Paleo Kung Pao Chicken

Katie Wells Avatar

Reading Time: 3 minutes

This post contains affiliate links.

Read my affiliate policy.

Wellness Mama » Blog » Recipes » Paleo Kung Pao Chicken

My love of Chinese food isn’t a new thing nor is my hobby of recreating favorite restaurant Chinese dishes at home. Sweet and sour chicken was one of my first recreation attempts. This kung pao recipe is the most recent, and absolutely delicious.

Traditional Kung Pao Chicken

Kung pao chicken is a Chinese stir-fry dish of chicken, leeks, peanuts in a spicy sauce. If you order it at a Chinese restaurant you’ll probably see little dried red chile peppers in it. It’s usually quite a spicy dish. (The dried chile peppers are just for flavoring the dish — don’t eat them!)

My family likes a little heat, but if yours doesn’t you can easily adjust the spiciness level. When I make it, I use both the little dried red chile peppers and red pepper flakes. That’s because the batch of chile peppers that I currently have isn’t very spicy.

You can use both too, or just use either one or the other, in whatever amounts you like best. I suggest adding just a little and tasting it after it’s done. You can always add more heat, but you can’t really take it back out again. Once you know what amount works for you, you can use that amount from then on out.

Side note: If you want to learn more about little dried red chile peppers (and other spices) used in Chinese cooking this glossary is really interesting.

Paleo Kung Pao Chicken, the Wellness Mama Way

I love the flavors of Chinese restaurant kung pao chicken, so I of course wanted to find a way to make it myself with ingredients that I’m comfortable feeding my family.

  • For the sauce I swap out the cornstarch for arrowroot, the soy sauce for coconut aminos, and the sugar for honey.
  • For the chicken I usually use quality boneless, skinless thighs because I love how tender and flavorful they are, but I’m not against using diced breasts when it’s what I have on hand.
  • I prefer tree nuts over legumes for the most part so I substitute the peanuts with chopped cashews.
  • The vegetables I use vary from one preparation to the next. I love that in stir-frys you can use whatever is in season or you have on hand. I’ve used leeks, celery, bell pepper, onion, zucchini, and even okra.
  • I serve it all by itself or over cauliflower rice or occasionally, white rice.

Other Healthy Asian/Chinese Food Recipes

Paleo Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

Enjoy my version of kung pao chicken, a Chinese stir-fry dish of chicken, vegetables, and cashews in a spicy sauce.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Calories 438kcal
Author Katie Wells




Sauce Ingredients


  • Chop the chicken into bite-size pieces and season with salt and pepper.
  • In a large pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the chicken and sauté until it is cooked through.
  • While the chicken is cooking, chop desired vegetables into bite-size pieces.
  • Remove the chicken from the pan to a bowl, and set aside.
  • Add the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil and the chopped vegetables to the pan.
  • Sauté until crisp-tender, stirring occasionally.
  • While the vegetables are cooking, whisk together in a medium bowl all ingredients for the sauce.
  • When the vegetables are done, return the chicken to the pan with the vegetables and pour in the sauce.
  • Reduce the heat and bring to a gentle simmer for about 5 minutes.
  • To serve, eat as is or over cauliflower or white rice. Top with chopped cashews.


Nutrition Facts
Paleo Kung Pao Chicken Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 438 Calories from Fat 189
% Daily Value*
Fat 21g32%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Cholesterol 144mg48%
Sodium 629mg27%
Potassium 774mg22%
Carbohydrates 26g9%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 37g74%
Vitamin A 6296IU126%
Vitamin C 13mg16%
Calcium 54mg5%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


Use any vegetables you have on hand that sound good to you.
As written, this dish is moderately spicy. To find your preferred spiciness level, I recommend starting with a small amount of red pepper flakes and working your way up to the level that you like. Let them simmer in the sauce for a couple minutes before tasting and adding more.

Do you like spicy food? Ever tried kung pao chicken?

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


3 responses to “Paleo Kung Pao Chicken”

  1. Deborah F Hopper Avatar
    Deborah F Hopper

    I am going to make the kung pao chicken, it looks really good, Thank you.

  2. Katie Avatar

    This recipe looks really good. You mention subbing honey for sugar but I don’t see it listed in the recipe.

    1. Katie Wells Avatar

      Thanks for the catch! It looks like that had somehow gotten removed from the recipe. Fixed now, but it was 2 TBSP honey or to taste

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating