This recipe for General Tso’s chicken is battered crispy chicken pieces tossed in a sweet and spicy sauce. A takeout classic that’s simple to make at home and even better than what you would get in a restaurant!

My family loves Chinese food, and I’ve set out to recreate all their favorite recipes at home. I often make crab rangoon, chicken lettuce wraps and this irresistible crispy General Tso’s chicken.

General Tso's chicken in a pan coated in a sweet and spicy sauce.

General Tso’s chicken is one of my all time favorite Chinese food dishes. I love that it’s crispy, with a hint of sweet and a hint of spicy. I’ve started making this recipe at home when we’re craving Asian food, but don’t want to take the time to go to a restaurant. It’s been a huge hit, both with the kids and the adults!

This is one of my favorite Chinese entrees. When I want to make a Chinese food feast, I like to pair this chicken with some of my favorite appetizers like hot and sour soup, egg drop soup and cream cheese wontons. You also could serve this chicken with a flavorful side dish like beef lo mein or beef fried rice. Mix and match your own ultimate Chinese dinner!

General Tso’s Chicken Ingredients

When you make General Tso’s chicken you will need chicken thighs, eggs, flour, cornstarch, vegetable oil, sesame seeds, green onions, salt and pepper. For the sauce you will also need garlic, red pepper flakes, chicken broth, hoisin sauce, brown sugar and soy sauce.

Chicken pieces coated in egg, flour and cornstarch.

How Do You Make General Tso’s Chicken?

This dish starts with cubes of chicken you season with salt and pepper and then batter with flour, cornstarch and eggs. Deep fry those chicken morsels until they are golden brown. Whisk together a sweet and savory sauce made with soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, red chili flakes and hoisin sauce. Heat the sauce in a pan or skillet and toss the chicken in the sauce until it is coated. The final step is to add a sprinkle of sesame seeds and green onions, then serve and enjoy.

Breaded and fried chicken thigh pieces.

Tips For The Perfect General Tso’s Chicken

  • This chicken is best served immediately, as the coating will absorb the sauce and get softer as it sits.
  • Use a frying thermometer to make sure your oil stays at 350 degrees F. If the oil is too hot, the outside of the chicken can burn before the inside cooks through. If the oil is too cold, the chicken will absorb more oil and be heavy and greasy.
  • You can use chicken breasts instead of thighs if you prefer, although thighs are the more traditional choice.
  • When you remove the cooked chicken from the hot oil during the frying process, place it on a plate covered with clean paper towels to absorb any excess oil.

Quick Tip

Be careful not to fry too many pieces of chicken at the same time to avoid the pieces sticking or clumping together. I typically fry batches of about 6-8 pieces at a time.

Crispy chicken in a skillet filled with savory and spicy sauce.

Recipe FAQs

What is typically in General Tso?

General Tso’s chicken is a popular Chinese entrée made with fried chicken pieces coated in a sweet and slightly spicy sauce. This chicken is similar to sesame chicken, but the sauce has a little more heat and a more complex savory flavor.

What is the difference between orange chicken and General Tso’s chicken?

While, General Tso’s chicken and orange chicken are both delicious Chinese stir fries, they are very different dishes. They both have golden fried chicken pieces in a sweet sauce, but General Tso’s chicken has a more savory flavor relying on soy sauce, chili flakes and chicken broth. Orange chicken is sweeter, has orange juice in the sauce and has a lighter colored sauce.

What is General Tso’s sauce made of?

General Tso’s sauce is made of hoisin sauce, brown sugar, soy sauce and chicken broth with a little garlic, red pepper flakes, vegetable oil and cornstarch.

Is General Tso’s sauce spicy or sweet?

General Tso’s sauce is sweet and savory with a little spice provided by red pepper flakes.

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General Tso's chicken served over steamed rice.

General Tso’s Chicken Variations

While this chicken dish is delicious, you can modify it to suit your own taste.

  • Spicy: To increase the spiciness of your chicken, feel free to add more red pepper flakes. If you want, you can also include some whole dried red chili peppers.
  • Flavoring: You can make the sauce more tangy by adding some grated ginger or a little rice vinegar. For a more savory sauce, try adding a little sesame oil.
  • Protein: Instead of chicken you could make this dish with small cubes of steak or pork.
  • Vegetables: You could add cooked vegetables to the dish by adding them to the sauce at the same time as the chicken. You could use mushrooms, bell peppers, snow peas, baby corn or zucchini.

I love to make this sweet and spicy chicken at home. There is something about enjoying those crispy chicken pieces hot and coated with freshly made sauce that I can’t resist. Don’t bother with takeout and instead give this recipe a try!

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5 from 64 votes

General Tso’s Chicken

AuthorSara Welch
General Tso's chicken coated in a sweet and spicy sauce, then topped with sesame seeds.
This recipe for General Tso's chicken is battered crispy chicken pieces tossed in a sweet and spicy sauce. A take-out classic that's simple to make at home and even better than what you'd get in a restaurant!
Time
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Asian
Serves 6

Ingredients 

For the chicken:

  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons green onions sliced

For the sauce:

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or more to taste
  • 3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch

Instructions 

  • Place the eggs in a bowl; add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Mix together the flour and corn starch and place in a shallow bowl or on a plate.
  • Heat 3 inches of oil in a deep pot to 350 degrees F.
  • Dip each piece of chicken into the egg mixture, then coat in the flour mixture. Repeat the process for all of the chicken pieces.
  • Fry 8-9 pieces of chicken at a time for 5 minutes or until browned. Repeat with all the remaining chicken.
  • While the chicken is cooking, make the sauce. 
  • Heat the 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Whisk together the chicken broth, hoisin sauce, brown sugar, soy sauce and corn starch.
  • Add the liquid mixture to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until sauce has thickened.
  • Add the chicken pieces to the pan and toss to coat with the sauce. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions and serve.

Notes

  1. This chicken is best served immediately, as the coating will absorb the sauce and get softer as it sits.
  2. Use a frying thermometer to make sure your oil stays at 350 degrees F. If the oil is too hot, the outside of the chicken can burn before the inside cooks through. If the oil is too cold, the chicken will absorb more oil and be heavy and greasy.
  3. When you remove the cooked chicken from the hot oil during the frying process, place it on a plate covered with clean paper towels to absorb any excess oil.
  4. Be careful not to fry too many pieces of chicken at the same time to avoid the pieces sticking or clumping together. I typically fry batches of about 6-8 pieces at a time.

Nutrition

Calories: 365kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 162mg | Sodium: 672mg | Potassium: 442mg | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 240IU | Vitamin C: 21.5mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 2.3mg

Hello! I’m Sara!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    One of my favorite recipes!! I love the easy ingredient list, definitely a keeper for family dinner roatation!

  2. 5 stars
    Honestly, this General Tsos chicken looks so good, even better than any takeout. Those glossy bites are divine.