General Tso’s Chicken Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
Fried and then coated in a sticky sauce, this General Tso's chicken recipe is an easy way to make your favorite takeout order at home.

Updated: Mar. 06, 2024

Put down the takeout menu and pick up your whisk. If General Tso’s chicken is your go-to order at Chinese restaurants, this recipe is for you. The Chinese-American dish is comforting, filling and easy to recreate at home.

Here’s how to make a homemade version of General Tso’s chicken with chicken thighs and a flavorful sauce.

What is General Tso’s chicken?

Less tangy than orange chicken and less spicy than kung pao chicken, General Tso’s chicken is a sweet and mildly spicy dish made of fried chicken pieces coated in a sticky sauce. It falls somewhere between the tangy, caramelized, thick sauce of orange chicken and the peanut-y, peppery heat of kung pao.

Our General Tso’s chicken recipe uses reduced-sodium soy sauce and reduced-sodium chicken broth to make the sauce. If you want a saltier dish, swap for regular chicken broth and soy sauce. For less salt, use unsalted chicken broth.

General Tso’s Chicken Ingredients

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  • Cornstarch
  • Reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • Reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • Rice vinegar
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Sugar
  • Sesame oil
  • Oil for deep-fat frying
  • Boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • Canola oil
  • Fresh ginger root
  • Garlic cloves
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Green onions
  • Sesame seeds

Directions

Step 1: Make the sauce

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In a small bowl, whisk the chicken broth and 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch until smooth. Stir in the soy sauce, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce, sugar and sesame oil. Set the sauce aside.

Step 2: Fry the chicken

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In an electric skillet or deep fryer, heat the oil to 375°F. Place 1/4 cup of cornstarch in a shallow bowl. Add the chicken, a few pieces at a time, and toss to coat. Shake off the excess cornstarch.

Fry the chicken pieces, a few at a time, until golden brown, two to three minutes on each side. Drain the chicken on paper towels and cover to keep warm.

Step 3: Cook the aromatics

In a large skillet, heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Give the broth mixture from step one a quick stir, and then add it to the skillet. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir until the sauce thickens, about two minutes.

Step 4: Combine the chicken and sauce

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Add the chicken to the skillet and toss it gently in the sauce until it’s coated.

Remove the chicken from the skillet and sprinkle with sliced green onions and sesame seeds.

How do you store General Tso’s chicken?

To store General Tso’s chicken, let the chicken cool and then transfer it to an airtight container. If you plated it with vegetables and rice, store the veggies and rice separately.

Reheat General Tso’s chicken in the oven instead of the microwave, which can make it mushy.

General Tso’s Chicken Tips

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What’s the best chicken to use for General Tso’s chicken?

We use chicken thighs in our General Tso’s chicken recipe. Chicken thighs have a higher fat content than chicken breasts, so they’re juicer and more flavorful. If you only have chicken breasts on hand, you can use them for General’s Tso’s chicken, but the dish might be drier.

How do you make the chicken crispy for General Tso’s chicken?

General Tso’s chicken should be crispy rather than crunchy, and never soggy. To help keep it crispy, make sure you don’t overcrowd the skillet. And serve the chicken right away—if it sits, the coating can make it soggy.

What should you serve with General Tso’s chicken?

Like many Chinese chicken recipes, General Tso’s chicken goes well with a scoop of white rice that can soak up some of the sauce. We also like it with a side of stir-fried vegetables, such as broccoli, baby corn, water chestnuts and carrots.

General Tso's Chicken

Prep Time 30 min
Yield 3 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch plus 1/4 cup cornstarch, divided
  • 3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • Oil for deep-fat frying
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh gingerroot
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon cornstarch and broth until smooth. Stir in soy sauce, vinegar, hoisin sauce, sugar and sesame oil; set aside.
  2. In an electric skillet or deep fryer, heat oil to 375°. Place remaining 1/4 cup cornstarch in a shallow bowl. Add chicken, a few pieces at a time, and toss to coat; shake off excess. Fry chicken pieces, a few at a time, until golden brown, 2-3 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. Keep warm.
  3. In a large skillet, heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Add ginger, garlic and pepper flakes; stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir broth mixture and add to pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add chicken to pan; toss to coat. Serve with green onions and sesame seeds.

Nutrition Facts

1 cup: 524 calories, 35g fat (5g saturated fat), 101mg cholesterol, 779mg sodium, 22g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 1g fiber), 30g protein.