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Kung Pao Beef in a cast iron skillet
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5 from 1 vote

Kung Pao Beef

Kung Pao Beef is a fiery stir fry of beef, vegetables and peanuts a sweet and savory sauce. The Szechuan adaptation features delicious, mouth-numbing heat.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: kung pao beef
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 542kcal
Author: TipBuzz



  • 1 pound beef flank steak, ribeye or sirloin, cut into 1-inch wide strips (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine or sherry or rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce low sodium recommended
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Kung Pao Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar or balsamic
  • 2 tablespons Shaoxing wine or sherry or rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce low-sodium recommended
  • 2 teaspoons chili paste optional
  • ¼ cup beef stock low-sodium recommended
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

Stir Fry

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil or other high temperature oil, divided
  • 6-8 dried red chilis about ¼ cup
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Szechuan peppercorns
  • 3 large garlic cloves minced (1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger minced
  • 1 bell pepper cored, seeded and sliced (red or green capsicum)
  • ½ cup roasted peanuts or raw peanuts
  • 3 green onions cut into matchsticks


  • Combine all ingredients for the beef in a medium bowl; cover and marinate for 10-15 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
  • Whisk the sauce ingredients together in small bowl. Set aside.
  • Place a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, add 1 tablespoon of oil and the marinated beef. Fry for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally to let it brown evenly. Then remove the beef to a plate and set aside.
  • Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan along with the dried chilis and Szechuan peppercorns. Let them sizzle and fry for 30 seconds.
  • Add the minced garlic and ginger and fry for 10 seconds until fragrant. Then add the bell pepper (capsicum) and peanuts, frying for one minute stirring regularly.
  • Pour the reserved sauce into the pan and bring to a boil stirring constantly. Once the sauce starts thickening, add the cooked beef and toss until coated, up to one minute.
  • Garnish with green onions and serve immediately with steamed rice or other dishes.


  • Sweetness: For a sweeter flavor, you can add 2 teaspoons of sugar to the kung pao sauce.
  • Vegetables: If you don’t have bell pepper, you can try using sliced zucchini, celery or carrots.
  • Beef: The beef is easier to slice thinly when partially frozen, so consider placing it in the freezer for an hour to firm up.


Serving: 6oz | Calories: 542kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 582mg | Potassium: 867mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1684IU | Vitamin C: 138mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 4mg