RecipesChicken RecipesPanda Express Black Pepper Chicken Copycat

Panda Express Black Pepper Chicken Copycat

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Black pepper chicken is another well-celebrated dish from Panda Express. A lot of people love its flavorful taste thanks to its thick, black pepper sauce. It is also well-loved because it is known to be a low carb and low calorie, satisfying meal.

If you are one of those people who cannot get enough of Panda Express black pepper chicken, this post is for you. 

What is Panda Express black pepper chicken?

Black pepper chicken is a tangy and well-flavored Chinese inspired dish from Panda Express. It is made from marinated chicken and poured with pepper sauce with lots of celery and onions.

It is salty, tangy, and its garlic-y taste enhances its savory aroma as well as its overall taste. In contrast with the traditional Chinese black pepper chicken, the one in Panda Express features a thicker sauce. 

Panda Express black pepper chicken ingredients & substitute

Here are the ingredients of the black pepper chicken from Panda Express: 

  • Chicken breasts
  • White onion
  • Celery
  • Green bell pepper
  • Cornstarch
  • Canola oil
  • Ginger
  • Garlic

For the sauce: 

  • Oyster sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Chicken broth
  • Rice vinegar
  • Garlic, black pepper, ginger paste, chili powder
  • Cornstarch

You can check for substitute ingredients in the section where the variations for the dish are enumerated. 

Panda Express black pepper chicken calories & nutrition

Black pepper chicken has a relatively lower amount of calories at 289kcal compared to other dishes in their menu. It is however, high on sodium.

Other nutrition content of black pepper chicken includes potassium, iron, calcium, Vitamins A and C. It is also a good source of protein and a filling meal with its carb content. 

Tools used in the recipe

If you are considering cooking your own black pepper chicken recipe soon, here are the things that you will need: 

  • Wok or any non-stick skillet
  • Mixing bowls
  • Mixing spoon
  • Knife

Panda Express black pepper chicken sauce

The sauce of the black pepper chicken is made of soy sauce, oyster sauce, and wine vinegar. It is made aromatic by ginger, garlic, and ground black pepper. And then it is thickened using cornstarch. It is stirred and thickened to perfection in just a minute. 

How to make Panda Express black pepper chicken

For this dish, you must first cut the chicken into cubes and then marinate for 30mins. Sear the chicken and then prepare the sauce. Stir fry the spices, add the chicken and the sauce, cook for a few seconds and then serve. 

  1. First, cut the chicken breasts in cubes or at 1-inch size. Marinade it in a mixture of chili vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, and cornstarch. Leave it in the mixture for 30mins. 
  2. Place the wok on the stove and set it on high heat. Pour the canola oil and when it is ready, cook the chicken until both sides are golden brown. 
  3. Remove the chicken from the wok, add a bit of canola oil and saute celery and onion for 45secs. 
  4. Toss in the soy sauce, the remaining chili vinegar, the black pepper, and the chicken. Let the flavors combine for 15secs. Plate and serve warm.

More Panda Express copycat recipes

Variations on Panda Express black pepper chicken

To add personal touch to your version of black pepper chicken from Panda Express, here are some variations to the dish that you can follow. 

If you want a vegan version, use fried tofu in place for the chicken and vegetable broth instead of soy sauce. For a gluten-free sauce, you can combine low sodium gluten-free soy sauce and hoisin sauce. You may also use other meats such as pork, beef, and shrimp. You may add other vegetables such as broccoli, mushroom, or carrots. 

How to store Panda Express black pepper chicken

Leftover black pepper chicken can be stored in the fridge for five days. It must be cooled off first before it could be transferred to an airtight container. 

Can you freeze Panda Express black pepper chicken?

Yes. Store it in a freezer-safe bag or container. It can last for up to three months. 

What does Panda Express black pepper chicken taste like?

This dish is considered as a light dish. It tastes garlic-y, tangy, a bit of sweetness, salty, and spicy thanks to the ground black pepper and chili flakes added in the thick sauce. 

What to serve with Panda Express black pepper chicken?

The default pair of black pepper chicken is always plain white rice, but you can always notch it up and try cauliflower rice for a low-carb choice or even brown rice. Other good pairs for this dish would be the following: 

  • Steamed broccoli
  • Chow mein
  • Soba noodles
  • Egg rolls
  • Shrimp fried rice

Is Panda Express black pepper chicken healthy?

There was a time when it was pulled out from Panda Express because of issues on too high sodium content as per FDA. But it has long been mitigated and is now back in Panda Express’ menu.  But as far as calories, protein and carbs are concerned, it is still considered as a relatively healthy meal. 

Is Panda Express black pepper chicken keto-friendly?

No. But if you take out the rice and add more protein to the dish such as chicken liver, or substituting the chicken with pork or beef, then you can say that your version is keto-friendly. 

Is Panda Express black pepper chicken gluten-free?

Also, no. But you can always substitute some glutenous ingredients such as the soy sauce into gluten-free tamari sauce, or hoisin sauce. You can also substitute the rice with cauliflower rice if you want to. 

Is Panda Express black pepper chicken vegan?

This is another no. To make black pepper chicken vegan, you can use fried tofu instead of chicken. You can also explore other vegan substitutes to the ingredients of black pepper chicken.

Panda Express Black Pepper Chicken Copycat {4 Steps}

Panda Express Black Pepper Chicken Copycat {4 Steps}

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Black pepper chicken can be made with many variations. But if you are looking for a recipe that closely resembles the taste from Panda Express, here is a recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1lb chicken breast
  • 2 stalks of celery (finely chopped)
  • ½ medium size onion (chopped in small squares)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 4tbsp canola oil
  • 1tbsp chili vinegar
  • 1tbsp ginger powder
  • 1 ½ tbsp ground black pepper
  • 2tbsp cornstarch

Instructions

  1. First, cut the chicken breasts in cubes or at 1-inch size. Marinade it in a mixture of chili vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, and cornstarch. Leave it in the mixture for 30mins. 
  2. Place the wok on the stove and set it on high heat. Pour the canola oil and when it is ready, cook the chicken until both sides are golden brown. 
  3. Remove the chicken from the wok, add a bit of canola oil and saute celery and onion for 45secs. 
  4. Toss in the soy sauce, the remaining chili vinegar, the black pepper, and the chicken. Let the flavors combine for 15secs. Plate and serve warm. 

Notes

Always start a cooking timer for this dish.

Nutrition Information
Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 289Total Fat 17gSaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 72mgSodium 665mgCarbohydrates 7gProtein 25g

Did you make this recipe?

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Conclusion

Black pepper from Panda Express is one of those dishes that you will really crave. Aside from its umami punch, it is made from the perfect blend of flavors that can satisfy your gastronomic experience. It is also a complete meal packed with a nutrition content that we can say is relatively healthy. 

The best thing about black pepper chicken is that it can be recreated easily and using substitute ingredients that are easy to score. With all things considered, the black pepper chicken indeed, lives up to its stature as one of the best dishes from Panda Express.

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