General Tso Chicken. Crispy chicken smothered in a sweet, tangy, glossy sauce with a spicy kick! It serves deliciously for dinner, lunch or leftovers. Ready in just 25 minutes! This general tso chicken from scratch is easy to make at home.
This is a popular Chinese dish served at many take away style restaurants. It was first invented by a chef named Peng Chang-kuei. He created the dish in the 1950's. This delicious dish originates from China.
What does General Tso Chicken taste like?
Imagine crispy fried chicken bites covered in a thick glossy sauce that tastes sweet, salty, spicy and tangy all at the same time! There are also notes of sesame and ginger that enhance the flavour profile of this dish.
Easy to make!
My recipe is simple to make at home and can be made in under 25 minutes! All the ingredients are accessible, and I share substitutes where possible and applicable. I’m going to show you how to make General Tso Chicken with step-by-step pictures and a video to quickly explain the process.
You’re simply coating your cubed chicken thighs in cornstarch. Then frying it in shallow oil and removing it after it becomes brown and crispy. Into the same wok, you’ll add your ginger, pre-mixed sauce and let it bubble away until thick. Toss back in that fried chicken giving it a mix, garnishing with green onion and sesame seeds, both optional. That’s it! Super simple.
This will be the best ever general tso chicken recipe made at home and I’m very excited to share it with you!
No deep frying!
There is no deep frying in this recipe! We are simply shallow frying this chicken in vegetable oil. You can of course use your air fryer and I will share instructions on how to do that in the below recipe card.
No batter just cornstarch!
You heard me, no messy batter! Just cornstarch to flour the cubed chicken. This is enough to create a crispy golden chicken if you follow my instructions properly.
For this recipe you’ll need the following general tso chicken ingredients (see recipe card for full measurements):
- boneless skinless chicken thighs, diced
- ginger, peeled
- green onion, finely chopped
- vegetable oil, or avocado oil
- sesame seeds, optional garnish
General Tso Sauce:
- hoisin sauce
- soy sauce
- brown sugar
- rice vinegar, or white vinegar
- garlic, minced
- sesame oil
- red pepper flakes or red chili flakes
How to make General Tso Chicken
In a bowl, combine sauce ingredients and set aside.
Cut each thigh into bite size pieces, about 6-8 pieces per thigh depending on size. Do not pat chicken thighs dry, some moisture is needed for the next step. If you plan to air fry your chicken, see below on how to do that.
In a bowl, add chicken pieces followed by cornstarch. Mix to coat each piece evenly.
In a wok or pan, set over medium high heat, add vegetable oil. Allow this to get hot. To test, insert a wooden chopstick into the oil and look for bubbles. If you see bubbles, the oil is hot
Carefully lower coated chicken into oil and quickly spread apart. Once chicken is spread apart, do not touch or move the pieces around. Allow pieces to sear and form a golden crust, about 5-6 minutes on each side.
Remove and transfer fried chicken to a plate or cooling rack. Pour out any excess oil from pan.
In the same wok set over medium high heat, add your ginger followed by pre-mixed sauce. Let it come to a boil to thicken and reduce.
Then finally toss in your fried chicken and mix until each piece is coated in sauce. Optionally, garnish with green onions and sesame seeds. Enjoy!
How do I make air fryer general tso chicken?
You can make this chicken in the air fryer. Please refer to the recipe card below under Notes to find out how or read below:
Instead of pouring the cornstarch right over the cubed chicken (as instructed above), place the cornstarch on a plate and dredge each piece of chicken into the starch. Feel free to add more starch if needed. This creates a more even coating.
Then transfer the coated chicken into your air fryer basket in a single layer, giving each piece enough space. You may need to air fry in two batches depending on the size of your air fryer.
Spray enough oil over chicken. Air fry at 400 degrees F for 12-14 minutes until crispy and brown, no flipping required.
Meanwhile, in a wok set over medium heat, add 1 teaspoon oil and your ginger slices.
Next pour in your pre-mixed sauce and let it come to a boil until it is thick and glossy.
Then add your air-fried chicken into the sauce to mix. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.
Cooking Tips for the best General Tso Chicken Recipe
Prepare ingredients ahead of time
This is important. The cooking process is quick (about 15 minutes) so you don’t want to be scrambling as the chicken is frying in the pan or it can lead to overcooked chicken.
Use a pan that can withstand medium high heat
Medium high heat is the key to getting the chicken crispy and golden. So, avoid any pans that can’t.
Spread chicken apart after tossing into pan
Once you’ve tossed your chicken into the pan, quickly spread it apart so it doesn’t stick together as it fries making it harder to flip.
Don’t be tempted to move chicken constantly
After you’ve spread the chicken apart, do not move it around constantly. Let it sear and form a crispy crust on both sides. The more you move it around, the chicken will lose its crust.
For best crispiness, 5-6 minutes on each side is optimal.
Below are frequently asked questions about this authentic general tso chicken recipe:
Is General Tso Chicken spicy?
Yes, but you can definitely make this mild by omitting the red pepper flakes or reducing the amount to half.
What’s in General Tso Chicken?
It is made of chicken coated in a flouring agent or batter, then fried in a sauce. The sauce is made of hoisin sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, garlic, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, cornstarch and water. The dish is accentuated with green onion, ginger and sesame seeds (optional).
Where can I buy hoisin sauce?
Hoisin sauce is found at most Asian grocers in the sauce aisle and at many Western grocers. It’s also sold online.
Can I sub hoisin sauce with another ingredient?
I wouldn’t recommend it as there aren’t many great substitutes that really mimic the taste and texture of it. You can make it from scratch by following this recipe by Omnivore’s Cookbook!
Can I sub rice vinegar with white vinegar?
Can I use chicken breast instead?
Yes, but be cautious in overcooking this as chicken breast is not as forgiving as thigh since it does not have much fat. I would recommend only cooking it until it reaches in internal temperature of 165 F using to a cooking thermometer.
Why isn’t my chicken crispy?
These are some factors why your chicken couldn’t get crispy:
- The cornstarch didn’t stick to your chicken because the chicken was abnormally dry to the touch. For future, rinse the chicken and let moisture drip off completely, then dice it.
- Chicken pieces did not have time to sear and form a crust.
- Too much movement and tossing of the chicken pieces.
- Low of a heat was used
- Chicken did not have enough time to cook to develop a crust.
Other recipes you may like!
If you enjoyed this crunchy general tso chicken, you may enjoy these other recipes:
AIR FRYER KOREAN FRIED CHICKEN
KARAAGE (JAPANESE FRIED CHICKEN)
SWEET STICKY KOREAN CHICKEN
AIR FRYER CHICKEN KATSU
AIR FRYER TONKATSU SAUCE CHICKEN
SWEET SPICY GOCHUJANG CHICKEN
Well, I hope you give my General Tso Chicken a try! It always excites me when you make my recipes and I hope this is one you try.
Thanks for visiting my blog! If you enjoyed my easy general tso chicken, please share it with your family and friends or on social media!
Take a picture if you've made my general tso chicken recipe and tag me on social media @ChristieAtHome in your feed or stories so I can share your creation in my stories with credits to you!
Made this recipe and loved it?
If you could leave a star rating for my general chicken tso recipe, I would appreciate it 🙂 Thanks so much!
*This post for my quick general tso chicken contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I also earn from qualifying purchases through additional affiliate programs
Easy General Tso Chicken
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs diced
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 5 slices ginger peeled (each slice is about ¼ cm thick)
- ½ stalk green onion finely chopped
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ teaspoon sesame seeds optional garnish
General Tso Sauce:
- 4 tablespoon hoisin sauce (to make your own, please refer to above FAQ section)
- 2 tablespoon regular soy sauce (not light or dark!)
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar or white vinegar
- 2 teaspoon garlic minced
- 2 teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or red chili flakes)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ cup water
- In a bowl, combine sauce ingredients and set aside.
- Cut each thigh into bite size pieces, about 6-8 pieces per thigh depending on size. Do not pat chicken thighs dry, some moisture is needed for the next step. If you plan to air fry your chicken, please refer to Notes now.
- In a bowl, add chicken pieces followed by cornstarch. Mix to coat each piece evenly.
- In a wok or pan, set over medium high heat, add vegetable oil. Allow this to get hot. To test, insert a wooden chopstick into the oil and look for bubbles. If you see bubbles, the oil is hot
- Carefully lower coated chicken into oil and quickly spread apart. Once chicken is spread apart, do not touch or move the pieces around. Allow pieces to sear and form a golden crust, about 5-6 minutes on each side.
- Remove and transfer fried chicken to a plate or cooling rack. Pour out any excess oil from pan.
- In the same wok set over medium high heat, add your ginger followed by pre-mixed sauce. Let it come to a boil to thicken and reduce.
- Then finally toss in your fried chicken and mix until each piece is coated in sauce. Optionally, garnish with green onions and sesame seeds. Enjoy!
This was really tasty just like takeout but now even better because I can make it from home. Thank you!
Thank you so much Ryder! Glad you enjoyed it!
This recipe is amazing, I'm so glad I found you and I cant wait to try some of your other recipes.. 🙂
Thank you Garry! I am so glad you enjoyed it and I hope you enjoy my other recipes too!
This recipe was soo yummy!! I made it for the first time tonight and my boyfriend loved it! It’s such an easy recipe, especially for a busy week night. I added in some lightly steamed broccoli for some greens! Thank you Christie!
I am so glad you enjoyed it Stephanie! Thank you so much for making my recipe 🙂
This recipe was delicious. I doubled the sauce, as I doubled the chicken. Definitely perfect instructions. I look forward to making the Hoisin sauce next time as I never would have thought to make it! This will definitely be a monthly repeat in our household. We served this with broccoli and cauliflower rice.
Thank you so much for this kind review Sheena! I am really happy to hear that you enjoyed it 🙂 This is music to my ears. Have a wonderful day!
I can confirm, the make your own hoisin is fantastic too. Thanks for a great recipe. I look forward looking over your website!
Made this over the weekend and it came out good. Maybe will use a little less hoisin sauce next time (I had added a little extra of all the sauce ingredients).
Is there a particular hoisin sauce you use??
I like using the brand by Lee Kum Kee.
I just made it, I followed the recipe. It’s so yummy over Jasmin rice! Definitely making it again, thank you Christie ❤️
The pleasure is all mine Christiane! I am so glad you enjoyed my recipe and thank you for making it 🙂 Have a lovely day! - Christie
I made this for my father yesterday for his birthday dinner(86 years young) he loves General Tso's chicken. He likes is spicy. So in addition to the red pepper flakes I added serrano peppers sliced thin(market did not have red peppers) to the sauce. Both my brother and father said it was better than the carry out. Than you soo much for recipe. Can this be made with shrimp and how long would you cook the the shrimp and would you do shrimp the same way?
What an honour that you had made this for your father for his birthday! I am very flattered that your brother and father said it was better than take out. Thank you so much for making my dish for such a special occasion! Yes, this can be also done with shrimp in a similar fashion, I would only cook the shrimp until they have become pink and curled, then quickly remove them so they do not overcook. Once you've reduced your sauce, mix in the fried shrimp just until the sauce has coated each piece, only to prevent overcooking. I hope this helps!
Great recipe made if for my family and they all loved it. In future however I will grate the ginger and add it to the sauce so that it covers everything. Then I served it will some rice and vegetables and was an absolute hit!
Thanks Edward for making my recipe! I'm so glad you enjoyed it with the family and happy it was a hit!
My Taiwanese wife really enjoyed this recipe. She even ate the leftovers the following day. Many thanks!
Thanks for making my recipe Jeremy! So glad you and your wife enjoyed it 🙂
My first recipe of yours and woah. I’m not a skilled cook by any means but trying to get more creative for my fam. My husband proclaimed I’m “the G.O.A.T” after this one and he rarely hands out compliments. Seriously so delish!
I served with baby bok choy and some rice, they’re already asking me to repeat. Xo
I'm really happy to read this Jessica! Thanks for making my recipe. What a kind comment from your husband and I hope you continue to enjoy my recipes 🙂
Girl, YES! 10/10. The sauce was perfect. Wouldn’t change a thing. It was so quick & easy to make. I’ll be posting your recipe to my TikTok (@traystewie) tomorrow! Thank you for a fantastic recipe!
Thanks so much for the kind review Tracey! So glad you enjoyed it and thank you for sharing about my recipe on social media. Have a lovely day!
perfect recipe - thank you!!
Thanks so much Tiffany! So glad you enjoyed it!
This was amazing! Will be making it again and again!
Thank you so much for these kind words and for making my recipe, Nancy! I'm so glad you enjoyed the dish 🙂 Have a lovely day!
I made this last night for me and my family and it was AMAZING!! They all loved it and will most definitely be coming back to make it again
Thank you so much for making my recipe JJ! I'm so happy the whole family enjoyed my General Tso chicken and I hope you continue to enjoy it many times to come!
Yummy! It's a keeper for sure!
Thanks so much for making my recipe Deanne! So happy you enjoyed it 🙂
i made this last week and am making it again today because i loved it so much!
Thanks for making my recipe Maya! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!
IT WAS AMAZING
So incredibly happy to read this! Thank YOU for making my recipe and sharing this with me! Have a wonderful day, Makai!
How do I quantify a "slice" of ginger? Can you give an alternative measurement for that?
For me a slice of ginger is about 1/4 cm thick.
I made this for the first time yesterday and I really enjoyed it.
Next time, I think I will reduce the sugar content though.
Nonetheless, I definitely encourage people to try this recipe.
Thanks so much for your kind comment Henry! I'm so happy to hear that it worked out well for you! Thank you for encouraging others to try it. Have a great day!
I had to use oyster flavored sauce instead of hoisin and it tasted just like general tso takeout. Definitely will repeat this recipe.
Thank you so much Maya! I'm so glad you enjoyed my recipe. Happy it worked out with oyster sauce instead.
I'm gonna try this recipe out for supper tonight is there any way you can substitute ground ginger for the fresh ginger, please let me know. Thanks 😊
Yes, feel free to sub with ground ginger but at half the amount specified.
This recipe is stupid good. I added some finely sliced carrots. Really really good. Served on rice.
Haha thank you so much, Dan! I am so glad you enjoyed it!
I will be making this for supper tonight. How much powdered ginger would I need to use? I don’t have any idea what half the specified amount would be. Thank you!
I would suggest adding 1/4 tsp of powdered ginger. I hope you enjoy it!
The chicken turned out great, my husband liked it but he asked could I make it a little sweeter with a little more vinegar twang
? We loved it but I think a little less Hoisin it kinda overpowered the taste but was still good. Think I could increase brown sugar 3 Tbsp and vinegar
To 2Tbsp ? Thank you for this recipe once i tweak it to my husbands taste I am sure it will be his favorite dish. He asked me to cook again tomorrow with Shrimp YUM 😋
Fantastic! So happy to read this - thanks for making my recipe and glad you both enjoyed it! Yes, feel free to tweak it to your liking by reducing the hoisin and adding more sugar and vinegar.
I will and Thank You !
Will be in our rotation for sure.
Preferred over take out!! This was an easy recipe and very good.
Fantastic! Glad I could provide a recipe that could beat take out! Thanks for making my recipe and have a nice evening!
This recipe is exactly if not better than restaurant quality. The instructions to let the chicken cook/sear for 5-6 min without touching it was so important to follow. It was crispy even with the sauce coating it. Ridiculously good. I never leave reviews, but this one is spot on with the real deal. Don’t use any other recipe for General Tso’s.
Thank you so much for sharing this very kind review, Camille! I appreciate it so much 🙂 Have a wonderful day!
So easy to make and absolutely delicious!!
Thanks so much for making my recipe, Hanna! So happy that you enjoyed it! 🙂
Easy great flavor. I have made 3X now family enjoys. Easy cleanup
Thank you so much for making my recipe, Carolyn! So happy you enjoyed it with your family on multiple occasions 🙂
We’ve made half a dozen of Christie’s recipes and this is our fav!!!! We’ve made it many times and love it!!!
Awww this makes me so happy to read, Sandy! Thank you so much for the continued support. I am very grateful that you enjoyed this one as well 🙂
THIS WAS SO TASTY!!! I used chicken breast and cooked it just to temp. I'm so sad I didn't double the recipe to have more left overs. Next time!
Thanks for making my recipe, Elise! 🙂 Happy you really enjoyed it!
Love, love the General Tso and so easy to make in no time at all. Now I don’t have to go out to Chinese places. Very good 😊
Thank you so much for making my recipe, Donna! I am really happy to read this and glad I could help!