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Skip the Chinese restaurant carryout and prepare an easier, lighter version of your favorite dish! This Dump-and-Bake Kung Pao Chicken requires just 10 minutes of prep for an easy dinner recipe that the whole family can enjoy.

Bowl of Dump-and-Bake Kung Pao Chicken served with rice for an easy dinner.

That’s right — you can make a baked version of Kung Pao Chicken with minimal effort! Your family will be impressed, and nobody will need to know how simple it really was! Your secret is safe with me…

Make Chinese food at home with this easy Dump and Bake Kung Pao Chicken for dinner.

Ever since I shared my dump-and-bake version of General Tso Chicken a few months ago, I have continued to receive rave reviews from readers who have tried it at home. With that positive response, I figured that you might also appreciate a dump-and-bake version of a similar Chinese restaurant classic!

But first…

Is Kung Pao Chicken the same as General Tso Chicken?

No, it’s not. But they’re similar! Here are a few of the major differences between the two dishes:

  • General Tso Chicken is typically dark meat that has been deep-fried and coated in a sweet and spicy sauce. By contrast, Kung Pao Chicken uses leaner white meat, which is stir-fried.
  • While General Tso Chicken may have some spice to it, it’s not nearly as spicy as Kung Pao Chicken (which often includes spicy dried Asian chili peppers).
  • Kung Pao Chicken includes a lot of peanuts in the dish, while General Tso Chicken may (or may not) include any peanuts at all.

There are more subtle differences in the sauces and flavors of the two meals, which leads me to the next question that you might be wondering…

Kung Pao Chicken and Rice is an easy dinner recipe for baked chicken breasts.

What ingredients are in Kung Pao Chicken and what does Kung Pao sauce taste like?

Kung Pao Chicken typically includes diced chicken breasts that are stir-fried and coated with a sweet and spicy sauce. The Kung Pao sauce is often made with soy sauce, chicken broth, garlic, ginger, sugar, sesame oil, and cornstarch.

It has a nicely balanced sweet-and-sour taste, with a definite spicy PUNCH from the Asian chili peppers.

Some versions of Kung Pao Chicken also include orange juice or orange zest, which adds fresh flavor in the background.

How to zest an orange.

Not sure how to zest an orange?

Orange zest is the top layer of an orange’s peel. When you’re zesting an orange, you want to be sure that you only peel off that top layer and not the white pith underneath (which has a bitter taste). The orange zest includes the fruit’s essential oils, which give a recipe a powerful hit of orange flavor (far more flavor than you would get with an equal amount of orange juice — and the zest won’t water-down your sauce).

I like to use my microplane to quickly zest an orange in about 30 seconds. It’s such a great kitchen tool (I also use it to grate hard cheeses like Parmesan, as well as onions, garlic, and ginger).

The orange zest is whisked together with the rest of the ingredients to form your Kung Pao Chicken sauce!

Homemade sauce for Kung Pao Chicken

Once the sauce is ready to go, you’ll simply toss it with chicken that has been coated in cornstarch.

It bakes in the oven for about 30 minutes, and the end result is this perfectly moist and tender baked chicken dish that rivals your favorite Chinese food takeout!

Easy dinner recipe is Kung Pao Chicken at home.

I like to stir in plenty of dry-roasted peanuts and garnish the Kung Pao Chicken with sliced green onion.

Serve it over rice (or over cauliflower rice), along with a side of steamed broccoli, for a complete restaurant-quality meal in a matter of minutes!

Baked chicken breast recipe for Kung Pao Chicken.

Dump-and-Bake Kung Pao Chicken

5 from 6 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 511.6 kcal
Skip the Chinese restaurant carryout and prepare an easier, lighter version of your favorite dish! This Dump-and-Bake Kung Pao Chicken requires just 10 minutes of prep for an easy dinner recipe that the whole family can enjoy.

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons finely minced fresh garlic (I like to use a squeeze bottle of minced garlic from the produce section as a shortcut)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (add more for a spicier dish or omit for a mild dish)
  • ½ cup dry-roasted peanuts
  • Optional garnish: sliced green onions

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a medium baking dish with cooking spray (I have used a deep 9-inch by 6-inch dish and an 11-inch by 7-inch dish, and both work well).
  • Place chicken in the prepared dish. Sprinkle with cornstarch and toss to coat.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together orange zest, chicken broth, brown sugar, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, salt, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Pour sauce over chicken and stir to combine.
  • Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Stir, return to the oven for 5-10 more minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and sauce has thickened.
  • Remove from oven, stir in peanuts. Season with additional salt and red pepper flakes, to taste. Garnish with sliced green onions just before serving.

Notes

Cooking Just for Two? Cut the ingredients in half and bake in a 1-quart dish. Cooking instructions remain the same.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 511.6kcalCarbohydrates: 49.4gProtein: 57gFat: 13.5gSaturated Fat: 2.3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3.6gMonounsaturated Fat: 5.1gCholesterol: 132.5mgSodium: 763.4mgPotassium: 810.9mgFiber: 1.9gSugar: 31.9g
Keyword: chicken breasts, easy dinner, Kung Pao Chicken
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Chinese
Author: Blair Lonergan

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. I love the egg roll in a bowl. It’s quick and very easy! Great flavor! I can’t waut to try dump and bake Kung pao chicken

  2. 5 stars
    I usually do not comment, however, this is fabulous. Easy and very little clean up. I toasted my peanuts and sesame seeds. It was fabulous.

  3. 5 stars
    I added broccoli and veggie pot stickers and omitted the peanuts. It was amazing! Great sauce recipe for any protein/veg mix!

  4. 5 stars
    I love these dump and bake recipes…this was my first time with this one and it came out great. I did however not have oranges so I used tangerine zest and then used the juice to replace some of the stock. I also didn’t have stock so I used stock base and water and omitted the salt. I think I basically turned this into orange chicken! Served with steamed broccoli and jasmine rice. So good!

    1. Sounds like a great way to switch it up, Rebecca! Thanks for your note, and so glad that you like the recipes! 🙂

  5. I’ve just discovered you and have subscribed via email. I’m excited to try your recipes. I love that the recipes I’ve seen so far use whole foods for the most part. I like knowing what is going into my meals.

  6. 5 stars
    WOW – this was fabulous! Planning on making it for our annual Halloween Party! Thank you so much!!!

  7. Hello Blair! This looks great but I need to reconfigure the recipe a little to cut down on the carbohydrates. I do not adhere or am using the current trend of the Keto diet system but am an insulin dependent diabetic for almost 62 years and every injection I get is dependent on the amount of carbs. This recipe is high even tough the primary ingredient is a protein. I know that 2 primary triggers are the brown sugar which I can readily exchange for a non-sugar based alternative and probably the cornstarch, which albeit not totally correct but to a low carb. flour product. With those exchanges I can get rid of a good handful of diabetic non-friendly ingredients but i know nothing about sugar sources in Hoisin sauce as there must be a few hidden carb. devils hiding somewhere, maybe? My husband and I LOVE Chinese food but I usually have to go for a plain stir fry, with soy sauce (I have no problem with sodium and am actually low), or ask for the meal without ANY sauces and there goes the flavor. I have been able to exchange ingredients in almost all of our old family recipes, even to my husband’s liking. This, does, look too good to pass on! Thanks for your help…Martha PS I am a 68 year old, who is NOT set in her ways!

    1. Hi, Martha! I’d love to help you figure it out, but I’m definitely no expert when it comes to this. There is definitely going to be sugar in the hoisin sauce, since it’s a thick, sweet sauce that’s similar to an Asian-style bbq sauce. I’m not aware of any sugar-free hoisin sauces on the market (although they might exist), but it looks like you can make your own sugar-free substitute with a recipe like this one: https://lowcarbyum.com/keto-hoisin-sauce-recipe/ Maybe that helps?

      Let me know if you have any luck. I guarantee that you’re not the only one with this question! 🙂

  8. While you say that this is spicier than the General Tso’s, it does have the same ingredients in the sauce with the exception of the orange zest. IT is only spicier if you use more red pepper flakes.

    I would add sugar snap peas or broccoli to it during the second baking to add more flavor and balance.