General Tso’s Chicken

posted in: Asian, Chicken, Main Dish        date:

General Tso's Chicken

When Eric and I first met, I was an all white meat chicken kind of girl. Thankfully, I outgrew that phase and have since embraced something other than boneless, skinless chicken breasts. This is the first recipe I’ve made using chicken thighs, and I have to tell you: I’m sold. Eric has long loved them, so he’s pretty happy that I’ve reached the same conclusion. Thigh meat is so incredibly flavorful and tender. I’m not sure why I didn’t cook with it sooner, but I clearly should’ve listened to my friend Elly, who has mentioned several times her love of chicken thighs.

This recipe is a nicer version of standard takeout fare, but I promise you won’t be getting takeout anytime soon with this recipe in your arsenal. I know there’s probably nothing authentic about this dish, and I’m okay with that because it tastes fantastic. And while I certainly wouldn’t call it healthy, it’s definitely healthier than its takeout counterpart. Instead of being deep fried, the chicken is coated in a cornstarch mixture before being pan fried (similar to one I posted last year, but much tastier). The chicken gets crispy on the outside and stays tender and moist on the inside. Overall, the dish has a sweet-spicy flavor, with a punch of freshness from the ginger. If you like things spicier, you can always add extra Sriracha. We followed the recipe and paired this with rice and steamed broccoli, but I think it would also be fantastic with carrots or sugar snap peas mixed in.

Looking for more takeout fakeouts? Here are a few of my favorites:
Cashew Chicken Stir Fry
Vegetable Fried Rice
Sesame Chicken

General Tso's Chicken

  • YIELD: 4 servings
  • 1½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil

  • 1 large egg white

  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 1 pound skinless boneless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1½-inch pieces

  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth

  • 1 teaspoon Chinese chile-garlic sauce

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for frying

  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced

  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced

  • Steamed or roasted broccoli and cooked rice, for serving

  • 1

    In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, egg white, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and all but 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch. Add chicken and toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.

  • 2

    Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together chicken broth, chile-garlic sauce, sugar, remaining soy sauce and cornstarch. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a saucepan over high heat and add the ginger and garlic. Cook until fragrant, about a minute. Whisk the broth mixture, then add it to the pan. Cook about 3 minutes, or until the sauce is thick and glossy. Reduce heat to low to keep sauce warm.

  • 3

    In a large, deep skillet, heat ½ inch of oil over high heat until shimmering. Add the chicken carefully, one piece at a time. Cook chicken, turning once or twice until very browned and crisp, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels, then add to sauce. Stir in green onions. Serve immediately with broccoli and rice.

SOURCE: Slightly adapted from Food and Wine, May 2011
COMMENTS: ( 21 )
  • This looks so delicious, and so much more colorful than the stuff you get with take out.

    My husband would love it!

  • Pam

    This is one of my absolute favorite dishes. I have had it at different Chinese restaurants in different cities and just adore it. Thanks for providing such a yummy recipe!!

  • General Tso’s chicken is my favorite take-out dish 🙂 We have a go-to recipe we’ve been using at home for a few years, but I’m eager to try this one and see how it compares. It looks phenomenal!

    • Courtney

      Thanks! I really can’t get enough of this one, but I haven’t tried too many versions. You’ll have to let me know how it compares if you try it!

  • This looks delicious! What kind of camera/lens do you use? Your pictures are always so clear and beautiful!

    • Courtney

      Aw thanks! I use a Nikon D90 with the Nikon Nikkor 50mm f/1.8. I just got the lens and still have a lot to learn, but I’m having a lot of fun with it so far!

  • Saving this one for sure – looks great! So glad you’ve seen the light on the chicken thighs. 🙂

  • What a gorgeous photo~ I cannot wait to try this. I have never had the take-out version, so I have nothing to compare it to.

  • Yum! I love trying to recreate Chinese take out at home! This looks delicious!

  • Gorgeous photos! This sounds so yummy.

  • Looks delicious! I had a bad experience with chicken thighs about 4 years ago and still haven’t gotten over it. Now you’re convincing me I just need to suck it up and work with them again. 🙂

  • Sharon

    Made this tonight. It was great!

  • This looks delicious and I love your gorgeous presentation and pictures! We love General Tso’s chicken and will have to try this homemade version!

  • Amit

    This is now my new go-to General Tso’s chicken recipe. Thanks.

  • This looks delicious! I’m going to save this recipe so I can give it a try, thanks! 😀

  • Wow! That looks gorgeous! I’d definitely love to try a homemade version of this dish. It’d be so great to just be able to whip something like this up for dinner. Yum!!

  • Made it last week, it was delicious! Never had chicken this tender! Used sambal (Indonesian chili paste) and an extra clove of garlic instead of Chinese chile-garlic sauce. To be repeated, thanks!

  • Mariam

    Thanks, this recipe turned out wonderful.
    Enojoying it at the moment!

    I added a lot more sriracha, to make it spicier.

  • Katie

    I am no expert cook, so maybe I am missing something here. I made this tonight, and this is my first time working with chicken thighs. I bought a two-pound package (four thighs) and used half of it. However, I ended up with about twice as much sauce as chicken. Should I have used a pound of thighs AFTER boning and trimming? Was I supposed to use the skin? Oh dear.

    The recipe tastes great and I love the dark meat — just glad no one was here to hear the profanity in the kitchen as I totally butchered these poor thighs.

    • Courtney

      We usually buy 1 pound of boneless, skinless thighs. It should’ve been that amount after deboning them, which is why you ended up with too much sauce. Either way, I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe! If you get bone-in thighs next time, just make sure to weigh them after removing the skin and bones.