Make this Black Pepper Chicken Stir Fry in less than 30 minutes. Sauté chicken thighs, onions and celery in a savory sauce to make a black pepper chicken like Panda Express.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Like Panda Express at home – the Panda Express black pepper chicken is a fan favorite for good reason. The sauce is flavorful, slightly sweet, tangy and lightly spiced from the black peppercorn. Skip the takeout and make this delicious dish with tender chicken and soft celery right in your own home.
- Comes together in less than 30 minutes – it is so easy to make this stir fry in one pan in less than 30 minutes. It is a balanced meal that tastes delectable on its own and even better when paired with fluffy rice.
- Make for an easy dinner or meal prep – this is the ultimate weeknight dinner or meal prep dish. Make 4 generous servings and place them in lunch containers with rice and extra green veggies if desired. Reheat each day in the microwave for your lunch break.
Is black pepper chicken spicy?
Not really! It has the spice of a black peppercorn, but that is more flavorful than hot. When you bite into it you feel a flavorful spice on your tongue, but it does not burn like other peppers.
I like to garnish this flavorful stir fry simply with some toasted sesame seeds and green onion. Then, I serve it with some freshly cooked jasmine rice. You can also serve it with cauliflower rice
This black pepper chicken is a delicious entree for a small dinner party. Serve it with this bang bang shrimp dip as an appetizer.
- Boneless skinless chicken thighs – chicken thighs are sauteed until crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside. Before sauteeing, cut the chicken into even sized cubes to ensure even cooking.
- Cornstarch – tossing the chicken in cornstarch not only helps the outside of the chicken get crispy, but also helps thicken the black pepper sauce.
- Fresh cracked black pepper – this gives this dish its classic flavor. Add black pepper to both the chicken and the sauce to insure its flavor is infused fully into the dish.
- Garlic powder and ginger powder – these dry seasonings add extra flavor to the chicken. Toss them in with the cornstarch and black pepper.
- Olive oil – you can use any cooking oil that you like to sautee the chicken and veggies. I usually use extra virgin olive oil.
- Yellow onion and celery – dice the onion into large pieces and cut the celery stalks on a diagonal and then saute them until soft before adding the sauce
- Chicken broth, soy sauce, rice vinegar and oyster sauce – mix these four together with some black pepper to make the sauce. The chicken broth and soy sauce add just the right amount of salt, the rice vinegar adds acidity and the oyster sauce adds brine and umami with just a touch of sweetness. To reduce the sodium content use a low sodium broth or low sodium soy sauce.
You can use a boneless skinless chicken breasts in place of the chicken thighs.They tend too cook faster than the thighs so you can cut the cok time down by a couple of minutes.
Feel free to use arrowroot starch or potato starch in place of the corn starch. You could also use a bit of all purpose flour to thicken the sauce.
To make this recipe gluten free use fish sauce in place of oyster sauce and add 1 tbsp of brown sugar to the sauce. Use coconut aminos or gluten free tamari in place of the soy sauce.
Rice vinegar adds the perfect amount of acid and tang to the sauce. If you do not have it, you can use freshly squeezed lime juice instead.
There are many other vegetables you can use in place of the celery. The most obvious option for this black pepper chicken recipe are bell peppers. I like green bell peppers best, but you could also use red, orange or yellow.
How to make
Step 1: Prepare chicken and saute
To begin, cut the chicken thighs into bite sized cubes. Then, mix cornstarch, ½ tbsp fresh cracked black pepper, garlic powder, and ginger powder. Toss the chicken in this mixture (Image 1).
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken to the pan to brown. If your skillet is smaller, you may want to brown the chicken in batches so that you don’t overcrowd the pan (Image 2). Cook the chicken for about 6 minutes flipping occasionally and then remove from the pan.
Step 2: Saute veggies and Mix Sauce
Then, add the onion and celery to the pan along with another 1 tbsp of oil. Saute until soft and fragrant, about 6 minutes (Image 3).
While the veggies saute, mix the chicken broth, soy sauce, rice vinegar, oyster sauce and 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper. Whisk until thoroughly combined (Image 4).
Step 3: Simmer chicken and veggies in the Sauce
Pour the chicken back into the pan with the sauteed veggies along with the sauce (Image 5). Bring the mixture to a simmer and simmer 5 minutes, tossing as the sauce thickens (Image 6).
Remove from pan, garnish with toasted sesame seeds and scallions and serve with rice.
Storage and Reheating
Allow the black pepper chicken to cool completely before transferring to an airtight container in the fridge. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until just warned through.
Check out these other one pan chicken Recipes!
- Easy Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry
- Lemon and Olive Chicken Skillet
- Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Skillet
- Caprese Chicken Skillet
Keep reading to find the full one pan Whole30 recipe. If you make this black pepper chicken, please share it with me on Instagram!
- 1 ½ lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 2 tbsp corn starch
- ½ tbsp + 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp ginger powder
- 2 tbsp olive oil – separated
- 1 yellow onion – diced
- 4 stalks celery cut on a diagonal into slices
- ½ cup chicken broth
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- Cut the chicken thighs into bite sized cubes. Mix cornstarch, ½ tbsp fresh cracked black pepper, garlic powder, and ginger powder. Toss the chicken in this mixture.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken to the pan to brown. If your skillet is smaller, you may want to brown the chicken in batches so that you don’t overcrowd the pan.
- Cook the chicken for about 6 minutes flipping occasionally and then remove from the pan.
- Add the onion and celery to the pan along with another 1 tbsp of oil. Saute until soft and fragrant – about 6 minutes.
- While the veggies saute, mix the chicken broth, soy sauce, rice vinegar, oyster sauce and 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
- Pour the chicken back into the pan with the sauteed veggies along with the sauce. Bring the mixture to a simmer and simmer 5 minutes, tossing as the sauce thickens.
- Remove from pan and serve immediately with a garnish of toasted sesame seeds and scallions
- swap corn starch for arrowroot starch or potato starch
- to make this recipe gluten free use fish sauce instead of oyster sauce and coconut aminos or tamari instead of soy sauce
- store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days