Photo credit: Emily Paster
Prep Cook Serves Ready In
40 minutes 30 minutes 4 1 hour 10 minutes

Air-Fried General Tso’s Chicken Recipe

Skip the Chinese takeout this Christmas.

Who doesn’t love crunchy, spicy-sweet General Tso’s chicken? I never go out for Chinese food without ordering some. This air-fried version has all the crunch and spicy flavor of the original, but with a fraction of the fat and calories — especially because it calls for boneless, skinless chicken breast. Do not be tempted to dredge all of the chicken in the cornstarch at once — it will start to get soggy while it sits. Instead, work in batches and dredge right before cooking for best results.

Serve with rice and steamed broccoli, and remind everyone that the red chiles are not to be eaten! 

Reprinted with permission from Epic Air Fryer Cookbook, The Harvard Common Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group. Copyright 2020, Emily Paster.  

Photo credit: Emily Paster

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size cubes
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup mirin or rice wine
  • 1/2 cup plus 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil, plus additional oil for spraying
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 12 dried red chiles
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp hoisin sauce (optional)
  • 2 scallions, white and light green parts only, sliced
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds

Note: If you don’t have hoisin sauce in your pantry, do not feel obligated to buy it just for this recipe. However, it does help homemade General Tso’s Chicken taste more like the restaurant version.

Directions

  1. Toss the chicken with 1/4 cup of the soy sauce and 1/4 cup of the mirin in a glass bowl or baking dish. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 and up to 30 minutes.
  2. Spread 1/2 cup cornstarch on a plate. Take 2 pieces of chicken and dredge them in the cornstarch, then tap them against each other to remove any excess. Repeat until you have dredged a third of the chicken in the cornstarch. Spray the basket of the air fryer with oil. Arrange the dredged chicken pieces in the basket in a single layer. Spray with oil. Cook for 8 minutes, turning once, spraying with additional oil if there are dry patches of cornstarch. Set aside. 
  3. While the first batch of chicken is cooking, dredge the second third of the chicken in the cornstarch. Spray the basket of the air fryer with oil and cook the second batch in the same manner. Repeat for the final third. Set cooked chicken aside.
  4. Whisk together the remaining 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch with 1/2 Tbsp water to create a slurry and set aside. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger, and dried red chiles and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant but not browned. Add the remaining soy sauce, mirin, rice wine vinegar, and sugar and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the cornstarch slurry and cook until mixture begins to thicken, 1 to 2 minutes. 
  5. Add the chicken to the sauce in the pan and toss to coat. Cook until chicken is heated through. Place onto a platter and garnish with scallions and sesame seeds. Serve immediately. 

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