Craving Takeout? Here’s the Ultimate General Tso Chicken Recipe to Make at Home!

Hey there foodies! Are you craving for some Chinese takeout but don’t want to spend a fortune on it? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with the ultimate recipe for General Tso chicken that you can make right at home! This Chinese-American dish has been a long-time favorite for many and it’s not hard to see why. The crunchy chicken bites, coated in a sweet and spicy sauce, are downright addictive and I’m sure you’ll love it as much as I do.

General Tso Chicken

Now, you may think that making General Tso chicken requires a lot of fancy ingredients or complicated cooking techniques, but trust me, it’s easier than you think! With just a few simple ingredients that you probably already have on hand, and some basic cooking skills, you can whip up a restaurant-quality General Tso chicken recipe in no time. So, why not give it a try and impress your family and friends with your cooking skills?

The History of General Tso Chicken

Origin Story

General Tso Chicken is a popular dish loved by many around the world. However, its origin remains a subject of mystery and debate. It is believed that the dish was created in China as a tribute to the famous general, Zuo Zongtang, during the Qing dynasty. It is said that the dish was his favorite, and it was created to honor him. However, there is little evidence to support this claim.

Another theory suggests that the dish was invented in Taiwan by a Hunanese chef, Peng Chang-kuei, who allegedly named it after General Tso Zi-tong, another famous Chinese general. Peng Chang-kuei introduced the dish to the United States in the 1970s, where it gained widespread popularity.

Regardless of its origins, General Tso Chicken has become an iconic dish, synonymous with Chinese cuisine in North America.

Ingredients and Preparation

The key ingredients in General Tso Chicken are chicken, cornstarch, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, garlic, and dried chilies. The chicken is coated in cornstarch and deep-fried in oil until crispy. The sauce is made separately, using soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, garlic, and dried chilies, before being poured over the crispy chicken. The result is a sweet, tangy, and spicy dish that is loved for its explosive flavor.

One of the unique things about preparing General Tso Chicken is that it is traditionally made using a wok. The wok is a versatile cooking tool, and it allows for quick and efficient cooking at high temperatures. This makes it perfect for preparing crispy and flavorful chicken.

Variations and Adaptations

Over the years, General Tso Chicken has undergone many adaptations and variations to suit different taste buds and dietary restrictions. For example, some people have opted for a vegetarian version of the dish by using tofu instead of chicken. Others have made vegan General Tso Chicken by using vegan-friendly substitutes for ingredients like soy sauce and honey.

In addition to vegetarian and vegan options, there are also fusion dishes that blend different cuisines. For example, General Tso Chicken pizza or tacos have become a trendy option for those who want to explore the dish in a new way.

In conclusion, General Tso Chicken is a beloved dish that has become a staple of Chinese cuisine in North America. Despite its mysterious origins, the dish’s popularity and cultural significance continue to grow. Whether you’re a traditionalist or a foodie, General Tso Chicken is a dish that you must try at least once in your life.

How to Make General Tso Chicken at Home

Tools and Equipment

If you want to make General Tso Chicken at home, you’ll need a few key tools and pieces of equipment. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Wok or Skillet – To cook your chicken in
  • Deep-Fry Thermometer – To make sure the oil stays at a consistent temperature
  • Slotted Spoon – To remove your chicken from the oil once it’s cooked

Having the right tools on hand can help make cooking General Tso Chicken at home a lot easier and more enjoyable.

Ingredients and Preparation

The ingredients needed for General Tso Chicken are relatively easy to find, and most of them can be found at your local grocery store. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken thighs – cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil – for frying
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Sliced green onions and sesame seeds – for garnish (optional)

Once you have all of your ingredients, follow these step-by-step instructions to make General Tso Chicken:

  1. Begin by tossing your chicken pieces in cornstarch until they are completely coated.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in your wok or skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Test the temperature with your deep-fry thermometer – it should read around 375°F.
  3. Add your chicken to the hot oil, in small batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Cook each batch for about 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Use your slotted spoon to remove the chicken from the pan and transfer it to a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes until well combined.
  5. Once your chicken is cooked, add it back to the wok or skillet and pour the sauce over it. Use a spatula to mix the sauce and chicken together until the chicken is fully coated.
  6. Cook the chicken and sauce for another 2-3 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is fully cooked.
  7. Garnish with sliced green onions and sesame seeds, if desired. Serve hot and enjoy!

With a little bit of practice, you’ll be able to make General Tso Chicken at home that tastes just as good (if not better) than the takeout version!

Serving Suggestions and Tips

General Tso Chicken can be enjoyed on its own, but it’s also delicious served over a bed of rice or noodles. Here are a few serving suggestions:

  • Serve over steamed white rice, and garnish with sliced green onions and sesame seeds.
  • Serve over stir-fried noodles with crunchy veggies like broccoli, bell peppers, and snap peas.
  • Serve with a side of steamed veggies like steamed broccoli or bok choy.

If you have any leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, simply microwave the chicken until heated through.

One of the great things about making General Tso Chicken at home is that you can adjust the recipe to suit your taste preferences. If you like your General Tso Chicken to be spicier, simply add more red pepper flakes. If you prefer a sweeter sauce, add more brown sugar. It’s all up to you!

General Tso Chicken Nutrition Facts

General Tso Chicken is a popular Chinese-American dish that is loved by many. It consists of bite-sized pieces of deep-fried chicken, coated in a sweet and spicy sauce. While it is absolutely delicious, it is important to consider the nutritional implications of consuming this dish regularly. Here’s what you need to know:

Calories and Serving Size

A typical serving of General Tso Chicken (about 5 ounces) contains around 310-340 calories. However, the exact calorie count can vary depending on how the dish is prepared. If you are trying to watch your calorie intake or maintain a healthy weight, it’s a good idea to measure out your portions carefully.

The serving size is also important to keep in mind. Often, servings in restaurants can be quite large, leading you to consume more calories than you intended. If you are dining out, consider sharing this dish with a friend or taking half of it home for later.

Health Benefits and Risks

While General Tso Chicken is a tasty treat, it does come with some health risks. One potential issue is high sodium content. The sauce often contains a lot of salt, which can be harmful if consumed in excess. Additionally, the deep-fried chicken can be high in unhealthy fats.

However, there are some health benefits to be had as well. Chicken is a great source of protein, and the dish often includes vegetables like broccoli or peppers, which are nutrient-dense. Moreover, if you are making this dish at home, you can control the amount of sugar and salt that goes into the sauce.

Alternatives and Modifications

If you want to enjoy General Tso Chicken but are concerned about the health risks, fear not! There are several alternatives and modifications you can make to the dish to increase its nutritional value:

  • Use lean protein sources – you can substitute chicken breast for chicken thigh to reduce unhealthy fats.
  • Reduce sugar in the sauce – you can use a sugar substitute like honey or maple syrup instead of regular sugar to lower the calorie count.
  • Add more vegetables – you can include more vegetables like bok choy, carrots, or snow peas to provide more nutrients and fiber.

By making these changes, you can enjoy a healthier version of General Tso Chicken without sacrificing any of the flavor.

Happy Cooking!

We hope you enjoy making this ultimate General Tso chicken recipe at home as much as we did. There’s something truly special about creating a takeout favorite from scratch in your own kitchen. The process of chopping vegetables, marinating the chicken, and watching it sizzle in the pan can be so satisfying. Plus, the end result is a delicious, homemade meal that you can be truly proud of.

Thank you for reading this article and following along with our recipe. We hope it inspires you to get creative in the kitchen and try new things. Be sure to check back soon for more fun and tasty recipes to try at home. Happy cooking!


1. Can I use other types of chicken instead of thigh meat?

Yes, absolutely! You can use breast meat or even boneless, skinless chicken tenders if you prefer.

2. Why is cornstarch used in the recipe?

Cornstarch is used to coat the chicken before frying, which helps create a crispy texture.

3. Can I make this spicy?

Of course! Add more red pepper flakes or hot sauce to make it as spicy as you like.

4. Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

While it’s best eaten fresh, you can definitely make the chicken and sauce ahead of time and reheat when you’re ready to eat.

5. Can I use frozen vegetables instead of fresh?

Fresh vegetables are always preferable, but you can use frozen as a substitute if that’s what you have on hand.

6. Can I use a different type of oil for frying?

Yes, you can use vegetable oil or any other type of high-heat oil.

7. Can I make this recipe gluten-free?

Yes, simply substitute gluten-free soy sauce and make sure any other ingredients used are also gluten-free.

8. How can I adjust the sweetness of the sauce?

If you prefer a sweeter sauce, simply add more brown sugar. For a less sweet sauce, cut back on the sugar.

9. Can this recipe be made vegetarian or vegan?

You can substitute tofu for chicken to make it vegetarian, or seitan for a vegan version.

10. What can I pair with General Tso chicken?

General Tso chicken pairs well with steamed rice, fried rice, or noodles. You can also serve it with steamed or stir-fried vegetables.