These Kung Pao Chicken Meatballs are made with peanut butter and chili paste, get baked and then coated in a wonderfully authentic pan sauce with green onions, chilis and peanuts. These are off the hook tasty.
I wanted to do a twist to the classic Kung Pao Chicken and shake up the normal chopped chicken with soft, tender meatballs. These can also double as a great appetizer, too!
What is Kung Pao Chicken?
Kung Pao Chicken is a spicy Chinese stir fry dish made with marinated chicken pieces, peanuts, vegetables, and chili peppers. Kung Pao Chicken is one of my favorites and one of the most popular Chinese dishes in the U.S.
I make these with peanut butter and chili paste mixed in with the ground chicken. Give these a little boost in flavor, ya know? I also make this with ground turkey too, and the result is the same. Tender, juicy and flavorful.
The sauce is easy to make while the complex mix of salty, sweet, sour, and spicy shine through.
For these meatballs I baked them at 450°F for 15 minutes instead of pan frying. The high heat in the oven does a great, quick sear on them and they hold their shape perfectly.
I love meatballs and I have quite the Meatball Collection here.
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, you’re going to love these. 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.