General Tso’s chicken is a staple on many Chinese restaurant menus and it’s super easy to make at home as well! This dish is basically bite sized pieces of chicken that are coated and shallow fried in oil until golden brown and crispy before being set aside. A quick and easy sauce that’s a nice blend of sweet, salty, sour and spicy with a bit of corn starch to thicken it up. The key ingredients in the sauce include Chinese style dark soy sauce, light soy sauce and chinkiang vinegar (aka Chinese black vinegar), which can be replaced with regular soy sauce and rice vinegar if you cannot find them. The sauce only takes a few seconds to make and once it’s done you toss the crispy fried chicken in t before serving over rice (or noodles)!
General Tso’s Chicken
A quick and easy homemade version of the classic Chinese takeout General Tso’s chicken, only better!
- 1 pound boneless and skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup corn starch
- 2 tablespoons oil (peanut or vegetable)
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce (gluten-free or tamari for gluten-free)
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce (gluten-free or tamari for gluten-free)
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 tablespoon chinkiang vinegar (Chinese black vinegar) (or rice wine vinegar)
- 1 teaspoon chili sauce (such as sambal oelek)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 8 dried red chilies (such as chilies de arbol)
- 1 tablespoon garlic, grated
- 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- Mix the chicken into the egg until fully coated before mixing in the corn starch until just evenly coated.
- Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat, add the chicken, separate, and cook until golden brown, about 2-4 minutes per side, before setting aside, reserving the leftover oil in the pan.
- Meanwhile, mix the broth, sugar, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, ketchup, vinegar, chili sauce and cornstarch and set aside.
- Add the dried red chilies, garlic and ginger to the pan and cook in the remaining oil until fragrant, about a minute.
- Add the sauce mixture to the pan, bring it to a boil and simmer until it thickens a bit, about a minute.
- Add the chicken, toss to coat, remove from heat, mix in the sesame oil, sesame seeds and green onions and enjoy over rice or noodles.
Note: The egg and cornstarch batter on the chicken is a wet batter that with crisp up when cooked in the oil!
Option: Omit the cornstarch and egg batter for a lighter version. (Also cut down to 1 tablespoon of oil from 2.)
Option: Replace the dark soy sauce and/or light soy sauce with regular soy sauce.
Option: Add some veggies, such as snap peas, sugar peas, diced bell peppers, broccoli, etc. Saute them, in the same pan, after cooking the chicken and set aside before adding them back to the thickened sauce along with the chicken to toss and coat. You may need to add more oil to cook the veggies in.
Option: Start cooking rice or noodles before you start making the General Tso’s chicken and it will be ready at about the same time!
20 Minute Skinny Sesame Chicken
20 Minute Light Cashew Chicken
20 Minute Light Sweet and Sour Chicken
20 Minute Light Orange Chicken
20 Minute Skinny Mongolian Beef
Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Sesame Chicken
Sweet and Sour Pork
Slow Cooker Chicken Carnitas Tacos
Honey Lemon Chicken and Asparagus Stir Fry
Honey Lemon Chicken
Kung Pao Chicken
Sweet and Sour Chicken
Creamy Lemon Chicken
Quick and Easy Beef and Pepper Stir-fry
Pineapple Char Siu Pulled Pork Sliders
Spicy Peanut Chicken Rice Bowl
Sweet Chili Chicken Rice Bowl
Honey and Lime Jalapeno Chicken
Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef
Slow Cooker Peanut Chicken Sweet Potato Boats
Skillet Sweet Chili Chicken
Sticky Honey Sriracha Chicken Bites
Rick Peters says
Your instructions are sooo lacking and absolutely incomlete. Did you even read them¿. This is the second recipe that was so totally incomplete and left you lost. I’m honking about deleting you. Do you even read them before you post them?????
Please let me know which part of the recipe I could clarify!
Rick, if you don’t understand parts of the recipe, I agree with the author to ask your questions; there is no need to berate him.
Kevin, I think it’s written out fine. You could clarify further by stating what type of pan to use, to combine the sauce ingredients into the mixture you referenced as a step before calling for the mixture (perhaps while waiting for the chicken to cook?), and clarifying whether you add the ginger, etc, to the leftover oil you cooked the chicken in or in a new pan. Those are the places I can see potential confusion. Oh and your note to add veggies and what kind is great, but when do you add them? I’m grateful for your review, and I’m looking forward to trying it! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Earnest Meriwether says
What is so hard to understand about those instructions?
If youre making almost any asian food you use a wok, using egg and cornstarch to drench is called velvetening. Theres nothing hard to understand here. If your level of cooking is so amateur that basic steps stump you then thats fine we all started somewhere. However, theres no need to pull a Karen. Ask for help next time. Perhaps this is a bit above your level. I’d probably start with something more basic like soups and stews.
Dude…if you want extra help just ask. I also suggest this recipe.
1 large bowl (size…whatever is available)
1 Family size box of raisin bran
1/2 gallon of milk
Add entire box of cereal to bowl
Add milk to which you are comfortable with
Eat it as fast as possible
Apple juice would go well with this meal also…
This should keep you occupied long enough once it goes down..long enogh for everyone to enjoy their general tsp chicken.
Cynthia Suter says
Shut up Rick
Not sure what he’s talking about-directios seem complete to me. Maybe a troll?
I dont know what hes talking about the whole recipe is there.i fact I just made this toss chicken and it was fabulous.
Michael FOSTATY says
The pan was dealt with in the recipe. The sauce was dealt with in the recipe. Everything looks easy, simple, and direct. There’s nothing wrong with these recipe instructions.
What broth is being used??
I use chicken broth but you could also use beef broth, vegetable broth or even water.
Amanda Robson says
I Think that might a less than polite way to ask you to mark in the recipe which ingredients go with which part.
Personally, I have made enough of your stuff to know that you pretty much start at the top of the ingredient list and work your way down through the steps…
But someone else may not know that the first 2 ingredients mean “goes with the chicken step”
The next set of ingredients goes with “the sauce step”
But seriously dude. Thank you so much for helping me make a better class of food!
Cynthia S says
This came out delicious! I doubled the sauce since I added lots of veggies, maybe a cup of chopped broccoli and a few sweet baby bell peppers. Lots of ingredients but I had all on hand (except fancy soy sauce just used low sodium) Pretty salty on it’s own so no need to add extra. Served over steamed rice. Yummy!
Love your recipes! If I have to use fresh red chilies instead of dried, do I use a different amount and will it make the outcome different? I can’t find dried. Thank you for all the fun meal ideas. I have never had a fail with any of your recipes!!!
If you are using fresh chilies you can cook the recipe as written, keeping in mind that you generally do not eat the dried red chilies, they are there so that some of the heat will be extracted into the oil and then the sauce and for the appearance. You could also finely dice a single fresh chili to be added along with the garlic and ginger. Enjoy!
We love General Tso’s Chicken. Thank you for breaking it down so we can give it a try at home! Can’t wait to give it a try.
Peter Suhovy says
Read the whole post. He has several notes indicating answers to your quandaries. He’s pretty straight forward if you can boil water.
Mary L Kessinger says
Excellent!! Whole family loved it!!
Michael H says
I love your recipes, but I’m a bit hesitant on this one cause of the ketchup. Is it a substitute for some other harder to find ingredient? I’d rather buy something else just to avoid the ketchup lol
The ketchup is there to add a sweet fruitiness. You can omit it or use a 1/2 teaspoon of tomato paste. Enjoy!
Kirsten Dempsey says
Loved your General Tso recipe! I’ve been wanting to make it for over a year and finally did tonight. I was pleasantly surprised at how accurately it matched the look, texture, and taste of many a Chinese meal I’ve eaten way too fast. I did tweak it to taste but your sauce base was perfect. The ginger, chiles, and sesame oil made it perfect for me! I substituted coconut sugar which might taste a tad less sweet than brown sugar so I doubled the amount. To make it a full meal (of course it would be delish on its own too!) and beef up the health value, I used homemade bone broth in the sauce, added roughly chopped (1-1.5inch chunks) of broccoli and red onion in about the same volume as the chicken (I doubled the sauce recipe to accommodate this), and served it over black rice. I will definitely be using this again!