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Princess Chicken vs General Tso Chicken: What’s the Difference?

Summary of key points

The main difference between Princess Chicken and General Tso Chicken is in the method of cooking. Princess Chicken is typically pan-fried, while General Tso Chicken is deep-fried.

In terms of flavor, Princess Chicken has a milder taste with a sweet and sour sauce, while General Tso Chicken has a spicier profile with a thicker sauce that includes garlic and ginger.

Additionally, General Tso Chicken may also include vegetables such as broccoli and carrots.

Both dishes are popular options in Chinese-American cuisine, although Princess Chicken is a lesser known variation compared to General Tso Chicken.

Digging into the menu at our favorite Chinese joint, we’ve all stumbled across Princess Chicken and General Tso’s Chicken. What’s the difference, though?

We decided it’s time to tackle this mystery head-on. Surprise, surprise – it’s not just about which one kicks you harder with spice.

I once thought they were the same dish with different names. Spoiler alert: I was wrong.

One’s sweet; the other packs heat. And yes, our taste tests were pretty epic.

Stay with us as we break it down. This isn’t just about food; it’s about culture, history, and a bit of fun rivalry. Who’ll win?

What is Princess Chicken?

Princess Chicken is a savory dish that brings a unique twist to the culinary world.

It comes from Sichuan, China and is often associated with royal cuisine.

The juicy chicken pieces are marinated in special seasonings.

Then, they are stir-fried with bell peppers, carrots, and onions.

Its signature red sauce is a blend of soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and spices.

This tasty mix of sweet and tangy flavors will tantalize your taste buds.

Unlike General Tso’s Chicken, Princess Chicken is less spicy but still has a hint of heat.

Topping it off with chopped peanuts or cashews adds a crunchy texture to the presentation.

With each bite, you’ll be in for a flavorful symphony.

Try Princess Chicken for an unforgettable dining experience.

What is General Tso’s Chicken?

General Tso’s Chicken is a renowned dish of American-Chinese cuisine.

It originates from the Hunan province in China and is a must-have on Chinese restaurant menus across the US.

It is usually prepared by lightly battering and frying chicken chunks.

Then, a sauce made from soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, ginger, garlic and other seasonings is added.

The outcome is a combination of sweet and spicy flavors with crunchy chicken.

General Tso’s Chicken is often decorated with sesame seeds and green onions.

It’s popularity is due to its delicious flavor and texture, making it a favorite among those who adore Chinese-American cuisine.

To differentiate General Tso’s Chicken from Princess Chicken, it is necessary to remember that the latter originates from Sichuan province.

Both have fried chicken and strong flavors.

However, Princess Chicken has unique Sichuan peppercorns.

This gives it a numbing heat, plus chili peppers and vinegar.

Therefore, Princess Chicken has a hot taste unlike the tangier and sweeter General Tso’s Chicken.

Differences Between Princess Chicken and General Tso’s Chicken

Princess Chicken and General Tso’s Chicken may sound similar, but they are totally different.

Both are famous Chinese dishes, each with its own flavor.

1 – Origin and History

The source of Princess Chicken and General Tso’s Chicken is a fascinating tale.

These two popular Chinese foods have captivated people worldwide, but what makes them different?

It is said that Princess Chicken was crafted for an ancient Chinese emperor’s beloved princess.

The chefs in the palace made a yummy chicken dish with tender meat, crunchy skin, and a mix of flavors.

This dish, now known as Princess Chicken, was loved by all.

On the other hand, General Tso’s Chicken has a different story.

It is named after General Tso Tsung-t’ang, a famous military leader in 19th century China.

The rumor is that General Tso liked spicy food, and his chef made a meal that would entice him.

This is how General Tso’s Chicken was born – a fiery mix of crispy chicken and sweet-tangy sauce.

Despite the similarity of the chicken and flavors of both dishes, there are still differences.

Princess Chicken is usually milder in spice level, and the flavors are more subtle and balanced.

In comparison, General Tso’s Chicken has bold and strong flavors.

The sauce combines sweetness and spiciness, creating a delicious taste with every bite.

2 – Flavor Profile and Taste

Princess Chicken and General Tso’s Chicken might look alike, but they have very different tastes.

Princess Chicken has a delicate, aromatic flavor.

It’s made with ginger, garlic, and soy sauce.

General Tso’s Chicken is much bolder and spicier.

It contains chili peppers, vinegar, and sugar.

So, if you’re looking for two unique culinary experiences, these two dishes have you covered.

3 – Ingredient Variation

Chinese cuisine has two awesome dishes: Princess Chicken and General Tso’s.

Both are fried chicken with yummy sauces.

But they have different ingredients.

Princess Chicken has white meat in a light batter with a tangy sauce of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and ginger.

General Tso’s is bolder.

It has a spicy sauce of hot chilis, sugar and soy sauce.

These two dishes show the amazing creativity of Chinese cuisine.

4 – Regional and Culinary Influence

Two famous Chinese dishes, Princess Chicken and General Tso’s Chicken, have distinct differences.

Regional and culinary influence is the cause.

General Tso’s Chicken comes from Hunan province.

It’s renowned for its bold, spicy flavor.

The dish is named after the Qing dynasty military leader, General Tso Tsung-t’ang.

It’s deep-fried to perfection.

A tangy, slightly sweet sauce is added.

Soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, garlic, ginger, and chili peppers are the ingredients.

That’s the recipe that makes General Tso’s Chicken so popular around the world.

Princess Chicken is from Shandong province in northern China.

Milder than General Tso’s Chicken.

Scallions, ginger, garlic, light soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar are used to marinate the chicken.

It’s pan-fried or stir-fried, not deep-fried.

Though different, both dishes represent traditional Chinese cuisine.

They reflect local ingredients and cooking techniques.

General Tso’s Chicken for spice-lovers.

Princess Chicken for those who prefer subtle flavors.

Both offer a window to China’s amazing culinary landscape.

Similarities Between Princess Chicken and General Tso’s Chicken

Princess Chicken and General Tso’s Chicken have different names, but they do have some similarities.

Both feature deep-fried chicken pieces in a savoury sauce.

It’s usually sweet, tangy and slightly spicy.

Plus, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and vinegar are used to boost the taste.

That’s why they’re popular Chinese cuisine choices.

However, each has its own individual characteristics.

Princess Chicken sauce is lighter, focusing on the ingredients’ natural flavours.

General Tso’s Chicken has a bolder, richer flavour.

Both offer a yummy experience of Chinese cooking expertise.

Popular Variations and Interpretations

Delightful flavors and techniques come together in the beloved dishes of Princess Chicken and General Tso’s.

Variations by chefs and regions showcase creativity and ingenuity.

Princess Chicken brings tender chicken breast with a crispy batter and a sweet, tangy sauce.

It often includes honey, pineapple juice, and vinegar for a perfect balance of flavors.

General Tso’s is a renowned version with a history dating back to 19th century China.

Chicken is deep-fried and covered with a bold sauce of soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sugar, and chili peppers.

It’s the spicy kick that sets it apart.

Fusion cuisine blends elements of both dishes.

Cashews, almonds, lemongrass, and star anise give an unexpected twist.

Exciting new flavor profiles offer something special.

The world of Princess Chicken and General Tso’s is full of variations and interpretations.

Traditional recipes to innovative fusions capture the imagination of food lovers.

Whether you prefer sweetness or fiery kick, these dishes continue to satisfy our taste buds.

How to Make Princess Chicken and General Tso’s Chicken

Confused between Princess Chicken and General Tso’s Chicken? Don’t worry.

These two popular Chinese dishes have distinct flavors and cooking techniques.

Here are the steps:

  • Marinate chicken: Cut boneless chicken into small pieces. Make a marinade of soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger garlic paste and cornstarch. Put chicken in and let it rest for half an hour.
  • Make the sauce: Blend soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sugar, rice vinegar and chili paste. Adjust ingredients to your taste.
  • Coat the chicken: Take marinated chicken and cover it with cornstarch or flour. Fry it for a crispy texture.
  • Fry the chicken: Heat oil in a pan. Carefully add chicken pieces and fry until golden brown. Put on paper towels to remove excess oil.
  • Finishing touches: Heat oil in a pan and add garlic and chopped green onions. Stir fry. Pour in the sauce and cook until thick. Add fried chicken and toss till fully coated.

Princess Chicken is milder than General Tso’s Chicken, due to its lack of chili paste or dried red chilies.

So, why not give both of them a try? Your taste buds will be satisfied.


We have come to the end of this journey and now, after being armed with the knowledge of these two dishes, it’s time for you to make a decision: General Tso or Princess Chicken? Choosing one dish over the other depends largely on your taste preferences.

If you enjoy savory and spicy flavors, then General Tso will definitely suit your tastes.

However, if you want strong sweet and sour flavors without an overpowering heat factor, Princess Chicken might be what you are looking for.

Whatever you decide, both dishes offer a unique culinary experience that is sure to please any palate.

The vibrant colors, textures, and flavors found in each dish can make dining out at Chinese restaurants all the more enjoyable.

So next time you’re presented with these two options on a menu – now you know which one is which.

Princess Chicken vs General Tso Chicken: What’s the Difference?

Exploring the distinction between Princess Chicken and General Tso Chicken? Delve into the nuances with a concise breakdown of the key differences in flavor, ingredients, and preparation methods to help you discern the unique characteristics of each popular dish.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course This vs That
Servings 1 Serving


  • Princess Chicken
  • General Tso Chicken


  • Choose between Princess Chicken and General Tso Chicken based on your flavor preference.
  • Follow the cooking directions for your chosen recipe, ensuring you have all the necessary ingredients.
  • Prepare the dish according to the specific recipe instructions, keeping an eye on cooking times and techniques.
  • Plate and enjoy your delicious Chinese chicken dish, savoring the distinct flavors of your chosen recipe.
  • Experiment with both recipes to discover your favorite and add variety to your meals.
Keyword Princess Chicken vs General Tso Chicken
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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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