Instant Pot General Tso’s Chicken—a saucy, savory chicken made with rice in your Instant Pot. This is a healthier, non-fried version of your take-out favorite.
Note: SLOW COOKER instructions are in the recipe card below
Instant Pot General Tso’s Chicken
Go to any Chinese restaurant in North America and you’ll probably see General Tso’s chicken on the menu. It’s an American favorite of fried chicken pieces drenched in a savory, sweet sauce.
My version is made in the Instant Pot and is not fried or breaded. Basically it’s pieces of chicken in the General Tso’s sauce. I honestly didn’t miss the fried part of this recipe and enjoyed serving this saucy chicken over rice with a side of roasted broccoli.
This is a fast and easy recipe. The longest/hardest part is cutting the chicken into pieces and trimming the fat off. The easiest way that I’ve found to do this is to use barely frozen chicken thighs. They are easier to trim and cut into pieces than fresh thighs.
I have been buying the big bags of frozen boneless, skinless chicken thighs from Costco for ages now and I’ll pop some in the fridge the night before I want to use. Or if I’m in a pinch I’ll put a plate of the frozen chicken into the microwave for 3 minutes. They are still partially frozen but are able to be cut and trimmed with ease.
Can I use chicken breasts instead? Yes you can. They won’t be as moist and tender as chicken thigh meat. When you cut the chicken breasts make sure to slice across the grain. Then cut each of those wider strips crosswise into bite size cubes. All muscle has a grain to it. The placement of your knife to this grain will determine the length of the muscle fibers in an individual slice of meat, which in turn will have a profound effect on how tender or tough that meat is.
What equipment do I need? If you’re just making the chicken without rice you’ll need an Instant Pot* (3, 6 or 8 quart). However, if you want to make pot-in-pot rice at the same time you’ll need a trivet (preferably a tall trivet)* and an oven safe pan that fits inside your Instant Pot.*
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Instant Pot General Tso’s Chicken
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes (plus 5 minute NPR)
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 4–6 servings 1x
A saucy, savory chicken made with rice in your Instant Pot. This is a healthier, non-fried version of your take-out favorite.
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 2 Tbsp Hoisin sauce
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into cubes
- 2–3 Tbsp cornstarch + 2–3 Tbsp water
- For garnish: sesame seeds and diced green onions
- Optional: 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice + 2 1/4 cups water
Instant Pot Instructions:
- Add garlic, pepper, broth, Hoisin, sugar, soy sauce and vinegar into Instant Pot. Whisk well.
- Add in the chicken and stir to coat the chicken pieces in the sauce. Submerge as much as possible.
- Optional step of making rice: In a pan*that fits inside your Instant Pot add 1 ½ cups long grain white rice and 2 ¼ cups water. Place a long legged trivet* into your Instant Pot and place the pan on top.
- Cover the Instant Pot and secure the lid. Make sure valve is set to sealing. Set the manual/pressure cook button to 5 minutes. When time is up let the pot sit for 5 minutes then move the valve to venting and remove the lid. If making rice, remove the rice pan and set it aside.
- Turn your Instant Pot to the saute setting. In a small bowl stir together 3 Tbsp of cornstarch with 3 Tbsp of water, until smooth.Then pour the mixture into the Instant Pot. The cornstarch mixture will thicken up contents of pot quickly. Serve chicken and sauce with rice. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.
Slow Cooker Instructions:
- Add garlic, pepper, broth, Hoisin, sugar, soy sauce and vinegar into slow cooker and whisk well.
- Dredge the chicken pieces in the cornstarch. Stir the chicken into the sauce.
- Cover and cook on low 2-4 hours. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.
I used my 6 quart Instant Pot Duo 60 7 in 1*. You can use an 8 quart or 3 quart pot with no changes.
- Category: Chicken
- Method: Instant Pot or Slow Cooker
*Karen Petersen is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
Excellent flavor! My first pot in pot recipe and the rice was perfect. The kids voted the recipe a keeper. Thank you!
Awesome Jennifer! 🙌
Jennifer White says
Can you make the sauce ahead either over night or 8 hours before and then pour of the chicken before you cook it?
Sure that would be great. you could even marinate the chicken in the sauce. I bet that would be tasty!
I did half this recipe (for 2) PIP with rice (in IP duo 8l) for a couple of minutes longer, then tipped sauce into emptied pot to add cornflour to thicken – absolutely gorgeous we love it, thank you
Will be trying more of your recipes now
Oh, so glad to hear it Jill!
What is the height of the trivet used in this recipe? I have an 8 qt Instapot.
It was this one: 3-7/8″
Steve S says
IIf I want to add dried chilis?
Sounds amazing to me. This recipe uses dried chilis, you may want to refer to that: https://wildflourskitchen.com/2015/03/02/authentic-general-tsos-chicken-with-green-onions-dried-red-chili-peppers/
Carolyn Roth says
Can I use chicken breasts, not a fan of dark meat?
Yes you can. They won’t be as moist and tender as chicken thigh meat. When you cut the chicken breasts make sure to slice across the grain. Then cut each of those wider strips crosswise into bite size cubes.
Kim B. says
Can I use parboiled rice? If so, what ratio? Can’t wait to do this one.
Yes! It’s the same as long grain white rice!
Tony Neetz says
Looks great! Can’t wait to try this. Not a big fan of fried foods, so this is perfect!
I’m with you! Fried foods taste good in my mouth but I always regret it later.