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General Tso’s Chicken


General Tso’s Chicken is a popular Chinese-American dish that has become a staple in many Chinese restaurants across the United States and beyond. This flavorful dish combines crispy pieces of chicken with a sweet and tangy sauce, creating a delicious and satisfying meal that appeals to many palates.

Prep Time:

25 mins

Cook Time:

25 mins

Total Time:

50 mins



Origins of General Tso’s Chicken

General Tso’s Chicken is named after General Tso Tsung-t’ang, a Qing dynasty military leader from Hunan province, China. However, despite its name, the dish is not actually known to have originated from General Tso’s culinary preferences. Instead, its creation is often attributed to Chef Peng Chang-kuei, who was a renowned Chinese chef and is believed to have developed the dish in the 1950s.

General Tso's Chicken

The Ingredients

The key ingredients for making General Tso’s Chicken include:

  • Chicken: Typically, boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs are used for this dish. The chicken is cut into bite-sized pieces and then coated in a mixture of cornstarch and seasoning before being fried until crispy.
  • Sauce: The sauce for General Tso’s Chicken is a combination of soy sauce, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger, and chili peppers. This creates a balance of sweet, savory, and spicy flavors that coat the crispy chicken pieces.
  • Vegetables: While not always included, some variations of the dish may include vegetables such as broccoli, bell peppers, or green onions for added color and texture.

Cooking Method

To make General Tso’s Chicken, start by marinating the chicken pieces in a mixture of soy sauce, rice wine, and cornstarch for about 30 minutes. Then, heat oil in a pan or wok and fry the chicken until it is golden brown and crispy.

In the same pan, stir-fry garlic, ginger, and chili peppers until fragrant. Then, add the sauce mixture and cook until it thickens slightly. Return the fried chicken to the pan and toss until it is evenly coated in the sauce. Serve the General Tso’s Chicken hot with steamed rice or noodles.

General Tso's Chicken

Variations and Adaptations

While the traditional recipe for General Tso’s Chicken remains popular, there are many variations and adaptations of the dish to suit different tastes and dietary preferences. Some recipes may use tofu or cauliflower instead of chicken for a vegetarian version, while others may adjust the level of spiciness or sweetness in the sauce to suit individual preferences.

Serving Suggestions

General Tso’s Chicken is often served with steamed white rice or fried rice, allowing the flavorful sauce to soak into the grains for a delicious combination of tastes and textures. Additionally, it pairs well with stir-fried vegetables such as broccoli, bell peppers, or snap peas, adding a pop of color and freshness to the meal.

For a complete Chinese-inspired feast, consider serving General Tso’s Chicken alongside other classic dishes such as egg rolls, pot stickers, or lo mein noodles. This creates a balanced and satisfying meal that is sure to impress family and friends.

General Tso's Chicken

Health Considerations

While General Tso’s Chicken is undeniably delicious, it is important to note that it is often deep-fried and coated in a sauce that can be high in sugar and sodium. For those looking to make healthier choices, consider baking or air-frying the chicken instead of deep-frying it, and using less sauce or opting for a lighter sauce made with reduced-sodium soy sauce and less sugar.

Additionally, incorporating plenty of vegetables into the dish can help increase its nutritional value and add fiber and vitamins to the meal. Feel free to experiment with different vegetable combinations to find what works best for you and your dietary needs.

Cultural Impact

General Tso’s Chicken has not only become a beloved dish in Chinese-American cuisine but has also made its mark on popular culture. It has been featured in numerous movies, television shows, and books, further cementing its status as an iconic dish in the culinary world.

Furthermore, its popularity has led to the creation of various spin-off dishes and products inspired by its flavors, including General Tso’s tofu, General Tso’s sauce, and even General Tso’s flavored snacks. This cultural phenomenon highlights the enduring appeal of General Tso’s Chicken and its ability to transcend cultural boundaries.


In conclusion, General Tso’s Chicken is a classic Chinese-American dish that continues to captivate diners with its irresistible combination of crispy chicken and flavorful sauce. Whether enjoyed at a local Chinese restaurant or made from scratch in the comfort of your kitchen, it never fails to satisfy cravings for something savory, sweet, and spicy all at once.

With its rich history, versatile nature, and widespread popularity, General Tso’s Chicken is sure to remain a favorite for generations to come. So why not whip up a batch today and experience the magic of this iconic dish for yourself?

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