Better Than Take-Out Instant Pot General Tso’s Chicken

Enjoy Chinese take-out at home with this recipe for Instant Pot General Tso’s Chicken! This sweet and slightly spicy breaded chicken recipe is a real treat and ready in under an hour (most of which is hands-off cooking time).

Close up of general tso chicken in a white bowl.
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We love making Chinese food in our instant pot! It comes out so flavorful and fresh. Plus, it costs a lot less to make it at home. Some of our other favorite recipes are Air Fryer Crab RangoonInstant Pot Chicken Lo MeinInstant Pot Orange Chicken (Panda Express Copycat), and Instant Pot Chicken Fried Rice (Better Than Take-Out!).

What is General Tso’s sauce made of?

The General Tso’s sauce is made of a combination of rice vinegar, hoison sauce, soy sauce brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes.

Is Instant Pot General Tso’s Chicken spicy?

Yes. This dish is sweet and spicy. It is not overly spice, unless hot peppers are added. We do not include that in this recipe and instead use red pepper flakes to make it just slightly spicy. 

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Overhead shot of a bowl of general tso's chicken and a bowl of brown rice.

How do you make Instant Pot General Tso chicken from scratch?

(Full printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this page)

  1. Start by dredging 2-inch chunks of chicken thighs in beaten eggs and then a combination of flour and cornmeal.
  2. Use your instant pot on saute to fry the chicken in vegetable oil for 5 minutes.
  3. Mix in the sauce ingredients and stir well.
  4. Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.
  5. NPR for 10 minutes. 
  6. QR remaining pressure. 
  7. Remove the lid and set to saute. 
  8. Mix in a cornstarch slurry and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  9. Turn off instant pot and let cool, until sauce thickens.
  10. Serve and enjoy!
Side view of a white bowl piled high with general tso's chicken.

What to serve with General Tso’s Chicken?

Serve it with steamed brown rice or fried rice. Yum!

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An instant pot with a bowl of general tso's chicken in front of it.
4.28 from 125 votes
Print

Instant Pot General Tso's Chicken Recipe

Enjoy Chinese take-out at home with this recipe for Instant Pot General Tso's Chicken! This sweet and slightly spicy breaded chicken recipe is a real treat and ready in under an hour (most of which is hands-off cooking time).

Course Main Dish Recipes
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword instant pot general so's chicken, instant pot general tso chicken, pressure cooker general tso's chicken
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 763 kcal
Author Aileen Clark

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless and skinless chicken thighs
  • 3 large eggs beaten
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup corn meal
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 6 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 6 teaspoons hoisin sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons water

Instructions

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Pat chicken dry and cut into 2-inch chunks.
  3. Set out two small bowls.
  4. Add eggs to the first one and whisk until well beaten.
  5. Add the all-purpose flour and cornmeal to the second and mix.
  6. Dredge each piece of chicken into the egg first and then into the flour mixture.
  7. Place coated chicken on the prepared baking sheet.
  8. Repeat withing reamining chicken until all pieces are coated.
  9. Repeat steps until all chicken has been coated.
  10. Press the saute button on your instant pot and wait until the display reads HOT.
  11. Pour the vegetable oil into the instant pot.
  12. Add the chicken to the oil and saute for 5 minutes, until golden brown. Turn the chicken as it cooks so it browns on all sides.
  13. Pour in the 1/3 cup water, rice vinegar, soy sauce, hoison sauce, brown sugar, minced ginger, minced garlic and red chili flakes to the instant pot.
  14. Stir well, making sure to scrape up any bit of chicken stuck to the bottom of the pot.
  15. Close the lid and set the pressure release valve to sealing.
  16. Press the manual or pressure cook button and set to high pressure for 5 minutes.
  17. Allow the pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes and then release the remaining pressure.
  18. Once the pressure is fully released, open the lid and stir.
  19. Press the saute button and bring the general tso's chicken to a simmer.
  20. Whisk together the 3 tablespoons water and cornstarch.
  21. Mix the corntarch slurry into the instant pot.
  22. Let simmer for 5 minutes.
  23. Turn the insatnt pot off and let it sit for 5 minutes. The sauce will thicken as it cools.
  24. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Leftover chicken can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot General Tso's Chicken Recipe
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 763 Calories from Fat 288
% Daily Value*
Fat 32g49%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Polyunsaturated Fat 24g
Cholesterol 347mg116%
Sodium 1814mg79%
Carbohydrates 65g22%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 11g12%
Protein 54g108%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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12 Comments

  1. Worst recipe ever I followed it to the T and the instant pot burn alarm went off. I added more water and same thing happened I had to throw it all away

    1. I had the same exact experience. I use my instant pot constantly and have never had a food burn message or a meal turn out so nasty. It was a pasty mess.

  2. Don’t waist the time or ingredients – –

    Followed this to a “T” even taking an extra step to remove the chicken and clean the pot before adding chicken back and adding the next ingredients before bringing to pressure.

    BURN notice came in before it got to pressure, I deglazed the pot again and added liquid to attempt to save it. Burn notice again.

    Salvaged this recipe by going to the stove top.

  3. 1 star
    This recipe has now consumed 2 hours of my life, and my instantpot wouldn’t cook it. No matter what I tried, it just kept burning to the bottom of the pot, and I kept getting the dreadful “burn” message. After opening the instant pot, the food was seared, blackened and burned to a crisp. Forget this recipe, it’s just as cheap and a lot easier to order this as takeout.

  4. 1 star
    I followed this recipe as closely as possible. Every time I tried to start the pressure cook, not two minutes later, I would get a “food burn” message. It finally cooked but was a pasty, shredded, flavorless mess. I use the IP constantly and have never had a recipe turn out so bad. Such a shame too because the photo made it look delicious, if that’s an actual photo of what I made. Because it didn’t look like a distant cousin to how this recipe turned out for me.

  5. This was amazing! Im making it for the second time and I forgot to comment last time. I do feel that it was best to put my sauté on Normal and not high so my chicken wouldn’t burn. I read all of the comments stating they burned so I tried that and it was a success! It’s now a favorite in our family, thank you!!!

  6. This is delicious, I’ve used chicken and pork. Both turn out great. You do have to saute the meat in a couple batches. It’s too much to get crisp at one time I also don’t thicken the sauce. I did once and it was way too thick. I would definitely reduce the amount of corn starch is you thicken it.

  7. Wow this recipe was ****. I was suspicious the moment I read the ingredients and the cooking method. Why would you put water onto chicken that you fried? It makes it mushy. General Tso chicken is cooked via stir fry. And none of the ingredients would actually give the chicken it’s distinctive red color. I knew from the start that all those sauces combined would turn this into a brown mess. Yet I still gave this a try. I was an idiot.