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January 19, 2024

Kung Pao Mushrooms

Kung Pao sauce hits all of the right notes–it’s a perfect blend of spicy, savory, and sweet. Kung Pao sauce is usually served with chicken, but we’ve made a great mushroom version.

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kung pao mushrooms with bell peppers, green onions and peanuts on a plate with a spoon
Photography by Gayle McLeod

What to Serve with Kung Pao Mushrooms

Easy Kung Pao Mushrooms To Make At Home

We love to recreate our favorite restaurant dishes at home (see our Easy Orange Chicken, Chicken Chow Mein and Vegetable Stir Fry). We’re making mushroom kung pao, a spicy nutty dish from the Sichuan (sometimes spelled Szechuan) province of China that’s most frequently made with chicken. Kung Pao mushrooms definitely need rice (White or Brown Rice), and some veg–Bok Choy, Hot and Sour Cabbage, and Dry Fried Green Beans are some of our faves.

kung pao mushrooms with bell peppers, green onions and peanuts served on top of white rice on a plate with chopsticks

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What is Kung Pao Sauce?

Kung Pao sauce is a savory-sweet sauce made with dried red chili peppers. It is a dish from the Sichuan province in China, known for its spicy cuisine and giant pandas! This soy sauce-based sauce is sweetened with brown sugar to balance the spiciness of the red chili peppers. There’s also raw peanuts (these get toasted in sesame oil), ginger, and garlic.

mushrooms, bell peppers, green onion, peanuts, brown sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar and spices in prep bowls

Ingredients You’ll Need To Make Kung Pao Mushrooms

  • Mushrooms – Oyster, maitake, and/or shitake. If you’re a mushroom lover check out our Garlic Butter Oyster Mushrooms as well.

  • For the sauce – soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, and cornstarch

  • Veggies – bell pepper, green bell pepper, green onions

  • Raw peanuts

  • Ginger and garlic

  • Dried red chili peppers

soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, and cornstarch being mixed in a bowl
mushrooms being tossed with soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, and cornstarch in a bowl
mushrooms tossed with soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, and cornstarch cooking in a skillet
bell peppers, green onions, peanuts, ginger, garlic, and chili peppers being cooked in sesame oil in a skillet

How to Make Homemade Kung Pao Mushrooms

  1. Make the Kung Pao sauce. In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, and cornstarch until smooth.

  2. Toss the mushrooms in the Kung Pao sauce.

  3. Cook the mushrooms. This is a two part cooking process–first cook mushrooms undisturbed until golden and crispy on one side, about 4 minutes. Then stir and continue cooking until mushrooms have softened, about 3 minutes more.

  4. Cook the veg and peanuts. Add the bell peppers, then the green onions, peanuts, ginger, garlic, and chili peppers to the skillet.

  5. Thicken the sauce. Add the remaining marinade and stir to combine. Bring the sauce to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 2-3 minutes.

bell peppers, green onions, peanuts, ginger, garlic, and chili peppers being cooked in sesame oil in a skillet
mushrooms, bell peppers, green onions, peanuts, ginger, garlic, and chili peppers being cooked in sesame oil in a skillet

How to Store Leftover Kung Pao Mushrooms + Tips

  • Leftovers are best eaten within 3-4 days of preparation. Cooked mushrooms can be frozen in an airtight container for up to three months.

  • If you’re using cremini mushrooms, cut them into large bite size pieces.

  • Want to make this super veggie-full? Add eggplant and zucchini–they are both great!

  • We can’t emphasize this enough–cook mushrooms in a single layer so they don't end up steaming themselves. Check out our How To Dry-Sauté Mushrooms post for more info.

kung pao mushrooms served on top of white rice on a plate with chopsticks
kung pao mushrooms with bell peppers, green onions and peanuts

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Kung Pao Mushrooms

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time:  20 min
  • Cook Time:  30 min
  • Calories: 325

Ingredients

  • ½ cup low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • 1½ tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot starch
  • 2 pounds mushrooms, such as oyster, maitake, and/or shitake
  • 1½ tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 bunch green onions, trimmed, cut into 3-inch pieces
  • ½ cup raw peanuts
  • 1½ teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 10 dried red chili peppers, halved (or ¼ teaspoon chili flakes)
  • Cooked rice, for serving (optional)

Method

  1. In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, and cornstarch until smooth. Add the mushrooms and toss to coat.

  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is glistening, working in batches, use a slotted spoon to transfer the mushrooms to the skillet in a single layer. Cook undisturbed, until golden and crispy on one side, about 4 minutes. Stir and continue cooking until mushrooms have softened, about 3 minutes more. Transfer the mushrooms to a plate. Reserve leftover marinade.

  3. Heat the sesame oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is glistening, add the bell peppers and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the green onions, peanuts, ginger, garlic, and chili peppers; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes more.

  4. Return the mushrooms to the skillet, add the remaining marinade and stir to combine. Bring the sauce to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 2-3 minutes.

  5. Serve over rice if using.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories325
  • Protein14 g
  • Carbohydrates29 g
  • Total Fat18 g
  • Dietary Fiber6 g
  • Cholesterol0 mg
  • sodium1198 mg
  • Total Sugars11 g

Kung Pao Mushrooms

Questions & Reviews

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  • Jess

    This was great! I added both a small eggplant and zucchini to make it super veggie-filled. Doubled the sauce and added some ginger to it. Will make again when I have farmer's market wild mushrooms!

    Thanks Jess, glad you enjoyed!

  • Great recipe! I made it last night! My daughter announced she is now a "flexitarian" and wants to be vegetarian at my house, and a meat eater at her dad's! I love kung pao and it was awesome with mushroom! I left the mushrooms chunky. Next time, I'll make with a tad more sauce. Recommend!

    Thanks Robyn, so happy you and your daughter loved it!

  • vivian

    Oh my! This was so good. There is not a thing that I would change about it. Thank you for a great recipe!

    THanks Vivian! We are so happy you loved this!

  • Jenn

    These were sooooooooo good. Just as good as takeout. I also love your easy orange chicken so will definitely make both next time and have an all out "take out" party!

    Thanks Jenn, we are so happy you love these!