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Air Fryer General Tso’s Chicken

When it comes to takeout food I love making it at home. This Air Fryer General Tso’s Chicken is a fun and flavorful restaurant recipe turned easy!

A TAKEOUT AIR FRYER RECIPE

I have been posting a lot of my favorite air fryer recipes lately and for good reason, we are wanting to make anything and everything in them. Not long ago I shared my oven (cheater) version of Easy General Tso’s Chicken and I got so many emails asking for an air fryer version but not a cheater version. Y’all wanted the real deal stuff so I did my best. I always say if you ask, I will try to provide – ha! So today I’m going to show you how you can make Air Fryer General Tso’s Chicken! I am really so happy with how this turned out. Bust out those air fryers and make this fun version of General Tso’s Chicken..

Close up overhead photo of plated Air Fryer General Tso's Chicken.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Do I have to use chicken thighs?

So after testing this, I say definitely go with chicken thighs. If you’ve eaten General Tso’s Chicken from your favorite Chinese restaurant, that is what is used. It holds up well to the cooking process without becoming dry and rubbery. But breasts will work in a pinch. Keep an eye on that cooking time though. Chicken is cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 165F degrees.

Do I need to preheat the air fryer beforehand?

Yes! For this recipe, you will need to preheat the air fryer for at least 3 minutes before adding the chicken.

What kind of spray should I spray my air fryer with.

My go-to nonstick spray is olive oil. It is the safest to use in an air fryer that won’t degrade it or cause it to gum up and become sticky. Coconut oil is good second option.

Why can’t I just cook them all at once?

Air fryers need the air to circulate to cook properly. If air cannot circulate around each chicken piece, you won’t get that crispier texture we are looking for and the chicken will cook unevenly. You will need to cook in batches.

Is this spicy?

General Tso’s is known to have some sweetness and spice to it. The spice comes from the chili sauce and chili flakes. I did not find this overwhelmingly spicy (and I know so many of you tell me you LOVE that super spicy stuff!) but if you want to make it milder, you can omit those. Or if you like it flaming hot then just addd more. It’s as easy as that. It will obviously change the flavor slightly so keep that in mind.

What is this best served with?

I like to serve it over rice, either regular white or jasmine and basmati. In addition, when I am in a cooking mood, I’ll make some of my Vegetable Fried Rice to go with it. It is also great over some asian noodles or some steamed broccoli.

Can I make this in the oven?

Yes. But I will say that I have not personally tested this particular recipe out in the oven yet. I would suggest baking the chicken, on a nonstick baking sheet, with space between them, for about 15 minutes at 425F degrees. You will want to flip them about halfway through. You may have to play with that time a bit to make sure they are completely cooked. Then follow with the rest of the recipe.

How do I store leftovers?

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container and kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It can also be frozen. Place in an airtight freezer container or bag and it will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight to reheat. You can place in the microwave until heated through or in the air fryer for about 3-4 minutes to crisp back up.

Pinterest image close up of General Tso's Chicken Recipe om plate garnished with green onions.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (FULL RECIPE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST)

  • chicken thighs
  • cornstarch
  • all-purpose four
  • egg
  • salt 
  • pepper
  • chicken broth
  • brown sugar
  • hoisin sauce
  • soy sauce
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • rice vinegar
  • toasted sesame oil 
  • chili flakes
  • chili sauce (optional)
  • green onion
  • sesame seeds
Ingredients needed: chicken thighs, cornstarch, all-purpose four, egg, salt, pepper, chicken broth, cornstarch, brown sugar, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, chili flakes, chili sauce, green onion and sesame seeds.

HOW TO MAKE AIR FRYER GENERAL TSO’S CHICKEN:

Preheat the air fryer to 400° for 3 minutes. In a bowl mix the dry ingredients: cornstarch, all purpose flour, salt and pepper. In another bowl crack a large egg and whisk.

Cornstarch, all purpose flour, salt and pepper whisked together in one bowl and egg whisked in another.

Take the chicken pieces and coat completely with the cornstarch/flour mixture, then dip them in the egg wash. 

Chicken being dipped in egg and flour mixtures.

Place these pieces in the air fryer with space between them to cook all the way around.

Chicken added to air fryer.

Let air fry for 4 minutes, then using tongs, flip the chicken pieces over and cook the remaining 4-5 minutes depending on the thickness of your pieces.

Chicken in air fryer after being flipped.

In a medium saucepan before placing over heat, add the chicken broth, then whisk the cornstarch so there are no lumps. Place the saucepan over medium high heat and add the rest of the ingredients for the sauce. Whisk until completely combined.

Sauce ingredients in sauce pan.

Stir sauce as it comes to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for about 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened. 

Simmered sauce in sauce pan.

Add chicken to sauce and stir, coating each piece evenly.

Chicken added to sauce to coat.

Serve hot, fresh with rice, noodles, or broccoli.

Air Fryer General Tso's Chicken on plate with chopsticks holding up one piece.

WANT MORE DELICIOUS RECIPES? YOU GOTTA TRY THESE!

Square image of finished and garnished General Tso's Chicken.

Air Fryer General Tso’s Chicken

When it comes to takeout food I love making it at home. This Air Fryer General Tso's Chicken is a fun and flavorful restaurant recipe turned easy!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 33 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless , skinless chicken thighs cut into bite-size pieces
  • cup cornstarch
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

For Sauce:

Instructions

For the Chicken:

  • Preheat the air fryer to 400° for 3 minutes.
  • Spray the air fryer basket liberally with olive oil or coocnut oil cooking spray.
  • In a bowl, mix the dry ingredients: cornstarch, all purpose flour, salt and pepper.
  • In another bowl crack a large egg and whisk.
  • Take the chicken pieces and coat completely with the cornstarch/flour mixture, then dip them in the egg wash.
  • Place these pieces in the air fryer with space between them to cook all the way around.
  • Air fry for 4 minutes, then using tongs, flip the chicken pieces over and cook the remaining 4-5 minutes depending on the thickness of your pieces. Finish with the rest of the chicken.

For the Sauce:

  • In a medium saucepan, before placing over heat, add the chicken broth, then whisk the cornstarch so there are no lumps.
  • Place the saucepan over medium high heat and add the rest of the ingredients for the sauce. Whisk until completely combined.
  • Whisk sauce continuously as it comes to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for about 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
  • Add chicken to sauce and stir, coating each piece evenly.
  • Serve hot, fresh with rice, noodles, or broccoli.

Notes

  • Chicken breasts can be used instead of chicken thighs (but Genera Tso’s chicken is always made with chicken thighs at your favorite Chinese restaurants).
  • Make sure that you cook this in batches so as not to overcrowd the air fryer snd the air can circulate.
  • This can be doubled to serve more people (again cooking in batches).
  • This can be frozen, see my tips above.
  • Make sure to spray the air fryer basket before adding the chicken.
 
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Chinese

Nutrition

Calories: 445kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 23g | Sodium: 1390mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hi Brandie,
    Do you think this could be done with shrimp? I would love to try but I’m not a great cook when it comes to experimenting. Thanks.