This easy and delicious 30 minute General Tso’s Chicken recipe is pan-fried and tossed in a sweet and sticky sauce. Skip the takeout and make this classic Chinese restaurant dish in the comfort of your own home!
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Can You Really Make General Tso’s Chicken in Just 30 Minutes?
You can! I wouldn’t lie to you. The inspiration behind this dish came from my Slow Cooker General Tso’s, which is a reader favorite. But that got me thinking … While that recipe is super easy to make and turns out absolutely divine, could it be easier and thrown together in under 30 minutes from start to finish?
I’m proud to say that it can indeed! This is an easy 30 minute version of this takeout favorite, making it perfect for those busy weeknights when you’re short on time or those weekends when you’re craving something special.
Save Time and Money By Making Takeout Food at Home!
Just like the original, this 30 Minute General Tso’s Chicken is loaded with all the flavors you find in those neatly packed Chinese takeout boxes. In this recipe, the chicken breasts are cubed and marinated, then fried until golden brown and crispy. It then gets tossed with a sweet and sticky sauce, yielding a medley of Asian flavors in every crispy bite.
For a little spice I add in crushed red pepper flakes. You can also always add in a bit or sriracha or some dried red chilies. And for extra tender chicken, I used a Chinese technique called velveting, which helps seal in moisture as well as thickens up the sauce. This is a staple technique in Chinese cooking where meat or seafood is marinated and pre-cooked in oil (or sometimes poached in boiling water), then, stir-fried with other ingredients. The result is chicken that is silky in texture and that has retained its moisture and flavor from the marinade. Velveting also protects the chicken from the hot wok, or whichever skillet you use, yielding juicy chicken.
What makes this recipe even better is that it ends up being cheaper to make yourself at home and yields more than just one serving. Not to mention that you can whip this up in less time than it usually takes to call the restaurant, wait until it’s ready, drive there, and then drive home and serve it up. There’s no doubt about it; this just makes sense!
Ingredients for Homemade General Tso’s Chicken
- Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts: Cut two breasts into 1/2 inch pieces — as evenly as possible, but doesn’t have to be perfect — about 1 1/2 pounds total.
- Cornstarch + Salt: Combined these serve as the coating for the chicken that will result in a super light, crispy breading.
- Garlic: Three cloves minced does the trick for this recipe, but feel free to use up to four if you’re a garlic lover.
- Oil: One tablespoon for sautéing the chicken and four cups for deep frying. Vegetable oil or peanut oil work best.
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes: Optional, but even just a pinch adds a nice layer of heat to this dish.
- Chicken Marinade: For the marinade, combine egg whites, low-sodium soy sauce, and mirin in a large bowl and add the cubed chicken.
- General Tso’s Sauce: Combine chicken stock, low-sodium soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sesame oil, mirin, light brown sugar, and cornstarch in a separate bowl and set aside until it’s time to add to the cooked chicken.
- Sesame Seeds: For garnishing before serving.
How To Make General Tso’s Chicken at Home
- To make this 30 Minute General Tso’s Chicken, start by marinating cubed chicken pieces with egg whites, soy sauce, and mirin.
- Prepare the rest of the ingredients for the sauce while the chicken is marinating.
- Coat chicken in cornstarch and fry until golden brown.
- Whip up the sauce ingredients, toss with the chicken, and heat through.
- Serve as desired and enjoy!
TIP: Make you rice or whatever you want to serve with this General Tso’s Chicken ahead of time so it’s ready to serve once the chicken has finished cooking.
What to serve with General Tso’s Chicken
- White or brown rice. For a low carb option try cauliflower rice.
- Steamed vegetables
- Chow mein noodles
- Lo mein
- Vegetable Fried Rice
- You can even serve this as an appetizer over lettuce wraps!
How To Store, Freeze, and Reheat Homemade General Tso’s Chicken
- Store leftovers in an airtight container or Ziplock bag in the refrigerator for up to four days. This tends to get more flavorful as it sits, but the crispiness will degrade after the first time it is served.
- Freeze leftover cooked General Tso’s Chicken and sauce in an airtight, freezer-safe container or Ziplock bag for up to three months.
- Reheat cold leftovers in the microwave at 30-second intervals or on the stovetop over medium-low heat until warmed through. If preparing from frozen, allow to thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat as previously directed.
More Recipes To Try
If you liked this 30 Minute General Tso’s Chicken, then you’ll love these other Asian-inspired recipes:
- 20-Minute Beef and Broccoli
- Egg Roll in a Bowl
- Sweet and Sour Chicken
- Slow Cooker Chinese Barbecue Pork
- Kung Pao Shrimp
- Pepper Steak
- Asian Sloppy Joe’s
30 minute General Tso Chicken
- Add 4 cups of oil to a large pot or dutch oven. Heat to 350 degrees.
- Meanwhile, combine the marinade ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add in the cubed chicken and stir to coat. Set aside until ready to cook.
- In a small bowl combine the sauce ingredients.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and dredge the chicken pieces in the cornstarch and shake off any excess.
- Working in batches, deep fry the chicken in oil until the chicken is golden brown, crispy and cooked through.
- While the chicken is cooking heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan or skillet.
- Add in garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add in the sauce ingredients and simmer until thickened.
- Stir in the cooked chicken tossing to coat the chicken in the sauce. Simmer for 3-4 minutes to thicken.
- Serve immediately with sesame seeds for garnish, if desired.
- (For some heat sprinkle on crushed red pepper flakes)