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

4.9 from 157 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. This recipe is absolute perfection! Our kids ask for it at least once a week! We like it spicy so I add a little more pepper flakes but it is certainly not necessary. Thank you for the recipe! You have taken away my fear of cooking Asian cuisine!

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to come back and let me know. I know a lot of cuisines at first seem intimidating but I’m happy that you decided to give it a try. Opens a whole new world!

  2. Made this with tofu didn’t have the hoisin. I thought such a small amount wouldn’t be missed but it’s needing an oomph so i guess that’s what it is. Still good but can’t wait to try again with the hoisin

  3. I made this last night and it was delicious! I experiment with a lot of similar recipes and my 3 co-eaters said this was one of, if not the best one. I don’t love the mess of frying the chicken (I only used 1/4 inch of oil in a deep pot and its still messy) but it is worth it. I didn’t change anything! Thanks!

  4. Hey sabrina,

    Never had general tso’s chicken before so thought i’d try it out as i had all the ingredients at home. My 9yo son LOVED it so much he licked the plate clean and wished for more (and of course his wish was granted, gave half my husband’s portions to him). Thanks for this great recipe, will be keeping it!

  5. I rarely comment on recipes but this one is PERFECT and we love it in my house! Perfect proportions of everything and great instructions. I add a lot more garlic and pepper flakes but that’s just our taste. Highly recommend!!

      1. Excellent recipe..you nailed it. My kids thoroughly enjoyed it. I added toasted sesame seeds and green onions. Thank you so much!

  6. Yum. Made it according to the recipe. Yummy. I think my frying oil temperature was too low, but the cornstarch breading still crisped up. Thank you for enabling me to enjoy one of my favorites.

  7. YES! This was fantastic. My fiance wanted to push for seasoning the cornstarch but we stuck to the recipe. EXCEPT we used El Gaucho Diablo Steak season instead of red pepper flakes. We cooked the one pound in 3 small batches.

  8. I rarely fry anything, but this recently looks wonderful. How much oil should I have in the pan? Enough to cover the chicken pieces? Is peanut oil what you would recommend?

    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!

  9. Best recipe ever. Made it exactly accept used ground Ginger and doubled the red pepper flakes. We like spicy definitely a 5 star rating.

  10. . Best recipe ever. Made exactly except used ground ginger and dbl the red pepper flakes. We like spicy.. so easy to make

    1. If you click on the green link that says ‘Metric’ under the ingredient list, it’ll adjust the measurements. Hope this helps!

  11. Hi! I don’t have hoisin sauce – if I make this will it still be good? If not, how can I replace it? Thanks!

  12. Omg, I LOVE this recipe!!! ? I used Peanut Oil to fry the chicken. I added white pepper to the cornstarch that the chicken was dredged. Also used Cane Sugar instead of regular white sugar.

  13. Tastes delicious however the nutrition information is WAY off. If you’re sticking to a certain calorie count or macros be sure to enter the recipe into whatever diary you use before eating.

      1. I’m going to try this later this week and I’m super excited!! Never tried anything like this (well making myself, it’s my favourite for Chinese though). If using ginger powder is that ok?

        1. If that’s all you have to use, that would work though you’ll only want to use 1/4 teaspoon of the powder since it’s more concentrated than fresh. Good luck!

  14. I followed the recipe faithfully…… and it was wonderful! I love Chinese food, but many of the recipes just don’t live up to what I can get from a restaurant. I think this recipe was even better than my favorite take out.

  15. Best fried chicken ever I thought I messed up when I took the chick out because it didn’t look like the picture yet but then you put the sauce on it and it looks perfect if u have never fired chicken you can’t go wrong with this meal with some white rice

  16. Wow, I haven’t had this good of a general tso’s chicken since I went to Washington D.C./Arlington v.a. years ago.

    This particular recipe reminded me of the fondness of trying that dish on a whim one day via food delivery to a hotel we were staying at the time, my family and I and I hadn’t been able to have that same taste /sense memory since, when I had this the aromas, the texture, the taste all of it came calling back, even if it was for a trip of sad things, having that dish made it bearable., and this recipe made me have happy mind memories.

    thank you so much for making this easy and simple yet fanatastic to be better than the one I now get in my hometown, just don’t tell them that.. 😉

    the only thing I tweaked was the ingredents of the ginger and the garlic for what i had on hand, i used one tsp of garlic powder not salt, and one tablespoon of powdered ginger in the 4 portions setting…

    I have subscribed as I hope to try more recipes,and have shared this with everyone I know .Thanks again !

    I love it and it’s become my go to, !

    another hint for first timers: The more this sits overnight chilling the hotter it becomes in a good way all the flavours just marry each other brilliantly.

  17. Made this tonight. Doubled the recipe. Sauce was way too sweet. And something was missing. Next time I’ll cut the rice vinegar a bit, use less sugar, and I’ll probably add a bit of sesame oil. Great recipe otherwise! Gonna try your spring roll recipe next!

  18. Simple, quick but great recipe! I added whole red chiles for more kick, and topped with toasted sesame seeds. You might want to revise the nutritional info though – 1g protein can’t be right, and what about fat content? Thanks for sharing!

  19. I just made this recipe tonight. I really enjoyed it. I didn’t have any chili flakes, but I had everything else on hand. Thank you.

  20. I made the sauce to put in the refrigerator for tomorrow’s dinner. It’s not heated yet but the soy sauce taste is a little strong. Is this normal? If not how can I fix this?

  21. OMG so good! Chinese restaurants don’t serve General Tso’s in the UK so it was so amazing to be able to recreate it at home. Thank you!

  22. I am not much of a Cook and I somehow pulled this off. Loved the recipe! My family seemed to really enjoy it too! Thanks!

  23. First time deep frying in oil. since I was 16 and burned down my best friends parent’s kitchen in the 1970’s! I just Googled how long to cook chicken pieces, and how much oil to use. I was nervous, but it came out perfectly! Very tasty sauce, and I toasted a bunch of sesame seeds for presentation. I made bacon fried rice to go with it- a combo I watched Michael Strahan make on Facebook! We were very happy at my house tonight!

    1. Oh my gosh!! I can see why you waited so long to try again, haha! Glad to hear it was a success this time!

  24. Best General Tso’s I’ve ever had! Sauce is on point. TIP: You can add corn starch to the chicken as it fries to improve coverage. More is better than less! Half inch thick strips of chicken were perfect. Cook until golden brown.

  25. This Dish tasted so delicious, I had so many people surprised and stating it was better than takeout. Definitely will be using this recipe in the future.

  26. Made this dish the other night, and it was so delicious! Thank you for your recipes. Trying more soon.

  27. Was great tasting. Took a little longer since we doubled the recipe. Chicken could be a little bigger chunks though as they got to be chewy.

  28. Awesome!
    All six members of my family loved this meal and left their plates empty after eating second helpings!!
    ( I doubled the recipe!)
    Thank you !

    1. I haven’t tested it using anything else. If you decide to try, I’d love to know what worked for you. Thanks!

  29. This recipe is absolutely amazing! 1st attempt was a success. Only thing I did different was that I didn’t have fresh ginger on hand so I used my ground ginger from the spice cabinet but cut it in half. My family fell in love with this dish and it is now printed and filed in my go to recipe book. I served it with garlic rice and steamed zucchini. Thank you for this recipe!

    1. I haven’t tested it that way. If you decide to try, I’d love to know how it turns out. Thanks!

      1. I just did it tonight! Just before the chicken was done in the air fryer I sautéed the garlic, ginger and red pepper in some oil and just continued with the recipe like normal. Was fantastic and just too easy! Everyone loved it. Thank you!

    1. I’ve not tested it that way but if you decide to try, I’d love to know how it turns out. Thanks!

  30. I made this exactly as the directions indicated, getting the exact ingredients. I added broccoli during the ginger/garlic addition. The family ABSOLUTELY loved it. Thank you for the recipe.

    1. No. It can’t be. The protein amount is also incorrect and there is no fat included in the nutritional info either. I wouldn’t rely on the nutrition facts on this one.

  31. This was good. thanks for sharing. I did make a few tweaks. I added more sugar and about a tbsp of brown sugar. I also added a bit of Thai chili oil. I added more sugar to cut the vinegar cuz it was a lot for me. I also tripled the recipe as I wanted more sauce to cover my veggies and rice.

  32. Made for dinner last night and will make again! Doubled the sauce and threw in some veggies. Might use a bit less sugar next time. Hubs loved it! Thanks!

  33. Hi there! If we want to make this following your “baked orange chicken” recipe, would we use breadcrumbs as that recipe calls for?

    Thanks,
    Aly

    1. It would have turned out good but mom sucks at reading directions so what we have is soggy chicken with sauce on it. It tasted like it kinda.