Sesame Chicken Vs. General Tso: A Must-know Comparison

Chicken is a popular dish among many people, and it comes in a wide variety of flavors. Sesame Chicken and General Tso are two popular Chinese chicken dishes.

Sesame chicken is a sweet, mellow, and earthy dish in the United States. It’s available in a variety of Chinese restaurants in the United States. On the other hand, General Tso is a spicy and hot Chinese entrée. It derives its name from Zuo Zongtang, a Chinese general and statesman.

Perhaps you want to visit a Chinese restaurant and have ideas on what chicken dishes to try. Our comparison of both traditions will give you an idea.

Sesame Chicken Vs. General Tso

American Chinese cuisines such as Sesame Chicken and General Tso are popular in the United States. Both dishes share some similarities. They’re made with chicken or beef (although you can swap shrimp with chicken in a sesame dish). Both sides of the meat are deep-fried.

The sauce is what sets them apart. Sesame chicken sauce contains a lot of sugar, so it’s both sweet and salty, whereas the General Tso sauce is fiery, hot, and buttery.

Steamed rice is the traditional accompaniment to sesame chicken. Although it’s not as vividly colored as General Tso’s sauce, it’s just as sweet. In addition, the sesame oil and seeds in the sesame chicken give it a distinct salty, nutty flavor.

Broccoli and carrots complement General Tso wonderfully. The sauce is brilliant red and incredibly spicy due to chili peppers and other hot spices. It contains more vegetables than sesame chicken. However, the chicken isn’t quite as crispy when served.

Are Sesame Chicken And General Tso Healthy Meals?

These meals are unhealthy and they will not help you lose weight. General Tso’s has a significant amount of sodium and sugar. It contains 295 calories and 88 grams of fat.

Sesame chicken also has a high sugar level. A single restaurant serving contains 790 calories. In addition, this dish has 19.5 grams of fat, 27.9 grams of carbohydrates, and 37.8 grams of protein per serving. The chicken’s fat, carbohydrate, and protein levels will reduce roasted rather than fried.

How To Prepare Sesame Chicken

Ingredients for chicken:

  • Boneless chicken breast or thigh cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Two eggs (beaten)
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
  • Oil for deep frying


  • Beat eggs in a bowl. Then, add salt and pepper to taste. Mix properly.
  • Add flour and cornstarch in a separate bowl from the egg mixture. Mix well.
  • Dip each piece of chicken into the egg mixture first before dipping it into the flour mixture. Do this for all chicken pieces, and set aside.
  • At 350 degrees F, heat 3 inches of oil in a deep pan
  • Add 7-8 pieces of chicken at a time, and fry for 5 minutes. Fry till it’s crispy and golden brown. Do this to the remaining chicken.
  • Drain the chicken on paper towels.

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • One teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1/3 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup of ketchup
  • One teaspoon vegetable oil
  • Two tablespoons rice vinegar
  • One tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • Three tablespoons brown sugar
  • Two teaspoons cornstarch
  • Two tablespoons sliced green onions
  • Two tablespoons sesame seeds


  • While frying the chicken, you can start preparing your sauce.
  • Add the honey, ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, and two teaspoons of cornstarch in a bowl. Mix properly.
  • Add one teaspoon vegetable oil to a large frying pan with medium heat. Add the garlic, and cook for 30 seconds. Then add the honey sauce mixture and simmer for 3-4 minutes until it thickens.
  • Lastly, coat the crispy chicken in the sauce. Pour sesame seeds on it and serve.

Note: You may make this sauce two days ahead of time, and it’ll still be delicious. When you add your chicken to the sauce, serve it quickly since it loses its crispiness as it absorbs the sauce.

You must be careful not to put the chicken into the oil too early or too late when cooking. It suggests the oil isn’t hot enough if it’s too early. It’ll end up soaked in oil and tasting awful. If it’s too late and the oil is too hot, the chicken’s body will brown quickly while the inside remains undercooked.

Nutritional Value Of Sesame Chicken

  • Carbohydrates: 41g
  • Protein: 24g
  • Sodium: 1648mg
  • Fat: 14g
  • Cholesterol: 123mg
  • Potassium: 518mg
  • Saturated Fat: 6g
  • Sugar: 26g
  • Vitamin A: 270IU
  • Calcium: 60mg
  • Iron: 1.9mg
  • Vitamin C: 2.8mg
  • Calories: 392kcal

Note that this meal is high in calories and fat. To make it healthier, you can sauce the chicken in little oil without coating or deep frying.

How To Prepare General Tso

Many people have various methods and breading steps when preparing General Tso, but we’ll consider the baking and traditional frying methods.

Baking method:

Ingredients for chicken:

  • 11/4 pounds chicken breast or thigh (cut in bite pieces)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • Two large eggs (beaten)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup of cornstarch

Ingredients for sauce:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar (distilled vinegar will work too)
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1-2 teaspoons sriracha hot sauce (another option will be 1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes)
  • One tablespoon freshly grated ginger (or one teaspoon ground ginger)


  • First, preheat your oven to 375°F; then, line a baking sheet with foil and set it aside.
  • In a large zip lock bag, properly mix the chicken, salt, pepper, garlic salt, and cornstarch.
  • Heat oil in a deep pan on moderate heat. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture, place in the hot oil, and fry both sides for about 2 minutes each. Remove and place on the baking sheet.
  • In a different bowl, add all ingredients for the sauce and mix well.
  • Now, pour the sauce on the chicken evenly and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is crispy enough. Stir the chicken while baking.
  • Remove and serve with steamed rice and vegetables. You can use sesame seeds and sliced green onions as toppings.

Frying method:

Ingredients for chicken:

  • 1 pound boneless chicken thigh or breast (cut in bite sizes)
  • Oil for frying
  • Two cloves minced garlic
  • One tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes

Ingredients for sauce:

  • Three tablespoons rice vinegar
  • Three tablespoons soy sauce
  • One tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Two tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • Three tablespoons sugar


  • Add the chicken into the quarter cup of cornstarch and leave it while preparing the sauce.
  • Add all sauce ingredients to a separate bowl and mix.
  • Fry the chicken in deep hot oil till it’s crispy. Remove and set aside.
  • Add one tablespoon vegetable oil into a frying pan. Add the chili flakes, ginger, and garlic—Cook for about 30 seconds. (You can drain the oil you used in frying the chicken from the pan and leave a tablespoon in the pan for this stage).
  • Now, add the chicken, toss for a few seconds, add the sauce, and mix well.
  • Stir everything for about 30 seconds and remove once it’s thick.
  • Serve with steamed rice and vegetables immediately.

Note: For a healthier meal, use honey instead of sugar (you can reduce the amount). Stick with light soy sauce, use chicken breast preferably, and add more veggies.

Nutritional Profile of General Tso

  • Protein: 1g
  • Vitamin A: 75IU
  • Sodium: 792mg
  • Potassium: 28mg
  • Vitamin C: 0.5mg
  • Carbohydrates: 20g
  • Calcium: 5mg
  • Calories: 90kcal
  • Sugar: 9g
  • Iron: 0.3mg

Cooking Tips for General Tso

  • If you don’t like plenty of spice, adjust it to your taste by adding spices.
  • When the
  • frying chicken, don’t cram too much into the pan. Overcrowding the pan causes the meat to stick together and cook unevenly.
  • Baking produces a healthier but less crunchy dish.
  • You can add more sauce if you like.

Other Chinese Chicken Meals

Orange chicken:

his dish includes boneless chicken breast. The chicken is marinated in an orange juice mixture with sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, orange juice, and ginger. After that, it’s deep-fried in hot oil after being dipped in cornstarch.

The sauce contains orange peel, chili flakes, vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar. As a result, it has a lemony and sweet flavor. In addition, it has a light color to it.

Hunan chicken:

This is often mistaken for General Tso because it is also very spicy. However, they are different. Hunan chicken has chicken as its main feature. Unlike General Tso, it’s made with chili bean flakes, oyster sauce, and chili flakes. It has a tangy and not a sweet taste. Best served with rice or noodles.

Express chicken:

This is a very spicy, savory sauce. It’s made with a whole chicken mixed in egg white, rice wine, and cornstarch. It’s fried in deep oil till it’s crispy golden brown. The egg white gives it a moist and soft texture. Its sauce is oyster sauce, sesame oil, ginger, chili pepper, green onion, and garlic.


General Tso and sesame chicken are two classic Chinese chicken recipes. However, it’s the sauce that sets them apart. Sesame chicken sauce is sweet and salty due to the sugar content, but General Tso sauce is fiery, hot, and buttery.

Sesame chicken is not as colorful as General Tso’s sauce, but it’s just as delicious. Sesame oil and seeds impart a salty, nutty flavor to the sesame chicken. Broccoli and carrots go great with General Tso. However, the sauce is bright red and extremely spicy due to the chili peppers and other hot spices.

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