I wanted to do a twist to the classic Kung Pao Chicken, but without the frying or breading. These Kung Pao Chicken Meatballs are made with a bit of peanut butter and chili paste in the chicken mixture that gets baked. Coated in a wonderfully authentic pan sauce with green onions, chilis and peanuts, these are off the hook tasty.
Shake up the normal chopped chicken used in this dish and with soft, tender meatballs, it can double as a great appetizer, too. Kung Pao Chicken is a stir-fried chicken dish that’s one of this houses favorites and one of the most popular Chinese dishes in the U.S. The sauce is easy to make while the complex mix of salty, sweet, sour, and spicy shine through.
For these meatballs I decided to bake them at 450° for 15 minutes instead on a pan fry. The high heat in the oven does a great, quick sear on them and they hold their shape perfectly.
I love meatballs. Whether it’s my Cranberry Turkey Meatballs, Chinese Lemon Chicken Meatballs, Stuffed Green Chili Meatballs in Tomatillo Sauce or these more traditional Roman Meatballs with Arrabbiata Sauce, to name just a few, the possibilities are endless.
Kung Pao Chicken is a spicy Chinese stir fry dish made with chicken, peanuts, vegetables, and chili peppers.
I thought I’d make these with peanut butter and chili paste mixed in the ground chicken. Give these a little boost in flavor, ya know? I make this with ground turkey too and the result is the same. Tender, juicy and flavorful.
I think these work well as an appetizer for parties or game day weekend snacking. I bake them off (double batch it!) and in the slow cooker to keep warm. I make the sauce, pour it over and keep warm for the crowd to come and snack. The fresh green onions, peanuts and spicy sauce make this. Each bite is so flavorful. Enjoy!
Kung Pao Chicken Meatballs
- 1 lb ground chicken (See Note 1)
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- 1 tbsp chili paste (See Note 2)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Chinese Shaoxing rice wine (See Note 3)
- 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar (See Note 4)
- 3 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1/2 cup peanuts (shelled)
- 10 dried red chiles
- 4 green onions cut into 1" pieces
- 1 clove garlic crushed and minced
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- In a bowl, mix together the ground meat, peanut butter, chili paste, soy sauce, rice wine and breadcrumbs. Form into 20 meatballs and place on a parchment lined baking sheet with sides.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
Kung Pao Sauce
- In a small bowl whisk together the water, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and cornstarch. Set aside.
- In a hot skillet or wok add the oil and stir fry the peanuts and dried chiles for a minute. Add the green onions and garlic and toss to mix, cooking for a minute. Add the sauce mixture and quickly toss, cooking for 2 minutes until thickened. If too thick, thin with a little chicken stock (optional).
- Add the meatballs and toss to coat, heating through. Serve immediately.
- Feel free to substitute ground turkey.
- I use a ground chili paste Sambal Oelek
- If you can’t find Chinese rice wine, dry sherry or sake may be substituted.
- Red wine vinegar, rice vinegar may be substituted for the apple cider vinegar.