General Tso Tofu
This General Tso Tofu tastes just like your favourite Chinese takeout! Crispy tofu is coated in a sweet, tangy sauce for a flavour-packed weeknight dinner.
General Tso Tofu is a dish I’ve made so many times that I can practically make it blindfolded. (Although, I’m going to take a guess that cooking blindfolded probably isn’t generally advised.) When my husband went vegan, we set out to recreate his favourite Asian-inspired dishes, from Air Fryer Orange Tofu to Korean (Gochujang) Tofu Rice Bowls and Vegan Thai Red Curry with Tofu.
We love them all, but it’s General Tso Tofu that we find ourselves making again and again… and again!
There are two steps involved in this recipe: making the sauce and making the divinely crispy tofu. The sticky General Tso sauce is made with easy-to-find ingredients and it comes together in a snap. It’s sweet, tangy, and thick—and the thickness is key because it coats the crispy tofu so well, without making it soggy.
Who needs takeout when it’s this easy to make General Tso Tofu at home?!
How Spicy Is General Tso?
This recipe for General Tso Tofu is as spicy as you want it to be! It calls for dried chillis or red pepper flakes, and you can use as much or as little as you like. You can also omit it altogether, in which case the recipe won’t be spicy at all.
Notes on Ingredients
Please note that this is important information on the ingredients and instructions and the FULL recipe with amounts and details can be found DOWN BELOW (scroll to it) in the recipe card.
For the Crispy Tofu:
- Tofu – I recommend using firm or extra-firm tofu. (Learn more: How To Cook Tofu 101 + Best Tips on Making the Most Delicious Tofu)
- Light soy sauce or liquid aminos
- Garlic powder
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- Sesame or regular oil
For the General Tso Sauce:
- Sesame oil
- Fresh ginger
- Light soy sauce or liquid aminos
- Raw unrefined brown sugar or coconut sugar
- Hoisin sauce
- Cornstarch – You’ll combine this with water to make a slurry, which thickens the sauce.
- Sesame seeds
- Rice wine vinegar – Don’t buy the seasoned variety, which is sweetened.
- Water or broth
- Whole chillies or red pepper flakes – Whole peppers are more authentic, but red pepper flakes work too!
What Are the Red Peppers in Chinese Food?
The most common hot peppers used in Chinese food are Tien Tsin peppers. If you live near an Asian market, you might be able to find them there, but if not, use another variety of red pepper or simply substitute red pepper flakes.
How to Make General Tso Tofu
In less than the time it takes to get carryout, you can have General Tso Tofu on the table ready to eat! Here’s what you need to do.
Make the Crispy Tofu:
Coat the tofu. Place the cubed tofu in a medium bowl. Add the liquid aminos and toss to coat. Add the garlic powder, sea salt, black pepper, and cornstarch; toss again, making sure the tofu is evenly coated.
Cook the tofu. Heat a pan or wok over medium-high heat, and add the oil. When hot, add the tofu and cook on all sides until golden and crispy, about 8 minutes total.
Make the General Tso Sauce:
Cook the aromatics. Heat the oil in a pan set over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and garlic; cook for about 2 minutes, until fragrant and sizzling.
Add remaining ingredients. Pour the remaining sauce ingredients into the pan and whisk to dissolve the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 4 minutes, or until the sauce thickens, whisking frequently. Taste test and add more sugar if you want a sweeter sauce.
Finish. Add the tofu to the sauce. Stir to coat, then cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and garnish with sesame seeds and scallions.
Tips for Success
Here’s how to get perfect takeout-style General Tso Tofu at home—plus some tips for making it your own!
- Use the right kind of tofu. You’ll need to get refrigerated firm or extra-firm tofu, not shelf-stable silken tofu, which has a different texture that doesn’t work for this recipe.
- Be patient. If you flip the tofu too quickly, it won’t get that beautiful crispy exterior! Let it sit for several minutes and only when it’s golden should you flip it.
- Switch things up. You can add pineapple, mushrooms, tempeh, or cauliflower (see: General Tso Cauliflower Wings) to this recipe in addition to or instead of the tofu.
What Goes Well With General Tso Tofu?
There are so many ways to enjoy this dish! Since it’s so saucy, it goes well with:
- White rice, brown rice, or cauliflower rice
- Steamed broccoli
- Quinoa or other cooked grains
- Stir fry veggies (follow the same method in the linked recipe, but use this sauce)
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
If you have leftover General Tso Tofu, it will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Reheat it in a skillet with a splash of oil or in the microwave.
Can This Recipe Be Frozen?
Yes, you can freeze this recipe for up to 2 months in an airtight container. Microwave it from frozen or let it thaw in the refrigerator first and heat it on the stovetop with a splash of oil or in the microwave.
Enjoy friends! If you make this vegan General Tso Tofu recipe, please snap a photo and tag #jessicainthekitchen on Instagram! We’d also love it if you would leave a comment below, and give the recipe a rating! Thanks so much!
General Tso Tofu
- 1 lb block of firm tofu, pressed for 30 minutes
- 2 teaspoons light soy sauce, or liquid aminos
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- pinch sea salt and black pepper (about ¼ teaspoon each)
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons sesame or regular oil
General Tso Sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1/4 cup light soy sauce, or liquid aminos
- 1/4 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch + 1 teaspoon water, stirred together
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- another 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- Whole chillis, to boil or ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- In a medium-size bowl place the pressed and cubed tofu. Add in soy sauce/liquid aminos and toss to coat. Add in the garlic powder, sea salt, black pepper and cornstarch and toss to thoroughly combine.
- Heat a pan or wok over medium-high heat, and add the sesame oil. When hot, add the tofu and toss to crisp up on all sides until the tofu is cooked and crisped on all sides, about 8 minutes.
General Tso Sauce + Putting it All Together
- In a pan over medium heat, heat the sesame oil. Add in the ginger and the garlic and sauté for about 2 minutes until fragrant and sizzling.
- Pour in all the other sauce ingredients (soy sauce, sugar, hoisin sauce, cornstarch slurry, sesame seeds, rice wine vinegar, water, vegetable broth), whisking together immediately to help incorporate the cornstarch slurry. Bring to a boil, then to a simmer for about 4 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken up. Whisk frequently so the cornstarch doesn't thicken up in spots but instead mixes evenly throughout the sauce. Taste test and add more sugar if you want it sweeter. Remove from heat until needed.
- Add in the crispy tofu into the simmering sauce. Stir to coat the tofu fully in the sauce, then and allow to cook for another 2-3 minutes in the sauce.
- Remove from heat and top with extra sesame seeds and chopped scallions. Serve and enjoy!
Disclaimer: Although jessicainthekitchen.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Jessicainthekitchen.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.
Some tofu recipes look amazing in photos but dont live up to your expectations when you make them (never yours lol). I love tofu, and I make it often…but sometimes its just a let down. Let me tell you, this was NOT the case here! It really tastes as good as it looks..or even better! Im so glad I made a double batch, as my family and I ate it all! Better than any take out you could find, not hard to make and easy to follow instructions. Most importantly just so TASTY!!! Thanks for another new fav!
Wow Haviva thank you so much for trying this recipe and leaving such a nice review! The fact that your family made it and loved it too makes it even better. Have a great day!
This was very easy to make and really tasty (tried to give it 5 stars but some reason my rating isn’t working). The only thing I did differently was to add some frozen peas and frozen green beans, which was a nice addition. The sauce is quite yummy and easily covered all of the tofu. I initially thought the sauce was a bit too sweet however, the leftovers the next day were perfect and not sweet at all. Reheated very well.
Thanks so much Tracy. I love your additions. We’re so happy that you enjoyed the recipe and left such a positive review!
I always rely heavily on reviews but never leave them myself. (I know, that’s bad.) After trying this recipe, I decided the world needed to know how absolutely delicious it is. I stopped cooking tofu at home a long time ago because the outcome was always a disappointment and my husband always said it was the one food he wouldn’t eat. Recently, he said he would give it a go. When I found this recipe I thought it would be a great first experience for him. Boy, was it ever! We loved it! The two of us ate the whole batch in one sitting. (No shame here!) Your instructions are full proof. Thank you so much for posting this awesome recipe. I’m looking forward to trying more!
Wow, thank you so much Cheryl! We are so happy to hear from you and your husband! No shame in eating it in one go sometimes Jess and I can’t stop eating this recipe as well. Thank you so much for your amazing review we really appreciate it!
This recipe was super easy and quick to do! It was the perfect dish to make with my sesame ginger quinoa. My husband (who is not usually a tofu fan) actually said it was super yummy so I’ll definitely be doing this recipe again :).
This was SO good! Even though we didn’t have sesame seeds, we loved this recipe. I substituted coconut aminos for the soy sauce, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. My dad and fiance are not vegan, but they loved this recipe. We will absolutely be making this again. The sauce was the perfect blend of spicy, savory, and sweet. Delicious!
Aww thank you so much for this review Alexandra! We’re so happy that you enjoyed it.
Such a good recipe!!! The sauce was AMAZING. I made noodles, mushrooms, and broccoli to go with the tofu and I LOVED it.
Aww yay thank you so much Annie! I’m so happy to hear that!
This was absolutely delicious! Really balanced, the texture of the tofu came out perfect, and my partner agreed it was better than take out. I found the recipe very easy to follow, and with the tofu pressed ahead of time it was done pretty quickly too—thanks Jessica!
We’re so happy that you enjoyed this recipe Jess! Thank you so much for reading and leaving such a nice comment!
Is there anything I can use as a substitute for Hoisin sauce? I want to make this but that’s the only ingredient I don’t have :(.
Hi Inez thank you so much for reading. You can add a bit more soy sauce and it will be fine. I hope this helps!
This is a delicious, easy recipe that gets the tofu *just* right! I had all the ingredients on hand. Great for my meal prep for the rest of the week!
We’re so happy that you enjoyed this recipe Jessica! Thank you so much for reading and leaving such a nice comment!
This was delicious. I made it according to the recipe, using soy sauce instead of aminos since we’re not gf. The sauce is pretty strong and it mellows and gives pizzazz to the tofu! It would be good on so many different things!
We’re so happy that you enjoyed this recipe! Thank you so much for reading and leaving such a nice comment!