Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken is better than take out! Quicker to make too. It is the perfect dinner solution for a busy night.
Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken is a classic when it comes to Chinese takeout. It’s always part of our order whether we are eating at the restaurant or taking it home. I love the slight heat and the crunch of the peanuts. When the craving hit for Chinese food this last week, I decided I could make a batch of Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken as easy and quick as I could phone in a take out order and pick it up!
I’ve made it two ways, depending on how much of a hurry I am in. If I have a few extra minutes I like to toss the chicken in cornstarch and then saute it in some oil in the Instant Pot first. This gives the chicken a little bit of a coating and also the cornstarch helps to thicken the sauce. If I’m short on time, or not in the mood I just throw everything in and then thicken it at the end by adding in some cornstarch and stirring it on saute for a minute or two.
I prefer to saute my veggies in a pan on the stove top while the Instant Pot does it thing. I like my veggies to still have a little crunch to them and I find they get too soft for me in the Instant Pot. Feel free to use what ever veggies you like. I used zucchini and red pepper, but some broccoli would be good in it too as well as some carrots.
When the instant pot kung pao chicken is done (only 3 minutes on high and then a 15 minute natural release) I add in a little cornstarch/water slurry mixture if the sauce needs to be thickened and turn it on saute for a few minutes. If you coated the chicken with cornstarch and sauteed before cooking you will find that by stirring up the cornstarch that stuck to the bottom of the instant pot will thicken the sauce right up for you. Just stir in your sauteed veggies and peanuts and you are ready to go!
Just add chopsticks (or not!)
Some of my other favorite Instant Pot recipes:
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Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken Recipe
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 3 chicken breasts boneless, skinless (approx 1.5 lbs)
- 3 Tbsp canola oil
- 1 cup dry roasted peanuts
- 1 red bell pepper cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 zucchini cut into 1/2 inch thick pieces
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 Tbsp brown sugar
- 3 tsp garlic minced
- 1 tsp ginger minced
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Option 1: Mix together cornstarch, salt and pepper and place in bag or bowl. Add in chicken and toss to coat. Add oil to Instant Pot on saute and brown chicken. Cook on manual, high pressure for 3 minutes. Natural release for 15 minutes. Open pot and Stir to loosen the bits of cornstarch stuck on bottom of pan from sauteing and turn pot onto saute to thicken up the sauce. If it needs more thickening, add in an additional 2 Tbsp cornstarch mixed into 1/4 cup water. Add to mixture and stir on saute until thickened.
Option 2: Add chicken directly to Instant Pot without coating in cornstarch or browning. Mix together sauce, cover chicken with sauce. Cook on manual, high pressure for 3 minutes. Natural release for 15 minutes.
To thicken sauce, combine 2 Tbsp cornstarch with 1/4 cup water and add into Instant Pot. Turn onto saute and stir until sauce thickens.
Option 1 & 2: Saute red pepper and zucchini in a frying pan with 1 Tbsp oil until desired tenderness. Stir into finished chicken mixture and serve over rice.
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