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Vegan General Tso’s “Chicken”

This vegan version of the beloved General Tso’s “Chicken” offers an incredible dance of textures and flavors. Imagine cubes of tofu, impeccably crisp from a seasoned cornstarch batter, bathed in a velvety sweet and tangy sauce. The result is a blend of umami and crunch, delivering a culinary experience that mirrors the traditional dish but with a compassionate and plant-based twist.

Vegan General Tso’s “Chicken”



Prep time


Cooking time






  • For the Chicken
  • 1 pound (450g) firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1-inch cubes

  • 1 cup (125g) cornstarch

  • 1 cup (240ml) unsweetened almond milk

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • Vegetable oil for frying

  • For The Sauce
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) rice vinegar

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable broth

  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)

  • For Garnish:
  • Green onions, finely chopped

  • Sesame seeds


  • 1. Prepare the Tofu:
  • Pat the pressed tofu dry and cut it into evenly-sized cubes.
  • In a bowl, whisk together cornstarch, almond milk, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper to create a smooth batter.
  • Dip each tofu cube into the batter, ensuring a thorough coating.
  • 2. Frying the Tofu:
  • In a sturdy pan, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
  • Carefully fry the battered tofu cubes until they achieve a golden, crispy exterior. Transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess oil.
  • 3. Prepare the Sauce:
  • In a separate bowl, combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, vegetable broth, maple syrup, tomato paste, cornstarch, sesame oil, ginger, minced garlic, and red pepper flakes. Whisk until well incorporated.
  • 4. Cooking the Sauce:
  • Transfer the sauce mixture to a saucepan and heat it over medium heat.
  • Stir continuously until the sauce thickens to a glossy consistency.
  • Add the fried tofu cubes to the sauce, ensuring each piece is coated evenly.
  • 5. Garnish and Serve:
  • Plate the Vegan General Tso’s “Chicken” over a bed of steamed rice or stir-fried vegetables.
  • Garnish with chopped green onions and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Tips and Tricks for Perfect Vegan General Tso’s “Chicken”:

  1. Crispy Vegan Protein: For a crispy texture without deep-frying, coat the vegan protein source (tofu, tempeh, or seitan) in cornstarch and either bake or air-fry until golden brown and crispy.
  2. Sauce Consistency: Achieve the desired sauce thickness by adjusting the amount of cornstarch. If it’s too thick, add a bit more water; if too thin, mix a bit more cornstarch with water and add it gradually.
  3. Soy Sauce Varieties: Experiment with different types of soy sauce. Reduced-sodium soy sauce can help control sodium levels, while dark soy sauce adds depth and color to the sauce.
  4. Prepping Ingredients: Ensure all ingredients are chopped, minced, and ready to go before starting the cooking process. The stir-fry method is quick, and having ingredients prepared in advance helps maintain the flow.
  5. Marination for Flavor: Marinate the vegan protein source in soy sauce and a touch of garlic powder for at least 15-20 minutes. This enhances flavor and adds depth to the “chicken.”
  6. Texture of Vegetables: Stir-fry vegetables briefly to maintain a crisp texture. Overcooking can result in mushy vegetables, detracting from the overall dish.
  7. Garnishing for Freshness: Finish the dish with fresh green onions and sesame seeds for added freshness and a burst of flavor. A sprinkle of chopped cilantro can also be a great addition.


  1. Gluten-Free General Tso’s “Chicken”:
    • Alteration: Replace the vital wheat gluten with a gluten-free flour or gluten-free all-purpose flour.
    • How to Achieve It: Instead of using vital wheat gluten, use a gluten-free flour such as rice flour, chickpea flour, or a gluten-free all-purpose flour. Adjust the liquid-to-dry ratio accordingly to achieve a dough consistency.
  2. Oil-Free General Tso’s “Chicken” for a Lower-Fat Option:
    • Alteration: Omit the vegetable oil used in the “chicken” batter and for frying.
    • How to Achieve It: Exclude the vegetable oil from both the batter and the frying process. The batter might be slightly denser without the oil, but it should still coat the “chicken” well.
  3. Low-Sodium General Tso’s “Chicken” for a Heart-Healthy Twist:
    • Alteration: Use a low-sodium soy sauce or tamari in both the batter and the sauce.
    • How to Achieve It: Opt for a low-sodium soy sauce or tamari to reduce the overall sodium content. Be mindful of other ingredients with added salt, and adjust seasoning as needed.


  1. Sweet and Spicy General Tso’s “Chicken”:
    • Modification: Increase the sweetness and spiciness by adding more maple syrup or agave nectar and red pepper flakes.
    • How to Achieve It: Add an extra tablespoon of maple syrup or agave nectar to the sauce for increased sweetness. For more heat, sprinkle red pepper flakes into the sauce to your desired level of spiciness.
  2. Crispy Sesame General Tso’s “Chicken” with Added Nuttiness:
    • Modification: Enhance the nutty flavor by incorporating sesame oil and sesame seeds.
    • How to Achieve It: Add 1-2 teaspoons of sesame oil to the batter for an extra layer of flavor. Toast sesame seeds and sprinkle them over the finished dish for added crunch and a nutty taste.

Tips for Customization:

  1. Cauliflower General Tso’s “Chicken” for a Vegetable Twist:
    • Customization: Substitute cauliflower florets for the seitan “chicken” for a vegetable-centric version.
    • How to Achieve It: Instead of forming seitan “chicken,” coat cauliflower florets in the batter and follow the same frying and saucing process. Adjust the frying time for cauliflower until it reaches the desired crispiness.
  2. Pineapple General Tso’s “Chicken” for Sweetness:
    • Customization: Add pineapple chunks to the sauce for a sweet and tangy variation.

How to Achieve It: Include 1/2 to 1 cup of pineapple chunks to the sauce during the simmering process. The natural sweetness of the pineapple adds a delightful twist to the dish.

Detailed Nutritional Information for Vegan General Tso’s “Chicken” (Per Serving):

Nutrition Facts

1 servings per container

  • Amount Per ServingCalories400
  • % Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 15g 24%
    • Saturated Fat 1.5g 8%
  • Sodium 1000mg 42%
  • Potassium 500mg 15%
  • Total Carbohydrate 55g 19%
    • Dietary Fiber 6g 24%
    • Sugars 15g
  • Protein 19g 38%

  • Vitamin A 1000%
  • Vitamin C 60%
  • Calcium 80%
  • Iron 3%

* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Note: Nutritional values are approximate and may vary based on specific ingredients used. Adjustments may be necessary depending on dietary needs and preferences.

Storage and Freezing Instructions:

  • Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To maintain the crispiness of the “chicken,” store the sauce separately, and combine them just before reheating.
  • Freezing: While it’s best enjoyed fresh, you can freeze the cooked “chicken” in a sealed container for up to 2 months. To freeze, allow the “chicken” to cool completely, then store in a freezer-safe container. If possible, store the sauce separately. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating. Reheat in a pan or the oven to restore crispiness. If the sauce was stored separately, reheat it separately and combine before serving.

Ensuring that the sauce and “chicken” are stored separately helps maintain the texture and flavor of the dish, especially the crispiness of the “chicken.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Vegan General Tso’s “Chicken”:

Can I reduce the sugar content without compromising the flavor?

Yes, start by using less sugar and adjust to taste. You can also explore alternative sweeteners like maple syrup and agave.

Is there a low-sodium version of this recipe?

Use reduced-sodium soy sauce and adjust the quantity to taste. You can also omit or reduce additional salt.

Can I prepare the sauce in advance?

Absolutely! Make the sauce ahead and refrigerate. Reheat and toss with the cooked “chicken” before serving.

How do I get a crispy texture on the “chicken” without deep-frying?

Bake or air-fry the coated “chicken” pieces until they are crispy. Turning them halfway through ensures even crispiness.

What vegetables work well in this dish?

Broccoli, bell peppers, and snow peas are classic choices. Feel free to add others like carrots or water chestnuts.

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