Homemade General Tso’s Chicken

Brock is a fiend when it comes to General Tso’s Chicken. It’s all he orders from Chinese restaurants and the standard by which he judges all others. So to be fair, we decided to try it on our own and see if we can make our own Chinese deliciousness at home. Here is the evidence of our attempt…

We followed the Serious Eats recipe for “The Best General Tso’s Chicken,” because Serious Eats is arguably the best food website on the planet, and their food lab experiments are the bomb.

We prepped everything a few hours ahead of time, so we just had to cook when we wanted dinner, which was a good call. Since we’re newbies, no timer was used, but I’d estimate 20 minutes prep + 30 minutes cooking. Fair warning, I’m (Laurel) a terrible estimator.

homemade general tsos sauce
Sauteeing aromatics and making the sauce
homemade General Tsos chicken
Chicken in sauce, then dredged, and finally fried. (We did the marinating as part of prep, dredging and frying during actual cooking time.)
homemade General Tso's chicken
homemade General Tsos taste test
Brock’s taste test and approval!

We had to buy a lot of ingredients to make this the first time (and will hopefully soon have a post about the gin we’ll make with the leftover vodka, because that’s good for nothing but Bloody Marys in our book) but with a decent pantry/freezer, and knowing that we’ll have random cravings for the General, we could probably pull this off anytime from here on out. And it wouldn’t take too much longer than waiting for delivery.


  • Crispy! Adding part of the marinade to the dry mix is CLUTCH.
  • Nice balance of flavors, but  not quite spot-on with the General Tso’s Brock craves.
  • Chicken done properly.
  • Rice perfectly done. (L: Brock is too nice to me. The rice was my job, and adequate.)
  • Bonus: No off-putting, uhm, side effects that sometimes come with Chinese take-out.


  • Saltier, sweeter, spicier.
  • Less time consuming. (But it was quite easy. Also, worth noting this is a Brock complaint.)
  • Dish washer? As in, damn we had a lot of dishes to do after this was done. Live and learn.

Leftovers (microwaved at work): Flavor = excellent, texture = no longer crispy (obv), overall though, happy with it. Better than reheating take-out.

Tweaks for next time:

  • Play around with the sauce a bit … maybe add come garlic-chili paste … and add more green onions. We’ll break some of the chiles next time to release more heat, and taste test the sauce along the way more.
  • Remember to buy a new candy/deep fry thermometer.

Bottom line: When you want Chinese / General Tso’s, don’t you typically just want to be lazy and have someone bring you delicious(?) food you can eat for three days? Maybe. Definitely sometimes. So is planning and making and eating this General Tso’s worth it?


Now we just need to try our hands at egg rolls.

PS: Worth noting: With the leftover rice, ginger and single lonely chicken thigh, we made a riff on this ginger fried rice … added diced chicken to the leeks for the last five minutes or so, and stirred the eggs into the dish. Pretty awesome.

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