Crock Pot General Tso’s Chicken

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There are a lot of things that I’ve experienced over the years that I thought would be amazing but wound up being terrible ideas, like pregaming open bars, volunteering to do favors that I can’t possibly fit into my schedule, or watching Juan Pablo be this season’s Bachelor.  (Seriously, by the end of the Finale After-Show, I was ready to throw my TV out the window.  Anyone with me there?)
 
Crock Pot General Tso's Chicken.  Tastes even better than the take-out version and cuts a lot of the calories, to boot!
 
There are also things that sounded questionable at first but surprised me with how perfectly they turned out, like Crock Pot General Tso’s Chicken.  When I first thought to do it, I was pretty positive that it was going to result in disaster, but figured I’d give it a go anyway.  I mean, Chinese food (American-Chinese takeout and authentic Chinese food alike) usually calls for quick cooking methods, like a fast stir fry or a dip in bubbling peanut oil.  The total opposite of slow cooking.

But when I first lightly pan-fried the chicken and THEN added it to the slow cooker, where the sauce thickened and soaked into the crisp pieces, it was heavenly.  I served it over microwavable steamed rice and broccoli, and the meal was simple, delicious, and enjoyed by my whole family.  I’d absolutely make this again, many times over!
 
Crock Pot General Tso's Chicken.  Tastes even better than the take-out version and cuts a lot of the calories, to boot!
 
Did I mention, by the way, that this is a lot better for you than the take-out version? Instead of being deep fried, the chicken is lightly pan fried in only 2 tablespoons of oil total. It also contains WAY less sodium! Did I also mention that it tastes better than the take-out version?  Because it does.  It really, truly does.  But don’t just take my word for it, try it for yourself and see!
 

5.0 from 2 reviews
Crock Pot General Tso's Chicken
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Slightly adapted from Fav Family Recipes
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1” pieces)
  • 1 cup cornstarch, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • ½ cup unsweetened pineapple juice
  • ⅓ cup vinegar (white distilled or apple cider)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon dried ginger
  • Green onions, chopped, to top
  • Rice and broccoli, to serve
Directions
  1. Combine ¾ cups cornstarch, the salt, and the pepper in a shallow dish. Dip the chicken pieces in the cornstarch mixture to coat, shake off excess, and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken pieces. It should take less than 2 minutes per side. Remove the chicken and set aside.
  3. In the slow cooker, combine the sugar, soy sauce, pineapple juice, vinegar, garlic, ginger, and cayenne. Stir to mix well.
  4. Add the chicken to the crock pot and cook on low for 4 hours. Check 20 minutes before serving and make sure your sauce is thick enough. If not, take the remaining ¼ cup of cornstarch and mix it with ¼ cup cold water until a slurry forms. Then, gently mix it into the chicken and sauce, being careful not to scrape the cornstarch coating off of the chicken. Cook for another 20 minutes, and then serve over broccoli and rice. Top with chopped green onion.

 

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Hi Morgan,
    My (picky) son came across this recipe and has been after me to make it. So I will!
    Question: do you use fresh or dried cayenne pepper? Also, my wife does not like spicy, so do you think I can wait til close to the end of cooking before taking her portion out and adding the cayenne pepper?
    Much thanks!
    -Paul

    • says

      Hi Paul,
      Great question. I used dried cayenne pepper. I think the recipe would be fine without it, or if you want to add it near the end to just your portions, that should work, too! I hope you all enjoy it!

  2. Dave Holmes says

    Hey so we made this recipe, and it was DELICIOUS! However, we didn’t get that nice glazy coating like you have in the photo. Ours ended up more like chicken in Tso’s flavored gravy. What would you recommend to get a better glaze on the chicken?

    • says

      Hi Dave,
      I’m not really sure why it would come out like that. Did you add more cornstarch at the end? Perhaps even our crock pots have different temps for “high” and it resulted in a different consistency for the sauce? I’m sorry I can’t give you a definite answer!

      • Whitney says

        Hi Morgan,
        I just made this recipe tonight and it was awesome! I had the same problem as Dave though, my glaze never thickened. I did add the extra cornstarch after it cooked for almost 4 hours on low. Would cooking it on high help at all?
        Thanks!

        • says

          Hm… I’m really not sure what the issue could be, perhaps it does have to do with differing temperatures in the crock pots? I think maybe increasing the temperature to high after adding the cornstarch slurry and letting it cook a 1/2 hour or so might make a difference, but I can’t say for sure. Since a few people on here have mentioned this, I’m going to give it a try in my other crock pot (which is bigger and therefore might yield different results) and see if I can figure out the problem. Sorry I can’t give you an immediate, definite answer, but I will get back to you once I try it in the other crock!

          • Whitney says

            Hi Morgan,
            I gave the recipe another shot this weekend and I wanted to give you an update because I might have found a solution for the gravy sauce. I still didn’t get it quite to the nice glaze you had, but it was miles closer than the first time I made it. I turned the temp from low to high on my crock pot for the last 40 minutes and I could see that helped a little. I still ended up doing the slurry, but I also went a bit heavier on the cornstarch in ratio to the water (not by much, but it definitely wasn’t an even 1/4 cup each) and that also definitely made a difference. I think maybe a larger slow cooker might help too by allowing the sauce to spread out a bit and thicken in the middle. I’m going to give it another go for my parents sometime because they have an 8 quart and mine is only 4, I’m determined to figure it out! :)

            -Whitney

  3. Jennifer says

    I made this tonight. I omitted the cayenne pepper bc my family does not like spicy.
    I have to say it was great!!! And so filling. Definitely a keeper in the recipe book and so much cheaper than eating out.
    Thank you for posting !

  4. jdub says

    I’m going to make this recipe tonight but I wonder what setting to put my crock pot on. Mine has settings of High 4hrs High 6 hrs Low 8hrs Low 10hrs. Wonder if I should set it to High 4 hours or if Low 8 hrs and just take it out at 4 would work.

  5. Kristi F says

    Since I know I can trust your opinions by the Juan Pablo reference (hahaha seriously) I am adding this to this weeks dinner menu. I’m so happy I found this blog!

  6. Pat says

    Morgan,

    Quick question, I have a small (I think 3 qt) and a large (7 qt) crock-pot. Which would you recommend using? Making this Thursday, stoked!

    Thanks,
    Pat

    • says

      I believe that the crock pot I used was a 4 quart crock pot. I’m not quite sure which option would be better or easier for you, but I’d probably choose the 3 quart. I know crock pots work better when filled at least half way, so I wouldn’t want something to go wrong if there wasn’t enough for your 7 quart crock pot.

  7. Annie Morgan says

    If the sauce isn’t thick enough when I make this I would gently ladle the sauce into a sauce pan, bring up to a boil, add the extra corn starch slurry, cook till thickened and add it back to the chicken. I know it’s an extra step but I want it to look like the photo you posted.
    This looks and sounds delicious.

  8. Erin says

    I made this meal yesterday and it was delicious! You were right- it’s better than any take out I have ever had. As a new mom I am looking for recipes to make in my crock pot- but not just chili and stew so this was perfect! My sauce turned out in a really nice glaze, just wanted to FYI you since I know others had issues.

  9. Sandra says

    My family loves General Tso’s Chicken. This was fabulous. My glaze was perfect. I actually stopped cooking after 3hrs. I have a large oval crockpot and the chicken fit in a single layer on the bottom so I am thinking it cooked a bit quicker than a smaller crockpot. Will definitely make this again!

  10. Rachel says

    Hi! Am making this tonight! Which vinegar type do you recommend?? Any other things I should watched out for while making? Can’t wait!!

    • says

      Hi Rachel,
      I’m sorry that I didn’t see this yesterday– I was driving home from my cousin’s wedding in upstate NY. I used apple cider vinegar for this recipe, but white distilled, white wine, or rice wine should all work well, too! I hope yours turned out great!

  11. Chelsea says

    Think I’m going to make this tomorrow I’m not a fan of pineapple, is there a substitute I could use?

    • says

      The General Tso’s doesn’t wind up tasting pineapple-y, but if you’re still nervous I’d recommend using orange juice! I’ve never tried it that way, but I have very little doubt that it would work perfectly fine.

      • Chelsea says

        I made it, Havent eaten it yet but the orange juice worked well :)
        I also added ALL of the ingredients to the crock-pot at the beginning including the corn starch. it turned out like the picture.

  12. Jennifer says

    just wondering, what can I use besides pineapple juice? I’m allergy to it but I really want to try this recipe.

  13. ajohal21 says

    Hey Morgan just made this and it tastes amazing. Except the chicken became soggy in the cooker. When did you add the chicken?

    • says

      I’m sorry to hear that! I added my chicken in in the very beginning with all of the other ingredients. While the chicken should definitely stay crisp, it’s not as crispy as deep-fried General Tso’s for sure. But if yours was straight up soggy, it might have to do with a difference in our crock pots, or perhaps the thickness of the cornstarch coating. I couldn’t tell for sure without being there myself, but if you continue to have problems, you could try pan frying the chicken and cooking the sauce separately in a saucepan until reduced to a glaze, and then combining the two at the end! It wouldn’t be exactly the same, but your chicken would stay crispier!

  14. Alek says

    I followed the recipe to a t but the chicken turned out like mush… any idea what could have gone wrong?

    • says

      I’m sorry to hear that Alek! I’m not really sure what the issue could have been. Perhaps it was a difference in our crock pots, or maybe in the thickness of our cornstarch coating. I’ll give this another run-through when I get a chance and see if there is anything during cooking that I can find that would cause that to happen so that no one has that issue in the future. So sorry again =(

  15. josh says

    Hey, this is cooking right now for me but it looks like its going to be awesome. Can this be doubled?

    Thanks!

    • says

      Thanks, Emma! Yours looks awesome! I’m so glad that you liked it, and it was so nice of you to take the time to write such nice things about Host the Toast. Oh, and your sesame tuna pictures have got me drooling!

      • says

        Thanks Morgan, that means a lot :) No problem at all. I am glad it was okay to use your recipe on my blog. As I said before, it really was so so good. Thank you so much for the compliment and for responding to me!

  16. Erica Hernandez says

    Hello,I had a question I used 3 1/2 pounds of chicken I had to add more of the ingredients.. Is the liquid supposed to be light? And I had to use sweet and pineapple juice dose that make a difference ?
    Erica

    • says

      The liquid should be relatively light, but not extremely. I have never tried the recipe with sweetened pineapple juice, but I would assume that it would be too sweet with the amount of sugar– how did it wind up turning out for you?

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