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Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chicken

I was very skeptical about trying this recipe that I found on Life Made Sweeter. Chinese food in the slow cooker, hmmm, that sounds kind of strange.

But, I love kung pao chicken and I figured it couldn't hurt to give it a try. So I did. And I was pleasantly surprised!

This recipe is absolutely delicious! It has all of the flavors of the classic dish. I've been having it with brown rice, but feel free to have it with noodles, quinoa, white rice, or whatever floats your boat.


  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch, use arrowroot powder or almond flour for paleo & keto

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • 1 - 1.25 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, (about 2-3 pieces), cut into bite-sized chunks

  • 3-4 Tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil

  • 4-6 dried red chili peppers, to taste; found in Asian supermarkets or the International section of a large chain grocery store

  • 2/3 cup roasted cashews, or roasted peanuts

  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped into bite-sized pieces

  • 1 zucchini, chopped into halves

  • Sesame seeds and chopped green onions, for garnish (optional)

Sauce: (If you like this dish saucier - feel free to double the amount and save the rest for another dish)

  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce, use gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos if necessary

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 2 Tablespoons honey

  • 3 Tablespoons hoisin sauce, use gluten-free hoisin sauce if necessary - or 2 teaspoons fish sauce for keto

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper chili flakes

Cornstarch Slurry:

  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch, use arrowroot powder for paleo or 1 teaspoon xanthan gum for keto

  • 3 Tablespoons water


  1. In a large bowl or zip-top bag, combine the chicken, cornstarch, salt, and black pepper. Shake until well-coated.

  2. Make the sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce, set aside.

  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. (You can skip this stove-top step if you prefer or are in a pinch. Just add chicken directly to the slow cooker. The chicken will not have that crispy coating) Cook chicken for about 2-3 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Transfer chicken into the slow cooker and pour the sauce over top.

  4. Cover and cook on LOW for 2.5 - 4 hours or HIGH for 1.5 - 3 hours.

  5. About 30 minutes before serving, whisk together the cornstarch and water in a small bowl and stir into the slow cooker.

  6. Toss in the dried red chili peppers, red bell peppers, zucchini, and cashews, stirring to combine. Cover and cook on HIGH for another 20-30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the sauce has thickened up. (if your slow cooker is not hot enough to thicken the sauce - pour the sauce into a pot and heat on the stovetop on high to thicken the sauce or you can just skip the cornstarch slurry instead)

  7. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, green onions and serve over zoodles, cauliflower rice, quinoa, or your favorite rice.

Let us know if you try this recipe! It makes great leftovers is a nice alternative comfort food!

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