You Won’t Believe Which Chinese Chicken Dish Is Actually Superior: Szechuan Or General Tso?

You Won't Believe Which Chinese Chicken Dish Is Actually Superior: Szechuan Or General Tso?

Szechuan and General Tso chicken are both delicious.

But they are different.

In this post, we’ll explore the differences between these two types of Chinese food—and why you should order both in your lifetime!


General Tso chicken is a dish that was created in the United States.

General Tsao, as he was originally named, was a Hunanese general who fought on the side of China in the First Opium War (1839-1842).

This war was waged by Britain and France against China over trade rights and resulted in European nations gaining control over Hong Kong and other ports along China’s coast.

Food historians believe that General Tsao was named after this Chinese general so that Americans could identify with him better when eating this dish.

Szechuan chicken originated in Sichuan province, which is located on the eastern part of central China between Tibet and Hainan Island.

It has been served there for many years because it goes well with local cuisine such as noodles or rice dishes made from locally grown wheat flour mixed with water into dough balls then steamed before being deep-fried or boiled until tender to eat as an accompaniment for sesame oil flavored fried chicken pieces seasoned with soy sauce & vinegar dressing drizzled over top followed by spicy hot sauce dip made from minced garlic cloves finely diced white onions finely chopped red peppers finely sliced green peppers; all mixed together hot chili powder mix cayenne pepper black peppercorns ground ginger ground cinnamon ground cloves all crushed up together then sprinkled onto top before serving.

This is the traditional way to make Szechuan chicken, but it is also very easy to cook at home.

The ingredients are easy to find in any grocery store and can be used as a main dish or side dish that pairs well with rice or noodles.


When it comes to appearance, there are some clear differences between these two dishes.

Szechuan chicken is stir-fried and takes on the shape of bite-sized pieces.

Because General Tso chicken is deep-fried, the pieces are much larger than those in a typical plate of Szechuan chicken.

Szechuan chicken is a dry dish (meaning that no sauce is added during or after cooking), whereas General Tso chicken contains sauce that’s added both during and after cooking.

Main ingredients

Szechuan chicken and General Tso chicken both have a spicy flavor, but the sauces are different.

The Szechuan sauce is thicker than General Tso’s sweet and sour sauce because it’s made with less water.

The main ingredients are similar in both dishes: chicken, chilies, garlic, ginger and scallions (green onions).

You can add other vegetables like bell peppers or mushrooms to give it additional texture.

The difference between the two dishes is that Szechuan chicken has a more intense flavor, while General Tso’s chicken is sweet and sour.

The sauce for Szechuan chicken is made with soy sauce and rice vinegar, which gives it a saltier taste than General Tso’s sauce.

Both dishes are popular in Chinese restaurants and can be found on menus around the world.

They’re made with boneless chicken breast or thighs, but you can also use dark meat if that’s what you have on hand.

The main difference between General Tso’s chicken and Szechuan chicken is the sauce: Szechuan has a thicker sauce than General Tso’s sweet and sour sauce because it’s made with less water.

Taste and flavor       

Szechuan chicken has a spicy and numbing flavor, whereas General Tso chicken is sweet and savory.

The flavors of each dish are very different.

Szechuan chicken has a salty, spicy, and numbing flavor; whereas General Tso chicken is sweet, savory and spicy.

The flavor of Szechuan chicken is salty, spicy, and numbing; whereas General Tso chicken is sweet, savory and spicy.

The sauce is slightly salty and spicy, but not too spicy.

It has a good kick to it, but not too much that you have to drink water every other bite.

The chicken itself is tender and juicy.

It’s also not dry or overcooked like some restaurants do with their chicken dishes.


Szechuan chicken is a lower calorie, lower fat and lower saturated fat option.

It also contains fewer calories per serving than General Tso Chicken.

According to the USDA, one serving of Szechuan Chicken has 250 calories while one serving of General Tso Chicken has 270 calories.

The majority of Szechuan and General Tso’s nutrition information can be found on their respective websites or through third-party apps like MyFitnessPal or Lose It! However, there are some notable differences between the two recipes’ nutritional info.

For example:

  • General Tso’s chicken (without sauce): contains 15 grams of fat (2 saturated), 21 grams carbohydrate, 20 grams protein and only 140 mg sodium per 3 oz serving;
  • Szechuan Sauce: 4g fat; 1g sat; 2g mono; 0g poly; 8g carb; 0mg cholesterol; 0mg sodium per 2 tbsp serving

Cooking time and method

Szechuan chicken is cooked in a wok, whereas General Tso chicken is deep fried.

The cooking time for each variety will vary based on the size of your wok and how much oil you use in it.

If you have never made General Tso’s before, it can be a bit intimidating at first because there are so many steps involved in making sure that you get everything just right.

But as with any recipe, once you make it one time and learn what works best for your kitchen setup, it’ll become easier each time after that!

Side dishes to pair with

In this final section, we’ll wrap up by providing some side dish recipes that are perfect for pairing with either Szechuan chicken or General Tso chicken.

Szechuan Chicken: Serve fresh vegetables and a low-sodium vinaigrette dressing with your chicken.

You can also serve roasted peanuts for snacking on as well!

General Tso Chicken: For a more Asian-inspired dish, consider serving steamed rice or fried rice (with egg), flaxseed oil, steamed broccoli and sweet potato fries!


Szechuan vs General Tso chicken is a debate that has been raging for decades.

The two cuisines are very different from each other, but they share some similarities.

The main difference between them is their flavor profile and appearance.

Szechuan dishes have a spicy taste while General Tso chicken is sweet due to the addition of sugar or honey during preparation time.

Another difference between these two types of food is their cooking method and main ingredients used in making them.

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