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General Tso’s Chicken

Sweet and hot, crispy and tender, garlicky, gingery General Tso's chicken is a mainstay of Chinese buffets and restaurants, but you can make it deliciously and freshly at home!
Author Rebecca Lindamood


For the chicken:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat and cut into 1 1/2" pieces
  • canola peanut or vegetable oil for frying

For the Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger root
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and minced
  • 1 cup chicken broth or stock
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese chile-garlic sauce
  • 3 tablespoons raw sugar a.k.a. Demerara or Turbinado
  • 1 tablespoon peanut canola or vegetable oil

For Serving:

  • 4 scallions thinly sliced
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Fresh hot cooked white rice


Prep your chicken:

  • In a mixing bowl, stir together the sesame oil, soy sauce, egg white, and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of cornstarch until a thick slurry forms. It will look gummy but smooth.
  • Add the chicken pieces and stir until all are evenly coated. At first it may appear that it will not come together but it does!
  • Set aside, covered lightly with plastic wrap, at room temperature for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Begin the sauce:

  • Add the tablespoon of oil to a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over high heat.
  • Stir the garlic and ginger into the oil and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining sauce ingredients until smooth. Pour into the garlic and ginger, stirring, until thick and shiny. Keep over a low burner partially covered to stay warm.

To fry the chicken:

  • Heat 1/2-inch of oil in a heavy-bottomed, high-sided frying pan or skillet over high heat.
  • When the oil is shimmering, add one piece of chicken at a time, taking care not to crowd the pan.
  • Cook for 4 minutes on each side, or until deep golden brown and crisp on both sides**.
  • Transfer the chicken to a paper towel lined plate and repeat the process until you've cooked all the chicken.
  • Slide all the chicken into the prepared sauce and toss to coat. (If desired, add the steamed broccoli to coat with the sauce also.) Increase the heat to medium, stir and cook just until hot all the way through.
  • Sprinkle with sliced scallions and serve immediately over white rice.


**A note: Chicken is a safe food for me. I know that just about anything done to it is going to yield something that is, at the very least, edible. This is especially true of boneless skinless chicken thighs. It's really hard to mess those up! They stay tender and juicy and it's very hard indeed to cook them to the point of chicken jerky. Be sure to cook them through, you definitely want that crisp, deep-brown coating to hold up to the sauce!