Home Friendly General Tso's (Air Fried or Deep Fried)

A takeout classic optimized for the home cook. Choose from the three cooking methods to match your lifestyle.

4-6 servings

Time: 1 hr 30 mins

By Ethan Chlebowski

General Tso’s Chicken is one of the most delicious dishes on the planet, except there’s a problem...no one makes it at home. I developed these versions in this video to make the dish accessible for the home kitchen.

Ethan Chlebowski

Ethan Chlebowski



  • Chicken marinade

    • chicken breasts
      , cubed
      ~2~1 lb
    • eggs
    • soy sauce
      15 ga spoonful
    • chinese black vinegar
      15 ga spoonful
  • Aromatic base

    • cooking oil
      10 ga spoonful
    • fresh ginger
      , minced
      1" knob
    • garlic
      , minced
      2 cloves
    • dried chinese red chiles
  • General Tso's sauce

    • chicken broth
      , or water
      100 g
    • soy sauce
      30 g2 spoonfuls
    • chinese black vinegar
      20 g1 spoonful
    • brown sugar
      40 g
    • chili garlic paste
      , like sambal
      10 ga spoonful
    • sesame oil
      5 ga drizzle
    • hoisin
      15 ga spoonful
  • Cornstarch slurry

    • cornstarch
      5 ga spoonful
    • water
      10 ga spoonful
  • Chicken breading

    • flour
      100 g
    • cornstarch
      25 g
    • salt
      10 g
    • baking powder
      3 g
    • cooking oil
      , for frying
  • For serving

    • rice
      , cooked
    • scallions
      , thinly sliced
      for garnish


Step 1: Marinate the chicken

In a bowl, mix the cubed chicken breasts with the egg, soy sauce, and black vinegar. Massage everything together until well coated. Set aside to while you prep other components.

Step 2: Make the sauce

Set a pan over medium heat and add all aromatic base components. Let them for about 90 seconds which is going to release and infuse those flavors into the oil.

Then pour in all remaining sauce ingredients and let that come to a , then turn down the heat. Continue for about 3 minutes to a bit.

To thicken the sauce, add about half the cornstarch slurry (mix water and cornstarch first) and the sauce should start to thicken as it simmers. If you want it thinner leave it as is, or add the remaining half to make it a thicker base.

Once thickened to your liking, add it to a glass jar to store in the fridge. Use it to sauce up your nuggets.

Step 3: Dredge the chicken

Combine all chicken breading components in a bowl.

Then, to dredge the chicken, just pour the entire bowl of chicken and any excess liquid right into the dry ingredients.

Mix the chicken and ensure every piece gets a coating of the breading. What you’ll notice is that the extra liquid creates scraggly pieces in the crust, which gives us a ton of additional texture when frying.

Now choose one of the following three methods to fry your nuggets for the dish:

Step 4: Option 1: Air fried only

To air fry, give the dredged chicken bites an initial spray of oil all over. Then toss them into the air fryer of choice for 12 minutes at 400°F/ 204°C.

To promote even cooking and , at 5 minutes take the basket out and give them another spritz before shaking them up and sliding them back in.

Pull at 12 minutes or when crisp & golden brown.

Proceed to the sauce & serve step.

Step 5: Option 2: Double deep fried

Set a wok or pot over medium-high heat and pour in about 2 inches of neutral oil and bring it to 325°F/ 163°C.

Once the oil is hot, working in batches, just drop in the dredged nuggets. With the double fry technique, the first is about just cooking the chicken through and starting to get some color.

Repeat that process until all the chicken nuggets have been fried once.

  • Note: At this point, you can freeze the nuggets for air frying (see option 3) or if you are finishing the dish in the future.

You can let the nuggets rest for 10 mins or double-fry them right away as well.

To double fry:

Bring your frying oil setup to to 375°F/ 190°C.

  • If using frozen nuggets, you can go straight from the freezer but work in small batches and be weary of splatter.

Add the nuggets to the oil for the second . In about 2.5 minutes they should go deeper brown in color and completely crisp up.

Proceed to the sauce & serve step.

Step 6: Option 3: Deep fried, frozen, & air fried

If you froze a batch of deep-fried nuggets, you can just air fry them to warm them up and finish crisping them:

Take the nuggets out of the freezer and add a serving directly to the air fryer basket. Optionally spritz with oil.

Air fry for just 6 minutes at 400°F or until warmed through and crisp.

Proceed to the sauce & serve step.

Step 7: Sauce & serve

As the chicken finishes cooking, warm up a portion of the sauce. Use enough to coat the chicken by tossing the two together in a bowl.

Serve over rice and garnish with scallions.



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