This General Tso’s Chicken has extra crispy chicken that’s smothered in a sweet, savory, and tangy sauce with delicious bites of broccoli! You’ll love making this Chinese Food takeout recipe at home.
General Tso’s Chicken is always a must when we order Chinese food. It’s actually one of the most popular menu items in Chinese food restaurants across America. So I figured it would be fun to learn how to make it myself at home.
The chicken in this recipe is super crunchy, and it’s smothered in a glossy, flavorful sauce that has the perfect balance of flavors. Let’s get into what you need to know to make this classic takeout meal yourself!
What is General Tso’s Chicken
General Tso’s Chicken is a dish featuring deep-fried chicken in a sweet sauce that also has hints of tangy, savory, and spicy. It’s served in Chinese restaurants across North America.
There are Taiwanese versions of this dish as well, which has chicken that’s cooked with the skin on. The sauce isn’t as sweet and soy sauce is a more prominent ingredient.
Read more about how this dish originated and more at Wikipedia.
The sauce is what makes this recipe, it has such a unique and delicious balance of different flavors. Learning the role of each ingredient is helpful when making this recipe:
- Cornstarch + Water – The Thickener.
- Chicken Broth – Gives us enough liquid to coat the chicken, adds savory flavor.
- Sugar – Gives the sauce the sweetness that it needs. Some recipes call for brown sugar but I really like the distinct flavor of white.
- Soy Sauce – Adds Umami.
- Garlic – I always recommend using fresh instead of bottled/minced for best flavor.
- White Vinegar – Adds tang. Rice Vinegar may also be used.
- Chili Paste – Adds a hint of spicy which balances it all out.
- Hoisin Sauce – Sweet, salty, and glazy. The perfect addition to this sauce.
- Sesame Oil– Adds a hint of sesame flavor, just don’t add too much as it’s very potent.
- Red Pepper Flakes– One final way to add a little kick.
General Tso’s Chicken Pronunciation
- When I listen to Julien Miquel’s YouTube video on how it’s pronounced, I hear a hint of the “t” at the beginning, followed by “s-ow”.
- Pronouncing it Right describes it as: “tsah-oo, with an elongated -oo sound.”
General Tso’s Chicken vs. Orange Chicken and Sesame Chicken
- General Tso’s Chicken: Sweet sauce with a little more heat, often served with broccoli. (I know, I know, I added sesame seeds too. I couldn’t help myself.)
- Orange Chicken: Similar sauce to General Tso but lighter in color, not as spicy, and includes some sort of addition of orange, such as orange zest.
- Sesame Chicken: Salty with a just a small hint of sweet flavor, served with sesame seeds.
How to Make It
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
Dredge chicken into the egg mixture, then into the flour/cornstarch mixture and deep fry in batches until golden brown. Set aside. (Warning: You’ll be tempted to stop right there and just eat the chicken. A little taste-test won’t hurt. 😉)
Sauté broccoli in oil for about 5 minutes or until desired consistency is reached and set aside.
Add sauce ingredients to a large skillet and bring to a gentle boil. It will continue to thicken, stir constantly and watch closely.
Once desired thickness is nearly obtained, add the chicken and broccoli and stir to combine. Remove from heat and garnish with green onions/sesame seeds if desired.
- Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for 3-4 days.
- Leftovers can be heated in a skillet or microwave. If the sauce gets too thick, add a splash of chicken broth or water.
- Note that the chicken won’t be as crispy the second time around, but the taste is still great!
Tools For This Recipe
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- Dutch Oven – These conduct heat really well. I use mine all the time.
- Deep Fryer – This is the one I have, it’s simple/easy and doesn’t take up much space.
- Rubbermaid Containers with lids– I always use these to combine my corn starch + cold water.
- Oil Thermometer
- Slotted Spoon
- Silicone Spatula– Easy for tossing the chicken in the sauce.
- Cooling Racks
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General Tso's Chicken
- 1 quart peanut oil, can sub vegetable oil
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs, can sub breasts
- ½ cup flour
- ½ cup cornstarch
- 2 eggs + 2 Tbsp. sauce mix
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 Tablespoons cold water
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced
- 2 Tablespoons white vinegar, can sub rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons chili paste, see notes
- 1 Tablespoon hoisin sauce
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
- Green onions
- Sesame seeds, optional
- For the Sauce: Combine the corn starch and water in a medium bowl (or, I Iike to use a container that I can cover and shake). Add remaining sauce ingredients and stir or shake to combine. Set aside.
- For the Chicken Dredge: In a medium bowl, combine the flour and cornstarch. In another bowl, whisk 2 eggs and 2 Tablespoons of the sauce mixture.
- Dice the chicken into cubes and pat dry. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in the egg mixture, and then into the flour mixture.
- Add 1 quart of oil to a 3 ½ or 4 quart dutch oven, or use a deep fryer. Heat over medium-high heat until the temperature reaches 365 degrees. Fry the chicken in batches, until golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to carefully remove the chicken and place on wire cooling racks so that the bottom stays crispy. Place wax or parchment paper underneath the racks to catch excess grease.
- Take 2 Tablespoons of peanut oil from the dutch oven or deep fryer and place it in a large skillet. Sauté the broccoli for about 5 minutes or until it’s reached your desired level of doneness. Remove and set aside.
- Add the sauce mixture to the skillet and bring it to a gentle boil. It will thicken quickly so watch it carefully. Once it’s almost reached your desired level of thickness, reduce the heat to low, add the chicken and stir to coat. Add the broccoli, stir to combine, and remove from heat. Garnish with green onions and a sprinkle of sesame seeds and serve!
Use regular soy sauce, dark will be too overpowering. (Dark soy sauce is labeled.)
Storage Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for 3-4 days. Leftovers can be heated in a skillet or microwave. If the sauce gets too thick, add a splash of chicken broth or water. Note that the chicken won't be as crispy the second time around, but the taste is still great!