Food ingredients

Sesame Chicken vs General Tso Chicken

Did you know that it is estimated that in the United States of America, over 8 billion chicken wings and drumsticks are eaten every year? Imagine that.

With so many different ways to prepare chicken, sesame chicken, and general tso chicken are two of the top contenders.

Although these dishes are both of Asian origin and can be very similar, the key difference comes in during the preparation of each. More specifically, the oil used in the preparation of the sauce.

Not to worry, this article shall cover both types of chicken in-depth, and in the end, I am sure you will be in a better position to pick what works best for you.

Sesame Chicken


Think de-boned, marinated, deep-fried pieces of chicken coated in a sweet sauce.

The sauce used on sesame chicken is usually made of vinegar, a bit of cornstarch, sugar, sesame oil (duh), chicken broth, and topped off with a sprinkle of sesame seeds. It is brown in color and has a semi-thick consistency (sticky if you’d like).

The seeds may either be roasted or not (this wholly depends on your preference and what you have available). Of course, you can choose to add spices such as ginger to your liking.

Check out an Easy Sesame Chicken Recipe. Here

General Tso Chicken


Curious about the name? It has been said that the moniker was picked from a martial artist and general by the name Zuo Zongtang. The stir-fried deliciousness is dressed in a sweet and sour sauce.

The recipe of which was curated by a Hunan cuisine chef based in Taiwan. In some places, it also goes by the name General Tao.

The sauce used in general tso chicken contains vinegar, soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, and other spices such as garlic. As opposed to the sauce used on sesame chicken, this one is thick in consistency and reddish in color.

During preparation, general tso chicken differs from sesame chicken in that it is prepared with some vegetables. During the stir-frying, onions and red bell peppers are added. Some people even go-ahead to serve it with broccoli.

So What’s the Difference and What Makes Them So Alike?

  1. Both are fried chicken save that one is stir-fry and the other deep-fry.
  2. Sesame chicken is crispy when general tso chicken is served less crispy and soft to the bite.
  3. Sesame chicken always contains sesame seeds when general tso chicken may or may not.
  4. General tso chicken is served with vegetables like broccoli while sesame chicken is not.
  5. The sauce on sesame chicken is generally sweeter than the sauce on general tso chicken that leans more toward being spicy.
  6. Both are readily available in restaurants throughout the country.
  7. Both dishes are easy to prepare in the comfort of your own home.
  8. Both dishes are made from chicken thighs most time.

Also, Check out: How to Reheat Sweet and Sour Chicken

Which of the two is the Healthier Option?


Sesame chicken and general tso chicken are both dishes that burst with flavor and excite our taste buds. The question is, do they provide nutritional value in equal amounts?

Because the sauce on sesame chicken includes more sugar and carbohydrates, it is considered rich in fat. If you are watching your weight, it may not be the most ideal.

General tso chicken packs quite a punch in terms of cholesterol and protein. As such, both dishes should be taken with moderation and care.

How Sesame Chicken and General Tso Chicken Are Served


Sesame chicken is commonly served with a bowl of steamed or boiled rice.

Although, sometimes, but not always, it can be accompanied by vegetables such as broccoli and baby corn.

Steamed rice, broccoli, and carrots are the main sides that tend to be served with general tso chicken.

Also, Check out: How to tell if Chicken is done

How to Prepare Sesame Chicken at Home

  1. On a hot pan, add some cooking oil and a bit of salt.
  2. Once the oil is hot, add in your chopped pepper and green beans if you are a fan and lightly fry them.
  3. After a few minutes of frying, move the vegetables onto a plate or separate dish.
  4. Take the previously boiled chicken pieces and add them to the pan together with some cooking oil.
  5. Once the chicken is properly cooked, remove it and place it on a plate.
  6. Next up is the sauce.
  7. In a clean bowl, mix in the spices. These include; vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, chicken broth, and pepper.
  8. Once thoroughly mixed, pour the sauce onto the pan and let it simmer nicely.
  9. If you want the sauce thick, add in a mixture of cornstarch and water.
  10. Take the chicken and vegetables you had already prepared and proceed to add them to the sauce.
  11. Stir in the mixture a couple of times to ensure everything is covered in the sauce.

How to Prepare General Tso Chicken In Your Own Kitchen

  1. Starting with boneless chicken thigh, soak the same in a cornstarch mixture and water for a few minutes.
  2. As the chicken pieces soak, prepare the sauce.
  3. In a clean bowl, mix in your vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, rice wine, water, and some honey if you like. The quantities depend on the serving size of the meal.
  4. Next, in a pan, add in some cooking oil and once it gets hot, add in the chicken pieces and fry them until they are crispy.
  5. Remove the chicken pieces from the pan and place them on a plate.
  6. On the same pan, add in your chopped onions, red bell peppers, and spices such as garlic, ginger, and chili flakes if you want that extra punch of flavor.
  7. For about a minute, stir the vegetables and spices in the pan.
  8. Add the chicken pieces and sauce to the pan and stir until everything is covered in the sauce.
  9. Continue to stir for a minute or until the sauce gets thick.
  10. Turn off the flame and serve as desired.

Although these two dishes have similar aspects, they also vary greatly.

All in all, both these dishes are delicious and, whichever you settle on, will be a hit with your guests.

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