General Tso’s Chicken is a takeout favorite that I’ve made a bit healthier. It’s just as spicy, sweet, and zesty as your favorite Chinese takeout restaurant makes it! Make this General Tso Chicken recipe in just 30 minutes!

30 minutes to perfect homemade and healthier General Tso Chicken.

Since living in Japan, I’ve had to take recreating some of our comfort foods from home into my own hands. When we’re not having pizza on a Friday night, we’re usually ordering some delicious Chinese takeout. Well, here in Japan there are no Chinese takeout places nearby. So, I’ve taken the time to recreate one of our favorite takeout menu items —-but I didn’t stop there. I also made it a little healthier by ditching the deep fryer! This Healthier General Tso’s Chicken recipe never disappoints. It’s just as mouthwatering as your favorite Chinese takeout. 

General Tso Chicken Recipe that's healthier and takes only 30 minutes to make!

Common General Tso’s Chicken questions answered! 

What is General Tso Chicken? 

General Tso’s Chicken (often mis-pronounced/spelled as “General Tso Chicken” is a classic Chinese takeout dish. It was first served in the U.S. somewhere in the 1960s/1970s when the dish’s creator, Chef C.K. Peng, introduced the dish to New York City. To read more of the story, check out this article.

Where did General Tso’s Chicken come from?

General Tso, or sometimes known as General Zuo or Zuo Zongtang, was a Qing Dynasty military leader who played an important role in the Taiping Rebellion. 

The dish’s creator, Chef C.K. Peng, is from Hunan Province which is the same province as General Tso. During the 1950s Chef Peng was cooking for a fancy banquet and he decided to name the fancy chicken dish that he served after his hometown hero, General Tso/Zuo.

The best General Tso Chicken recipe made in just 30 minutes.

How do you Pronounce General Tso Chicken?

In order to pronounce “Tso’s” correctly you drop the T. So you would pronounce this dish by saying General “so’s” chicken. 

Is General Tso’s Chicken real Chinese food? 

Kind of. The dish was “born” in Taiwan sometime during the 1950’s, and it was created by Chef C.K. Peng. The version that we’re familiar with was brought to America by the same Chef sometime during the 1960s and 1970s. 

Is General Tso Chicken supposed to be spicy? 

Yes! It’s supposed to be a spicy, sweet, salty, and zesty dish. It gets its spice from red chili flakes, and it gets its zest from fresh ginger and garlic! 

How do you make General Tso’s Chicken?

This dish is usually coated in a cornstarch mixture and then deep fried. But not my version! I make this dish a little healthier by ditching the deep fryer and instead I cook it in a heavy skillet with just 3 tablespoons of peanut oil. 

My favorite General Tso's Chicken recipe made healthier in just 30 minutes!

If you’re looking for other takeout-inspired dishes then check out these recipes below:

Cook’s Note – Healthier General Tso’s Chicken:

  • When snow peas aren’t in season, I like to use steamed broccoli in this recipe.
  • This recipe will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, but it is best eaten the day it’s made because the snow peas lose their shape and bright green color.

Disclosure: This post for Healthier General Tso Chicken recipe includes affiliate links. 

Cook’s Tools  – Healthier General Tso’s Chicken:

Various sizes of glass bowls with lids     a large skillet     a wooden mixing spoon

ONE YEAR AGO: Slow Cooker Beef Stew

TWO YEARS AGO: Slow Cooker Baked Potato Soup

THREE YEARS AGO: Copycat Outback Steakhouse Honey Wheat Bushman Bread Recipe

Healthier General Tso's Chicken in just 30 minutes!
4.59 from 12 votes

General Tso Chicken Recipe

Author Jillian - a Food, Folks and Fun original!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
4 people
General Tso’s Chicken is a takeout favorite that I’ve made a bit healthier. It’s just as spicy, sweet, and zesty as your favorite Chinese takeout restaurant makes it!

Ingredients
  

GENERAL TSO’S SAUCE:

CHICKEN AND COATING:

FOR COOKING:

  • 3 Tablespoons peanut oil, divided
  • 3 Cups snow peas, trimmed and halved diagonally

FOR SERVING:

Instructions

PREP THE SAUCE:

  • In a small bowl whisk together the warm water and cornstarch. Add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, brown sugar, grated ginger, and pepper flakes and whisk to combine. Set aside.

PREPARE THE COATING AND COOK THE CHICKEN:

  • In a medium bowl whisk together the egg whites, corn starch, salt, and white pepper. Add the chicken pieces and toss until the chicken pieces are evenly coated.
  • In a large heavy skillet over high heat add the oil. Once shimmering, add the chicken mixture to the skillet in an even layer. Cook, without turning the the chicken until the chicken is golden on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip the chicken pieces over and continue cooking until the chicken pieces are golden brown on all sides, about 2 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

COOK THE SAUCE AND PEAS:

  • Add the remaining 1 Tablespoon of peanut oil to the skillet. Once shimmering, add the sauce and snow peas and cook until the peas are bright green and the sauce has thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken back to the pan, and stir until the chicken is heated through and evenly coated in the sauce, about 1 minute.

FINISH THE DISH:

  • Serve the chicken over cooked white or brown rice and garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 490kcal | Carbohydrates: 95g | Protein: 60g | Fat: 9.8g | Cholesterol: 168.6mg | Sodium: 712mg | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 200IU | Vitamin C: 4.1mg

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Perfect General Tso's Chicken

This Healthier General Tso’s Chicken first appeared on Food, Folks and Fun in January 2011. I’ve since updated the recipe and pictures. Here’s a picture from when I first made this dish in 2011. 

Picture of General Tso Chicken from January 2011

4.59 from 12 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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19 Comments

  1. Oh, Paul loves this dish. I’ll definitely have to try it.

  2. Elle Belles Bows says:

    One of my favorites. So, I would definitely love a healthier version! Kerri

  3. I found you through Lisa’s linky. The Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes look fabulous. I’m your newest follower.

  4. One in the SAHM says:

    Yum this looks delicious – I’m adding it to our menu this week! Thank you!

  5. Debbi Does Dinner Healthy says:

    This looks excellent! I LOVE heatlhier asian food! Thanks!

  6. Stephanie in Suburbia says:

    This sounds sooo good! I just made Ellie Krieger’s recipe for sesame chicken and I was so shocked at how much it tasted like takeout. I will have to try this. Thank you for sharing!

  7. LambAround says:

    I’m stopping by to let you know that you’re featured on my blog tonight! Congratulations 🙂

  8. Jillian Wade says:

    @LambAround, thanks so much! =)

  9. I love General Tso’s chicken! So as soon as it was published I knew I had to try it. And I am glad I did, the flavor was perfect 😀
    Great recipe

    1. I’m so glad you liked it! 🙂

  10. Samantha Dawn says:

    Oh yum! Love the switched up version with much less oil and the addition of sugar snap peas or broccoli!

  11. Amy | The Cook Report says:

    This chicken looks so sticky and delicious! Love that you’ve made it healthier too 🙂

  12. Oh my, these chicken bites look absolutely perfect! I love the shiny glaze and this looks like the perfect dinner!

  13. Claudia Lamascolo says:

    this is such a great find for me! I eat this out everytime we order out! I never made this before and yours looks better than anything I have ever eaten.. Love how shiny it is too !!

  14. Sally - My Custard Pie says:

    My mouth’s watering. What’s the difference between this and regular sweet and sour (apart from the healthy twist)?

  15. camila hurst says:

    Love this healthier version of such a classic dish!! Mouthwatering!

  16. YUM! I love this recipes!