If it's crispy and delicious, it's gotta be General Tso's Chicken. This recipe tastes so close to the restaurant that you'll wonder why you ever ordered take-out in the first place.
General Tso's Chicken is a Chinese-American dish that has gained immense popularity worldwide. This dish is known for its crispy fried chicken pieces coated in a spicy-sweet sauce, making it a delicious and satisfying meal perfect for any occasion.
Today, General Tso's Chicken has become a staple in Chinese-American cuisine, with different recipe variations being served in many Chinese restaurants across the United States.
The recipe is made with bite-sized pieces of chicken that are first seasoned, coated in a batter, and then fried until crispy. The chicken is tossed in a flavorful sauce made with a combination of soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and spices, creating the perfect balance of flavors.
This General Tso's Chicken recipe is easy to make, and you can serve it as a main course with rice or noodles, making it a perfect dish for any weeknight dinner or special occasion. You'll get classic flavors in each bite!
So, let's create a delicious and authentic General Tso's Chicken dish that will leave everyone wanting more!
🥘 INGREDIENTS YOU'LL NEED FOR GENERAL TSO'S CHICKEN
All you need are some simple, pantry-staple ingredients to make this delicious chicken dish at home.
You can scroll down to the recipe card for further details and instructions.
Chicken: We will need some chicken to make into bite-sized pieces. You can buy it pre-cubed or use breasts or chicken thighs and cube them yourself.
Sauces: The two sauces we'll use in this recipe are soy sauce and oyster sauce. Soy sauce adds a rich, salty flavor, and oyster sauce is savory and slightly sweet.
Oils: Aside from cooking oil for shallow-frying the chicken, we'll also need sesame oil. It adds a distinct nutty flavor and delicious aroma to the dish.
Seasonings & aromatics: We'll be using salt, pepper, sugar, garlic, and ginger spread throughout the recipe. The seasoning will help us create this dish's delicious depth of flavor.
💬 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
General Tso's chicken is one of the most variated recipes in Chinese-American cuisine. There are many alternative recipes with their blend of sauces, seasonings, and even cooking methods. The one we'll be making today is my favorite, though!
All of General Tso's chicken recipes are made by seasoning and battering bite-sized chicken pieces that are deep or shallow-fried. The fried chicken is then tossed in a sauce blend of soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and other spices.
The result is a sticky, spicy, delicious fried chicken that you can serve by itself or over rice or noodles.
Flavor profile: This recipe uses a special blend of ingredients to give it a unique depth of flavor. The spicy-sweet sauce we'll make perfectly coats the crispy chicken pieces for a delicious taste.
Cooking technique: Unlike most of General Tso's chicken recipes that require deep-frying, we'll be shallow-frying ours. This gives the chicken a crunchy texture on the outside.
Unique recipe: This recipe stays true to the classic taste of General Tso's chicken with some modern twists. It's a balance between tradition and innovation that makes it unique compared to the other recipes.
General Tso's chicken has a very unique and deep flavor profile. The first taste you'll notice is delicious fried chicken covered in a sauce that is sweet, spicy, salty, and tangy all at the same time. The tastes meld together in a unique combination you won't find in any other dish!
As the initial taste fades away, you'll notice notes of sesame and ginger that add to the depth of flavor in the sauce. You're left with a spicy and semi-sweet taste that will leave you wanting another bite!
The most common story about this recipe's origins is that it was named after a Chinese Qing dynasty statesman and military leader named Zuo Zongtang (romanized as Tso Tsung-t'ang) to commemorate his military victories. However, this isn't the case! This dish has no recorded connection to Zuo or Hunan, his home province.
There are several different theories about the origins of General Tso's chicken. One is that the original name for the recipe is not a reference to Zuo Zongtang but to a different Chinese word that means 'ancestral meeting hall.'
Another is that a Taiwanese chef immigrated to New York and opened a restaurant where he made General Tso's chicken, the house specialty.
Many are debating the origins of this topic, with multiple Chinese-American restaurants claiming they were the first to serve it. We may never know the origins, but that doesn't make it any less delicious!
🔪 HOW TO MAKE GENERAL TSO'S CHICKEN
Making General Tso's chicken is easier than you think and will give you the tastiest version you've ever tried!
The full instructions are in the recipe card below, but let's look at the main steps to making this treat.
In a small bowl, add all the sauce ingredients. Mix everything well and set it aside for later.
In a different bowl, add the chicken and all the ingredients to season the chicken, except the flour and cornstarch. Mix it well.
Add the flour and cornstarch to the chicken bowl, cover it, then toss the chicken to coat it. Remove the chicken and keep it aside, then discard the remaining flour and cornstarch.
In a frying pan, pour enough oil to shallow-fry the chicken. When the chicken is golden, remove it from the oil. You can fry the chicken again for another minute to make it crunchier.
Add the sauce to a clean deep pan and cook it until it's a little thick. Add the chicken and stir for 1 minute. Serve immediately with white rice or noodles.
Your delicious General Tso's Chicken is ready!
💭 COOKING TIPS FOR GENERAL TSO'S CHICKEN
Chicken thigh or breast: You can choose chicken thighs or breasts for this recipe. I've used chicken breast to make it, but either will work.
Dilute regular soy sauce: I've used low-sodium soy sauce, but if you're using regular soy sauce, dilute it with one and a half tablespoon of water.
Don't overcook the chicken: When frying the chicken, make sure not to overcook it, or else it will turn out dry and chewy. Fry until the chicken turns golden brown and remove from heat immediately.
Use fresh ingredients: Make sure to use fresh ingredients whenever possible. It makes for a much more flavorful and delicious dish.
Don't overcrowd the pan: When frying, do not crowd the pan with the chicken. This way, all sides of your chicken will cook properly. It's best to fry in batches if necessary.
📖 DELICIOUS VARIATIONS OF GENERAL TSO'S CHICKEN
General Tso's Chicken is a classic Chinese-American dish that you can adapt in many delicious ways. Here are some ideas:
- Add vegetables: For a healthier dish, add mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, or broccoli for more flavor and texture.
- Switch up the meat: If you want to twist your General Tso, try using shrimp or beef instead of chicken.
- Add more heat: For more heat to the dish, add some red pepper flakes or Sriracha sauce for a spicy kick.
🍲 MORE CHICKEN RECIPES YOU'LL LOVE
🌡️ HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER GENERAL TSO'S CHICKEN
If you have leftover General Tso's Chicken, store it in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. To reheat, either bake it in the oven at 375F for 15 minutes or microwave it on high for 1 minute.
If you want to freeze your General Tso's Chicken, cool it completely before storing it in an airtight container for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, thaw and reheat according to the instructions above.
The Easiest General Tso's Chicken (Classic Flavor at Home!)
FOR THE CHICKEN SEASONING
- 300 grams chicken cubes
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- Salt to taste I have used a little less than ½ teaspoon
- 1 large egg white
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup corn starch
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- Oil to fry the chicken It should be deep enough to cover half the chicken peices.
FOR THE SAUCE
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon cooking oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon minced ginger
- 3 dry red chilis whole or cut in quarter
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 ½ tablespoon white vinegar
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- ½ tablespoon oyster sauce
- ¼ cup water
- In a small bowl, add all the sauce ingredients, mix well and keep aside.
- In a different bowl, add the chicken and the ingredients to season the chicken, except the flour and corn starch. Mix well.
- Now, add the flour and corn starch, cover the bowl and toss the chicken to coat it. Remove the chicken and keep it aside. Discard the remaining the flour and corn starch.
- In a frying pan, pour enough oil to shallow fry the chicken. When the chicken is golden remove from the oil. You can fry the chicken again for a minute to make it crunchier.
- In a clean deep pan, add the sauce and cook until a little thick. Add the chicken and stir for a minute.
- Serve immediately with rice or noodles.
- Some recipes call for making a batter to marinate the chicken, but if you have leftovers, the chicken will be chewy when you reheat it. Hence I use this method instead.
- You can go for chicken thigh or breast. I have used breasts.
- I have used low-sodium soy sauce if you have regular soy sauce dilute it with one and a half tablespoon of water.
- Instead of a quarter cup of water, you can go for chicken stock but ensure it’s low in sodium. I have used white pepper, but black pepper will also work.