Slow Cooker General Tso’s Chicken

An easy slow cooker version of the family favorite General Tso’s chicken and it’s soooo much better than takeout! 

Slow Cooker General Tso's Chicken

Okay, first things first. I worked as a waitress in a Chinese restaurant for 3 years in high school and we had this chicken dish on the menu. It was called General Tsao’s Chicken. But in all of my Asian food eating experience, I always see it spelled General “Tso’s” Chicken – – – > no “a” involved in the Tso part. So my waitressing past wants me to spell it General Tsao, but for the sake of everyone else on the planet who is going to see this recipe, I am spelling it without the “a”, just so we can all be on the same page her.

In all reality, I’m still confused about how it is supposed to be spelled.

Slow Cooker General Tso's Chicken

But I’ve eaten a LOT of General Tso’s chicken in my day. It’s easily in my top 5 favorite Chinese dishes. Kung Pao, a natural favorite. Tangerine Chicken, oh my gash I could eat it all day. And Cantonese Flat Noodles, with char sil. Mmmmmmmmm. Oh heaven my mouth is watering. I need Chinese food!!!!!

Okay, sorry. Got a little carried away there for a second.

Slow Cooker General Tso's Chicken

Like I said, I’ve had a lot of General Tso’s chicken and this slow cooker version is one of the best I’ve ever tasted! I absolutely love that it’s made in a crockpot, so incredibly easy and extra flavorful because it gets to marinate for a while. Just 15 minutes prep before you toss this in the slow cooker and then you just let it goooooooo (yes, like Frozen. I’m a Disney buff.) A few hours later you’ve got dinner on the table the whole family will LOVE! You just can’t beat this kind of flavor and minimal prep.

Slow Cooker General Tso's Chicken

4.2 from 10 reviews
Slow Cooker General Tso's Chicken
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
An easy slow cooker version of the family favorite General Tso's chicken and it's soooo much better than takeout!
Author:
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Asian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds), chopped into bite size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
sauce
  • 4 tablespoons hoisin sauce (can be found in the Asian section at most markets)
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (or garlic powder)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • steamed or fried rice for serving
Instructions
  1. Preheat oil in a nonstick pan or skillet over medium heat. Whisk together corn starch, salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and pepper.
  2. Add corn starch mixture and chicken pieces to a large zip lock bag. Seal and shake to coat chicken.
  3. Add coated chicken pieces to pan. Saute 1-2 minutes until browned. (It chicken will still be raw in the middle at this point, that's okay)
  4. In a bowl combine all sauce ingredients and whisk to combine. Add half to the crockpot along with chicken pieces. Cook on low for 4 hours.
  5. Immediately before serving, Add remaining sauce to the crockpot and stir gently. Serve with rice.
Notes
*recipe adapted from Favorite Family Recipes

 Try my Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chicken too!

Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chicken

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I love GT’s chicken and cannot wait to try this. If you worked in a Chinese restaurant and claim it to to be the best…then it must be good! Pinning!

    I had a question, if I double the recipe should I double my time or cook on high for four hours? Feedback please.

This sounds like a delicious and easy General Tsos. I’ve seen it spelled both ways, and I don’t know if there’s any difference. This is one of my boyfriends favorite dishes, and he orders it 99% of the time when we go out for Chinese. I’m sure this will be made soon!

I just got home from the grocery store but now I need Chinese food. This looks amazing!

Doesn’t the chicken get mushy after you cook it in the skillet and then add it to the crock pot?

    Jenna, mine came out mushy. I’m not sure what I did wrong, l’m not that great of a cook. Ha! I loved this recipe, it smelled so good. Next time I may not bread my chicken, just sort of pan sear it. And maybe my crockpot was too big, because there wasn’t enough sauce and it was burning on the sides. Which could have also been the reason it was mushy.

      Hi Kami, this recipe doesn’t really give you a “crispy” chicken, since it’s made in the slow cooker and all of the sauce tends to get absorbed, but another option I’ve done with this recipe is to just skip the breading and sear the chicken pieces in a hot pan on the stove. You just drizzle a little bit of oil (or cooking spray) into the pan and add the chicken after the pan gets hot. Saute them for about 30 seconds just to brown the outside, then add the chicken straight to the crockpot! 🙂 Also, the sauce can be doubled! My husband and I love love love sauce, we like to use any extra to pour over rice, so I tend to double sauces. Hope this helps! 🙂

      The same exact thing happened to me. I had to wind up frying it on the stove and then adding more sauce. It was OK then just a little over cooked

      Same! I don’t think I’ll bread it next time either. The sauce is delicious though 🙂

    Yes mine did. It only needs to cook for 2 hours on low . Not even maybe an hour.

Just made this tonight and I didn’t have 4 hours so I used the same pan I sauteed the chicken in to cook it all the way through with the sauce (1/2 while cooking and the remaining just before serving). My family LOVED it. Thank you for the awesome recipe!

Another couple of options if you want crispier chicken is to…
a) cook it on the stove top, separately (one pan chicken, one for the sauce). since you are browning it anyway, it would take a few extra minutes to cook the chicken fully and let the sauce thicken OR
b) right before you serve it, place the chicken bit on a flat pan and broil the chicken until crispy, serve immediately.

I have to eat gluten free. I need a substitute for the hoisin sauce… because it has wheat in it…. any suggestions?
I’m always hungry for Chinese.

    we are gluten free also. We have used this recipe to make a hoisin sub and like it. We use almond butter instead of the peanut butter due to allergies and its good. There are also commercial gluten free hoisin sauces now. I buy one at Sprouts I forgot the name of, there is also this one http://www.amazon.com/Wok-Mei-Natural-Hoisin-Sauce/dp/B000I6E87C

    Hi Tiffany,
    Last night my wife and I saw your recipe for General Tso’s Chicken and it looks yummy!
    You also mentioned you loved Tangerine Chicken. So do we!

    Do you have a recipe for slow-cook Tangerine Chicken???

    Thanks in advance,
    Rich & Sharon
    San Jose, CA

      Hi Rich and Sharon! Oh Tangerine is my favorite, I’m currently developing a recipe for it so stay tuned!

What a great recipe!! I have shared this recipe with a few girl friends and the reviews are awesome.. easy, flavourful and crazy delicious..great stuff : )

Making this right now 🙂 I didn’t do much measuring lol so we will see how it turns out

Made this tonight and it is so delicious!t

    So glad you liked it Sheena! 🙂

We really loved this recipe! It was pretty easy to fix.. I’ve even thought of cutting up the chicken ahead of time so there was not so much work in the morning. We like it with a lot of sauce, so I used the entire amount in the crock pot to begin, and then mixed up a half recipe before serving. Worked great!

This was a super flavorful addictive dish! I did not do it in the crock pot because my morning was super busy but I was able to whip this up while my rice cooked. I loved that is was super quick and so delicious. Where I live overseas there are not many Chinese restaurants but I crave Chinese all the time so this was a winner. I am looking forward to trying your other Chinese dishes as well! I shared this on my fb page and then it was shared multiple times by my friends.

This looks absolutely delicious. I was wondering if I was able to use your slow cooker recipes without a slow cooker. Is there any way I could do that ? And what could I substitute for rice wine vinegar because it’s very hard to find In my area. Thank you

    I didn’t use a slow cooker. I used peanut oil on high heat to quickly brown the chicken, but not cook it through, then added the sauce. The chicken will completely cook while the sauce thickens and reduces. Turned out great. Really tasty recipe – better than our local Chinese restaurant.

Made this recipe tonight and it was delicious!! I decided to forgo the slow cooker and just cooked the chicken all the way through on the stove in one pan and thickened the sauce in a separate pan. I also added a yellow bell pepper for some color. I took the advice from one of the comments and made 1 1/2 times the sauce so had plenty to go around.

I love the way it turned out and will definitely make it again! I think I’ll add more vegetables next time and maybe some cashews. Thanks for the recipe, Tiffany 🙂

I tried this recipe earlier this week because my fiance loves this dish when we order take-out Chinese. I also ran into the problem of the sides burning after only about two hours in the crock pot. Would making a double batch of the sauce help prevent this? Or maybe the problem is just with my crock pot being too hot or something.

    Hi Rhyan, I have had some readers mention that doubling the sauce does solve this – I always double the sauce and I never have a problem with it! 🙂

just finished making this on the stove so the chicken would be crispy. Turned out beautifully, the sauce, however, not so much. The sauce seems to be missing the sweetness of general tso that I’m used to. Any suggestions? Followed the recipe exactly, did I miss something?

May be you could add a touch of honey. I also do this on the stove and it has become my favorite meal! I used balsamic vinegar so I don’t know if that gives it a slightly sweeter flavor than other vinegars.

Re: General Tso’s Chicken

I have never seen a recipe that calls for 1 cup of cornstarch. Is that amount correct?

    Yes, Cindy, it is used in coating the chicken, kind of like coating with flour. That is the correct amount.

Sounds delicious!
Just wondering why you don’t add all the sauce at once?
Thanks

    Hi Stacy, I’ve found that a lot of the sauce gets absorbed by the chicken during the cooking process – I like to reserve part of it to toss with the chicken at the end so it has a nice thick coating of sauce at the end 🙂

It’s what’s for dinner!

I made this today after seeing it on Pinterest. The flavor was good, but it did turn out mushy, and after only three hours on low was fully done. If I make it again, will double the sauce and probably make it on the stovetop, possibly skipping the cornstarch breading and adding a bit of cornstarch to the sauce instead.

    Hi, Reese, I have only made this on the stove top so far and it is an incredible dish. The cornstarch coating works really well on the stove top and will not be one bit mushy. The sauce thickens nicely as well. But if you forego the coating then you will need it in the sauce as you say. But I would suggest doing the recipe as is on the stove top. I am a Chinese food addict and this is a recipe I have made a lot since I found it here.

    I completely agree. It was good, but it didn’t taste like General Tso’s chicken to me at all. Disappointing

      Hi Jamie, sorry this recipe didn’t meet your flavor expectations – I’ve had general tso’s chicken from so many different restaurants and it always tastes different at each one since none of them have the same recipe but I’m glad you at least enjoyed this dish!

        4 hours is way too long to cook this. There is not nearly enough liquid to keep it from burning. I sort o salvaged it by adding chicken broth when it started to burn but this need to either cook way less or have more liquid. Sauce is great though.

I love General Tso’s!! And a crock pot version is a dream. I have a question: do you know whether I can freeze this, before I crockpot it? Maybe even fry the chicken, and freeze chicken and sauce in separate Ziploc bags? Just wondering…. Thanks!

    Hi Jackie! You know I haven’t tried it myself but I bet you could just freeze the chicken in ziplock bags and then add it and the sauce to the crockpot when you’re ready to cook. Just keep an eye on the cooking time and try not to let too much moisture collect in the ziplock when you freeze the chicken, otherwise your chicken might end up a little soggy when it thaws out. 🙂

can i double this recipe? Looks AMAZING!!!!!!!!

My family loves General Tso’s Chicken and a crock pot recipe would be a time saver! Thanks for sharing. I hope you don’t mind I shared our link on my Bestfoodies Facebook Page and I pinned it as well!

OMG! Thanks for sharing!

I love, love, love Asian food. Can’t wait to try your recipes!!

The difference between Tsao and Tso has to do with dialects of Chinese. Tsao is Cantonese, Tso is Mandarin. Both are correct. Tsao is pronounced like sow, as in a female pig, Tso is like so, as in I am so interested in trying this! Thanks for the tip about the option of not breading!

    Well there ya have it, Tso and Tsao! Thanks Lucy!!

I used this as a starting point for a vegan version O_o and it turned out really well! I subbed 8 (2 packs) boca chicken patties cut into quarters for the breaded chicken. It’s already breaded so it saved me some prep! I also added about a cup (maybe 1.5) of chopped broccoli, half of a cut red bell pepper, and a small handful of red onion slices with the “chicken.” For the sauce, well, a “general tso’s sauce” was cheaper than the hoisin sauce at the grocery store, and it had less sugar, so I got that instead. I increased the amount of sauce to 1/2 c general tso’s sauce, and decreased the amount of vinegar and soy sauce by half each. (so 1/2 c gen tso’s sauce, 2 tbs vinegar, 2 tbs soy sauce). Everything else in the sauce I kept the same. I added half the sauce, mixed in the chicken, layered vegetables on top and then drizzled the rest of the sauce – so I did add everything in the beginning. Cooked on high for 2.5 hrs. Thanks for the idea!

I cannot wait to try this! I review recipes all the time on my blog and this is high on my “try next” list! I love the crock-pot, and I’m thinking about taking out the pieces and broiling them for a bit after they’re cooked, to add that fried texture…thanks for the inspiration!

I made this recipe in a post on my blog. The link is http://oldfatguy.ca/?p=1840. I did not reproduce the recipe but linked back to yours. It turned out great. Thanks for a good recipe.

The Old Fat Guy

I have made this twice and it is good. I made the following changes that, for my family’s tastes, worked nicely. I didn’t use any salt in the flour mixture used to coat the chicken for frying. And in the sauce, I cut the soy sauce back to 2 Tbsp and the vinegar back to 3 Tbsp. I increased the water to 3 Tbsp. I pan fried the cut up and “starched” chicken and then set it aside to drain on paper towels. I poured off excess oil from the skillet (leaving the fryin’s) and returned the chicken to the pan adding the sauce. Over medium heat, I reduced the sauce while gently folding over the “nuggets” in the reduction until they were coated. So-o-o-o-o good !

i am making this for dinner hope it is as good as it looks

do you have a sweet and sour sauce

    Hi Brenda! You could use the sauce from my favorite Sweet & Sour Chicken recipe!

      This general Tao’s chicken recipe is awesome. It came out so delicious. It my oldest son’s favorite and he is coming to visit this weekend. I can’t wait to make it for him. Thanks so much for this recipe.

I must try this. I do buy a frozen version and love it. So……..will give this a go. Do you do a chicken curry?
I adore curry and would like to find one like the English Chinese curry (that I doubt is Chinese) have never found anything like it in the States
Janice

Tiffany, am wondering about the green onions (in the photos}. You did not list them in the ingredients, so I am interested at what point you added them. They do not look cooked, so my guess is that you added them just before serving.

I love the recipe!

    Hi George, Yep I added them just before serving – I do that with a lot of my Asian style dishes for color and flavor! 🙂

I made this and the Hubby loves it! Having a wheat allergy takes the fun out of going out to eat. I love the fact that I can make this at home and it tastes amazing! It’s also Gluten Free which is a bonus! Hooray! My only issue is that I feel that there is not enough liquid in the crock pot so, I actually double the sauce recipe. Still rocks. I always suggest trying recipes the way they are written first and then the next time around make adjustments. 😀

    I absolutely second that idea to double the sauce recipe – I’m all about having more than enough sauce!!!

Hi, I did this dish and it came out bland and sauce became so sticky not really runny..
I used my corck pot of average size and in my opinion there wasn’t enough sauce (only tiny bit on the bottom) to cook the chicken.
Any idea what went wrong?

    Hi Anita, I haven’t had this problem mentioned before by anyone else so I’m not really sure…. maybe doubling the sauce would work better for you?? I often double the sauce anyway when I make crockpot dishes because I LOVE sauce 🙂

Can you make this with whole chicken breasts and not cut them up in small pieces? Perhaps adding additional cooking time in the crockpot?

    Hi Kim, You sure could! General Tso’s Chicken traditionally is served with chicken chunks rather than whole breasts but hey you could always invent something new! If the chicken is thawed it should require much more (if any) additional cooking time.

So I just put in the crock pot and it smells amazing! I have a concern though. My chicken is not completely covered in the sauce. Is this going to mean some pieces don’t get any absorbed?

    Hi Sarah – sorry this is a bit late, I hope your chicken turned out well! If that happens in the future, I’d just toss the chicken with the sauce to make sure it all gets at least coated.

So easy and SO GOOD!!!!

Looks very good. Funny, here around the Boston area we call it General Gau’s Chicken .. most places also top it off with just a few pieces of broccoli. I think they do it just to give it color. Oh! and the add dried red peppers to it too, my son can have all of those he wants.. he loves heat! I think when I make it I’ll add extra broccoli because my son and I like it so much.

    General Gau’s?? Now that’s one I’ve never heard of before ha! I do like it with the addition of the dried red peppers, I’ve had it that way several times and I love the extra heat! Definitely need to add broccoli next time though – it could use a little color and a little crunch!

Do you have any suggestions about the best way to leave this in the slow cooker for a longer amount of time? I will have to put it in before work and I won’t be home until 10 hours later.

    My best suggestion is to get a delayed timer – if your slow cooker doesn’t already have it built it! You can order them online for pretty cheap and it would be great to have one if you usually work 10 hour days!

I’m reading this recipe and was going to try this out. But I see that the recipe calls for 1 cup of corn starch. Is that 1 cup of powdered corn starch? That seems like a lot! Won’t it tun into “glue” like dinner? Please advise.

Thanks,
Lucy

    Hi Lucy, That shouldn’t be a problem for you – The corn starch isn’t being used to thicken the sauce, its being used as a coating for the chicken 🙂

I tried this recipe but sad to say, it was not good. I followed the recipe to a tee and it was disappointing. The photograph looks great but it did not look anything like it. I am Asian so I know I didn’t mess up the recipe. It was totally disappointing. Sorry for the bad but honest review.

Don’t worry about that. It is not for the sauce but for coating the chicken. When I have not had that much cornstarch on hand I have substituted flour.

this is absolutely delish. But it only needs to stay in slow cooker for about 2 hours. Or the chicken will be dry! After frying it, it’s practically cooked. So it doesn’t need much time in there because it’s small peices. Very yummy . But chicken can’t stay that long . Especially small peices .

This was really delicious but too much pepper for me, so I plan to either cut the amount next time or use cayenne. I too doubled the batch because it wasn’t enough.

The sauce was delicious, but the texture of the chicken was very dry. I’m surprised nobody else in these comments has that complaint. 4 hours in a crockpot for chicken breast chunks is a very long time, and I think all the moisture in the chicken went into the sauce. This is our first foray into freezer meals, and we’ve got several more bags of this in our freezer. I’m wondering if next time we should just put it all into a wok or sautee pan and cook it for way less time. Any thoughts?

Made this for some friends the other night. We all agreed it was a definite hit. Hardest part was cutting the chicken up. Made the decision to cook in on the stove instead of the crock pot. Chicken turned out great. Doubled the sauce recipe. Had lots left over, but not dry at all. I would HIGHLY recommend making this.

I also double the sauce and cooked it on top of the stove rather than the crockpot. I had a small piece of fresh ginger left from another recipe about a tablespoon and a half and mints that up and put it in there too turned out wonderful!… Meant to say minced up the ginger!

Absolutely delicious, thanks for sharing!x

Made tonight! Happy I read comments first. I also made on the stove (browned meat then low boiled in sauce for bout 15 minutes) and doubled the sauce. Did change to 4 tbsns balsamic and 4 rice viniger. Turned out awesome!! Plenty of sauce for rice too. Deff the way to go.

Followed recipe. It is good but not enough juice for 4 hrs in slow cooker. I work nights and prepped it and 3 hrs later my brother woke me up. He had to throw 1/2 cup water in it. It was dried out starting to burn. After the water and adding the rest of the sauce it was really good. Watch your moisture content.

I made the General Tso last night. It was fantastic and a sure keeper. I made as the recipe stated with no changes.. Thanks for a great dinner!

What do the calories look like for this? I’ve been trying to eat a lot healthier, but I still crave things like Chinese food. It would be nice to find a tasty alternative.

    Hi Celia! I don’t have nutrition stats on hand but my favorite source is http://www.myfitnesspal.com – you can just plug in my url for this recipe and it will calculate nutrition stats for you!

HI, I’ve recently stumbled across your website (via Pinterest).. I made this last night, followed the recipe exactly and it was YUM YUM YUM…. thanks!
My only problem now is, deciding what next recipe of yours to try 🙂

The chicken turned out a bit too soggy. It didnt need 4 hours in the crock pot… just 2 or maybe even less. 1 cup of cornstarch is also way too much. I ended with a lot left over and I dont like things getting wasted. The sauce was amazing though. I’ll definitely make this recipe again… just not in the crock pot 😀

    I had the same problem with the time. I took it out of the crock pot at 2 hours because it started burning. If I had left it for 4 hours, it would probably be a black lump by the time it was done.

Hi, I’ve just purchased a slow cooker/pressure cooker, and your recipe for General Tso’s Chicken is the first thing I have made. Bloody scrumptious, is the the best way to describe this, being from Australia an American recipe is not something I would usually choose. My only fault is it isn’t spicy enough, but that’s easily fixed, I am so glad for the Internet as this is how I found your recipe, and it is one I will cook over and over with a few tweaks. I posted a photo of my dish, and I have been told it looks just like yours. Thank you for such an easy to follow recipe, my next dish will be from your website.

    Okay you just made my day haha, “bloody scrumptious”!!! I am a spicy food lover – to the extreme! My husband always has to remind me to tone it down because he says that my idea of a spicy dish most people can’t handle haha! This is really good with added sriracha sauce if you have it on hand, or toss in some extra crushed red pepper flakes!

This sounds yummy! Will have to try it. Thanks for sharing

This was a wonderful recipe tasted better than take out. My family loved it!

We absolutely love this recipe!! I did, however, double the sauce. We like the extra sauce mixed in with rice 🙂

I adapted this recipe for the stove if anyone is interested: I made the sauce, minus the water, added a teaspoon of sesame oil and a teaspoon of minced fresh ginger. I cut the chicken into pretty small pieces so it would cook quickly. I dredged the chicken in a whisked egg before the corn starch and fried it on the stove over medium-high heat to golden brown. Then drained it on paper towels while I gave the sauce 5 mins over medium high to boil and thicken, I tossed in some veggies (carrots, broccoli, green beans) that I briefly cooked in the microwave. I only added the chicken and some toasted sesame seeds right before serving to keep the coating crispy.

It was amazing, I definitely recommend it if you want the chicken to stay crispy! The sauce is thick and has an amazing sweet/salty/savory quality that is exactly what I look for in Chinese food! I also scaled it down to one person serving my making a quarter recipe. Fridge to dishes took less than an hour!

    Also I cooked the udon noodles in 1tsp sesame oil.

Now you must share with us a recipe for Tangerine Chicken!! PLEASE?

I cooked all of this on the stove top. I added veggies and udon noodles, cooked in the same pan as the chicken. When the udon noodles were done I added the chicken and veggies back to the pan then poured the sauce over all. It was delicious and not mushy at all. My hubs asked that I save the recipe so I can make it again!

I made the sauce as directed, but used cooked, frozen popcorn chicken. Poured the sauce over the chicken at the very end and served it over rice with stir fry vegetables. Sauce seemed very spicy by itself but it was great with chicken, rice, and vegetables. Family said it was a keeper.

Looks relish! Will try for family tomorrow!

    I meant, “Looks relish!” Will try for family tomorrow!

Hello! This tasted delicious, I just have two questions:

I had to toss a lot of corn startch at the end is one full cup really necessary? Could i halve the amount and have it still work?

Also, mine did not come out even close to as saucy as yours. I kept half the sauce as recommended. Any ideas?

i am thinking of making this for guests next weekend, but I wanted to check something on the ingredient list. Did I read that correctly: 1 cup of corn starch??? That seems like a huge amount of corn starch for 3 chicken breasts.

Your pix are gorgeous. Looks yummy

Hi, just an FYI soy sauce has wheat in it which means this recipe is not gluten free…