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Spicy Black Pepper Chicken Recipe (Gluten Free)

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Need a change from your typical stir fry? Try this saucy and tender Spicy Black Pepper Chicken recipe. The best part is it’s ready in 15 minutes!

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Spicy Black Pepper Chicken

If you’re looking for a quick and easy dinner with a kick, look no further than this spicy black pepper chicken recipe.

This spicy chicken recipe is the perfect way to add heat to your meal without spending hours in the kitchen. The recipe is a lifesaver for busy weeknights or whenever you need a high protein meal in a hurry.

Whether you’re a fan of spicy food or just looking to switch up your dinner routine, this dish is sure to become a new favorite go to. 

Warning: depending on your sensitivity: there is a lot of heat in this recipe.


The ingredients for this Chinese Black Pepper Chicken dish are everyday ingredients that are easily found at all grocery stores.

ingredients needed for spicy black pepper chicken Pin
  • boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • soy sauce (see gluten free notes)
  • rice vinegar
  • cornstarch
  • avocado oil
  • white onion
  • mixed bell peppers
  • fresh ginger
  • garlic cloves
  • dried red chili flakes

Black Pepper Sauce

To make the black pepper chicken sauce you’ll need the following ingredients:

spicy black pepper chicken sauce Pin
  • chicken broth
  • soy sauce
  • corn starch
  • sugar
  • freshly ground black pepper
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Gluten Free Tip

Not all soy sauce brands are gluten free, so read the label to make sure there is no wheat listed. Everything else should be gluten free and celiac safe if your labels state it’s gluten free and no wheat products are stated.

Pepper Chicken Ingredient Variations and Substitutions

Chicken thighs: you can use boneless skinless chicken breast for this recipe.

Soy sauce: Substitute soya sauce for Coconut Aminos (Coconut Sauce). The flavor will be a little sweeter, but still delicious. I like to use a low sodium soy sauce.

Rice vinegar: If you don’t have rice vinegar on hand you can swap it for apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, or regular distilled white vinegar.

Cornstarch: Tapioca starch is a substitute for cornstarch that I personally use with no issues.

Avocado oil: If you need to substitute avocado oil, you’ll want an oil with a high smoke point. Try coconut oil or canola oil if that’s what you have in your pantry.

White onion: white onion has a bite that is delicious in homemade takeout recipes but you can use a yellow onion or sweet onion if need be.

Fresh ginger: Ginger root is best for this recipe but you can purchase pre-minced ginger (I do this often and it can be a life saver on busy days) or use ginger powder, try 1/2 teaspoon.

Garlic cloves: The same tip applies to garlic. 2 cloves of garlic equal roughly 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder, but garlic is something you measure with your heart. I’d start with 1/2 teaspoon and go from there (I would use 1 teaspoon).

Sugar: Use brown sugar in place or try Sweve (a monkfruit sugar blend).

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Storing Leftovers & Meal Prep

Store your cooled-down leftover black pepper chicken in an airtight container and place in the fridge for 4-5 days. This makes a great lunch meal prep!

Reheat it in the microwave.


How can I adjust the spice level?

You can control the heat by altering the amount of red pepper flakes and black pepper used. Increase or decrease the quantity according to your spice tolerance. Adding a sweetener like honey or a little extra sugar helps balance out the heat. If it’s too spicy, serve it with a glass of milk, it helps.

Is marinating the chicken necessary?

cubed chicken thigh marinating in soy sauce in a bowl Pin

Marinating the chicken helps in infusing flavors. Though not mandatory, it enhances taste. If you’re short on time, you can skip the marination, but the flavor might not be as intense. The longer it marinates the better, but even 5 minutes is better than nothing.

Can I use another protein source aside from chicken?

Yes, you can change up the protein and replace the chicken with tofu, beef, or shrimp.

Can I make this dish ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the dish in advance and reheat it before serving. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.

Is this a Panda Express copycat recipe?

This is a recipe for a Chinese inspired black pepper chicken. I’ve never tried Panda Express, so I cannot compare it.

Can I freeze this recipe?

You can freeze this recipe but I suggest either freezing it in a resealable bag and sucking all the air out, using a Foodsaver, or if storing it in a baking dish, lay parchment or foil overtop of the food before you wrap it up to prevent freezer burn. Freeze for up to a month. Make sure it’s cool before you put it in the freezer.

Nutrition and Macros

This black pepper chicken is a healthy recipe that’s high in protein and helps you get some vegetables into your diet in a delicious way. 

I recommend adding extra broccoli, carrots, or snow peas to add more volume and fiber.

1/4 of this recipe has roughly:

  • Calories: 268kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 20g
  • Protein: 26g
  • Fat: 11g
  • Fiber: 7g
  • Sugar: 7g

Note: The calorie calculator used is not always 100% accurate. It pulls from a database.

stainless steel chopsticks picking up a piece of pepper chicken Pin

Serving Suggestions

Here’s what to serve with your Chinese spicy chicken stir fry.

  • Rice (here’s a tutorial how to cook brown rice in the pressure cooker).
  • Ramen noodles (these are my favorite gluten free variety, we buy them in bulk at Costco).
  • Thicker noodles like udon noodles.
  • Top with some cashews for a little added crunch.
  • Garnish with green onions and a sprinkle of sesame seeds for extra flavor and color.
  • Toss in extra cooked vegetables such as bell peppers, snap peas, and carrots for even more vegetables (this is a great opportunity for a fridge cleanout).
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More Healthy Chicken Recipes

Looking for more delicious and healthy chicken recipes? Check out these fan favorites:

Spicy Black Pepper Chicken

spicy black pepper chicken recipe in a non stick skillet Pin
If you love extremely spicy Asian cuisine, this homemade takeout features a fiery blend of red chili and fresh black pepper. The chicken is tender, saucy, and has a touch of sweetness. It can be ready in less than 15 minutes.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
4 servings


  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into ¼ inch pieces (453 g)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 medium white onion chopped
  • 1 cup sliced mixed colors bell peppers 6.2 oz | 175 g
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • ¼ cup dried red chili 0.42 oz | 12 g

Black Pepper Sauce

  • ½ cup chicken broth 4.22 fl.oz | 125 ml
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly crushed black pepper


  • In a bowl, stir together the chicken pieces, soy sauce rice vinegar and cornstarch. Marinade for a minimum of 5 minutes (the longer, the better).
  • Heat a non-stick skillet or wok with oil on medium-high heat. Sear chicken thighs, for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside on a plate.
    searing chicken thighs in a skillet Pin
  • In the same skillet, add bell peppers and onion. Turn heat to medium and sauté until fragrant for 3 minutes. Add ginger, garlic and dried chili. Stir and cook for another minute.
    sauteing peppers and onions Pin
  • In a bowl, combine the black pepper sauce ingredients. Pour in the skillet and add chicken back. Stir all together and cook until thickened.
  • Remove and serve with rice or noodles.


Gluten Free Tip

Not all soy sauce brands are gluten free, so read the label to make sure there is no wheat listed. Everything else should be gluten free and celiac safe if your labels state it’s gluten free and no wheat products are stated.


Control the heat by altering the amount of red pepper flakes and black pepper used. Adding a sweetener like honey or a little extra sugar helps balance out the heat. 

How to store leftovers

Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

How to freeze

Allow to cool down and freeze in an airtight container for 1 month.

How to reheat

Reheat in the microwave until heated through.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 268kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 26gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 108mgSodium: 1210mgPotassium: 750mgFiber: 7gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 5587IUVitamin C: 51mgCalcium: 83mgIron: 4mg
AuthorRanda Derkson

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