How To Make General Tso Chicken at Home

Oct 21, 2020 | Chicken and Poultry, Recipes

Last week I asked you to tell me if there was a Chinese Take-Out recipe that you would like me to include in my Homemade Chinese Take-Out series. Well, I asked, and you answered. The most requested recipe has been for General Tso Chicken, and that is exactly what we are going to look at how to make today. Let’s get to it.

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What is General Tso Chicken?

General Tso Chicken, as we know, it is a sweet and slightly spicy chicken dish made with crispy fried chicken. As I’m sure you can guess, this is not a traditional Chinese dish by any means though there is a Taiwanese dish called General Tso Chicken created in the 1950s by a Chef from the Hunan province of China. The original dish doesn’t really resemble the dish that we are used to at all. You can read more about the history of the dish from the Smithsonian Museum here.

There are two key elements to making General Tso Chicken as we know it. The first is the sauce. The second is chicken. Let’s get the sauce down first.

General Tso Sauce

There are many different recipes out there for General Tso Chicken sauce (try saying that five times fast), but I find that many of them are unnecessarily complicated. The sauce that I make, the one I’m showing you today has only a handful of ingredients in it. Those who have made this dish before may even think that some ingredients are missing. Don’t worry. They are coming later. The sauce is a mixture of the juice from half an orange, three-quarters of a cup of sugar, a quarter cup of rice vinegar (you can use white vinegar instead), and a quarter cup of soy sauce. All of these ingredients are left to boil for one minute before a mixture of three tablespoons of water and two tablespoons of cornstarch is added in. From there, the sauce is boiled and whisked for two minutes, then taken off the heat until it is time to use it.

The Chicken

For the original version of General Tso Chicken and most authentic Chinese chicken dishes, whole chickens are cut up and used bone-in. A dish would rarely ever be just chicken breast or thigh or whatever. They use the whole bird. However, it is way more common in North America to use chicken breast in General Tso Chicken and most other Chinese chicken recipes. So, for this recipe, chicken breast it is. In total, I used three large chicken breasts.

There are two key points I want to make relating to the chicken breast. First of all, it is much easier to cut if it is partially frozen. Second of all, don’t worry about getting the chicken pieces all the same size. Don’t worry, I’ll explain in a second. But first, most recipes for General Tso chicken will call for cubed chicken, and that’s fine, but I prefer sliced. Sliced chicken fries quicker and gets crispier than cubed chicken.

Don’t worry about evenly cutting the chicken?

Let me clarify something really quickly. I’m not trying to make these dishes the best they possibly can be with this whole series. I’m trying to mimic what you would get if you ordered from the best Chinese Take-Out place in your area. All I mean by that is that I am not trying to elevate these dishes. I don’t think they need it. So, there are somethings that I will do, like what I’m about to explain to you that I would never normally do. But, to simulate an authentic experience, sometimes the wrong thing is the right thing. Does that make sense? I hope so.

Cutting the chicken

Okay, when you order a dish like General Tso Chicken from your favourite Chinese place, some of the chicken will be very crispy. Some will be a little crispy, and some will be overcooked and even more crispy. That’s alright. In fact, it is great. I love it in this specific situation. So, slice the chicken, and don’t worry about some pieces being tiny compared to others. This will only add to the dish’s authenticity and your eating experience.

Breading and Frying The Chicken

Once the chicken is cut, it needs to be battered. The Chinese style of doing this is simple and delicious. The chicken gets tossed in a mixture of beaten egg whites, salt, and pepper. Then tossed in cornstarch. I season my cornstarch with onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and white pepper to add a bit more flavour. From there, then chicken gets deep-fried until golden brown, crispy, and cooked through. I had to cook my chicken in three batches because of my fryer’s size, and you will likely need to do the same.

Just like with last week’s chicken balls, if you don’t have a fryer, borrow one from a friend and share your feast with them.

Finishing The General Tso Chicken

The Final Flavours

So, we have the sauce and chicken all ready to go. But, the dish isn’t done just yet. Obviously, we have to combine the sauce and the chicken, but there are a few elements we need to incorporate first. Heat a wok or large high-sided skillet over medium-high heat, then add one to two tablespoons of sesame oil (you can use a different oil if you’d prefer). Swirl the oil around the wok, then add-in two tablespoons each sliced ginger and sliced garlic as well as a half teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes. Use more red pepper flakes if you’d like it to be a bit spicier. Cook the ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes for a minute or two or just until they start to brown.

Adding the Chicken and The Sauce

When the ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes are ready to go, fire the chicken into the wok and toss it to coat it in the spices. Next, add in the sauce. Toss the chicken again (you can stir from the bottom up if you’d prefer that to tossing), to coat it in the sauce and tip it out of the wok and onto a plate. Garnish the chicken with sesame seeds and green onions if you have them.

Chef Ben’s General Tso Chicken

This is the most requested Chinese Take-Out recipe that I get asked for. So, I came up with my very own version, and this is it. The recipe makes enough for six people, put I said four servings because honetly, you will not be able to stop eating this. Enjoy!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Chinese
Keyword: Chinese Food, Chinese Take-Out, General Tso Chicken
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Chef Ben Kelly



  • 3 Chicken Breast, sliced
  • 2 Egg Whites Beaten
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/2 tsp White Pepper
  • Oil for frying


  • Juice from 1/2 an orange
  • 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Rice Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp Water

To Finish

  • 2 tbsp Ginger, sliced
  • 2 tbsp Garlic, Sliced
  • 1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes More if you like a bit more heat
  • 2 tsp Sesame Oil



  • Beat the egg whites and season with the salt and black pepper.
  • In a separate bowl mix the cornstarch, onion powder, garlic powder, and white pepper.
  • Working with 1/3 of the chicken at a time coat it in the egg white then into the cornstach. Shake off any excess then fry at 365°F until crispy and brown, about 6 minutes.
  • Once the chicken is cooked, shake off excess oil, and toss in a metal bowl. Continue until all of the chicken has been fried.


  • Put the orange juice, sugar, vinegar, and soy sauce in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Boil for one minute.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the cornstarch and water. Whisk it into the sauce and boil, while stirring for two minutes.
  • Take the sauce off the heat and set it aside until you are ready to use it.

To Finish

  • Heat a large wok over medium-high heat.
  • Add in the sesame oil, garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the gigner and garlic starts to brown.
  • Add the fried chicken to the wok and toss to evenly distribute the ginger, garlic and red pepper.
  • Add the sauce, and toss/stir just until the chicken is coated then serve.
  • Garnish the chicken with sesame seeds.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


This General Tso Chicken was hands down one of the best things I’ve eaten in a while. You know what I’ve been eating. It’s all here on the blog so, you know that this must be good. Believe me when I say that you need to make this. Seriously, whatever your dinner plans are for tonight, cancel them and make this. It will be worth it. If you do make it and enjoy it, remember to share the recipe and give it a star rating. Thanks, everyone and have a great day!

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  1. Beverly

    5 stars
    We love this recipe. So delicious. My question is about the amount of orange juice. Recipe says juice from half an orange. Would that be half cup, third of a cup. Sorry, my ocd is showing. Lol

  2. Chef Ben Kelly

    Thank you Beverly. I’m glad you like the recipe. Good question. It would be closer to a 1/4 cup of orange juice

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