Takeout Makeover: General Tso’s Chicken

General Tso’s Chicken is a popular Americanized Chinese take out dish that is super delicious and also super terrible for you. Battered and fried chunks of chicken thighs are tossed with a spicy and sweet sauce and usually served over white rice. I have always loved this tasty dish, but avoided it because of the high calorie, fat and sodium content. It seemed this was the perfect recipe for my next takeout makeover. Instead of deep frying dark meat, I baked some lean chicken breast and topped it with my own sauce, which is light on the sugar and sodium, while packing quite a spicy punch. I put this dish together in 20 minutes, so it’s fast and easy for a weeknight. I apologize for the lack of step by step photos – my camera battery died while I was cooking this. The best part, one serving of this dish has only 236 calories! Pair it with some steamed broccoli and brown rice and you have a healthy and filling dinner.


4.0 from 1 reviews
Takeout Makeover: General Tso's Chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Chinese Takeout Makeover
Serves: 4
  • 1lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1" chunks
  • 2 tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch, divided
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup low sodium chicken broth (or veggie broth)
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp chili oil (or sesame oil)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • scallions, sliced
  • 2 tbsp white sesame seeds
optional: 1 tbsp dried thai chilies
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Toss chunks of chicken with 2 tbsp corn starch
  3. 3. On a cookie sheet, spread chicken chunks into a single layer
  4. 4. Bake chicken for 12-15 minutes, until cooked through
  5. 5. In a medium saucepan, combine garlic, ginger and chili oil, saute for 2 minutes
6. Add soy sauce, broth, vinegar, honey, tomato paste and hoisin sauce
  6. Simmer mixture on medium heat for 4-5 minutes
  7. 8. Dissolve 1 tsp of cornstarch in ¼ cup of cold water
  8. 9. Add cornstarch to sauce mixture, stirring
  9. 10. Continue to simmer sauce for another 3-4 minutes, until it begins to thicken
11. Toss cooked chicken with sauce, coating thoroughly
  10. Serve chicken with 1 tbsp sesame seeds and scallions
Nutrition Information
Calories: 236 Fat: 7g Protein: 28g


21 Responses to Takeout Makeover: General Tso’s Chicken

  1. Dee at Deelicious Sweets October 14, 2011 at 3:50 am #

    Wow, excellent pictures! I want some of that in my belly right now!

  2. Kristina October 15, 2011 at 4:21 am #

    This looks delicious *bookmarking*

  3. Ann October 22, 2011 at 2:20 am #

    Wow – that looks unbelievably delicious! I'm a huge fan of General Tsos chicken…

  4. Christine knapkins_com November 3, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

    Hi Dara, Your General Tso's Chicken recipe has been selected to be featured in a Recipe Guessing Game. Please share the following link with your friends and fans. To play, go here: http://knapkins.com/guess_games/302?source=blog Congrats again!! :)

  5. Julia November 14, 2011 at 5:46 pm #

    Oh wow, and the chicken is baked, not fried. Fantastic!!!! Can't wait to try it!

  6. Allen Bates January 25, 2012 at 1:32 am #

    Thank you for this recipe, I added some tofu and more Thai chili to make it more intense.
    Koh lanta holiday

  7. Dara January 25, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

    Allen – I am thrilled you enjoyed this. Thanks for making my recipe!

  8. RachelM January 25, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

    Making this for the second time tonight; it's super delicious. Thanks so much for sharing!

  9. Emily February 13, 2012 at 1:54 am #

    Just made this (subbed pan-fried tofu for the chicken and added carrots and broccoli). It's really good! In the future, I might cut down the tomato paste to 1–1.5 tbsp, as the tomato flavor came on a little strong and I had to add more soy sauce and honey to get the flavor I wanted.

    Thanks for the great recipe! Waaaaay better than takeout, and much better for you. Well done!

  10. Dara Reppucci February 13, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

    Emily: I am so happy you tried this recipe. I appreciate the feedback about the sauce, I will revisit my notes on the recipe. I just love greasy takeout so much I had to find a healthier way to enjoy it.

  11. Sarah Anne Feller April 1, 2012 at 1:27 am #

    Thank you for this recipe! I used gluten free soy sauce (tamari) and gluten free hoisin. DELICIOUS!

  12. Dara Reppucci April 1, 2012 at 1:50 am #

    Sarah – I am delighted you enjoyed the recipe!

  13. JIZZLE April 13, 2012 at 3:03 am #

    Yummy! I just made this using tofu instead of chicken. The sauce was great, so happy to find a relatively low-cal take-out fake-out!

  14. simplymine October 13, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

    this looked so good my 10 year old wanted me to make it for breakfast. Made it and they love it. just glad it is almost lunch time now. they will eat the rest for lunch

    • Dara October 13, 2012 at 11:42 pm #

      I’m so glad you like it! That recipe is very popular in my house as well.

  15. Jazz January 8, 2013 at 5:31 pm #

    I made this last night and everyone loved it! I made a few intentional (and one accidental) changes and posted it to my blog, Hodge Podge Cook. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Dara January 8, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

      Awesome! I will check it out. Thanks for letting me know.

  16. Stacie July 15, 2013 at 11:20 pm #

    I tried this tonight and I’m surprised how easy it was. I love the method used for the chicken however the tomato taste in the sauce was very strong for me and I wanted it to be a little sweeter. Thanks for posting!


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