general tso’s chicken

General Tso's Chicken I One Lovely Life One of the best things of being married to Michael is that he is never ever at a loss for meal ideas. He’s also remarkably willing to talk about food with me. I read cookbooks like mad and he is always willing to talk about what looks or sounds good.

Because he’s so accomodating, I love making things I know he’s passionate about. General Tso’s chicken is one of those things. He’s literally been talking about it for 6 months. I’ve been reading and combining recipes for months, and I finally came up with a great one.

General Tso's Chicken I One Lovely Life As most recipes are, this recipe is pretty adaptable–the sauce could be used on a vegetable stir-fry or over tofu if you’re going meatless, you can make it spicier, decrease the ginger, etc. Make it your own. That’s what cooking is all about anyway.

I loved the combination of flavors–sweet, tangy, gingery, slightly spicy…everything I love about Asian food!

General Tso's Chicken I One Lovely Life

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General Tso’s Chicken


  • 2lb chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 78Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp pepper
  • canola or olive oil
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • sesame seeds for garnish, optional
  • for sauce:
  • 4 1/2Tbsp hoisin sauce*
  • 4 1/2Tbsp ketchup
  • 5Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 4Tbsp soy sauce or gluten free tamari
  • 1Tbsp sesame oil
  • 3/4c brown sugar
  • 3/4c water
  • 2 1/2Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/41/2tsp red pepper flakes (depending on your heat preference)


  1. In a shallow bowl, combine cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Dredge chicken pieces in cornstarch mixture and tap off excess. (You can also put the chicken and cornstarch mixture in a large plastic bag or container and shake to coat).
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook chicken pieces in batches, using a small drizzle of olive or canola oil to cook each batch.
  3. Make sauce by combining all sauce ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Return chicken to skillet and pour in sauce. Stirring occasionally, cook over medium heat until thickened, about 3-6 minutes. Top with sliced green onions and sesame seeds.


*Gluten free notes: BE SURE your hoisin sauce is gluten free. Premier Japan has a wheat free version, as does Wok Mei brand. Or, you can make your own. Gwyneth Paltrow has a good recipe. San-J make a great gluten free tamari.



  1. I am totally a blog stalker and am a lover of General Tso's chicken! Thanks for the recipe. Keep up the great work. PS – the poppers were divine!

  2. Great recipe! I bookmarked it. I think its great that none of your ingredients are hard to find. So often that is the case for me with chinese food.

  3. Hmm, I've given up on making my own. I've taken to cheating by using the Iron Chef General Tso sauce. I'll have to give your recipe a try.

  4. I really enjoy reading your blog and all the yummy things you come up with. I have been having HUGE cravings for Asian food lately, but my daughter is allergic to peanuts, sesame seeds, and sesame seed oil. Do you know if there is any substitute for sesame seed oil? I haven't had any Asian food in such a long time!

  5. Jill– I'm sorry to hear about your daughter's peanut allergy. What a bummer!

    Sesame oil has a rather unique flavor so there's not much by way of substitute, but you will only be removing one layer of the flavors going on in the dish by not using it.

    The recipe should still taste great if you use canola or another vegetable oil. Let me know how it goes!

  6. This is perfect timing! My boys absolutely love general tsao's. They've had to go gluten-free this past year and so I haven't looked up a recipe yet. They'll be so excited. My only question is the hoisin sauce. I've never used it but looks like it contains wheat and soy (that's for me). How important is this here? I have a soy-free "soy" sauce. Thanks for any suggestions!

  7. nm love – I browsed online and found a few gluten-free eaters who recommended Dynasty brand, saying that it was gluten free.

    You could possibly substitute plum sauce–I'm not sure about the gluten or soy content.

    Hope that helps!

  8. Thanks! I'll check the plum sauce. I just didn't know what taste it brought to the table so wasn't sure how to replace it, know what I mean? I'm thinking we're going to have some this weekend. 🙂

  9. chinese food? not my favorite. however, i'll always stop to salute general tso–that mix of spicy and sweet is also my favorite part about asian cuisine. 🙂

  10. You don't know me but we LOVE your recipes and make them often. This one was so good I couldn't resist commenting. We love that your recipes are healthy and so yummy. Thanks!

  11. Just had to leave a follow-up… We had this for dinner tonight and it was SO good. I ended up making a hoisin sauce from a recipe. Worked out great. Next time I'll make some extra sauce though. I thought it was perfect but my husband likes his rice and everything drenched. Thanks for the post!

  12. I keep searching for the perfect General Tso's recipe, with no success. Perhaps the hoisin sauce was what I was missing? Thanks for the beautiful-looking recipe!

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