Skip to Content

Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken

With its sweet and spicy sauce and delicious veggie mix, kung pao chicken is a popular Chinese takeout option. The next time you’re craving takeout, why not try making your favorite dish at home? With the help of your pressure cooker, you can whip up this Instant Pot kung pao chicken in under 30 minutes. That means you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite Chinese chicken dish in less time than it takes to pick up your takeout order.
Asian chicken in a white bowl with chopsticks on the side.

With its sweet and spicy sauce and delicious veggie mix, kung pao chicken is a popular Chinese takeout option. The next time you’re craving takeout, why not try making your favorite dish at home? With the help of your pressure cooker, you can whip up this Instant Pot kung pao chicken in under 30 minutes. That means you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite Chinese chicken dish in less time than it takes to pick up your takeout order.

Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken Pin

*This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn a commission on qualifying purchases.

What Do I Need to Make Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken?

Making your own takeout at home is so easy when you have an Instant Pot! You can prepare tender chicken and a delicious sauce in a fraction of the time it takes to make traditional kung pao chicken from scratch. To prepare this simple recipe, you’ll need:

  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • Chicken breasts
  • Olive oil
  • Red chili peppers
  • Peanuts
  • Green bell pepper
  • Zucchini 
  • Soy sauce
  • Honey
  • Chinese five spice powder
  • Minced garlic 
  • Red pepper chili flakes

 

Ingredients for Kung Pao Chicken

Looking for more delicious Instant Pot recipes? Give these reader favorites a try!

Easy Instant Pot Korean Beef  | Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup | Instant Pot Fried Rice with Vegetables | Easy Instant Pot Artichokes with Butter Sauce

How Do I Make Kung Pao Chicken?

When you have all your ingredients ready, grab you Instant Pot and start cooking! Follow these four simple steps to make this easy Kung Pao chicken recipe:

Step One: Brown the Chicken

Set the Instant Pot to saute. While the pot is heating up, season both sides of the chicken breast with salt and pepper. Cut and dice your chicken, then place it in the Instant Pot and cook each side for three to four minutes to get the outside browned.

Browning chicken in Instant Pot

Step Two: Add the Sauce Ingredients

Turn off the saute mode and add the soy sauce, honey, Chinese five spice powder, minced garlic, and red pepper chili flakes. Stir to mix the ingredients and coat the chicken in the sauce. 

Step Three: Cook the Kung Pao Chicken

Close the lid on the Instant Pot and seal the vent on top by pushing it away from you. Pressure cook the chicken for five minutes. When the cook time is up, do a quick release to release the pressure from the pot.

Step Four: Saute the Vegetables

Remove the chicken from the pot and set it aside. Add the zucchini, bell pepper, red chili peppers, and peanuts. Stir to coat the vegetables in the sauce and saute for three minutes, until the bell pepper and zucchini are tender. Add the chicken back to the pot and stir to mix. Cook for an additional two minutes so the chicken warms up alongside the rest of the ingredients.

Kung Pao Chicken in a white bowl in front of the Instant Pot

What Does Kung Pao Style Mean?

Serving chicken kung pao style means it’s stir fried and served in a spicy hot sauce. While recipes for kung pao sauce vary between cooks, there are a few common ingredients among all of them. Most sauces are made with a base of soy sauce, garlic, chilis, and peanuts. In addition to those ingredients the sauce also needs a variety of spices to add flavor. With the help of Chinese five spice, you can easily add a ton of Chinese flavor without the need for tons of different spices. 

Overhead view of Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken Recipe Ideas

You’ll love how easy this Chinese takeout recipe is to make at home. And since you’re preparing it yourself, you can adjust the recipe to suit your family’s tastes. Try these recipe ideas to create a delicious dinner that everyone in the family will love.

How to serve the dish

  • Serve over rice. When your Instant Pot chicken is finished cooking, there are a variety of ways you can serve your dish. Try serving the chicken and vegetables over a bed of white or brown rice for a traditional dinner option.
  • Top cauliflower rice with your chicken. To keep the carb count lower on your dinner, make a batch of cauliflower rice to serve with your kung pow chicken. The chicken can be served over the top of the cauliflower rice or the rice can be mixed into the chicken before serving.
  • Add some garnishes. Enhance the flavor of your Chinese dinner with the help of garnishes. You can top your kung pao chicken with chopped green onion, sesame seeds, or chopped peanuts.

Make it low carb

Since this recipe is made with honey, it’s not completely carb-free. Luckily, it’s easy to adjust the recipe to make it low carb. Simply substitute the honey with your favorite keto sweetener to reduce the carb count and make this a keto kung pao chicken recipe.

Add some different ingredients

  • Make it spicier. Since this recipe is made with spices, red pepper flakes, and red chili peppers, it’s already spicy. To up the spiciness of your kung pao chicken even higher, try adding more peppers to the Instant Pot as you’re sauteing your vegetables. You can add more red chili peppers or mix in some jalapeno peppers to make the chicken dish even spicier.
  • Add some cornstarch. Sauteing your sauce after cooking the chicken in the Instant Pot should help thicken it. But if your sauce is still too runny after your vegetables are finished cooking, try adding cornstarch slurry to the pot. Whisk together one tablespoon cornstarch with one tablespoon cold water. Add the mixture to the pot and saute, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes until the sauce begins to thicken.

Closeup of Kung Pao Chicken

Asian chicken in a white bowl with chopsticks on the side.

Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken

With its sweet and spicy sauce and delicious veggie mix, kung pao chicken is a popular Chinese takeout option. The next time you’re craving takeout, why not try making your favorite dish at home? With the help of your pressure cooker, you can whip up this Instant Pot kung pao chicken in under 30 minutes. That means you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite Chinese chicken dish in less time than it takes to pick up your takeout order.
No ratings yet
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Instant Pot
Keyword: Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 366kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 lb. chicken breasts about 2-3 breasts
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 dried red chili peppers optional
  • 2/3 cup peanuts I prefer unsalted
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 zucchini sliced and then in halves
  • ½ cup soy sauce low sodium (regular sodium is fine but I suggest limiting the salt on your chicken seasoning in case it’s too salty. Better to do less.)
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tsp Chinese five spice powder
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper chili flakes dried

Instructions

Step One: Brown the chicken

  • Set the Instant Pot to saute. While the pot is heating up, season both sides of the chicken breast with salt and pepper. Cut and dice your chicken, then place it in the Instant Pot and cook each side for three to four minutes to get the outside browned.

Step Two: Add the Sauce Ingredients

  • Turn off the saute mode and add the soy sauce, honey, Chinese five spice powder, minced garlic, and red pepper chili flakes. Stir to mix the ingredients and coat the chicken in the sauce.

Step Three: Cook the Kung Pao Chicken

  • Close the lid on the Instant Pot and seal the vent on top by pushing it away from you. Pressure cook the chicken for five minutes. When the cook time is up, do a quick release to release the pressure from the pot.

Step Four: Saute the Vegetables

  • Remove the chicken from the pot and set it aside. Add the zucchini, bell pepper, red chili peppers, and peanuts. Stir to coat the vegetables in the sauce and saute for three minutes, until the bell pepper and zucchini are tender. Add the chicken back to the pot and stir to mix. Cook for an additional two minutes so the chicken warms up alongside the rest of the ingredients.

Nutrition

Calories: 366kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 1477mg | Potassium: 875mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 278IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 3mg
Recipe Rating