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Air Fryer General Tso’s Chicken

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Air Fryer General Tso's Chicken is easy to make at home! Crispy chicken bites are coated in a sweet, salty and tangy sauce. Ready in 20 minutes!
closeup of air fryer General Tso chicken

Enjoy takeout food at home with this easy recipe for Air Fryer General Tso’s Chicken, just like you’d get at a restaurant. It is delicious and addictive, featuring crispy chicken bites coated in a sweet, salty, and tangy sauce!

You can have this homemade version of this classic takeout dish ready in only 20 minutes. This makes it perfect for an easy weeknight meal. And since the chicken is air fried, not deep-fried, it is healthier too!

top view of General Tso chicken on a plate

A good sauce is a key to making a great General Tso’s Chicken. My recipe is a simple, cheater version, which combines ketchup with brown sugar and soy sauce, so you can make this with ingredients you already have at home.

This is a delicious dinner your family will love because it has crispy chicken with a thick, sweet sauce. And you will be amazed at how easy it is to create restaurant-quality food at home.

Love homemade Chinese food takeout recipes? Try my Air Fryer Mongolian Beef, Air Fryer Orange Chicken, or Homemade Egg Rolls!

🥡What is General Tso’s Chicken?

General Tso’s chicken’s origin story is debated among foodies worldwide. It was named for a famous Chinese general but most likely came from Taiwan, not China.

But there is no question that the dish became wildly popular during the 1980s and 1990s, becoming one of the most popular Chinese dishes at takeout restaurants in America. The dish was Americanized by making the sauce sweeter, and today, you’ll find dozens of versions of this meal across the United States.

plate with rice, broccoli and General Tso's chicken

🥘Key Ingredients

For exact amounts needed, see the recipe card below

Chicken – Use either breasts or thighs cut into bite-sized pieces. Usually, chicken thighs will give you the juiciest chicken. It is easiest to buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs to reduce meal prep time.

Corn starch – This is used to make a crispy coating for the cubed chicken pieces.

Ketchup – The tomato flavor of the sauce is provided by this American kitchen staple. You can add Hoisin sauce for more Asian flavor.

Brown sugar – Adds just a touch of sweetness to the classic sauce.

Soy sauce – This adds a salty flavor to complement the sugar.

Salt, black pepper, garlic powder, ginger, and red pepper flakes – These spices are used to flavor the meat and the sauce.

labeled ingredient list General Tso chicken

🍳How to Make General Tso’s Chicken in Air Fryer

1. Make Crispy Chicken

Preheat the air fryer at 350 degrees F for 5 minutes. Not all air fryer recipes need preheating, but this one will be better if you don’t skip this step.

Dice the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Then place them in a bowl or a bag along with the cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Stir or shake the bag until the pieces are well coated in cornstarch.

chicken coated with cornstarch and spices
Coating the chicken
chicken before air frying
Chicken in air fryer

Place the coated chicken pieces in the air fryer basket. Ensure they are in a single layer and the basket is not overcrowded.

My 5.8 quart air fryer will hold about 1 pound of chicken cubes, but cook in batches if necessary. Air fry for 5 minutes at 350 F. Then flip the chicken over or stir it and air fry for another 3-5 minutes.

2. Make Sauce

Make the sauce while the chicken cooks. Combine the ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic powder, ginger, and red pepper flakes in a medium saucepan. Cook it on the stove over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, and the mixture just starts to boil. Let it boil for 1 minute, then take the sauce off the heat.

3. Combine

Check the cooked chicken to ensure it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

Always use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature, don’t try to cook based just on time. A thermometer is not expensive and the peace of mind they give you is priceless. Food poisoning is not fun! This is my favorite inexpensive meat thermometer, which you can buy on Amazon.

Then add the chicken pieces to the sauce and stir so that the sauce evenly coats the chicken cubes.

🍴Serving Ideas

Serve Air Fryer General Tso Chicken immediately, with white or brown rice. I am a big fan of instant microwave rice for this meal to make prep fast and easy. Use green onions and sesame seeds for garnish.

A vegetable like steamed broccoli or green beans make this a healthy dinner. A simple salad is also a great choice to accompany this and makes it a complete meal.

side view of air fryer General Tso chicken with broccoli and rice

💭How to Store

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Because of the sticky sauce, this dish does not reheat well in the air fryer. The microwave or a saucepan on the stove is a better choice for reheating.

⭐Tips for Making the Best General Tso’s Chicken

Be sure to check out the step by step instructions

  • Preheat air fryer for the crispiest chicken.
  • Turn or toss the chicken pieces halfway through the cooking time.
  • The recipe will be juicier if made with chicken thighs.

📋Variations

  • Add more brown sugar to make a sweeter sauce.
  • Add more red chili flakes for a spicy sauce.
  • Add 1/4 cup chicken broth for a thinner sauce.
  • Change things up and use shrimp instead of chicken to make General Tso’s Shrimp. Shrimp will need only 3-5 minutes of air fryer cooking time.

Did You Make This? Leave a Star Rating!

closeup of air fryer General Tso chicken
5 from 8 votes

Air Fryer General Tso’s Chicken Recipe

Air Fryer General Tso's Chicken is easy to make at home! Crispy chicken bites are coated in a sweet, salty and tangy sauce. Ready in 20 minutes!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Servings: 4
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Ingredients
 

Chicken

  • 1 pound skinless chicken thighs or chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Sauce Ingredients

  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Instructions

  • Set the air fryer to preheat at 350 °F for 5 minutes.
  • Put the chicken in a bowl and add the cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Stir to coat the chicken thoroughly.
    1 pound skinless chicken thighs or chicken breasts, 2 tablespoon cornstarch, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Set the air fryer at 350 °F for 5 minutes and air fry the chicken.
  • While the chicken cooks, make the sauce. Combine the ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic powder, ginger, and red pepper flakes in a saucepan.
    ¼ cup ketchup, 2 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon ginger, ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Cook on medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves and the mixture just starts to boil. Let it simmer for 1-2 minutes, then remove the sauce from the heat.
  • After 5 minutes of air frying, flip the chicken over and cook for another 3-5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and golden brown. Use an instant-read thermometer to ensure the chicken’s internal temperature has reached 165 °F.
  • Once the chicken is done, add it to the pan with the sauce and stir so that the sauce evenly coats the chicken.
  • Serve with rice and green onions.

Notes

  • Preheat air fryer for the crispiest chicken
  • Turn or toss the chicken pieces halfway through the cooking time.
  • The recipe will be juicier if made with chicken thighs.

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 256kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 1005mg | Potassium: 330mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 210IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition facts are estimates.

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piece of chicken on a fork
By on August 11th, 2022

5 thoughts on “Air Fryer General Tso’s Chicken”

  1. 5 stars
    Yummy and simple! Since it has a semifreddo-like texture when frozen, I actually preferred it there. Since the graham blockpost flavor is so strong, I might try it again with Maria cookies or Nilla wafers. Reproduction to come!

    Reply
  2. Instructions for General Tso’s Chicken left out one step.

    The instructions left out SPRAY THE AIR FRYER WITH OIL! The recipe was very good and easy to make.

    Reply

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