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12 April 2021

This General Tso’s Chicken recipe is crispy bites of chicken stir fried in a sauce that’s both sweet and spicy. So easy to make and better than takeout! Perfect for the spicy food lover.

If you’re a spicy food lover looking for quick and easy meal options, General Tso’s Chicken is a recipe you’ll want to keep in your recipe box. No need to call up your local Chinese restaurant for takeout. This homemade version is so easy to make, and so much better with your own personal touch.

General Tso’s Chicken is a a dish of crispy deep-fried chicken tossed in a sweet and spicy Chinese sauce. It is popularly served in Chinese American restaurants and named for a Qing Dynasty military leader. 

It is rather famous for takeout Chinese food, though it’s so much better when you make it at home, as you can really control the ingredients and, more importantly, the spice factor. 

Plus, it’s done in under 30 minutes, which is a huge bonus, even for a slow cook like me. General Tso’s chicken is usually fried in Chinese restaurants, but this version uses a coating of cornstarch for crispiness, making this a somewhat healthier version without all the fry oil.

Let’s talk about how we make General Tso’s Chicken, shall we?

General Tsos Chicken in a wok with garnish

General Tso’s Chicken Ingredients

  • FOR THE GENERAL TSO’S CHICKEN SAUCE
  • Light Soy Sauce
  • Honey – For sweetness. You can use sugar or brown sugar as a substitute.
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Chili Sauce – Doubanjiang is great here, or use chili-garlic sauce.
  • Chicken Broth
  • Cornstarch
  • FOR THE GENERAL TSO’S CHICKEN
  • Boneless Chicken – Chicken breast or chicken thighs can be used, or a combination.
  • Salt and Black Pepper
  • Cornstarch
  • Vegetable Oil – Olive oil or peanut oil are good, too
  • Hot Peppers – Use Chinese peppers, Thai peppers or others that are available to you.
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Scallions (Green Onions)
  • For Garnish: Fresh chopped scallions, sesame seeds, spicy red pepper flakes, extra sliced peppers

General Tsos Chicken, ready to serve

How to Make General Tso’s Chicken – the Recipe Method

MAKE THE GENERAL TSO’S CHICKEN SAUCE

Get Whisking. Whisk together the soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, chili sauce, chicken broth, and cornstarch in a medium sized bowl. Set aside until ready to use.

General Tsos Chicken sauce in a bowl

FOR THE GENERAL TSO’S CHICKEN

Coat the Chicken. Add the chicken pieces in a bowl with the cornstarch and salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat. Be sure to evenly coat each piece.

Coating chicken pieces with cornstarch

Stir Fry the Chicken. Heat the vegetable oil in a large wok or pan to medium-high heat or high heat and swirl to coat. Cook the chicken 4-5 minutes, stirring often, until the each side of the chicken forms a crispy golden brown crust. Don’t let it stick to the bottom of the pan. 

Stir frying the chicken in the wok to make General Tsos Chicken

Reserve the Chicken. When the chicken is nearly cooked through, remove it from the pan and set it aside.

Cook the Vegetables. Reduce the heat to medium and add the hot peppers, garlic, ginger and scallions. Stir fry for 30 seconds.

Stirring the General Tsos Chicken sauce into the wok

Time to Simmer. Add the reserved sauce and reserved chicken to the wok and bring to a simmer. Toss to combine. Cook another 2 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

Stirring the chicken back into the wok

Garnish and serve! General Tso’s Chicken is best with rice, either steamed rice, brown rice, or even over stir fried rice

Boom! Done! General Tso’s Chicken is ready to serve! Looks great, doesn’t it? Spicy flavor, not overly hot-spicy, though you can easily up that heat with hotter peppers or more spicy chili sauce.

Serving General Tsos Chicken from the pan

Recipe Tips & Notes

  • The Chili Sauce. There are many options available to use. I love to use Doubanjiang, which is a Chinese chili bean paste. Gochujang can work, though the flavor is different. Use a simple chili-garlic sauce from the store, or make your own. Sambal Oelek is great as well.
  • The Chicken. Use either chicken breast, chicken thigh, or a combination of both for this recipe. You can bread then fry the coated chicken for super crispy chicken bites, but this stir fried version is healthier, easier to make with less mess and still quite crispy.
  • The Heat Factor. Medium. General Tso’s Chicken isn’t meant to be overly spicy, and the sauce offers more sweet than heat, though you’ll get a bit of heat. You can easily up the heat factor with extra spicy chili flakes, hot sauce, a hotter chili sauce, and especially hotter peppers. Thai peppers can be quite hot.

That’s it, my friends. I hope you enjoy your new General Tso’s Chicken recipe. Let me know if you make it. I’d love to hear how it turned out for you. Keep it spicy!

General Tsos Chicken on a plate

Recommended Cookbooks

If you love Chinese recipes and cooking, I recommend these books for the American cook. They’re loaded with easy Chinese recipes that are full of flavor. I refer to them quite often.

Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes

General Tsos Chicken on a plate with chopsticks

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

General Tsos Chicken Recipe
Print Recipe
5 from 5 votes

General Tso's Chicken Recipe

This General Tso's Chicken recipe is crispy bites of chicken stir fried in a sauce that's both sweet and spicy. So easy to make and better than takeout! Perfect for the spicy food lover.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Chinese
Keyword: chicken, soy sauce, Stir Fry
Servings: 6
Calories: 292kcal

Ingredients

FOR THE GENERAL TSO'S CHICKEN SAUCE

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce (light soy sauce)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chili sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

FOR THE GENERAL TSO'S CHICKEN

  • 2 pounds boneless chicken cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 hot peppers chopped (Use Chinese peppers, Thai peppers or others that are available to you)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger
  • 6 scallions chopped
  • For Garnish: Fresh chopped scallions, sesame seeds, spicy chili flakes, extra sliced peppers

Instructions

MAKE THE GENERAL TSO'S CHICKEN SAUCE

  • Whisk together the soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, chili sauce, chicken broth, and cornstarch in a medium sized bowl. Set aside until ready to use.

FOR THE GENERAL TSO'S CHICKEN

  • Toss the chicken pieces in a bowl with the cornstarch and salt and pepper to taste. Be sure to evenly coat each piece.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large wok or pan to high heat and swirl to coat. Add the chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring often, until the each side of the chicken forms a crispy brown crust. Don't let it stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • When the chicken is nearly cooked through, remove it from the pan and set it aside.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the hot peppers, garlic, ginger, and scallions. Stir fry for 30 seconds.
  • Add the reserved sauce and reserved chicken to the wok and bring to a simmer. Toss to combine. Cook another 2 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Garnish and serve! It is best with rice!

Notes

Calories estimated without the rice.
The Chili Sauce. There are many options available to use. I love to use Doubanjiang, which is a Chinese chili bean paste. Gochujang can work, though the flavor is different. Use a simple chili-garlic sauce from the store, or make your own. Sambal Oelek is great as well.
The Chicken. Use either chicken breast, chicken thigh, or a combination of both for this recipe. You can bread then fry the coated chicken for super crispy chicken bites, but this stir fried version is healthier, easier to make with less mess and still quite crispy.
The Heat Factor. Medium. General Tso's Chicken isn't meant to be overly spicy, and the sauce offers more sweet than heat, though you'll get a bit of heat. You can easily up the heat factor with extra spicy chili flakes, hot sauce, a hotter chili sauce, and especially hotter peppers. Thai peppers can be quite hot.

Nutrition

Calories: 292kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 722mg | Potassium: 701mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 325IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg