Skip the takeout and make this delicious General Tso’s Chicken at home! You’ll fall in love with the sweet and spicy sauce poured over the crispy, juicy chicken. This is truly a restaurant-style recipe!
I love to recreate Chinese takeout dishes at home. They are less expensive, healthier and just as delicious! This recipe is one of my favorites, as well as sweet and sour chicken, cashew chicken, veggie beef ramen and chicken and vegetable stir fry.
Next time you’re craving General Tso chicken, skip the takeout and make it at home! It’s one of those classic Chinese dishes that is super popular and has tons of flavor. And the good news?? It’s surprisingly really simple to make yourself!
The sweet and spicy General Tso sauce poured over the crispy, juicy chicken is what makes this dish so amazing. It’s caramelized to perfection and has just the right amount of ginger flavor. It tastes similar to my famous sweet and sour chicken recipe, however the sauce is a little less sweet and has more of a kick.
This dish tastes great over rice and served with broccoli and carrots. I’m telling you…it has so much delicious flavor and definitely tastes like it’s restaurant-style. So what are you waiting for?! Give this recipe a shot!
General Tso vs. other Chinese dishes
There are several Chinese dishes that have somewhat of a similar taste, which makes it easy to confuse them. General Tso is often mistaken for sweet and sour chicken, kung pao chicken, sesame chicken and orange chicken. I’ve listed out their difference below to make it a little more clear.
Sweet and sour chicken: The two are super similar. The main difference is that General Tso sauce has more ginger flavor, as well as a little more heat from hot sauce or chili flakes.
Kung pao chicken: The main difference between the two Chinese dishes is how the meat is cooked. General Tso is fried in a crispy coating, however kung pao chicken is seared on the stove. Both are coated in a similar sauce, but kung pao typically always has veggies and peanuts mixed in.
Orange chicken: The main difference between the two is the sauce. The meat is prepared the same way, however the orange sauce is a little more sweet. It usually doesn’t include the spice factor (hot sauce/chili flakes) and contains a combination of orange juice/zest/peel.
Sesame chicken: These two dishes are VERY similar. The main difference is the oil used in the sauce. Sesame chicken calls for sesame oil, which adds a salty and nutty taste, making it a little less sweet than General Tso. It is also always topped with sesame seeds.
Below are the ingredients needed to make this recipe. I like to serve over rice with broccoli and carrots. I also love to add some sesame seeds on top!
- Corn starch
- Kosher salt
- Garlic salt
- Canola oil
- Rice vinegar
- Soy sauce
- Grated ginger
- Sriracha hot sauce
How to make General Tso chicken
- Preheat oven to 375°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Set aside.
- Add meat, corn starch, salt, pepper and garlic salt to a large ziplock bag. Shake until the meat is well coated.
- Heat oil over medium heat in large frying pan. Dip chicken pieces in egg mixture, then add to frying pan using a fork. Fry both sides for about 2 minutes each, then move to baking sheet.
- Next whisk together all sauce ingredients in a medium size bowl.
- Pour sauce over chicken and bake for 20-25 minutes (stirring halfway through), or until it’s crispy.
- Serve with steamed rice and vegetables.
Note: If you’d like to skip the frying, you can just bake your chicken. In order to get it crispy in the oven, you’ll want to broil each side for a couple of minutes. It won’t get quite as crispy as frying, but still delicious and healthier.
Is it spicy?
This recipe does have a kick, however feel free to adjust the spice level depending on preference. I used sriracha hot sauce to add some heat, but you could also use red chili pepper flakes as well.
Does it have nuts?
It isn’t typically served with nuts. Most Chinese dishes that include nuts are pan seared vs. fried. If you’re looking for a Chinese chicken dish with nuts, check out my cashew chicken lettuce wraps. The sauce is a little different (less heat and ginger), but it’s equally as delicious!
General Tso Chicken Recipe
For the Chicken:
- 1 1/4 pound chicken (cut into bite size pieces)
- 1/2 cup corn starch
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 2 large eggs (whisked)
General Tso Sauce:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar (distilled vinegar will work too)
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger (or 1 teaspoon ground ginger)
- 1-2 teaspoons sriracha hot sauce (can sub with 1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes)
For serving: Cooked rice and broccoli and/or carrots
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Set aside.
- Place the chicken, corn starch, salt, pepper and garlic salt in a large ziplock bag and shake until the chicken is evenly coated.
- Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture and place in the frying pan with a fork. Fry both sides of the chicken for about 2 minutes each and the move chicken to the baking sheet.
- In a medium size bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the sauce. Next, pour the sauce over the chicken and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is crispy. Stir halfway.
- Serve with steamed rice and vegetables. Enjoy!