general tso's chicken in a cast iron skillet topped with white sesame seeds and fresh scallions

General Tso’s Chicken

General Tso’s Chicken

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general tso's chicken in a cast iron skillet topped with white sesame seeds and fresh scallions

One of the most popular takeout dishes, General Tso’s chicken is saucy, juicy, and exceptionally crispy! This signature Chinese takeout dish features deep fried chicken thigh pieces coated in a thick, sweet and spicy sauce. Toss that takeout menu because you’ve got yourself a winner with this recipe!

I love making Chinese takeout fake-out recipes at home because when the craving hits and you are on a budget, the ability to make your favorite Chinese takeout classics at home is such a flex! Whenever we get the craving for Chinese takeout, I often make my partner’s favorite, crab rangoon, shrimp fried rice, and this crispy homemade General Tso’s chicken.

This stovetop version is my favorite but if you’re looking for a quicker version, my Instant Pot General Tso’s chicken may be for you! Healthier version without deep frying? Try this lightened up General Tso’s chicken.

What Is General Tso’s Chicken?

General Tso’s chicken is a Chinese-American dish of battered chicken pieces deep fried and then tossed in a thick, sweet and spicy sauce. There are several claims of origin for this popular chicken dish as two chefs each claim to have invented it. Whoever ends up with the title of the “original” creator of this dish, there is one thing that is for sure – it is super tasty and one of the most popular chicken dishes ordered at Chinese restaurants!

general tso's chicken on top of white rice in a bowl with wooden chopsticks. garnished with sesame seeds and scallions

Frying Tips

  • Don’t overcrowd the oil. This will bring down the temperature of the oil and can yield a soggy exterior.
  • Buy a frying thermometer. I like to clip this to the side of my wok or pot because this helps me monitor the oil temperature accurately. A meat thermometer works just as well but you won’t be able to clip it. You’ll just have to dip it in the oil often to check on the temperature.
  • Discard extra oil with this handy powder. I used to hate deep frying because disposing of the frying oil was so annoying; I had to find an empty container large enough to accommodate the amount of oil. Frying is an often used method in Japanese cuisine and they use this cooking oil powder to solidify the oil after cooking to make disposal super easy. I am SO impressed with this and it works so well. Just sprinkle it in after cooking and let it sit for 2 hours and you’ll come back to completely solidified oil that you can easily and cleanly dispose of.
a pair of wooden chopsticks holding a piece of saucy general tso's chicken

What to Serve Alongside

I usually like eating General Tso’s chicken with a side of white rice but fried rice or chicken lo mein is even better for that takeout experience! For a refreshing vegetable side, a spicy Chinese cucumber salad is always a favorite.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

General Tso’s chicken is best eaten day of but if there are leftovers, you may store them in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, I suggest using a toaster oven or air fryer so the outside stays crispy.

general tso's chicken on top of white rice in a bowl with wooden chopsticks. garnished with sesame seeds and scallions

Print

General Tso’s Chicken

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This signature Chinese takeout dish features deep fried chicken thigh pieces coated in a thick, sweet and spicy sauce.

Course Main CourseCuisine ChineseKeyword Chinese takeout recipes, general tso’s chicken, general tso’s sauce

Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 20 minutes Marinate time 2 hours Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes

Servings 4
Calories 333kcal
Author Julie Chiou

Equipment

  • Wok
  • Spider strainer

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Frying oil canola or peanut oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

For the batter:

  • ¾ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • cup water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper

For the sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Shaoxing wine
  • 4 cloves garlic grated or finely minced
  • ½ teaspoon ginger grated

For the slurry:

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water

Garnish:

  • Sesame seeds and thinly sliced scallions

US Customary – Metric

Instructions

  • Add cut up chicken to a large bowl then add the ingredients for the batter and using your hands, coat the chicken and allow to sit marinate for at least 2 hours.chicken thigh pieces marinating in a flour mixture
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.In another small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the cornstarch slurry and set that aside.a metal whisk whisking ingredients for general tso's sauce in a bowl
  • Once the chicken is done marinating, heat a deep wok or pot with oil to 350 °F (177 °C). Fry battered chicken for 5-6 minutes until golden brown. You’ll want to fry in batches so it doesn’t take the temperature of the oil down too fast.frying battered chicken in a large pot of oil
  • Using a metal strainer, scoop out the chicken and allow chicken to drain onto a paper towel lined-plate as you finish the other chicken pieces.deep fried chicken pieces on a paper towel-lined plate
  • Next, you will do a double-fry on the chicken. Fry a second time for 4-5 minutes. Allow to drain on a freshly paper towel-lined plate.
  • Remove all but 1 tablespoon of oil from the wok or pot and set the heat to medium-high. Add the red pepper flakes and toast them, but take care to not burn them!general tso's sauce in a large cast iron skillet
  • Add the sauce you made from earlier and bring to a boil. Add the cornstarch slurry and the sauce should thicken almost immediately.thickened general tso's sauce in a cast iron skillet
  • Add all the fried chicken to the sauce and toss until everything is evenly coated.fried chicken added to the general tso's sauce in a cast iron skillet
  • Garnish with sesame seeds, thinly sliced green onions, and more red pepper flakes.general tso's chicken in a cast iron skillet topped with white sesame seeds and fresh scallions

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 333kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 108mg | Sodium: 1435mg | Potassium: 345mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g

Photographs by Jess Gaertner Creative

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Hi, I’m Steven, a Florida native, who left my career in corporate wealth management six years ago to embark on a summer of soul searching that would change the course of my life forever.

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