce the Chinese chiles, and just use Szechuan peppercorns, to reduce the heat. At least the first time you make it.

That way, you’ll know if you want to add the chiles back in for future dinners, or just keep it mellow.

 Making Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken Recipe! #ASpicyPerspective #lowcarb #chinese #pressurecooker

What Are The Ingredients in Kung Pao Chicken?

  • Boneless chicken breast and/or thighs – I like to use both.
  • Cornstarch – To thicken the sauce.
  • Peanut oil – To sauté the chicken and aromatics.
  • Scallions – Use the whole bunch from top to bottom.
  • Garlic – Fresh is best!
  • Ginger – Same as above.
  • Sherry – Yes, sherry is important to get the right flavor. If you don’t have any on hand, buy a cheap bottle of cooking sherry at the market.
  • Black bean garlic sauce – This provides unique depth to the sauce.
  • Chinese black vinegar – A very traditional Chinese ingredient. If you can’t find it, use rice vinegar.
  • Sugar – Or your preferred sweetener.
  • Soy sauce – Regular or gluten-free
  • Szechuan peppercorns – The most important ingredient to make it taste authentic.
  • Bell peppers – For color and texture.
  • Dried Chinese Szechuan chiles – If you like it spicy!
  • Roasted peanuts – For crunchy contrast.
How To Make Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken Recipe! #ASpicyPerspective #lowcarb #chinese #pressurecooker

How Do You Make the Best Kung Pao Chicken?

In order to make the very best Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken (or traditional wok Kung Pao Chicken) it’s important not to skimp on the ingredients.

If your grocery store is somewhat limited on international ingredients, you may have to stop by an Asian market, or order a couple of things online.

Please don’t let this deter you from making the recipe.

One stop at an Asian market will provide inexpensive Chinese staples you can use for all sorts of stir-fry dishes.

Plus, it’s fun to explore all the exotic ingredients!

How To:  Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken Recipe! #ASpicyPerspective #lowcarb #chinese #pressurecooker

I Don’t Have an Instant Pot. Can I Make Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken in a Wok?

Well, of course you can!

You can use a wok or large sauté pan to make this exact recipe. It’s just as fast to make, and just as tantalizing!

Get the Full Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken Recipe & Video Below – With Stovetop Instructions!

Perfect Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken Recipe! #ASpicyPerspective #lowcarb #chinese #pressurecooker

More Favorite Asian Recipes

Classic Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken Recipe! #ASpicyPerspective #lowcarb #chinese #pressurecooker
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4.84 from 6 votes

Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken

Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
8 mins
Total Time
18 mins
 

This is truly one of our favorite pressure cooker or instant pot recipes. The zesty sauce offers just the right touch of spicy heat! Plus, you can adjust it for ultra low carb. 

Servings: 6
Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken
Amount Per Serving (0.75 cup)
Calories 411 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18g 28%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 120mg 40%
Sodium 611mg 25%
Potassium 949mg 27%
Total Carbohydrates 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 5g
Protein 45g 90%
Vitamin A 9.9%
Vitamin C 44.1%
Calcium 4.2%
Iron 8.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Cut the chicken into 1 inch cubes, and toss the cubes with cornstarch to coat. Prepare all the herbs and vegetables. Divide the chopped scallions into whites and greens.
  2. Set the Instant Pot on Sauté. Pour in the peanut oil. Add the white scallions, garlic, and ginger, and Szechuan peppercorns. Sauté for 2 minutes, then add the chicken pieces. Stir and brown for 3-5 minutes, until the chicken pieces are golden on most sides.
  3. Add the sherry, black bean garlic sauce, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and ¼ cup water to the Instant Pot. Stir well to coat the chicken. Then stir in the chopped bell peppers and Chinese chiles.

  4. Cover and seal the pot. Set on Pressure Cook High for 3 minutes. Turn off the pressure cooker, and perform a Quick Release. Once the steam valve button drops, and it is safe to open and remove the lid. Stir in the peanuts and scallion greens. Serve warm over rice or quinoa.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

A. If you can’t find black vinegar use rice vinegar instead.

B. Remove the sugar (or replace with a keto sweetener) for ultra low carb!

C. If going low carb, consider serving this with our cauliflower rice.

D. STOVETOP INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cut the chicken into 1 inch cubes, and toss the cubes with cornstarch to coat. Prepare all the herbs and vegetables. Divide the chopped scallions into whites and greens.
  2. Set a wok (or large sauté pan) over high heat. Pour in the peanut oil. Add the white scallions, garlic, and ginger, Szechuan peppercorns, and Chinese chiles. Sauté for 2 minutes, then add the chicken pieces. Stir and brown for 3-5 minutes, until the chicken pieces are golden on most sides.
  3. Add the chopped bell peppers. Stir and cook another 2 minutes.
  4. Pour in the sherry, black bean garlic sauce, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and ¼ cup water. Mix and allow the sauce to simmer and thicken.
  5. Once the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon, stir in the peanuts and scallion greens. Turn off the heat and serve warm over rice or quinoa.

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9 comments on “Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken

  1. Ethanposted May 4, 2019 at 10:24 pm Reply

    Just tried this, and it seems terrifically promising except for an overpowering bitter flavor which we quickly traced back to the Szechuan peppercorns. These were a bagged Chinese brand from a local Asian market. The dish was pretty much terrible until we picked them out—not really a practical regular solution IMO since they’re so tiny and there are so many of them. Any suggestions? I found one recommendation for using a preground variety (theWu Hsing brand was mentioned), or maybe we toss them in a spice cage?

  2. Wendyposted April 14, 2019 at 12:00 am Reply

    Wow, delicious–just made this tonight and everyone loved it.   I thought the recipe looked good, but the results far exceeded expectations and I’m Cantonese.  Love how you didn’t hold back on flavor and spices.  Can’t wait to try some of your other recipes.  Thanks!!

  3. Pingback: 150 Best Instant Pot Chicken Recipes - Prudent Penny Pincher

  4. Toniposted February 19, 2019 at 8:16 am Reply

    This was a huge hit for dinner!!

  5. Christinaposted February 18, 2019 at 11:40 pm Reply

    I’d love to see the wok version! :) This looks wonderful too though

    • Sommer Collierposted February 19, 2019 at 11:35 am Reply

      Hi Christina!

      It is in the “stovetop instructions” at the bottom of the recipe. You can use a large skillet or a wok. :)

  6. Melissaposted February 18, 2019 at 5:31 pm Reply

    This was ready quicker than I could place a takeout order and go get it.

  7. Samposted February 18, 2019 at 4:32 pm Reply

    This sauce is amazing and I loved using my new IP!

  8. Lizposted February 18, 2019 at 2:15 pm Reply

    I love this authentic recipe!!! So delicious!!!