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It’s baked, not fried! This healthy General Tso Chicken recipe is a lighter version of the Chinese restaurant classic. With just one dish and about 10 minutes of prep, the easy dinner is even better than take-out! Serve the sweet, sticky chicken with rice and broccoli for a family-friendly meal with very little effort.

Close overhead shot of healthy general tso chicken recipe served in a bowl with rice and broccoli
Table of Contents
  1. How to Make Baked General Tso Chicken Recipe | 1-Minute Video
  2. What is General Tso Chicken?
  3. Healthy General Tso Chicken
  4. Ingredients
  5. How to Make General Tso Chicken
  6. What to Serve with General Tso Chicken
  7. Storage
  8. Recipe Variations
  9. Tips for the Best General Tso Chicken Recipe
  10. Baked General Tso Chicken Recipe Recipe

For even more Chinese takeout-inspired recipes, be sure to try these dump-and-bake sesame chicken noodles, dump-and-bake Kung Pao chicken, baked sweet and sour chicken, and this one-skillet “egg roll in a bowl”, too!

How to Make Baked General Tso Chicken Recipe | 1-Minute Video

What is General Tso Chicken?

A General Tso Chicken recipe consists of deep fried chicken in a sweet, slightly spicy, sticky, and delicious sauce. It’s incredibly popular at Chinese-American restaurants, and is named after General Tso Tsung-t’ang, a Qing dynasty statesman and military leader. The dish is an example of Americanized Chinese cuisine, and there is no recorded connection to the actual general nor is the dish known in Hunan province, Tso’s home.

Baked healthy General Tso Chicken with a bowl of rice on a dinner table

Healthy General Tso Chicken

This recipe is baked instead of fried, so it’s so much healthier and easier than its fried restaurant counterparts. There’s no extra hassle with breading the chicken, no hot oil splattering on your stovetop, and no babysitting batch after batch of chicken in the pan. Instead, this “dump-and-bake” General Tso Chicken recipe comes together with simple, easy-to-find ingredients in one casserole dish. The oven does the work, so you get the best flavor with very little effort!

Whether you call it General Tso Chicken or something else entirely, the bottom line is that this Asian-inspired meal is about to be devoured by every single member of your household…and that’s what I call a success!

Sprinkling cornstarch over diced chicken breast

General Tso Chicken Sauce

A traditional General Tso Chicken sauce is sweet, slightly spicy, and thick enough to coat each piece of chicken. It’s made of hoisin sauce, cornstarch to thicken, brown sugar, sesame oil, and sometimes soy sauce or rice wine vinegar. We add red pepper flakes for some heat and ginger and garlic for extra flavor, too!

Whisk together sauce in a white bowl

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a homemade General Tso Chicken recipe. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Chicken: I use boneless, skinless chicken breast, but boneless, skinless chicken thighs will also work well.
  • Cornstarch: helps the sauce thicken and adhere to the chicken.
  • Chicken broth or chicken stock: to thin the sauce.
  • Brown sugar: gives the sauce a deliciously sticky, caramelized flavor.
  • Hoisin sauce: this is like a Chinese version of barbecue sauce, with a thick texture and a sweet-and-salty taste.
  • Sesame oil: gives the dish that classic Asian flavor, so don’t substitute with other types of oil. You can find this in the International or Asian foods aisle at almost any grocery store.
  • Garlic and ginger: for even more flavor!
  • Red pepper flakes: gives the sauce a spicy kick. You can omit this ingredient for a mild dish, or add extra red pepper flakes if you like it hot.
  • Peanuts: add crunch and salty contrast to the sweet sauce.
Process shot showing how to make general tso chicken

How to Make General Tso Chicken

Did I mention that my General Tso Chicken is baked, not fried? That means that you won’t feel weighed-down after your meal, you won’t have to stand at the stove with a hot skillet of oil to tediously deep fry individual pieces of meat, and you won’t have to spend your precious money on overpriced Chinese takeout. WIN-WIN-WIN! This is lighter, healthier, and dare-I-say BETTER than the original!

  1. Place the diced chicken in a baking dish.
  2. Sprinkle with cornstarch and toss to coat chicken.
  3. Whisk together the chicken broth, brown sugar, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, salt, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes.
  4. Pour the sauce mixture over the chicken and give everything a good stir.
  5. Bake, uncovered, in a 425°F oven for 20 minutes. Stir, then return to the oven until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is nice and thick.
  6. Garnish with sliced green onions or toasted sesame seeds just before serving.
General Tso's chicken in a baking dish on a wooden table.

What to Serve with General Tso Chicken

Serve the sweet, sticky, spicy chicken over rice (or over cauliflower rice for an even lighter dish), with plenty of extra sauce spooned over top. We love it with steamed broccoli tossed into the mix as well. Additional good options include pasta, ramen noodles, sesame peanut noodlesramen noodle coleslawsesame ginger snap pea salad, or baked store-bought egg rolls. Don’t forget fortune cookies for dessert, too!

Side square shot of the best general tso chicken recipe in a bowl with chopsticks

Storage

This General Tso’s Chicken recipe will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. You can also freeze the leftover chicken in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Another bonus to the baked (not fried) chicken? It’s doesn’t get soggy in the fridge!

Reheat the chicken in a skillet on the stovetop over low heat, just until warmed through. You can also microwave individual servings for 1-2 minutes.

Overhead shot of the best general tso chicken recipe served on a dinner table with broccoli and rice

Recipe Variations

  • Add a dash of soy sauce for a salty, umami component in the sauce.
  • Include some rice vinegar in the sauce for a little bit of acidic flavor.
  • If you prefer dark meat, substitute boneless, skinless chicken thighs for the chicken breast.
  • The peanuts are optional, since not every General Tso’s chicken recipe includes this ingredient. We love the added salty crunch that they give the dish!
  • Cooking Just for Two? Cut the ingredients in half and bake the chicken in a smaller dish. The cooking instructions remain the same.
Side shot of a bowl of homemade General Tso Chicken with rice

Tips for the Best General Tso Chicken Recipe

  • Don’t skip the hoisin sauce, which is important for the recipe’s flavor and texture.
  • The sesame oil is also a key ingredient, which cannot be replaced by other oils. Sesame oil has a unique rich, toasted flavor that gives many Asian dishes their authentic taste.
  • If available, use fresh ginger instead of dried, ground ginger. If using fresh ginger, you’ll need about 1 teaspoon of the grated root.
  • Garnish each serving with scallions, toasted sesame seeds, or extra peanuts for even more flavor and texture.
Fork in a bowl of healthy general tso chicken with rice

More Easy Chinese Takeout Recipes to Try

Close overhead shot of healthy general tso chicken recipe served in a bowl with rice and broccoli

Baked General Tso Chicken Recipe

5 from 16 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings 4 – 6 servings
Calories 291 kcal
It's baked, not fried! This healthy General Tso Chicken recipe is a lighter version of the Chinese restaurant classic. Just one dish and about 10 minutes of prep!

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 3 teaspoons finely minced fresh garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger (or sub with 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger)
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (add more for a spicier dish or omit for a mild dish)
  • ¼ cup dry roasted, salted peanuts
  • Optional garnish: sliced green onions, toasted sesame seeds, extra peanuts

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray a medium baking dish with cooking spray (I have used a deep 9-inch by 6-inch dish, a deep 8-inch square dish, and an 11-inch by 7-inch dish, and all work well).
  • Place chicken in the prepared dish. Sprinkle with cornstarch and toss to coat.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together chicken broth, brown sugar, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, salt, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Pour sauce over chicken and stir to combine.
  • Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Stir, return to the oven for 5-10 more minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and sauce has thickened.
  • Remove from oven, stir in peanuts. Season with additional salt and red pepper flakes, to taste. Garnish with sliced green onions, sesame seeds, or extra peanuts just before serving.

Video

Notes

  • Don’t skip the hoisin sauce, which is important for the recipe’s flavor and texture.
  • The sesame oil is also a key ingredient, which cannot be replaced by other oils. Sesame oil has a unique rich, toasted flavor that gives many Asian dishes their authentic taste.
  • If available, use fresh ginger instead of dried, ground ginger. If using fresh ginger, you’ll need about 1 teaspoon of the grated root.
  • Garnish each serving with scallions, toasted sesame seeds, or extra peanuts for even more flavor and texture.
  • Add a dash of soy sauce for a salty, umami component in the sauce.
  • Include some rice vinegar in the sauce for a little bit of acidic flavor.
  • If you prefer dark meat, use boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of chicken breast.
  • The peanuts are optional, since not every General Tso’s chicken recipe includes this ingredient. We love the added salty crunch that they give the dish!
  • Cooking Just for Two? Cut the ingredients in half and bake the chicken in a smaller dish. The cooking instructions remain the same.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the recipeCalories: 291kcalCarbohydrates: 30.1gProtein: 36.3gFat: 5.3gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 88.3mgSodium: 314.4mgFiber: 0.6gSugar: 20.9g
Keyword: Chinese Chicken, General Tso Chicken
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Asian
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in January, 2018. The photos were updated in December, 2021.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

  1. Karly says:

    Wow. SO into this recipe. Easy, delicious and whole-family-pleasing. Definitely need to try!

    1. Blair says:

      Thank you, Karly! I hope that you give it a try! 🙂

  2. Donna Howard says:

    Was going to make broccoli and cheese soup today but then saw this!! Ah, soup not happening!! Maybe another day. Thanks so much Blair another awesome recipe to add to my 5 yum list!!

    1. Blair says:

      That’s great, Donna! I hope you love it! 🙂

  3. Chrissi says:

    Oh, can’t wait to try this! Looks delicious..thanks for sharing.

    1. Blair says:

      Thanks, Chrissi! Enjoy! 🙂

  4. Debra says:

    I just made this for dinner and my family LOVED it! My son had to get used to the fact that it wasn’t fried but he had two helpings and my husband gave it a 10 out of 10.

    Keep sending the great recipes!

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Debra! I’m so happy to hear that! Thanks for letting me know! 🙂

      1. Sam says:

        You say you can use chicken thighs. How does this change cooking time?

        1. Blair says:

          Hi, Sam! Since you’re cutting the thighs into bite-size pieces, it shouldn’t change the cooking time at all. 🙂

        2. Pedro says:

          5 stars
          Thanks so much. Cooked it for my girl and the night went smoothly. Let’s just say I didn’t sleep much that night

    2. Jenna rabe says:

      5 stars
      This recipe was delicious and a crowd pleaser for sure. My question is, do you think it’s okay to prepare the night before and bake the next day?

      1. Blair Lonergan says:

        Hi, Jenna! I’m so glad that you liked it! I think that would work fine! You might want to prepare it in a large Ziploc bag so that you can easily shake everything around to mix the sauce right before baking. Then just dump it into a dish right before baking. Otherwise, the sauce might separate when it sits overnight and you’ll want to have some way to combine it smoothly again.

  5. Allison says:

    It is in the oven right now. It already smells wonderful! Will serve with coconut rice. I hope there will be leftovers for lunches!

    1. Blair says:

      Perfect! Love the idea of pairing it with coconut rice. So good!

  6. Lillie says:

    Do you have anything similar for sweet and sour chicken? Most recipes I see have you frying the chicken before the oven, but I really do not like to fry anything.

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Lillie! No, I don’t have a sweet and sour chicken recipe like this one, but I am definitely adding it to my list. Stay tuned, and thanks for that inspiration!

  7. Mary says:

    Hi Blair. I made the General Tso chicken tonight for dinner & it is amazing. I served it over quinoa & oh so good. Definitely a keeper. I enjoy your weekly update on what your family has been doing, always uplifting & makes me smile while reading. Your boys are adorable. Thanks again for the great recipe, I’ve made many of your recipes & they are all so good.

    1. Blair says:

      Yay! Thanks for letting me know, Mary! I bet the quinoa was a tasty companion! 🙂

  8. Kristine says:

    Hi Blair, I made this for dinner last week, it was so easy just steam some broccoli and rice for sides and dinner was ready. Everyone liked it, even my picky teenagers. Thanks.

    1. Blair says:

      Excellent! I’m so glad that your family liked it, Kristine! 🙂

  9. Mim says:

    Made this tonight and it was both easy and delicious. I didn’t have rice but did have rice noodles! I have just discovered your site! Can’t wait to see what else is here!

    1. Blair says:

      That’s wonderful, Mim! I hope that you find plenty of other tasty ideas on the blog! 🙂 So glad that you found the site!

  10. Robert says:

    Hi Blair,
    General Tso’s Chicken is one of our favorites. We gave my brother-in-law a slow cooker months ago. Now he wants to learn how to use it. So I’m giving him my recipe for for beef stew. But I also want to bring him dinner. Can the recipe be made in the slow cooker? We love that it’s a healthier version of a recipe recipe we love. Ee’ll be seeing him on Sunday. I’ve been enjoying your site & blog immensely.
    Robert Fried

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Robert! Yes, I think that this recipe would work well in the slow cooker! 🙂 Thanks for your kind note!

  11. June says:

    Vegetarian here. I make it with tofu. No knocking it, now, till you’ve tried it.

    1. Blair says:

      That’s a great idea, June! I bet the tofu soaks up that delicious sauce and tastes great. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  12. Mandy says:

    That was delicious! Way better than any of our local Chinese take outs. Thank you!

    1. Blair says:

      That’s great, Mandy! So glad that you enjoyed it!

  13. Norma says:

    Made this last night and it was easy and delicious! I didn’t have any chicken breasts so used bone in skinless thighs instead, a little bit less sugar and chose Asian chili garlic sauce (which we love!) instead of red pepper flakes. So easy to put the sauce together and “dump” it over the chicken, then get the rest of dinner ready while it’s baking. Wonderful flavor! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Norma! I’m so glad that you enjoyed it! Thanks for letting me know. 🙂 I bet that Asian chili garlic sauce was perfect in the dish!

  14. Kathy says:

    5 stars
    This is delicious! I liked that I could cut the recipe in half for 2 people. I followed the recipe exactly except I didn’t add the peanuts. My husband said this recipe is a keeper! Thank you!

    1. Blair says:

      Thank you, Kathy! I’m so glad that your husband approves, too. 🙂

  15. Melody Gannaway says:

    We are making this for dinner! Recipe says it is for 4, but nutrition says a serving is 1/6 of the recipe. I am confused.

    1. Blair says:

      Hey, Melody! The recipe should say that it serves 4-6. The -6 part got cut off when we updated my site to use new recipe cards, and I haven’t had a chance to go back and update this particular post yet. 🙂 The nutrition information is for 1/6 of the recipe. Hope that helps clarify, and enjoy the meal!

  16. Debbie says:

    5 stars
    I Made this for supper and it was definitely a HIT!! My family LOVED it. It was also easy to put together. I served it over cauliflower rice.

    1. Blair says:

      Thanks, Debbie!

  17. Nana==== says:

    I want to make this and I will do it as instructed but also wondering if it could be done in a slow cooker.

    1. Blair says:

      Hi! Yes, I think it would probably work well in the slow cooker. I’d try it on LOW for 3-4 hours. 🙂

  18. Catharine says:

    5 stars
    YUM ! The house smelled amazing right from the prep of this recipe !
    I added the peanuts & fresh chili paste after the 1st stir. I served it with sticky white rice & Chinese broccolini
    There wasn’t as much sauce in the end as your pic shows – will add more liquid next time
    I would have to say the recipe really only serves 4
    Definitely a keeper 🙂

    1. Blair says:

      Thanks, Catharine! I’m so glad that it was a hit!

  19. Julia J says:

    5 stars
    Great recipe! Just tried it today. I made a few amendments and put a bit less brown sugar, as well as adding some sriracha and soy sauce. Turned out really well and easy to throw together and serve with some rice.

    1. Blair says:

      That sounds perfect, Julia! Thank you!

  20. Dee says:

    5 stars
    so delcious. I cut down a bit on on the brown sugar and also added slivered green and red bell pepper (one large of each) to the baking time and then steamed broccoli to add at the end. I also used fresh grated ginger since we love ginger.

    1. Blair says:

      Sounds perfect, Dee! Thank you!

      1. Kristen says:

        Hi, is it okay to add bell pepper to the mixture to cook at the same time with the chicken or should I do it separately/combine at the end before serving? Thank you!

        1. Blair says:

          Yes, that should work well! 🙂

          1. Kristen says:

            Thank you! Excited to try this recipe, wanted to get some extra veggies in 🙂

  21. Kristen says:

    Thank you! Excited to try this recipe, wanted to get some extra veggies in 🙂

    1. Blair says:

      I hope you enjoy, Kristen! 🙂

  22. Grace says:

    5 stars
    Excellent recipe and the only thing I would do differently is reduce the pepper flakes other than that this was easy and tasty!

    1. Blair says:

      Thanks, Grace!

  23. Karen Hinkle says:

    5 stars
    Love love love this recipe! So delicious! And easy!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thank you, Karen! 🙂

  24. Jennifer H says:

    5 stars
    Made this last night, and it was a bit with both my husband and I. The flavor was so good, and the easy prep was awesome. I am somewhat disabled; so lengthy meal prep is not something I am able to do. Tonight we’re making your chicken with potatoes on a sheet pan. Thank you so much for your dump and go dinners. There are several I want to try.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Awesome, Jennifer. I’m so glad to hear that the recipe was a hit. Thanks for taking the time to leave me a note!

  25. pat says:

    5 stars
    Made this last night and my very picky grand daughter not only cleaned her plate She went back for seconds. So glad to find another dish to add to our rotation.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      I’m so glad to hear that, Pat. Thank you!

  26. Christine says:

    5 stars
    This was fabulous! My whole family loved it and it was so convenient to make in the oven when you are using the stovetop for deep frying spring rolls.

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Thank you, Christine!

  27. Steve says:

    Hello Blair, I just printed this recipe. The printout required 14 pages. Some of the info seems to be repeated. The photos do not have to be printed. The tips and other recipe titles also can be deleted from the printout.

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Hi Steve,
      We’re sorry this happened. Did you click the “print recipe” button on the recipe card? That should take you to a page with just the recipe. Let us know if that helps, and we will continue to look into the matter!

  28. Pattie Fietz says:

    5 stars
    This was easy to fix and used ingredients that I had on hand. My husband and I loved it and appreciated that it was healthier than the fried version.

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Thank you for your feedback, Pattie! We’re so glad you enjoyed the recipe.

  29. Camellia Roseman says:

    5 stars
    Made this tonight and it was fabulous! Dare I say, it was better than takeout. Follow the recipe and you’ll not be disappointed. Thank you for sharing. I will not do takeout for this dish again!!!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Awesome! So glad that you enjoyed it, Camellia! I’m adding this to my dinner rotation soon — I haven’t had it in ages. 🙂 Thanks for the reminder!

  30. K says:

    5 stars
    We found this really was simple to make and delicious to eat! We had it over a large portion of broccoli, which we steam in the microwave (no water needs to be added, broccoli contains plenty) and a small side portion of basmati rice made with chicken bouillion and steamed peas (we added the peas to the rice at the end of its cooking time). We served in pasta bowls.

    I will double the sauce quantity next time as we like ours saucy!

    We omitted brown sugar. Though that must be delicious, we didn’t want the sugar carbs. Guessing the omitted brown sugar would lessen the sauce viscosity, I doubled the cornstarch but will tripple it next time. I doubled the ginger.

    It is a “keeper” and I’ll try in the slow cooker as someone else mentioned.

    Blair, thank you!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      I’m so glad that it worked well for you! Thanks for your tips and ideas, too. 🙂

  31. Eddie says:

    I felt the sauce was a little too runny after the baking. How can I thicken it up in the pan?

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Hi Eddie,
      Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do after it is baked other than cooking it a bit longer. We recommend adding more cornstarch next time. Hope this helps!

  32. T.J. Smith says:

    5 stars
    Very good. The whole family of picky eaters loved it. Thanks so much.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thanks, T.J.!