General Tso’s Chicken {Lightened Up!}

I was talking to a fellow pregnant woman recently who shared with me her frustrating habit of overconsumption, which I could completely relate to.  Nutrition is so difficult for me when I’m pregnant, and I’m constantly attempting (and usually failing) to fight my cravings.  I instantly felt a kindred spirit with this woman, a sisterhood of sorts.  That was until she told me her big downfall: Oranges.  She couldn’t stop eating oranges.  Ya, we can’t be friends anymore.

I’m more of a fried Chinese food and ice cream kind of girl.   I don’t know what it is about these babies of mine (if you missed the news on Facebook, it’s officially BOY #4 for us!) but they like fried food.  And what’s better than crispy fried chunks of chicken drenched in sticky sweet sauce?  General Tso’s has been a long-time favorite take-out item of mine, so I was excited to try this lightened up version, and it didn’t disappoint.  Super crispy chicken, awesome, flavorful sauce (that’s SO easy to make), and happy kids all around.  This was an instant hit at my house, and I bet it will be at yours, too!

There are a lot of things you can use to bread chicken with a crispy coating, and in this recipe, we’re using good ol’ Corn Flakes.  It really does make a super crisp outer layer, and it holds up in a sauce better than more delicate options like Panko or bread crumbs.

Corn Flakes

You’ll need to prep three dredging bowls: egg whites, flour, and crushed corn flakes.

Dredging Bowls

Dip your chunks of chicken in the flour, then the egg whites, and then finally the corn flakes.  Place them on a metal rack on top of a baking sheet.  The rack makes it so air can circulate around the bottom and get those little pieces crispy all over.

Baked Chicken Nuggets

While the chicken is in the oven baking, you make the super quick sauce.  Mince up some garlic, fresh ginger, and toss some red pepper flakes in there.  If you like spicy food, add extra pepper flakes, or a few squirts of Sriracha.  Or sauté the garlic and ginger in our Chili Olive Oil.

Ginger and Garlic

For sweetness and body, you’ll need some apricot jam.  (I love Smuckers Simply Fruit.)

Smuckers Simply Fruit

You’ll also need hoisin sauce, which you should be able to easily find in the Asian foods aisle of the grocery store.  It lasts a long time in the fridge, so don’t hesitate to buy it just for this recipe.   It’s great in lots of Asian dishes.

Hoisin Sauce

You’ll just sauté the garlic, ginger, and chili flakes for a minute, then add in a mixture of the jam, hoisin sauce, water, soy sauce, and a splash of balsamic vinegar.  It’s thickened with a little corn starch.

The chicken bites cook quickly, and come out super crunchy.

Baked Crispy Chicken

Toss it with the sauce, serve over brown or white rice, and dinner is done!

General Tso's Chicken from Our Best Bites

This totally quenched my take-out cravings; it’s the perfect weeknight dinner.  Pin this baby right now- you’ll thank me later!

Lightened Up General Tso's Chicken from Our Best Bites

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General Tso’s Chicken {Lightened Up!}




  • vegetable oil spray
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 5 cups (5 ounces) Kellog’s Corn Flakes, finely crushed
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts but into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 2/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup apricot jam
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil, or Chili Olive Oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes


Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees.  Line rimmed baking sheet with foil, top with wire rack, and spray rack with oil spray.  Spread flour into shallow dish.  Whisk egg whites until foamy in second shallow dish.  Spread corn flakes crumbs into third shallow dish.  Pat chicken dry with paper towels.  Working in batches, dredge chicken in flour, dip in egg whites, then coat with corn flakes, pressing gently to adhere; lay on prepared wire rack.

Spray chicken with oil spray.  Bake until chicken registers 160 degrees and coating is brown and crisp, 12-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk water, soy sauce, apricot jam, hoisin, cornstarch, and vinegar together in bowl.  Heat oil in 12 inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add garlic, finer, and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Whisk in soy sauce mixture, bring to simmer, and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes.  remove from heat, cover, and keep warm.

When chicken is cooked, return sauce to simmer over medium-low heat.  Add cooked chicken and toss to coat.  Serve immediately, as the crispy coating won’t last long-term in that yummy sauce.




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  1. hahaha I totally agree with you, I have a secret resentment against people who crave healthy food when they’re pregnant. I tend to throw up salad and bell peppers and whole-wheat cereal, and In-N-Out burgers just seem to be the only acceptable replacement. This recipe looks amazing, though! Going in my meal plan for the week right now!

  2. Congrats! A boy! Four boys! I’m a mom of four boys(no girls) too! They are so much fun! I grew up with only sisters so I do get shocked quite often by their “boy-ness”, but I sure do love them! I always feel like I meet a kindred spirit when I find a mom with all boys. Congratulations again, Brothers are the best! Hope the rest of your pregnancy goes well and fast!

  3. So making this tonight! Yum! And thank you for all your hard work! Seriously- 3 kids, growing another, running a business, tending a garden ( I know how much work that alone is)!!! You’re a rock star!

  4. I think you should still be her friend…maybe you can corrupt her.:0P haha. I have three boys and would not be surprised by a 4th for me. I think I’m a boy mom. I hope you don’t get a bazillion trillion of the annoying pity comments about the opposite gender which shall not be named. Whenever people do that to me I always think “what is it about these beautiful little people that would make you think I’d ever want anything else. *tucks soapbox back under cabinet*

  5. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe. Also, congrats on boy #4! We have 4 boys too. I never thought I would be a mom to all boys but it is great! Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy! 🙂

  6. You girls are rocking the dinner post and I’m loving them!! This is sure to be a hit at my house. Thanks so much for sharing your talents 🙂

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