The Best General Tso’s Chicken Recipe

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The Best General Tso’s Chicken RecipeForget about paying for Chinese takeout, why not cook your favorite dishes for dinner from the comfort of your home? Apart from Orange chicken, General Tso’s Chicken is one of the most popular Chinese dishes that everybody knows about — in fact, it’s become such a huge part of our culture that many now refer to it as a Chinese-American dish. In this article, we share this homemade General Tso’s chicken recipe which the whole family will love!   

What is General Tso’s Chicken? 

You probably know that General Tso’s chicken is among the top sellers in many Chinese restaurants, but do you know where the name comes from? According to experts, this tasty chicken dish was named after the military general Zuo Zongtang, who hailed from the Hunan province under the rule of the Qing Dynasty. Some people believe that it was invented by Taiwanese chef, Peng Chang Kuei who then traveled to New York where he opened his restaurant. 

No matter how this recipe came to be, you’ll be sure to love the perfect combination of the sweet and spicy sauce, paired with the crispy coating that goes on each piece of chicken. Unlike sesame chicken, which is made using a sweet sauce for the base, this recipe offers more of a spicy kick for those who love the burn and will soon be among your favorite recipes. Traditionally, dark meat such as chicken thigh meat, but alternatively you can also use chicken breast that will give the same tickle to our taste buds. 

General Tso’s Chicken Recipe

Here’s how to prepare your sticky sauce and chicken to ensure that you serve up the best chicken whenever there’s a family gathering or occasion for celebration. 


For the Chicken 

  • 1 lbs. Boneless chicken thighs cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp. Water
  • 1 tbsp. All-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tsp. Sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. Sesame seeds (toasted)
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground white pepper
  • 1/4 cup. Cornstarch

Sauce Ingredients 

  • 3 ½ tbsp. Brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. Light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. Dark soy sauce
  • ½ tsp. Rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup. Low-sodium chicken broth

To Bring the Dish Together

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (completely mixed with 2 tbsp. of water)
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine
  • 3 cups of broccoli
  • 4 cups of peanut oil
  • 5 to 6 dried chili peppers

Preparing Your Chicken 

In a small bowl, mix the Shaoxing wine, sesame oil, salt, white pepper, and water, then marinate your skinless chicken thighs until they absorb all of the liquid to ensure juicy chicken. Next, add your toasted sesame seeds, corn starch, and all-purpose flour. Be sure to stir it well to get an even coating, then set it aside for later.  

If you’re looking to make General Tso’s Chicken in true restaurant fashion, you’ll want to make it heavy on coating, and use as little chicken as possible. During this step, you can add one egg and double your cornstarch and flour. But if you do go this way, make sure you extend the frying time, which will help the chicken cook all the way through.    

Preparing Your Sauce 

Mix your dark soy sauce, chicken broth, light soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and brown sugar inside a large bowl and then set them aside.   

Frying Your Chicken

  1. Heat some cooking oil (both olive oil and vegetable oil are fine) to 335°F in a small and deep pot. Make sure that your chicken is thoroughly covered in your batter and sesame seeds on every side. 
  2. Carefully drop each piece of chicken into your oil in small batches. These should float at the surface of your pot — be sure to fry them until you see a golden brown color, which should take around 5 minutes. Be sure to transfer your deep-fried chicken pieces onto a wire rack or a plate lined with paper towels. 
  3. You will need to manage your oil temperature with a thermometer since the heat will drop every time you add more chicken. Keep frying in small batches and once you cook all your chicken, fry your crispy chicken pieces again for a second time for an additional 2-3 minutes until they become super crispy.
  4. Next, heat another wok on medium heat, then add 1 tsp. of oil along with your dried chilies. Cook your chilies for 5 minutes, then add the Shaoxing wine and minced garlic. 
  5. Now add the sauce that you’ve already prepared.  
  6. Bring your sauce to a gentle simmer, then stir in your cornstarch liquid until it creates a thick and glossy sauce. Then add your cooked chicken and broccoli, then toss everything together until it’s all covered in sauce. 
  7. Plate and serve with some steamed white rice. 

Cooking Tips for General Tso’s Chicken 

If you’re worried about being a beginner in the kitchen, here are some more tips for the perfect chicken dinner. 

  • Your chicken will be softer during your first fry, so doing it a second time will make your chicken good and crispy just like in the restaurants! As such, deep frying is the best for the frying process. 
  • If you want to conserve oil, you’ll want to fry in batches with a minimum of 2 inches of oil inside a small pot. 
  • Drop your chicken slowly so it doesn’t make a splash upon contact with the hot oil. 
  • Try to spread your chicken pieces apart so that they don’t stick together into one big blob. 


There you have it, now you know how to make the best General Tso’s chicken, complete with an authentic General Tso sauce. Luckily, all of the ingredients used above can make a complete dish, so you won’t need any hoisin sauce, green onions, or the addition of red pepper flakes. So the next time you have a dinner to host, look no further than this recipe with a delectable, yet tangy sauce.