Black Pepper Chicken is an American Chinese takeout favorite! Tender strips of chicken stir fried along with bell pepper and onion then tossed in a sweet and savory brown sauce with plenty of black pepper. It’s all made in only 30 minutes and in just one skillet for easy clean up!

For another Asian inspired favorite, try my Sticky Chicken next!

Black pepper chicken with bell peppers, onion and celery in a skillet with a spoon.

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Why I Love This Recipe

  • Takeout Favorite at Home – Easily make a version of the Chinese takeout favorite right in your own kitchen.
  • Sweet and Savory Sauce – The black pepper sauce is the star of this recipe! It’s surprisingly easy to mix up and thickens quickly right in the pan.
  • One Pan Recipe – You can cook the chicken, veggies, and even thicken the sauce all in one large skillet.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Oyster Sauce – This is a salty-sweet condiment that adds a lot of umami flavor.
  • Soy Sauce – I prefer to use low-sodium soy sauce in most recipes. Tamari can also be substituted.
  • Rice Vinegar – Apple cider vinegar or even lime juice can be used as a substitute.
  • Low Sodium Chicken Broth – You’ll only use a ½ cup or so to thin out the sauce.
  • Light Brown Sugar – You can swap in dark brown sugar as well
  • Freshly Cracked Black Pepper – Because the cracked black pepper is a key ingredient in the sauce, I recommend using freshly cracked pepper vs ground.
  • Cornstarch – Helps the sauce thicken when brought to a bubble.
  • Neutral High Heat Oil – Like canola oil or avocado oil for sauteing the chicken. Olive oil is not considered a high-heat oil as it has a lower smoke point.
  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts or Tenders – You’ll slice the chicken into small strips so you can use either cut! You can even use chicken thighs if you prefer dark meat.
  • Sweet Yellow Onion – You can use another onion like regular yellow or even red onion, but I prefer the milder, sweeter flavor of a sweet yellow onion.
  • Bell Peppers – You can use any color of bell pepper that you like.
  • Ribs of Celery
  • Minced Garlic – Freshly minced garlic has the best flavor, but you can also use the minced garlic in a jar.
  • Grated Fresh Ginger
  • Cooked White Rice and Sliced Green Onions – For serving.

How To Make Black Pepper Chicken

See recipe card below for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

All made in one skillet and ready in just 30 minutes, this recipe is easy enough to make on a weeknight!

Brown sauce in a clear glass bowl with a small whisk.

Black Pepper Sauce – In a medium bowl, whisk up the oyster sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, chicken broth, sugar, black pepper, and cornstarch. You want to make sure the cornstarch is well combined.

Pieces of chicken berast cooked in a skillet.

Cook Chicken – Heat up a large skillet over medium-high with the oil, then add the seasoned chicken to the hot pan. Cook the chicken then transfer to a plate.

Chicken breast pieces, red bell pepper, onion and celery slices in a skillet.

Cook Veggies – To the same hot pan, add the onions, peppers, and celery and cook until tender-crisp, then add the garlic and ginger for another quick 30 seconds or so.

Chicken and vegetables in a brown sauce in a skillet.

Add Sauce – Add the sauce to the pan and bring to a boil for a couple of minutes until it thickens (it will coat the back of a spoon). Add the chicken back to the pan and cook for another minute or so, while tossing in the sauce.

Serve – Serve the chicken and veggies over cooked white rice and give a sprinkle with sliced green onion.

Serving Suggestions

The chicken can easily be served with just steamed white rice for a meal, but if you want to round things out I like to pair with steamed or Oven Roasted Broccoli. We also love to swap out the white rice for Egg Fried Rice or Chow Mein Noodles and add homemade crab rangoon on the side.

Storage

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I like to reheat the chicken and veggies in a skillet until warmed. You can add a splash of liquid (like broth or even a small amount of water) to loosen up the sauce again.

Expert Tips

  • Try with Other Vegetables – You can add other veggies if you’d like! Just cook them with the bell pepper and onion. Broccoli, pea pods, mushrooms, or green beans are great additions.
  • Spice Level – The black pepper can be spicy; add more or less to suit your tastes. For an additional kick, you can use Sichuan peppercorns. They have a slightly tingling and numbing effect on the tongue compared to regular black peppercorns. 
  • Allow Chicken and Veggies to Brown – When cooking both the chicken and the peppers/onions, don’t stir too often because you want them to get that nice browning on the outside. Don’t worry about bits being stuck to the bottom of the pan, those can be scraped up when the sauce is added.
  • Use a Large Skillet – You want to use a pan that has a lot of surface area (such as a wok or very large skillet) so that the chicken and veggies aren’t crowded when stir-frying.
Black pepper chicken and veggies over rice.

More Asian-Inspired Chicken Recipes

Recipe

  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • ½ cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • ½ tablespoon fresh coarsely cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil high heat oil
  • 1 pound chicken tenders or breast trimmed and sliced into ¼” thickness
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ large sweet yellow onion sliced ½“ thick
  • 2 bell peppers washed and sliced, ½“ thick
  • 2 ribs celery cut on a bias into ½” thick slices
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger grated
  • Sliced green onion for garnish
  • Steamed white rice for serving

Prevent your screen from going dark

  • In a medium bowl whisk together the oyster sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, chicken broth, sugar, black pepper and cornstarch, making sure the cornstarch is well combined. Set aside.

  • In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat oil. While oil is heating, toss chicken with salt. Once oil is hot, cook chicken pieces until fully cooked and lightly browned, about 4-5 minutes. Remove to a plate.

  • Add in the onions, peppers, and celery and cook for 3-4 minutes, until tender crisp. Add in the garlic and ginger and stir fry for 30 seconds. Pour in the sauce, and bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes, until thick and the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Add the chicken back in and cook for one more minute, tossing to coat. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

  • Serve over steamed white rice, garnished with green onion.

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
The black pepper can be spicy, add more or less to suit your tastes. For an additional kick, you can use sichuan peppercorns. These peppercorns have a slightly tingling and numbing effect on the tongue.

Calories: 226kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 27gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.03gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 1438mgPotassium: 656mgFiber: 2gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 1933IUVitamin C: 80mgCalcium: 31mgIron: 1mg



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