Quick & Easy General Tso's Chicken on a bed of rice on a round brown plate with bamboo chop sticks on top of a bamboo mat with a brown towel behind all on a wooden surface (with logo overlay)

Quick and Easy General Tso’s Chicken Recipe

General Tso’s Chicken is a popular meal when eating out at a local Chinese restaurant, but it is so easy to make at home and tastes delicious!

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I’ve always seen that little spicy icon next to General Tso Chicken on a menu, and it scared me away from trying it. I don’t get along with spicy foods. When Justin found this recipe he wanted to try, I figured I would give it a chance.

Making recipes at home gives me the opportunity to modify them so that it works well for our family. I knew the boys wouldn’t want this with the spicy sauce on it. After I cooked the chicken, I set aside a few pieces for them before putting it in the sauce.

Funny story about this recipe: I tried to make it one night, and didn’t realize that I only took out one chicken breast instead of two. It let us get a taste of the recipe, and we both liked it. But it was nowhere near enough to make a meal out of it. And I forgot to cook the rice. And Justin wanted red pepper in it that I forgot as well.

Since we knew we liked the flavor, we said we would try again in a few nights. We were extremely pleased with the meal. After we made it with everything we wanted. And made enough of it!

This was the first time I had ever used corn starch as a breading. I liked the texture that the chicken had much better than breading with all-purpose flour or breadcrumbs. You can also make the recipe with boneless chicken thigh pieces if you prefer dark meat. I believe most Chinese restaurants use dark meat, but we prefer light meat in our house. 

Hoisin sauce is found in the same aisle as soy sauce. Rice vinegar will either be near those foods as well or near the other kinds of vinegar in the store.

The original recipe doesn’t say to make it with rice. But it’s a little plain without it as we learned the first night. The photos showed the chicken on a bed of white rice. I always cook with brown rice, so I made that instead. The recipe doesn’t have red pepper in it either, but Justin wanted that. It did add a lot to the flavor of the dish (not to mention gave us a bit of veggies in the dinner).

General Tso’s Chicken Step by Step

Ingredients

Chicken

  • 2 cups rice (cooked)
  • 2 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 tbsp ginger (minced)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 red bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds (for garnish)

Sauce

  • 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

Preparation

Prepare the rice in the rice steamer. Cut the chicken breasts into bite-sized chunks and coat them with cornstarch in a large bowl. 

Raw chicken pieces covered in flour in a stainless steel bowl

Add some oil to a deep frying pan or large skillet and cook the chicken over medium-high heat. Make sure you have enough oil to adequately fry the chicken. Turn the chicken a few times until it is cooked through and golden brown. 

Floured chicken frying in oil in a large skillet

As the chicken cooks, in a shallow dish, whisk together the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, water, sugar, and cornstarch to form the sauce. I found that it settled a bit as it sat waiting, so made sure to stir it every so often. This is a sticky sauce and should be thick. 

Close up of general tso's sauce with a wire whisk in a stainless steel bowl

After the chicken has cooked, remove it from the pan. Put it on a wire rack so the excess oil can drip off. Hint: place a towel or paper towels under the rack to help catch the oil for easier cleanup later.

Either drain the oil or use a different pan if you don’t want to move the hot oil. If you remove it, leave about a tablespoon of oil to cook the garlic in. If you use a new pan, add one tablespoon of sesame oil or vegetable oil to the pan and warm the oil. Add the cayenne, ginger, and garlic to the oil and stir for about 30 seconds.

Add the diced red peppers to the pan and cook for a minute or two to soften slightly over medium heat. Then add the deep-fried chicken pieces as well as the sauce mixture (after giving it a quick stir). Coat the chicken with the tangy sauce by stirring continuously for one minute.

Fried chicken coated in tso's sauce with red pepper pieces in a large skillet

Serve the General Tso’s Chicken warm over rice and add a few sesame seeds or green onions to garnish. For an extra kick, add a few red pepper flakes to the top of the General Tso sauce. 

Quick & Easy General Tso's Chicken on a bed of rice on a round brown plate with bamboo chop sticks on top of a bamboo mat with a brown towel behind all on a wooden surface (vertical)

General Tso’s Chicken Leftovers

Storage: Leftover chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. 

Reheating: The best way to reheat General Tso’s Chicken is in a medium saucepan over medium heat until warmed through. If the sauce is too thick, add some chicken broth or water to help thin it out.

Recipe

Originally Published On: February 12, 2018

Last Updated On: June 28, 2023

Quick & Easy General Tso's Chicken on a bed of rice on a round brown plate with bamboo chop sticks on top of a bamboo mat with a brown towel behind all on a wooden surface

General Tso’s Chicken

General Tso's Chicken is a popular meal when eating out at a local Chinese restaurant, but it is so easy to make at home and tastes delicious!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course:
Main Dish
Cuisine:
American
|
Asian
Keyword:
chicken
|
ginger
|
rice
|
soy sauce
Dietary Needs:
Dairy-Free
|
Egg-Free
|
Gluten-Free
|
Nut-Free
Meat:
Chicken/Turkey
Cooking Method:
One-Pan Meals
Servings: 4 servings
4.60 from 5 votes

Ingredients

Chicken
  • 2 cups rice (cooked)
  • 2 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 tbsp ginger (minced)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 red bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds (for garnish)
Sauce
  • 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

Instructions

  • Prepare rice according to directions
  • In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium heat
  • Meanwhile, cut the chicken into bite-sized chunks and coat with cornstarch
  • Once the oil is warm, add the chicken and cook until done, turning occasionally
  • Meanwhile, whisk together the sauce ingredients
  • After the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pan and place on a wire cooling rack to let oil drip off
  • Drain the oil (except for about 1 tablespoon) and add the cayenne pepper, garlic, and ginger
  • Cook for about 30 seconds then add the diced red pepper
  • Once the pepper has softened slightly, add the chicken and sauce to the pan, stirring to coat
  • Serve chicken warm over rice and garnish with sesame seeds

Notes

Inspiration: https://dinnerthendessert.com/general-tsos-chicken/
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Nutrition Facts
General Tso's Chicken
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 569 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Trans Fat 0.01g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 72mg24%
Sodium 926mg39%
Potassium 640mg18%
Carbohydrates 97g32%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 11g12%
Protein 33g66%
Vitamin A 1070IU21%
Vitamin C 40mg48%
Calcium 47mg5%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutrition content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.

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42 thoughts on “Quick and Easy General Tso’s Chicken Recipe”

  1. This looks delicious! I really like these kind of recipes, they always turn out well. I can’t wait to make it. Do you think the hoisin sauce is a must? I don’t have it, But if it’s a must I’ll get it because I see it in a lot of recipes and been wanting to use it.

    1. I’ve only made it with the hoisin sauce, so I’m not sure how well it would work without. This was the first time we’ve ever used it, so I bought a bottle. It didn’t cost much, and we love this so much that I’m pretty sure we will use it all up making this meal many times.

  2. 4 stars
    We always order this on take out and it’s great to find a recipe we can try at home. It looks delicious! We like spicy though, so maybe we’ll add some kick in ours 🙂

  3. theclutterboxblog

    Oh this sounds amazing. I would totally have done it with rice and green peppers too. I haven’t tried something like this in ages!

  4. 5 stars
    Chinese cuisine is my all time favorite and this quick and easy recipe just seems what I need. Will try it this weekend for sure.

  5. I can’t wait to try this recipe! Chinese food is one of my favorite food so this recipe is not an exception. Also, I love how easy is to make it.

  6. We love general tsao chicken but never made it at home! I will share with Andrew because he loves o try stuff like this out!

  7. For me, most spicy dishes are too spicy, especially in Asian restaurants.
    When I do something at home, I also modify the recipes for less spicy ones. Your dish looks delicious and simple. I feel inspired to try the Chinese dishes in my kitchen more often

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