Get Your Spice Fix with an Authentic General Tso’s Chicken Recipe

Hello there, fellow foodie! Do you enjoy the deliciously spicy and sweet taste of General Tso’s Chicken? This famous dish, a favorite of many Chinese food lovers, has become a staple in restaurants all around the world. But, have you ever considered making it yourself? With the right recipe, you can easily make an authentic version of this flavorful dish in the comfort of your own home.

General Tso's Chicken

While the origins of General Tso’s Chicken are somewhat disputed, it is widely believed that the dish was created in Hunan Province, China and was named after General Tso Tsung-tang, a famous military leader. Today, the dish has many variations and can be made with different meat choices or tofu for a vegetarian option. However, the key to a great General Tso’s Chicken lies in the balance of sweetness and spiciness.

General Tso’s Chicken Recipe: A Classic Chinese Dish

General Tso’s Chicken is a well-known and beloved Chinese dish in America and around the world. Originating from the Hunan Province in China, it is a deep-fried chicken dish that is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, coated in a spicy-sweet sauce that is unmistakably delicious.

Origins of General Tso’s Chicken

It is believed that General Tso’s Chicken was named after a famous military leader in the mid-19th century during the Qing dynasty. General Tso was known for his battles with rebels in Hunan, and his cuisine preferences were said to be spicy and sour. However, despite the dish being named after him, there is no evidence that it was his favorite dish or that he had anything to do with its creation.

The dish only gained widespread popularity in the United States in the 1970s, when Chinese cuisine began to be more prevalent and also transformed to suit the American palate. Today, General Tso’s Chicken is a staple in Chinese restaurants all over the world.

Ingredients and Preparation

The key ingredients in General Tso’s Chicken are boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cornstarch, and soy sauce. The chicken is coated in a mixture of egg and cornstarch before being fried to crispy perfection. The sauce is made from soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, hoisin sauce, and chili garlic sauce, which gives it its signature sweet and spicy flavor.

To make the dish, begin by cutting the chicken breasts into small bite-sized pieces and coating them with cornstarch and egg. Fry the chicken until crispy and set it aside. In a separate pan, mix the sauce ingredients and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Then return the chicken to the pan and coat it with the sauce. Serve the dish over rice and garnish with sesame seeds and chopped scallions.

Variations and Substitutions

While the traditional recipe for General Tso’s Chicken is delicious, there are many variations and substitutions that can make the dish your own. For example, you can switch out the chicken for tofu or shrimp for a vegetarian option. You can also add different vegetables to the dish, such as broccoli, bell peppers, or snap peas.

A great way to make the dish healthier is by baking the chicken instead of frying it. Coat the chicken with cornstarch and egg as usual, but instead of frying it, bake it in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15-20 minutes, or until crispy and golden brown.

In conclusion, General Tso’s Chicken is a classic Chinese dish that has gained worldwide popularity. With its crispy chicken and sweet and spicy sauce, it is the perfect comfort food that can be enjoyed at home or at a restaurant. Try out this simple and delicious recipe or experiment with different variations to make it your own.

Tips for Perfectly Fried Chicken

Fried chicken is a beloved dish all around the world, and General Tso’s chicken is no exception. This dish is known for its crispy fried chicken drenched in a sweet and spicy sauce. Here are some tips for achieving perfectly fried General Tso’s chicken.

Frying Techniques

There are different frying techniques that you can use when making General Tso’s chicken. The traditional method is deep-frying, where you submerge the chicken in hot oil. Another technique is shallow frying, where you only partially submerge the chicken in oil. Shallow frying results in a lighter and less greasy texture. Lastly, you can also use an air fryer for a healthier version of the dish.

When deep-frying, make sure to use a large pot or deep fryer to avoid oil splatters. It’s also important to not overcrowd the pot as it can lower the oil temperature and make the chicken greasy. When shallow frying, use a non-stick pan for easier flipping of the chicken.

Temperature Control

Temperature control is crucial for achieving crispy fried chicken. The ideal temperature for deep-frying chicken is between 350-375°F. If the oil is too hot, the chicken may burn on the outside while being undercooked on the inside. On the other hand, if the oil is not hot enough, the chicken will absorb more oil and be greasy. Use a thermometer to monitor the oil temperature and adjust the heat accordingly.

When shallow frying, the oil temperature should be around 325°F. Use a thermometer or perform a breadcrumb test to check if the oil is hot enough. To do this, drop a small piece of breadcrumb in the oil, if it starts sizzling immediately then the oil is hot enough.

Breading and Seasoning

The breading and seasoning on General Tso’s chicken can make or break the dish. To achieve a crispy texture, make sure to pat the chicken dry with paper towels before breading. This helps remove any excess moisture, which can cause the breading to come off during frying.

When breading, use a mixture of cornstarch and flour for a lighter and crispier texture. Dip the chicken in beaten egg before coating it with the breading mixture to help it adhere better. For added flavor, season the chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic powder before breading.

Proper seasoning of the sauce is also important for General Tso’s chicken. The sauce should be a balance of sweet, salty, and spicy flavors. Use a combination of soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, chili sauce, and garlic to create a delicious sauce for your fried chicken.

With these tips, you can make perfectly fried General Tso’s chicken that’s crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.

Serving and Pairing General Tso’s Chicken

Side Dishes and Accompaniments

General Tso’s chicken is a dish that pairs well with a variety of different side dishes and accompaniments. The sweet and spicy flavor of the chicken lends itself well to bold and flavorful flavors that can complement the dish’s taste. Here are some side dishes that pair well with General Tso’s chicken:

  • Rice: One of the most common accompaniments to General Tso’s chicken is white rice. The soft texture and mild flavor of the rice help to balance out the bold and spicy flavor of the chicken.
  • Vegetables: Steamed or stir-fried vegetables are another great side dish to serve with General Tso’s chicken. Broccoli, carrots, and snow peas are all great options that will add some color and crunch to your meal.
  • Egg Rolls: If you’re looking for a more substantial side dish, consider serving egg rolls with your General Tso’s chicken. The crispy, fried exterior and savory filling will complement the sweet and spicy flavors of the chicken.
  • Dumplings: Another delicious option for a side dish is Chinese dumplings. The delicate, doughy exterior and savory filling will add some variation in texture to your meal.

Be sure to experiment with different side dishes to find the perfect pairing for your General Tso’s chicken.

Beverage Pairing

The bold flavors of General Tso’s chicken make it a dish that is well suited to a variety of different beverages. Here are some of the best beverages to pair with your meal:

  • Beer: A crisp, cold beer is a classic pairing with General Tso’s chicken. A lager or pilsner will help to cut through the spiciness of the dish and refresh your palate.
  • Wine: If you prefer wine, a light and refreshing white wine like a Riesling or Pinot Grigio will complement the dish’s flavor profile. A dry red like a Cabernet Sauvignon can also be a good option.
  • Iced Tea: For a non-alcoholic option, iced tea is a great choice. The sweetness of the tea will complement the dish’s sweetness while the tannins will help to cut through the spiciness of the chicken.
  • Soda: If you’re not in the mood for an alcoholic beverage, a cold soda can be a refreshing choice. Ginger ale or lemon-lime soda can be a great option to complement the dish.

Feel free to experiment with different beverage pairings to find the perfect match for your General Tso’s chicken.

Serving Tips

When presenting General Tso’s chicken, it’s important to make sure that it looks as appetizing as it tastes. Here are some tips for serving the dish in a beautiful and appetizing way:

  • Garnish: Adding a garnish to your General Tso’s chicken can help to elevate the dish’s presentation. Some good options include sliced green onions, sesame seeds, or chopped peanuts.
  • Serving Dish: Use a white or neutral-colored serving dish to let the colorful chicken and vegetables stand out.
  • Layering: Consider layering the chicken and vegetables on top of a bed of rice for an extra visual appeal.
  • Sauce on the Side: Instead of pouring the sauce over the chicken, consider serving it on the side. This will help to prevent the chicken from becoming soggy and will allow your guests to control how much sauce they want.

With these tips, your General Tso’s chicken will look just as good as it tastes.

Happy Cooking and Come back Soon!

I hope this General Tso’s chicken recipe has satisfied your spice craving and inspired you to get cooking in the kitchen. This dish is sure to impress your taste buds with its bold flavors and tender chicken. Try experimenting with different vegetables or swapping out the protein for tofu or shrimp. The possibilities are endless!

Thank you for taking the time to read this recipe and I hope you’ll come back for more delicious and authentic dishes. Don’t forget to share your creations on social media and tag us – we’d love to see your take on this classic recipe. Until next time, happy cooking!


1. Can I make this dish vegetarian?

Absolutely! You can swap out the chicken for tofu or even cauliflower for a vegetarian version of this dish.

2. Can I use other types of meat besides chicken?

Yes, you can use beef, pork or even shrimp. Adjust the cooking times accordingly.

3. Can I use a substitute for rice wine?

You can use sherry or dry white wine.

4. How spicy is this dish?

It depends on the amount of red pepper flakes you use. Start with a small amount and adjust accordingly to your taste preference.

5. Can I refrigerate or freeze leftovers?

Yes, you can store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. You can also freeze for up to two months.

6. Can I double the recipe?

Yes, this recipe can easily be doubled or even tripled for a larger crowd.

7. What vegetables can I add?

Sugar snap peas, broccoli, and bell peppers would all be great additions to this dish.

8. Can I use boneless chicken thighs?

Yes, boneless chicken thighs will work just as well.

9. Can I omit the cornstarch?

Cornstarch is used to thicken the sauce. You can make it without it, but the sauce may be thinner.

10. Can I make this dish ahead of time?

You can prepare the sauce ahead of time and keep it refrigerated until ready to use. However, it is best to cook the chicken fresh for the best texture and flavor.

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About the Author: David Dunlap

Worked in restaurants for years before turning to food writing and has won multiple awards for the work, including more than a dozen awards.

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