General Tso’s Chicken
This homemade version of General Tso’s Chicken is the closest recreation I’ve ever found! If this is one of your favorites when you order Chinese takeout, you HAVE to try it at home!
It wasn’t until I started dating my husband that I really started to fall in love with Asian cuisine. He introduced me to Thai, sushi, and amazing Chinese takeout. Most college kids rely on Chinese take out to get them through cram sessions and heartache, but I was always more of a pizza girl. I leaned on Domino’s and the local favorites.
I, of course, had tried Chinese before, but was never crazy about it. All of that changed when I started spending time at my husband’s place on the weekends. When he first mentioned ordering Chinese and I said that I had never found something I really liked, he said I had to get General Tso’s, and that I would love it. He knows me all too well, because I absolutely adored it. Between the crunchy, battered chicken, the thick sauce, and the generous amount of spice, I was completely smitten. It soon became my favorite take out option, and I found myself craving it.
We had talked about trying to make it at home, but it took me a long time to find a recipe that I thought sounded authentic enough. This one absolutely nails it, and we both love, love, love it.
I was most worried about the chicken breading having that characteristic thick, crunchy coating that is so typical of General Tso’s. That was definitely achieved, thanks to including just a little bit of the marinade in the dry batter ingredients. Genius! Everything else came together perfectly. As I cooked the sauce, I couldn’t believe how absolutely identical it smelled to the General Tso’s sauce I have come to know and love. Once everything was finished and we dug in, we hardly spoke a word, except to grunt and groan about how phenomenal the food was. And how much it really did taste like General Tso’s chicken.
I like to serve this with simple white jasmine rice and steamed broccoli to replicate the takeout experience, and it’s absolutely delicious. If you’ve never used jasmine rice, you have to give it a try! The first time I made it, my husband asked what I did differently to the rice (nothing!) because it tasted so much better than “regular” rice.
This is significantly easier than you might think and doesn’t involve too much prep time, so if you have a hankering for General Tso’s chicken and want to give it a try yourself, you cannot go wrong with this recipe!
One year ago: Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles
Four years ago: Peach Crumble Pie
Five years ago: Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars
General Tso's Chicken
For the Marinade & Sauce:
- ½ cup (137.5 ml) hoisin sauce
- ¼ cup (63.75 ml) white vinegar
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1½ cups (375 ml) water
- 1½ pounds (680.39 g) boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- ½ teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) crushed red pepper flakes
For Coating & Frying:
- 3 egg whites
- 1½ cups (192 g) cornstarch
- ½ cup (62.5 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) baking soda
- 4 cups (872 ml) vegetable oil
- 1-2 (1) green onions, thinly sliced (optional, garnish)
- Make the Marinade: Whisk the hoisin sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, and water in a bowl. Of this mixture, place 6 tablespoons into a zip lock storage bag and add the chicken; seal and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Set aside the remaining marinade in the bowl.
- Make the Sauce: While the chicken is chilling in the marinade, heat the 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Sauté the garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes until fragrant. Add 2 cups of the hoisin marinade to the skillet and simmer, whisking constantly, until the mixture is dark brown and thickened. Remove from heat and cover to keep the sauce warm.
- Prepare the Coatings: Whisk the egg whites in a shallow dish until foamy; set aside. Combine the cornstarch, flour, baking soda, and remaining hoisin marinade in a second shallow dish; mix until it resembles coarse meal.
- Prepare the Chicken: Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and from the marinade. Pat the marinated chicken dry with paper towels. Toss half the chicken into the foamy egg whites until well coated, then dredge the chicken in the cornstarch mixture, pressing to adhere. Transfer the coated chicken to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken.
- Cook the Chicken: Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat until the oil registers 350 degrees. Fry half the chicken until golden brown, about 3 minutes, turning each piece halfway through cooking. Transfer the cooked chicken onto a paper towel lined plate to drain. Return the oil to 350 degrees before frying again. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
- Finish: Warm the sauce over medium heat until simmering. Turn off the heat and add the fried chicken pieces. Toss to coat and serve with sliced green onions to garnish, as well. White jasmine rice and steamed broccoli are favorite sides here!
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
This recipe was originally published on April 16, 2012.
Is it possible air fry the chicken?
This was a huge hit with my super picky eaters. Finally a recipe that everyone loves!
Literally one of the best dinners ever! My family could not get enough!! A little vinegary (for our taste) but I think switching to rice vinegar would fix that for us. Thank you!
Hello Matthew here, I work at a Japanese restaurant run by a Chinese couple, I made this for them I didn’t have hoisin sauce so I used sweet chili and it was amazing! It didn’t turn out as crunchy as I’d like the batter was a little to wet but I’m trying again today. Thank you your recipe is amazing 😁
This is the most delicious recipe. We make it every couple months for a treat. It’s a lot of work and a bit of a mess but so worth it every time. So Yummy!
I had high hopes for this, but did not like the sauce at all. It just tasted like hoisin sauce chicken.
Next time sub hoisen sauce for sweet chili sauce. I made it like this and it was amazing
Great recipe!! Made it tonight and it turned out very good. I had more chciken than it called for, so the final product was not as “saucy” as i like, but that was my bad..
Tasted very good though, will definitely make again!
Made this for my family the other night and we loved it!! I can say it wasnt too easy or too hard, took a little over a hour to complete and tasted much better than some resurants ive been to. So thank you for sharing, this is now a new dish on our familys’ menu.
I finally made this tonight. I cannot day enough how GOOD it is. I’m not typically a General Tso’s fan and made this more for my husband but I can’t stop eating it. Next time I’ll add a touch more crush red pepper but I’m in love. Amazing recipe Michelle!!!
Awesome recipe. Thanks for this.
I attempted this last night but I messed up the breading somehow. Instead of coarse meal it was more like wet cement that stuck to everything besides the chicken. What did I do wrong? The flavor was amazing though so I want to try again.
Hi Jessica, Hmmmm I’m wondering if too much liquid was used? It sounds like it turned to a paste instead of a shaggy mixture. I would just double check your amounts of liquid.
I’ve made this recipe numerous times and is a huge crowd pleaser in our house, for family and guests a like. When we moved to Calgary, Alberta General Tso’s Chicken is not a common take out food option and no one seemed to be able to get it right. This is a must try!!!
Question, comment and review: I made this tonight…. my concern is two fold….. are the directions correct re the amount of cornstarch? 1.5 CUPS? wow!!! Also, I did not even have the 2 cups of the hoisin marinade to add to the skillet, and certainly nothing left over to add to the cornstarch/flour combo…. what a mess…. I need some help… I followed exactly….
so… with that said, the sauce is delicious,. The chicken turned out ok, but could have been better… please write back. thanks
Hi Phyllis, Yes, those measurements are correct. Hmmm I’m not sure how you couldn’t have any leftover, I’ve made this tons of times and always have more of the sauce to add to the flour mixture.
Do you have to have the white vinegar and hoisin sauce
Hi Bia, You could use another mild vinegar like apple cider vinegar.
Love General Tso’s Chicken. The restaurant that had our favorite closed down. Will have to try your recipe.
Don’t you just love Jasmine rice. Smells like popcorn. Used to nanny for an Indian family. They introduced me to Jasmine and Bsamati rice. So glad they are more available. Not so much 30 years ago. Luckily I had a source. Thanks
will there be “remaining (fresh) hoisin marinade” for the coating mixture after marinating the chicken in 6 T and using 2 C for the sauce?
Thanks & have a great week!
Hi Betti, Yes, there is leftover for the coating mixture!
That sounds soo good!!! I will definitely have to get the ingredients to make it.
Yum! This looks amazing! I haven’t made Chinese food at home in ages! I’ll have to try this soon!
Hi Michelle, sorry if this question was asked before but…when you say to put two cups of the marinade into the sauce are you reserving 2 cups of the freshly made sauce or are you using 2 cups of the marinade that the chicken has been marinading in? BTW this recipe looks amazing and can’t wait to try it!
Hi Maria, 2 cups of what’s remaining after you use 6 tablespoons for the chicken marinade.
Does this recipe make a lot of sauce? We are a sauce family for sure and wasn’t sure if I should double the ingredients… looks amazing!
I would double the sauce!
Oh my is this delicious! I made this once for my husband and he fell in love! The chicken is so crunchy and the flavor is wonderful! My husband doesn’t like too much spice in his food, so I didn’t add the red pepper flakes the first time. He actually said it needed a little bit of spice so I added a dash of cayenne pepper the second…and third…and fourth time I made this. This is spot on and I will be making it again and again! Thank you!
I love General Tso’s Chicken. The chicken turned out great but I found the sauce to be too vinegary. Next time I will reduce the vinegar or add rice wine instead. My family did not like the sauce at all.
Hi Brown Eyed Baker. I am a big fan of General Tso’s chicken! I really wanna try this recipe but I can’t find Hoisin Sauce anywhere (I live in Bangladesh, its hard to get a lot of thing). Is there anything else I can use as a substitute? Thanks
Hi Sabila, Hoisin sauce has a pretty unique taste and texture, but there are quite a few recipes floating around for a homemade version you might want to try: https://www.google.com/#q=hoisin+sauce+recipe
My family went crazy for this. My husband just kept looking at me with a full mouth like, “really? is this really happening?”. My 4 for year old said, “this is the best thing I have ever put on my tongue!”. thank you!
Thank you for creating a recipe for General Tso chicken that is not loaded with sugar! I can’t wait to try this one tonight!
I made this and it was delicious! However, to make it just a bit healthier, I skipped the deep frying and just cooked the chicken in a skillet after rolling it in the cornstarch. It was great! Thanks for this recipe
This was so freaking YUMMY! Thank you so much for sharing!
Made this for a 3rd time last nite. Not a bit left over…and compliments all around…one of the best recipes I have tried yet. Thank you.
This recipe was absolutely AMAZING!! I made it last night for dinner and just finished eating the left over’s for lunch and I am sad, no more :( I added broccoli to the recipe and used a frying pan, instead of a dutch oven. Delish, thank you so much for sharing.
Just made this for dinner tonight and it was awesome! Everyone loved it! Our local grocery stores didn’t have Hoisin sauce so we had to make our own. Used this recipe. http://chinese.food.com/recipe/homemade-hoisin-sauce-312992. The chicken was really crunchy and the sauce was yummy!!
I just wanted you to know I LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe! I have made it four or five times now, (and again tonight!)and my family adores it! Thank you for sharing…you have many great recipes!!!
Just made this on Friday with some white rice and steamed broccoli. It turned out great! I was so amazed that I was able to make something that looks just like Chinese take-out but from scratch! It was extremely tasty and my boyfriend had to go back for seconds. Awesome :)
I just wanted to thank you for posting this recipe. I recently discovered your blog and I must say, I love it! I tried this particular recipe last night. My boyfriend very much enjoyed it. This was my first try ever at Chinese food, I think i did pretty well. So anyway, thanks again. I have my eye on those crab cakes for my next food adventure. :)
My son thinks General Tso’s is the best Chinese dish aside from lo mien. I am not happy with most recipes for it. I will try this one and see what he says.
Michelle, I made this tonight and it was delicious! I don’t usually fry anything so it was a bit of a change. I didn’t have any hoisin sauce so I made it from scratch and added sriracha sauce to it and it gave it a nice level of heat. Thanks for posting this, definitely a keeper!
Made this today, it was great! I didn’t have any hoisin sauce, but the internet was gracious enough to find me a substitute recipe. The breading process was something I wasn’t used to, but it paid off with that nice crunch I’ve been trying to find. Thanks for putting this up!
I made this dinner with the help of my son. Next time we will double the sauce. My son said “we could put that sauce on DIRT and it would taste GOOD! A lot of steps but it should get easier next time..
Made this for dinner tonight. It was quite a bit of work but now that I’ve done it once it’ll be a breeze next time. Definitely need to up the spiciness next time too. So yummy!
I just made this tonight and it was amazing ! Far exceeded my expectations, this will definitely be in the rotation ! thanks for posting !
OMG – Thankyou so much for this recipe. I live in Australia and General Tso’s Chicken is not something that I am familiar with (it’s not on the menu at our Chinese takeaways), however when I saw this recipe I just had to make it. I’m not sure what the original tastes like, but this one was amazing, and my entire family loved it. I love your site and have tried several of your recipes. Keep up the great work :)
Michelle – You did it again! This was a fantastic recipe. My husband and I loved this meal and I managed to make it somewhat weight watchers friendly! I even made a mistake (life with a one year old will do that) and made the marinade with the garlic, ginger, oil, and red pepper flakes! Next time I will be sure to read the recipe 3 times! I’m making the cashew chicken on Sunday for friends, I bet it will be just as fantastic!
I don’t usually indulge in fake Chinese food since there’s always the real stuff to be had but there are times when you just crave the bastardized American versions… And then I feel bad about it but it’s always tasty going down. It’s such a double edged sword.
chicken is the most favorite item for me. that why i love that post very much
I always shy away from making homemade Chinese food. Thanks for posting such descriptive directions, this recipe sounds delicious!
General Tso’s was my first Chinese take-out choice, too! (In college, though.) :) I lived on that, and Papa John’s pizza!
We make a version of this, and it is SO good! Sure beats take out.
I live 1 hour from any chinese take-out so I’m excited to see this. I made GSC before but this recipe looks better, thanks!
The recipe looks yummy! I’ve nominated you for The Versatile Blogger Award – http://www.yummyinspirations.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/breakfast-in-jar-versatile-blogger.html
I need a piece of that right now!! It looks AMAAAAAAAAAAAAAZING!!!
This is so much my go to order when it comes to Chinese food. I need to give making my own a shot.
I adore General Tsos! There’s a local restaurant that throws in fresh jalapeno slices in the sauce to simmer. It’s out-of-this-world hot. And completely awesome.
thanks for this recipe and not for the suspected reason (though it DOES look delicious and I may try it when my younger son isn’t home).
GINGER! *smacks forehead* I bet that’s what causes his mysterious allergic reactions! But ….. (sorry, on a tangent here), I wouldn’t think there was Ginger in sesame seeded breads or Goldfish crackers. Can you by any chance email me what ingredients are in the hoisin sauce?
Hi Jenn, I think the ingredients vary by brand – when shopping the Asian aisle at the grocery store and comparing them, some sauces had plums, while some had molasses. They weren’t completely consistent. I already used up my jar and threw it away, or I would have included the ingredients for you. I would take a spin through the international aisle and pick up a couple of jars and check out the ingredients.
i love asian! this looks awesome. i’m so hungry now.
This is one of my favorite Chinese dishes. I can’t wait to try this. Thanks!
Can’t wait to make it-ooooh, ahhhhh!
General Tso’s has never looked so mouth watering! Amazing!
I can’t wait to try this, thank you.
Looks and sounds delicious. Love the crispy, sweet and spicy hot combination.
I was one of those college kids that ate a lot of Chinese food but lost a lot of my taste for it over the years due to poor quality. The idea of making it at home is much more appealing. :)
My BF loves General Tso’s chicken but has been a little disappointed the last few times he ordered it out. It has put me on the mission to find a great at home recipe for it. This one looks like a winner.
I’m pretty sure I could eat General Tos’s chicken every single day. I have a few go-to recipes but somehow I missed this one from CI. I need to make it happen asap, it looks awesome!!
We haven’t found a great Chinese place since moving almost a year ago and I’ve been missing my General Tso’s! I can’t wait to try this!
I love General-tso chicken! Love this recipe! I can see adding Rooster Sauce on it! Oh man, I’m hungry now!
This is one of my favorites!!
How spicy hot is this? For a mild version, would I just use 1/4 tsp of crushed pepper flakes?
Um – looking at a recipe for Hoisan sauce – that’s where the main heat comes from. Maybe I could just make a milder version of hoisan sauce. I’ll play with it and see how it works out. I loveeeeeeeeee General Chicken.
Hi Georgia, The hoisin sauce that I used didn’t really have any spice, it was sweeter. I would check some different brands and read the labels – mine didn’t have anything spicy in it. I would say on a scale from 1 to 10, this was probably a 3 or a 4 on the spicy meter. If you don’t like spicy, I would reduce or omit the red pepper flakes.
Ok – I’ll read labels on the ready to buy hoisan sauce. When I googled hoisan sauce, the recipes had peppers/sauces in the sauce to make it hot. I once told PF Chang’s that I wanted mild Gen Chicken and it was almost white with just a tinge of specks of red.
Thanks for responding.
I don’t care about it’s authenticity, I love general Tso’s and this one looks great.
This will be making an appearance on our menu very, very soon. It looks absolutely amazing!
Tso chicken is one of my favorite dishes, but I have never tried making it at home, this is my opportunity now since it doesn’t sound complicated!
I love Asian dishes but for some reason have always shied away from trying to create them at home. General Tso’s is one of my favorites!
I have never had General Tso’s Chicken before, but now I guess I won’t have to, since this recipe looks so delicious! Can’t wait to make this!
This recipe sounds great, I can’t wait to try it. Do you have any recommendations for what to serve with it? Rice for sure, but I always feel a little bad for making a meal that’s all carbs and protein and no vegetables. Any suggestions for a suitable vegetable side-dish?
Hi Jen, I have most often seen broccoli with General Tso’s. I would steam it and then toss it right into the sauce (or serve alongside).
Wow! Thanks so much for sharing this because most recipes that I have seen appear as though the sauce is very sweet, this one looks spot on to the one that I have always had. Very excited to make this!
Wow, this is the fist recipe I’ve seen that actually visually looks like what my wife loves so much. On the to-do list!
Ohh man does this look good. I love Asian food! I have never tried making it because I always thought homemade could never compare to take-out. Might have to give this one a whirl…
General Tso’s Chicken is definitely a favorite of mine. I’ve made several versions, but never a deep-fried version. I try to be a healthy person most of the time but I am definitely going to splurge a bit and deep fry these babies!