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General Tso Chicken

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close up shot of a plate of fried chicken garnished with sesame seeds and green onions
This General Tso chicken is a tasty Asian-inspired dish featuring breaded chicken tossed in a tasty spicy sauce. 
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Table of Contents
  1. General Tso Chicken Ingredients
  2. How to Make This General Tso Chicken Recipe
  3. How To Serve
  4. Storage
  5. More Recipes You’ll Love
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

This homemade General Tso chicken is a great way to enjoy Chinese food without ordering in. Tender pieces of chicken are breaded and deep-fried before being tossed in a delicious spicy sauce that you can serve with rice or noodles. 

Skip the Chinese takeout next time you have a craving and check out our tasty Kung Pao chicken and orange chicken recipes.

close up shot of a plate of fried chicken garnished with sesame seeds and green onions

General Tso Chicken Ingredients

General Tso Chicken raw ingredients that are labeled

 You’ll need: 

  • 1½ pounds chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt 
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha
  • Vegetable Oil for frying

For the Glaze

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup light soy sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar or mirin
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • ½ cup sweet chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (dissolved in 1 tablespoon water)
  • Sesame seeds for garnish
  • Green onions for garnish

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

OIL: You can use any type of frying oil. Vegetable oil, shortening, and peanut oil are all good frying oil options. 

SPICE: Spice this chicken dish up a little bit more with a dash of red pepper flakes. 

CHICKEN: You could also use boneless skinless chicken thighs in this recipe if you prefer. 

How to Make This General Tso Chicken Recipe

STEP ONE: Heat at least 3-inches of oil in a Dutch oven until it reaches 370°F. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes to heat the oil.

STEP TWO: Prepare the chicken while the oil is heating. In a small bowl, mix together the paprika, black pepper, sea salt, and flour. 

flour and seasonings in the bowl

STEP THREE: In a second bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and sriracha. 

ingredients risk together in a bowl

STEP FOUR: Batter the chicken pieces by dipping them first into the flour mixture, then into the buttermilk mixture, and one more time into the flour mixture. Set the battered chicken on a separate plate. 

pieces of chicken dipped into the flour mixture, the buttermilk mixture, and then back into the flour mixture.

STEP FIVE: When the oil has reached 370°F, place several battered chicken pieces into the oil. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the batter is golden brown. Lift the deep-fried chicken pieces from the oil with a slotted spoon and place it on several sheets of paper towels to soak up the excess oil. Continue cooking the chicken in batches until you have cooked all the chicken.

Our Recipe Developer Says

Keep the oil temperature as even as possible. Frying is most successful between 350 to 375°F. A Dutch oven will help maintain a steady temperature and hold the heat.

pieces of chicken fried into a pot of hot oil

STEP SIX: In a small saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Saute the ginger and garlic for 1 to 2 minutes until very fragrant and beginning to brown just a bit.

sesame oil, ginger, and garlic sautéed in a pot

STEP SEVEN: Add soy sauce, water, rice vinegar, hoisin, chili sauce, and brown sugar to the saucepan and whisk the sauce ingredients until smooth. Simmer for a few minutes to thicken the sauce.

PRO TIP:

Taste the glaze as it’s simmering, and adjust the flavors as you like. Sriracha and the sweet chili sauce add spice. The chili sauce, hoisin, and brown sugar all add sweetness. The soy sauce and rice vinegar add saltiness and zing.

sauce ingredients whisked together in a pot

STEP EIGHT: To thicken the sauce more, whisk some or all of the cornstarch mixture into the sauce and simmer while stirring until desired consistency is reached. 

PRO TIP:

Adding a cornstarch slurry helps to thicken your tangy sauce if you find it too runny.

STEP NINE: Place cooked chicken into a large mixing bowl. Pour the glaze over the chicken and toss until all of the chicken is nicely coated with the glaze. 

STEP TEN: Top with green onions and sesame seeds and serve immediately.

How To Serve

 Serve your juicy chicken with our better than takeout fried rice, brown rice, or noodles. If you’d like to add a bit of green on the side, try our broccoli slaw or sauteed vegetables to complete your meal. 

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days, but this dish is best immediately after cooking. It loses that crispiness as leftovers. 

IN THE FREEZER: You can freeze crispy General Tso chicken for 2 to 4 months for a quick and easy meal. Be aware that the chicken may lose a bit of its crunchiness and is definitely better when made fresh. Make sure to thaw before reheating.

close up shot of chicken on a chopstick

Crispy chicken pieces that are deep-fried and smothered in a savory sauce make this easy General Tso’s chicken recipe a great way to make your favorite Chinese dish right in your own kitchen. 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I use chicken thighs for this recipe?

Chicken thighs or chicken breasts are both tasty in this great recipe. Just make sure your internal temperature reaches 165°F. 

How do I know when the oil is ready?

An easy way to tell if the oil is ready to fry the chicken in, simply take a wooden spoon and dip the end into the oil. If there are bubbles that vigorously start bubbling around the wooden spoon end, then it’s ready 

What kind of hot oil is best for deep frying?

Fry only with oils that have a high smoking point. The smoking point is the temperature it takes for the oil to start to break down and smoke. Once it smokes, it’s not good for frying. Good oils to use are sesame oil, peanut oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, corn oil, or vegetable oil. Olive oil, on the other hand, is not a good oil to fry in.

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close up shot of a plate of fried chicken garnished with sesame seeds and green onions

General Tso Chicken

5 from 1 vote
This General Tso chicken is a tasty Asian-inspired dish featuring breaded chicken tossed in a tasty spicy sauce. 
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • pounds chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha
  • vegetable oil, for frying

Glaze

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup light soy sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar or mirin
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin
  • ½ cup sweet chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish
  • Green onions, for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Heat at least 3-inches of oil in a Dutch oven until it reaches 370°F. It takes 10 to 15 minutes to heat the oil.
  • Prepare the chicken while the oil is heating. In one bowl, mix together paprika, black pepper, sea salt, and flour.
  • In a second bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg, and sriracha.
  • Batter the chicken pieces by dipping them first into the flour mixture, then into the buttermilk mixture, and one more time into the flour mixture. Set the battered chicken on a separate plate.
  • When the oil has reached 370°F, place several battered chicken pieces into the oil. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the batter is golden brown. Lift the chicken from the oil with a slotted spoon and place it on several sheets of paper towels to soak up the excess oil. Continue cooking the chicken in batches until you have cooked all the chicken.
  • In a small saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Sauté the ginger and garlic for 1 to 2 minutes until very fragrant and beginning to brown just a bit.
  • Add soy sauce, water, rice vinegar, hoisin, chili sauce, and brown sugar to the saucepan and whisk until smooth. Simmer for a few minutes to thicken the sauce.
  • To thicken the sauce more, whisk some or all of the cornstarch mixture into the sauce and simmer while stirring until desired consistency is reached.
  • Place cooked chicken into a large mixing bowl. Pour the glaze over the chicken and toss until all of the chicken is nicely coated with the glaze.
  • Top with green onions and sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Notes

  • Keep the oil temperature as even as possible. Frying is most successful between 350 to 375°F. A Dutch oven will help maintain a steady temperature and hold the heat.
  • Taste the glaze as it’s simmering, and adjust the flavors as you like. Sriracha and the sweet chili sauce add spice. The chili sauce, hoisin, and brown sugar all add sweetness. The soy sauce and rice vinegar add saltiness and zing.
  • Adding a cornstarch slurry helps to thicken your tangy sauce if you find it too runny.

Nutrition

Calories: 424kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 104mg | Sodium: 1449mg | Potassium: 585mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 308IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 3mg
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