This is the Best General Tso's Chicken recipe you didn't know you needed! Crispy breaded chicken with the classic salty yet slightly sweet sauce makes for the perfect homemade Chinese food dinner. Take your Chinese food night up a notch and skip the takeout restaurant.
General Tso's Chicken and Orange Chicken are popular Chinese takeout dishes and they're always a favorite chicken dish in my house on Chinese night.
Once we figured out how to make the absolute best Wontons with Pork and Shrimp and Baked Shrimp with Baby Bok Choy, and now this healthy General Tso Chicken recipe, our Asian-inspired dinners have never been the same at home. I know they'll be even more amazing with this General Tso’s chicken recipe
Why You’ll Love Homemade General Tso Chicken
- You know exactly what ingredients are being used and you can doctor it up to exactly how you like it
- Faster than ordering takeout and going to pick it up.
- Healthier than ordering it at Chinese restaurants.
- Control how spicy or sweet this dish is to suit your tastes.
- In under 30 minutes you can have dinner ready.
- No deep frying is necessary for this popular dish.
I've highlighted some of the ingredients below to give you a better idea of what and why these particular ingredients are important. The full list of ingredients and their quantities are in the recipe card.
Skinless boneless chicken thighs - do not use chicken breast as they dry out too quickly and get tough. The thighs should be cut into approximately the same size to ensure even cooking.
Toasted sesame oil- make sure to you toasted sesame oil as opposed to regular sesame oil as the toasted version brings a unique, necessary flavor along with the other sauce ingredients compared to the original version.
Chili garlic sauce - this sauce adds the flavors that give this dish it's unique taste and make it taste as good or better than takeout. It is a rather mild chili sauce made with coarsely ground chilies and garlic in rice vinegar.
See the ingredient equivalents in the recipe card to help make this popular Chinese dish with the right amounts and quantities.
How To Make The Best General Tso's Chicken Recipe
Marinate the chicken pieces. The marinade consists of a whisked egg, corn starch, soy sauce, and toasted sesame oil. Once that mixture is combined with the chicken thigh pieces, it needs to be covered and allowed to marinate for 30 minutes to soak up the flavor. If you marinate it longer that is okay, but do not let it marinate longer than 8 hours.
Add egg white, cornstarch, soy sauce and toasted sesame oil to chicken pieces.
Cover and marinate chicken for 30 minutes.
Prepare the sauce base. This step includes combining the chicken broth (or chicken stock), chile-garlic sauce, more soy sauce, and corn starch.
Sauté the fresh ginger and garlic just until fragrant and then stir in the sauce base and the green onions. To finish the Tso sauce, simmer it until glossy and keep warm until the chicken is ready. Cooking the green onion, ginger, and garlic on low heat lets the flavors release and develop well in the sauce.
Sauté the marinated chicken thigh pieces. Be careful when adding the chicken pieces to the hot vegetable oil so it does not splash back on you. You want to work in batches so the pieces are not crowding and clinging to each other. Turn the chicken pieces until golden brown and crispy. This step does not take longer that 4 to 5 minutes.
Drain the fried chicken pieces on paper towels and gently toss with the warm Tso sauce.
Garnish and serve.
- Don't replace the chicken thighs with chicken breast as they'll dry out too quickly and get tough.
- If you have thicker chicken thighs, you can cut them length-wise to make them more evenly sized and make it easier for breading and frying. Plus the dark meat brings these crispy chicken pieces more flavor.
- Carefully place one piece of chicken into the hot oil instead of dropping them in and risking splattering hot oil.
- 3 garlic cloves = 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
- 2- by-1 inch knob of fresh ginger = 2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
- 12 ounce package frozen broccoli florets = ¾ cup steamed broccoli per person
- 14 to 16 ounces fresh broccoli = ¾ cup steamed broccoli per person
- ½ of a small head of broccoli = ¾ cup steamed broccoli per person
- 3 cups cooked rice = ¾ cups of cooked rice per person
- 1 cup uncooked rice = 3 cups cooked rice
- 1 cup uncooked rice + 2 cups of water = 3 cups cooked rice. You should follow the instructions on the package.
- White sesame seeds and sliced green onions for garnish.
- Steamed broccoli and cooked white rice as side dishes.
- Instead of serving this recipe with white rice and broccoli florets, you can serve it with other stir fry vegetables and other kinds of rice. It pairs nicely with chicken fried rice too.
- No wok? No problem! Use a Dutch oven instead.
- You can make this recipe with brown sugar instead of white sugar.
- You can swap the chicken broth out for rice wine vinegar.
- For a spicier General Tso's chicken recipe, add red pepper flakes to make a spicy sauce before you coat your chicken. Another way to make this dish spicier is to sauté red chilies with the garlic and ginger.
- You can use dark soy sauce if you prefer, but I find this makes our General Tso's chicken much more salty than desirable.
- For even more traditional flavors, add Hoisin sauce to the sauce mixture in place of the granulated sugar.
- I like to garnish this dish with sesame seeds and green onion
Any leftover homemade General Tso's chicken should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. If you store the tangy sauce with the chicken pieces, you don't want to keep them longer than that or they'll get soggy and gross.
However, if you want to freeze this General Tso's Chicken recipe you can. Let it cool completely before storing in an airtight container or bag and storing it in the freezer for 2 to 3 months. Let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
Skip the restaurant and enjoy the best General Tso's Chicken recipe at home tonight!
Easy General Tso's Chicken
- 1 egg white
- 7 tablespoons cornstarch divided
- ⅓ cup soy sauce divided
- 1-½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 pound skinless boneless chicken thighs cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
- 4 green onions white and light green parts sliced
Fried chicken pieces
- 3 cups canola oil (approximate) divided
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- White sesame seeds for garnish
- 3 cups steamed broccoli
- 3 cups cooked white rice
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy. Stir in 6 tablespoons of the cornstarch, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and the toasted sesame oil. Add the chicken, stirring to coat. Let stand for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the chicken broth, sugar, chile-garlic sauce, the remaining ¼ cup of soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.
- In a saucepan over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil and heat until shimmering. Add the ginger and garlic; cook, stirring, 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the broth mixture and the green onions; cook, stirring, 3 minutes or until thickened and glossy. Keep the sauce warm over low heat.
Fried chicken pieces
- In a wok or large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add ½-inch of oil and heat until shimmering. Using tongs, carefully add the chicken, one piece at a time in batches. Cook, turning once, 4 minutes or until browned and crispy. Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces, adding more oil as necessary. Drain the chicken on paper towels.
- Add the chicken to the sauce and cook, folding gently with a spatula, 30 seconds or until coated with sauce.
- Garnish with sesame seeds. Serve with the steamed broccoli and cooked white rice.
The total calorie and nutrition facts make an estimate for the amount of oil that is used in cooking the chicken. We used ½ cup in our calculation. This is based upon the amount of oil that was leftover after cooking. The nutrition facts also include the broccoli and the white rice. If you change your side dishes, these amounts will change.