General Tso’s Chicken

Published January 16, 2014. Updated April 22, 2019

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

General Tso's Chicken on top of white rice on dinner plate

Homemade General Tso’s Chicken Recipe

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. Enter: General Tso’s Chicken!

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 my homemade General Tso’s Chicken.

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 General Tso’s Chicken recipe is simply amazing thanks all the exciting flavors going on. You’ll love the depth of flavor the rich hoisin or General Tso sauce adds, and the freshness the ginger and garlic offer to this dish.

If you’ve ever wondered if you could make General Tso’s Chicken at home, this recipe is for you!

What is General Tso’s Chicken?

If you’ve never had this classic Chinese take-out dish, you’re missing out! Essentially, General Tso’s chicken is a dish comprised of deep-fried chicken pieces smothered in a slightly spicy sauce.

Unlike other Chinese chicken dishes, General Tso’s chicken typically isn’t made with any type of vegetable. So if you want fresh veggies with your meal, you’ll need to prep those separately.

Homemade General Tso's Chicken with General Tso Sauce and scallions

General Tso’s Chicken Ingredients

For the General Tso’s sauce, you’ll need:

  • Hoisin sauce
  • Rice vinegar
  • Low-sodium soy sauce
  • Light brown sugar
  • Cornstarch
  • Chicken broth

And for the chicken, you’ll need:

  • Chicken breasts
  • Vegetable oil
  • Green onions
  • Garlic
  • Fresh ginger
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Egg whites
  • Cornstarch
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking soda
  • Salt and pepper

How to Make General Tso’s Chicken

  • Whisk together General Tso’s sauce ingredients in a liquid measuring cup.
  • Place diced chicken breasts into a zip-top bag and pour 6 tablespoons of the sauce mixture over top. Let marinate for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, sauté the green onions, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes in a skillet.
  • Add 2 cups of the sauce mixture to the skillet and cook until thickened.
  • In a small dish, whisk the egg whites until foamy. In another dish, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and remaining sauce mixture.
  • Coat the marinated chicken pieces first in the egg whites, then in the flour mixture.
  • Fry chicken pieces in batches until golden brown. Add to large bowl and toss with thickened sauce to coat.

Chopsticks picking up homemade General Tso's Chicken

How Spicy Is This Recipe?

The spiciness of this Chinese chicken totally depends upon how much crushed red pepper flakes you add in. If you don’t like spicy foods, add less than the amount listed in the recipe.

Do I Have to Deep Fry the Chicken?

Technically, no. You can pan fry the chicken with just a little oil. However, if you don’t deep fry the chicken it won’t be as crispy as what you get from a Chinese restaurant.

Tips for the Best General Tso’s Chicken

  • Pat the marinated raw chicken pieces with paper towel before coating in the egg whites and flour mixture. This will help the coatings stick to the chicken more easily.
  • Check the temperature of the oil before deep frying the chicken. If the oil isn’t hot enough, the chicken will soak up lots of oil rather than fry in it.
  • Place the fried chicken on a paper towel-lined plate to soak up the excess grease.

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4.56 from 9 votes

General Tso’s Chicken

Even better than take-out! Perfectly fried chicken pieces coated with a flavorful sweet and tangy, sticky sauce.
Servings: 5
Prep30 minutes
Cook15 minutes
Ready in: 45 minutes




  • 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 F. 
  • Meanwhile, remove chicken from refrigerator and remove chicken from marinade, shaking off 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.


  • Check the temperature of the oil before deep frying the chicken. If the oil isn't hot enough, the chicken will soak up lots of oil rather than fry in it.
  • Recipe Source: adapted from Cook's Illustrated 
Nutrition Facts
General Tso’s Chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 540 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Fat 18g28%
Saturated Fat 12g75%
Cholesterol 88mg29%
Sodium 908mg39%
Potassium 685mg20%
Carbohydrates 57g19%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 13g14%
Protein 30g60%
Vitamin A 148IU3%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Calcium 29mg3%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.


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  • Kaye Forrest

    This is outstanding! I have made a couple of times, using chicken thighs, chicken breast and recently with Tofu. All come out delicious!
    I do add a Tablespoon of Butter to the warm sauce before drizzling over the fried meat or tofu and toss with chopped fresh Cilantro, Toasted sesame seeds, Green onions and on the tofu I add unsalted Peanuts. Served wth brown rice and steamed broccoli-very tasty! Thank you!

  • Jessica

    The first batch I made looked like it should. The second batch did not. However it did taste great!

  • Debbie

    I just can’t wait to try these recipes my husband is going to love them! I found your recipes by scrolling through the internet! Thank you I can’t wait to try them all❤️

  • Cat Signorine

    Love this recipe and have made it probably 7 or 8 times and it is always delicious. Adapted the recipe tonight for my father in law who has celiac disease and cant have gluten- subbed in GF soy sauce and hoisin sauce, and did a 1 for 1 substitution for flour with GF Bisquik, and we actually liked the GF version a little bit better! All of the wonderful flavors Of the dish we love with a slightly crunchier and crispier coating on the chicken :)

  • Ethel

    I’ve made a lot of pot roasts over the years, but this was really easy to make and tasted delicious. I followed the recipe exactly but at the last minute added a little diluted cornstarch and beef broth to thicken the juices a bit. Not too much to make a gravy but a little thicker than it was. I really enjoyed it and will make again.

  • Paige

    This was good, but pretty salty without adding salt. Taste before adding salt for sure. :) I added more onions and red pepper.

  • P

    Hi, i realize this is old but hopefully someone reads this- is the recipe for baking soda? Or baking powder? I’ve heard baking soda will make the chicken taste like soap…

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      It is baking soda. I know what you mean with that baking soda flavor but there isn’t any soapy taste here.

      • Mouse

        Delicious. I added about 4x the red pepper but otherwise followed the recipe pretty closely.