General Tso’s Chicken

General Tso’s Chicken is a favorite Chinese food takeout choice that is sweet and slightly spicy with a kick from garlic and ginger.

General Tso's Chicken is a favorite Chinese food takeout choice that is sweet and slightly spicy with a kick from garlic and ginger.

General Tso’s Chicken was one of my favorite college days late night Chinese food delivery orders. The spicier, zestier less popular cousin to the ever popular Orange Chicken, General Tso’s Chicken is a fantastic option when you’re looking to change up your Chinese food routine.

General Tso’s Chicken can sometimes have recipes that are really complicated and with many different breading steps. I eliminated them going to a simple cornstarch coating, but you can definitely do a thicker typical breading if you would like, like I did in my Orange Chicken recipe. Also, the addition of the hoisin sauce may seem small and you may want to skip it because it isn’t a normal pantry item unless you are used to doing Asian cooking, but the flavor is that specific General Tso’s Chicken flavor that you’ll miss without it.

Looking for some other Chinese food takeout options for dinner? Well aside from the long list of Panda Express menu items on the site, here is a list of delicious meals waiting to be made!

General Tso Chicken Recipe

Some quick notes about the ingredients in the recipe:

  • It can be tempting to swap out items, like white wine vinegar for rice vinegar. Every time you make a substitution it is going to taste less like what you remember ordering out. Rice vinegar is a pretty inexpensive vinegar in the grocery store and an amazing flavor boost for salads as well as many Asian recipes. You won’t regret the purchase.
  • Hoisin sauce is one of my favorite (and I really mean favorite) Asian pantry item. It has an awesome depth of flavor and is sometimes referred to as Asian BBQ sauce. You’ll immediately recognize the flavor when you try it and the one bottle will make many delicious dishes. Don’t skip it.
  • Sesame seeds, you may see me using them as a garnish on a lot of my Asian dishes, this is because presentation counts. I know you probably think “oh man I’m just tired and ready to eat the second I am done cooking” but believe me when I tell you that a little sprinkling of sesame seeds, chopped chives or even red chili pepper will instantly add flair to your meal.

How to make General Tso's Chicken

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General Tso's Chicken

General Tso's Chicken is a favorite Chinese food takeout choice that is sweet and slightly spicy with a kick from garlic and ginger.
Yield 4 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Chinese
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

  • 1 pound chicken thighs cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • oil for frying
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • For the Sauce:
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Instructions

  • Toss the chicken thighs with the quarter cup of cornstarch and let sit while you mix the sauce ingredients.
  • Add the rice vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, water, sugar and tablespoon of cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk together.
  • Add the chicken to a pan with the oil and fry until crispy.
  • Remove chicken from the pan and drain all but a tablespoon of the oil and add the chili flakes, ginger and garlic.
  • Cook until you smell the garlic (about 30 seconds).
  • Add in the chicken and toss, then add in the sauce.
  • Stir for about 30 seconds until thickened.
  • Serve immediately.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 90kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 1g | Sodium: 792mg | Potassium: 28mg | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 75IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.3mg
Keyword: Easy General Tso's Chicken

General Gau's Chicken Recipe

General Tso's Chicken recipe is a favorite Chinese food takeout choice that is sweet and slightly spicy with a kick from garlic and ginger.
General Tso's Chicken is a favorite Chinese food takeout choice that is sweet and slightly spicy with a kick from garlic and ginger.
General Tso's Chicken is a favorite Chinese food takeout choice that is sweet and slightly spicy with a kick from garlic and ginger.

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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Comments

  1. This recipe is easy, delicious and has has amazing flavors. I made this for the first time last night and we all voted it was better than our local Chinese restaurant! So much delicious flavor! It’s a recipe I’ll be making again and again.

    1. Fry 3 or 4 pieces at a time, fry each piece for 14 minutes, turning each piece about halfway through until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Hope this helps!

  2. I had to make some adjustments for a lack of ingredients (chicken breast instead of thigh, a peanut butter based hoisin mock-up, less ginger) but even then, this chicken absolutely slaps. It’s the easiest and most accessible ingredient-wise General Tso’s recipe I’ve seen, and I’m absolutely going to be making it again.

  3. Okay…my boyfriend and I are college students who love Chinese food, but definitely can’t afford to be eating takeout all the time. We made this on a whim one night, expecting it to be just good enough to satisfy a craving, but it was AMAZING! We literally make it every single week now. This is also the recipe that helped me get over my fear of frying foods. I know it sounds silly, but it always freaked me out! Now I can very comfortably do this all the time. We do double or sometimes even triple the sauce so we have plenty for our rice. We’ve adjusted it a bit over time where we add a little less rice vinegar than needed, but it’s good no matter what! Definitely make sure you heat the sauce enough…seems like several people ate just the watery start of the sauce and obviously disliked it. It has to heat up and simmer for the cornstarch and everything to thicken; then you’ll have a really lovely, thick sauce! Cannot rave enough about how good this is – it’s also very easy and cheap once you have all the staples in your cabinet. We pretty much always have everything for the sauce, and only occasionally have to buy some chicken. I know I’m just rambling on, but I really wanted to let you know how much my roommates and I love this. 🙂

  4. Thanks for sharing such experience and knowledge about cooking with us. Its in valuable. And the recipes are always to die for. Im ftom western mew york. Next to buffalo. I only eat at one Chinese place which is about 30 minutes away. The serve a recipe called chicken with five flavor sauce. I have looked extensively online but can’t find it anyone. It comes with pork fried rice. The chicken is similar to general tsos . it is sticky like honey and a sauce that is mild to medium hotness. It has a slight tint of red to the sauce. The other ingredients I can’t seem to identify. It comes with vegetables like carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, mini corn, water chestnuts, green bell peppers, onions. I was wondering if you had any idea about what all is in the recipe. Its definitely the sauce that makes the whole think delicious. I would love to recreate as I have never seen it on any other Chinese menu. Thanks in advance
    David

  5. Wow. Where have you been all my life! Or at least the last 5 years…. I love food. My body loves it too much. I have gone keto with great results, but had to give up sooo much goodness. PANDA Express was one if those. Do you have a keto version of some of these? How would one count carbs when substituting swerve for the sugars?

  6. My husband and I really love this recipe! I do modify it and used ground meat (I’ve done both chicken and pork) instead of thigh pieces for ease of meal prep, but its a hit every time! Double the recipe for lunches for both of us all week. I’ve done the orange chicken too and love it as well. Thank you!

  7. Love this recipe – even my picky eaters!! So easy to make – really quick for week day dinners
    I add pineapple and peppers to the sauce – so yummy!
    I wanted to add that the protein calculation for this recipe is definitely wrong – for every ounce of chicken its 10 grams of protein – so depending – please adjust

  8. My whole family of picky eaters gobble this dinner up every time I make it. I often use cubed pork chops instead of chicken tho. I’ve also used baked chicken with the sauce. Cannot recommend enough.

  9. I live outside of the USA and can’t find a place that does good “American Chinese” takeout anywhere. Made this last night and it has satisfied my craving for Chinese takeout. Thank you!

  10. So simple and so yummy. Some alterations:
    -used extra virgin olive oil to shallow fry the chicken, then let it finish cooking in a 375F degree oven.
    -Forgot to get sesame seeds so I added a tiny splash of toasted sesame oil at the end
    -Served over organic jasmine white rice with veggies (broccoli, red pepper, mushrooms)
    -used microplane to grate/get paste from ginger and garlic

    Any suggestions on a gluten-free hoison sauce?

    Thank you!

  11. I make this all the time. Def a family favorite! I like to double the sauce and use half the hots so it’s not too spicy.

  12. I just can’t say enough about how delicious this recipe is! I was recently became gluten intolerant (at age 62) and was missing my favorite take out meal, that is- until I made your General Tso’s chicken. My first time frying in oil and using cornstarch to coat the chicken was simple when following your directions . Thank you so much! I can’t wait to try your other recipes

  13. Love this. Thank you for sharing this recipe. Have made it twice now and will be making it for a long time. so good!!!!

  14. Thank you for sharing this recipe. My entire family loved it, and with picky kids, that’s saying quite a lot. My husband insists that I write down the recipe so we can have it “exactly” the same next time, while my oldest insists that I make it the next time we have friends over. Again, thanks!

    1. Trust me, I get the whole “picky eater” situation. I’m so happy to hear that this one makes everyone happy!

  15. This was easy and ridiculously good. I haven’t found one recipe that isn’t five stars from Dinner then Dessert. I literally go out of my way to make sure that I review what recipes I make from this site because they are that good. Thanks so much Sabrina!

  16. Delish, and everyone loved it! I doubled the chicken and the sauce and added broccoli. I made sure to brown the chicken on all sides but didn’t cook it quite all the way through since I knew it would cook a little more in the sauce. Was perfect and tender. Thanks for a new winner in our dinner rotation!

  17. My husband and I were really disappointed. The flavors were unbalanced and the sauce lacked the richness one expects from General Tso. It ended up being a huge waste of ingredients. I’m honestly not sure how it got this many 5-star ratings.

    1. Literally the exact thing I was thinking. I know with recipes, we can tweak it to our liking, but from the jump, this recipe had too much rice vinegar added.

      Flavors were definitely unbalanced like you stated.

    2. I so agree! I had to throw it in the trash and was so disappointed. Is it too much vinegar or soy sauce? It had a funky flavor.

    1. we liked this dish!
      However with hoisin and soy sauces, mine was brown…. how do you make your sauce red?
      Thank you!

      1. Different brands have different coloring. I linked the exact brands that I used in the post above but the color isn’t really that important. The flavor is what we’re going for. I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  18. Absolutely wonderful. I’ve made it twice in one week. Family and friends love it!!! Easy recipe to follow.

      1. Love this and your orange chicken!! It immediately got written into our recipe book. I pan fried the chicken in batches and kept warm on a rack in the oven and it turned out PERFECT. The sauce is awesome!

        Question- What would you do to make it slightly more spicy? I like the elevated level of the ingredients without just adding a basic hot sauce. But maybe that would be easiest.

        Can’t wait to try more of your recipes!! Thanks!!

        1. I’m so glad you love it so much. If you want to make it spicier, you could add hot peppers or use a chili-infused oil or the easiest would to add crushed red peppers to the finished dish. Enjoy!

    1. If you want to use a thermometer to track and maintain the temperature of the oil, you’re looking for a steady 350 degrees.

  19. Came out ok. Just wish the time for the frying was more descriptive. But it did come out well. it didn’t add broccoli .

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