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Lightened Up General Tso’s Chicken

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Take-Out, Fake-Out: Lightened Up General Tso Chicken from

It’s so hard sometimes to pick and choose what to post on certain days. Thankfully I have you all on Facebook to help me out :) You guys were clearly craving the take-out, fake-out over the cookies I had wanted to post! Ask and you shall receive! This lightened up version comes from the book I talked about last week, Comfort Food Makeovers by America’s Test Kitchen. The numbers on this dish before ATK’s makeover was crazy! 910 calories, 45 grams of fat, and 5 grams of saturated fat. After? 490 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 1.5 grams of saturated fat. What a difference, huh?!

So, speaking of my Facebook page..let’s just say, when it rains, it POURS. Did any of you follow along with what happened last night? I’m sure 95% of you received that Pinterest email about my Holy Yum Chicken. What a bunch of drama. I seriously have the best fans and readers. You all came up to bat for me with the negative comments and messages. I can’t thank you enough for understanding and realizing this was all beyond my control.

It really irks me that people jump to conclusions and have their own assumptions about everything without getting the facts first. Ever heard that quote, “be kind; for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” ? Well, so many people don’t really know what’s going on in my PERSONAL life and to add what happened yesterday on top of it, just really put me to the tipping point. Seriously, newsflash: this isn’t the end of the world. There are countless of tragedies going on in the world right now (re: OK tornadoes, wars, etc.) and for people to freak out at me over a recipe?! Really people, perspective…

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the recipe below. It’s become one of Jason & I’s favorite! :)

Lightened Up General Tso's Chicken

Enjoy this lightened up version of General Tso's Chicken! You'll love this way more than the takeout version!
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: Julie Chiou
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  • Vegetable oil spray
  • ¼ cup (31 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 5 cups (140 g) Kellogg's Corn Flakes cereal, finely crushed
  • 1 ½ pounds (680 g) boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of all visible fat, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 ⅔ cups (394 ml) water
  • cup (79 ml) low sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup (59 g) apricot jam
  • 3 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon canola oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

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.


  • Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 475 °F (246 °C). Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, top with wire rack, and spray rack with oil spray.
  • Spread flour into shallow dish. Whisk egg whites until foamy in second shallow dish. Spread corn flakes crumbs into third shallow dish. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Working in batches, dredge chicken in flour, dip in egg whites, then coat with corn flakes, pressing gently to adhere. Lay on prepared wire rack.
  • Spray chicken with oil spray. Bake until chicken registers 165 °F (74 °C) and coating is brown and crisp, about 12-15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, whisk water, soy sauce, apricot jam, hoisin, cornstarch, and vinegar together in a bowl. Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk in soy sauce mixture, bring to simmer, and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and keep warm.
  • When chicken is cooked, return sauce to simmer over medium-low heat. Add cooked chicken and toss to coat. Serve with steamed white or brown rice.

Recipe Notes

Source: Comfort Food Makeovers, America's Test Kitchen


Serving: 1 serving | Calories: 492 kcal | Carbohydrates: 63 g | Protein: 41 g | Fat: 7 g | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 19 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: chicken recipe, take out, fake out
Recipe Rating

Janet Hunt

Wednesday 8th of September 2021

I just discovered your lovely website SOOOO happy about this. So many delicious recipes here that we love thank you so very much xoxox

C. Mitchell

Sunday 15th of April 2018

I just wanted to express to you my agreement on how people are so eager to be combative, judgemental & hateful. Its not just here on your blog- ( as I'm sure I am not telling you anything you don't already know ), its all over social media. Really disturbing how quick folks get angry & lash out these days.

Anyway, thanks for sharing your recipe & goodluck to you! ?


Monday 16th of April 2018

Thank you so much for your support!


Tuesday 9th of January 2018

Is the oven temp 475?! I have made this great recipe many times and don’t recall it being that hot. Thanks!


Wednesday 10th of January 2018

Yep, it has always been 475! I even double-checked the cookbook just now.


Monday 8th of August 2016

how many servings does this yield? i can't wait to try this!


Monday 8th of August 2016

4. Enjoy!

Barb Karr

Tuesday 2nd of August 2016

You mentioned an oil spray in this recipe. I am new to your recipes. Could you explain what you mean by an oil spray.I want this recipe desperately. It seems I want 80% of your recipes desperately!!Love your blogs.And food recipes.


Tuesday 2nd of August 2016

Something like nonstick cooking spray. Like PAM :)