Instant Pot General Tso Chicken is a flavorful, restaurant quality meal made simple and easy in your pressure cooker in just 30 minutes!
Healthy Instant Pot General Tso Chicken
Instant Pot General Tso Chicken is my latest addition to my IP Recipes collection! This better than the takeout meal is full of flavor and a breeze to make! It only requires one pot 30 minutes of your time to have a delicious and healthy dinner.
I am a huge fan of recreating popular takeout dishes in my Pressure Cooker, as it saves me money, time, and also I can control the quality of the ingredients. This recipe is the perfect weeknight meal that everyone will love. Also, it is a super flavorful, sweet and sour dish that will beat any takeouts.
What Is General Tso Chicken?
You are probably all familiar with this popular Asian dish. Every Chinese and Thai restaurant is proud to serve it. For sure, this dish became one of the most popular Asian dishes in American culture. In short, General Tso was a well-known Chinese/Thai war figure. He migrated to New York City in the 1970s and created this popular recipe, which was named after him.
This is a sweet and sour dish which is also a little spicy. The chicken is usually deep-fried and served over rive. However, this Instant Pot General Tso Chicken is a lighter and healthier version of it, because we do not deep-fry the meat. Instead, we are using the pressure cooker as an alternative. As a result, this is a lighter, healthier, and less caloric dish, that is just as delicious!
Why you will enjoy this recipe
- It is easy to make and it takes only around 30 minutes!
- Only one pot to clean and that is the Pressure Cooker.
- Also, the dish is packed with amazing flavors and lean protein.
- It is perfect for busy weeknights and also for entertaining guests.
- You will have delicious leftovers that can be stored in the fridge, in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
How To Make Instant Pot General Tso Chicken?
For exact measurments and ingredients, please refer to the recipe card below.
- Prepare the chicken: We use breasts, but you can also use boneless thighs as an alternative. Both work well for this recipe and feel free to use whichever part you like. Cut the poultry into smaller pieces.
- Saute the meat: First, saute the poultry by turning the “Saute” setting on in your pressure cooker. Add 1 teaspoon of oil, and the chicken to the pot and saute it for a few minutes. Brown the meat just enough to get a light brown color. Then, add the rest of the ingredients (except for cornstarch slurry) and stir well. Close the lid, and cook it under pressure by clicking the poultry setting.
- Add the cornstarch slurry: Allow the pressure to naturally release before removing the lid. Then, in a bowl, prepare the slurry by mixing the cornstarch with water. Add the mixture to the pot, and stir gently. Using the saute function of the IP, saute the meat with the slurry for an additional 5 minutes, while occasionally stirring.
- Garnish and serve: Garnish with some sesame seeds, and chopped green onions, and serve it over white rice.
This dish has many variations, and can be adjusted based on own preferences:
- For a sweeter taste, add 1 tablespoon sugar, or 1 tablespoon of honey in the sauce.
- Alternatively, for a spicier version, feel free to add dried red chilies while sauteing the chicken.
- Add a little orange zest to brighten the dish up. You might also love our award-winning IP Orange Chicken.
- White wine vinegar can be replaced for rice vinegar. Just remember, every time you make substitutions, the flavors will change and taste less like what you remember ordering out.
- Hoisin sauce is absolutely amazing in this recipe, and one of our favorite Asian pantry item. It is one of the main ingredients that make this dish so great because of its deep flavors. Some people substitute it with BBQ sauce and mix it with molasses and soy sauce. However, we try to stick to the original Hoisin sauce and strongly recommend using it for best flavors.
Other Ways To Make General Tso Chicken
This dish can also be made in the CrockPot or in the IP using the Slow Cooker function. Add browned chicken to the Slow Cooker. Then, add the rest of the ingredients except the cornstarch slurry. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours. Make the slurry, gently stir it in and cook on high for 20 more minutes. Serve and enjoy!
Similarly, this recipe can be made on the stovetop. First, saute up the chicken with spices. Then, add all the sauces and slurry and allow to cook for a few minutes till the sauce is thick. Add the poultry and combine well before serving!
Looking for more Chinese food take-out options?
We have a large collection of Asian inspired dishes, some of our most popular once are:
What is a 10 Minutes Natural Pressure Release?
A Natural Pressure Release means that the pressure is released gradually. For a Natural Pressure Release, you click on Keep Warm, and wait 10 minutes, after which you open the valve and let any leftover pressure to release. Another option is to Turn Off/Unplug the pressure cooker, wait 10 minutes and after that open the valve.
A natural release is usually used when cooking soups, meat in a large amount of sauce, pasta or steel cut oats. This method prevents any foam from the dish to shoot out through the valve, which can happen during a Quick Pressure Release.
CAN YOU FREEZE Instant Pot General Tso Chicken?
Yes! Before freezing it, make sure the dish is completely cooled. Then, transfer into an airtight container, and freeze or up to 3 months. When ready to eat, thaw in the refrigerator the night before consuming. You can heat it up on the stove on in the microwave.
- Use good quality meat, preferably organic thighs or breasts.
- Also, cornstarch is very important in this recipe, so do not try to replace it with flour, the results will not be the same.
- If the sauce is too runny, mix another 1-2 teaspoons of cornstarch with water and add it to the Pressure Cooker. Please note, that the sauce will get thicker with time, so definitely wait a bit before adding more cornstarch.
- For enhanced flavor add 1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger!
- The delicious homemade dish is best served over rice or noodles.
Tools/Ingredients I used to make this Recipe:
- Instant Pot – I use it all the time, either the Pressure Cooker function or the Slow Cooker function, I also like that I can just sauté / brown the meat and veggies directly in the pot using the Sauté function
- Cornstarch – I prefer using cornstarch instead of flour to thicken sauces, and this organic brand is my favorite.
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes Total time: 25 mins
- 1 pound chicken thighs (cut into 2-3 inch chunks)
- 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1 tablespoon ginger (minced)
- 6 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 6 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 6 tablespoons soy sauce
- 6 teaspoons hoisin sauce
- 1/3 cup water
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons water
- Red pepper flakes
- Sesame Seeds
- Green onions (chopped)
- Start by cutting the chicken into 2-3 inch chunks, I tend to leave them a bit larger as the pressure cooker tends to make the chicken very moist and this helps to avoid breaking the chicken pieces.
- Heat up your pressure cooker: press Sauté -> click on the Adjust button -> select More to get the Sauté More function, which means that the food will be sautéed over medium-high heat. Wait for the Instant Pot indicator to read HOT.
Add the oil to the hot IP, wait one minute for the oil to heat up and add the chicken. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring a few times. Cook until it just starts to get golden. This step can also be done on the stove if you want, as the instant pot doesn't really brown the chicken too well.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot: ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar and water.
- Stir well to combine.
- Close lid, select the Poultry function and adjust the time to 5 minutes.
Use a 10 minute Natural Release. Turn off the heat. Release the remaining pressure. Open the lid. Gently stir not to crush the chicken.
Select again the Sauté function. In a small bowl combine the cornstarch with the water, whisk until all combined with no lumps. Add the mixture to the Instant Pot and gently stir to combine. Cook on Sauté function for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens. This way you can make the sauce thicker. You can add more if you want to make the sauce even thicker, please note that it thickens as it cools too.
Turn off the Instant Pot and let the General Tso Chicken stand for 5-7 minutes, the sauce will thicken more.
- Serve over rice with broccoli and garnish with fresh chopped green onions, red pepper flakes and sesame seeds.