Sesame Chicken vs General TSO (Key Differences)

The thought of comparing Sesame Chicken vs General TSO comes to mind every once in a while.

People believe there is no difference between sesame chicken and TSO’s chicken. Although both meals are delicious and trendy, with known connections, they have some distinctions.


Again, they both taste nearly the same and with similar appearances. But their cooking techniques, flavour profile and some other things gave out their dissimilarities.

This guide will help us to look into them individually. Our primary focus will be on their differences and why you should try out each dish at home. So, let’s discuss General TSO’s chicken and sesame chicken!


Let’s get to know more about Sesame Chicken and General TSO!

What is Sesame Chicken?

Sesame Chicken

When you hear about Asian food, sesame chicken is probably, the first dish to occur to you. If you are a sweet and sour flavored chicken fan, you won’t mind trying out this dish because it is classified as a ‘safe’ order. It is equally spicy, although the blend of spices may vary, depending on your choice.


Sesame chicken is made of diced lean meat, precisely chicken breasts. Typically, the batter contains eggs, corn starch, regular flour or rice flour. However, the batter may contain various ingredients, which is the core reason the flavors are not the same.

Besides, it is a widespread belief that marinade is the secret to sesame chicken’s gentle taste and aroma. But it may not be accurate because any meat can be marinated for close to an hour before cooking. When marinated, the ingredients blend deeply to give a distinct flavor.

The sauce is, without a doubt, the secret of the irresistibility of the dish. It is primarily a mix of brown sugar, soy sauce and chicken stock. To obtain the distinctive thick sauce of sesame chicken, you will need to mix a tablespoon of cornstarch with a small quantity of water. Then, add it when the food is about to leave the fire.

In the same way, to obtain the crispiness of the chicken, you will need to fry it twice. This is an age-long trick. To achieve that:

  1. Fry the chicken for some minutes.
  2. Take it out of the oil and allow it to relax for around five minutes.
  3. Take it back to the skillet and fry it for a little more time until it becomes golden and crisp.

What Does Sesame Chicken taste like?

Due to different flavors in preparing sesame chicken, you may not get a consistent taste each time you order it. Each restaurant has its recipe, methods and combination of spices. This equally affects the outcome of the dish.

Despite that, you will enjoy the crispy, diced, tasty chicken breast. Although it appears golden brown on the exterior, it has a tender, soft texture on the interior.

In the same way, the sauce of the sesame chicken makes a difference. The secret is in the assortment of spices that elicited the flavor. The flavor is the product of sugary, savory and umami experience from soy sauce and salt, in addition to the vinegar’s tanginess and sourness.

Whereas it does not matter what the flavor’s spiciness, the recipe determines the extent of spiciness. More important in the dish is the blend of sweet-sourness of the flavor, with the loaded, tacky, thick sauce. Not to forget, sesame reigns supreme in this sauce. It brings out the flavor with its nutty, sweet, earthy and nearly almond-like taste.

Also Read: Loquat Vs Kumquat (Key Differences)

What is General TSO’s Chicken?

General TSO’s Chicken

This dish can be traced to the origin of its unique name. The recipe was originally used by one of the chefs of the Chinese president in the ’50s. His name was Peng Chang-Kuei. From the look of things, the chef loved trying out different recipes. And the recipe for the General TSO’s chicken made a lasting impression.

He first used it for the Chinese diplomatic envoy. It was later named after a military leader from Hunan, Peng’s hometown. The General’s name was General Tso Tsung-tang.

Funnily enough, General TSO’s is not famous in China like some chicken cuisines. However, some parts of the world (like the US) can’t do without it.

Like sesame chicken, a marinade is essential in preparing General TSO’s chicken. Chefs typically marinate the same combination of spices to get the sauce. That could be why the flavor is usually profound. The sauce mixture contains chicken stock, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, cornstarch and pepper. They help to obtain the sauce’s tacky and rich consistency.

You will need to add sugar to the sauce to get the sweet, caramelized, and smokey fragrance. For the chicken recipe, you will need to dice your chicken breasts. Then, marinate them in garlic, ginger and the sauce mix. After marinating it, you can coat the chicken in cornstarch. After that, you can fry the chicken until golden brown and crispy. The inside is usually tender and moist too. Also, keep tossing it around the skillet to get it crispy.

What Does General TSO’s Chicken Taste like?

The General TSO chicken is spicy and has some chili undertone. So, if you love spicier chicken food, you may jump on board and try it out. But the spice levels may differ, according to each restaurant. Hence, you should be prepared ahead before making an order.

It has a sweet-sour flavor blend, while the sugar content offers a sweet, caramelized taste. Also, the rice vinegar contributes to the refreshing sourness of the dish.

In addition, your preferred ingredients are a trick to the taste of the food. Soy sauce, sesame oil and hoisin each add a touch of deep, tangy and umami flavor.

Another secret to the taste is the garlic and ginger presence which makes the fragrance irresistible. By adding sesame seeds to the dish, you will hardly let go of your General TSO’s chicken. If the chicken, with the garlic and ginger, is marinated in the sauce, it will help to make the aroma stronger.

Lets move forward with our Sesame Chicken vs General TSO comparison.

Also Read: What Does 3 oz of Chicken Look Like? (Full Details)

What is the Difference? – Sesame Chicken Vs General TSO’s

Although the two dishes look alike, they are not so interchangeable. There are some notable differences between them you should note. Here, the differences between General TSO’s chicken and sesame chicken are well.

The Spice

The original General TSO’s chicken requires some chili (fresh, paste or flakes); sesame chicken does not need any chili. However, if you must add chili to sesame chicken, it can only be at your discretion. In addition, if you prefer a milder yet sweet taste, you can go for sesame chicken. But if you don’t mind the dish’s spiciness, General TSO’s won’t be a bad choice.

Moreover, if you are preparing either of the dishes at home, you can adjust your ingredients to the level of spiciness you want. You may even add some chili to the sesame chicken, it does not hurt.


Aside from the above comparisons, we should consider how versatile the two dishes may be. As pointed out, sesame chicken is seen as a ‘safe’ order for some people. So, if you are trying out Chinese foods, you may consider sesame chicken. Someone says it is attractive enough to snatch your attention. But not bold enough to get you to make a big step to grab it. You can give it a go if you are new to the Chinese world of food.

But considering General TSO’s chicken is taking a more daring step. The level of spiciness is not for the fainthearted. Besides, you may have to be careful before offering it to children.

The Taste

When it comes to taste, both dishes are almost identical. You can hardly separate them. Nevertheless, you will get a slight difference if you pay attention. The sesame chicken has a sweeter flavor than the General TSO’s. Please, note that the emphasis is on the sweet and sour gap, not on the spice level. This is because sesame chicken is not always spicy, as against the taste of General TSO’s.

Another critical point to note is that most General TSO’s sauces are prepared with soy sauce and hoisin. But the sesame chicken does not always require them.

Remember that hoisin is also umami, which means it improves the savory flavor of the soy sauce. It adds a slightly tangy and earthy taste to the soy sauce. If you need to know, hoisin has a robust and complex sauce akin to barbecue sauce. However, it is saltier than sweeter.

chicken breast

Key Ingredients

With regards to ingredients, it is almost impossible to differentiate the taste of both foods. But their recipes can differ with the ingredients list. So, you may see different ingredient combinations.

The primary ingredients for sesame chicken include chicken breast, sugar, eggs, vinegar, salt, sesame seeds, cornstarch and soy sauce. Since it does not have universal ingredients, you may find honey, pepper, and other spices. This is why their tastes may differ depending on the restaurants. Not to forget, the sesame chicken has eggs among the component.

For General TS’s chicken, you will find the same essential ingredients for sesame chicken. However, there is the addition of hoisin sauce to elevate the soy sauce. Then, while chili is a vital spice for General TSO’s chicken, it is not necessary in sesame chicken. Similarly, hardly will you see eggs in this dish.

Ease of Accessibility

If you walk into your choice Chinese restaurant to buy either of the dishes, you may likely not find General TSO’s there. In most Chinese restaurants, you will likely find sesame chicken. People easily identify with the taste and go for it. So, it is more like a staple food. One of the reasons is that the flavor is milder and sweeter, with the presence of familiar flavors.

On the contrary, General TSO’s chicken tilts towards a more potent spiciness. If you are not at home with spicy food, you may not be a fan of it. It is possibly why most Chinese restaurants don’t include it on their menu.

Another note is that the dish may not come with the same name. So, you can check the ingredients to know what you are ordering. You can opt for sesame chicken if the restaurant does not have a General TSO’s chicken. They are almost the same.

Are sesame chicken and General TSO’s chicken the same?

Your first encounter may leave you believing that they are the same. The reason is that they have nearly the same ingredients. What’s more, their preparation process is quite much alike. Their flavor profile is akin to each other.

But these similarities do not connote that they are the same dish. The spice level and presence of chili differentiate General TSO’s chicken and sesame chicken. Yet, in rare occasions, you can find the same ingredients in both dishes.

Generally, we can safely declare sesame chicken a safer option. If you are a spice lover, your best bet is General TSO’s chicken. If you prefer something sweet, consider opting for sesame chicken.

Frequently Asked Questions – Sesame Chicken vs General TSO

What is better, sesame chicken or General Tso?

Sesame chicken is you best stake if you love sweet chicken dishes. But if you don’t mind the dish’s spiciness, you can deem General TSO’s chicken a good meal. Whatever the case, both foods are great Chinese cuisines you should not resist. 

Are sesame chicken and General Tso chicken the same?

Both are somewhat considered the same dish. But you cannot confidently say so since all their ingredients are not the same. While General TSO chicken inclines towards a sharp taste, sesame chicken is unarguably sweeter.

What is the difference between General Tso and General Tso Chicken?

We cannot safely say so. However, the significant disparity is that more ginger flavor and chili found in General TSO.

Which is spicier sesame chicken or General Tso’s?

Sesame chicken is a dish you can always choose. It has a sweeter and milder taste. But General TSO’s chicken is spicier and more intense. It is this reason you will hardly see the latter in some restaurants.

What does sesame chicken taste like?

Sesame chicken tastes sweet. You can easily relate it with General TSO’s chicken. But General TSO’s chicken is spicier. 

What does General Tso’s taste like?

General TSO’s chicken has spicy, sweet and sour tastes. It equally contains umami because of the presence of hoisin sauce.

What is the difference between sesame chicken and orange chicken?

Both of them are delicious. However, their sauces are dissimilar. Whereas sesame chicken’s signature taste includes sesame oil and soy sauce, of orange chicken, is a blend of orange juice, soy sauce and orange zest.

Also Read: How Long Can Fried Chicken Sit Out? (Explained)

Conclusion – Sesame Chicken vs General TSO

This article have compared Sesame Chicken vs General TSO, Sesame chicken and General TSO’s chicken are great dishes to give a try. They taste almost the same, so you may find it difficult to differentiate between them.

However, if you enjoy spicy food, you should go for General TSO’s chicken. On the other hand, if you want a sweeter chicken meal, you can consider sesame chicken.


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