General Tso’s Chicken is one of the most popular Chinese Food takeout dishes that is sweet, slightly spicy, and so easy to make at home! This healthier version made without breading has fewer calories but tastes as delicious as the fried original. Ready in less than 30 minutes and only 207 kcal per serving!
General Tso’s Chicken is a Chinese-American restaurant staple that is super easy to make at home. It is sometimes also called General Tao Chicken or General Tse’s chicken. My family loves this lighter, not fried version of the popular, usually high-calorie dish that doesn’t make you feel guilty when you come back for seconds. And I promise you will come back for seconds!
Some recipes for homemade General Tso’s Chicken are really complicated, with different breading steps and the need to deep fry twice. This recipe is as delicious but takes only half the time to make and is lighter than your normal take-out because the chicken is only lightly coated in cornstarch and stir-fried instead of deep-fried.
Not only is this easy General Tso’s chicken recipe so delicious, it just so happens to come from my friend Char’s new cookbook: The Healthy Wok Chinese Cookbook! I was lucky enough to be one of her recipe testers so I got my hands on a copy before it came out and I have to say her book is my most used cookbook at the moment. You have to try this healthier homemade version of your Chinese take-out favorite!
Tips and Tricks on how to make General Tso’s Chicken
- You might ask yourself do I really need a wok to cook Chinese food? A wok has many advantages over a normal frying pan. It requires less oil and distributes the heat more evenly, for example. If you’re just starting your Chinese cooking journey you can use a normal pan but if you want to get serious about Chinese cooking I really recommend buying a wok. The best choice is a carbon steel wok.
- If you’re watching your salt intake use low-sodium soy sauces. Most soy sauces contain wheat, so if you are on a gluten-free diet, use tamari soy sauce instead.
- Don’t skip the Hoisin Sauce! It’s sweet and salty in taste and sometimes referred to as Chinese barbecue sauce. Hoisin sauce is a key ingredient in this and many other Chinese recipes. This is what gives General Tso’s Chicken its authentic flavor!
- Don’t be tempted to swap out the rice vinegar! White rice vinegar is less acidic and milder in flavor than white wine vinegar. It is also a little bit sweet because of the glutinous rice.
- Peanut oil is my first choice for stir-frying because it has a high smoke point (450°F).
- How many calories in general tso chicken? One serving (5.7 oz) of General Tso’s Chicken at Panda Express has 330 kcal, my healthier version only has 207 kcal for a generous portion.
Looking for more easy dinner recipes?
- Instant Pot Chili Recipe
- Creamy Lemon Risotto
- 15-minute Spaghetti alla Carbonara
- Easy Vegetarian Spinach Lasagna
- Honey Garlic Shrimp and Broccoli
Tools and Ingredients used for this easy General Tso’s chicken recipe
Wok: A carbon steel wok is your best choice for cooking Stir-Fries!
Soy Sauce: This is my go-to soy sauce! I always have a big bottle in my fridge.
Hoisin Sauce: This sauce gives General Tso’s Chicken it’s authentic flavor.
Rice Vinegar: Don’t even think about skimping here! Rice vinegar is sweet and delicate, while white vinegar is sour and harsh.
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Healthy General Tso's Chicken
For the marinade
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp ground white pepper
- 2 boneless chicken breasts, cut into thin, bite-size pieces
For the sauce
- ¼ cup tomato ketchup
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 4 tsp hoisin sauce
- 4 tsp brown sugar
- 4 tsp soy sauce
For the stir-fry
- 2 Tbsp peanut oil
- 1 dried red chile, (optional)
- 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
- 1 scallion, chopped
- In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch, salt, and white pepper. Sprinkle over the sliced chicken, tossing to coat, and let marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, make the sauce by combining the ketchup, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce, brown sugar, and soy sauce, and mix it well. Set the sauce aside.
- In a wok over medium-high heat, heat the peanut oil.
- Add the chicken and stir-fry in batches until fully cooked and slightly brown.
- Add the chile and pour in the sauce. Stir to coat the chicken in the sauce.
- Turn off the heat and transfer the dish to a serving plate. Garnish with the sesame seeds and chopped scallion.
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