Last Updated on January 31, 2022 by Anne-Marie
After cooking up this General Tso Chicken Recipe, you’ll never get Chinese food takeout again.
Why this recipe works
This crispy General Tso's is sweet, spicy, and easy to make at home. Serve it on rice or with your favorite stir fry vegetables.
Double it up for terrific leftovers that heat up well the next day.
Included are tips on how to make air fryer General Tso chicken and gluten free General Tso chicken.
What is General Tso's chicken?
From what I’ve read, Chef C.K. Peng created the General Tso’s chicken in Taiwan in the 1950s. In the 1970s, he brought his recipe to New York City and served it to Henry Kissinger.
I always get General Tso's and orange chicken mixed up when I order these dishes at my favorite Chinese restaurants.
Both recipes feature fried chicken pieces in a sweet sauce. General Tso's chicken is less sweet with a savory, darker sauce. It's also spicy because of the chili flakes.
Orange chicken is flavored with orange juice and isn't spicy.
If I had to choose between the two, I'd pick a not-too-spicy General Tso stir fry. I love the sweet and spicy combo!
(Looking for more Asian recipes? Check out 35 of the Best Recipes to Serve with Fried Rice! )
How to make this General Tso chicken recipe
First, put together the sauce ingredients. (You can also do this after frying up the chicken.)
Second, batter and fry the chicken pieces until they're golden brown. Don't fry too many pieces at a time or they'll clump together. Instead, cook them in batches.
Third, toss the fried chicken in the sauce and some additional ingredients.
Lastly, serve it up with rice, sliced green onions, and sesame seeds.
Can I make an air fryer General Tso chicken?
If you have an air fryer, you can eliminate most of the oil and make this into a healthier dish. Here's how:
1. Preheat your air fryer to 400°F for 5 minutes.
2. In a shallow bowl, beat eggs. In another shallow bowl, whisk together flour and cornstarch.
3. Dip each chicken piece in the egg mixture. Then coat it in the flour mixture. Repeat with all the chicken.
4. Put the chicken in the air fryer. Make sure to separate the pieces so they cook evenly.
5. Air fry the chicken pieces for 15 minutes.
6. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes and cook for 30-60 seconds until fragrant.
7. Stir in the prepared sauce and simmer for 2-3 minutes until it thickens.
8. Add the air fryer chicken to the sauce and stir to combine.
How to make a gluten free General Tso chicken recipe
Make sure these ingredients are gluten free:
- All-purpose flour – a gluten free all-purpose flour like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour works perfectly to bread the chicken.
- Soy sauce – use a gluten free soy sauce or a tamari sauce.
- Chicken broth – make sure the brand you're using is certified as gluten free.
- Hoisin sauce – try out my gluten free Homemade Hoisin Sauce recipe or a store-bought gluten free hoisin sauce.
Tips when making General Tso's chicken
Chicken: You can use breast meat or tenders instead of thighs.
Frying: Use an oil frying thermometer to make sure the oil stays at 350 degrees F.
If the oil isn't hot enough, the chicken gets too greasy. If it's too hot, the outside burns before the inside is cooked through.
Spiciness: Add more or red pepper flakes, to taste. You can also toss in a few whole dried red chili peppers if you love the heat!
Sugar free: Use Swerve Sweetener, Brown instead of the brown sugar.
What to serve with General Tso chicken
Serve this with rice, vegetables, noodles, or a combination.
Rice: You can serve this on any type of rice (white, brown, or instant rice) or quinoa. Whatever you have in the pantry!
Veggies: Serve it with your favorite stir fry or sautéed vegetables such as broccoli, bok choy, asparagus, sliced bell peppers, or snow pea pods (Chinese pea pods).
Noodles: Use what you have in the pantry – wide noodles, skinny noodles, gluten free, whole wheat – up to you!
More Asian inspired recipes
- Asian Watermelon Fruit Salad Recipe
- Instant Pot Orange Chicken Recipe
- Gluten Free Asian Meatballs with Hoisin Sauce Recipe
- Asian Style Gluten Free Meatballs Recipe
- Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken Recipe
- Slow Cooker Chicken Adobo Recipe with Quinoa
- Easy Instant Pot Chicken Thighs with Honey Garlic Sauce
- Homemade Hoisin Sauce (Gluten Free)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari sauce
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour or all-purpose gluten free flour
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 1 tablespoon oil for stir fry
- Cooked rice
- Green onions, sliced
- Sesame seeds
To prepare sauce, combine all ingredients EXCEPT cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk until completely combined.
Gradually sprinkle in cornstarch and whisk until completely combined.
Set sauce aside.
Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces.
In a shallow bowl, beat eggs. In another shallow bowl, whisk together flour and cornstarch.
Dip each chicken piece in the egg mixture. Then coat it in the flour mixture. Repeat with all the chicken.
Heat 2 to 3 inches of oil in a heavy skillet to 350 degrees F.
Fry chicken 8-10 pieces at a time until golden brown.
Remove and place chicken on a paper towel to drain.
After the chicken is cooked, pour off any remaining oil from the skillet. Then wipe it down with a paper towel.
Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 30-60 seconds until fragrant.
Stir in the prepared sauce and simmer for 2-3 minutes until it thickens.
Add chicken to sauce and stir to combine.
Serve immediately with cooked rice, sliced green onions, and sesame seeds, if desired.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
Serving Size:1/2 pound
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 859Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 325mgSodium: 1871mgCarbohydrates: 76gFiber: 4gSugar: 9gProtein: 62g
Nutritional information is automatically calculated per the ingredients list. Serving size may not be accurate. Please double-check with your preferred nutritional app for the most accurate information.