Healthy General Tso's Chicken

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General Tso's Chicken cooked in a delicious sweet and spicy sauce with broccoli is a 15 minute dinner that tastes just as good as your local Chinese takeout spot - but good for you!

219 CAL 13g CARBS 6g FAT 27g PROTEIN

This healthy version of the classic Chinese General Tso's Chicken dish will quickly become a new favorite. Serve it with some Healthy Fried Rice for an awesome takeout inspired meal. And if you love Chinese, you need to try this Healthy Kung Pao Chicken too!

General Tso's Chicken is another one of those dishes that I love to order when I'm eating out at a Chinese restaurant but that I know is full of things I should not be putting in my body. Fortunately, after much experimenting, I was able to create a healthy, easy-to-make version of this take-out dish at home.

I've found it to be the perfect combination of sweet and spicy and it's also quick — it can be made in under 25 minutes! That's faster than you can call and have your order ready for takeout. Although this healthier version doesn't involve the deep fryer, don't worry, it's still nice and crispy.

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Since I love Asian cuisine so much, I have discovered a love for making Asian take-out dishes healthier at home. I mean, that's my whole job, right? Good for me, good for you, too. Sesame chicken, beef and broccoli, and General Tso's Chicken are some of my favorites and are on heavy rotation in my house.

Typically, what I do during the recipe creation process is to master the recipe using the traditional protein and then start playing around. Today's version substitutes chicken for a pork version. I happen to love chicken in all its forms and this one doesn't disappoint!

I've found the key to making the chicken in this dish nice and crispy is to use cornstarch. Cornstarch coats the chicken and creates a light, crunchy exterior that gets brown in just a little bit of oil. It eliminates the need for lots of thick breading or tons of oil.

When it comes to the sauce for this General Tso's Chicken, the key is to create something that's both sweet and spicy. Like many Asian sauces, it starts with a soy sauce base, and then you'll want to add a combination of sesame oil, rice vinegar, honey or brown sugar, and hot sauce. I used Sriracha since we always have it in our fridge, but you could use any Asian-style hot sauce or even red pepper flakes.

We like things spicy, so this sauce uses a good amount of Sriracha. You may want to start with less if you don't love things really spicy. You can always add more spice but it's darn near impossible to take it out.

General Tso

Tips for Making This Healthier General Tso's Chicken

  • This sauce is definitely on the spicy side so you may want to use less Sriracha if you don't love tons of spice. Remember it is always easy to add more but not so easy to remove it.
  • Feel free to use almost any vegetable in this dish. Cauliflower, green beans, snap peas, bok choy, and cabbage all work really well. You can also use an Asian vegetable stir-fry mix to include more of a variety. You can find these in the frozen food section and then also sometimes in the produce section with the other bagged lettuces. They are pre-cut and worth the time savings!
  • For a lower-carb version, substitute in Stevia for the brown sugar. You can also leave it out completely but just know you will lose that little bit of sweetness.
  • If you don't eat chicken, you can always use pork instead. I recommend cutting a pork tenderloin or another cut of pork into bite-size pieces before cooking.

Ways to Serve This Healthier General Tso's Chicken

I like to serve this over white or brown rice, but you can also use a wild rice mix or cauliflower rice for a lower-carb version. Quinoa would work well too if that's what you have on hand and you'd like to have a higher-fiber grain to go with the chicken and broccoli.

Sometimes, I'll double-down on the veggies (add cauliflower, bok choy, snap peas, snow peas, anything you like, really) and eat the chicken over a big pile of the veggies (adjust the sauce to make sure you have enough for all your veggies).

This would also work well over veggie noodles — try spiralized zucchini, carrots, yellow squash, or even sweet potato.

This chicken would also be yummy in a spaghetti squash boat — click here for the how-to on making up your squash just right.

You can also eat all these items separately — no need to combine. I know some people (mostly kids) don't like "mixed-up" food. Just make the chicken or the veggies or some rice, or all three and plate them however you like!

Ingredients to make General Tso

Is General Tso Chicken the Same as Orange Chicken?

While these two dishes are similar, they are not interchangeable. They both include chicken made roughly the same way, with a sweet sauce, but General Tso's tends to be spicier and doesn't include any orange flavor at all.

Orange chicken also is cooked with a sweet sauce but the difference is that the sauce also includes orange peel, orange juice, or something to give it orange flavor. I often find orange wedges in my orange chicken as well when I order it.

The Recipe
General Tso's Chicken and Broccoli in two bowls with chopsticks.

Healthy General Tso's Chicken

219 CAL 13g CARBS 6g FAT 27g PROTEIN
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  • 3 tbsp soy sauce (or coconut aminos for GF)
  • 1 tbsp honey (or brown sugar)
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1.5 tsp sesame oil
  • 1.5 tsp Sriracha (adjust if needed, this is pretty spicy)
  • 3 tsp cornstarch, divided
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 cups broccoli florets, cut into florets
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

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In a bowl mix together the soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, sesame oil, Sriracha, and half the cornstarch.

General Tso's sauce with soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, Sriracha, and cornstarch.

Heat a large skillet (with cover) over medium high heat. Add 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Add the broccoli and cover. Cook for 3-4 minutes until tender but still crispy. Remove, set aside, and wipe skillet dry.

Broccoli being cooked in a skillet for General Tso's Chicken.

While the broccoli cooks, toss the chicken with remaining cornstarch, salt, and pepper.

Chicken breast being coated with cornstarch.

Heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook in one layer until crispy on one side. Flip over and cook until crispy on the other side.

Chicken breast being cooked in a skillet.

Add the ginger and garlic. Cook for 1-2 minute, stirring.

Chicken breast strips being cooking with garlic and ginger.

Add the sauce (from step 1) and cook for 2-3 minutes until it thickens up.

Chicken breast in General Tso's sauce.

Stir in the broccoli. Serve immediately.

General Tso's Chicken with broccoli being added to the pan.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1.25 cups
Amount Per Serving
Calories 219
Calories from Fat 48
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6g
Saturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 56mg
Sodium 769mg
Total Carbohydrate 13g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 6g
Protein 27g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
On Healthy General Tso's Chicken
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January 28, 2023 - 18:04
I believe that it's possible to make general tso's chicken without sugar, or even any kind of sweet, or make something similar to general tso's chicken without any kind of sweet. There are so many people that are already diabetic or close to diabetic stage already. So I believe it would be best to make something similar to general tso's chicken without any kind of sweet. Maybe use cinnamon instead.
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April 11, 2019 - 07:53
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I made this last night, and it was amazing! Thanks for such a great recipe!
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