New York Times bestselling author, slow cooking expert and mommy blogger next door
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A Year of Slow Cooking

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Slow Cooker General Tso's Chicken Recipe

When I began my everyday slow cooking challenge in 2008, I really didn't think I'd come up with recipes or new uses for the slow cooker. 

I just figured I'd post what I made in the pot and people would click over to see if I really did it or not. Once readers started commenting and emailing me ideas, I got really into the whole challenge and decided that I should not only use the crockpot everyday, the stuff I posted should be brand-new every day.

and that's when I had a mini panic attack.

you see, I like take-out. A lot.

Those late-night Jack in the Box commercials? They were pretty much written for me in mind.

I get sucked in, and I want what's being marketed RIGHTTHISVERYMINUTE, even if I'm full and have already flossed.

and don't get me started on infomercials...

I really shouldn't watch TV.


the good news is that I now have an arsenal of Take Out Fake Out recipes and when I'm hunkering (hankering?) for fast food or takeout, I can whip something up myself and cook it all by myself in my very own slow cooker.

and so can you!

The Ingredients.
serves 4

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken, cut in 1-inch chunks
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce (I use La Choy because it's gluten free)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (add more to taste at the table if you'd prefer more heat)
1 (16-ounce) package stir-fry vegetables (to add later)

The Directions.

Use a 4-quart slow cooker. Put the chicken into the bottom of your crockpot and then add the garlic, brown sugar, ginger, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes. Toss the chicken to fully coat with the sauce ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours, then add the frozen vegetables. Re cover and cook on high for an hour, or until the veggies are fully hot and the chicken has reached desired tenderness.
Serve with white or brown rice.

The Verdict.

The kids and Adam love this sauce, which makes me love it even more than they do. This isn't the traditional General Tso's chicken you order from a local takeout joint, because the chicken hasn't been breaded and deep fried. This is a good thing! Not only is this not laden with gluten, it's better for your wallet, your waistline, and your heart.

a few of our other favorite takeout fakeouts:
falafel (yes! really! falafel!)
tamales (traditional, steamed in corn husks)

I hope you're enjoying your day---today I took the time to watch grass grow. :-)

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Manda said...

That looks ridiculously easy and delicious! I have a plan for dinner tomorrow night!!

Heather of Kitchen Concoctions said...

Yum! We had gotten in the bad habit of eating take out for a few weeks straight (hang my head in shame). I am back in the kitchen and on a cooking spree and can't wait to give this a try!

K-Koira said...

That looks super good, and nice and simple, all at once. I hate recipes that call for a gazillion ingredients just for the sauce, this one seems like enough to give it some flavor, not so many there is no way I own all of them.

Amy's Cooking Adventures said...

Yummy! I love take out fake outs! Thanks for sharing!

Meghan said...

Not gonna lie, I have ur book & this is the very first recipe I made out it. It is FANTABULOUS!!!!!

Amie said...

You're awesome! You and my hubby are alike--he loves infommercials and gets SOLD on each of them

Dani said...

Brilliant - thanks so much.

Now if I could just find a slow cooker bread recipe that works in my slow cooker!

Granny's Daughter said...

This is delicious! Don't expect it to taste like real General Tso's, just enjoy what it is.

My chicken barely thawed at all overnight, but I was able to cut it up and use it. Six hours on low, then 1 more hour on high after adding frozen veggies, and it came out perfect.

Anonymous said...

made this last nite, enjoyed it very much :)

Pamela said...

That sounds so good! I love Chinese food--actually, it's a big weakness for me as sometimes, I just have to have it and will get it delivered. This is a good solution, and it's nice to see it can be done in the crockpot!

Anonymous said...

Oh no... I'm running late today and this recipe doesn't have a "high" version. Would 4 hours on high do the trick, or would I end up with some very tough chicken? Thanks for all your crock pot work!

Maria said...

Had this last week..fantastic and easy! Thanks! (Leftovers were good too!)

GF Gidget said...

Delicious! My in-laws would love this meal!

Roger said...

Great stuff. I modified with 6 times the garlic and some Chinese Five Spice and almost ate the whole chicken with my wife last night. very tasty with the brown sugar

Di Di said...

I made this tonight, and it was wonderful. Thank you!

Stephanie said...

Is dried ginger the same as ground ginger? Thanks!

misskate said...

Oh my God, I love you! General Tso's chicken is my very favorite Chinese-American dish (it is not trad. Chinese, I have never found anything remotely like it in a Chinese restaurant outside of America), but it is hands-down the most unhealthy dish in a Chinese restaurant. Living overseas AND wanting to eat healthy? This recipe is an absolute gift! THANK YOU! Cannot wait to try it!

Dan Buko said...

This is great! I also added a handful of cashews (health and diet concerns aside) which added some crunch and flavor. Thanks!
Dan B.

Jenn said...

I'm making this right now and while it smells amazing, I'm wondering if there's enough sauce. It's looking really dry. I will admit that I am using vegetarian chicken and not real chicken, so that may be accounting for some dryness, but I slow cook with it all the time. I poured in a little extra soy sauce, but it's still looking really dry! I hope it turns out okay! Maybe when i add the veggies it will moisten up a bit...

I guess I'll be posting a follow-up. Fingers crossed!

Liz said...

This is a delicious and healthy alternative! Even my Chinese-food-loving husband really liked this. I used garlic powder instead because I was lazy and I also added some fish sauce. Even though I added the veggies at the end, they kind of melted away. I may steam them separately next time... because there will be a next time!

Christine said...

You were hankering for Chinese food, so you hunkered down and made some.

Theresa Rosenthal said...

This is the first recipe I've tried on the website since I try to use my crock pot at least twice a week and I'm so disappointed. I hope it's a fluke. Four hours into cooking, the chicken was dried out, burned on the edges and there was no sauce to speak of. My loving husband ate it and said he could tell there was flavor... was. So sad.... anyone else have this happen?

myork said...

I just tried this tonight and it was awesome! Not to mention that it smelled fabulous all afternoon. I doubled the recipe and put it in a 6 quart slow cooker because that's the only size I have. It still wasn't quite half full so it really only needed about 4.5 to 5 hours total including the veggies. I know it says serves four, but we must be big eaters because 4 people ate almost all of the double recipe. I also made brown rice in the rice cooker. What a yummy, easy dish!

Quiltin' Jenny said...

Oh my gosh this is so good! I made it (in the original quantities) last week. I didn't even get to taste it. My husband and teenage sons plowed through it in no time.
As I walked out the door with my daughter I asked, "does anyone need anything?" My husband, with his arm protectively wrapped around the plate said, "More of THIS!" LOL!
I doubled it tonight and actually got to try it. I also used half chicken breasts and half boneless thighs for a little more juicy flavor. YUM!
Thanks for your recipes and your inspiration!

Esther said...

This looks good. I want to be super lazy and not cook anything at all. Do you think adding noodles or rice would work, and if so, do they go on the bottom? (I'm fairly new to crockpotting, just got mine 3 weeks ago- a 5.7 l/ 6 quarts)
I want to replace the frozen veggies for fresh, do I need to add extra water or sauce?

Laura said...

Made this a week ago and my husband and I demolished it. Great flavor! Making the Honey Garlic Chicken tonight. Super excited! :)

GalFromAway said...

I made this for my in-laws Monday night, and it went over so well!! I'm having fun reading the comments here, and will be trying some of the modifications and changes folks have done next time I make it.

Gotta try more of your recipes - I have a ton bookmarked, but haven't forced myself to make them yet.

Melissa said...

I premixed this (without veggies) and froze it and then made in the crockpot, having for dinner tonight, can't wait to see if my picky eater likes it

Katie Compton said...

I just whipped this up in about 10min. I write a blog ( that is fairly new. I make meal plans by the month with itemized lists and I love this recipe because all I really needed was the chicken. I used 4 diced chicken thighs, and 1/2tsp. Fresh ginger, other than that I followed it to a t. It smells amazing! I added a link back to your page on my page! You have a great blog can't wait to try others in the future

Becky Ginther said...

This was very tasty! I loved the spiciness, and it was very simple. Thank you!

J.Rae said...

OH YEAH General Tsos all the way! Thanks for sharing this recipe, its a definite winner in my book!

Samantha M. said...

Just made this for Christmas dinner (as a Jew, we always go out for Chinese and a movie on Christmas, but alas, at this duty station, nothing is open). PERFECT! I am not a huge Chinese food eater, but this was amazing. Husband loved it too, so a total score!

I doubled the sauce ingredients, as after an hour, the sauce had almost completely simmered away. This ended up making just the right amount of sauce for our liking.

We love spicy food, but I discovered it's definitely easy to go too spicy. I will stick to the recipe next time :)

Lyn Sledge said...

I am making this right now, and i wish i hade seen the previous post just got home and there is hardly any sauce. I just put the veggies in, any suggestions on saucing this up a little???
Thank you for any ideas. I only have an hour or so before its done. Yikes ;-)
love your site! I wish I had found sooner.

pmagie said...

Just made this and used soy vey very teriaki. Perfect.

Karla Maynor said...

I have tried this twice, and like Theresa said there was absolutely no sauce and the chicken was burnt. I gave up on making it in the crockpot. Is there an ingredient missing? I've even tried doubling the sauce recipe as well. I have turned this into a stir fry recipe (no crockpot) and it turned out great, so the taste is wonderful. Any suggestions? I have tried some other recipes and they were great!

kittytech said...

I am SO EXCITED to try this recipe! This has always been my favorite meal from Chinese restaurants, but every recipe I've found for it wanted to do the whole breading thing. I know I could just do the recipe without doing the breading, and I have, but it's just nice to see a recipe that doesn't include it. Most places where I've had this have more breading than chicken, and without the sauce the chicken is actually pretty nasty. So, this is definitely going on my grocery list this weekend. Thanks!

Hardlyagoddess said...

Delicious! Served over rice with some store bought egg rolls and my husband I'd happy! And so am I. Thanks for my easy dinner tonight~

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