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Slow cooker General Tso’s chicken is a super easy version of everyone’s favorite Chinese entree! Crispy chicken cooked in a sweet and savory sauce with a little added heat. This is way better than takeout!

Asian-inspired recipes work great in the slow cooker. It results in tender meat but also gives time for the meat to soak up the flavorful sauces. Make this slow cooker cashew chicken, my Mongolian beef, or this Kung Pao chicken. The flavors just explode because of the long slow simmer.

Top view of slow cooker General Tso's chicken in a black bowl served over rice. Garnished with sesame seeds and green onions. Chopsticks are picking up a piece of chicken.

General Tso’s Chicken

We love Asian-inspired meals at our house, and this slow-cooker version of General Tso’s chicken is a must! Even better, it’s easy to put together and the slow cooker does all the work. The chicken is crispy on the outside but tender on the inside thanks to the magic of the slow cooker. The sauce slowly cooks and absorbs into the crispy chicken perfectly. I love being able to make better-than-takeout recipes right at home! If you make this for your family I promise that everyone will devour it!

The rich and dark sauce in this meal is incredible. It is sweet and savory with just a little bit of heat. I always have to hold out the red pepper flakes until the end just for my kiddos, but it has such incredible flavor. Make this meal complete by serving the chicken and sauce over rice. I also love to serve it with vegetable stirfry and a side of these easy cream cheese wontons. I know this is a meal that your family will love and you’ll want to make it again and again.

Ingredients For the Best General Tso’s Chicken

Simple ingredients that combine to create magic in the slow cooker. You are going to love this easy way of making your favorite Asian-inspired meals. Follow the recipe card below for exact measurements.

  • Chicken Breasts: Skinless boneless chicken cut into one-inch cubes.
  • Cornstarch: This will create that crispy outside.
  • Vegetable Oil: To fry the chicken before slow cooking.
  • Hoisin Sauce: This sweet and salty sauce can be found in the Asian aisle with soy sauce, and other Asian sauces.
  • Soy Sauce: Use regular or low-sodium with great results.
  • Brown Sugar: Adds a bit of sweetness to combat the heat.
  • Garlic: A necessary ingredient for this incredible chicken.
  • Rice Wine Vinegar: Adds that bit of zing that’s awesome.
  • Sesame oil: Adds intense flavor.
  • Dry Ginger: Blends easily and has just the right amount of flavor and heat.
  • Crushed Red Pepper: This brings the heat. Leave it out or use extra for more spice!
  • Green Onions, Sesame Seeds, Additional Red Pepper Flakes: These are all optional but all worth the extra effort to have them ready to go.

Slow Cooker General Tso’s Chicken Recipe

Start by adding a simple breading to the outside, then pan fry the edges for just a few minutes. This is an extra step, but you will love the crispy edges. The chicken has a tender and juicy center by doing this extra step. If you want to just dump the chicken in with the sauce and let it do its thing, I have a tip for thickening the sauce in the tip section.

  1. Coat the Chicken: In a mixing bowl add the chicken and cornstarch. Toss until the chicken is completely coated in the cornstarch.
  2. Brown the Chicken: In a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat add oil and cook until the chicken is slightly brown but not cooked throughout. Put in the bottom of a slow cooker.
  3. Make the Sauce: In a small mixing bowl whisk together hoisin sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, and crushed red pepper. Pour on top of the chicken into the slow cooker.
  4. Cook: Cook on low heat for 3-4 hours or until chicken is cooked throughout.
  5. Serve: Serve over rice and garnish with green onions, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes if desired.
First photo of chicken coated in cornstarch in a plastic bag. Second photo of chicken browning in a skillet. Third photo of the sauce mixed together in a clear bowl. Fourth photo of chicken and sauce in a slow cooker.

Tips for Tender and Juicy Chicken

This is truly one of my all-time favorite Asian-inspired recipes. I also love my along with sweet and sour chicken and this honey sesame chicken. Any type of breaded chicken with a sauce is right up my alley! Here are some tips to get tender and juicy chicken when it has a coating.

  • Chicken: I used boneless skinless chicken breasts, but you can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs. Be sure to cut them all the same size so they’ll cook evenly.
  • Coating: It’s true you don’t have to pre-brown them in the oil with the cornstarch, but the extra crispiness and coating make it more like a restaurant. Plus it just tastes so much better. If you choose not to do this step. Be sure to check the notes for how to thicken the sauce.
  • Alternative to Browning the Chicken: If you are cooking the chicken without browning in the skillet first when the chicken is finished cooking, remove the chicken and add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to the sauce. Add the chicken back to the crockpot and cook for an additional 15 minutes until the sauce thickens. Chicken could also take longer to cook, closer to 4 hours.
Slow cooker General Tso's chicken in a slow cooker with a wooden spoon.

How to Store Easy General Tso’s Chicken

The best part of eating out at Asian-inspired restaurants is the leftovers! There’s just something about warming up leftovers the next day because it tastes SO much better. Now you have lunch the next day with this slow cooker General Tso’s chicken recipe. Follow my tips below!

  • In the Refrigerator: Keep for up to 4 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
  • In the Freezer:  In an airtight freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months. Let thaw in the fridge overnight and rewarm on the stove in a skillet or microwave.
Close view of slow cooker General Tso's chicken in a black bowl served over rice. Garnished with sesame seeds and green onions. Chopsticks are picking up a piece of chicken.

More “Better Than Takeout” Recipes to Try

America loves its Asian food! When you make it at home, you know you are getting great quality ingredients with incredible flavor in the comfort of your own home. Try more of these “better than takeout” recipes! I know your family will love them all.

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Slow Cooker General Tso’s Chicken

4.68 from 58 votes
By: Alyssa Rivers
Slow cooker General Tso's chicken is a super easy version of everyone's favorite Chinese entree! Crispy chicken cooked in a sweet and savory sauce with a little added heat. This is way better than takeout!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 5

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Combine the chicken and cornstarch in a bowl or plastic bag. Toss until the chicken is completely coated in the cornstarch.
  • In a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat add oil. Cook the chicken until the chicken is lightly brown but not cooked through. Place the chicken in the bottom of a slow cooker.
  • In a small mixing bowl whisk together hoisin sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, ginger and crushed red pepper. Pour on top of chicken in the slow cooker.
  • Cook on low heat for 3-4 hours or until chicken is cooked throughout. *see note
  • Serve over rice and garnish with green onions, sesame seeds and red pepper flakes if desired.

Video

Notes

Updated on October 20, 2023
Originally Posted on September 29, 2018

Nutrition

Calories: 312kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 21gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 962mgPotassium: 419mgFiber: 1gSugar: 29gVitamin A: 85IUVitamin C: 1.7mgCalcium: 35mgIron: 0.9mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Asian American
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!

About Alyssa Rivers

Alyssa Rivers is the author of 'The Tried and True Cookbook', a professional food photographer and experienced recipe-developer. Having a passion for cooking, her tried and true recipes have been featured on Good Morning America, Today Food, Buzzfeed and more.

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Recipe Rating




232 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Excellent, I deep fried the starched chicken cubes for 3 minutes at 375f good and crisp. 2.5 hrs at low slow cooker , as good as my favorite take out.

  2. 2 T means two tablespoons. T does not stand for cup, people. 2 cups of soy sauce is about three days worth of sodium. Please be careful.

  3. The first time I made this, I halved the sugar and still found it too sweet. When I made it again, I omitted the sugar altogether and strongly preferred the result. Excellent dish, but cut the sugar.

  4. Tried this recipe last night, it’s absolutely delicious and will certainly be making it again.
    I forgot to add the crushed red pepper but it tasted really good without it, however the next time I do make it will try and remember to add the red pepper and just compare the flavours.

  5. Made this with a few tweaks. Not enough time for crockpot so did on stove top. Sautéed the corn starched chicken in a combination of sesame oil and hot chili oil (we like spicy). Omitted the brown sugar since hoisin is sweet enough. Upped the rice vinegar by a few tablespoons. Used black sesame seeds since that was on hand. HUGE success!

    1. That sounds delicious! I am so glad that you made it your own and that you loved it! Thanks so much for following along with me! XOXO

  6. A definite hit with my family !!!! Everyone was so impressed how flavourful this dish was. I was impressed how simple it was to make … thanks!!!!

    1. YAY! I am so glad it was a hit and everyone loved it! Thanks so much for following along with me! XOXO

  7. In your General Tso chicken, one of the ingredients is «: 2 T soy sauce..not sure what the measure means ? Ate we talking, cups, table spoons….I am confused !

  8. 5 stars
    I am a father of 4 well 5 including my wife and do 95% of the cooking .. so everytime I see a recipe I think my wife and kids would like I send it her way .. I always get a response like .. “mmmm…. that looks good, can’t wait til dinner”
    I want to say thank you THE RECIPE CRITIC , you’ve made me into the chef of the house

    1. AWE!! That is so nice of you! I am so glad that they all love your cooking. That is awesome that you are the chef! Way to go! XOXO

  9. 5 stars
    I’m making this tonight and I can say I am so excited! Everything smelled so good, and was like authentic Asian Cuisine. I paired mine with a vegetable fried rice, and oooh it was yummy! Hubby and 12 year old loved it!

  10. This recipe was fantastic! I only had to cook the chicken for 2 hours. And I skipped the cornstarch step only due to time. But it still came out great.

  11. 5 stars
    I followed the recipe exact but for some reasony color came out more brown then black? Do you know what I could been doing different?