This Black Pepper Chicken features tender chicken and colorful peppers smothered in a rich, savory and bold black pepper sauce. Made in under 30 minutes, it's better than takeout! Add as much or as little black pepper as you want!
What is Black pepper chicken? Made famous by Panda Express, black pepper chicken is a Chinese stir fry dish known for its bold and peppery taste.
Like blackened chicken recipe or ground chicken stir fry, this dish is effortless and balanced, with vibrant colors and textures. Like my cashew chicken, this black pepper chicken is fantastic served with plain white rice. The rice soaks up the rich black pepper sauce, so good!
Why you'll love this?
- 30 minute dinner.
- Balanced dish with lean protein and colorful veggies.
- Mostly healthy ingredients.
- Tastes better than takeout!
Scroll down to the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and amounts.
- Chicken - Use boneless skinless breasts or thighs. Make sure to slice the chicken against the grain and that the slice is of even thickness, like in baked chicken cutlets, so they cook evenly. Otherwise, you will have one piece overcooked before another is still cooking.
- Bell peppers - Adds freshness, crunch, and vibrant color.
- Black pepper - Coaresly ground is the key ingredient with its distinctive peppery flavor.
- Soy sauce - Use regular soy sauce and not dark variety.
- Oyster sauce - Adds umaminess like in easy fried rice recipe.
- Cornstarch - The most common thickening agent in Asian recipes.
- Stock - Use low sodium or 33% reduced sodium chicken stock like in Instant pot Mexican chicken and rice.
- Sugar - White sugar balances the spicy and salty flavor.
- Use other type of vegetables like broccoli, carrots, snap peas, bok choy or zucchini instead of peppers.
- Switch up the protein and use pork or beef.
- Use tamari sauce to make it gluten free.
How to make?
You can find full printable recipe below, but here is a quick overview of the procedure along with step-by-step photos.
1 & 2. Toss sliced chicken with 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 tablespoon soy sauce and set aside for a few minutes, until you prep all remaining ingredients.
3 & 4. Stir all black pepper sauce ingredients in a small bowl, until combined.
5 & 6. Heat a medium non-stick skillet or a wok, over medium high heat. Add about 2 tablespoons oil when hot. Add the chicken and spread into an even layer. Cook stirring occasioanlly, until almost cooked, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer chicken onto a plate.
Pro tip: Allow the chicken to sear undisturbed for 30 seconds after adding into the skillet. If you try to stir immediately, it may cause it to stick to the pan due to the cornstarch in the recipe.
7. Add the peppers and onions and stir fry until tender but crisp. Stir in the ginger and garlic and cook for an additional minute.
8. Add the sauce and the chicken, along with any accumulated juices and continue cooking for about 2 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and coats the chicken and vegetables.
Tip: Stir the sauce before adding it to the pan because the cornstarch tends to settle down.
How to serve?
Serve your black pepper chicken with steamed white rice, air fryer fried rice or stir-fried noodles for a complete meal.
How to store leftovers?
Refrigerate leftovers in an air tight container for up to 4 days. Microwave until warmed through or reheat in a small non-stick pan before serving.
To freeze: Place leftovers in a shallow air tight container and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- Adjust spiciness: Increase or decrease the amount of black pepper to suit your taste preferences.
- Make it Gluten-Free: Use tamari or gluten free soy sauce.
Although the dominant flavor comes from black pepper, it adds a spicy and noticeable flavor. Still, it is not overpowering—the salty soy, umami-rich oyster sauce, and sugar help to balance the heat.
Moreover, you can adjust the amount of black pepper based on your spice level.
You'll want to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs so that they can cook evenly and quickly. Breasts are lean, healthier, and more easy to slice when compared to thighs. Thigh meat cooks juicier and is less prone to drying out, like breast. It's crucial to cut the chicken into uniform, bite-sized pieces. This ensures that the chicken cook evenly and quickly.
Using frozen vegetables can be convenient on a busy weeknight. While it's possible to add frozen vegetables to your hot skillet directly, it is better to thaw them beforehand because they tend to release water during cooking and make the dish overly watery.
More chicken recipes
Black Pepper Chicken
- 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ large red bell pepper, sliced
- ½ large green bell pepper, sliced
- ½ large onion, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons minced ginger
- Toss sliced chicken with 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 tablespoon soy sauce and set aside for a few minutes, until you prep all remaining ingredients.
- Stir all sauce ingredients in a small bowl, until combined.
- Heat a medium non-stick skillet or a wok, over medium high heat. Add about 2 tablespoons oil when hot. Add the chicken and spread into an even layer. Cook stirring occasioanlly, until almost cooked, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer chicken onto a plate. Pro tip: Allow the chicken to sear undisturbed for 30 seconds after adding into the skillet. If you try to stir immediately, it may cause it to stick to the pan due to the cornstarch in the recipe.
- Add the peppers and onions and stir fry until tender but crisp. Stir in the ginger and garlic and cook for an additional minute.
- Add the sauce and the chicken, along with any accumulated juices and cotinue cooking for about 2 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and coats the chicken and vegetables.
- Serve hot with cooked rice.
Nutritional information, based on third-party calculations, should be seen as estimates, not guarantees, as various factors like product types, brands, processing methods, and more can alter the nutritional content in recipes.
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