Instant Pot General Tso Chicken

Make this Better than Takeout Instant Pot General Tso Chicken! Tender juicy pressure cooker chicken soaked in sweet and sour General Tso Sauce with a tad spicy kick. Super easy to make & so deliciously addictive to eat! 😀

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4.88 from 8 votes

Is General Tso Chicken one of your favorite Chinese takeout dishes? 🙂

What is General Tso Chicken?

The lightly battered, sweet-sour and spicy bite-size deep-fried chicken has become an iconic favorite American-Chinese dish.

We created this General Tso Chicken inspired shredded chicken in memory of Chef Peng Chang-kuei 彭長貴 (September 26, 1918 – November 30, 2016), credited as the creator of the legendary General Tso’s Chicken.

Chef Peng Chang-Kuei - creator of General Tso's Chicken
Photo Credits: taiwannews.com.tw

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Chef Peng began his culinary training under a famous Hunan chef at the age of 13. He later became the head chef, running the Chinese Nationalist government’s banquets.

In 1952, during a banquet for a visiting US Admiral, the admiral was so impressed with this chicken dish that he asked for the name.

On the spur of the moment, Chef Peng named it after “General Tso” Zuo Zongtang 左宗棠 – an acclaimed Hunanese military general.

Yes, General Tso was is known for war, not the chicken… 😉

Chef Peng continued his culinary journey in America when he migrated to New York in the 1970s.

That’s when his Hunanese food received rave reviews from American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who helped popularize his food.

Chef Peng, thank you for all your creations and contributions to the culinary world!

Instant Pot General Tso Chicken | Pressure Cooker General Tso Chicken | Instant Pot General Tao Chicken | General Tso Sauce | Instant Pot Chicken Recipes | Instant Pot Chinese Recipes

Since we couldn’t deep-fry in the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker, we gave the original dish a creative twist by using shredded chicken cooked in yummy General Tso Sauce, plus the added crunch by serving it as a lettuce wrap! 🙂

You can pair the shredded chicken with lettuce to make low carb chicken wrap; or you can pair it with rice, noodles, or your favorite side dishes. It’s perfect for dinner parties, entertaining guests, potlucks, picnics…

Time to make Instant Pot General Tso Chicken!

Instant Pot General Tso Chicken

Easy Better than Takeout Instant Pot General Tso Chicken Recipe: Tender, juicy pressure cooker chicken soaked in sweet and sour General Tso Sauce with a tad spicy kick. Super easy to make & so deliciously addictive to eat!
4.88 from 8 votes
Print Rate This Recipe
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 -6
Calories: 302kcal
Author: Amy + Jacky

Ingredients

  • 8 - 10 (~2 pounds) chicken drumsticks
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) peanut oil
  • 10 dried Chinese red chili
  • 3 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 - 2 stalks green onion , green part finely chopped for garnish; white part cut into 1.5 inch pieces
  • 1 (10g) slice ginger , roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) honey (optional)

General Tso Sauce:

Thickener:

Serve:

Instructions

  • Sauté Garlic and Ginger: Heat up your pressure cooker (Instant Pot: press Sauté button). While the pressure cooker is heating, pour in 1 tbsp (15ml) peanut oil.

    Add 10 dried Chinese red chili, minced garlic, white part of green onions, and chopped ginger in the pressure cooker, then allow them to slowly release their fragrance. Sauté for roughly 3 minutes.
  • Pressure Cook Chicken: Add General Tso Sauce mixture and chicken in Instant Pot. Close lid and pressure cook at High Pressure for 12 minutes + 12 minutes Natural Release. Release the remaining pressure, then open the lid carefully.
  • Shred Chicken: Place chicken in a large mixing bowl. Remove chicken skin if desired. Shred chicken with a fork. Remove the bones.
  • Thicken General Tso Sauce: Remove the Chinese red chili. Heat up your pressure cooker (Instant Pot: press Sauté button), and bring the sauce back to a boil. Taste the sauce and add in roughly 1 tbsp (15ml) of honey to sweeten the sauce if desired.

    Mix 2 tbsp of cornstarch with 2 tbsp of water and stir the mixture into the sauce one third at a time until desired thickness.

    Place the shredded chicken back in the sauce and mix well.
  • Serve: Place shredded chicken on lettuce. Garnish with finely chopped green onions. You may also serve this Instant Pot General Tso Chicken Lettuce Wrap with Hoisin Sauce on the side. Enjoy~ 🙂
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Recipe Notes:

*Rate the Recipe: If you've tried the recipe, don't forget to Rate the Recipe in the Comments Section. Thank you! ?

Nutrition:

Calories: 302kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 302mg | Potassium: 453mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 17.6% | Vitamin C: 6.2% | Calcium: 4% | Iron: 7%
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main
Cuisine: American-Chinese
Keyword: general tao chicken, general tso sauce, instant pot chicken recipes, instant pot chinese recipes, instant pot general tso chicken, pressure cooker chicken, pressure cooker general tso chicken
Tried this recipe?Mention @pressurecookrecipes or tag #AmyJacky!

Cooking Tips for Instant Pot General Tso Chicken

1. Chinese Black Vinegar vs. Distilled White Vinegar

Chinese Black Vinegar will add more complexity to the General Tso Sauce Mixture’s flavor compare to using Distilled White Vinegar.

2. Butter Lettuce vs. Romaine Lettuce

We used both butter lettuce & romaine lettuce to serve this Pressure Cooker General Tso Chicken. They each bring a different texture & dimension to the dish.

  • Butter Lettuce – extremely tender, smooth, sweet
  • Romaine Lettuce – refreshing, firm, adds a crunch

3. Can I Substitute with Chicken Breast?

Yes! Please note that the Pressure Cooker General Tso Chicken will come out slightly drier when compared to using dark meat. You can pressure cook chicken breasts at High Pressure at 6 – 8 minutes + Natural Release.


Step-by-Step Instant Pot General Tso Chicken Cooking Guide

Prepare Ingredients for General Tso Chicken in Instant Pot:

Instant Pot General Tso Chicken | Pressure Cooker General Tso Chicken Recipe Ingredients

Preparation


First, mince the garlic, and roughly chop the ginger.

Chop green onions: green part finely chopped for garnish, white part cut into 1.5-inch pieces (as shown below).

Pressure Cooker General Tso Chicken Recipe preparation

Wash and break the lettuce leaves into individual pieces.

Instant Pot General Tao Chicken Lettuce Wrap

1

Sauté Garlic and Ginger


First, heat up your pressure cooker (Instant Pot: press Sauté button).

Instant Pot Saute

While the pressure cooker is heating, pour in 1 tbsp (15ml) peanut oil.

Add 10 dried Chinese red chili, minced garlic, white part of green onions, and chopped ginger in Instant Pot. Then, allow them to slowly release their fragrance. Sauté for roughly 3 minutes.

2

Pressure Cook Chicken


Add General Tso Sauce mixture and chicken in Instant Pot.

With Venting Knob at Venting Position, close the lid, then turn Venting Knob to Sealing Position.

  • Pressure Cooking Method: Pressure Cook at High Pressure for 12 minutes + 12 minutes Natural Release

After 12 minutes, release the remaining pressure by turning Venting Knob to Venting Position. When Floating Valve drops, open the lid carefully.

3

Shred General Tso Chicken


Place chicken in a large mixing bowl.

Remove the chicken skin if desired. Remove the meat from the bones, and shred with a fork.

instant pot shredded chicken

4

Thicken General Tso Sauce


Remove the Chinese red chili.

Heat up your pressure cooker (Instant Pot: press Sauté button), and bring the sauce back to a boil.

Taste the General Tso Sauce, then add in roughly 1 tbsp (15ml) of honey to sweeten the sauce if desired.

Mix 2 tbsp of cornstarch with 2 tbsp of water and stir the mixture into the sauce one third at a time until desired thickness.

Place the shredded chicken back in the sauce and mix well.

5

Serve Instant Pot General Tso Chicken


Place shredded General Tso Chicken on lettuce.

Garnish with finely chopped green onions.

*Note: You may serve this Pressure Cooker General Tso Chicken Lettuce Wrap with Hoisin Sauce on the side.

Instant Pot General Tso Chicken | Pressure Cooker General Tso Chicken | Instant Pot General Tao Chicken | General Tso Sauce | Instant Pot Chicken Recipes | Instant Pot Chinese Recipes

Enjoy your delicious Pressure Cooker General Tso Chicken!~ 🙂


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Food Lovers in our 30s who worked directly with Instant Pot CEO, Manufacturers, and 35+ Restaurants. Culinary Families & Food Magazine Publishers.
  1. Looking forward to trying this recipe. A couple of questions…Is there a non-alcoholic substitute you can recommend for Shaoxing Wine?
    Can I use fresh red chillis instead of dried Chinese red chilli?

    1. Hi Isalee,

      Thank you for your question 🙂

      The Shaoxing wine can be omitted.

      Fresh red chili can be used as well.

      Please take care & have fun cooking
      Jacky

  2. This tastes delicious! Thank you for the recipe! I was Curious though, I could Only find Árbol dried chili’s at the store. Are those the same as the dried chili’s you mentioned? I was Scared to add 10, so I just Did 2 and there was no spice. Thanks!

    1. Hi Cherylle,

      Hope you had a wonderful New Year 🙂
      Thank you so much for your kind words on the recipe!

      You got the right idea as Arbol dried chili should be more spicy than the dried chili we used. I recommend trying 5 – 7 of them first.

      Happy New Year & please take care
      Jacky

  3. I have an 8 quart Instant Pot, which apparently requires a minimum of 2 cups of liquid for cooking. Since this recipe only needs a little over a 1/4 cup liquid, will it activate the “Burn” feature?

    Most Instant Pot recipes are for 6 quart pots, which only require 1 cup liquid. How do I adapt the recipes for the 8 quart pot?

    1. Hi MM,

      Hope you had a wonderful New Year 🙂
      Thank you for your question. There is roughly half a cup of liquid. Since the chicken will also release a lot of moisture, this recipe should work just fine in the 8 quart Instant Pot.

      1 cup of liquid is plentiful for 8 quart Instant Pot to get up to pressure, so you will not need to make any adjustment for most of the recipes.

      Happy New Year & please take care
      Jacky

  4. I made this recipe a few nights ago and my kids and I loved it! I made a few minor changes:

    • I used coconut aminos in place of the soy sauce (we don’t do soy).

    • I didn’t have peanut oil, so I subbed sunflower oil.

    •I had shaoxing cooking wine but didn’t have Chinese black vinegar, so I used for distilled white vinegar as suggested.

    • After removing the whole red chilies I added some crushed red pepper (we like a bit of heat).

    We had it served over rice, and it was better than the general tso’s at our favorite Chinese restaurant! Already planning to make it again.

    谢谢!

  5. Can you please provide the nutrition facts? I’m using MyFitnessPal and wanted to log this in. This is a great recipe, I used boneless, skinless chicken breast instead of drumsticks.

    1. Hi LC,

      thank you for your question and kind words 🙂

      This recipe uses the old recipe format so we will not be able to provide the nutrition facts until we convert it to the new format.

      Take care & have fun cooking
      Jacky

  6. This was delicious. It was my first chicken dish cooked in the instant pot and it was wonderful.
    I followed as closely as my cupboard allowed. I rarely have any wine. I subbed balsamic vinegar for the wine and used plain vinegar. No dried red chili but I saw in your comments that they were not hot. I don’t remember if I used something else.
    It’s such a treat for me to be able to make this meal. I’ve only made vegetable fried rice before and there are no Asian restaurants near me.
    Your recipes are written so clearly. They are perfect for me.
    You two also are great about responding to questions in the comments. That makes a big difference to me. So many food bloggers do not respond, clear up confusing directions in the original post, or correct typos.
    Being new to pressure cooking I am triply grateful for your clarity.
    Thank you.

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment Bridget 🙂

      We are happy and grateful to be able to do what we love and have readers like you coming to our website.

      Please take care!
      Jacky

  7. Made this today with a mix of bone-in thighs and bone-in breasts, and it was fantastic! So easy to make, too. I doubled everything since I had 4 pounds of chicken. I subbed a generous shake of crushed red pepper and a spoonful of garlic chili paste because I am still waiting on the chilis I ordered from Amazon, but otherwise followed the recipe. I appreciate that you provide a link to the exotic ingredients that I’d never find in my small town. Now I need to try your other recipes that call for black vinegar and Shaoxing wine. Oh, my college son who popped in for a visit is very happy to be taking leftovers home with him. Yum yum!

    1. Hi Mary,

      thank you for your question ?

      Our recipes are developed in the 6 quarts and for most of them you will not need to divide the recipe in half (as long as the meat fits)

      For recipes with a lot of liquid such as soups, pasta, congees, stocks…etc, you will want to cut them by half in the 3qt.

      The cooking time will stay the same!

      Happy New Year & have a wonderful week!
      Jacky

    1. Hi Michelle,

      For frozen meat, it is best to submerged them at least 90% into the cooking liquid.

      You will probably want to double the sauce so the chicken thighs are at least 90% submereged. The cooking time will be the same!

      Happy New Year to you and your family
      Jacky

  8. Hi! This recipies sounds delicious but I have a son with a deadly peanut/nut allergy so is there a good substitute for the peanut oil?

    1. Hi Rachel,

      Vegetable oil will work in place of peanut oil for all the recipes 🙂

      Happy New Year to you and your family! We wish you all a healthy 2018
      Jacky

  9. Hi. I look forward to your Recipes every time they come to my inbox. 🙂 Keep up the fabulous work! Have you thought about making a Cookbook? Onto my question: can I use mirin instead of the Shaoxing? Would I need to reduce the sugar accordingly? Or if this is not good to substitute, do let me know.

    1. Hi Chris,

      thank you for your kind words and question 🙂

      Due to family health issues, we have postponed the idea of a cookbook.

      Mirin will not be a good substitution for this recipe.

      Take care & have fun cooking
      Jacky

    1. Hi Capio,

      thank you for your question 🙂

      Ground chicken will work. You may want to reduce the cooking time to 5 minutes + 10 minutes Release.

      Take care & have fun cooking
      Jacky

  10. We have 2 1/2 lbs. of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Should we use the same quantities of the sauce component? Thank you!

    1. Hi Elizabeth,

      thank you for your question 🙂

      You will only have to cook the sauce (which will be faster on stovetop). You may want to add about 1/4 cup – 1/2cup of unsalted chicken stock into the sauce.

      and then mix the precook shredded chicken in to warm them up.

      Take care & have fun cooking
      Jacky

  11. Suggest using iceberg lettuce instead for a nice crunch, romaine was a little woody/tough for this dish, as well this recipe made a lot of sauce for me so I didn’t mix all the sauce with the shredded chicken, just added as needed.

    Thanks for sharing your recipes!

    Jen

  12. could you add other vegetables to this? I’m thinking jicama, mushrooms, carrots, broccoli? Cooking times?

  13. This turned out GREAT! I didn’t have Shaoxing wine, so I used sherry. It’s Taylor brand cooking sherry that I buy at the liquor store. I say that because I live in Colorado where we can’t buy wine or other liquor in the grocery store. If you buy cooking sherry in the grocery store, sodium has been added added. I used skinless boneless chicken thighs cut into bite-size pieces and cooked it 12 minutes. It was a real treat. Thanks for the recipe.

  14. I’ve read about time change for chicken breast and also about instruction for frozen drumsticks, but what about Frozen Chicken Breasts? How long would you cook for that?

    1. Hi KE,

      The best way to cook frozen drumsticks is to submerge them in the liquid.
      Make sure they are not stuck together as a giant ice cube and 9 minutes + natural release at High Pressure will fully cook them 🙂

      take care & have fun cooking
      Jacky

    1. Hi Amanda,

      thank you for your question 🙂
      Chicken breasts can be used instead.
      Cook at High Pressure for 5 minutes + natural release.

      Take care & have fun cooking
      Jacky

    1. Hi Lisa,

      thank you for your question 🙂

      You will not have to adjust the cooking time if the frozen chicken are not stuck together as a giant frozen icecube.

      Take care & have fun cooking
      Jacky

  15. Hi – I am really excited to make this. How does it do to be made one day and reheated to eat the next day (or if there are leftovers)? We tend to make a few dinners on the weekends to have during the week. Thanks!

    1. Hi Cara,

      thank you for your question 🙂

      Yes you can reheat to eat the next day.
      Just make sure to use new lettuce leaves the next day!

      take care & have fun cooking
      Jacly

    1. Hi Susy,

      thank you for your question 🙂

      Yes, you can use honey instead. Please taste and adjust accordingly.

      Cocnut Aminos is a good substitution for Soy sauce!

      Take care & have fun cooking
      Jacky

    1. Hi Marsha,

      Great to hear from you again!

      A pinch of chili flakes will do 🙂
      Not too much as the spice level should be mild.

      Have fun cooking and hope to see you around!
      Jacky

  16. How do I print your recipe?
    I click on the print button and just have a blank page. Want to take the recipe to the grocery store with me. Can’t wait to make it!

    1. Hi Val,

      Congrats on your new Instant Pot and thank you for your question.

      Our recipes are developed with the manual setting 🙂

      Happy new year and have fun cooking!
      Jacky

  17. Thanks for another lovely recipe. That is my favorite to order out. I used chicken thighs. Super easy recipe. Happy new year!

    1. Hi Steve,

      Thank you for your question 🙂
      The color is from the General Tso’s sauce.

      Browning the drumsticks is not required for this recipe.

      Have fun cooking!
      Jacky

  18. Amy & Jacky,

    I am very impressed with your creativity in this recipe and thank you for the history lesson. I had no idea this dish originated from my beloved Taiwan. I will have to pick up chicken drumsticks the next time I’m at the grocery store so I can try this recipe myself.

    Keep up the good work!

    1. Hi Stephen,

      It’s great to hear from you again 🙂
      Thank you so much for your kind comment!!

      We will be looking forward to hearing your feedback on this dish

      Have fun cooking
      Jacky

    2. Great results from cooking with your recipe, my family loved the flavor and the chicken was very tender! I only used half the recommended amount of dried chilis because I was worried about the dish becoming too spicy; turned out not to be a concern at all.

      Thanks for another dish well done!

    3. Hi Stephen,

      Great to hear from you again. Glad to hear your family loved the flavor!
      As always, thank you for your kind comment.

      Yes, the dried red chilis are not spicy at all 🙂
      Don’t let the red color fool you!

      Happy New Year & Have fun cooking!
      Jacky

  19. I LOVE your blog! It’s my favorite. Q: I don’t love dark meat and I really don’t like bones and skins. Can I use boneless skinless breasts? How much time? Or at the least boneless skinless thighs? Is that just rice wine? Is there something particular about it? I have a fantastic Asian market in my town so just curious.

    1. Hi Sharyn,

      thank you for your comment and question.

      Yes, you can use chicken breasts for this recipe. Please use 6 – 8 minutes at High Pressure + Natural Release.

      Shaoxing wine is a type of rice wine. It is commonly used in Chinese Cuisine 🙂
      The taste is kind of similar to sherry wine.

      Have fun cooking!
      Jacky

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