There’s no getting around it; Kung Pao Meatballs taste like the classic stir-fry but in sphere form! The chicken meatballs are savory, juicy, and infused with aromatic soy sauce and garlic. Then the meatballs are coated in a thick, glossy, and tangy sauce with a bounty of sweet bell peppers and spicy dried chilis that only add to the meatiness of the meatball flavor. Kung Pao Meatballs taste like a special occasion and look spectacular when piled over white rice and topped with crunchy peanuts. Thanks to the fine folks over at Cooking Professionally, you’ll be circling back to this meal time and time again!


For the meatballs:

1 pound ground chicken
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
kosher salt, to taste
Szechuan peppercorns, freshly ground, to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the sauce:

1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese cooking wine or dry sherry
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 bell peppers, chopped
10 dried red chilis
4 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons ginger, freshly minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons Szechuan peppercorns, freshly ground
unsalted peanuts, roasted, to taste, for garnish
white rice, cooked, to taste, for serving


Step 1 – In a medium bowl, combine the chicken, 2 cloves garlic, 2 teaspoons ginger, 2 green onions, and panko bread crumbs.

Step 2 – Add the egg and 1 tablespoon soy sauce.

Step 3 – Season with salt and the peppercorns, mixing until well combined.

Step 4 – Form into 16 equally-sized meatballs.

Step 5 – In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil.

Step 6 – Add the meatballs and cook until golden on all sides and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F, about 18-20 minutes.

Step 7 – Transfer the meatballs to a plate and keep warm.

Step 8 – In a small bowl, combine the broth, the remaining soy sauce, cooking wine, vinegar, hoisin sauce, and sugar. Add the cornstarch and whisk until dissolved.

Step 9 – Wipe the skillet so any spots that seem too dark are removed.

Step 10 – Return the skillet to medium heat.

Step 11 – Add the bell peppers and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.

Step 12 – Add the dried chilis, the remaining green onions, the remaining ginger, the remaining garlic, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of peppercorns into the bell pepper mixture.

Step 13 – Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Step 14 – Add the sauce mixture to the veggie mixture.

Step 15 – Add the meatballs, tossing to coat the meatballs in the sauce.

Step 16 – Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer until the sauce thickens and the meatballs are warmed through, about 5 minutes.

Step 17 – Top with peanuts and serve over rice.


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