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General Tso’s Chicken

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This General Tso’s Chicken recipe features perfectly crispy coated chicken is tossed in a deliciously sweet and spicy sauce and served with steamed rice.  Ready in less than 30 minutes and better than the takeout version, for spicy food lovers General Tso’s Chicken is totally irresistible!

For more favorite Chinese takeout recipes be sure to try our Chinese Beef and Broccoli, Kung Pao Chicken, and Mongolian Beef!

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What is General Tso’s Chicken?

General Tso’s Chicken has been one of America’s most popular Chinese takeout dishes for decades.  You’ll find it on practically every Chinese menu in every Chinese restaurant in the U.S.

Bite-sized pieces of tender chicken are dipped in a coating and fried until perfectly crispy, then tossed in a deliciously sweet and spicy sauce.  Steamed broccoli is a popular accompaniment in many takeout places and of course a bed of fragrant steamed rice.  For spicy food lovers, General Tso’s Chicken is practically irresistible!

Where Did General Tso’s Chicken Originate?

Its origin goes back to the 1950’s in Taiwan where it was first created by a Hunan chef named Peng Chang-Kuei.   He developed this dish in his restaurant and named it after a 19th Hunanese general.  While the original dish of the 50’s shares some similarities to today’s version (bold, hot, spicy, heavy, salty), the version we know today that is sold as a popular takeout dish is largely a Chinese-American invention.  And a delicious one at that!

So the next time you’re craving General Tso’s chicken, skip the takeout joint.  Not only will this rival your favorite takeout or restaurant version, it’ll be hot and ready in less than 30 minutes!

general tso's chicken recipe best chinese takeout panda express copycat restaurant

General Tso’s Chicken Recipe

Let’s get started!

Combine the sauce ingredients in another bowl until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved and set aside until later.

Place the chicken in a medium-sized mixing bowl.   In a small bowl, whisk the marinade ingredients together and then pour over the cubed chicken. Stir to thoroughly coat and set aside.

Combine the coating ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.

Pick up the chicken pieces and shake off the excess marinade, then dredge the pieces in the cornstarch mixture, evenly coating the pieces and shaking off the excess.

coating the meat

Heat the oil in the deep fryer to 375 degrees F.  I’m using my Presto Cool Daddy Deep Fryer which is perfect for smaller amounts  like this.

Note:  If you don’t have a deep fryer you can also fill a non-stick skillet with an inch or so of oil and fry the chicken in that.

Working in batches, deep fry the chicken until the chicken is cooked through, golden brown and crispy, about 3-4 minutes.

deep frying

Place the chicken on paper towels to drain.

deep frying

Heat the tablespoon of oil in a wok or large heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Fry the garlic, ginger and red chilies for about 30 seconds until fragrant.  Add the sauce and simmer until thickened, a minute or two.

Add the fried chicken and stir to thoroughly coat. Simmer for a minute until the chicken has absorbed the sauce but is still crispy. Stir in the green onions.

general tso's chicken recipe best chinese takeout panda express copycat restaurant

Serve immediately with steamed rice and broccoli (traditional in many takeout places).

Enjoy!

general tso's chicken recipe best chinese takeout panda express copycat restaurant

For more delicious Chinese recipes be sure to try our:

general tso's chicken recipe best chinese takeout panda express copycat restaurant

General Tso's Chicken

Perfectly crispy coated chicken is tossed in a deliciously sweet and spicy sauce and served with steamed rice.  Ready in less than 30 minutes and better than the takeout version, for spicy food lovers General Tso's Chicken is totally irresistible!  
4.99 from 212 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 4 servings
Calories 451 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • For the Marinade:
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons tamari (or light soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine (can substitute dry sherry)
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts , cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • For the Coating:
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour gluten free: substitute GF flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons tamari (or light soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine (can substitute dry sherry)
  • 3 tablespoons white granulated sugar
  • or sugar alternative (for low sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil (e.g., avocado, peanut, canola)
  • 2 large cloves garlic , minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 6 small dried red chilies , seeded and broken into pieces
  • 3 green onions , cut into 1 inch pieces
  • oil for deep frying (e.g. peanut, canola, avocado)

Instructions
 

  • Place the chicken in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Set aside.
    In a small bowl, whisk the marinade ingredients together and then pour over the cubed chicken. Stir to thoroughly coat and set aside.
    Combine the sauce ingredients and stir until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved. Set aside.
  • Pick up the chicken pieces and shake off the excess marinade, then dredge the pieces in the cornstarch coating mixture, shaking off the excess.
    Working in batches, deep fry the chicken in oil heated to 375ºF until the chicken is cooked through, golden brown and crispy, about 3-4 minutes. Place the chicken on paper towels to drain.
    Note:  If you don't have a deep fryer you can also fill a non-stick skillet with an inch or so of oil and fry the chicken in that.  
  • Heat the tablespoon of oil in a wok or large heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Fry the garlic, ginger and red chilies for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the sauce and simmer until thickened. Add the fried chicken and stir to thoroughly coat. Simmer for a minute until the chicken has absorbed the sauce but is still crispy. Stir in the green onions.
    Serve immediately with steamed rice and broccoli (traditional in many takeout places).

Nutrition

Calories: 451kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 42gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 1689mgPotassium: 821mgFiber: 1gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 141IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 49mgIron: 2mg
Keyword General Tso's Chicken
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Originally published on The Daring Gourmet June 17, 2019

kimberly killebrew the daring gourmet

Hi, I’m Kimberly Killebrew and welcome to Daring Gourmet where you'll find delicious originals, revitalized classics, and simply downright good eats from around the world! Originally from Germany, later raised in England, world-traveled, and now living in the U.S., from my globally-influenced kitchen I invite you to tour the world through your taste buds!

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Recipe Rating




4.99 from 212 votes (179 ratings without comment)

112 Comments

  1. I read so many recipes and decided this one sounded like the best. I made it tonight and it was delicious. Served it with rice & steamed broccoli. If you have the time, I highly recommend this recipe.

  2. Awesome recipe! I’ve been experimenting with it a bit. If you like a nutty flavor (I love sesame oil), omit oil other than sesame oil for the sauce and bump up the amount to about a 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil. I also leave out sugar and dry sherry and add Lee Kum Kee Hoisin sauce. Thank you for the recipe.

  3. This was delicious! I made it tonight, and my husband and I loved it. I thought it was even better than the many restaurant versions we’ve had. Deep frying is not my favorite thing but I will make it again. Yum, and thank you!

  4. Not heard of this one here in the UK but it’s so similar to Sezchuan Chilli Chicken found on many a Chinese menu it must be the same. Definitely pinned for later use though!

  5. Wow! This recipe looks so good. I need to try it. I bet my family would love it. We love anything with chicken.