How to Make General Tso Sauce [video]

Catalina Castravet
By Catalina Castravet

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!

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!

General Tso Sauce

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.

General Tso Sauce

What is General Tso sauce made of?

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 that makes the whole thing thicker. You can also use flour in place of the cornstarch.

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.

General Tso Sauce

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!

Recipe Tips:

  • 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.
  • Chinkiang vinegar is a great ingredient to replace rice vinegar. It has a deeper flavor.
  • You can also add scallions for added fragrance.

Watch Recipe Video:

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


  • 3 tablespoons  rice vinegar 
  • 1/3 cup  soy sauce 
  • 2 tablespoons  hoisin sauce 
  • 1/2 cup  chicken broth  (low sodium)
  • 3 tablespoons  white sugar 
  • 3 tablespoons  brown sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon  fresh ginger  (minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon  garlic powder 
  • 1/4 teaspoon  red pepper flakes 
  • 1 tablespoon  cornstarch 


  1. In a medium pot, add all the ingredients and whisk to combine. Place it over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until it starts to simmer.
  2. Continue to cook for 5 minutes, until the mixture begins to thicken. Once the sauce is thickened, remove from heat.
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!


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