General Tso Chicken
I made this recipe four years ago and the pictures weren’t doing it justice. We love asian inspired meals here at our family so of course this was one of the first recipes to make its debut on the blog. We have it quite often at our house and it is incredible. I love being able to make better than takeout right at home! It was time to update the pictures on here and my family was reminded about how much we love it. Everyone devoured it including my youngest two year old.
Ingredients For Slow Cooker Chicken
Simple ingredients that combine to create magic in the slow cooker. You are going to love this easy way of getting better than take out at home.
- Chicken Breasts: Skinless, boneless and cut into one inch cubes.
- Cornstarch: This will create that crispy outside.
- Vegetable Oil: To fry the chicken in before slow cooking.
- Hoisin Sauce: This sweet and salty sauce can be found in the asian aisle with the soy sauce, and other asian sauces.
- Soy Sauce: Can use regular or low sodium with great results.
- Brown Sugar: Adds a bit of sweet 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 easy and has just the right amount of flavor and heat.
- Crushed Red Pepper: This brings the heat.
- Green Onions, Sesame Seeds, Additional Red Pepper Flakes: These are all optional but all worth the extra effort to have them ready to go.
Making Incredible Slow Cooker General Tso Chicken
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 you can as well.
- Mix: In a mixing bowl add the chicken and cornstarch. Toss until the chicken is completely coated in the cornstarch.
- Brown: In a medium sized skillet over medium high heat add oil and cook the chicken until the chicken is slightly brown but not cooked throughout. Put in the bottom of a slow cooker.
- Whisk: 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: Cook on low heat for 3-4 hours or until chicken is cooked throughout.
- Serve: Serve over rice and garnish with green onions, sesame seeds and red pepper flakes if desired.
- Note: If you are cooking the chicken without browning in the skillet first, when chicken is finished cooking, remove the chicken and add 1 Tablespoon cornstarch to the sauce. Add the chicken back to the crockpot and cook for an additional 15 minutes until the sauce thickens up. Chicken could also take longer to cook, closer to 4 hours.
Tips for Tender and Juicy Chicken
This is truly one of my all time favorites along with Crispy Sweet and Sour Baked Chicken or Baked Honey Sesame Chicken. I can’t decide, but either way they are all super easy, and super delicious.
- Chicken: I used boneless skinless chicken breasts, but you can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs. Be sure to cut them all the same side 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 restaurants. 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.
- Serve: Our favorite way to eat this is over rice. But this is also great over brown rice, cauliflower rice and quinoa. It would also be amazing over a salad or roasted vegetables.
How to Store Easy General Tso Chicken
America loves its Asian food. You know you are getting great quality ingredients with incredible flavor in the comfort of your own home. You have to try these tried and true recipes! You are going to love them.
- Store: Keep for up to 4 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
- Freeze: 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.
More Asian Inspired “Better than Takeout” Recipes
- Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps
- Air Fryer Cream Cheese Wontons
- Sticky Asian Glazed Chicken
- Crispy Air Fryer Egg Rolls
- Easy Fried Rice
Slow Cooker General Tso's Chicken
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into one inch cubes
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
- 2 T soy sauce
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp dry ginger
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper more or less to liking
- Optional garnish green onions, sesame seeds, additional red pepper flakes
- In a mixing bowl add the chicken and cornstarch. Toss until the chicken is completely coated in the cornstarch. In a medium sized skillet over medium high heat add oil and cook the chicken until the chicken is lightly brown but not cooked throughout. Put 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.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.
Tried this yesterday. Followed the instructions. It was horrible. I ended up dumping it into the garbage. Perhaps the hoisin was to blame, too much and too strong. I don’t usually comment but felt it was necessary in this case.
Can you use beef instead of chicken
Thanks will it take longer ?
This was a very good recipe it was a big hit first time making it the sauce was perfect the chicken was okay now I have a question what do you think about using chicken thighs instead not a big chicken breast person but I love chicken thighs very good recipe thank you
Hi cindy, I’m not the author of this recipe but I’m with you on thighs. My husband and i always prefer thighs to breast. This recipe has sounds terrific and I’m planning on making it soon. Hope you don’t mind my 2 cents. Thanks
Great recipe (had to tame it down a bit for non-spicy preferences). One thing I’m calling BS on is the 5 minute prep time. It takes more than 5 minutes to cut the chicken into 1″ cubes, let alone the tossing with cornstarch and browning. Put in a reasonable estimate of the ACTUAL time, not how long it takes if you have a sous chef doing all the prep work.
I do not have a slow cooker, but use use a really old fashioned Sunbeam deep fryer/cooker. It has a temperature control on it. How long and at what temperature would you suggest?
Hello, Just wanted to ask whether the sesame oil is plain or toasted?
You can use either! They will both work great!
I am making this tonight and I’m so excited! If I don’t brown the chicken first, will the chicken still cook through when set at a low temperature?
It will cook through, but I suggest browning the chicken first so that it holds in all of the juices and flavors better! Let me know how it turns out!!
Excellent recipe. I used 2 chicken breasts but kept sauce ingredients as stated in the recipe (except only used 1/4 teaspoon of pepper flakes) since I like saucy Asian food. 3 hours on low and the chicken was tender and moist. Served over veggie fried rice. Plenty of leftovers for just me. Worthy of my first review ever!
Had this for dinner tonight and we really enjoyed it. Left out the sesame oil just because I’m not a fan. Will definitely be making this again. May try garnishing with some cashew nuts next time. Love slow cooker recipes in the summer time so I don’t have to heat up the house. Thanks!
Have not tried this yet have a question first please. My experiences with crock pot recipes usually end up too ‘liquidy’ or dried out. Does this one really get ‘sticky’, restaurant style?
This turns out nice and sticky for me, not liquid at all.
Could these recipes be made in the instant pot?
Some recipes can! This one is made specifically for the slow cooker. Because they are two completely different appliances, the directions can’t translate directly from one to another easily.
I just made this in my quick cooker and turned out great. Did everything as instructed and set to chicken/poultry setting.
Sure you can!!!! I have made a recipe similar to this one in my InstaPot. I put all the ingredients in the InstaPot and pressure cooked for about 5 minutes, then let it natually release for 10 minutes. Removed the chicken and added the cornstarch and water slurry to thickened.
Hubby loved it! I used 1/4 cup of brown sugar instead of 1/2.
Made this exactly by recipe. It was good.
I stirred the chicken so to coat all pieces in sauce. Checked it at 2.5 hours, not quite done. But it was already a deep dark nearly black. But the hoisin sauce I used was nearly black to start with sooo logically so is the cooked sauce. I let it cook another 40 min…
Probably 20 min too long. Topped gr onion and toasted sesame. The chicken got a tad dry, but sauce made it tasty. Served rice. I would make this again. Hubs liked but he rarely complains just happy to eat. Lol.
Hi Alyssa, the general tsao’s chicken is now in the slow cooker, the only thing I couldn’t find the rice wine vinegar but I found the natural rice vinegar. I hope by using this it doesn’t different the recipe! What do you think? Thanks Sharon
That should work! How did it turn out??
Under the recipe it says 2 T soy sauce. I can’t tell if it’s tablespoons or teaspoons.
Capital T is tbsp; lower case t is tsp
A capital “T” is always a tablespoon. A lower-case “t” is always a teaspoon.
Excellent recipe……..didn’t change a thing……my family loved it. Thank you for a great recipe
Have you ever made this recipe using boneless chicken thighs? If so was there an adjustment to the cooking time?
This looks delish……thank you
Wow thank you for making it so simple. My family loved it!!
Made this today and my husband loved it! Next time, I will reduce the brown sugar as it was sweeter than we needed. Thank you for this delicious recipe!
I have made this dish many times. My entire family loves it! I use half the amount of brown sugar because it’s way too sweet otherwise.