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Restaurant-Style General Tso’s Chicken – I Heart Naptime


Skip the takeout and make this delicious General Tso’s chicken at home! You’ll fall in love with the sweet and spicy sauce poured over the crispy, juicy chicken. This is truly a restaurant-style recipe!

I love to recreate Chinese takeout dishes at home. They are less expensive, healthier and just as delicious! This recipe is one of my favorites, as well as cashew chicken, veggie beef ramen and chicken and vegetable stir fry.

general tso chicken in bowl with chopsticks

Next time you’re craving General Tso chicken, skip the takeout and make it at home! It’s one of those classic Chinese dishes that is super popular and has tons of flavor. And the good news?? It’s surprisingly really simple to make yourself!

The sweet and spicy sauce poured over the crispy, juicy chicken is what makes this dish so astonishing. It’s caramelized to perfection and has just the right amount of ginger flavor. It tastes similar to my famous sweet and sour chicken recipe, however the sauce is a small less sweet and has more of a kick. This dish tastes great over rice and served with broccoli and carrots. I’m telling you…it has so much delicious flavor and definitely tastes like it’s restaurant-style.

making general tso chicken in pan

Difference between General Tso and other Chinese dishes

There are several Chinese dishes that have somewhat of a similar taste, which makes it simple to confuse them. I’ve listed out their main difference below to make it a small more clear.

  • Sweet and sour chicken: The two are super similar. The main difference is that General Tso sauce has more ginger flavor, as well as a small more heat from the hot sauce or chili flakes.
  • Kung pao chicken: The main difference between the two is how the meat is cooked. General Tso is fried in a crispy coating, however kung pao chicken is seared on the stove. Both are coated in a similar sauce, but kung pao typically always has veggies and peanuts mixed in.
  • Orange chicken: The main difference is the sauce. The meat is prepared the same way, however the orange sauce is a small more sweet. It usually doesn’t conclude the spice factor (hot sauce/chili flakes) and contains a combination of orange juice/zest/peel.
  • Sesame chicken: These two dishes are very similar. The main difference is the oil used in the sauce. Sesame chicken calls for sesame oil, which adds a salty and nutty taste, making it a small less sweet than General Tso. It is also always topped with sesame seeds.

general tso chicken in sauce on pan

How to make General Tso chicken

CHICKEN. Add the diced meat, corn starch, salt, pepper and garlic salt into a large ziplock bag. Shake until the meat is well coated. Next heat the oil over medium heat in large frying pan. Dip the chicken pieces in the egg mixture, then add to frying pan using a fork. Fry both sides for about 2 minutes each, then move to a foil-lined baking sheet.

SAUCE. Whisk together all of the sauce ingredients in a medium size bowl. Pour the sauce over the meat and bake at 375°F for 20-25 minutes (stirring halfway through), or until it’s crispy.

SERVE. Serve with steamed rice and vegetables and garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onions if preferred.

Cooking tips

  • This recipe does have a kick, so feel free to adjust the spice level depending on preference. I like using sriracha for heat, but red chili pepper flakes work as well.
  • Don’t overcrowd the frying pan! If you add too many pieces of meat at once, it will clump together and they won’t evenly cook.
  • You can skip frying the meat all-together and just bake it instead. To obtain it crispy in the oven, broil each side for a few minutes. It won’t obtain quite as crispy as frying, but still delicious and healthier.
  • Double the sauce if you want extra for dipping.

general tso chicken with chopsticks

More delicious Chinese dishes:

general tso chicken with chopsticks

General Tso Chicken Recipe

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: Chinese

Keyword: general tso chicken

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Servings: 6

Calories: 338

Skip the takeout and make this delicious General Tso’s chicken at home! You’ll fall in love with the sweet and spicy sauce poured over the crispy, juicy chicken. This is truly a restaurant-style recipe!

For the Chicken:

  • 1 1/4 pounds chicken (cut into bite size pieces)
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs (whisked)

General Tso Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar (distilled vinegar will work too)
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger (or 1 teaspoon ground ginger)
  • 1-2 teaspoons sriracha hot sauce (can sub with 1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes)

For serving: Cooked rice and broccoli and/or carrots

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Set aside.

  • Place the chicken, corn starch, salt, pepper and garlic salt in a large ziplock bag and shake until the chicken is evenly coated.

  • Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture and place in the frying pan with a fork. Fry both sides of the chicken for about 2 minutes each and the move chicken to the baking sheet. 

  • In a medium size bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the sauce. Next, pour the sauce over the chicken and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is crispy. Stir halfway. 

  • Serve with steamed rice and vegetables. Enjoy!

Calories: 338kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 125mg | Sodium: 684mg | Potassium: 247mg | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 280IU | Vitamin C: 2.6mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 1.2mg

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Enjoy!

general tso chicken in a white bowl with chopsticks

meet Jamielyn Nye

Jamielyn Nye is the creative director and founder of I Heart Naptime. She is also the author of the I Heart Naptime Cookbook. When she’s not creating in the kitchen, Jamielyn loves to chase her four small monkeys and snuggle up on the couch with her man.

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