Kung Pao Potatoes
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Kung Pao Potatoes-Easy Instant Pot Recipe

These Kung Pao Potatoes are spicy, slightly sweet, and savory, with a complex and bold flavor profile. They are an easy side dish for anyone who likes spicy food or a fun take on making an Asian-inspired dish at home. With the Instant Pot these only take minutes to make.

Ingredients in Instant Pot Kung Pao Potatoes

Baby yellow potatoes-baby potatoes work great for this dish as you do not need to cut them.  The potatoes cook up buttery soft and will get the perfect texture in the pressure cooker.  If you prefer, you could substitute baby red potatoes.

Red onion

Red bell pepper-yellow or orange can be substituted if you prefer.

Soy sauce-I used lower-sodium soy sauce; however, you may substitute regular soy sauce if that is your preference

Balsamic vinegar

Brown sugar-either light or dark brown sugar will work just fine, so use whatever you have on hand.

Garlic powder-you can substitute 1-2 cloves of finely minced fresh garlic if that is your preference.

Hot chili sauce such as sriracha

Crushed red pepper flakes

Cornstarch-this will help to thicken the sauce on the kung pao potatoes

Peanuts– you will want to use plain peanuts, not honey roasted, etc, for this recipe.  Chop them up a bit before adding them to the kung pao potatoes.  If you prefer, you can omit the peanuts.

Kung Pao Potatoes

How to Make Kung Pao Potatoes

Begin by heating the bowl of the Instant Pot using the saute function.  Give it a good spray of olive oil spray.  Add the baby yellow potatoes and the red onions and cook until the onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  At this point, turn off the saute function.

Next, add the red bell pepper, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, garlic powder, hot chili sauce, crushed red pepper flakes and one third of a cup of water.  Set your pressure cooker to manual high pressure for five minutes.  Quick release any remaining pressure as soon as the cooking time is done.

Make a slurry of the water and cornstarch until well blended.  Stir through the completed potato dish.  Turn the saute function on again and bring the kung pao sauce to a simmer.  Turn off the pressure cooker and allow this dish to sit so the sauce could thicken.

Add the peanuts, if desired, and serve the kung pao potatoes warm.

Why is it called Kung Pao?

Kung Pao sauce is named after a governor of the Sichuan province in China during the Qing Dynasty, named Ding Baozhen, whose title was Kung Pao. The dish Kung Pao Chicken is also said to have been named after him. According to legend, the governor enjoyed spicy food and created a dish using diced chicken, Sichuan peppercorns, and chili peppers that became popular in his region. The dish was later named after him, and the Kung Pao name has since been associated with this spicy and flavorful Chinese sauce.

How many baby yukon gold potatoes will I need to make these Kung Pao Potatoes?

The number of baby Yukon Gold potatoes in a pound can vary depending on their size, but typically there are about 12-15 baby Yukon Gold potatoes in a pound. It’s worth noting that the size of baby potatoes can vary quite a bit, so this is just an estimate. If you need an exact number for a specific recipe, it’s best to weigh the potatoes to ensure accurate measurements.

This kung pao potato recipe uses 1.5 pounds so you would need approximately 18-22 baby potatoes for this dish.

What is the difference in Kung Pao and Szechuan?

Kung Pao dishes are typically stir-fried with vegetables like bell peppers, onions, and sometimes zucchini or celery, along with peanuts or cashews. The sauce is usually made with soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, chili peppers, garlic, and Sichuan peppercorns. Kung Pao dishes are known for their spicy and slightly sweet flavor.

Szechuan cuisine, on the other hand, originates from the Sichuan province in China and is known for its bold and spicy flavors. Szechuan dishes often use Sichuan peppercorns, chili peppers, garlic, and ginger, along with ingredients like fermented bean paste, black vinegar, and soy sauce. Popular dishes from this cuisine include Mapo Tofu, Kung Pao Shrimp, and Dan Dan Noodles.

While both cuisines use many of the same ingredients and flavors, the main difference is in the level of spiciness. Szechuan cuisine is generally known for being much spicier than Kung Pao dishes, although both can be quite spicy depending on the recipe. Additionally, Szechuan cuisine tends to use more Sichuan peppercorns and fermented ingredients in their dishes, giving them a unique and distinct flavor.

If you like these Kung Pao Potatoes, check out some of our other Asian-inspired dishes

Instant Pot Hibachi Fried Rice-Put your Instant Pot on double duty and make this Hibachi Style Fried Rice. It would be great with your kung pao potatoes, or use as a dish for another Asian-inspired meal.

Vegan Buddha Bowls-These easy noodle and veggie bowls are perfect for a healthy weeknight meal, or for meal-prep for the week. Even non-vegans will enjoy this simple, healthy dish.

Spicy Peanut Noodles-These easy noodles taste so much better than takeout and take only minutes to prepare. Kids love these and they are easy to adjust the “spice” level to meet your personal preference.

Instant Pot Hibachi Vegetables-Take the Hibachi restaurant home this these easy Hibachi Style Vegetables.

Kung Pao Potatoes

Kung Pao Potatoes

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Asian
Servings 4


  • pressure cooker


  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1.5 pounds yellow baby potatoes
  • ½ red onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • ½ cup lower sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon hot chili sauce such as sriracha
  • Large pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch + 1 Tablespoon water
  • Peanuts chopped, optional to top


  • Heat the pressure cooker in saute mode. Spray the bowl of the Instant Pot well with the cooking spray. Add the potatoes and onions and cook, stirring 5 minutes until beginning to brown and the onions are softening. Turn off the Instant Pot.
  • Add the next 8 ingredients to the Instant Pot (through the ⅓ cup water). Set to manual high pressure for 5 minutes. When the cooking time is done, quick release any remaining pressure.
  • Combine the water and cornstarch and stir through the completed potatoes. Press saute and bring the sauce to a simmer. Turn off the Instant Pot and allow the sauce to thicken.
  • Serve warm, topped with peanuts if desired.

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