This General Tso Chicken recipe is the best ever! If you are looking for a great family-friendly weeknight meal, this easy “fakeout” recipe is ready in under 30 minutes and doesn’t require any deep frying!
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General Tso Chicken Recipe
Need an easy weeknight dinner, but don’t want to spring for takeout tonight? This easy General Tso Chicken recipe is the answer.
Don’t get me wrong: I love supporting my local restaurants and businesses whenever I can, but — probably just like you — we can’t afford to eat out every night and sometimes I just crave some General Tso’s chicken!
I love making Crockpot Honey Garlic Chicken, but it takes a few hours and sometimes I want something much quicker.
General Tso Chicken is my go-to dish when we order Chinese food. While it’s often deep fried meat with a crispy crust smothered in general tso’s sauce, my at-home version foregoes the fried chicken pieces and instead is a pan-fried chicken served with a sweet and salty sauce mixture.
Named for a real general, General Tso Chicken is a classic dish on the menu at Chinese restaurants across America. Though the original dish is actually from Taiwan by a Taiwanese chef, it has been Americanized after making its way to the United States, however, to be made with fried chicken and a sweeter sauce.
Why You’ll Love This general tso’s chicken recipe
I’ve been making this recipe for years and it’s a family favorite. Anytime we are craving some takeout, it’s the recipe I turn to again and again.
General Tso’s chicken sauce makes it one of the most popular Chinese takeout dishes for a good reason!
This recipe is such a winner and I bet it will go on regular rotation in your house too. Here’s why:
- It’s so easy to make. It’s ready in under an hour!
- General Tso’s is a great “fakeout” takeout recipe to enjoy anytime you’re craving some takeout.
- This recipe is perfect for picky kids! Everyone in the family will love it.
- It works well as a meal prep recipe for busy weeks.
- There’s no deep-fried chicken to mess with.
If you love fakeout recipes, check out this homemade teriyaki beef and rice.
General Tso Chicken Ingredients
Here’s what you will need to make this homemade General Tso chicken recipe:
- boneless skinless chicken breast – I like the lean white meat of chicken breasts, but you can easily use boneless skinless chicken thighs. Chicken thigh pieces are dark meat, but they are oh-so-juicy!
- coarse kosher salt & ground black pepper – I recommend always using coarse kosher salt or sea salt for the best results
- garlic powder – using fresh garlic powder that isn’t expired is the way to go. Having a flavorful garlic powder will insure each piece of chicken is packed with flavor.
- avocado oil – Instead of avocado oil you can use sesame oil, olive oil, or even vegetable oil. I like the lightness of avocado, but sesame oil is a great one to have on hand for Asian food.
Instead of chicken, you could also substitute tofu for a plant-based option (the sauce is vegan!). The General Tso Sauce is also great over shrimp and pork. The sweet and savory sauce is very versatile.
general tso sauce Ingredients
Here is what goes in general tso’s sauce:
- brown sugar
- low sodium soy sauce
- hoisin sauce
- rice wine vinegar
- minced ginger
- red chile puree
- minced garlic cloves
- corn starch
- cold water
- green onion
- sesame seeds
What to serve with General Tso Chicken
You may also want to add white rice to your shopping list! Rice is the classic side dish served with General Tso Chicken. I like to serve mine over rice topped with sliced green onions (or spring onion) and sesame seeds.
I like to make my rice in my Instant Pot, but you can easily make it on the stove, in the microwave or in the oven as well.
If you prefer fried rice with your takeout, it is really easy to make at home too. I love this fried rice recipe that includes ham or bacon. It’s so good!
This oven-baked broccoli is also wonderful with all kinds of dishes. Toss it with some soy sauce or a few spoonfuls of the General Tso sauce for a delicious dressing to go with this Asian chicken dish.
How to Make Homemade General Tso’s Chicken
Here is how to make this homemade General Tso Chicken from scratch.
First, season the chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Add to a large skillet over medium heat to medium-high heat with the avocado oil (or your choice of cooking oil). Cook, stirring until chicken is cooked and golden brown in the hot oil.
Tips for cooking the chicken
Chicken should be 165°F according to a meat thermometer and no longer pink inside.
Don’t overcook the chicken. It’s best to add the sauce just before the chicken is cooked all the way through.
Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, make the sauce by combining brown sugar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, red chile puree, and garlic. Whisk until completely combined.
Add the sauce to the skillet with the chicken and turn the heat down to medium.
In a separate small bowl, make the cornstarch slurry by whisking together the cornstarch and cold water until smooth. This is what helps to thicken the sauce.
When the sauce begins to boil, pour in the cornstarch slurry. Stir it in while simmering until the sauce thickens.
Enjoy while warm. Store in an airtight, food-safe container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
How to make Spicy General Tso Chicken
If you like your food spicy, you have a few options!
To make this General Tso chicken spicy, you can add extra chili puree, sriracha, or red pepper flakes to the sauce.
My husband loves spicy food and these are his tried-and-true recommendations.
General Tso vs Sesame Chicken
General Tso chicken and sesame chicken are totally different dishes. The chicken is cooked similarly, but sesame chicken is made with a different sauce.
With General Tso, the sauce is sweet with a little bit of spicy kick thanks to the inclusion of chili. The sauce for sesame chicken is much sweeter and without heat.
General Tso vs Orange Chicken
Similarly to sesame chicken, orange chicken is also quite different from General Tso chicken.
Orange chicken is made with a sweet sauce that is flavored with orange juice and orange zest. Made with chilis, General Tso chicken has a spicier sauce.
How to store leftover homemade general tso chicken
Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
You can also freeze this general tso’s chicken recipe. To freeze, you’ll want to allow it to cool completely.
Once it is cooled, place it in an airtight container and freeze for up to 6 months.
You can also freeze them in Souper Cubes. Once they are frozen, just pop them out and put them in a freezer-safe container.
How to reheat General Tso Chicken
While I’ll admit I often microwave leftovers in a pinch, the absolute best way to reheat General Tso chicken is to use the oven so that it stays crispy.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the chicken in a baking dish or on a lined baking sheet, spreading them out so each piece can be reheated separately.
Cover with foil and bake for about 5-10 minutes until heated through.
Is General Tso chicken healthy?
At restaurants, General Tso Chicken is usually served fried. This recipe that you can make at home is not fried, so that makes it a little bit more healthful. The sweet sauce, however, contains sugar so it may not be fit for all diets.
Overall, this recipe makes X servings and is approximately X calories per serving.
What does General Tso Chicken taste like?
General Tso Chicken is a chicken dish of bite-size chicken pieces that is coated in a sweet, tangy and slightly spicy sauce. It is fairly mild in terms of spice level, but it can be made spicier with red chili flakes or hot sauce.
Is General Tso chicken gluten free?
At restaurants, this chicken dish is usually fried and may contain gluten. This recipe, however, does not use flour or gluten, so it is safely gluten-free.
More Fakeout Takeout Recipes
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Easy General Tso Chicken Recipe
- 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1” pieces
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- ¼ cup hoisin sauce
- 6 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon ginger minced
- ¼ teaspoon red chile puree
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 1 green onion sliced
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
- Add to a skillet over medium-high heat with the avocado oil.
- Cook, stirring until chicken is cooked through.
- In a small mixing bowl, make the sauce by combining brown sugar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, red chile puree, and garlic. Whisk until completely combined.
- Add the sauce to the chicken and turn the heat down to medium.
- In a separate small bowl, make the cornstarch slurry by whisking together the cornstarch and cold water until smooth.
- When the sauce begins to boil, pour in the cornstarch slurry. Mix simmering until the sauce thickens.
- Serve over rice topped with sliced green onion and sesame seeds.
- Don’t overcook the chicken. It’s best to add the sauce just before the chicken is cooked all the way through.
- To make it spicy, add extra chili puree, sriracha, or red pepper flakes
- The general tso sauce is also great over shrimp and pork
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy. It should only be used for estimation purposes and is not a guarantee of any kind. Nutritional information varies widely between brands and types of ingredients used. It is recommended that you calculate the nutritional information based on your own ingredients and brands used. Sweetly Splendid, LLC makes no guarantees as to the exact nutrition information.