After hundreds of General Tso Chicken recipes tested by our expert team, we chose the best General Tso Chicken recipe of 2023! Learn how to make in 5 easy steps! General Tso Chicken is a favorite Chinese food takeout choice that is sweet and slightly spicy with a kick from garlic and ginger. General Tso Chicken can sometimes have recipes that are really complicated and with many different breading steps. I eliminated them going to a simple cornstarch coating, but you can definitely do a thicker typical breading if you would like.
The authentic recipe of General Tso chicken always calls for the following ingredients:
General Tso Chicken Ingredients
- 1 Pound Chicken Thighs Cut Into 1 Inch Chunks
- 1/4 Cup Cornstarch
- Oil For Frying
- 1 Tablespoon Minced Ginger
- 1/2 Teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
- 2 Cloves Garlic Minced
General Tso Chicken Ingredients (For The Sauce)
- 3 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
- 2 Teaspoons Hoisin Sauce
- 1/4 Cup Water
- 3 Tablespoons Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
To make this chicken, you will need chicken meat – I prefer chicken breasts. Cut the chicken into cubes and coat the chicken generously with corn starch.
Set aside while you mix the sauce ingredients.
Make the sauce by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl. This General Tso sauce is almost identical to the ones at most Chinese restaurants.
Add the rice vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, water, sugar and tablespoon of cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
Heat up the oil for deep-frying. Add half the chicken to a pan with the oil and fry until crisp and deep gold, 3 to 4 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate. Repeat with the second batch.
Remove chicken from the pan and drain all. Lay the chicken on a dish lined with paper towels. Pour the oil into a heatproof container and wipe the wok clean.
Put a tablespoon of the oil in the pan and add the chili flakes, ginger and garlic. Cook until you smell the garlic (about 30 seconds).
Stir fry the minced ginger, garlic, and dried chilies and pour the sauce and cook until the sauce thickens.
When the sauce boils and thickens, add the chicken, stir to combine well with the sauce.
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How Long to Cook General Tso Chicken?
General Tso Chicken Nutrition Facts
The Best General Tso Chicken Recipe 2023
This is the best General Tso Chicken recipe of all time! How to make General Tso Chicken? Because they assume that it’s difficult. General Tso Chicken can sometimes have recipes that are really complicated and with many different breading steps. But the good news is that it’s very easy to make at home. General Tso Chicken is one of the most popular Chinese recipes and most ordered chicken dish in Chinese restaurants in the United States. It’s made of battered and deep-fried chicken in a sweet, savory, and spicy General Tso sauce.
General Tso Chicken is a fantastic option when you’re looking to change up your Chinese food routine. This recipe tastes like the best Chinese restaurants. General Tso Chicken was one of my favorite college days late night Chinese food delivery orders.
Also, the addition of the hoisin sauce may seem small and you may want to skip it because it isn’t a normal pantry item unless you are used to doing Asian cooking, but the flavor is that specific General Tso Chicken flavor that you’ll miss without it. This General Tso Chicken Recipe is an incredibly flavorful Chinese chicken recipe.
It is a delicious, lightly fried, Chinese style chicken that is crispy, sweet, and slightly spicy. This homemade General Tso Chicken takes about 30 minutes and is so much better than ordering Chinese takeout!
This lighter General Tso Chicken is made with chunks of white meat chicken breast, lightly wok sautéed with an easy, healthier stir-fry sauce, and less than half the calories than if you ordered take-out! General Tso Chicken is a super easy meal with an amazing sweet and savory sauce with a little bit of heat! This is way better than takeout!
General Tso Chicken Recipe Tips
This lighter General Tso Chicken is made with chunks of white meat chicken breast, lightly wok sautéed with an easy, healthier stir-fry sauce, and more than half the calories than if you ordered take-out! If you like a sweeter sauce, you can add 1 tablespoon sugar in the sauce.
To make this hot, add 6 whole dried red chilies while stir frying the chicken. Add a little orange zest to brighten the dish up. If a sweeter sauce is a must for you, add 1 tablespoon of honey. A plate of take-out General Tso chicken is usually made with deep fried chicken thighs and lots of sugar.
Swapping dark meat for white meat, lightly wok sauteing in place of deep frying, and cutting out the extra sugar since hoisin is sweet enough worked out great. Start cooking your rice and vegetables before the chicken, as they will usually take more time. Use chicken thighs as they are moister and have more flavor than chicken breasts.
Cut your chicken into small cubes (about 1 inch), allowing 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 soy sauce will make it saltier and rice vinegar 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. You can fry the chicken ahead of time. Then you’ll only have to make the sauce and coat the chicken at the last minute.
Garnish your General Tso 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. Hoisin sauce is important if you want to achieve the true General Tso Chicken flavor.
I bought mine at a local Asian grocery store, and you can order online too. For a hoisin sauce substitute, try mixing 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp peanut butter, 1 tbsp honey, 2 tsp rice vinegar, 2 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp hot sauce, 1/8 tsp black pepper and 1 minced garlic clove.
This mixture yields the equivalent of 1/3 cup hoisin sauce. I bought rice vinegar at the supermarket, and you can easily substitute cider vinegar or white wine vinegar. I used fresh ginger instead of ground ginger, and liked the fresh flavor it added to the dish. If you want to achieve the exact look with an extra crispy coating just like the restaurant.
You can make the following changes to this recipe: marinate chicken pieces with eggs or sauces and then coat with cornstarch, you can follow the steps in this General Tso Chicken recipe. In addition, try to deep fry it by heating 4 cups of oil in a deep-fryer or saucepan to 375°F.
Add chicken cubes into the oil in batches, and cook until they turn golden brown. This way, you will get the extra-crispy General Tso Chicken exactly the same as the ones from restaurant and takeout.
Try to use all the ingredients in this recipe if you want authentic General Tso Chicken flavors. I prefer to use boneless chicken thighs instead of chicken breast for a juicier bite.
General Tso Chicken Origin
Invented in 1950s Taiwan by chef Peng Chang-Kuei, this fried chicken dish was adapted for American palates with a chile-spiked sweet-and-sour sauce and has since become a takeout classic. The real roots of the recipe lie in the aftermath of the Chinese civil war, when the leadership of the defeated Nationalist Party fled to the island of Taiwan. They took with them many talented people, including a number of notable chefs, and foremost among them was Peng Chang-kuei.
He created this dish in 1950s Taiwan, and brought it with him when he moved to the states in 1973, making it sweeter for American palates. Peng's Restaurant on East 44th Street in New York City claims that it was the first restaurant in the city to serve General Tso chicken. Since the dish (and cuisine) was new, Peng made it the house speciality in spite of the dish's commonplace ingredients.
A review of Peng's in 1977 mentions that their "General Tso chicken was a stir-fried masterpiece, sizzling hot both in flavor and temperature". New York's Shun Lee Palaces, located at East (155 E. 55th St.) and West (43 W. 65th St.), also claims that it was the first restaurant to serve General Tso chicken and that it was invented by a Chinese immigrant chef named T. T. Wang in 1972.
These competing claims are discussed in the 2014 documentary film The Search for General Tso, which also traces how the history of Chinese immigration into the USA parallels the development of a unique Chinese-American or American Chinese cuisine.
Today, General Tso’s chicken is a sweet, deep-fried chicken dish that is served in North American Chinese restaurants. General Tso Chicken has been one of America’s most popular Chinese takeout dishes for decades.