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Instant Pot General Tso’s Chicken is an easier way to make this Chinese takeout classic. Enjoy the crispy chicken tossed in the bold flavors of the General Tso’s sauce. I’m pretty sure that takeout menu will be tossed in the recycling bin shortly after making this!

Cooked chicken is topped with peppers and green onions.
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If you are short on time, Instant Pot General Tso’s chicken is a great alternative to the stovetop frying version of General Tso’s chicken.

Making General Tso’s chicken in the Instant Pot allows you to shallow fry the chicken instead of deep frying and it requires no stovetop — everything in the Instant Pot! The best part is, you can make this in less than 30 minutes! Serve this over rice with some cabbage stir fry and voila! The easy peasy perfect Chinese takeout inspired dinner is ready. So grab your chopsticks and get ready to dig in!

What is General Tso’s Chicken?

General Tso’s chicken is a deep-fried sweet and spicy chicken dish which is quite popular in North American Chinese restaurants. It is said to originate from the Hunan province of China and named after a Chinese military leader General Tso.

This chicken is sweet, mildly spicy is loaded with flavors. If you love this popular Chinese takeout, then you are going to really savor the homemade version in the Instant Pot!

A piece of chicken is being lifted with chopsticks.

Recipe Tips

  • Check the vent setting on your Instant Pot! Is it set to venting or sealed? It should be on sealed during the entire cooking process.
  • To ensure you get a crispy crust, cook the chicken in a single layer so it’s not overcrowding the pan and steaming the chicken.
  • Keep in mind that cooking this in the Instant Pot is simply an option and variation of the original so if there are textural differences, that is the nature of a variation.

Storage Instructions

In an airtight container in the refrigerator, this chicken will stay fresh for up to 4 days. I recommend reheating it on the stovetop or air fryer if you can!

3.67 from 3 votes

Instant Pot General Tso’s Chicken

Instant Pot General Tso's Chicken is easy to make and WAY better than take-out! Hang up that phone and take out that Instant Pot instead!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Equipment

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound (227 g) boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup (64 g) cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
  • 2 tablespoons oil, more if you need it
  • ¼ cup (59 ml) chicken stock

For the sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Shaoxing wine
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • ½ teaspoon ginger, grated
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, more if you prefer it spicier

For the cornstarch slurry:

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water

For garnish:

  • Finely sliced green onions
  • Sesame seeds
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Instructions 

  • In a medium bowl mix all the ingredients mentioned under the sauce section. Set aside.
    general tso's sauce mixed together in a glass jar
  • Beat egg in a shallow bowl and add cornstarch to another bowl. Dip chicken pieces in egg, then coat in cornstarch and set aside.
    chicken thigh pieces coated in egg and cornstarch
  • Set the Instant Pot on the SAUTE function and allow it to heat up.
  • Add oil to the insert of the Instant Pot then add the coated chicken pieces in a single layer and cook it until crispy. 2 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken to a plate. You may need to do this in batches.
    battered chicken pieces shallow frying in an instant pot
  • Next add ginger and garlic. Cook until the garlic turns fragrant. Add chicken stock and give a nice mix. Deglaze the pot by stirring and scraping the bottom so no food is stuck to the bottom of the pot.
    garlic, ginger, and red pepper cooking in the instant pot
  • Add in the prepared sauce then add in the chicken pieces.
    chicken added to the sauce in the insert of an instant pot
  • CANCEL the SAUTE button. Select the MANUAL button on HIGH PRESSURE for 5 minutes. (Make sure the valve is in SEALING position).
  • Once the pressure cooking cycle is over, quick release pressure by manually moving the valve from SEALING to VENTING position.
  • Open the lid carefully.
  • Mix together the cornstarch slurry and add it in. The residual heat should thicken the sauce right up. If it doesn't, select the SAUTE button and let it simmer and heat up until the sauce thickens.
    chicken tossed in general tso sauce in the instant pot
  • Serve with rice. Garnish with sesame seeds and chopped green onions.

Notes

In the photo, there are dried red chilies that were used in this dish. Due to feedback, I’ve removed this ingredient b/c people mentioned it being too spicy. You may add them if you desire spicier dishes or just add more red pepper flakes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 352kcal, Carbohydrates: 30g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 149mg, Sodium: 757mg, Potassium: 357mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 10g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.

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Recipe Rating




5 Comments

  1. It was Amazing! The whole family liked it. It was not difficult to make, though it took me longer than it should have, probably. But it came out Perfect! If I could give it 6 Stars, I would!

    1. hi David! sorry to hear about that! i guess when i made this, my chili peppers were on the mild side and/or they weren’t fresh anymore? in any case, it wasn’t terribly spicy for me but i understand where you’re coming from as everyone has different spice preferences. i’ve gone and modified the recipe with this feedback so it’s easier to add in spice vs. try to take it out. appreciate your feedback!

    1. this can happen when cooking with the instant pot if you didn’t saute/warm up everything in the liner as instructed. additionally, if you want to try again, you can try to add the sauce on top of the chicken so it’s not directly on the bottom of the pan.