General Tso’s Chicken is a Chinese-American takeout classic, that you can make at home in under 30 minutes! This family favorite meal combines crispy chicken pieces with a delicious sauce. Serve over a bed of rice and steamed veggies for a complete meal.
General Tso Chicken is the Chinese-American quintessential takeout food. There’s just something so comforting about eating bite-size crispy chicken pieces with chopsticks, especially when it is coated in such a delicious sauce. General Tso tingles your taste buds, balancing between the saltiness, umami, and the sweet. This truly is a family favorite meal, and tastes so much better than takeout!
General Tso’s Chicken is not an authentic Chinese recipe, but rather a typical American version of Chinese-American takeout restaurants. The Stay At Home Chef uses ingredients that are easily accessible for most people in the United States and Canada so that anyone can easily celebrate world cuisines even if their opportunities for travel or access to regional ingredients are limited.
If you are a bit timid about frying, you are not alone. To make your frying experience as easy as possible you should check your oil temperature periodically to make sure it remains right around 350 degrees Fahrenheit. If the oil gets too cool, it will take longer to fry; too hot, it can burn the outside without cooking the inside.
Be sure not to crowd the pan with too many pieces of chicken at once. You run the risk of them sticking together and not cooking properly. Work in batches to make sure the chicken pieces are not overcrowded.
If you are worried about oil popping, use a splatter shield over the top of your pan to keep everything inside the pan.
General Tso sauce has a little bit of warmth to it, without being overpowering on the spice. If you prefer more of a kick, increase the red pepper flakes to a full teaspoon. If you are particularly sensitive, reduce the red pepper flakes to 1/4 teaspoon.
Chicken Breasts vs. Thighs:
Chicken breasts are much easier to work with in this recipe, but if you prefer the taste of dark meat you can always use boneless skinless chicken thighs.
Low-sodium soy sauce allows you to better control the sodium content in your sauce, which is why we always cook with it. However, you can use either regular or low-sodium depending on your own dietary needs and personal taste preferences.
White Pepper vs. Black Pepper:
White pepper and black pepper are harvested from the same plant, just at different stages of ripeness. White pepper is less spicy than black pepper because of the processing it goes through after harvesting, removing the outer skin layer. Removing the skin also removes some of the spice, making it more mild. While white pepper is far more traditional in Chinese cooking, you can always substitute for black pepper. You may want to use just under 1/2 teaspoon if substituting with black pepper, so it isn’t too overpowering.
Side Dishes to go with General Tso Chicken:
Traditionally, you would find this dish on top of a bed of steamed rice and veggies. Our favorite vegetable to serve alongside General Tso is steamed broccoli.
Reheating and Storage Instructions:
General Tso Chicken is best eaten fresh. The chicken will lose its crispiness the longer it sits. You may refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. To reheat, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to a skillet over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add in your chicken pieces and any leftover veggies and cook until warmed through.
If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious Asian inspired recipes:
- Easy 30 Minute Chicken Chow Mein
- 15 Minute Mongolian Beef
- Restaurant Style Wonton Soup
- Orange Peel Shrimp
General Tso’s Chicken
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts , about 2 pounds
- 4 egg whites
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 to 4 cups vegetable oil , for frying
- 1/4 cup sliced green onions (optional)
- Cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together egg whites, cornstarch, salt and white pepper. Submerge chicken breast pieces in mixture and set aside.
- Meanwhile, pour enough vegetable oil into a large pot or saucepan to cover the bottom with 2 inches of vegetable oil Heat to 350 degrees F. Working in small batches, fry chicken pieces until cooked through and golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
- In a large skillet, whisk together 1/4 cup of the water with the cornstarch until dissolved. Whisk in the remaining water along with rice vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Place the skillet over high heat and bring to a simmer. The sauce will thicken upon simmering. Let simmer up to 2 minutes, then turn off the heat. Add in chicken and toss to coat.
- Serve immediately. Garnish with green onions (if using).