Sweet and Sour Vs General Tso’s Chicken: What’s The Difference?

sweet and sour vs general tso chicken

If you have ever discussed Chinese food, you may have heard of two different variations on the same dish.

One is sweet and sour chicken and the other is General Tso’s chicken.

The dishes are very similar but not quite exact replicas of each other.

So, to differentiate these dishes, let’s learn more about them in this article.

What is sweet and sour chicken?

Kraft, Sweet & Sour Sauce, 12oz Squeeze Bottle (Pack of 3)

Sweet and sour chicken is a traditional dish from China that is now popular in the United States.

It has become one of the most popular dishes served at Chinese restaurants across the US, but it can be difficult to find authentic sweet and sour chicken recipes without using pre-made packets of sauce.

The recipe typically consists of deep-fried battered pieces of chicken, often coated with a thick sauce.

The sauce contains sugar for sweetness and vinegar for sourness since it’s also called “sweet and sour” by many people.

What is General Tso?

House of Tsang General Tso Sauce, 12.6 Ounce

General Tso chicken dish is classic Asian-American fusion food that consists of deep-fried chunks of battered and breaded white meat chicken, sautéedd vegetables in a sticky-sweet sauce.

It was created by Peng Chang-kuei at the Hunan Restaurant in New York City for a banquet celebrating the birthday of famed Chinese military leader General Tso in around 1972.

What are the differences between sweet and sour chicken vs General Tso?

1. Sweet and sour chicken is crispier thanks to the coat that is made from egg and cornstarch

Sweet and sour chicken is a dish that consists of pieces of meat, usually made from chicken or even pork, battered in egg and cornstarch then deep-fried until crispy.

While General Tso includes chunks of boneless dark meat chicken coated in a chili pepper sauce which typically includes garlic, ginger root paste (or grated fresh).

2. General Tso has a spicy kick due to the addition of hot peppers or red pepper flakes in its preparation

The ingredients for General Tso sauce are soy sauce, sugar, water chestnuts (or bamboo shoots), green onions (scallions), garlic cloves (minced), ginger root (grated), and ground pepper (or red pepper flakes).

Whereas for sweet and sour chicken, you will need sugar, ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic powder to make the sweet and sour and less spicy sauce.

3. General Tso usually calls for black beans in the recipe while sweet and sour chicken doesn’t have any vegetables at all

If you are a meat-lover but still want to add some plant-based ingredients to your favorite dish, then General Tso is a better choice.

4. Generally, General Tso has more of a Taiwanese taste, but sweet and sour chicken tastes more like American

Since sweet and sour chicken is more popular and developed in American cuisine for a long period of time, its taste is affected a lot by American cuisine.

This variation in flavor may be due to a difference in the cooking process.

For example, General Tso is typically battered and fried while sweet-and-sour chicken would usually only be lightly cooked or sautéed.

What are the similarities between sweet and sour chicken vs General Tso?

With the differences, now we believe that you can easily compare and differentiate sweet and sour chicken versus General Tso.

However, in fact, you will also recognize that they share some similarities.

1. They both use a type of sauce that is based on soy, sugar, vinegar, or rice wine, and water

You can find these typical ingredients appearing in almost all recipes of sweet and sour chicken and General Tso all over the country.

Therefore, before planning to make either these dishes, you should prepare sufficient ingredients and materials to ensure the right adequate flavors.

2. They are flavorful and typically served with fried rice or steamed rice on the side

Like other Asian-based dishes, sweet and sour chicken and General Tso are both great to consume with rice.

You can simply serve with hot steamed white rice, or make the meal look more appealing and taste flavorful with some fried rice with chopped vegetables and beans.

Which one is better?

Product ComparisonKraft, Sweet & Sour Sauce, 12oz Squeeze Bottle (Pack of 3)House of Tsang General Tso Sauce, 12.6 Ounce
Product ImageKraft, Sweet & Sour Sauce, 12oz Squeeze Bottle (Pack of 3)House of Tsang General Tso Sauce, 12.6 Ounce
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It is true that these two dishes are very similar and both delicious, but each shines in a very own way.

General Tso’s chicken has a few more ingredients than sweet and sour chicken, such as green onions, garlic, red bell peppers, vinegar or white wine with sugar for sweetness.

On top of this there is also some soy sauce mixed in to give it its trademark dark color.

With all these extra additions, you can see why many people prefer General Tso’s over Sweet and Sour Chicken.

But if you’re looking for something on the sweeter side then Sweet and Sour may be your dish.

In conclusion, determining which dish is better totally depends on personal preference.