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Instant Pot General Tso’s Chicken

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Instant Pot General Tso’s Chicken is easy to make and WAY better than take-out! Make this Chinese-inspired dinner tonight and enjoy the bold flavors of ingredients like dark soy sauce, honey, and red pepper flakes all over this crispy chicken.

A plate of general tso's chicken is placed on a large white plate.

General tso 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 with a kick of ginger, and garlic and is loaded with flavors. If you love this classic Chinese takeout, then you are going to really savor the homemade blast of flavor in every bite!

And by making this in the Instant Pot, you can make this in a healthier way by shallow frying the chicken instead of deep-frying.

The best part is, you can make this in less than 30 minutes!

This recipe is tasty, healthy, quick and ridiculously easy. Serve this over rice with some steamed broccoli by side and voila! The easy peasy perfect Chinese takeout inspired dinner is ready. So grab your chopsticks and get ready to dig in!

Cooked chicken is topped with peppers and green onions.

Ingredients for Instant Pot General Tso’s chicken

The chicken calls for:

  • Chicken – Boneless skinless chicken thighs work best.
  • Garlic – Pre-minced will also work if you want to save time.
  • Ginger – I recommend fresh ginger for the best flavor.
  • Dried red chiles – You could also use red pepper flakes instead (but if you don’t like it spicy, I’d omit this. I removed it from the recipe below due to feedback that it was too spicy).
  • Cornstarch – The best thickening agent!
  • Oil – I use vegetable oil.
  • Egg – Free range organic is my go-to.
  • Chicken stock – For the best flavor, make your own chicken stock at home!

The mouthwatering sauce calls for:

  • Dark soy sauce – You could also use tamari for less sodium.
  • Honey – Use real honey if you can, not the fake stuff!
  • Brown sugar – Light or dark will both get the job done.
  • Rice vinegar – Apple cider vinegar will also work in a pinch.
  • Red pepper flakes – Add more if you like it really spicy!
  • Hoisin sauce – Oyster sauce is a good substitute.
  • Water
A white plate is topped with general tso chicken.

Why isn’t the chicken cooking properly?

Here’s the thing about using an Instant Pot – it’s an amazing device, but only if you follow the instructions exactly!

If you miss or skip a step, your whole dish could be ruined.

Make sure to follow the directions exactly and get to know your Instant Pot before making this recipe.

Another reason that folks have trouble is 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.

A piece of chicken is being lifted with chopsticks.

How long will Instant Pot General Tso’s chicken stay fresh?

In an airtight container in the refrigerator, this chicken dinner will stay fresh for up to 4 days.

I recommend reheating it on the stovetop if you can! In the microwave, it’ll lose its desired texture.

Basil and peppers garnish a white plate filled with chicken.

Enjoy more of my favorite fake-out take-out recipes!

Easy Kung Pao Chicken

Instant Pot Beef and Broccoli

Teriyaki Chicken and Broccoli

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!
3 from 2 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2
Author: Julie Chiou
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Ingredients 

  • ½ pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
  • ½ cup + 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¼ cup chicken stock

For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more if you like it spicy
  • 2 teaspoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water

For garnish:

  • Finely sliced green onions
  • Sesame seeds

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.

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl mix all the ingredients mentioned under the Sauce section. Keep aside.
  • Beat egg in a shallow bowl and take corn-starch in another bowl. Dip chicken pieces in egg, then coat in corn-starch and set aside.
  • Set the instant pot on the SAUTE function, let it heat up.
  • Add oil and let it heat up, 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.
  • Next add ginger and garlic. Cook until the garlic turns fragrant. Add chicken stock and give a nice mix. Deglaze the pot by stirring properly so no food stuck to the bottom of the pot.
  • Add in the prepared sauce and cook everything for a couple of minutes until it is combined well.
  • Next add in the chicken pieces.
  • CANCEL the SAUTE button. Select the PRESSURE COOK 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 and select the CANCEL button.
  • Combine 1 tablespoon corn-starch and water.
  • Select the SAUTE button and stir in the flour mixture and let it simmer for 3 minutes. Until the sauce thickens.
  • Once done CANCEL the SAUTE button.
  • Serve with Rice. Sprinkled with sesame seeds and chopped green onions.

Recipe 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.
You can store in an airtight container for 4 days in the refrigerator or around 2 months in the freezer. 

NUTRITION FACTS

Serving: 1 serving | Calories: 539 kcal | Carbohydrates: 56 g | Protein: 29 g | Fat: 22 g | Saturated Fat: 3 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12 g | Trans Fat: 1 g | Cholesterol: 191 mg | Sodium: 1274 mg | Potassium: 665 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 20 g

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.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: instant pot, instant pot recipes
Recipe Rating




tialise

Wednesday 19th of October 2022

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!

David Glazier

Tuesday 18th of October 2022

Holy cow. I like spicy but this is inedible! Cut the red pepper 🌶

Julie Chiou

Wednesday 19th of October 2022

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!

Pam

Sunday 2nd of October 2022

I followed the recipe exactly and it burned during the pressure cooking process.

Julie Chiou

Monday 17th of October 2022

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.