Once you try this homemade version of Panda Express Pepper Chicken, you’ll never go back to take-out. This easy chicken recipe features juicy, tender chicken thigh meat is sauteed with onions and celery, and cooked in black pepper soy sauce.
It tastes amazing over rice but you can easily swap out rice for veggies, cauliflower rice, or quinoa. Same sides would be good in other easy chicken dishes like Chicken Teriyaki and Chicken Stroganoff.
COPYCAT PEPPER CHICKEN
I fell in love with this tasty Pepper Chicken when my little sister and I went to Houston for a college conference. That was the first time she got me to try Panda Express and I’m so glad I did because I discovered a new tasty chicken dish.
It was pretty hard for us to find something to eat at the airport restaurants while we were traveling because of my gluten intolerance. On the way to Houston, we actually walked around the airport food court four times. We ended up walking out of two restaurants because of the lack of gluten free options.
Needless to say, after four circles around the food court, we ended up grabbing a couple of plain salads and hopping on the plane. We got to our hotel late at night, starving but too tired to care.
When the conference was over, I was hyped up on coffee and fruit and felt like a starving lion, desperate for a nice juicy steak. When we got to the airport, my sister suggested that we try Panda Express since it was the only non-sandwich option.
This is when I saw pepper chicken and decided to stray away from the familiar Teriyaki Chicken and give it a shot. After the first bite, I knew that I had to recreate this chicken dish at home. It seemed very easy to make and it was very tasty. A simple combination of onion, celery, chicken thigh meat, and seasoned with lots of black pepper.
The very next day after we came back home, I made this dish for dinner and it was a huge hit with my husband. It is now one of my favorite fast and easy chicken dishes to make.
HOW TO MAKE PEPPER CHICKEN
Since this is a fast and easy recipe, make sure to prepare your ingredients first. Cook rice first and while it is cooking, dice onions and celery, slice chicken thigh meat, and measure remaining ingredients.
In a mixing bowl, combine chicken, cornstarch, salt, and pepper and toss to coat chicken pieces evenly. Whisk all sauce ingredients in another bowl.
Preheat the cooking pan first over medium-high heat and when it’s hot, add oil. Saute onions and celery until softened and then, add the chicken. Stir well and let everything saute until chicken is mostly done. Stir once in a while to ensure even cooking.
Pour sauce in and slowly stir. Bring the sauce to simmer and lower the heat to medium-low. Cook for a few minutes, until chicken is completely done and take off heat.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH PEPPER CHICKEN
SOME MORE CHICKEN RECIPES TO TRY
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Pepper Chicken and Rice
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thigh meat
- 1/2 tbsp corn starch
- 2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 cups chopped celery
- 3/4 cup chicken stock
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 3 tbsp white vinegar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp corn starch
- 1/2 tbsp fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked Jasmine rice yields about 4 1/2 cups cooked
- Cook rice according to the package instructions and set aside.
- Preheat a cooking pan over medium-high heat and add a couple of tablespoons of oil for cooking.
- Chop chicken thigh meat into small pieces and place them in a small mixing bowl.
- Add 1/2 tbsp of corn starch, 1 tsp black pepper, and some salt. Mix very well so that the chicken is coated in corn starch, salt, and pepper evenly. Set aside.
- Dice onion and celery and saute for a few minutes.
- Once veggies are softened, add chicken and mix well. Saute chicken until about half way cooked.
- While chicken is cooking, whisk ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl.
- Add sauce into the pan with the chicken, stir well. Bring the sauce to simmer and lower the heat to medium-low.
- Stir and cook chicken and veggies until chicken is completely cooked. Take off heat.
- I prefer to serve this Pepper Chicken over Jasmine rice.
Jasmine rice can be swapped out for brown rice, quinoa, or steamed veggies.
Originally published on Will Cook For Smiles on July 25, 2018. Updated March 30, 2010.