General Tso’s Chicken Recipe

At nearly any buffet or take-out place you can find General Tso’s Chicken. General Tso’s Chicken is a perfect combination of sweet and spicy flavors. It is a very popular dish throughout the United States and Canada. This is probably one of the best and easiest recipes around, you will be surprised at how little time it takes to prepare. I decided to get brave and use the boneless skinless chicken thighs, and I wasn’t disappointed. However, If you want to use chicken breasts that would work fine as well. The sauce keeps it nice and simple with only a few necessary ingredients to create the perfect generals sauce. For the frying – it’s your choice if you want to use a deep fryer or wok. What I did was first deep fry the chicken and then fry it in the wok for a few minutes before adding the sauce. What this does is give the chicken bits a spicy flavor coming from the dried chilies that are fried in the oil. If you are looking for an amazing recipe for General Tso’s chicken give this one a try. Serve on top of white rice. Enjoy.

1lb boneless skinless chicken thighs (cut into 1” chunks)
5 dried red chili peppers
3 green onions (sliced)
3 eggs (beaten)
½ cup cornstarch
oil (for frying)
1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons rice wine
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Cooking Instructions:

Step 1: In a large mixing bowl combine cornstarch and beaten eggs. Mix well to create a batter. Add chicken bits and coat thoroughly.
Step 2: To make the sauce- in a small bowl combine rice vinegar, rice wine, soy sauce, sugar and cornstarch. Mix well and set aside.

Step 3: Heat deep fryer or wok to 375 degrees and deep fried chicken bits in batches. Drain on paper towels.
Step 4: Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil to your wok. Add dried chili peppers to your wok and stir fry for 30 seconds. Add chicken bits to the wok and stir fry for a couple minutes.

Step 5: Add sauce mixture to the wok and cook stirring until the sauce becomes thickened and bubbly. Garnish with green onions and serve.
(Makes about 2 servings)


155 Responses to “General Tso’s Chicken Recipe”

  1. Trevin — December 26, 2008 @ 2:51 am

    If you’ve eaten at multiple Chinese restaurants you will find variation on this dish at all of them. I’m half Chinese and worked at a restaurant my father is a partner in.

    General Tso was a real general in China, but as all Americanized or other ized foods go, its adapted and presented for a market to be enjoyed and eaten by locals. Kung Pao is different in that it has peanuts and has a higher salt to sweet ratio. Yes, both are spicy. Use Cayenne or Thai red peppers, which I’m convinced are the same thing. And if you want more sauce, make more sauce.

    If you go to China you won’t find this, but that is the beauty of modern cuisines, they change and adapt. If you want it made like your favorite restaurant, good luck. Every good chef has his secrets, and a kitchen with equipment that most of you don’t have in your home to recreate all the steps in a way to cook it the same.

    Still, this recipe is a good foundation to make Genreal Tso’s chicken with your own style.

  2. Easy Chicken Recipes — December 31, 2008 @ 11:14 am

    This recipe looks great. I love easy chicken recipes, but never seem to be able to make chinese recipes taste like I would find in a restaurant. I’m gonna give this one a try and see how I do!

  3. J Smith — January 1, 2009 @ 7:38 pm

    When I initially made this a few weeks ago, it didn’t have the flavors/heat that I’ve grown accustomed to when I get it at my fav Chinese buffet.

    I just made this again w/ a few adjustments and was very very pleased and glad I didn’t have to share. For added heat, I subbed 15 Japones chilies instead of my original de Arbol chilies. I re-hydrated the Japones for 30 minutes in a covered skillet w/ water that had been brought to a boil. In the sauce, I subbed sherry for the rice wine, added 3 garlic gloves and threw in some chicken stock, minced ginger and a generous amount of red pepper flakes. I also used the breast.

    Don’t use the Japones unless you like heat. I grow my own habaneros…

    I look forward to perfecting this dish and comparing it to the buffet version. Thanks for having this recipe on your site!

  4. Russell — January 2, 2009 @ 10:44 am

    This was delicious. I think I’m going to make it again and make a lot more sauce, I didn’t have the heavy coating that the picture and the Buffet’s have.

  5. James Hawk III — January 3, 2009 @ 5:38 pm

    Made this for dinner tonight with 3 arbol chiles instead of five (wasn’t sure how potent the chiles were, so I played it safe), and I found that it’s better than most of the restaurant versions I’ve had over the years. I might dress it up with a little ginger and garlic in the future, or toss in a few peanuts just to be a heretic, but overall this recipe just plain works. It ranks up there with my Shrimp in Lobster Sauce as the best Chinese restaurant-style dish I’ve ever made at home. I’m glad you posted it, and I’m glad I found it.

  6. Yudith — January 10, 2009 @ 12:53 pm

    Thanks for the recipe, we tried this a couple of weeks ago and absolutely love it. We doubled the sauce though, since they didn’t look nicely coated with just one portion of the sauce. We also used the dried chili peppers, and we would have liked to have a little bit more heat in it. Do you have any recommendations on how I can make this more spicy in the future? Thanks again!!

  7. Eric — January 15, 2009 @ 12:45 pm

    I just made this recipe and it was delicious! I actually dropped the rice vinegar so I had to use regular white vinegar instead, which turned out fine. I poured the General Tso’s Chicken over some perfectly steamed broccoli. The end result was a dish with a picture perfect appearance and beyond imagination taste.

    I actually took a picture of the dish. Visit to view the photo.

    My only recommended would be to use fresh chilli peppers rather than dried ones. Split them in half for an added spicy flavor.

  8. mishahu — January 23, 2009 @ 12:44 am

    great recipe … yum

    Also used it with fish (blue eye cod) pieces and it was delicious.

    Teamed with snowpeas stirfried in sy sauce and sesame oil.

    Trying prawns nexrt time.

  9. Rachel — January 23, 2009 @ 12:44 pm

    this looks absolutely amazing!! General Tso’s is my all time favorite Chinese Chicken dish! I featured this over on Blissfully Delish today!

  10. Michelle — January 26, 2009 @ 4:40 pm

    Being from South Africa and living in the UK, I’ve never come across General Tso’s Chicken but I must admit it looks amazing!

  11. Mike the (former) Chef — January 27, 2009 @ 2:48 pm

    Looks great – I used to run a small restaurant where we sometimes included a version of this – never got it looking quite as nice as that though 🙂

    @Michelle – my restaurant was UK based, so there are some places – although to be fair, I got the recipe of the internet and modified it for the ingredients we could easily get.

  12. Daniel — February 1, 2009 @ 10:48 am

    I must say that when bloggers put the photos of the steps in their recipes it makes me so much more confident about what I’m doing. I am going to give this recipe a stab tonight.

  13. roland — February 1, 2009 @ 10:15 pm

    Just made this for the Superbowl party I hosted and it was a hit. I did have to make about 7 batches of it but it was so quick and easy I will have to make it again for just my family soon.

    The only difference with my dish was I added a teaspoon of chili garlic sauce to the pan right before I poured in the sauce which adds some heat to the dish and right at the end I through in some broccoli we had blanched for a minute or two. That’s the way they make it here in the Dallas area.

    This is my favorite Chinese dish; I will not be buying it from a fast food places any time soon now that I know how easy this is to make! Thanks!

  14. Sandi — February 9, 2009 @ 7:34 am

    I wanted to ask though….at our local chinese buffet, the batter seems different. It is very crunchy and stays that way even with the sauce and seems very thick on the chicken.

    Every recipe I have found for the batter is like this one and although it is good, I’d love to know what they do to make such a thick coating on the chicken. perhaps dip again in dry cornstarch?

    Thanks again for a great recipe!

  15. steve — February 9, 2009 @ 11:23 pm

    This is actually an American favourite, you seldom see it in Chinese restaurants in Canada. I like meat with heat and a little sweet so hopefully it’ll become more popular here.
    Thanks for the recipe.

  16. Chef — February 13, 2009 @ 6:10 pm

    The recipe looks good, but it didn’t come out well for me. The sauce was very salty (which you’d expect with that much soy sauce I guess) and too thick (I had to use water to thin it out in the pan). Perhaps everyone else just neglected to mix the slurry before putting it in the pan? The chicken pieces did not fry well — the batter was soft and not cripsy, but perhaps I needed to fry it in the pan a little longer before adding the sauce. However, I find it hard to believe that the crispiness should come entirely from the second fry.

  17. Bobby — February 14, 2009 @ 8:13 am

    Sandi – It sounds like they are double breading the chicken. Roll the chicken bits in flour or cornstarch, then dip in beaten egg, then in flour or cornstarch again. This will also work better if you use a deepfryer.

    Chef – Sounds like it came out about right. You may just need to make a few adjustments to tweek it to your taste. If you are looking for crispy chicken bits you have want to not use a batter at all but just dip the chicken in egg and roll in cornstarch and then fry.

  18. David — February 19, 2009 @ 9:42 am

    I agree with Sandi. There is something they do in the restaurants that gives it that thick, crunchy coating. I have tried double frying as well. It starts off good and crunchy but if it sits for even a little bit in the sauce the crunch goes away and you know how long we have all seen this dish sit in our local “all you can eat Chineese buffet” Any suggestions?

  19. Bobby — February 19, 2009 @ 12:37 pm

    David and Sandi – I have never had this chicken at the buffet with the crispy batter you are referring to but thinking back I have tried a recipe that did have a have thick crispy coating. Replace the slurry from this recipe for with this one and tell me if its what you are looking for.

    1/4 cup soy sauce
    1 egg, beaten
    1 cup cornstarch

    combine all ingredients, mix well, coat the chicken pieces with it and deep fry. Let me know how it turns out.

  20. Emily — February 19, 2009 @ 12:38 pm

    I tried this recipe a few nights ago, and am angry that I have been paying for this for so long!! This recipe is so easy and delicious! Now I can save and not order takeout! Thanks so much!

  21. Sadie — February 22, 2009 @ 11:52 am

    I am totally going to try this once I get in a kitchen!

  22. Gemma — March 8, 2009 @ 12:57 pm

    Just got all the ingredients for this. Going to try it tonight. I only have chicken breast, so I will see how it comes out. Also went to two stores to fine Rice Wine, with no luck. Hopefully cooking sheery will do.

  23. Phil — March 17, 2009 @ 4:12 pm

    This turned out awesome! Only change I made was that I used crushed red peppers (2 TBS) and fried a clove of garlic w/ the peppers. Thanks for the recipe, this is definitely part of my kitchen repertoire.
    P.S. If you use your wok to deep fry the chicken, put some clothes on first.

  24. Mike — March 19, 2009 @ 10:45 am

    I doubled the sauce recipe and it wasn’t enough. You may want to triple it, but it tasted amazing and looked great! Thank you!

  25. Renee — March 25, 2009 @ 7:21 am

    I made this recipe last night it came out perfect!!! My guest were so excited we are having chiense night this Saturday and trying out some other recipes! Thanks so much!

  26. Sandi — April 2, 2009 @ 8:37 am

    I tried with 1 egg, soy sauce and 1 cup of corn starch and it’s still not the same.
    Don’t get me wrong…I LOVE “your” recipe and it’s as close as it gets and delicious but it’s still different then what I get at our local buffet.
    The consistency of the breading is different.
    It’s coating is roundish and lumpy and coated very thick..the taste of the batter is different too.
    If I figure it out I’ll let you know!
    Thanks so much!

  27. WhosGotYou — April 6, 2009 @ 1:08 am

    In the last couple of weeks, I’ve made this a few times and it’s mouth wateringly good!!! A simple but great recipe – I love it!

    The first time I made it, I followed your instructions to the letter, but I couldn’t manage to keep the fried chicken crispy. As soon as the sauce was mixed with the chicken, the batter soaked it up and lost its crispyness. So the next time I made it I simply stir fried chicken pieces without any batter and added the sauce to it – WOW!!!

    I even made a veggie version with a little sauce for the wife using green beans – that was good too!

    BTW, how do you keep the chicken crispy?

  28. Timmy — April 16, 2009 @ 9:24 pm

    Restaurants that have the perma-crispy will definitely deep-fry, and probably double-fry them if they want that consistently crispiness. I’d even guess they may even add a bit of sugar to the batter, which would caramalize in a deep fryer, reinforcing the crunchiness.

    Personally, I dont have a deep fryer, but instead made sure to have a high temperature oil before I started frying mine. It’s all about the golden brown, which is the magical chemical reaction of fat and starch in high temps that taste sooo good and bring the crispiness. That said, the crispiness didn’t last too long after the sauce was done. Luckily, the disk didn’t last much longer so it didn’t really matter.

    Also, for those who dig on spice, I added fresh serranno chilis and ginger, both julienned into super thin strips, to the stir-fry at the end. Mostly because my favorite g.tsos place had those flavors in their version. Results were fantastic, for me and mine 🙂 YMMV.

  29. Michelle — April 27, 2009 @ 2:29 pm

    Hey Bobby! A while back I saw your recipe and just had to try it. Love the sauce so much and put a different spin on it; a salad!’s-chicken-salad/

    Thanks for inspiring me. 🙂

  30. elayne — June 8, 2009 @ 10:13 am

    this is whats for dinner

  31. Jody — June 18, 2009 @ 11:26 am

    lol thanks for posting this recipe, my parents anniversary came sooner than i expected and i needed an easy but fancy type of dish ya know haha i’m making it this evening. thanks loads

  32. James — June 22, 2009 @ 6:53 pm

    Would tempura work to get that slightly crispy/doughy texture everyone is looking for?

  33. malcolm — July 12, 2009 @ 1:34 pm

    I have a friend who “hates Chinese food”, My version uses pequin chilis and some well,ketchup to color up the sauce. I use a tempura and dredge in panko to hold onto the sauce. My friend really likes my Tallacalulla Chicken, what’s in a name?

  34. Jason — July 17, 2009 @ 12:43 pm

    thanks so much for the recipe. yours was the first i came across for this dish and it was obvious i needn’t look any further. i don’t eat chicken but i used your recipe for shrimp; i butterflied them and they fried up into perfect little morsels. I’ll be adding this recipe to my messy pile of favorites.

  35. Andrea — July 19, 2009 @ 4:57 pm

    I made this recipe tonight and it was really good! It took a while since I don’t have a wok; only a little 8 inch frying pan. I also couldn’t find any rice wine, so i used regular white cooking wine. My only problem though was that it wasn’t spicy at all, even with 5 chilis in it. Anyways, it was super-delicious!

  36. EN — August 8, 2009 @ 9:50 am

    I made this recipe last night and it was the best General Tso’s Chicken that I can currently get in my city. For those of you that like a more crunchy texture on the outside of the chicken, roll the piece of chicken in a bowl of cornstarch after dipping it in the egg/cornstarch mixture. Thanks to the author for submitting this recipe!

  37. A — August 10, 2009 @ 12:00 pm

    I am a vegetarian and made this recipe with tofu. it was fantastic. The taste of the sauce was right on.

  38. Citizen Earth — August 11, 2009 @ 12:54 am

    Here in Malaysia, the featured food is called “ku lou kai”, meaning “sweet and sour chicken”. More popular for the Chinese here is the pork version called “ku lou yuk”, simply means “sweet and sour meat”. The pork version is more delicious.

  39. ilikefood — August 31, 2009 @ 10:04 am

    Wow that looks really good! but i want to do it with shrimp. will the shrimp take longer to cook?

  40. Melanie — September 1, 2009 @ 12:04 pm

    I have made chicken tenders for my husband many times and they have been very close to the thick batter that some are seeking. I have used beer batter, just dip and deep fry. I have used buttermilk batter. I always get the big crunchy thickness with batter.

    I can’t wait to try this with chicken wings!!

  41. Erica — September 9, 2009 @ 2:07 pm

    the real deal! YUMMMY!!!

  42. Kent — September 11, 2009 @ 6:31 pm

    Bobby, I spent over an hour in Kroger looking for Rice wine and Dried red chili peppers, where can I buy these? I’ve already paid for the chicken, I’d like to be able to get the other ingredients. Is Rice wine vinegar the same thing? Thanks Bobby.

  43. Bobby — September 11, 2009 @ 6:46 pm

    Kent – a larger store such a super walmart or oceno foods should have both these items. If you cannot find the peppers, use red chili flakes instead. About the wine-

    1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar
    2 tablespoons rice wine

    these two ingredients, rice wine and rice wine vinegar are not same.

    Rice wine is also called ‘sake’ which is probably what you would have to look for. If you still cannot find it, dry sherry will work as well.

    I hope this helps. I also hope you enjoy the recipe.

  44. samantha — September 13, 2009 @ 6:16 am

    I’m confused on something. Am I suppose to put the cornstarch oil into the egg mixture in step one?

    Sorry I’m not experienced at cooking but I love general chicken and I’m tired of people teasing me for not knowing how to cook. If I can pull this off then I can shut them up once and for all!

  45. Bobby — September 13, 2009 @ 8:32 am

    samantha – its okay, thats what this website is here for, to help people learn how to cook.

    You should be mixing the cornstarch and the eggs in a bowl and then adding the chicken. This is the batter.

    The oil doesn’t goto into the mixture at all, it is for frying the chicken. Such as you would put the oil into your deep fryer or frying pan depending on how you are cooking the chicken.

    If you need to know anything else please ask. Thanks.

  46. Kent — September 13, 2009 @ 7:59 pm

    Well Bobby, I might have the right peppers this time, I made this last night and I had to add red pepper flakes because it had no spice at all from the peppers I used. I went to a fresh market today and got some smaller, skinny looking red chili peppers, I remade this dish tonight with them and it was excellent!! Very good, thanks Bobby!

  47. Cassandra — September 14, 2009 @ 6:35 pm

    This looks so good. I always get this when i go
    to a chinese restraunt. I will try this so i can
    have it when ever i want.

  48. George — September 20, 2009 @ 6:11 pm

    I am from Canada and this is a very popular dish, however here in the Maritimes the Chinese restaurants call it General Tao. Same dish.
    This looks like a good recipe…I certainly will give it a try.

  49. MikeB — October 5, 2009 @ 6:00 pm

    I stumbled on this recipe today. Couldn’t wait to get home and make it. I sub’ed in habanero slices (about a quarter of a small pepper) and one fresh red chile and followed the rest. Kicked it up a good bit (which was perfect for me) and came out fantastic! This recipe is incredible! Thank you so much for sharing!

  50. Emma — October 9, 2009 @ 7:09 pm

    I just made this and wow. I was not expecting it to turn out so well! I substituted red pepper flakes for the chilis and it turned out perfectly. I’ve always been iffy about trying Chinese food on my own, but now I am not afraid. Thank you so much!

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