General Tso’s Chicken
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General Tso’s Chicken is an easy Chinese chicken recipe with general tso’s sauce cooked in 20 minutes! Crispy and tender chicken thighs coated in a homemade sticky tangy stir-fry sauce, totally irresistible.
Why get Chinese food take out when you can make this delicious General Tso’s chicken that’s healthier with much fewer calories right at home! It’s coated with cornstarch and pan fried instead of deep fried.
General tso recipe is one of our favorite Chinese chicken recipes along with its close relatives Sesame Chicken, Orange Chicken and Lemon Chicken.
WHAT IS GENERAL TSO’S CHICKEN
General Tso’s Chicken goes by many names such as general tso chicken, general gau chicken and general tao chicken. It was originally named after a Chinese military leader from the Qing dynasty.
It’s deep-fried crispy chicken coated in a sticky sweet and sour sauce with a slightly spicy kick. The history goes back to 1970s in New York and has since become the most popular Chinese takeout food in America. This lighter version is stir-fried instead of deep-fried for a healthier meal option.
GENERAL TSO’S SAUCE
This General Tso chicken sauce recipe is close to authentic sauce from Panda Express restaurant. It uses minimal ingredients you already have in your pantry or refrigerator!
- Soy sauce (low-sodium recommended)
- Rice vinegar (you can also use cider vinegar as a substitute)
- Hoisin sauce
HOW TO MAKE GENERAL TSO’S CHICKEN
- Start by cutting boneless, skinless chicken thighs into 1-inch cubes.
- Added chicken pieces into a large ziplock bag, and then add salt, pepper and cornstarch. Mix well.
- In a large skillet or wok over high heat, sear the chicken until golden brown. Remove it to a plate.
- Lower the heat to medium-low and sauté the ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes. Then add back the cooked chicken and pour in General Tso’s sauce, which will immediately start bubbling and thickening. Toss the chicken with the sauce. Remember it’ll thicken more as it cools to become that sticky coating we all love.
Chicken thighs are best for this recipe. Breasts also work, but chicken thighs will yield juicier meat that’s perfect for general tso!
Garnish your chicken with sesame seeds and sliced green onions. It is perfect as a quick weeknight dinner and serve with rice and steamed broccoli or your favorite vegetables.
STEP BY STEP PROCESS PHOTO
Below is a picture showing you the entire cooking process:
TIPS FOR MAKING GENERAL TSO’S CHICKEN
- Cutting your chicken into small cubes (about 1 inch) will allow for quicker cooking and a crispier coating.
- Taste test your General Tso sauce before you add it to the pan. Increasing sugar will give a sweeter flavor, while adding more rice vinegar will make it more tart.
- When adding the sauce to the pan, make sure to lower the temperature so as to allow the flavor to develop and the sauce to become thick and glossy.
- If you want to achieve the extra crispy texture like the restaurant, you can marinate chicken pieces with thicker breading like my Orange Chicken recipe.
CAN I COOK GENERAL TSO CHICKEN IN A SLOW COOKER?
Yes, Crock Pot General Tso’s Chicken is easy to make and use the same ingredients. Follow the steps to cook the chicken and sauce from this recipe, and then add them all to the crockpot. Cook for 4 hours on low heat.
GENERAL TSO CHICKEN RECIPE VIDEO
Easy General Tso Chicken
- 1 1/2 lb chicken thighs, boneless, skinless in 1-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 tbsp ginger, minced
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
General Tso Sauce
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce, low-sodium recommended
- 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 1/3 cup water
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
Serving - optional
- 2 tsp sesame seeds
- green onion, minced
- Into a large ziplock bag, add the cubed chicken and 1/2 cup cornstarch. Seal and shake until coated. Set aside.
- Make the sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, water, sugar and cornstarch. Set aside.
- Place a large skillet or wok on medium-high heat. Add the oil and wait 30-60 seconds until it's very hot.
- Add the chicken pieces to the pan, shaking off excess cornstarch as you go. If you have more than fits in one layer, save half for a second batch.
- Fry for 3-5 minutes, turning from time to time to brown evenly. Remove to a plate and reserve.
- Remove all fat except for a tablespoon, then add in the ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes. Fry for 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Add the chicken back to the pan and mix thoroughly with the ginger-garlic.
- Pour in the sauce mixture, and stir constantly until it's just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, less than one minute.
- Remove from heat, serve immediately and enjoy!
Please read our nutrition disclaimer.
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Editor note: Post originally published 11/7/2017 and updated 6/1/2019 with new information.
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This was so easy and delicious!! I have another recipe for this but couldn’t find it so I quick looked on Pinterest and found this recipe. I had all the ingredients and it was quick that I was able to put dinner on the table in no time.
This is now my “go to” recipe!!!! This recipe is a keeper 🙂
Thank you for sharing….
Hi Suz, Great to hear and glad you found our recipe! Thanks for your comment.
Seriously good recipe thank you
Hi Theis, Awesome and thanks for your comment!
This was so easy and taste amazing better than some restaurants I added olive oil and flour in the bag to make sure it’s stuck to get crust also added what another did-on here tai style sweet chili to the sauce came out really good I was impressed with me being able to get it right lol
This sauce was delicious and easy to make! But most of the cornstarch fell off the chicken while frying. Please help! Can’t wait to make this recipe again but really want the chicken to have a nice crispy coating.
My husband absolutely love this recipe. Whenever I make it, I add about 2 tbs of flour just to have a little more coating. I love adding broccoli in it towards the end too 😊
Hi Tiffany, That’s so great to hear and thanks for your comment!
I don’t order General Tso’s when we get Chinese take out, but I made this recipe because that’s my boyfriend’s go-to take out order. When we make homemade Chinese style chicken dishes, we make either orange or teriyaki flavor. We wanted something different and this sauce was delicious. However my sauce looked more like a teriyaki sauce rather than a General Tso’s sauce. Not sure what I did differently, but it still had a great flavor.
Hi Nicole, Thanks for your feedback. There are many versions of General Tso and this is a slightly darker sauce. Glad you enjoyed!
Not bad but this did not taste like general tso chicken …. it had a Chinese food taste but not general tso.
Hi Barbara, Thanks for your feedback and glad you enjoyed even if not quite what you were looking for.
That was great!!! I didn’t have minced ginger, used ground ginger, and I used sweet Chili sauce instead of the hoisin sauce. And I had sesame oil on hand. This still turned out amazing.
Hi Brandy, Thanks so much and glad you liked it! I’ll have to try that sweet chili…
Being in quarantine wanted Chinese food just made this I love it thanks for the recipe
Hi Doreen, I know the feeling… Thanks for your review and so glad you enjoyed!
I wanna start by saying you guys suck. This recipe from the get-go was absolutely incorrect. I am very disappointed with how my meal came out due to the terrible instructions that I was given.Whoever wrote this recipe should be fired. I am absolutely disgusted. I don’t care.
This is the reason why I am giving this recipe zero stars. I highly recommend not choosing this recipe. I repeat do not choose this recipe.
Hi Bob, Thanks for your feedback and sorry it didn’t turn out well. If you had any specifics of what went wrong, it would be helpful.
Im sorry why are you so rude? Like seriously what is your problem. Maybe it wouldn’t turn out so bad if you knew how to cook. Also if it was incorrect from the start why did you proceed to make it. If you dont have anything nice to say keep your mouth shut.
You’re so rude! It turned out amazing for me!
This turned out t meh for me. But inside raw honey instead of sugar. Maybe that’s why? I might try again with real sugar.
Hi Lisa, Thanks for your comment and sorry to hear that. Honey should be fine, but I haven’t actually tested it.
I used Brown rice instead of white rice, however, it turn out good!!!
Hi Carolyn, Awesome, great to hear and thanks for letting me know!
This was fantastic!! I immediately wanted to make more so I could take it for leftovers! Thanks for the great recipe! We made our with noodles and broccoli on the side – outstanding!!
Hi Lynn, Thanks for your comment and that’s amazing to hear! So glad you enjoyed it
Just made this tonight. Outstanding!!! I used low salt soy sauce and Splenda instead of sugar since we are diabetic. My husband asked me if I had got take out!! Definitely a good recipe. Will make again!
Hi Carole, Amazing to hear and thanks so much for your review! I like the idea of using alternative sweetener too 🙂
Not sweet at all. Has an extremely sour taste due to lack of sugar. I won’t make this again.
Hi Meghan, Thanks for your comment although it is a savory recipe with just a hint of sweetness. You can add more sugar if you like!
Hi Guilene, Thanks for your review 🙂 Glad you liked it!
Just tried this, was very nervous because I’ve never made sauce of any kind before and I had to cook more than five pounds of chicken. All of my roommates and husband loved this recipe!!
Hi Shelby, So happy to hear that and you’re brave to start with 5 pounds of chicken – bravo! 🙂
What kind of sugar? Brown, powder or granulated.
Hi Haley, White (granulated) sugar is best, but you can use brown in a pinch. Avoid powdered! 🙂
So I made this exactly, with all the proper ingredients and idk what went wrong. I am thinking it might be the vinegar? It was very sweet, but also salty and tart. I did bring the sauce back up to a boil to see if I could mellow the flavor a little, like you suggested. It did work but I think I will stick with my usual go to recipe.
Hi Liz, Thanks for your feedback. Not sure but sweet, salty and tart sounds like General Tso’s Chicken! You can certainly reduce the vinegar if it’s particularly strong-flavored. Hope that helps!
I’m not sure what I did wrong. I followed the recipe exactly. The sauce came out overly salty and way to tart. I added another tbsp sugar which then made it salty, tart and sweet. The store was out of low sodium soy but it’s never been an that much of an issue before. Any other suggestions that may have fixed this?
Hi Laura, Sorry to hear! Hard to say what happened, but if too salty then the low-sodium soy is probably the culprit. Make sure you bring the sauce to a boil too, which will mellow the flavor somewhat. Hope you try it again!
This came out AMAINGN!!
I didn’t have ginger, garlic or onions, and I used reduced sodium soy sauce too. I used some garlic powder before putting chicken and sauce in the pan, since I didn’t have garlic. My husband loved it too! He said it was better than the restaurant! I broke an egg over the chicken cubes, and mixed with my hands. I then smothered with corn starch mixture. This was to die for! Hank you for sharing!
Hi Danielle, Awesome, so glad to hear!! Thanks for your review and feedback 🙂
Made exactly as written. Way too salty. The only thing I can think is using regular soy sauce is were that is coming from. I added a 1/2 cup of brown sugar to balance the sweet and salty. I also used a head of broccoli. With that being said, it is a crowd pleaser, taste as you go.
Thanks Christal for your review and feedback. Best to use low sodium soy sauce, but it’s always popular either way 🙂