Healthy General Tso’s Chicken

Healthy General Tso's Chicken Recipe

White meat or dark meat? I’m definitely a wing and dark meat gal, preferring the juicier, more flavorful, more tender and harder-to-overcook parts of the chicken. I think most Asians prize the dark meat (I know it’s a gross generalization, but I’ve never met an Asian who didn’t like dark meat!)

Scott, on the other hand, is breast meat all the way. When we first started dating, I had to re-learn how to cook chicken properly. All I used to care about was roasting, stir-frying or grilling the thigh, wing and leg portions perfectly, not even giving a second thought to the breast, which cooks faster than its dark brothas and sistahs. Most of the time, the breast meat and bones went into broth-making anyways. I also had a Jack Russell terrier who was spoiled with slightly overcooked and a touch dry chicken breast dinners.

Yummy and Healthy General Tso's Chicken Recipe

The argument for eating chicken breast is that “it’s healthier” – but just HOW MUCH healthier?

White Meat versus Dark MeatAccording to an article from Josh Ozersky on Time Magazine, the difference isn’t as great as you might think.

From U.S. Department of Agriculture:

100 grams of white meat – 0.56 g of saturated fat and 114 calories
100 grams of dark meat has 1 g of saturated fat and 119 calories. 

To save .46 grams + 3 calories, I’ll take the dark meat any day!


Men’s Health article: “The extra fat in dark turkey or chicken meat raises your levels of cholecystokinin (CCK), a hormone that makes you feel fuller, longer.”

Live Science: “A nutrient called taurine, found abundantly in poultry dark meat, significantly lowered the risk of coronary heart disease in women with high cholesterol, the study revealed. The researchers said that taurine also might help protect against diabetes and high blood pressure.”

Slate: The Dark Side of the Bird: “Dark chicken meat is also nutrient rich, containing higher levels of iron, zinc, riboflavin, thiamine, and vitamins B6 and B12 than white meat.”

Despite this research, Scott still prefers the breast. Which is just fine by me – we don’t have to fight over who gets which part of the chicken! We each call dibs on our own section.

Steam Kitchen Healthy General Tso's Chicken Recipe

I’ve made a Healthy version of General Tso’s Chicken – one of Scott’s favorites – using white meat, of course – but feel free to substitute with boneless, skinless dark meat 🙂

Healthy General Tso’s Chicken Recipe Video




Healthy General Tso's Chicken Recipe

Servings: 4 Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes
Healthy General Tso's Chicken Recipe

Feel free to substitute the chicken for thinly sliced lean pork or beef. For a vegetarian version, use extra firm tofu cut into cubes and vegetable broth.


2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice vinegar (or white vinegar)
1 tablespoon honey
1 to 2 teaspoons garlic chili sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 teaspoons cornstarch, divided
1 large head broccoli, cut into small florets
1 pound boneless chicken meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 tablespoon of cooking oil
1 to 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon ginger, finely minced (or grated on rasp grater)
4 stalks green onion, chopped
1 teaspoon roasted sesame seeds


1. In a bowl, make the General Tso sauce: Whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, honey, garlic chili sauce, chicken broth, just 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch. Set aside.

2. In a wok or large sauté pan over high heat, add 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Add broccoli to the pan and cover. Steam for 2 minutes or until broccoli has turned bright green and is crunchy-tender (just shy of cooked through.) Remove broccoli from pan, drain and rinse with cool water to stop cooking. Set broccoli aside. Empty water from wok or pan and dry well. Return wok or pan to stove.

3. In a medium bowl, add chicken, remaining 2 teaspoons of cornstarch, salt and pepper and stir to coat chicken evenly.

4. Heat the wok over high heat. When very hot, add cooking oil and swirl to coat. To get a nice crust on the chicken, you'll cook them in a single layer, giving them plenty of space to brown. Add half the chicken to pan in a single layer. Let cook undisturbed for 1-2 minutes, until the bottom of chicken is browned, flip chicken, cook until other side is browned. The chicken should be halfway cooked through - remove the half-cooked chicken pieces to a plate to set aside. As you take chicken pieces out, continually add in more of the raw chicken to the pan to cook.

5. When all the chicken have cooked, turn heat to medium. Let the pan cool a bit before adding the rest of the ingredients (so they don't burn). The pan should still have some cooking oil left from the chicken. To the pan, add the green onions, garlic and ginger . Stir fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Control your heat so that the ingredients don't burn.

6. Pour in the General Tso's sauce to pan and bring mixture to a simmer. Return the chicken and broccoli to the pan, toss and cook for 1 minute. The sauce should thicken and the chicken should be cooked through completely. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve immediately.


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Comments 43

  1. Sarah Toasty

    my new years resolution was no eating out alone, THANK YOU for sharing a homemade general tso’s! Definitely my favorite, and so is dark meat! My sister and I are also prefer opposite meats, so buying a whole chicken is perfect for us

  2. Kristy

    I’m Japanese American & I actually can’t stand dark meat…I will only ever eat white meat but you’re right, I’m the only Asian I know who doesn’t like dark meat. Yummy recipe! Looking forward to trying it.

  3. Hershey

    Dark meat for the win! It’s a forgiving part of the chicken when it comes to cooking. You can hardly overcook it! Your food looks great with the chicken breast, good contrast on color and texture for the dish.

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  5. kim

    This looks awesome and I can’t wait to try it!

    Burning question…

    I see chili garlic sauce in lots of asian recipes… Is it the same thing as sriracha? There are a number of products at my grocery store that look like they could all be considered chili and garlic, but they look like might be wildly different in flavor. Is there a specific product you recommend here?


  6. Karen

    We made a big batch of this last Friday night. It’s what I ate for breakfast the next day!

  7. Linda Brown

    May I know why you felt you needed to write “brothas” and “sistahs” when you referred to the dark meat.

    I find it very offensive. And I am surprised no one else does.

  8. Sarah Forte

    I’m not a huge fan of General Tsos chicken, mostly because the only version I’ve been introduced to so far in life is from a restaurant! Bleck!
    I will, however, be incredibly willing to try this recipe once I get the chance. Thank you for showing me that there are alternatives!! 🙂

  9. Vicki Bogdanos

    My daughter and I made this dish tonight, one batch with chicken (white meat) and one batch with tofu. The flavor of the sauce is delicious and the flavors pop. The ginger is a nice touch! Easy directions and definitely a do over.

  10. Michelle

    Soooooooooo yummy. Thanks for helping non-cookers to be able to wow the kiddos with awesome food! <3

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  13. Rani

    Hi Jaden,
    First time commenting but have enjoyed your site for years! Though we’re a non-veg family, my MIL is visiting next week and I’ve bought some firm tofu to try in this recipe. Do I cube and then cook the tofu in a similar manner as the chicken? Do I simply add the cubed tofu to the finished dish? Thank you for sharing your knowledge and life events!

    1. SteamyKitchen

      Hi Rani! Yes, cook your tofu as you would chicken (brown all sides), remove. Add back into the stir fry at end of cooking (just like the chicken) and let it cook (this gives the tofu time to absorb the sauce)

  14. Jeanne

    Hi Jaden,
    I wanna try making this dish but I’ve got a toddler at home. Can I omit the garlic chili sauce/there’s a substitution to it that won’t make this dish spicy?

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  16. Synthony

    I wish you were more specific in your cooking directions. It clearly states to only cook the chicken half way, and then remove from heat and add back in at the end for a minute. By doing this, you’re still left with raw chicken. :-/ My meal came out a bit over cooked to make up for having to make sure the chicken was cooked all the way through.

  17. RZH

    This was excellent and so fast! I did double the sauce and add dried chiles and chilie oil. This website is a new discovery for me and we love it. Keep the recipes coming!

    1. Post

      You can also thicken by adding (1 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup cool water) at the end of cooking. Just stir in, simmer for 1 minute. It should thicken nicely.

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