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.
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
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.