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Healthy General Tso Chicken

This healthy General Tso Chicken recipe pairs crispy baked chicken with a spicy, flavorful sauce to rival your favorite takeout with a fraction of the calories. Since the chicken is baked instead of fried, each serving of this version has 40 grams of protein with just 13 grams of fat, 365 calories, and 5 WW Smart Points.

I wouldn’t call any recipe that requires breading chicken easy, but this General Tso chicken is well worth the effort. Trust me!

A healthier spin on the classic American Chinese takeout favorite—General Tso Chicken. The recipe pairs crispy oven baked chicken with a deliciously spicy sauce to create 4 massive servings with 40 grams of protein and just 365 calories each!

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How to Make Crispy Baked Chicken for Healthy General Tso Chicken

If you follow my Instagram stories, you may have seen my 3-day saga of testing different chicken recipes. I started out with the Corn Flakes method like in my spicy popcorn chicken recipe but found the crispy exterior came off when tossing in the sauce. 

I tried a few blends of Corn Flakes, flour, and corn starch before settling on the tried and true breadcrumbs and grated parmesan. This method also produces the lowest calorie General Tso Chicken out of the bunch.

To make the crispy baked chicken, all you need to do is mix an egg with black pepper, soy sauce, red wine vinegar (or any vinegar) and throw cubed chicken breast in for a quick soak. 

chicken breast pieces and soy sauce marinade plus bread crumbs and grated parmesan with reserved marinade before breading the chicken

Mix the breadcrumbs and parmesan together before adding about a tablespoon of the egg mixture and crumbling. This creates some larger crispy bits that you get with fried chicken. 

breading the chicken pieces and breaded pieces on a wire rack over a baking sheet before baking

Then it’s as easy as coating the chicken pieces and throwing on a wire rack to bake. If you have extra breadcrumbs or marinade, feel free to go double batter on a few pieces. 

How to Make the Healthy General Tso Sauce

The real star of the show in this recipe is the sauce. There are a couple carryover ingredients like vinegar and soy sauce so don’t sweat the long-ish ingredient list. At its core, you’ll need to prep a few veggies: 

  • scallions
  • ginger 
  • garlic
  • dried chiles 

Other than those, all ya need to do is mix a few liquid ingredients in a bowl. 

recipe steps to make general tso sauce

Cook the veggies in a tiny bit of oil to bring out their flavors before adding the liquid and cooking the sauce down to that thick, spicy General Tso sauce you know and love. 

After the chicken is baked, toss in the sauce and you’re done. Easy peasy! 

healthy general tso chicken with steamed broccoli and white rice

Modification Notes

I’ll run through a handful of ingredient questions I expect to pop up. If you have a question I don’t cover, drop a comment at the bottom of this post.

Breadcrumbs

If you need a lower carb option, crushed pork rinds are always a good alternative. You could also try gluten free breadcrumbs or the Corn Flakes method I mentioned above. 

healthy spicy popcorn chicken recipe air fryer

Red Wine Vinegar

You could substitute another vinegar like cider or balsamic (something tart) or even citrus like lemon juice. Honestly, I think any any vinegar would do the trick. 

Swerve Brown Sugar

Swerve makes a line of erythritol-based (sugar alcohol) zero-calorie, non-glycemic sugar substitutes that I love and have used in everything from Nashville Hot Chicken Burgers to Peanut Butter Protein Cookies.

If you have regular light brown sugar on hand, rock that. The recipe only calls for 1/4 cup so it’s not like you’ll ruin the healthy part of this healthy General Tso chicken recipe. 

Update: My baked orange chicken recipe uses Walden Farms pancake syrup in place of brown sugar. That could be another great brown sugar substitute. 

Can I omit the veggies?

Yeah but don’t. 😉 

Final Healthy General Tso Chicken Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts

I split the nutrition facts into 4 servings and didn’t get the weight of each serving. If you need 100% accurate servings, you can weigh the entire finished recipe and divide by 4 (or however many servings you’d like). You could also count the total chicken pieces and divide that way. 

Spice Level

As far as General Tso chicken recipes go, I’d say this fairly standard if not on the milder side. If you are spice sensitive, you can omit the chiles or cut the sriracha in half. Those are pretty much the only heavy hitters in the bunch.  

Also, serving with rice, cauliflower rice, or other veggies should help balance out the heat. Need a low carb option? Check out my guide on how to make fried cauliflower rice in an air fryer.

I think you’re ready to go. Be sure to let me know what you think about this healthy General Tso chicken. You can leave a recipe review tag me in a pic on Instagram @mason_woodruff to let me know it’s Tso tasty. 

healthy general tso chicken with steamed broccoli and white rice

Healthy General Tso Chicken

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Crispy oven baked chicken tossed in a spicy General Tso sauce.

Ingredients

For the Crispy Baked Chicken

  • 1 1/2 lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 Tbsp (15g) Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp (15g) Red Wine Vinegar, or your choice of vinegar
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper, optional
  • 3/4 C (90g) Breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp (15g) Grated Parmesan

*For the General Tso Sauce

  • 3 Scallions, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Ginger, minced
  • 4-6 Dried Arbol Chiles
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp (24g) Toasted Sesame Oil, divided
  • 1/2 C (120g) Chicken Stock
  • 1/4 C (60g) Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 C (48g) Swerve Brown Sugar, or light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp (30g) Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp (30g) Sriracha

Instructions

For the Chicken

  1. Preheat oven to 400F and spray a wire rack with nonstick cooking spray over a baking sheet. Set aside. (You can bake directly on a baking sheet if you don't have a rack.)
  2. Whisk the egg, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar, and black pepper together in a large bowl. Cut 3 large chicken breasts into small pieces and add to the egg mixture. chicken pieces and the egg, soy sauce, black pepper, and red wine vinegar marinade
  3. Mix the breadcrumbs and parmesan in a shallow bowl. Add about a tablespoon of the egg mixture to the breadcrumbs and stir together to create a few small clumps. breading for the crispy baked chicken
  4. Coat the chicken pieces in the breadcrumbs and add to the wire rack. If you have leftover egg mixture and breadcrumbs, you can run a few pieces back through a second time. chicken in the breading mixture
  5. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until the largest pieces reach an internal temperature of 165F. baked chicken pieces before mixing with the general tso sauce

*For the General Tso Sauce

  1. While the chicken bakes, prepare the ginger, garlic, scallions, and remove the chiles from their packaging. Mix the remaining sauce, reserving 1/2 tablespoon of the sesame oil, ingredients in a bowl. ingredients prepped for the general tso sauce
  2. Add the 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil the a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the scallions, garlic, and ginger. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. scallions, ginger, and garlic in a skillet with sesame oil
  3. Add the chiles and cook for another 30-60 seconds before adding the liquid ingredients. liquid general tso sauce ingredients added to skillet
  4. Continue cooking over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the sauce thickens. This will take about 5-7 minutes, just in time for the chicken to come out of the oven. finished general tso sauce before adding the baked chicken
  5. Reduce the heat to low and toss the baked chicken in the sauce before removing from the heat, topping with more scallions, sesame seeds, and serving with rice, steamed broccoli, or your choice of pairings.

Notes

*If you like extra saucy chicken or would like extra sauce for rice and veggies, consider doubling the sauce recipe. 

  • Each serving (1/4th the recipe) has 5 Smart Points.
  • Nutrition facts do not include any nutrition info from the zero-calorie Swerve Brown Sugar. 
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Servings Serving Size: 1 Serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 365Total Fat: 13gCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 40g

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Megan Roberts

Monday 12th of April 2021

Healthy alternative when you are craving Chinese food on a diet! Delicious flavor and great for meal prep. We doubled the sauce recipe and loved it! Reheated well for meal prep too!

Katie Collins

Wednesday 7th of October 2020

This recipe is the bomb diggity!!! Yeah, there’s more work involved than dialing up your local Chinese restaurant, but the pay off is so great. It blew my mind how it tastes exactly like the real deal!

The only subs I made were using coconut aminos and then using some toasted bread in a food processor to make the bread crumbs.

I wouldn’t say this is a good recipe to meal prep as the chicken loses its crispiness eventually, but if you eat it right when you make it - wow!

Kim

Saturday 1st of August 2020

Made with regular soy sauce because, well... the pandemic is really messing with grocery store stock.

Whoops. Don't do it!! While it was still okay, the salt was definitely overwhelming. Won't make that mistake again. 👀 Otherwise, I'll certainly be trying this again when I can find the reduced sodium soy sauce. The other flavors were there!

Laura

Wednesday 22nd of July 2020

Just made this and it was amazing. The sauce is addicting. So very easty to do.

Crystal

Thursday 7th of May 2020

Recipe was amazing! My sister even loved it too! I didn’t have sesame oil (thought I did) but I used olive oil instead and it still came out amazing. I like more sauce so I separately made an extra serving of sauce and put it in a different container than the chicken so that the chicken didn’t absorb it. Overall, I loved this recipe! Definitely a great alternative.

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