General Tso Chicken is easy and delicious with an incredibly flavorful sauce glazed over crispy chicken thighs. Throw out the takeout menu, you won’t need it for dinner tonight!
My husband loves Chinese food.
While I will open a pizza app if I want to order out, my husband would grab the chinese take out menu out the junk drawer.
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I would look at these menus and go, “A plate of General Tso’s Chicken is how much?!”
I know that Florida is expensive, but Chinese takeout being $10, $13, 15, $18 dollars per meal? When I could make it myself at a fraction of the cost?! Ridiculous!
Some people don’t even realize how simple and quick it is to make these Chinese take out staples! My Mongolian Beef recipe (which you can find here) went viral, with people telling me they never knew how easy it was and how delicious homemade takeout could be! There’s not magic going on in the restaurants, honey! All it truly takes is a little know how.
In my General Tso Chicken recipe, the chicken is fried twice. This brings so much crispiness to the batter, and yes, it’s an extra step but it’s a quick step that leads to great results. Before the second fry, do NOT allow your hungry family members to pick at the chicken that you pulled out of the oil, unless you want a hospital visit for salmonella. After the second fry, have at it.
Now, the sauce – and you know how much I love sauce- is the flavor bomb of this recipe. You’ll notice I don’t add much seasoning to the chicken; instead, all the flavor is in the sauce. It’s sweet and tangy and spicy and savory all at once, there’s nothing you want more from this sauce. Nothing. The depth of flavors, the different notes from the chilies, the orange, the garlic and ginger all pack a punch within the sweet and savory base of chicken broth, soy sauce, and a bit of brown sugar.
This sauce is just so good and you’ll want to make plenty of it to spoon over the rice and broccoli you serve it with, because it will be gone quickly, I am not joking!
This can easily be a weeknight meal (win!) if you prep the night or morning beforehand: make a little mise en place of chopping the onions, grating the ginger, pressing the garlic, cutting the chicken into pieces, all this will take you ten minutes to do, tops. So then after you get home from work the next day, all you have to do is coat the chicken in the batter, fry it, and make the sauce, because all your prep work is done.
Super easy, and for 4 servings for less than the price of one from the takeout place, you won’t be looking at that takeout menu again.
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- 4 cups vegetable oil
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cubed into 1 inch pieces
- 1 egg, well beaten
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 3 clove garlic, pressed
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes OR 4 whole dried red chilies
- ½ tsp grated ginger OR ¼ tsp ground ginger
- Zest of 1 orange
- Juice of ½ orange
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- ¼ cup water
- In a large heavy bottom saucepan or high sided skillet, heat the 4 cups of vegetable oil to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
- In a medium sized bowl, put beaten egg, salt, pepper, and sugar into the bowl and mix well. Add cubed chicken and toss to coat the chicken in the egg, then shake in the cornstarch a little at a time and stir in well, until the chicken is coated well in the corn starch and egg mixture.
- In small batches, carefully drop the chicken pieces into the oil one by one, until the batter becomes a pale brownish color and the chicken floats, about 3 minutes. Remove the chicken onto a paper towel-lined plate and fry the next batch Repeat until all chicken is fried.
- Once all the chicken is fried, refry the chicken until the pieces are a golden brown, about 2 minutes. Drain again on a fresh paper towel lined plate, then transfer into paper-towel lined large heat-safe bowl. Keep all chicken in that bowl after draining.
- In a small saucepot, heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil over medium heat and add green onion, ginger, garlic, red pepper, and orange zest. Stir for one minute, until garlic is fragrant. Add sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, orange juice, and broth and stir in well. Bring mixture to a boil, then turn down to medium high heat to cook for 5 minutes.
- Dissolve the 1 tbsp of cornstarch in ¼ cup water and stir into the sauce. Allow to cook and thicken for 2 minutes.
- Remove paper towel from bowl and pour sauce over the chicken, stir well to coat the chicken.
- Serve with rice and vegetables
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