General Tso’s Chicken
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Master a classic Chinese restaurant dish at home with this simple and delicious General Tso’s Chicken recipe.
General Tso’s chicken, that oh-so-delicious Chinese-American favorite, features crispy chicken pieces smothered in a sweet, tangy, spicy sauce. While it’s a popular choice at Chinese restaurants, takeout or delivery never does it justice, as the chicken’s crispy texture is best enjoyed right after it’s cooked. The good news is that you can easily whip up authentic General Tso’s chicken right in your own kitchen. Not only will you enjoy a delicious meal, but you’ll also feel a sense of pride in mastering a classic restaurant dish. To maximize your time in the kitchen, use the 30-minute marinating window to make the sauce and chop the garlic, scallions, and ginger. By the time you’re done prepping, the chicken will be ready for coating and shallow-frying. Don’t be daunted — with this simple recipe, you’ll be dishing out the most amazing General Tso’s chicken in under an hour!
What You’ll Need To Make General Tso’s Chicken
Although most restaurants opt for boneless chicken thighs for this dish, white meat, particularly chicken tenderloins, works well, too; I actually prefer it. A blend of flour, cornstarch, and baking soda ensures that the chicken browns evenly and retains its crispiness, even when drenched in that delightful sauce.
Step 1: Marinate the Chicken
In a large bowl, beat the egg with the sugar and soy sauce.
Add the chicken to the bowl and toss until evenly coated. Let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Step 2: Make the Sauce
In a small bowl, mix the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sugar, rice vinegar, cornstarch, sesame oil, and
water together. Set aside.
Step 3: Coat the Chicken
In a medium bowl, whisk the cornstarch, flour, and baking soda.
Sprinkle over the chicken/marinade mixture.
Toss until each piece of meat separates and has a dry, clumpy coating.
Step 4: Fry the Chicken
In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat about ¼ inch of oil to 350°F (180°C). You’ll know it’s ready when you drop a piece of chicken in and it sizzles vigorously.
Working in three batches so as not to crowd the pan, shallow-fry a third of the coated chicken until golden brown and crispy, 4 to 5 minutes, turning once midway through cooking and adjusting the heat as needed.
Transfer the chicken to a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
Step 5: Finish the Dish
Carefully drain the oil from the pan and wipe the pan clean with a paper towel. Add about 1 tablespoon of oil. Over medium heat, add the ginger, whole dried chilies (if using) or red pepper flakes, garlic, and scallion whites.
Cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds until fragrant; do not brown. Add the sauce.
Bring the sauce to a boil, and let it cook until thickened and glossy, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the crispy chicken.
Toss until the sauce fully coats the chicken, 1 to 2 minutes.
Sprinkle with the dark green scallions and sesame seeds, if using.
Serve over rice.
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General Tso's Chicken
Master a classic Chinese restaurant dish at home with this simple and delicious General Tso’s Chicken recipe.
For the Marinade
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1½ pounds chicken tenderloins or boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
For the Sauce
- ¼ cup hoisin sauce
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1½ tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1¼ cups water
For Coating the Chicken
- 1 cup cornstarch
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- Heaping ¼ teaspoon baking soda
For Cooking and Serving
- Vegetable oil
- 1½ tablespoons fresh minced ginger (see note)
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
- Sesame seeds (optional), for serving
- Rice, for serving
- Marinate the chicken: In a large bowl, beat the egg, soy sauce and sugar. Add the chicken to the bowl and toss until evenly coated. Let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Make the sauce: In a small bowl, mix the sauce ingredients together. Set aside.
- Coat the chicken: In a medium bowl, whisk the cornstarch, flour, and baking soda. Sprinkle over the chicken/marinade mixture and toss until each piece of meat separates and has a dry, clumpy coating.
- Fry the chicken: In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat about ¼ inch of oil to 350°F. You'll know it's ready when you drop a piece of chicken in and it sizzles vigorously. Working in three batches so as not to crowd the pan, shallow-fry a third of the coated chicken until golden brown and crispy, 4 to 5 minutes, turning once midway through cooking and adjusting the heat as needed. Transfer the chicken to a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
- Finish the dish: Carefully drain the oil from the pan and wipe the pan clean with a paper towel. Add about 1 tablespoon of oil. Over medium heat, add the ginger, red pepper flakes, garlic, and scallion whites. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds until fragrant; do not brown. Add the sauce, bring it to a boil, and let it cook until thickened and glossy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the crispy chicken, tossing until the sauce fully coats it, 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the dark green scallions and sesame seeds, if using, and serve over rice.
- Note: Check out easy guidance on how to peel, grate, and chop fresh ginger here.
- Note: Nutritional information was calculated assuming that approximately 2 tablespoons of the oil is absorbed into the chicken when frying.
- Per serving (4 servings)
- Calories: 801
- Fat: 37 g
- Saturated fat: 7 g
- Carbohydrates: 85 g
- Sugar: 15 g
- Fiber: 4 g
- Protein: 30 g
- Sodium: 2,020 mg
- Cholesterol: 117 mg
This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.
This dish is fantastic! I’ve tried so many times to make asian-inspired dishes using various recipes and they’ve never been quite right. I’ve always felt like something was off. This, however, is perfect! I understand now what I’ve been doing wrong all these years! Better than any take out I’ve had lately!
This is soooooo delicious! So much better than some of the NYC Chinese restaurants too. My family loved it. I never thought I could learn to make this. Thanks Jenn!!!
Absolutely delicious and on point!! By far much tastier than any take-out we’ve had. We paired the dish with steamed broccoli as a side. My family and I truly enjoyed it and wished we had doubled the recipe. As with every single recipe from you, it will be added to our dinner rotation. 💜
Jenn, this was phenomenal!! I have tried Asian recipes only to be disappointed because the taste and texture is just “off”. I prepped ahead of time and it was well worth the effort! The family raved over it. Another recipe to add to my regular rotation! You continue to be my all-time favorite chef!!
This was *so* good. I never comment on recipes but really have to for this one. Absolutely delicious!
All I have is wheat flour. Will that change the taste or texture?
Wheat flour should be fine here – enjoy!
I’ve made this and it’s great but I was wondering if I could make it with shrimp instead of chicken. And if so, would the recipe need changing?
I’ve served it with stir fry broccoli because that’s how the Chinese restaurants usually serve it and also to get some veggies in it since the sauce is so good.
Hi Marilyn, I do think this would work with shrimp; the only change is that the shrimp may cook a bit more quickly. I’d love to hear how it turns out with shrimp!
Made this recipe night before last, based on the amount of chicken we had delivered I needed to multiply the ingredients (except the frying oil) by 1.5. It was more than enough for our family of 3 to have dinner 2 nights (with a side of steamed broccoli). My husband and daughter kept raving about it. I let my daughter select the star rating below. =)
Can you substitute the sugar with honey?
Sure, that should work. Enjoy!
I was thinking of making this a day ahead of when I would serve it. Does this recipe reheat well?
Hi Suzanna, this one is really best if served right after it’s cooked.
Much better than takeout, thanks Jenn for another winner into the regular rotation!!
Made this last night and it’s excellent! Better than takeout!
Good morning made this recipe this week, and wow just marvellous.
it was a success.
After trying so many bad recipes for General Tso’s Chicken (with tons of sugar), this one is the perfect recipe. Perfect balance, excellent texture and easy to make.
Made this recipe tonight and it was delicious! I took a picture of “What you will need for this recipe” to grocery store to be sure that I had all the ingredients on hand. I didn’t purchase cornstarch however, because I had some at home in pantry ….or so I thought until I realized I needed 1 cup! I borrowed from a neighbor and gave them a “sample” when recipe was complete….5 stars from them as well!!
Thank you for all the wonderful recipes, guided instructions and beautiful pictures.
Five stars for sure!! My family loved it. I served it with vegetable fried rice to get more vegetables into my family but it really wasn’t necessary. The sauce is so flavourful, plain rice would have been better. Any suggestions for a simple way to add more veggies to this meal would be appreciated.
Hi Gwen, so glad your family enjoyed it! If you’d like to add vegetables, I’d sauté them separately and add them in at the very end along with the sauce. Depending on the volume of vegetables, you want to add, you may want to make 1.5 times the sauce. Hope that helps!
I should say that my rating is in advance of actually making this dish, based on previous experience with your site and particularly ones where you showcase Asian flavors. I love the General, and your version looks really good, and not too difficult to execute. I do have a question though. One family member has some recently diagnosed food allergies and intolerances. I’ve got some good alternative flours available, but do you think egg substitute would be a decent sub for the whole egg? Also, I have found that San-J organic, gluten-free tamari is an excellent replacement for soy sauce (most contain wheat). It has a nice, rich flavor and is readily available.
Thanks for your nice words about the recipes! Yes, I think a store-bought egg substitute would work perfectly fine for the egg here. Hope you enjoy!
I made this last night, followed the directions as written, but doubled it to serve 6 people. It was delicious! Highly recommend! I did fry the chicken before my guests arrived ( about an hour in advance) and just warmed the pieces in a 325 oven for 10 min before adding to the sauce to finish the dish. This recipe is a keeper and everyone raved about it! Thanks for another great recipe, Jenn.
Another 5-star hit, Jenn! Whole family loved it and will add to the rotation! Super easy and absolutely delicious. Wouldn’t change a thing.
I just made this tonight for dinner and it was amazing! My husband asked for it to be added to our meal rotations. The only thing was I didn’t have Hoisin sauce, but I did find a recipe online for a substitute and it worked well in the sauce. Thank you for another great recipe.
I made this tonight… Incredibly flavorful and not too difficult.
My family loved it and it was so easy to prepare. It works well with broccoli, if you would like to add a vegetable to the rice.
Hey Jen, thank you so much for sharing your wonderful recipes! I just finished the Gen Tso chicken and can’t wait to eat! You’ve not let me down thus far and it looks absolutely scrumptious! My next is the Vietnam meatballs🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾
Wonderful recipe! My husband played sous chef. I couldn’t have done it without him but it was definitely worth it. Thank you, Jenn!
Once again this recipe was a hit!! My family loved it and definetely will go on my top list.
Thanks Jenn for your detailed and step by step instructions!!!
I made this for dinner tonight for my husband and myself. It took a bit of time to get all the ingredients ready for cooking but worth the time. My husband and I agree it was excellent and restaurant quality. We even have leftovers for dinner tomorrow night. That is, unless I sneak them for tomorrows lunch!😉 I have shared your website Jenn with many friends. We send messages back and forth with our new creations. My newly married son loves your
Recipes and step by step direction with pictures too. Keep the hits coming! Many thx.❤️
Yum! I double fried the chicken (for readers: fry at 350f for three mins, cool batch on wire rack, then fry again for 90 seconds). This was 😙🤌! Thanks for sharing the recipe Chef.
Made this recipe for dinner tonight and served with your asparagus salad and plain rice. Big hit with my husband and son!
This recipe is excellent! Be sure to let the chicken slightly brown – you need the structure to hold up to the sauce. Also be sure to let the sauce thicken before adding the chicken into it. I rushed the process a bit and the sauce, while delicious, was a bit thin. Totally my fault.
If you have Chinese food lovers in your house – this recipe will undoubtedly be a hit.
Very good. Personally, I would increase the heat level more because we like spice. It would have been a whole lot better if my eye wasn’t stinging so much from splashing it with hot oil like a dummy. Fortunately it was on the outside of the eye. ☹️
Made this tonight, it was a big hit! I lowered the red pepper flakes because the youngest doesn’t really like too spicy but it was still delish!
I’m eager to try this especially to see how the batter turns out and if I can get the chicken crispy. I’ve tried other recipes from top chefs where they double fry, but I always get soggy or too hard chicken regardless. I guess my technique needs work. Your batter recipe is the first I’ve seen to have baking soda. What does the baking soda do for the batter?
Hi Teri, Adding baking soda to the breading for the chicken serves to raise the pH level of the coating, which in turn helps promote a golden brown, crispy, and flavorful crust. Hope that clarifies!
do you have any recommended subs for hoisin sauce? thank you!
Hi Hannah, You could try oyster sauce.
Would this work if you put the chicken in an air fryer instead of deep frying it?
Hi Diane, Unfortunately the chicken really needs to be pan-fried in oil. Sorry!
I had the same question! Or is there another way – could I bake it?
Unfortunately, it wouldn’t work to bake it either — sorry!
Jenn I really am going to try this – it looks so good. There is one question first, can tell me what the make of the pan in the pictures is (if you can) – it looks like one I should have. Thank you.
Hi Patti, It is Caraway nonstick cookware.
thank you Jenn
This looks amazing-
Do you think this would work with shrimp? My daughter doesn’t eat chicken.