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Is PF Chang’s kung pao chicken spicy?

Here is a quick answer to the question posed in the title: Yes, PF Chang’s kung pao chicken is considered a spicy dish on their menu.

A Closer Look at Kung Pao Chicken

Kung pao chicken is a classic Chinese takeout dish that is known for its spicy, sweet, salty, and umami flavor profile. It typically contains chicken, peanuts, vegetables like bell peppers and onions, and a sauce made with soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, chili peppers, and garlic.

The dish originated in the Sichuan province of China, which is known for its bold, numbing spices and peppercorns. Authentic kung pao chicken from Sichuan contains Sichuan peppercorns to create its signature mala (numbing and spicy) taste.

Spice Level at PF Chang’s

PF Chang’s offers kung pao chicken as a regular menu item. Customers can order it as part of a lunch bowl, dinner entrée, or as an appetizer.

On their menu, PF Chang’s describes their kung pao chicken as a stir-fry with peanuts, chili peppers, and green onions. This signals that chili peppers are an integral component of their version.

Based on customer reviews and personal experiences, PF Chang’s kung pao chicken typically ranges from mildly spicy to moderately spicy. It likely does not contain tongue-numbing Sichuan peppercorns, but the chili peppers do add a noticeable amount of heat.

Those who have tried the dish describe it as having a “slow spicy burn” and a “lingering tingle.” The chicken is coated in a sauce that offers both sweet and savory flavors, in addition to the chili pepper spice.

Spice Level Can Be Customized

One great thing about PF Chang’s menu is that you can customize spice levels in many dishes, including their kung pao chicken.

When ordering, you can request mild, medium, spicy, or extra spicy to get the level of heat you desire. Those who prefer no spice at all can order it “white pepper” style.

This makes PF Chang’s kung pao chicken accommodating for a wide range of palates. More adventurous diners can amp up the chili peppers, while others can tone it down.

Other Tips for Ordering Kung Pao Chicken at PF Chang’s

Here are some other tips to ensure you get the best kung pao chicken experience when dining at PF Chang’s:

  • Order chicken breast if you prefer white meat or thigh/leg for dark meat.
  • Request extra veggies like bell peppers if you want to increase the ratio.
  • Ask for brown rice instead of white rice for a healthier base.
  • Pair it with bold flavors like Chang’s Spicy Green Beans.
  • For extra spice, ask for chili oil on the side.
  • Let your server know if you have any food allergies.


So in summary, yes PF Chang’s kung pao chicken contains a noticeable amount of spicy heat from chili peppers. The spice level is very customizable though, so you can order it mild or extra spicy based on your preference. With its sweet and savory peanut sauce balancing out the chili peppers, it’s a dish that satisfies cravings for Chinese takeout classics.