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!

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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

4.87 from 94 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.

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. Outstandingly easy and very flavorful..My big problem is double-ing and triple-ing for guests and addicted friends..It just does NOT have the same taste, consistency, or amount of sauce to make it the same as single recipe..Breaks my heart but still ok and everyone knows they better eat it! Any suggestions or ideas to try?

  2. This was so yummy and flavorful! The husband, the teen, the picky 11 year old: all went down successfully. I just love that sauce, and the methodology of the cooking order- the chicken turns out really nice. I added an extra step in that after removing the finished chicken & sauce, I had some chopped vegetables ready so I put in a bit of oil, garlic, and mixed it with the remaining sauce bits, then tossed my veggies into the wok for a quick sauté so that we could put the chicken next to the veggies over rice & pour the rest of the sauce over all.

  3. This recipe came out almost perfect for me. The chicken was as crispy as I’m accustomed to getting from my favorite Chinese joint; The sauce was the correct consistency as well. The flavor of my sauce, however, was overwhelmed by the vinegar—I smelled the overbearing scent of it as soon as I added to the pan after tossing the chicken in the chili, garlic, and ginger. I believe I measured it correctly, and as I haven’t seen another review mentioning this, I must have mis-measured. Nonetheless, great recipe, and, I’ll reduce the amount of vinegar next time. Thanks!

    1. There are 2 different kinds of rice vinegar. Pour on (the kind you want) and full strength. The pour on has sugar and water added and will not overpower the recipe. The author should specify which rice vinegar to use. I worked at pf changs and this is almost exactly changs chicken (their version of general tso’s).

  4. I cooked this for dinner lastnight! I cooked it with a side of fried rice! The ginger gave it an incredible kick with the chili flakes. Thank you! Will be making this for years to come now!! MUCH better than takeout!

  5. One of my husbands favs. Quick simple recipe. Love the serving adjustable bar. I thought the recipe was very easy to follow.

  6. Very tasty recipe. Just the right amount of spice. I wish it had the amount of oil to use, and the temperature to use when cooking on the stove top. Ie., medium, high, medium high? Also, when adding the chilli, garlic and ginger, do you turn down the heat first? It spattered like crazy. I find the lack of these basic instructions annoying. Since it seems I’m not the only person to wants to know, why not edit the recipe? I hate scrolling through all the comments to find the answers. It’s annoying. For that reason, it gets a 4 star review instead of 5.

    1. The amount of oil would be nice for this recipe but it’s not that hard to figure out. Try using a lid to keep the oil from “splattering.” C’mon that’s cooking 101 stuff right there. Also this recipe uses cornstarch which doesn’t thicken sauce until its heated close to a boil. So there is your cooking temperature. Yay!! Common sense wins! I find the lack of yours annoying. Sorry you had to scroll through all the comments. That’s wayyyyyy too much work for a FREE recipe.

      1. Bob A. comment dripping with sarcasm and self-righteousness. Reminds me of a certain orange-skinned, blond haired individual.

      2. Actually, I don’t know anyone who would use a lid to fry something in a saucepan. These create much more of a seal than fryer lids, and the moisture dripping into the hot oil makes the food cook unevenly and makes more “splattering” when you remove the lid.

        As for the rest of your clever response, remember that people have different levels of experience and comfort. I would hate to imagine what life would be like going through it with this attitude.

  7. You don’t mention how much oil please do. Everyone has different interpretations, surely don’t want too much as well.

    1. If you want your chicken to be lightly crispy, you’ll want the chicken to be floating in oil (around 3 inches). The actual amount depends on the size of the pan your using. I hope this helps!

    1. I’ve never had any leftovers to freeze so I’ve never tested it but I don’t see why you can’t store it in a freezer safe container. I would think it would last about 3-4 months in a freezer if stored properly. Enjoy!

  8. Hello Sabrina,
    I cooked this and used an already made sauce but it worked so good, my on asked me after the first spoon if I made enough for him to have another serve. Really delicious and thank you for this simple but yet delicious dish. It made a quality time evening for my teenage son and myself. Opera on the menu with dark chocolate for dessert, we were blessed. Best.

  9. I’m trying to make about 5 pounds of chicken for my big family. Should I just x5 all the ingredients (it seems the rice vinegar should be halved so I’ll only use 2.5x). I’m using boneless ski less chicken breast and powdered ginger since I dont have fresh on hand. Any help would be appreciated

    1. You can use the slider tool to adjust the servings and that will give you the amounts to adjust too. Just hover over the serving size in the recipe card and it’ll pop up. Hope this helps!

    2. Hi Irene, I liked the “ski less” chicken breast (auto corrector probably); NOT trying to make fun of it, the image really made me giggle and shifted my mood. I needed that 🙂

      Thanks
      And thanks for this amazing recipe Sabrina!
      🙂

    1. In a pinch, it would work but you’ll only want to add about 1/4 teaspoon since it’s more concentrated than fresh. Enjoy!

  10. Was noticing that was is needed doesn’t quite match the recipe. For example. 1/4 cup cornstarch for the chicken and 1 tablespoon for the sauce. Instructions. Says to toss the chicken thighs with the quarter cup of cornstarch when it calls for 1/4 cup. For the sauce it shows 1 tablespoon but calls for tablespoons

    1. I’m not sure if I’m understanding you but the chicken gets tossed with the 1/4 cup of cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch is whisked together with the other sauce ingredients. Hopes this helps.

  11. I tried this twice last night. Both times when I put the corn starch in, it immediately started smelling like ammonia. It was horrible. What did I do wrong?

    1. Oh weird. I’ve never had that happen but the only thing I can think of is maybe your cornstarch needs to be replaced. I know it has an almost indefinite shelf life but maybe it’s time to replace it. Hope this helps.

  12. This was absolutely amazing! Your suggestion to use chicken thighs is spot-on. They get really crispy with the cornstarch coating and the sauce is to die for. I followed the recipe to the letter and added lots of lightly steamed broccoli when I added the sauce to the chicken. I served it with jasmine rice to rave reviews. Thank you, well done!

  13. So delicious! I made this and it was the perfect amount of sauce and flavor! I followed everything exactly and my mom and dad loved it! I also added some broccoli and white rice. We finished it all in one sitting! 10/10

  14. Easy and excellent recipe. I add salt and pepper to the cornstarch to coat the chicken then fry it but then I have a big problem. My family starts eating these delicious chicken nuggets before I can get them back into the pan.

    I add 1 TBS less rice vinegar (and sub it with mirin) since I think 3 TBS makes it too sour. Since there is so much sauce in this recipe, I mix a good bit of steamed broccoli in with the chicken at the end and there’s still more than enough to coat everything.

  15. Made this in the wok with some rice and it came out delicious. Used cubes chicken breast and red pepper flakes instead of chili flakes. Definitely a keeper!

  16. It’s just ok I probably wouldn’t make it again as it’s missing something it’s too much soy sauce. Needs something sweet to balance the strong soy

    1. I made this tonight and I agree, it was very strong, too much soy and really salty, so I added a couple tablespoons of sugar to the simmering sauce and it helped. Next time I will use reduced sodium soy to try to lessen that…or even replace half the soy sauce with some orange juice. I found it was lacking some fruity sweetness.

  17. Made this tonight. Per the comments I used half the rice vinegar. I also used quite a bit more pepper than recommended to make it spicier. Omg soooooo good! Saved for later. Will definitely make again! Thanks!

  18. Thank you, thank you,THANK YOU for this recipe. It’s a new favorite at our house. My husband can’t get enough of it:)

  19. Hi! I have to say, as a beginner, I didn’t expect this recipe to be as easy as you stated, but by the time I was done, it was almost exactly like the original (I didn’t end up using sesame seeds, and had to add more cornstarch to the sauce at the end, but I did use sesame oil while cooking and it turned out great). My sauce was kinda watery, so that’s why I had to add the cornstarch. I did want to add that I used white wine vinegar, and it was bitter, so I might try to cut that in half next time or use the actual ingredients.
    All in all, the recipe was so good that my sister actually wanted to try some of the food. Thumbs up from both of us!!! Definitely will try again. Thank you SO much for this recipe :D.

    1. I feel like there’s already so much flavor in the dish that it’s not needed but you can add any additional seasoning you’d like.

  20. Easy to make, but way too much vinegar taste. Made exactly as described above. Looks delicious but doesn’t taste the same way. Won’t be trying this again.

  21. MMM, I love this recipe. I’ve ended up substituting the chicken for pork chops, simply because chicken is so expensive recently, but I can say that even with pork this taste delectable.

    Its so easy to make that its become one of my go-to’s when I cook for myself. thank you very much!

  22. Am trying the recipe tonight and can’t wait…it looks delish!

    Just wondering about the sesame seeds. I know you mentioned them just as a garnish, should I toast them first?

  23. I’m a little frustrated with your recipe because you didn’t detail what heat to have the pan on to fry up the chicken. I’ve never fried chicken ever before and I really want to make this recipe but I literally don’t know how much oil to use because you didn’t add that information in here and I don’t know what heat my pan should be at. Please help!

    1. I’m so sorry you’re frustrated…let me help to clarify. You want your oil to heat up to 350 degrees. If you want your chicken to be light and crispy, you’ll want to have your chicken floating in oil, usually around 3 inches deep. Hope this helps and that you enjoy it!

  24. OMFG this is better than the General Tso’s bought in any chinese food restaurant that I have tried ever!!! Amazing taste and texture…I will never eat chinese food from a chinese food restaurant again!!!

    Thanks so much for this amazing recipe!!!

  25. What kind of oil do you use to fry the chicken? And is it the kind of frying where you fully submerge the chicken or just a little bit of oil?

    1. I use canola oil to fry the chicken. You want to use enough oil that the chicken and batter don’t touch the bottom of the pan to ensure it stays light and crispy. I put enough in to allow the chicken to float, I’d say about 3 inches deep. Hope this helps!

  26. We love this recipe so much! It’s simple and turns out amazing. I’m allergic to wheat and corn, so we substitute for gluten free soy sauce and hoisin and use arrowroot starch instead of corn starch.

  27. Hi,

    i just tried your recipe today and it tasted great, but i – as a cooking beginner – have one little question: beside it still tasting great my chicken did not get crispy.. what did i do wrong? did i simply not fry it long enough? i tasted a piece and it seemed like it already started to get dry so i took it out… is about 350 fahrenheit too hot, too cold?

    any idea what the mistake might be, if the chicken does not get crispy?

    1. I’m so glad you love the recipe. To help for next time, heat the oil to 350-375 degrees. Once the chicken is added, keep the oil heated to 300-325 degrees. Also, try moving your pieces around the in pan. It helps to keep things moving so they fry rapidly and evenly. Hope this helps!

  28. I absolutely love your recipes! You nailed the copycat ones & all Chinese ones are incredible! Question- can I use cubed chicken breasts rather than chicken thighs for this recipe? Happy New Year!!!?

    1. I’m so glad you’re loving the recipes. You can use cubed chicken breasts but it will change the flavor a bit. They have a lesser fat content than thighs so if you’re ok with that difference, go ahead and use it.

  29. Great tasting. Easy to make. Next time I will reduce the rice vinegar to 1 tablespoon. Seamed a little bitter. I will also put sauce ingredients in a sauce pan and heat up first. That way I can adjust the taste for sweetness. Will definitely make again.

  30. I absolutely love this recipe!!! My boyfriend asks me to make this all the time. The only thing I changed was I use 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar because the smell and taste is too strong for me. Overall I love using this recipe when I need to make General Tso’s Chicken. Thank you for the recipe!!