General Tso’s Chicken


General Tso's Chicken | Cooking Classy

Yesterday I mentioned that I had a cashew chicken recipe fail that I ended up tossing down the drain. Well, that fail left me with a whole lot of white rice so I decided I better try out a different Asian inspired recipe today.

I’m happy to say this one was a complete success! I could have probably finished the entire batch myself. The flavors, the textures, everything, I just loved it. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that this one was fried in oil and the other was only sautéed in a few tablespoons of oil. When it comes to Chinese food I think I prefer it take-out style, deep fried in oil. It’s just so much better that way. I love how that fried to perfection, golden crispy coating begins to soak up all that saucy goodness. This chicken is simply amazing thanks all the exciting flavors going on. You’ll love the depth of flavor the rich hoisin sauce adds, and the freshness the ginger and garlic offer to this dish.

This is General Tso’s chicken done right. Yes, the prep might be a bit lengthier than some of your more simple recipes but I’m telling you, it is worth it. Enjoy!

General Tso's Chicken | Cooking Classy

General Tso's Chicken | Cooking Classy

General Tso’s Chicken

General Tso’s Chicken


  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 green onions, sliced, greens and whites divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • Coating
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Salt and white or black pepper, as desired
  • 4 cups vegetable oil, for frying


  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, 2 Tbsp cornstarch and the chicken broth. Place chicken in a large Ziploc bag and pour 6 Tbsp of the hoisin mixture over chicken, seal bag and allow to marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp vegetable oil over medium heat. Once hot, add chopped whites of green onions, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes and saute 1 minute. Add 2 cups of hoisin sauce mixture (reserve remaining little bit) to skillet, season with salt and white pepper to taste (you may not even need salt) and cook, stirring constantly until mixture has thickened. Remove from heat, cover with lid.
  • In a shallow dish, vigorously whisk egg whites until foamy, set aside. In a separate shallow dish, whisk together cornstarch, flour and baking soda, then add remaining hoisin sauce mixture and stir until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  • Heat 4 cups oil in a dutch oven over medium heat to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, remove chicken from refrigerator and remove chicken from marinade, shaking of excess marinade, and transfer to a large plate lined with several paper towels. Cover with more paper towels and pat dry. Place half of the chicken into the egg whites and toss to coat, then lift and allow excess to run off and immediately transfer to cornstarch mixture. Toss in cornstarch mixture (separating pieces as they stick together or working with just a few at a time) to evenly coat then transfer to a plate and repeat coating process with remaining chicken. Fry coated chicken in batches in hot oil (I did three batches for all of the chicken, just so it's not overcrowded and dropping the oil temperature), until chicken is golden brown and has cooked through, about 3 - 4 minutes, turning chicken once during frying. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain and repeat frying process with remaining chicken.
  • Warm sauce over medium-low heat until heated through. Place chicken in a large bowl and toss with warm sauce to evenly coat. Serve warm topped with sliced green onions and optional sesame seeds if desired.
  • Recipe Source: adapted from Cook's Illustrated via What's Cookin, Chicago?

General Tso's Chicken | Cooking Classy


  • Angela: Wow! This looks incredible! Asian food is something I feel like I “fail” more often then nailing it… Cannot wait to try!!! Pinning now! January 16, 2014 at 7:36pm Reply

  • Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness: I lovelovelove takeout! But, it’s even better when I can make it at home and eat it fresh (read: straight out of the pan)
    Dying to try this General Tsaos! January 17, 2014 at 5:00am Reply

  • Laura: Jaclyn, this looks and sounds delicious! General Tso’s is my Honey’s very favorite Chinese take-out dish, and I’m always thinking I should make it at home… definitely going to try your recipe! January 17, 2014 at 6:10am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I hope you do Laura and I hope you both love it :)! January 17, 2014 at 9:11am Reply

  • Teena: I am going to make this tonight it looks great. The only suggestion I have is that I print the recipes off I never make a recipe without a picture. Can you give us the option of printing w/ or w/o a pic?? Stupid I know. January 17, 2014 at 8:56am Reply

  • Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen: Just gorgeous, Jaclyn! So nice to have a go-to recipe. My husband will be so happy, too. Thanks for sharing. Pinned! January 17, 2014 at 6:35pm Reply

  • Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious: General tso is my absolute favorite – I can’t wait to try your homemade version! January 17, 2014 at 11:32pm Reply

  • Rachel @ Bakerita: Love how crispy and saucy this looks – exactly how good Chinese food should be! I could totally devour that whole plate…pinned! January 18, 2014 at 7:46am Reply

  • penny: I made this tonight and it was delicious, rave reviews from everyone, this is a keeper. Thank you. January 18, 2014 at 8:21pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so happy to hear you made this Penny and that it got great reviews! Thanks so much for your comment! January 18, 2014 at 11:01pm Reply

  • Leah: What is hoisin sauce and are there any substitutions? January 19, 2014 at 2:20am Reply

    • Jaclyn: This is hoisin sauce: It comes in many different brands. I wouldn’t recommend substituting it, but you could try making your own (there are some recipes online) vs buying it. January 20, 2014 at 2:57pm Reply

      • Leah: Thanks for your reply. I looked up homemade hoisin sauce and it basically has the same ingredients that are in the recipe… so I’ll see if I can just get it in the supermarket January 21, 2014 at 7:56am Reply

  • Karenb: Jaclyn,
    I was planning on making this dish tomorrow night. When I read over the ingredients and directions, I noticed that there is a discrepancy in the amount of oil used. How much oil do you add to the dutch oven to fry the chicken? You only mentioned 1 TBS Veg. Oil for cooking the green onions and hoisin sauce mixture.

    Please respond. I still want to make this tonight for dinner.

    Thanks!!!! January 22, 2014 at 1:36am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Sorry I’ve changed that above it’s the 4 cups listed in the ingredients list that you add to the dutch oven, sorry I just didn’t write it out. Thanks! January 22, 2014 at 9:07pm Reply

      • Karenb: Are you sure you use 4 C oil? That seems like an excessive amount for 1 1/2 lbs. chicken.

        Basically, I just need enough oil to deep fry the chicken. January 22, 2014 at 10:49pm Reply

        • Jaclyn: Yes it’s 4 cups but you could probably get away with 3 just fine. January 22, 2014 at 11:55pm Reply

  • Chrystin: General Tso’s has always been my favorite Chinese dish back in the US, but here in Argentina they don’t seem to have it at the Chinese restaurants, so I was ecstatic when I saw you posted this recipe. I knew it would be great and I wanted to share one of my favorite dishes with my husband, so I made it this weekend. You were right, the prep is a bit lengthy, but oh my god, that chicken was SO GOOD! Fortunately the recipe makes enough that we had leftovers, so we could enjoy it two nights in a row! In fact, right now I wish there were even more leftovers haha. Next time, I think I will make an even bigger batch ;) Thanks for the recipe!!! My husband and I absolutely loved it! February 20, 2014 at 5:25am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you and your husband loved this recipe Chrystin! Thanks for your comment! February 20, 2014 at 10:39am Reply

  • Bonnie: We made this a couple of weeks ago and it was fantastic!! It looked almost as pretty as yours and it was just so good! Thank you! February 21, 2014 at 10:41am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you liked this general tso’s chicken bonnie! Thanks for leaving a comment! February 21, 2014 at 11:33am Reply

  • Mary-Catherine: Made this for supper tonight! It was a lot of work but worth the effort! Full of flavour!! Definitely delicious!! February 23, 2014 at 4:36pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you liked it Mary-Catherine! Thanks for taking the time to leave a review! February 23, 2014 at 5:04pm Reply

  • Lynn: The amount of hoisin in the ingredients is incorrect. The recipe calls for more than 1/2 cup. More like 2.5 cups. Good thing I re-read this recipe a few days before making it so I could hit the store again for more hoisin sauce. March 2, 2014 at 9:49am Reply

  • Lynn: Never mind my last comment, I see where I misread it. Oops! :) March 2, 2014 at 9:51am Reply

    • Jaclyn: No probelm :). I hope you love it Lynn! March 2, 2014 at 11:54am Reply

  • Kelly: Made this yesterday and it was to die for!! Thanks so much for sharing. I have to admit, the recipe was a little intimidating, but getting into it, I found it very simple and easy to follow. I will definitely add this to my rotation of recipes! March 6, 2014 at 2:07pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you liked this recipe and found it simple and easy to follow! Thanks for your feedback Kelly! March 7, 2014 at 7:07pm Reply

  • WEEKEND: General Tso’s Chicken | Kruse Kooking: […] was inspired by Cooking Classy’s blog and this is their recipe. I followed it to a T! The only substitution I sort of made was using black pepper instead of white […] May 12, 2014 at 4:31pm Reply

  • Bronwyn: Made this a couple weeks ago–it was a labor of love, because I am a slow prepper/cooker, but it was SO DELICIOUS. and completely worth it. I had it over brown rice but other than that I changed nothing. I am obsessed, and will be making again! Thank you for this great recipe!!! July 8, 2014 at 9:11am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you liked it Bronwyn! Thanks for your comment! July 22, 2014 at 10:39pm Reply

  • lorie: Do you need to use a Dutch oven? Or can you use a regular skillet? July 18, 2014 at 5:58pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: That should be okay as long as it’s deep enough to fit enough oil for frying it should work. July 18, 2014 at 11:27pm Reply

  • Sonia: I tried this recipie and it was amazing!! It turned out just perfect. My boyfriend and dad also loved is a must try!! Thanks Jaclyn for sharing :) September 3, 2014 at 9:01am Reply

    • Jaclyn: You’re very welcome! Thanks for leaving a comment Sonia, so glad it was enjoyed! September 22, 2014 at 9:38pm Reply

  • melinda: i was wondering what the flavor/experince diference would be if i made it the same but did not bread it (my kid is gluten free ) any thoughts ?? September 8, 2014 at 3:32pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I would just replace the all-purpose flour with more cornstarch. Much of the time when I make Chinese food I only use cornstarch anyway. I might skip adding in the remaining hoisin sauce mixture though (to the breading mixture) because without the ap flour I’m not sure if the consistency would come out right, it won’t be missed much either since it’s a small amount. September 8, 2014 at 7:08pm Reply

  • Audrey: Made this tonight, everyone loved it and DH said it’s better than take-out (less sweet). Thanks a lot!!! September 16, 2014 at 5:00pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m glad everyone loved it! Thanks for your review Audrey! September 17, 2014 at 10:54pm Reply

  • foodie 16: Jaclyn, this looks so good, but how do you make this chicken looks so photogenic? November 21, 2014 at 6:01pm Reply

  • joy: The chicken tastes amazing. I’m even thinking if i make my kids homemade chicken nuggets that i would use this base. The only thing i think i botched was maybe my ginger was a week or 2 old or i added too much. thanks for the great recipe! February 9, 2015 at 3:38pm Reply

  • Bec: I have made this a few times and absolutely love it! I usually double the sauce just because I like things saucy. The only downfall is that it is so time consuming but other than that you can’t loose! I cook for my parents and 2 siblings and no one complains! everyone fights over the leftovers March 2, 2015 at 9:58pm Reply

  • Ginny: My husband loves General Tao’s but he really likes it spiced up and hot. What can I add that will give him the same “Hot” that he gets from our local takeout? March 3, 2015 at 2:16pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I would recommend some red chili paste, fresh chili peppers, crushed red pepper flakes or some sriracha. April 4, 2015 at 3:46pm Reply

  • Trina: Wow. Amazing. The nuggets are great even without the sauce. Thank you!!! March 9, 2015 at 8:13pm Reply

  • Kristen O: This was a really cool recipe and I’m glad I tried it! I personally don’t love ginger, and since I don’t regularly cook with it I didn’t realize how strong of a ginger taste would be in the dish. My husband still really enjoyed it, but I would go with less or maybe no ginger next time. It was good, but didn’t necessarily taste like any General Tso’s chicken we have had before. I loved the little chicken nuggets before they were tossed and was glad to learn a new and awesome way to make those! Thanks so much! :) March 25, 2015 at 4:09pm Reply

  • Liz C: this is really delicious. Not what I think of as General Tso’s, but really great. I think it should be mentioned, however, that this recipe is INSANELY labor intensive. From start to plate it took almost 3 hours to make this. My husband and I aren’t the fastest cooks, but that’s kind of crazy and I think should be noted. April 18, 2015 at 8:11pm Reply

  • Emily: so I’m young. And I’m just learning how to cook! I’m going to be the stupid one that asks this, the chicken is not cooked when you put it into the ziploc back to marinate, correct? You marinate it raw. Just to clear up my confusion! Lolol maybe if I would’ve read all the comments I would know!! Someone help this helpless girl out! May 12, 2015 at 10:09pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: You are totally fine we’ve all had to learn stuff like this at one point :). You add it to the marinade raw. May 12, 2015 at 10:47pm Reply

  • Crissy: Can’t wait to make this tonight but there is no need to waste 4 cups of oil for frying. Half inch of oil in the pan heats up faster and cooks just as nicely. Thanks for the recipe! September 24, 2015 at 2:03pm Reply

  • Jade Jenna: Made this tonight! Turned out AAHHmazing :) Thank you for the recipe! will be making this again November 3, 2015 at 12:42am Reply

  • Spokane Dad: I’m interested in baking or slow cooking the chicken instead of frying- any ideas on the cook times for each? Will I need to prepare anything differently or can I just adjust the cook times? November 25, 2015 at 2:10pm Reply

  • Sherry Hjelle: I made this in a cooking class with five adult men under 40, plus three adult helpers. We did it. Keeping them all busy with this recipe was not difficult. It was definitely a learning experience, but delicious. December 11, 2015 at 4:32am Reply

  • Joanne: This was delicious! My son’s enjoyed it very much too.
    Two things I wanted to mention:
    First, I am guessing you meant 1 1/2 Tablespoons, NOT cups, cornstarch for coating. Tablespoons was fine for me.
    Secondly, I used only 1 cup oil to fry 3 pounds of chicken (I doubled recipe for 5 people) and it was just fine.
    Give yourself plenty of time. Not a quick meal.
    Thanks so much! March 2, 2016 at 10:15pm Reply

  • Lindsey: The housin sauce in the cornstarch mixture is retard it resembles dough not coating. My husband says you are an absolute idiot and its people like you that ruin cooking. May 14, 2016 at 2:30pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: So the chefs from cooks illustrated from which I adapted this recipe are absolute idiots? Do you or your husband even know what you’re talking about? And ps what’s your problem going around telling a complete stranger they’re an absolute idiot? Grow up. May 14, 2016 at 7:51pm Reply

  • Wendy: I just tried this recipe and it came out absolutely perfect.

    Curious as to where the heat comes from with only a half tsp of chilli flakes. It was wonderfully spiced with just the right amount of heat. ( I did cut back on the ginger as I’m not fond of it, I did a one on one with the garlic).

    Personally did not find it labour intensive. But that is all relative to your personal opinion. 1 hour from start to finish. That’s not bad considering the results.
    This goes on the books as a favorite in my opinion. October 18, 2016 at 11:30am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for the great review Wendy! October 18, 2016 at 11:35am Reply

Add your comment:

Copyright 2016 Cooking Classy
Design by cre8d