How to Make General Tso Sauce [video]

Catalina Castravet
By Catalina Castravet
5 from 17 reviews

General Tso Sauce is a rich, sweet, and spicy sauce that is perfect for your stir-fry dishes! It is so easy to prepare – all done in ten minutes! Follow the short recipe video tutorial and learn how to make make the BEST homemade general Tso sauce!

Craving for some Chinese takeout? I’ve got you covered with easy stir-fry dishes that you can cook for a nice family dinner! Check out my recipes for Szechuan Chicken, Hunan Beef, and Hunan Chicken!

Image of Chinese general Tso sauce on a silver spoon.

General Tso Sauce Recipe

General Tso Sauce can be used for quick stir-fry dishes when you do not have much time, possibly for a weeknight dinner and such. Though you can whisk this up in just about ten minutes, this does not disappoint!

Flavors burst out of this simple dip – you have the sweetness from the sugar, saltiness from the soy sauce, tanginess from the rice vinegar, and spiciness from the red chili flakes.

The pungent garlic and ginger also add depth. The hoisin sauce also adds saltiness and sweetness at the same time.

So, if you want to have some Chinese takeout, look no further. Just go to your pantry for the ingredients and make one easy stir-fry dish! All you need is any kind of meat (even tofu), vegetables, and this recipe!

What is Chinese General Tso sauce?

It is used in the famous Chinese takeout dish called the General Tso Chicken. It is named after a Chinese leader from the Qing dynasty, Zuo Zongtang, whose romanized name is Tso Tsungtang.

History has it that a certain Chef Peng invented the dish and served it in his restaurant in Taiwan. And from this original recipe, the Chinese immigrants in the US developed the present-day recipe in the 1970s.

The version that we know now is tweaked to please the American palate – a little bit sweeter than the original version which is hotter and of Hunanese influence.

Photo of general Tso sauce.

Ingredients needed to make it:

In our version of this famous dish, we use the following ingredients:

  • rice vinegar
  • soy and hoisin sauce
  • chicken broth
  • white sugar
  • brown sugar
  • minced ginger
  • garlic powder
  • red pepper flakes
  • cornstarch

How do you make General Tso sauce?

  • Stir: Simply combine all the ingredients in a pot. Then, heat for 3 to 5 minutes while continuously stirring.
  • Thicken: Allow it to thicken for another 5 minutes, then, remove from heat.
  • Store: Cool thoroughly and store in a clean container.

How do you thicken General Tso sauce?

Putting cornstarch and heating it up longer will do the trick. The sugar will further caramelize which makes the whole thing thicker. You can also use flour in place of cornstarch.

What does General Tso sauce taste like?

It is sweet, sour, and spicy all at the same time. You can also taste some umami in there, brought about by the hoisin sauce.

But you can change this up however way you want it! That’s another advantage of making this at home!

If you want it sweet, then, add more sugar. On the other hand, if you want it spicier, add some sriracha or dried chili!

Image of general Tso sauce in a bowl.

How to store:

  • Refrigerator: You can use this up within two to three weeks once refrigerated.
  • Freezer: If frozen, this can keep for 3 months.

Recipe Tips:

  • Please watch the video attached on how to easily make this recipe.
  • Hoisin sauce adds some authentic Chinese flavor to any dish. But if you do not have it, you can combine barbecue sauce with sriracha. Add some Chinese five-spice powder, too. I strongly encourage you to get one though! You can use it in a lot of Chinese recipes and can keep it in the refrigerator for one whole year.
  • Aside from stir-fry, this recipe can also be used as a dip for egg rolls or spring rolls.
  • Also, Chinkiang vinegar is a great ingredient to replace rice vinegar. It has a deeper flavor.
  • You can also add scallions for added fragrance.

Save Recipe
5 from 17 reviews

General Tso Sauce

General Tso Sauce is a rich, sweet, and spicy sauce that is perfect for your stir-fry dishes! It is so easy to prepare - all done in ten minutes!

Author: Catalina Castravet Serves: 4 servings of about 1/4 cup
Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes Total time: 15 mins



Nutrition information

Calories: 111 Carbohydrates: 24 Protein: 2 Fat: 0 Saturated Fat: 0 Cholesterol: 0 Sodium: 1322 Potassium: 85 Fiber: 0 Sugar: 20 Vitamin A: 35 Vitamin C: 2.1 Calcium: 14 Iron: 0.7
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I've never thought to make my own before. This is such a great idea!


Dorothy Reinhold

I love having the recipe to make this at home! I love controlling exactly what goes in!


Melanie Bauer

Sounds really great! I can make this at home now, so tasty and easy to make!


Sandra | A Dash of Sanity

This will quickly become a new staple in our house! Really easy to make!


Jacquelyn Hastert

Now that I can make the sauce at home there is no excuse for me to be ordering take-out! This is one of my most favorite take-out dishes!


Jade Manning

I have never tried this before, it looks delicious, I love trying new stuff, Thank you!


Joseph Nelsonmom



William Roe

So amazing and SO quick and easy!!! We LOVE it!!!



Added a splash of sesame oil and it was the bees knees



Fresh ginger is really tough for me to get in the winter. Can you use the dried stuff?


Yes, 1 teaspoon of the powder is fine.



I freeze fresh ginger, and have it all year. It’s also easier to grate when frozen.



Add some sesame oil. Replace rice vinegar with half rice wine and half Sherry. Substitute brown sugar for white sugar. You're welcome.


Sesame oil is always a great addition!



This sauce is the bomb!! I didn’t have fresh ginger so I used 1/4t ground. It was super quick and easy to make.


Its so flavorful, I am so happy that you loved it!



Can you omit the white sugar and it still come out good? I'm a diabetic


you can replace it, but not omit it totally. Honey works, agave works as well.



How much honey or agave would you suggest to omit the white sugar?


4-6 tablespoons, I would say taste and adjust.



Oh how I love the sauces. This series you are doing is great. Can’t wait to try this one. Thank you!



Excellent and easy !!



Perfect amount of sweet & spice. Took over an hour to make which I didn’t expect. Overall a great recipe!


Joann Logsdon

Love being able to make this and home and tweak it to our taste!



I can;t see how much this recipe makes, did I miss it?


4 servings of about 1/4 cup each.


Vicki V

Made sauce per recipe and it was AWESOME!! Used the remainder about 10 days later and it was still great. Thank you for the recipe~


very happy that you enjoyed it


Callahan Southwick

I added some Cayenne Pepper and Red Chili flakes and it tasted EXACTLY like it would from a Chinese restaurant.


Kate G

Wow this was fantastic and MUCH easier than i thought! Very forgiving as i subbed "squeeze" ginger, jarred chopped garlic, white wine vinegar, and increased sugar because i didn't have hoisin lol. STILL AMAZING! thank you!



This recipe is amazing. I very rarely comment on recipe blogs but this is 10/10. It's quick and easy to make and tastes just like a real asian restaurant. **I didn't have rice vinegar so I used 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar and didn't notice anything "off" !!


thanks for the feedback


Susan Dubose

Worked perfectly with the recipe. I added a little extra orange zest. My boyfriend's favorite meal.



Can I replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth? Or is there a better substitute to make the sauce vegetarian?


yes, sure!



I am not much of a cook and I somehow pulled this off. Loved the recipe! My family seemed to really enjoy it too! Thanks!


Emily Stimpson

It is so easy to prepare – all done in ten minutes!



Thank you! Good to know😊



Added a little sesame oil and some miso. Came out awesome.


Thank you for your feedback!



OH WOW!! At first i thought it would be too sweet but i added just a little to a my stir fry and it was fantastic! I also used ground ginger and used 1/2 teaspoon. It was just fine. thanks for making my Wednesday night dinner amazing!


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