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This easy homemade General Tso’s Chicken is every bit as sweet, sticky, and irresistible as the one you get in the carton when you order Chinese takeout, with tender, juicy chicken, veggies, and just enough heat to make things interesting.

A bowl of General Tso chicken with rice and veggies

Why You’ll Love This Easy General Tso’s Chicken Recipe

  • Quick and Easy. This homemade General Tso’s chicken recipe is on the table in less than 30 minutes and it’s made with simple ingredients you likely already have on hand, especially if you regularly cook stir fry recipes.
  • The Perfect Sticky Sauce. What makes General Tso’s chicken and Healthy Orange Chicken (not to mention this Crockpot Orange Chicken) so irresistible is that sticky sauce that clings to each bite, coating it in flavor. This recipe will show you how to achieve that at home!
  • General Tso’s Chicken, Lightened Up. While it still strikes that perfect balance of sweet, savory, and spicy, the sauce in this recipe calls for a more reasonable amount of sugar and low-sodium soy sauce. (Like my Bourbon Chicken and Sesame Chicken recipes, the marinade here is sweetened with honey or maple syrup.) To create that quintessential breaded outside, I toss the chicken in corn starch and lightly pan fry it to create a “crust.” No deep fried chicken here!
Easy General Tso chicken with vegetables

5 Star Review

“This recipe is delicious and will definitely be permanently on my weekend meal rotation!”

— Kelly —

How to Make General Tso’s Chicken

The Ingredients

  • Chicken. The sauce deliciously clings to each bite-sized piece of the chicken.
  • General Tso’s Marinade. A combination of soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, sesame oil, honey or maple syrup, and baking soda. It’s salty, sweet, nutty, and a little spicy.
  • Soy Sauce. Bursting with umami goodness, soy sauce adds crucial flavor to the sauce. I used low-sodium (low salt) soy sauce to keep the sauce from becoming too salty.
  • Hoisin Sauce. Hoisin sauce is key to the General Tso’s sauce’s scrumptious, thick, and slightly sweet flavor. Think of it as Asian barbecue sauce.
  • Ginger. With mild peppery and sweet notes, ginger adds zippy freshness.
  • Chili Garlic Sauce. For a spicier version, up the amount of chili garlic sauce or add red pepper flakes. If you prefer a milder General Tso’s chicken recipe, you can use only 1 or 2 teaspoons.
  • Rice Vinegar. A light, mild way to add critical acidity.
  • Cornstarch. Helps make the sauce addictively luscious and thick and the outsides of the chicken crispy. I prefer this over using flour.
  • Sesame Oil. Adds a touch of nuttiness to the sauce. This ingredient will make your cooking better!
  • Vegetables. To make this a complete meal, serve your General Tso’s chicken with stir fry veggies. I use a frozen mixture, which makes things quick and easy.

Dietary Note

While this recipe is gluten-free as written, some brands of soy sauce, hoisin, chili garlic sauce, and rice vinegar can contain gluten. I recommend inspecting the ingredients in each of these items to ensure they’re all gluten-free.

The Directions

Raw meat in a bowl with sauce
  1. Marinate. Add the chicken to a bowl with the marinade ingredients. Let sit for at least 15 minutes. Whisk the sauce ingredients together in a separate bowl.
Raw meat being coated in sauce and cornstarch
  1. Coat. Stir the cornstarch into the chicken.
Easy General Tso chicken in a skillet
  1. Cook. Stir fry the chicken.
General Tso chicken in a skillet with veggies
  1. Stir Fry. Remove the chicken with slotted spoon while you stir fry the vegetables (if using), then return the chicken to the pan.
  2. Finish. Pour in the sauce mixture and cook to thicken. Plate, garnish, and ENJOY!

Recipe Variations

  • General Tso’s Chicken Thighs. While I prefer using chicken tenders or breast, you can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs in this recipe if you prefer.
  • General Tso’s Chickpeas. This vegetarian remake swaps the chicken with chickpeas!
  • General Tso’s Tofu. Another meatless variation of General Tso’s chicken, this recipe uses chewy tofu instead.
Healthy General Tso chicken with vegetables

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate leftover General Tso’s chicken in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
  • To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
  • To Freeze. Freeze chicken and vegetables in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. 

Meal Prep Tip

Up to 1 day in advance, cut the chicken and add it to a bowl with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to finish the recipe.

Leftover Ideas

Turn leftover General Tso’s chicken into a filling for lettuce wraps (inspired by my delicious Asian Lettuce Wraps).

Rice, vegetables, and General Tso chicken on a plate

What to Serve with General Tso’s Chicken

  • Wok. Perfect for making General Tso’s chicken at home.
  • Mixing Bowls. Great for mixing sauce ingredients and marinating the chicken.
  • Measuring Spoons. For recipes with lots of ingredients to measure, these double-sided spoons are the best.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Cut the Chicken into Even Pieces. This ensures that it’s all done cooking at the same time. You don’t want to end up over-cooking smaller pieces while you wait for bigger pieces to cook through.
  • Cook the Chicken in Batches, If Needed. If you crowd the pan, you won’t get that nice sear and crispy exterior. Instead, the chicken will steam, which is not nearly as delicious!
  • Don’t Skip the Baking Soda. The baking soda in the marinade is a trick restaurants use to tenderize the chicken. (For more sticky-sweet and tender chicken, check out my classic Orange Chicken recipe.)
General Tso chicken in a bowl with rice and vegetables

General Tso’s Chicken Video

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YouTube video

General Tso’s Chicken

4.95 from 17 votes
This easy General Tso's chicken recipe has the spicy, sticky-sweet sauce and crispy chicken of your favorite takeout. Done in just 30 minutes!

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 12 minutes
Total: 27 minutes

Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients
  

FOR THE CHICKEN:

  • 1 pound chicken tenders or chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce Sambal Oelek
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey or pure maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 5 large green onions (scallions) or 7 small green onions white parts (bulbs) removed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 bunch)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce plus additional to taste
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce Sambal Oelek; the more you add, the spicier the chicken
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

FOR SERVING:

FOR THE STIR FRY VEGGIES (OPTIONAL if you’d like to add a side serving):

  • 1 tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil
  • 12 ounces chopped vegetables I use a frozen stir fry medley

Instructions
 

  • Place the chicken in a medium bowl. Top with the soy sauce, chili-garlic sauce, sesame oil, honey, and baking soda. Let sit 15 minutes or refrigerate for up to 1 day.
  • While the chicken rests, whisk together the sauce ingredients until smoothly combined: water, soy sauce, hoisin, ginger, chili garlic sauce, rice vinegar, cornstarch, and sesame oil.
  • Cook the chicken: Heat the canola in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the 3 tablespoons cornstarch over the chicken. Stir to evenly coat, using a spoon to separate the pieces and ensure each is nicely coated.
  • Once the oil is hot, with a large spoon, add the chicken to the pan a few pieces at a time, distributing it in an even layer (discard any remaining marinade). Cook on the first side until golden, about 1 minute. With tongs, flip and cook on the remaining sides, stirring periodically, until the chicken is deeply golden brown on all sides and completely cooked through, about 3 minutes more.
  • If you will be cooking the vegetables: Remove the chicken to a plate. With a paper towel, carefully wipe out the pan. Heat the canola oil and stir fry the veggies until crisp tender, about 4 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan.
  • Add ¾ of the green onion to the pan and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Pour in the sauce, tossing to coat the chicken evenly. Let cook 1 to 2 minutes more, tossing constantly, until the sauce is thickened and deliciously sticky. Stir in 1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds. Sprinkle the remaining green onion and sesame seeds over the top. Serve hot with rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice, as desired.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • TO STORE: Refrigerate chicken in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days. Store any rice separately from the chicken and vegetables. 
  • TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave. 
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze chicken and vegetables in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 4), without vegetables or riceCalories: 285kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 26gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 73mgPotassium: 575mgFiber: 2gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 346IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 55mgIron: 2mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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18 Comments

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    1. Hi Elaine! I stopped including sodium info because it can vary so much depending upon what products you used, and I found a lot of conflicting info online, so ultimately I didn’t feel comfortable publishing it because sometimes it wasn’t even in the ballpark. If you’d like to calculate it yourself, there are lots of free tools online (myfitnesspal.com is popular). I hope that helps!

  1. I made this as lunch for my 3 kids and myself, and everyone loved it. My pickiest eater even went back for seconds! It is simple, quick, and has all of the amazing general tso flavors you love from take-out without all the added fats of deep-frying the chicken.5 stars

  2. This was absolutely amazing, my family devoured it! I had been making a different Gen Tso recipe but will never make that one again, this is my new favorite! Perfection!5 stars

  3. This was my first attempt at making General Tso’s chicken and I was very happy with the way this turned out. This recipe has all the basic ingredients that you need to make a delicious dinner. We like it spicier so I added red pepper flakes and increased the chili garlic sauce. Honestly, it turned out delicious. Thank you for sharing your recipe.5 stars

  4. Oh MY! My family couldn’t stop raving about this – the WHOLE time they were eating it… then argued about the leftovers! We served it along with a simple cucumber salad and rice.5 stars

  5. Better than take-away. How do you keep knocking it out of the park? I love all your recipes. I used boneless chicken thighs for this and it was amazing – the flavors stay with you, can’t wait for leftovers – I always double the recipe.5 stars