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This General Tso’s Chicken Recipe is a crowd favorite! Save money on takeout with this Chinese restaurant style chicken. Crispy, sweet, and slightly spicy.
Homemade General Tso’s Chicken
This General Tso’s Chicken is near and dear to my heart. It’s actually the first meal my husband, Jared, ever made for me back when we were dating. How lucky am I to have a husband that loves to cook and makes a great chef! With a recipe as good and easy as this, you won’t ever have to, or want to, order-out for Chinese food again. Jared actually worked for a Chinese take-out restaurant when he was in high school. He learned how to make a bunch of the dishes, so keep a look out for some of his recipes when you are browsing Favorite Family Recipes. General Tso’s Chicken was his favorite to make and to eat when he worked there.
What is General Tso’s Chicken?
This dish is named for Chinese military general Zuo Zontang, or General Tso, from the Hunan Province in China. Famous Chinese Chef Peng Chang-kuei is said to have made this chicken dish in his honor. Since then it has been somewhat Americanized but still tastes delicious! Crisp, lightly fried pieces of chicken are soaked in a sweet and spicy sauce mixture and generally served over rice. The sweet and spicy flavors blend beautifully in the pan as you cook it and taste even better as leftovers the next day!
How do you pronounce “Tso?”
Some people aren’t quite sure how to pronounce “General Tso.” Some say “General Cho”, others I have heard say “General Sow,” or even “General Toes.” I have always pronounced it “General Soh”, but Jared has always called it “General Chow.” I always thought he was way off but I have come to find out he is technically right. At the Chinese restaurant where he worked, it was pronounced “Chow” and the owners of the restaurant assured him that this is the correct way of saying it. There is the Americanized way of saying and the correct Chinese way of saying it, which is indeed “Chow.” No matter how you say it, people will figure out what you are trying to say sooner or later!
Additions and Substitutions
- We love cooking this dish up with a bowl of our Restaurant Ham Fried Rice and some steamed veggies on the side.
- Add sesame seeds or some scallions on top for extra texture and garnish.
- You can also add pineapple, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower or other veggies right in with the chicken to make it go further.
- It is also delicious to add bell peppers or chili peppers in with the chicken. Do what you think your family would like best!
- Add a tbsp or two of hoisin sauce for a deeper color and flavor in the sauce.
- For more of a kick, add a bit more cayenne pepper or even a shake or two of hot sauce. By the same token, if you want it less spicy, only add a bit of cayenne.
- Toss in a dash of rice wine vinegar, rice vinegar or Chinese rice wine for extra flavor.
How to Fry chicken for this recipe
Getting the perfect fried chicken for General Tso’s chicken is really easy! Just follow these simple steps:
- First, make sure to cut the chicken into 2-inch pieces so they will all cook evenly. You can use chicken breasts or boneless skinless chicken thighs.
- Next, dredge the chicken in flour or a mixture of flour and cornstarch. Use a medium bowl to hold your flour mixture.
- Then, deep fry or fry in a pan on the stovetop. You can use all kinds of oil: sesame oil or vegetable oil. Toasted sesame oil is very strong so you may want to use just a little bit along with vegetable oil for flavor.
- Work in batches and fry on medium high heat so the oil stays hot during the whole cooking process.
- Allow the pieces of chicken to rest on some paper towels to absorb some of the oil.
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How to make General Tso’s Chicken
General Tso’s Chicken Recipe
- 1 pound chicken breasts cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1-2 cups flour for dredging
- oil for frying
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup pineapple juice unsweetened
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger finely grated
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons water
- 4 green onions sliced
- Dredge chicken in flour.
- Fry in oil over medium heat (in a wok or a skillet) until golden brown and crispy. Drain excess oil. Sprinkle cayenne over the chicken and keep warm on low heat. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine sauce ingredients (sugar, soy sauce, pineapple juice, vinegar, garlic, and ginger) and heat gently.
- When sauce is smooth and sugar has dissolved, SLOWLY add cornstarch mixture and stir constantly until sauce has thickened to desired thickness. Pour sauce in the wok and stir to coat chicken. Stir in green onion and hot red pepper flakes (optional). Remove from heat and serve with fried rice.
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