Whether you make it at home or order it as a takeaway, general tso chicken is the perfect combination of crisp, sweet and spicy.
It can be easy to make too much general tso chicken as it is a deceptively filling dish, especially when paired with rice or noodles. But is it worth saving leftover general tso chicken to reheat later? And is it safe to do so?
To reheat general tso chicken, you can either pop it into the oven for around 10 minutes, reheat in an air fryer for around 8 minutes or even do it in the microwave in around 3 minutes.
How to Reheat General Tso Chicken
Reheating general tso chicken is necessary if you want not to waste your leftover meal. Eating general tso chicken cold is unpleasant and dangerous as the chicken is likely to develop harmful bacteria when stored in the fridge.
To rejuvenate the texture and sweet spiciness of general tso chicken, it is best to reheat the chicken separately from the glaze.
But if you are in a rush or don’t want to risk drying out the chicken too much, there are other methods you could try instead:
How to Reheat General Tso Chicken in the Oven
You will find that your general tso chicken will have become damp or soft while stored in the fridge, losing that satisfying crunch.
Though the glaze should be microwaved separately, reheating chicken in the oven will give back that crunch. Here is how:
- Warm the Oven
Before rushing to reheat general tso chicken, set the oven to 180 C (or 350F) and give it a few minutes to warm up. This will allow for a quick reheat.
- Prep the Chicken
Toss the chicken pieces in a baking dish or on a baking tray in a tiny amount of oil. Cover the dish or tray in tin foil, ensuring the chicken’s top is completely covered.
- Reheat the Chicken
Place the wrapped chicken in the middle of the oven and set a timer for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, turn the chicken pieces over for an even bake and reheat for another 5 minutes.
- Microwave the Glaze
While your chicken is warming up, microwave any leftover glaze in a heatproof bowl for 20 seconds. Stir the glaze and then microwave for a further 20 seconds.
When the chicken and the glaze are piping hot, immediately serve. Pour the glaze on the chicken and gently toss until fully coated. Then enjoy!
How to Reheat General Tso Chicken in the Air Fryer
Not everyone has an air fryer, but if you do, it is quicker to reheat general tso chicken in the air fryer than in the oven while still getting crunchy, tender chicken. Here is how:
- Prepare Air Fryer
Lining the bottom of your air fryer with some parchment paper is an easy task to forget but will stop the chicken from sticking to the bottom of the fryer and burning. Set to 190C or 380F.
- Arrange the Chicken
Organise your chicken in the air fryer. Avoid layering your chicken as the pieces could stick together, preventing that crisp batter.
Setting a timer for 4 minutes, leave the chicken to warm through. After 4 minutes, give the pieces a shake and turn them over for an even fry. Then continue to heat for a further 4 minutes.
- Reheat the Glaze
If you have separated the general tso glaze, heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds while the chicken finishes frying. Then serve the two components together.
How to Reheat General Tso Chicken in the Microwave
Microwaving general tso chicken is not the most effective method when reheating your leftovers. However, it can still leave you with a flavourful dish if you need a fast lunch:
- Transfer to a Safe Bowl
Avoid reheating general tso chicken in a plastic container as the chicken will just become soggy. Instead, transfer your general tso chicken to a glass or microwaveable serving bowl so the heat can spread better.
- Cover In Plastic Wrap
Using plastic wrap, tightly cover the bowl to prevent the chicken from drying. You will need to poke some holes in the wrap to avoid a build-up of moisture, but keep the holes small so that the chicken doesn’t dry out.
Set your microwave to a high heat. Reheat your general tso chicken for 30-second periods, allowing for a quick stir and a few seconds rest between each reheat. Repeat for up to 5 reheats or until the chicken is piping hot.
- Leave to Rest
Set your reheated, wrapped dish aside for 1 minute before eating.
How to Reheat General Tso Chicken Successfully
To ensure that you can enjoy reheated general tso chicken just as much as freshly prepared general tso chicken, follow these simple but effective tips:
- Store Ingredients Separately – Keep the chicken and glaze in separate containers in the fridge when storing general tso chicken. This way, the glaze will not soak into the chicken batter and make it mushy.
- Don’t Leave on Tin Foil After Baking – When following the oven method, remove the tin foil cover from the baking dish or sheet as soon as your chicken is reheated. Leaving it on for too long will let any gathered moisture soak into the chicken, ruining the crispy texture.
- Reheat the Chicken and Glaze Together – If your chicken and glaze are already combined, it is best to reheat your general tso chicken in the oven. Just do not use any extra oil, and do not bake for longer than 10 minutes.
Is It Safe to Reheat General Tso Chicken?
Yes, general tso chicken is safe to reheat. But just like any other meat-based dish, you should only reheat general tso chicken that has been in your fridge for less than 3 days.
You will need to reheat until the chicken is boiling to the touch to kill off any potential bacteria it may have grown. The best way to do this while maintaining that crunchy chicken batter is in the oven, leaving the glaze to microwave separately.
Reheating General Tso Chicken FAQs
If you still have questions about reheating general tso chicken then these might help you out:
The best way to reheat Chinese food is either in a pan (or wok) or the oven, depending on the dish. Ultimately, you want to reheat Chinese food in a way that prevents it from drying out, burning or overcooking.
If kept in an airtight container, in the fridge, then you can keep general tso chicken for around 3 to 4 days before reheating it and enjoying.
Acacia may be a freelance writer by day, but they are a food fanatic by night. They are always trying out new recipes or finding different ways to elevate classical dishes. But their biggest culinary aim is to educate others on the basics of the kitchen so that they too can enjoy delicious food.