General Tso’s Chicken

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Sticky, spicy, tangy General Tso’s chicken is easy to make at home! This classic Chinese takeout dish comes together in 20 minutes on the stovetop with crispy chicken and tender veggies coated in a flavorful homemade sauce.

After mastering this quick and delicious takeout din din, try your hands at more classic Chinese dishes, like Hunan Chicken and Moo Shu Chicken, for a fun, hands-on meal or this tasty Black Pepper Chicken.

Close up overhead view of General Tso's chicken served over rice on a white plate with chopsticks.


Sweet and Spicy General Tso’s Chicken

Our recent date night at P.F. Chang’s inspired my latest Chinese food kick. Between this Mongolian beef, my sticky mandarin chicken, the best shrimp shumai dumplings, and now this General Tso’s chicken recipe!? I’ve gone all out recreating my favorites at home!

This better-than-takeout General Tso’s chicken recipe is totally scrumptious. It’s sweet, spicy, and tangy, with tender chicken bites coated in the most mouthwatering homemade General Tso’s sauce. Serve this saucy chicken over rice or dish it up with egg noodles for a quick and easy weeknight meal!

Chopsticks holding up a piece of General Tso's chicken with a plate of chicken and rice in the background.

Why You’ll Love This Homemade Recipe

Better than takeout. Instead of reaching for your local Chinese takeout menu, reach for your skillet! This General Tso’s chicken tastes seriously authentic. The marinated chicken pieces cook to sticky, golden perfection in 20 minutes on the stovetop.

Healthier. Making your own version of your favorite Chinese food has so many benefits! Not only can you bring healthy veggies into the mix, but it’s also easier to rein in sodium levels and calories.

Full of flavor. This delicious Chinese chicken recipe is sweet and tangy, with a subtle kick of chilies. I like my Chinese chicken on the spicier side, but you can definitely adapt this recipe to taste.

What Is General Tso’s Chicken?

General Tso’s chicken is a super-popular Chinese-American dish, found on the menu at many Chinese restaurants. This takeout favorite involves crispy chicken bites tossed in a sauce that’s sticky, savory, and milder than fiery Szechuan chicken. It’s rumored to have originated in the Hunan province, named after 19th-century Chinese military leader, General Tso.

Ingredients for homemade General Tso's chicken.

Ingredients You’ll Need

You can make General Tso’s chicken with a few common ingredients, detailed below. Scroll down to the recipe card for a full ingredient list and detailed instructions.

  • Chicken: You’ll need about one pound of cubed boneless chicken.
  • Egg White: In Chinese cooking, marinating chicken in a combination of egg white, cornstarch, fortified rice wine, and soy sauce is called “velveting” the meat. It’s a form of tenderizing that makes all the difference!
  • Cornstarch: Cornstarch coats the chicken and helps it cook up crispy and golden. It’s also used to thicken the sauce.
  • Dry Sherry: I use dry sherry, but another option is to use dry vermouth, or dry white wine, like Pinot Grigio. If you’d prefer to skip the alcohol, feel free to substitute it with chicken stock.
  • Soy Sauce: Make sure you’re using either regular soy sauce or low-sodium soy sauce, not dark soy sauce.
  • Chicken Stock: Low-sodium chicken stock or broth is best for balancing the saltiness.
  • Rice Vinegar and Sugar: Find rice wine vinegar alongside other cooking vinegars, or in the Asian food aisle of most major grocery stores.
  • Dried Chilies: Dry red chili peppers give this classic Chinese chicken dish a nice hit of spice and heat. You can adapt the amount of chilies to taste or use red pepper flakes instead.
  • Veggies: Feel free to leave out the vegetables or try another variation of veggies to use.
  • Seasonings: Freshly minced garlic and green onions are a must, and you’ll also need some fresh ginger or ground. I include red pepper flakes for extra heat, though that’s optional.
Overhead view of General Tso's chicken served over rice on a white plate with chopsticks.

What’s the Best Chicken to Use?

  • General Tso’s chicken is made with boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs that are cut into bite-sized pieces. This keeps the dish soft and tender. If you’re a little wary of overcooking the chicken, I recommend using chicken thighs, which are more forgiving. 

How to Make General Tso’s Chicken

Who’s ready to make this delicious Chinese-style chicken? All it takes is a bit of marinating, and then the whole recipe comes together in minutes.

  1. Marinate the chicken. The marinade for General Tso’s chicken is very simple. To make it, simply whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl, then toss the chicken to coat. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the chicken for a couple of hours or at least 30 minutes.
  2. Make the sauce. Whisk the remaining cornstarch together with a bit of chicken stock until combined. We do this first to prevent the cornstarch from clumping. Finally, whisk in the last of the stock, along with sherry, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sugar. 
  3. Fry the chicken. Next, add the marinated chicken pieces to a pot with hot oil. Fry until the chicken is browned on all sides and cooked in the middle, then transfer it to a paper towel to absorb the excess juices.
  4. Stir-fry the veggies. Add the vegetables and chilies to a large pan or wok with hot oil. Once softened, stir in garlic, ginger, pepper flakes, and green onions. 
  5. Combine. Pour in your prepared sauce and cook to thicken. Finally, take the wok off the heat and pour the General Tso’s sauce and veggies over the cooked chicken. Sprinkle on fresh green onions and sesame seeds, then serve it over rice.
Close up of General Tso's chicken on a platter garnished with sesame seeds and green onions.

Recipe Tips and Variations

  • No cornstarch? No problem. Adding cornstarch helps to crisp up the chicken and thicken the sauce, but your General Tso’s will still be full of flavor without it.
  • Don’t skip the marinade. Marinating tenderizes the chicken, so make sure that you budget enough time to let the chicken pieces soak in the fridge beforehand.
  • To tenderize the chicken further, add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda to the marinade. This is an old Chinese restaurant trick! It’s especially handy if you’re using chicken breast rather than thighs, as chicken breasts are easier to overcook and become dry.
  • Cook with sesame oil. If you have sesame oil, go ahead and use it in place of vegetable oil. Sesame oil adds a whole new dimension of Asian-style flavor.
  • Make General Tso’s Chicken in the Air Fryer: Remove the chicken from the marinade, arrange the chicken in a single layer inside your air fryer basket, and give the chicken pieces a spritz with cooking oil. Air fry the chicken at 375ºF for 10 to 12 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce and veggies on the stovetop as directed, then pour the sauce over the air-fried chicken and serve.
  • Prepare your chicken ahead by cutting it into bite-sized pieces a day or two in advance. Store the cut-up chicken airtight in the fridge so that it’s ready to go.
  • Use different vegetables. Bell peppers and broccoli are perfect in this Chinese-inspired recipe, but you can absolutely change things up with any veggies of your choice. Other good options are snap peas, cabbage, carrots, green beans, and cauliflower florets.
Overhead view of General Tso's chicken served over rice on a white plate with chopsticks.

Serving Suggestions

Serving saucy General Tso’s chicken with a side of Jasmine rice or chicken fried rice is my favorite way to keep the take-out theme going. If you’re looking for a low-carb option, you can always make cauliflower rice. Make it a family-style feast and serve this chicken with more Chinese food favorites like homemade beef chow fun and shrimp lo mein.

Other Asian-inspired side dish ideas we love are my air fryer vegetable spring rolls, sesame snap peas, and baby bok choy. I also serve General Tso’s chicken as a main dish next to Asian chicken noodle soup or my homemade take on Chinese hot pot. Enjoy this sticky chicken next to the fresh flavors of a spicy Asian cucumber salad.

General Tso's chicken served over rice on a white plate with chopsticks.

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

Store any leftover General Tso’s chicken in an airtight container within 2 hours of cooking, and refrigerate it for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months. I recommend freezing it separately from any rice. Thaw the chicken in the fridge overnight and reheat as directed.

To reheat, warm the chicken in the microwave for a couple of minutes or in a saucepan on the stovetop until hot throughout. Add a splash of water or broth to help loosen up the sauce.

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5 from 2 votes

General Tso’s Chicken

Make sticky, spicy General Tso's chicken on the stovetop that's even better than your favorite Chinese takeout! Serve this easy homemade recipe over rice for a quick and delicious weeknight meal.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Marinating Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • 1 large egg white
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch,, divided
  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry,, divided
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce,, divided
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts,, or thighs, cut into cubes
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • vegetable oil,, for frying
  • 4 to 6 dry red chili peppers,, or use red pepper flakes
  • 1 red bell pepper,, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 4 cloves garlic,, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup sliced green onions
  • cooked rice,, for serving
  • green onions,, sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
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  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together egg white, 2 tablespoons of the cornstarch, 2 tablespoons of the dry sherry, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and chili powder; whisk until well combined.
  • Add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or at least 30 minutes.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of the chicken stock; whisk until smooth.
  • Add the remaining chicken stock, 1 tablespoon dry sherry, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sugar; whisk until combined and set aside.
  • In a large pot, heat vegetable oil to 350ºF.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade and carefully slide it into the hot oil.
  • Fry the chicken, turning it once, until golden brown and cooked through; about 2 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels.
  • In a large saucepan or wok, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.
  • Add the chile peppers, sliced red bell pepper and broccoli; cook until tender.
  • Add garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, and 1/2 cup sliced green onions.
  • Continue to cook for a few seconds; add the chicken stock sauce, bring to a boil, and cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  • Arrange cooked chicken on a platter and pour the sauce over it.
  • Serve general Tso's chicken over rice and garnish with green onions and/or sesame seeds.


  • Don’t skip the marinade, as it tenderizes the chicken. You can cut the marinating time to 30 minutes if you can’t wait 2 hours.
  • Add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to the marinade for extra tender chicken.
  • Use sesame oil instead of vegetable oil for added Asian flavor.
  • Cut your chicken into bite-sized pieces a day or two in advance to save prep time.
  • Feel free to swap in other veggies like snap peas, cabbage, carrots, green beans, or cauliflower.
  • Dry Sherry: I use dry sherry since it’s easier to find than rice wine. Another option is to use dry vermouth or white wine like Pinot Grigio. If you’d prefer to skip the alcohol, feel free to substitute it with chicken stock.
  • Chicken Stock: Low-sodium chicken stock or broth is best for balancing the saltiness.
  • Rice Vinegar and Sugar: Find rice wine vinegar alongside other cooking vinegars, or in the Asian food aisle of most major grocery stores.
  • Dried Chilies: Dry red chili peppers give this classic Chinese chicken dish a nice hit of spice and heat. You can adapt the amount of chilies to taste or use 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes per one chili.
  • Seasonings: I use dry ginger for convenience. I also include red pepper flakes for extra heat, though that’s optional.
Recipe adapted from Food Network


Calories: 219kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 970mg | Potassium: 717mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1900IU | Vitamin C: 63mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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  1. Sandra says:

    This quickly became a favorite for weeknights at my house! Seriously amazing!

  2. Erin | Dinners, Dishes and Dessert says:

    Looks incredibly delicious! That is definitely a must make!

  3. Beth says:

    This is some of the best General T’so’s chicken I’ve ever had, and that includes authentic Chinese restaurants. The flavors and textures are spot on. I’ll be making this one again.

  4. Sally says:

    When it states “oil for frying,” how much oil do you use to keep the overall calorie count for the portion so low?

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      I pour just enough to cover the bottom of the pan – measuring about 1/4-inch up the sides of the pan.

  5. joe says:

    Cooked this the other day and loved it,next time I will add a tsb more vineger for extra tang, thanks for Recipe

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Happy to know that you enjoyed it!! Thank you!