General Tso’s Chicken

General Tso’s Chicken is my husband Andrew’s absolute favorite Chinese dish. In fact when Andrew and I go out to a Chinese restaurant he doesn’t even have to look at the menu. He always orders the General Tso’s Chicken and Hot and Sour Soup. At almost every Chinese buffet or take-out you will find General Tso’s Chicken on the menu. But would you be surprised to know that this take-out staple is super easy to make in your own kitchen? Ever since I found this recipe a few months ago, Andrew has been bugging to me to try it out. So last week after a long day of work, he came home to a whole Chinese spread to devour. This homemade version of General Tso’s Chicken was absolutely fabulous! The chicken was moist, tender and packed with flavor from the marinade. Fried to crispy golden perfection and tossed in a sweet and spicy sauce, this recipe won’t disappoint! Serve over Jasmine rice alongside some pot stickers or egg rolls.

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General Tso’s Chicken

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For the Chicken:

  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 pounds (about 4) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

For Coating and Frying:

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 cups vegetable oil
  • 1-2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon white sesame seeds


  1. In a large bowl, combine hoisin, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch and water in a bowl. Transfer 6 tablespoons of this mixture in a ziptop storage bag and add the chicken; refrigerate for 30 minutes. Set aside the remaining mixture.
  2. While the chicken is marinating, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Sauté the garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 2 cups of the hoisin mixture and simmer, whisking constantly, until the mixture is dark brown and thickened. Remove from heat, cover.
  3. To prepare the chicken for coating and frying, in a shallow bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy; set aside.
  4. In a second shallow dish, combine the cornstarch, flour, baking soda, and remaining hoisin marinade; mix until it resembles coarse meal.
  5. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet; set aside. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat until the oil registers 350 degrees.
  6. Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Toss half the chicken into the egg whites until well coated, then dredge the chicken in the cornstarch mixture, pressing to adhere. Transfer the coated chicken to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken.
  7. Fry half the chicken until golden brown, about 3 minutes, turning each piece halfway through cooking. Transfer chicken to prepared baking sheet and place in oven. Bring oil back to 350 degrees and repeat with remaining chicken pieces.
  8. Rewarm the sauce over medium heat until simmering add the fried chicken pieces, tossing to coat. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.

Yields: 4 servings

Source: adapted from What’s Cooking Chicago, originally from Cook’s Illustrated

This entry was posted in Chicken, Main Dish and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to General Tso’s Chicken

  1. overtimecook says:

    Wow, this looks amazing! Whenever my family orders Chinese food, without fail someone (at least one!) orders General Tso’s. It’s a real family favorite- they will be so excited when I make a home made version! Bookmarking this recipe.


  2. ChgoJohn says:

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! Like your husband, General Tso’s chicken is my absolute favorite Chinese dinner and I always order it. And every time I don’t, I end up disappointed. I will definitely be making this. Can’t wait!

  3. I second John’s thank yous, but for a different reason. I have five egg whites in the fridge and was thinking sweet, but now I’m thinking savory. Great recipe.

  4. My fiance’s favorite dish at Chinese restaurants is general tso’s chicken too! I’ve never attempted Chinese food at home but Yours looks pretty darn authentic. Great job…I’ll have to give it a try 🙂

  5. I absolutely must try this! The only Chinese food I eat is General Tsos but I’ve never made it at home before.

  6. I adore Chinese food and that looks amazing. Am going to take a couple of chicken breasts out of the freezer tonight!

  7. Yum, I love this dish but sometimes it’s too spicy for me – now I can make it to my own specifications, thanks to you!

  8. Erin says:

    This is one of my favorite Chinese dishes as well. That sauce looks perfect.

  9. Oh wow; this looks great! General Tso’s is a definite favorite in my household too and yours sounds great. Definitely printing this out. 🙂

  10. This is my favorite Chinese dish. I am definitely bookmarking this for a later date!

  11. lacy says:

    Wow this looks incredible! I would definitely think this came from a Chinese take out place. And thank you, thank you! This is my boyfriends fav of the Chinese take out. Definitely trying this recipe out.

  12. Judy says:

    This looks delish! One of our kids loves Gen Tso’s Chicken, will have to try your recipe 🙂

  13. Lauren says:

    Another great one…Chinese dishes aren’t the easiest to make, but when done right, they’re incredible.

  14. Caroline says:

    Omg I need to make this asap. That sauce is making me drool. Looks delicious! x

  15. Love, love, LOVE this recipe. Easy, tasty, quick – better than takeout. So now I’ve spoiled my husband for yet another cuisine. I made it last night – used coconut oil to fry the chicken pieces in, added some red pepper chunks and sliced snap peas to the sauce for colour. Fabulous taste! Thanks.

  16. Julie says:

    OK guys, so I made this for dinner last night and it was AMAZING! Now, I made quite a mess doing it but it was soooo worth it. General Tso’s is my boyfriends favorite. This recipe tastes and looks just like Chinese take out! This is the new favorite around here. 🙂

  17. 2peas says:

    this looks great!

  18. I had General Tso’s Chicken for the first time last winter and my mouth waters every time I hear the name. Your photos look incredible! I am so tempted to make this for dinner this week. I’m glad I found this! (I “Stumbled Upon” it!) 🙂

  19. Yummy! I hope I can make it taste as good as your picture makes it look.

  20. Denise says:

    This was delicious fresh! However it does not make good leftovers, so eat it all in one night! 🙂

  21. Pingback: General Tso’s Chicken

  22. Jeanette says:

    Love this dish,but we started our diet a week ago.We will try it for a treat some night. you site!!! Its the Best!!!

  23. Pingback: Fried Rice with Peas and Bean Sprouts | Sweet Pea's Kitchen

  24. Veronika says:

    I made this tonight and it tasted great! Very happy, since this is the first recipe that comes close to what I order at my fav. chinese restaurant. Thanks!

  25. Dorothy says:

    I LOVE this! It was labor intensive, but well worth the effort. It tasted waaaayyyy better than any take-out I’ve ever had. I used a regular pot, since I don’t have a Dutch oven. Worked just as well. This is a once a month treat, since I don’t eat much fried food. Maybe a baked version??

    • Christina says:

      I am so glad that you enjoyed the recipe! General Tso’s is one of my favorite dishes so I make it all the time. Sometimes I do not fry the chicken but just stir-fry it in a little bit of the marinade and it still turns out great! Thanks so much for letting me know how it turned out for you! 🙂

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