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    General Tso’s Chicken Recipe

    Published May 27, 2020. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

    This General Tso’s Chicken is a delicious bite-sized fried chicken tossed in a zesty chile sauce and served with sesame seeds and green onions.

    We love getting creative in the kitchen every week and absolutely appreciate easy recipes like this one, as well as other dishes like beef stroganoff or a classic sloppy joe.

    What is It

    This decades-old recipe for General Tso’s chicken was created in an upscale Taiwanese restaurant in the 1950s and quickly became popularized throughout the world, especially in America.  The original version was not deep-fried and oftentimes features whole parts of chicken with the skin and bone still intact.

    While the dish is named after a Hunanese general, there was no such recipe available during his days in the mid 19th century.  The modernized dish as we know it today in the United States features a sour, slightly sweet, spicy, and salty sauce that is tossed with bite-size pieces of marinated fried chicken.

    Is It the Same as Orange Chicken?

    While both of these recipes use bite-sized pieces of fried chicken and similar cooking procedures, the sauces are very different.

    • Orange Chicken: The sauce for this uses ginger, garlic, brown sugar, sugar, orange juice, vinegar, soy sauce, and water and is very sweet with a big orange flavor.
    • General Tso: The sauce for this uses ginger, onion, garlic, sugar, honey, vinegar, water, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and Thai chiles and has a unique combination of sweet, salty, sour, and spicy flavors. In addition, the chicken is marinated before frying.

    No matter what Asian-inspired dishes I create, I often turn to Lee Kum Kee, which has a wide assortment of Asian-style sauces and condiments.  It’s always delicious and always readily available from my local grocery store.

    How to Make General Tso Chicken from Scratch

    Follow these quick steps to make this amazing recipe:

    Marinate bite-size pieces of chicken in a bowl with Lee Kum Kee Pure Sesame Oil, sugar, soy sauce, egg, salt, and pepper, and coat until combined.  Refrigerate while preparing everything else

    mixing chicken in a bowl with soy sauce and an egg

    For the sauce, thinly slice some onions, ginger, and garlic and set aside.

    adding chopped garlic to a bowl

    In a separate bowl whisk together water, rice vinegar, sugar, honey, Lee Kum Kee Panda Brand Oyster Flavored Sauce, and dried Thai chiles and set aside.

    dried thai chiles in a bowl with soy sauce

    Take the chicken out of the refrigerator and mix with cornstarch and flour until completely combined.

    sliced chicken in tempura-style batter

    Add 1 piece of chicken at a time to a large wok with oil at 350°, cook the chicken in two batches to not overcrowd the pan causing the chicken to stick together.

    adding flour breaded chicken to a wok

    Set the chicken aside on paper towels to drain off any excess oil.

    small sliced fried chicken on a rack

    Drain off the oil from the wok and add in a little more Lee Kum Kee Pure Sesame Oil and stir fry the onions, ginger, and garlic over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until very lightly browned.

    sliced onions and ginger cooking in a wok

    Add in the general Tso’s sauce and bring to a boil.  Thicken with slurry to make it thick.

    stirring a sauce with onions in a wok

    Toss the fried chicken in the sauce and serve with sesame seeds and sliced green onions.

    general tso's chicken in sauce in a wok

    Make-Ahead and Storage

    Make-Ahead: You can make this recipe up to 1 hour ahead of time but keep the chicken separate from the sauce.  Keep both of them warm before tossing and serving.

    How to Reheat: Add some sesame oil to a large wok over medium heat and add your desired amount of general Tso’s chicken to the wok and stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until hot.  You can also cook in a microwave-safe bowl until hot.

    How to Store: Cover and place in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  This will not freeze well.

    Chef Billy Parisi

    chef notes + tips

    • You can absolutely use a combination of white meat or dark meat or just one or the other.  Be sure to remove the bone and skins before cutting them into bite-size pieces.
    • When mixing the flour and corn starch in with the marinated chicken, the batter should resemble a thick tempura-style batter.
    • To make a slurry mix together 1 tablespoon of water with 1 tablespoon of corn starch until combined.

    More Amazing Chinese Inspired Recipes:

    Be sure to follow me on FacebookYouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest, and if you’ve had a chance to make this then definitely drop me a comment and a rating below!

    Let's Cook - Chef Billy Parisi

    Video

    General Tso’s Chicken Recipe

    5 from 7 votes
    This General Tso’s Chicken is a delicious bite-sized fried chicken tossed in a zesty sauce and served with sesame seeds and green onions.
    Servings: 6
    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Cook Time: 15 minutes

    Ingredients 

    For the Chicken:

    • 2 7-9 ounce chicken breasts cut into ½” pieces
    • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 3 tablespoons Lee Kum Kee Pure Sesame oil
    • 1 large egg
    • ½ cup corn starch
    • ½ cup all-purpose flour
    • Sea salt and pepper to taste
    • Oil for frying

    For the Sauce:

    • ¼ thinly sliced yellow onion
    • 4 finely minced cloves of garlic
    • ½ ” piece thinly sliced peeled fresh ginger
    • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
    • 3 tablespoons water
    • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • 2 tablespoons Lee Kum Kee Panda Brand Oyster Flavored Sauce
    • 10-12 dried mild Thai chiles
    • 2 tablespoons Lee Kum Kee Pure Sesame oil
    • slurry: 1 tablespoon water mixed with 1 tablespoon corn starch

    Instructions

    • For the chicken in a large bowl toss the chicken with the soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, egg, salt, and pepper until combined and place in the refrigerator while prepping up everything else.
    • For the sauce whisk together the vinegar, water, soy sauce, sugar, honey, oyster sauce, and Thai chiles until combined and set aside.
    • Next, take the chicken out of the fridge and mix it with corn starch and flour until completely combined and then add 1 piece of chicken at a time until half of it is in a deep fryer or a large pot or wok with cooking oil at 350°. Cook the chicken in 2 batches so that it does not stick together.
    • Set the chicken aside on a plate or sheet tray lined with paper towels to drain off any excess oil.
    • For the sauce, drain off all of the frying oil and add 2 tablespoons of sesame oil and stir fry the onions, garlic, and ginger over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes.
    • Next, add the pre-mixed sauce into the wok and bring to a boil. Immediately pour in the water mixed with corn starch and mix to thicken the sauce.
    • Once thick, add in the cooked fried chicken and toss until coated in the sauce.
    • Serve with sesame seeds and green onions.

    Notes

    Chef Notes:
    • Make-Ahead: You can make this recipe up to 1 hour ahead of time but keep the chicken separate from the sauce.  Keep both of them warm before tossing and serving.
     
    • How to Reheat: Add some sesame oil to a large wok over medium heat and add your desired amount of general Tso’s chicken to the wok and stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until hot.  You can also cook in a microwave-safe bowl until hot.
     
    • How to Store: Cover and place in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  This will not freeze well.
     
    • You can absolutely use a combination of white meat or dark meat or just one or the other.  Be sure to remove the bone and skins before cutting into bite-size pieces.
     
    • When mixing the flour and corn starch in with the marinated chicken, the batter should resemble a thick tempura-style batter.
     
    • To make a slurry mix together 1 tablespoon of water with 1 tablespoon of corn starch until combined.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 272kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 13gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 1232mgPotassium: 237mgFiber: 1gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 111IUVitamin C: 14mgCalcium: 15mgIron: 1mg
    Course: dinner, Main
    Cuisine: Chinese