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    General Tso's Chicken

    General Tso's Chicken

    Photo by Pattywak

    I also like using boneless chicken thighs instead of chicken breast for a juicier bite. (Dark meat is juicier and much more tender than white meat, and contrary to widespread belief, not much higher in fat.) Chicken stock adds a bit more flavor, but if you don’t have any handy feel free to substitute water. Sauce may taste a little tomato-y on its own, but trust me, mixed with the fried chicken it will taste positively delicious. The sauce, with tomato paste, chicken broth, vinegar, and hoisin sauce, thickens up quite nicely in the wok. It’s sweet but not overly so, with a mild kick and smoky flavor from the chilis and a good amount of tanginess. Meanwhile, the cornstarch coating results in a brash, proudly crisp exterior. It may not be authentically Hunan, but there’s a reason it continues to be such a beloved dish in the U.S.

    • Prep Time


    • Cook Time


    • Servings



    • Unlock Grocery List!
    • 1

      pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, sliced into 1-inch cubes

    • cups cornstarch

    • ½

      teaspoon salt

    • ½

      teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    • 3

      peanut or vegetable oil for frying, plus 1 tablespoon for stir-frying

    • 8

      dried whole red chilis, or substitute ¼ teaspoon dried red chili flakes

    • 2

      cloves garlic, minced

    • 1

      teaspoon white sesame seeds, for garnish

    • Scallions, green parts thinly sliced, for garnish

    • Marinade:

    • 1

      tablespoons soy sauce

    • 1

      tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

    • 2

      egg whites

    • Sauce:

    • ¼

      cup chicken stock, or substitute water

    • tablespoons tomato paste

    • 1

      tablespoon soy sauce

    • 1

      tablespoon rice vinegar

    • 1

      teaspoon hoisin sauce

    • 1

      teaspoon chili paste

    • 1

      teaspoons sesame oil

    • 1

      tablespoon sugar

    • 1

      teaspoon cornstarch


    1. Prepare the marinade: In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice wine, and egg whites. Coat the chicken to the marinade mixture and let sit for 10 minutes. 2. Prepare the sauce: In a small bowl, combine the chicken stock, tomato paste, sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce, chili paste, sesame oil, sugar, and the 1 teaspoon of cornstarch. Stir until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved. Set the sauce aside. 3. In a large bowl or deep plate, toss the 1 1/2 cups cornstarch with the salt and pepper. Coat the marinated chicken in the cornstarch and shake off any excess before frying. 4. Heat the 3 cups of peanut or vegetable oil in your wok until it registers 350°F on an instant-read oil thermometer. Working in 2 or 3 batches, add the first batch of chicken cubes and fry until golden brown on the outside and cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the rest of the chicken. 5. Drain the oil into a heatproof container and save for discarding. Wipe the wok with a paper towel to remove any brown bits, but don’t wash. 6. Reheat the wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add another 1 tablespoon of oil and swirl to coat the base and sides. Add the dried chilis and garlic to the wok and stir-fry until just fragrant, about 20 seconds. Pour in the sauce mixture and stir until thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes. 7. Return the chicken to the wok and stir well to coat with sauce. Transfer the chicken to a serving dish. Garnish with white sesame seeds and scallions. Serve with white rice and vegetables.


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