Lighter General Tso — s Chicken — Damn Delicious

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Lighter General Tso’s Chicken

A completely lightened-up, baked version made with half the calories. And it tastes even better than the original!

I love playing around with “lightened-up” recipes. You save on so many calories, and if it tastes half as good as the original, I’m a happy camper. But this general tso’s chicken tastes nothing like a skinny version. If anything, I think it tastes even better than the original!

So how is this version lightened-up? Well, for starters, nothing is deep fried. Everything gets baked right in the oven. And if you’re worried about losing that amazing crispness, well, have no fear. With the use of crushed up Corn Flakes, the chicken comes out amazingly crunchy and crisp! You’d be amazed that this was actually baked in the oven.

So there you have it – a Chinese take-out favorite completely lightened up and baked to absolute perfection. It’s so good, no one would believe it’s a homemade “skinny” version!

Lighter General Tso’s Chicken

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

A lightened-up, baked version made with half the calories. And it tastes even better than the original!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunk
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups crushed Corn Flakes

For the sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Coat a cooling rack with nonstick spray and place on a baking sheet; set aside.
  2. Working in batches, dredge chicken in flour, dip into eggs, then dredge in crushed Corn Flakes, pressing to coat.
  3. Place onto prepared baking sheet and coat with nonstick spray. Place into oven and bake until golden brown and crisp, about 13-15 minutes.
  4. In a large saucepan over medium high heat, combine chicken broth, hoisin, rice vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar and cornstarch until thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in chicken and gently toss to combine.
  5. Serve immediately.

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91 comments

The fact that you lightened it up and it tastes BETTER than the original is quite a feat but I am not surprised! You are so talented with all these great dinner ideas!

This looks amazing. I was just wondering what kind of peppers are in the photo. We love heat, and I wondered if you used them as a part of the dish, or as a garnish?

I used dried peppers strictly for a garnish.

I MADE this today
And my husband and i loved it! Definitely a keeper thanks for sharing

Yum! In addition to making it healthier by baking rather than frying, it also saves us the time of standing over the stove to fry the chicken – yay! This looks like a great new version, and I can’t wait to try it.

Yum!! I love this idea for healthier takeout. Pinned!!

All I can think about when looking at these pics is jumping in a grabbing a few chicken bites and running away with them! They look so delicious. General tsos is one of my fave Chinese dishes and now it’s awesome being able to enjoy it without the guilt!

I’m with you on the corn flakes. I used to use them before when bread crumbs were tough to find. Recently made tuna and cheese croquettes with crushed corn flakes too! I love how it’s so forgiving to being baked instead of fried, and yet, still crispy! Just need to make sure it’s heated up in the toaster oven instead of the microwave to maintain the crispiness 🙂

I must say, every recipe we have tried has been Damm Delicious. We look forward to trying the Lighter General Tso’s Chicken.

Your lightened up version looks incredible, love the corn flake coating!

I’m trying this tonight for dinner. It looks delicious!

I love every recipe of yours that I’ve tried. This one’s next. I love the idea of baking the corn flake crust for crispiness. But what kind of peppers did you use for the garnish?

I used dried chile peppers as a garnish.

Damn girl! This looks fantastic! If anything, baking the chicken might result in even jucier and tender meat 😀 x

Ooh I think I have most of these ingredients! I was just wondering what we were going to do with the chicken breasts we have in the fridge – this sounds like the perfect way to use them up!

Just made this, so good and healthy. I steamed some broccoli with it, excellent. Just found your blog all your recipes look awesome!

Made this Toni get and it is delish!! As a personal preference, I would cut back on the sugar and add a little more Japanese vinegar or lemon…just a little to cut the sweetness.
Love your photography and food!!

This was a great change up for dinner during the week, however, it took longer than 15 minutes to prep. It definitely took longer to prep than it did to actually cook. I finally gave up and tossed everything in a large zip lock bag to save time.

I made this today and it it’s very good the recipe was simple to follow I will defiinitlymake this again.

I’m really interested in making this, but I’m not the least bit fan of hoisin sauce. Any recommendations on what I could sub for it?

Unfortunately, hoisin sauce is a crucial ingredient in this dish so I do not recommend using any kind of substitute as it may completely alter the taste/texture of the dish. If you are not a fan of hoisin sauce, this may not be an appropriate dish for your taste buds.

Do you know what the total calorie count is?

Unfortunately, as I am not a registered dietician, I am not comfortable sharing nutritional information of my recipes. Please use online resources at your own discretion to obtain such information.

My 13 year old daughter loves General Tsos chicken. Her and I made this tonight for our family Sunday dinner, all I can say is it was a tremendous hit. As I try and teach her how to cook, it’s nice to be able to try something new and healthy. My husband even cleaned the kitchen since we worked so hard. Thank you Damn Delicious for all you recipes, keep them coming there are already asking what’s for dinner tomorrow.

We tried this tonight, with some alterations. I used boneless/skinless thighs (it was what we had), panko instead of cornflakes (it was what we had), chopped basil + slivered red pepper instead of green onions for a garnish (it was what we had). I also added some dried red pepper flakes and some sambal oelek, as we wanted it spicy. Delicious, and we will definitely make it again.

Oh my. Lawd, I need this.

This is the first time I’ve ever bothered to leave a comment on a blog, and it’s for a good reason. Most every recipe I make and thoroughly enjoy enough to make again and again comes from your blog, and not only do you have ballin’ recipes, you are also entertaining and fun to read. Bravo, my friend! Thanks for the dank food!

Made this tonight! Everyone loved it and sadly for me, no leftovers for lunch tomorrow! Awesome blog, thanks for sharing!

Is there a substitute for cornflakes. They are sweetened and I have seen recipes for unsweetened cornflake crumbs, but can’t find them. Would pinko bread crumbs work?

Panko bread crumbs would definitely work, although they just won’t be as tasty and/or crunchy as the cornflakes!

I have corn flake crumbs in my cupboard. Can I use in lieu of crushed cornflakes? And how much do you think (if you are crushing 2 cups corn flakes).

I do not recommend using cornflakes as it may bring in unwanted sweetness to the dish. It is always best to use the ingredients listed in the recipe to obtain the best results possible.

Oh, and how do you get perfect rice. (I have a pressure cooker, but not a rice cooker in my home). Thank you!

It really depends on how you prefer to have your rice cooked. I personally like rice made in a rice cooker or basmati rice made on the stovetop.

Yummy is all I got to say to about this! 😀 Made some rice and cut up some broccoli and ate it up like it was going out of style. Not only that but I don’t have to feel guilty about eating it or giving up my Chinese take out. Your recipes are awesome dudet =3

when you say to coat with cooking spray, do you mean the chicken, or the baking sheet? (sorry if that’s a daft question.)

also, I’ve never seen hoison sauce — is it at most grocery stores? thank you!

You want to coat both the chicken and the baking sheet. As for hoisin sauce – yes, it is at most grocery stores in the Asian food section next to the soy sauce, sweet and sour sauce, etc.

I have always considered myself to be an absolute hopeless cook. However, the last few nights I tried this recipe and the sweet-and-sour chicken. Both turned out fabulously despite me cooking. They are both worth the try. The sweet-and-sour is my favorite by a little bit, but both are wonderful.

I usually like your dishes but I had to add sambal oelek and a ton more vinegar since it pretty much tasted just like nothing but hoisin and soy sauce so was a little disappointed. This didn’t taste anything like general tsos to me.

Danielle, I’m sorry that this recipe did not turn out the way you had imagined. I only post recipes that have been successfully tested in my own kitchen, and as you can see from the comments here, many of these readers have had great outcomes in the final dish as well. But we all have different taste preferences, and if you are not a fan of hoisin sauce, then I just don’t think this recipe was meant for you. I hope you get a chance to try out the other Asian inspired recipes here with better results!

My husband, son and I are all trying to eat lighter so I try to look for different things to prepare for dinner so we don’t get bored. We all really loved this and were delighted that it tasted so close to the real thing. We spiced things up a bit with some Siracha. We can’t wait to try the crispy chicken nuggets with other sauces as well because they turned out so crispy with the Corn Flake crust.
Thank you for the great site and recipes!

This came out sour for me. My son said his tongue hurt after. I did ingredients exactly as stated. Overall this dish has potential but I may cut back on or cut out the rice vinegar as hoisin sauce has vinegar in it already. A little room for play there I guess. We added red pepper flakes for a little spice. The chicken with the corn flakes was perfect! I’m definitely doing that for other dishes like this. Thanks!

Kristaj, I’m sorry that this recipe did not turn out the way you had imagined. I only post recipes that have been successfully tested in my own kitchen, and as you can see from the comments here, many of these readers have had great outcomes in the final dish as well.

However, recipes are a base and can be adjusted to your preferences – so yes, if the mixture is too sour for your little one, try reducing the amount of hoisin sauce.

I really do hope you get a chance to try this again with a more successful outcome!

KristaJ – I made this tonight and totally agree with you – it’s way too sour!! General Tso’s has a sweet sauce. If I tried this again, I would cut out the rice vinegar and either increase the brown sugar or add some honey. Unfortunately, I was unable to eat it and either was my son. My husband ate it only because he was starving. We both read the other comments and had to chuckle wondering if these folks made the same recipe – i was happy to see KristaJ’s honest post!!

Hi there! My first question was how to keep the cornstarch from clumping? I tried making this and as soon as I added it, it all clumped immediately.

My second question is what brand/kind of hoisin sauce is recommended? I made this dish and to be honest it tasted nothing like general tso’s, and I think it could have been the type of hoisin. The only kind my grocery store had was a “sweet and spicy stir fry” kind. What do you reccomend? Could that be the issue?

Jackie, you can try mixing the cornstarch separately with a little bit of the soy sauce to prevent clumping. As for the hoisin, if you used a “sweet and spicy stir fry” sauce, it’s not surprising that this didn’t taste like General Tso’s. It is best to use authentic hoisin sauce like Lee Kum Kee.

Winner Winner, chicken dinner

Do you think I can use Panko instead? No Corn Flakes in the pantry. 🙂

You can certainly try substituting Panko but without further recipe testing, I cannot speak for how much this will change the overall taste/texture of the dish. Using a substitution may also result in a mediocre outcome.

I just tried this recipe tonight. Very yummy! I love the corn flake/baking method! I’m thinking we could make boneless buffalo bites this way. Yummy and very low fat!

Great recipe! Trying it tonight!

One question though…. Where does the cooling rack fit in?

Brian, the cooling rack is placed inside the baking sheet:

Coat a cooling rack with nonstick spray and place on a baking sheet; set aside.

Once your chicken is coated and ready to be thrown in the oven, you will place the chicken pieces on top of the cooling rack (which is already sitting inside the baking sheet).

Place onto prepared baking sheet and coat with nonstick spray.

If the chicken is cooking on rhe rack, why coat the pan?

Theresa, the pan is not coated per se – the chicken is coated prior to baking.

My husband and I loved your sweet and sour chicken recipe and want to try the generals. What would you add to make it spicy since for this particular dish as that is what we expect?

You can add Sriracha as needed for added spiciness.

Chungah, Thanks for this great recipe, I simmered broccoli and cauliflower florets in the sauce before adding the cornstarch and served it all over a wild rice blend – absolutely delicious!

I’m fairly new with cooking. I made this exactly as it says, really likes the textures and such, but we found it incredibly salty.any thoughts on what I did wrong? Maybe the brands of soy sauce and chicken broth I used?

Roo, it is best to use reduced sodium soy sauce. Also, if you are not a particular fan of Hoisin sauce (which is both salty and sweet), then this recipe may not be your cup of tea. This dish should also be consumed with rice, as it should not be served by itself due to its heavy salt content.

This might be a dumb question but I’m a recent college grad figuring out how to not make easy mac — can I make this vegetarian with cauliflower? I know I can make the sauce but will the cornflakes stick to it? Being an adult is hard.

I personally have not tried it myself but I have seen quite a few general tso’s recipes recipes using cauliflower.

Wow. This was fantastic. I’ve made it twice, once subbing orange juice for chicken stock, and it was fabulous both times. Thanks for a great recipe!

That recipe looks great and just made me hungry – even though I just ate lunch. I’m always skeptical of “healthafied” re-makes but this looks pretty solid. I will have to give it a try!

Would the dish work if I substituted panko instead for the corn flakes? Any difference in flavor or would it just be in the crispness of the chicken? Thanks! I am trotting off to leave a very good comment for the noodles…

Panko should work but I have found that the crispness is really best when corn flakes are used.

About how many calories is this dish?

Nutritional information is provided only for select and new recipes at this time. However, if it is not available for a specific recipe, it is best that you use free online resources at your discretion (you can Google “nutritional calculator”) to obtain such information.

just wondering how this is th next day- like how mushy could it get? Thanks so much.

This is really best when served immediately as the crispness does lose out over time.

Wow! just made this while my kids were eating lunch. Not only easy but super tasty! Thanks

Where’s the heat? Shouldn’t there be chilies or something in the recipe? They’re in the picture…

I used dried peppers strictly for a garnish. For added heat, you can add Sriracha as needed. Hope that helps!

Just made this and it was AWESOME! The cornflake breading gives the chicken a great crispy crust, they were really good before I even added the sauce. I’m going to start making chicken nuggets this way. I played with the sauce, added a couple drops of sesame oil, a little crushed red pepper and a pinch of ground ginger which really brought it together. If someone else had served this to me, I would never have known it was baked. Great recipe! Thanks for sharing.

Oh man, I was really rooting for this recipe. There are zero decent Chinese restaurants within a 50 mile radius from me, so I wanted to try to make it at home. But alas, this was way too sweet for me. I tried adding more rice vinegar, sriracha, and even a squirt of lemon juice to try to cut the sweetness, but it was still tooth-achingly sweet. And for some reason I couldn’t get the chicken to get super crispy, despite following the recipe to a T. 🙁

I will definitely give some of your other recipes a try! And I’ll tinker with this one too to see if I can cut back on the sweet.

So. I put a cooling rack on top of a pan and then put the chicken on the cooling rack to bake it? And do I spray with cooking spray again once the chicken is on the cooling rack/pan?

Yes, that’s exactly right.

First time visitor- just wanted to say thank you for this awesome recipe!! My boyfriend and I both agreed this was the best General Tso’s we’ve had.

Also added some red pepper flakes and minced garlic to the sauce. He’s already asking when we can have it again!

I made this dish tonight for the first time. I used the ingredients for the chicken, but had to use an extra egg, flour and corn flakes. The chicken was very crispy and delicious. I used a prepared sauce,.(Trader Joe’s) Next time I’ll make the sauce in the recipe. I’ll definitely make this again, but will experiment with sauces.

I have not yet made but will soon. What are the white dots on top of chicken in picture. Are they sesame seeds.

I’ve tried a few recipes from your site now and must say they’re a huge hit! We enjoyed this recipe as well, but found it to be quite sweet (not what we’re used to when eating General Tso). Do you have any recommendations for making it less sweet? Perhaps less of the brown sugar or hoisin sauce?

What are the nutrition facts for this?

Nutritional information is provided only for select and new recipes at this time. However, if it is not available for a specific recipe, I recommend using free online resources at your discretion (you can Google “nutritional calculator”) to obtain such information. Hope that helps!

I had high hopes for this, but it didn’t taste anything like the General Tso from my local Chinese restaurants. I was also disappointed that the chicken lost its crunchiness after mixing it with the sauce. I did learn one thing though, I’m not a fan of hoisin sauce!

Could you let me know how many calories this lightened up version of General Tso’s chicken is, and how many calories saved?

Nutritional information is provided only for select and new recipes at this time. However, if it is not available for a specific recipe, I recommend using free online resources at your discretion (you can Google “nutritional calculator”) to obtain such information. Hope that helps!

Im not sure what happened, but this didnt taste at all like general tso’s and just didnt taste good at all. Disappointed.

Made it tonight, we both really enjoyed it.

Absolutely addictive. first time making it, so flour-egg-flakes part took me 25 minutes ;))))) other than that – a very easy recipe.

Come join me in my culinary adventures where we’ll be using simple, fresh ingredients and transforming them into sophisticated and elegant meals for the everyday home cook.

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