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Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken

Easy Asian Classic in the Instant Pot OR Crock-Pot!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 -8
Calories 400 kcal


  • 2/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 2 1/2 lbs chicken breast diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (divided)
  • 12 dried red chili peppers (find at Int'l market)
  • 1 cup roasted cashews
  • 2 red bell peppers, cubed (cube while chicken is cooking)
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced & halved (slice while chicken is cooking)


  • 1 cup *low sodium soy sauce & balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 tbsp honey
  • 4 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp fresh ground ginger
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes


  • 4 tbsp cornstarch
  • 5 tbsp water


  • white rice, quinoa etc (your preference)
  • sliced green onions


  1. in a medium mixing bowl, toss diced chicken in cornstarch, salt and pepper until well coated. 

  2. over medium high heat, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and saute chicken for about 8 minutes until golden brown.

  3. while chicken is sauteing, in a small mixing bowl, make the sauce by whisking soy sauce, balsamic, water, honey, hoisin, garlic, ginger and red pepper chili flakes. 

  4. place chicken in Instant Pot and add sauce and dried red chili peppers. 

  5. close lid and set for 5 minutes high pressure. (make sure knob on lid is set to sealing). If making rice or quinoa, make now according to pkg instructions. 

  6. Use 10 minute natural release (let IP go into warm mode and set timer for 10 minutes. when 10 minutes is up, press cancel and release steam valve)

  7. while chicken mixture is cooking, cube bell peppers & slice zucchini. Over med-high heat, heat 1 tbsp olive oil for about 30 seconds. Add peppers and zucchini and saute for about 4 minutes. 

  8. while chicken mixture is cooking, make cornstarch slurry by mixing together ingredients in a small mixing bowl. whisk to mix. 

    kung pao whisk together cornstarch slurry
  9. when natural release period is over, select saute function on low. add cornstarch slurry, pepper/zucchini, cashews and stir gently. 

  10. saute for 3-5minutes, stirring gently while sauce thickens. turn IP off. 

  11. let sit for 3 minutes to allow sauce to thicken (if necessary)

  12. serve with white rice, quinoa or your grain of choice. top with sliced green onions and enjoy!  


Recipe Notes

*Soy Sauce Options  (pick one)-

  1. 1 cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  2. 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar & 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  3. 1 cup Coconut Aminos

Gluten- Free - use Tamari instead of soy sauce and gluten-free Hoisin sauce.