General Tso’s Chicken

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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

Recipe

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General Tso's Chicken

4.83 from 98 votes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Course: Main
  • Cuisine: Chinese
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder
General Tso's Chicken is a favorite Chinese food takeout choice that is sweet and slightly spicy with a kick from garlic and ginger.

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

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Toss the chicken thighs with the quarter cup of cornstarch and let sit while you mix the sauce ingredients.
  2. Add the rice vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, water, sugar and tablespoon of cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk together.
  3. Add the chicken to a pan with the oil and fry until crispy.
  4. Remove chicken from the pan and drain all but a tablespoon of the oil and add the chili flakes, ginger and garlic.

  5. Cook until you smell the garlic (about 30 seconds).

  6. Add in the chicken and toss, then add in the sauce.
  7. Stir for about 30 seconds until thickened.

  8. Serve immediately.

Recipe Video

Nutrition Information

Yield: 4 servings, Amount per serving: 90 calories, Calories: 90g, Carbohydrates: 20g, Protein: 1g, Sodium: 792mg, Potassium: 28mg, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 75g, Vitamin C: 0.5g, Calcium: 5g, Iron: 0.3g

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert.

Keyword: Easy General Tso's Chicken
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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.

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Comments

  1. I made this tonight , and it’s sooo good! I knew I didn’t want it to sweet but a little more spicy, so I didn’t add as much sugar to the sauce, and added a few more chilies and some Serrano peppers. I also think I’ll cut the chicken to smaller bit size pieces. It turned out super good AND my husband approved ! Thanks so much for this recipe!

  2. I had only one problem with this recipe: It wasn’t specific enough about frying the chicken. I’m new to wok cooking and I’ve made several stir fries. So when I saw “fry” the chicken, I didn’t know whether you meant stir fry or deep fry, and there was no quantity of oil specified. Turns out I didn’t use enough (and that wasn’t my only mistake). Despite my neophyte blunders, the sauce was delicious! (My wife thought it was a little sweet.) Bit I wouldn’t change a thing!

    1. You can definitely use it and bake until crispy, but you will want to add some cornstarch to the sauce to thicken it since the popcorn chicken won’t have the flour/cornstarch coating the regular chicken has. Let me know how it turns out!

    1. So sorry it didn’t meet your tastes. I’d love to hear if you alter it in the future, perhaps with a less strong vinegar that might taste better for you.

  3. This my first time trying a Pinterest recipe, I’ve pinned many but this was my first time actually making a recipe. It was delicious and way better than any takeout I’ve had. My daughter is very picky and she loved it. It was really, really good!! This will go into dinner rotation.

  4. Did not turn out like General Taos! Chicken did not get crispy! Yes I deep fried it! Never browned? The sauce thickens up nicely and coats the chicken well but is too sweet. It’s ok but not General Taos. ISO another recipe! Thanks

  5. The best I had. Followed the recipe to the letter. Browned chicken in 3/4 inch of oil . Then put on paper towels. Had oven preheated to 300 let cook a little longer to make sure internet yep was good. Cooked sauce then added chicken yum

  6. the crispy chicken part came out great…the sauce sucked big time, to much vinegar, tasted nothing like the order out Chinese. i will look else where for the sauce….dont bother here.

  7. Tried the recipe as is before reading the comments. It was good, but definitely agree that it was too much rice vinegar. I also have to say that the chicken was no longer crispy crunchy after the sauce was added, which was disappointing. Not sure what to do with that.
    BUT. I was still so impressed with the initial results, that I tried again today. Didn’t have any more chicken left but I used tofu! It was unbelievably good. I used 1 tbsp rice vinegar and 1tbsp mirin. Fantastic!

  8. There was quite a bit of prep work to this recipe, but it came together fast and tasted really, really good. Short on rice so I served the chicken over rice for our son and we ate it over rice noodles. My picky son, went back for seconds. My wife says to keep the recipe. I liked it too. Thank you for sharing your recipe Sabrina.

  9. Made this and it was delicious. It’s my first time and my children were impress. Surprise myself.

    The ginger and vinegar was key and brought out the flavor.

    Thanks for your wonderful recipe

  10. My husband and I made this last night together I thought it was amazing . I didn’t really measure anything Button up to the ingredients listed as is. Just want to thank you for posting the recipe. We loved it!

  11. The flavour was good, but I didn’t get the crispy coating or colour that is typical of General Tso’s chicken. Are you supposed to actually deep fry the chicken in the oil? I put just a few tablespoons of oil and the cornstarch just stuck to the bottom. My chicken turned out looking just like a stir-fry chicken rather than a coated, crisp chicken. Any suggestions?

    1. To get the crispy coating, you need to fry the chicken. You want to have the chicken floating in the oil, about 3 inches. Hope this helps!

  12. Tried this recipe – with a few tweaks in the recipe it came out perfect! After reading up on many reviews, I decided to do a combination of all. Instead of 3 tbsp of vinegar, I did 2. Instead of 1/2 a tbsp of red chili flakes, I did 1 tbsp (keep in mind this does make it a tad more spicy so you will have to sprinkle more sugar on your entree when cooking after the sauce is added). I don’t know if this makes a difference but I also used less sodium soy sauce and ate this with rice and broccoli. Overall, loved this recipe, thank you!

  13. Decided to try doing this instead of buying some and I’m SLIGHTLY disappointed… the chicken was crispy and delicious and the sauce worked perfectly but the ginger (maybe vinegar too?) was so overpowering it really ruined it for me. It may be because I didn’t add as much chili flakes. I also made the mistake of pouring all my sauce on my rice so there was no relief! Next time I make this I’ll definitely add a lot less ginger and add more chili flake! Other than the ginger it was a great recipe!