Ground General Tso’s Chicken

4 servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ground General Tso’s Chicken is a healthy twist on popular takeout! All the garlicky, sweet, spicy flavor you love ready in just 20 minutes!

General Tso’s Chicken is one of the most popular takeout Asian Recipes, not to mention a fan favorite on this site! This healthier version is made in one pan and ready in only 20 minutes!

Ground General Tso's Chicken in bowl with rice

Chinese food delivery is a guilty pleasure we all love. What’s not to love about fried everything smothered in sugary sauces delivered to your door in an hour? But the hit on your wallet and health on too much delivery can add up. Making take-out inspired dishes like Ground General Tso’s Chicken is a healthier way to get those flavors you crave in less time (and cost) than delivery.

If you are new to Asian cooking, the couple of “speciality” ingredients you’ll need might seem overwhelming and little pricey to start with. The nice thing about Asian sauces, like hoisin sauce and rice vinegar, is that a little goes a long way and they are used in so many recipes. A one-time buy will last dozens of recipes.

Ground General Tso’s Chicken makes a great easy party or potluck dish! No need to fry fresh chicken all night or worry about soggy General Tso’s Chicken. Double or triple the recipe and place in a large chaffing dish (or slow cooker on low) for a crowd pleasing main course. Make some extra sauce to add in case the party goes on a while and you need to refresh the chicken.

Ground General Tso's Chicken in skillet

A not-so-secret tip to making the best Asian stir fry dishes is to invest in a wok. The wok allows you to cook at a high heat without requiring a lot of oil or time in the pan. This leaves you with crispy veggies and perfectly seared, juicy meat. While a saucy dish like Ground General Tso’s Chicken can be cooked as well in a skillet, that crunchy crust from a wok is worth the investment! (Plus you can get a good one for less than $50!)

Easily make a complete takeout style meal in about the same time it takes to prepare Ground General Tso’s Chicken. Both Panda Express Fried Rice and Chinese Steamed Rice are ready in less than 30 minutes. Panda Express Super Greens and Roasted Broccoli are both quick and healthy sides to finish off your takeout-inspired dinner!

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Ground General Tso's Chicken in skillet

Frequently Asked Questions

Why add water chestnuts to this General Tso’s Chicken recipe?

Water Chestnuts are not a classic addition to General Tso’s Chicken, but they appear in this recipe. Why? Well, the one thing you can describe them as is crunchy. Since we took the breading and deep frying out of the dish, we lost a textural component to the dish that was important to the recipe. The addition of the water chestnuts adds a crunch to your bite, in addition to bulking up the recipe and adding in a non-protein component. 

Take the leap with the recipe on this one, its a nice crunch, similar to what you enjoy when you order PF Changs Chicken Lettuce Wraps.

What other meat or protein can be made with General Tso’s sauce?

Make Ground General Tso’s with ground beef, ground turkey, or ground pork, or go vegan with baked tofu. Use boneless, chicken tenderloins for a similar lightened up version of General Tso’s Chicken.

Can I add stir fry vegetables to Ground General Tso’s Chicken?

Yes! Stir-fry veggies like snow peas, carrots, and broccoli and set to the side. Prepare the Ground General Tso’s Chicken as usual. Once finished, return veggies to the wok and toss with chicken and sauce until hot.

What other Asian flavors can I try with Ground General Tso’s Chicken?

Try other Asian flavors in this dish like fish sauce, oyster sauce, mirin, rice wine, and orange zest to adjust the sauce to your taste.

How can I make General Tso’s Chicken more spicy?

This General Tso’s Chicken is only slightly spicy but you can increase the heat with sriracha, more red pepper flakes, or diced dried chiles (like in Kung Pao Chicken).

General Tso’s Chicken Meatballs

Easily turn this into tasty General Tso’s Chicken Meatballs with the instructions below.

  • Gently mix ground chicken with 2 teaspoons garlic powder, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs, salt and pepper, 1 egg, and 1 tablespoon sesame oil until just combined.
  • Roll chicken mixture into 18-22 meatballs.
  • Sear meatballs in large skillet (don’t overcrowd) over medium high heat for 6-7 minutes, until browned on all sides. Set aside.
  • Prepare General Tso’s sauce like normal in large skillet or wok.
  • Return meatballs to pan and toss in the sauce. Cook on low heat for 3-4 minutes.

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How to Store Ground General Tso’s Chicken

  • Serve: Ground General Tso’s Chicken is best served hot, but can be kept at room temperature for up to 2 hours.
  • Store: Refrigerate Ground General Tso’s Chicken in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat on the stovetop in a skillet for best taste.
  • Freeze: Completely cool Ground General Tso’s Chicken and freeze in a freezer safe bag or sealed container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating on the stovetop.
Ground General Tso's Chicken in bowl with rice

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Ground General Tso’s Chicken

Ground General Tso's Chicken is a healthy twist on popular takeout! All the garlicky, sweet, spicy flavor you love ready in just 20 minutes!
Yield 4 servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Asian
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 8 ounces canned water chestnuts , diced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic minced

General Tso's Sauce


  • To a large pan add 1 tablespoon oil, ground chicken and diced water chestnuts.
  • Cook until a good crust forms before breaking apart, then finish cooking by breaking it apart with a spatula and cooking for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  • Once the chicken is cooked, add the ginger, garlic and crushed red pepper and cook for about 10 seconds.
  • For the General Tso's Sauce: Add the rice vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, water, sugar and tablespoon of cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk together.
  • Add the General Tso's sauce to the pan and bring to boil. Cook for just a few seconds, stirring until it thickens.



Calories: 254kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 860mg | Potassium: 621mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 74IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword: Ground General Tso’s Chicken
Ground General Tso's Chicken Collage

Photo used in a previous version of this post.

General Tso's Ground Chicken collage

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 cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, 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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  1. My boyfriend is pickier than your average toddler, and he loves this recipe- he said it’s his favorite meal that I make. My son and I love it too! Thank you!

    1. Literally giggled when I read this Heather! You’re welcome and thanks for the 5 stars.

  2. Absolutely delicious. Will be making this one again for sure. It’s so easy to make. I wouldn’t change a thing with this recipe. Thanks so much.

  3. Yummy…and for a lighter version I made the meat and put it in lettuce wraps…no rice, delicious

  4. This is a really good recipe, I don’t ever have water chestnuts, but like this recipe without them. I will make this recipe over and over again.

  5. This was super easy and the flavor was wonderful! I made this recipe exactly as written and served it over basmati rice, so tasty! Definitely a keeper recipe!!

  6. Such an easy and tasty recipe! I didn’t have hoisin sauce so I swapped for teriyaki and tossed in two cups of broccoli florets when the chicken was almost cooked through. Love the crunch from the water chestnuts. Thanks for fast great meal.

  7. I made it tonight but used cut up chicken thighs and a sugar substitute, so it was not as sweet. My husband and I enjoyed it very much. I will definitely make it again. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

  8. I can’t wait to try this! My son LOVES Chinese and this is one of his favorite dishes…..great way to bribe him to come home and visit! lol

  9. Just made this…yummm! I doubled sauce so I could add some cooked vegetables at the end. So good, no guilt. Great recipe, as always. Thanks!!!

  10. I lo-o-v-e Dinner then Dessert, but I can’t seem to get the videos to work. Is there something I need to do or can you share the secret with me? 😉 Thanks.

  11. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy all of your recipes!! ALL are delicious easy to make and loved by my family… thank you – you are MY favorite by far!!

  12. This is so easy and delicious!! I will be making this again. I did tweak it slightly to make it gluten free (arrowroot for cornstarch (1:1).

  13. Another great recipe from this site! Only alteration was I didn’t have the water chestnuts. Still turned out amazing. Thanks Sabrina!

  14. I made the meatballs, and added steamed broccoli florets, served over white rice, hubby loved it. Next time I will double or even triple the sauce. We love a lot of sauce. Definitely will be added to our regular menu.

  15. This is a fantastic recipe and you would not know that it is made with ground chicken. You definitely do not miss the fried beef. The water chestnuts gives a nice crunch. Kids will love it. You have to double the sauce.

  16. Can you do this without water chestnuts?
    I have never had this but it looks delicious and I wanted to try it!

    1. The water chestnuts provide the crunch that this dish normally had from the fried breading. You can skip them if it’s not important to you. Just an easy way to add a similar texture to the original dish.

      1. Do you have a suggestion for a substitute for the water chestnuts? I really don’t like them at all and was wondering if you had a suggestion for something else to give it that crunch.

        1. Bamboo shoots, chopped finely or even baby corn would be delicious. I’ve also subbed in cauliflower rice successfully.

  17. This was good! I didn’t dice the water chestnuts (lazy lol) and I used ground turkey since that’s easier for me to find.
    Next time I think I’ll use brown sugar instead of white (I generally prefer the flavor of brown sugar)

  18. I did enjoy this dish and it was very simple to make. I did substitute the water crest for chickpeas, which I had on hand.

  19. I LOVE General Chicken. But I don’t love that it’s deep fried (well, I do but…). This is a GREAT alternative. It’s a very simple, fast recipe and the taste is sooooooooooo there. Definitely going into my recipe binder.

    1. I totally get it! It’s hard to give up the dishes we love but with this twist, we don’t have too!

      1. The Hubby didn’t speak for the first five minutes of the meal….too busy eating! I’ve been trying new meals during the quarentine to combat food boredom and this twist on a restaurant favorite was a big and easy hit.

  20. My kids have always asked for this as a “frozen dinner meal” from the grocery store. Ugh. But when I showed them we can make it at home they jumped at the chance. It was SO good and so easy to make! Yum. Can’t wait to have it again. A new family favorite.