General Tso’s Chicken

by Sarah

in Asian Dishes

General Tso’s chicken is a classic Chinese takeout dish. It’s very yummy, but most of the time it is made deep fried, so I hadn’t really thought of making it myself. However, I recently saw this recipe for the healthy, baked version of general tso’s chicken on pinch of yum.

General Tso's chicke

I followed Lindsay’s recipe pretty closely with just a few modifications and substitutions. Instead of using egg wash to coat the chicken, I used an egg substitute. To make the egg substitute, I mixed 4 tablespoons water with 4 tablespoon oil and 2 tablespoons of baking powder. This created a bubbly material that looked like egg whites.

Overall the chicken dish turned out very yummy, but the sauce tended to slide off the chicken. I think this may have to do with the egg substitute recipe I was using, so I will be practicing this to get it right next time. After some follow up reading, so far the winner for next time seems to be melted margarine mixed with cornstarch.

While reading about egg substitutes, I found some helpful sites about how to substitute eggs in cooking. Here are some of my favorite sites:

Wikihow site – info on replacing eggs in sweet and savory dishes (has images of egg substitutes)

Chef in you site – info on replacing eggs in baking (has helpful charts)

Kids with food allergies – info on replacing eggs in multiple situations (has helpful explanations)

Most websites group egg substitutes by the function of the egg in a recipe. For example if the egg is to be used as a binding agent, leavening agent, or glaze. The key to selecting the right recipe for an egg substitute, is to know what you want your egg substitute to do.

  • Binding agents = causes things to draw up, or “bind” together.
  • Leavening agents = cause foaming. Often used in dough or batter to soften it up.
  • Glaze = coats something, maybe a pie crust (to turn the pie crust golden brown after baking)
  • Breading = coats something you intend to roll in bread crumbs or flour afterwards (like this chicken recipe).

In this recipe, I had originally used an egg substitute recipe that was for eggs to be used as leavening agents, when what I needed was a recipe for eggs to be used for breading. This might explain why my sauce did not stick to the egg. Kids with food allergies has a good explanation of the difference between different functions of eggs in recipes, and this site contains some tips on breading without eggs.

Another modification from Lindsay‘s recipe was that I used Panko bread crumbs instead of crushed cereal to make the chicken coating. I think both would work great, but Panko bread crumbs are pre-crushed so will save you some time. It’s also difficult to crush cereal fine enough to use as a coating unless your blender is pretty powerful.

General Tso’s Chicken


  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Egg white (substitute): 3 egg whites or egg substitute
  • 5 cups Panko bread crumbs (plain)
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of all visible fat, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 2/3 cups water
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup apricot jam
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes


  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Put flour and Panko bread crumbs in 2 separate dishes (or shallow bowls). Whisk egg whites until foamy in a third bowl.
  3. Pat chicken dry with paper towels, roll in flour, dip in egg whites (or egg white substitute), then coat with Panko bread crumbs. Lay on baking sheet.
  4. Bake until coating is brown and crisp, 12 to 15 minutes.
  5. Make the sauce: whisk water, soy sauce, apricot jam, hoisin, corn starch, and vinegar together in a bowl. Heat vegetable oil in a 10-12 inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes, and cook until fragrant (1 minute). Add in soy sauce mixture, bring to simmer, and cook until thickened (2 minutes). Remove from heat, and cover to keep warm.
  6. When chicken is cooked, return sauce to simmer, add cooked chicken, and toss to coat. (Optional: garnish with sesame seeds and cut scallions before serving)


Leave a Comment

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nagi@RecipeTinEats November 18, 2014 at 6:01 pm

I have no idea what or who General Tsao is so I presume it is in American thing. All I know is that I keep seeing recipe after recipe on the internet and I decided it was time to try it myself so I came over here to find one because I know I can trust your recipes!! The sauce looks really tasty. I can see myself using the sauce for other things, even just on plain grilled meats. Thanks for this recipe!


2 Sarah November 19, 2014 at 9:38 am

Hi Nagi! You are right General Tsao’s is an American thing! I had not heard of it either prior to moving to the United States, but it’s a very popular take-out dish here. A friend of mine really enjoys General Tsao’s chicken and requested this dish, so I decided to give it a go! If you are not allergic to eggs, I suggest rolling the chicken in egg whites instead of the egg-substitute because the crumbs will stick onto the chicken much better. The sauce is very delicious!


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