Sesame Chicken Vs General Tso’s Chicken – What’s The Difference?

What is the difference between General Tso‘s chicken and sesame chicken?

General Tso and sesame chicken are the same things, but with a few differences. General Tso is a mixture of spicy and sweet, and sesame chicken is sweeter, but it isn’t spicy.

General Tso is a popular Chinese dish that is extremely loved in many Chinese restaurants across North America and Asia.

It is the ultimate Chinese food that has established its status as a staple for many menus and people all over the world.

However, there is also a sesame chicken which is an equally popular dish that is appreciated by foodies all over the globe too. One could even argue that these two dishes have several similarities this could be true, but it isn’t quite true.

Both are considered close relatives, but because every restaurant is trying to bring its spin on the menu, you could see them as completely different or extremely similar.

But one thing is certain. If it’s sweeter than spicy, it’s likely to be chicken with sesame, however, when it’s spicy, tangy, and spicy you’re most likely thinking of General Tso.

Of, course, there’s more to the two meals than spice and sugar. Find out more about the reasons why these two dishes that taste similar aren’t the same.

General Tso’s Chicken

There’s a legend that is associated with this recipe. people believe that the name given to this delectable Chinese dish is derived from a former military commander known as General Tso” Tsu ng-tang.

There’s even a documentary titled “The Search for General Tso” which investigates the origins of this delicious dish as well as a tribute to Chinese cuisine that is found in North America!

No matter where it came from it is a loved and well-known food item.

General Tso is made of boneless chicken pieces which are battered, then cooked to perfection. Then they are coated with soy sauce, vinegar sugar, cornstarch, dried chilies, and garlic.

Although the ingredients might seem straightforward, when combined with the correct technique, they create something delicious.

General Tso has been a favorite for many people in North America and you can quickly find it at any Chinese restaurant.

The spice profile, along with sweet and tangy undertones makes this recipe so famous. Although it has many similarities to sesame chickens, they are different in the way they taste.

Quite rightly, the majority of chefs add their flavor when making General Tso.

It is often served with various cuts of meat, while others might include different kinds of vegetables, but typically, General Tso is best served with broccoli.

There are regional variations that make this dish different than sesame chicken.

As an example, example, it is the case that the Taiwanese version isn’t sweet, and uses greater soy sauce than the original recipe. The recipe is cooked with an intact skin chicken as well as a few vegetables.

Many find the General Tso an ideal soothing food due to how sweet and tangy it tastes. It’s delicious when served with rice fried and is also delicious by itself. The majority of people believe that the best way to serve this dish is with a flaming hot.

Because it’s made of sugar and cornstarch sugar, General Tso may be a problem after cooling down or chilling. The sauce can clump up and you might not achieve the same consistency from the chicken after it is cooked.

Sesame Chicken

If you’re wondering how sesame chicken differs from General Tso then it’s pretty easy: Spice.

Both recipes have almost the same base ingredients and are prepared similarly. The difference is that Sesame Chicken tends more toward sweet rather than spicy. However, that’s not to suggest that the food doesn’t have its own story to tell.

Sesame chicken has become a well-known Chinese dish across the globe. Its simplicity and versatility make it among the most flavorful recipes available in Asian cuisine.

The history of sesame chicken is mostly unknown, besides being aware that this dish became widely used by North America thanks to many Chinese-American eateries.

Sesame chicken can be cooked in a matter of minutes. Here’s the information you require:

  1. Egg and cornstarch to make chicken batter
  2. Soy sauce as well as sugar, vinegar along with chicken broth
  3. Boneless thigh-cut chicken
  4. Sesame seeds to garnish

It is probably the basic and simple version of chicken with sesame. The majority of people add in broccoli, baby corns, sake, or other ingredients to increase or alter the flavor of this basic recipe.

You’re probably thinking that the chicken with sesame seeds and General Tso are made from the same ingredients, and you could be right.

The only difference is that sesame chicken doesn’t have any spice added to it in contrast to General Tso which has dried chili peppers.

Naturally, you could also make a hybrid kind by adding spices and other plants as well.

A majority of people are capable of distinguishing both recipes and it’s usually down to personal taste however, generally speaking, the sweeter of the two will more likely be a sesame chicken.

Sesame chicken can be prepared in a variety of ways. A lot of people make use of broth or chicken powder to create a variety of umami flavors. In addition, you could make use of different kinds of sugars to highlight the sweetness of the sauce.

Both of these dishes come with the same sauce that is thick. Due to the sweetness of sesame chicken, one could discover sesame chicken to be somewhat less sauce-intensive yet delicious. In addition, General Tso might contain a little additional sauce to give the umami and tangy flavor.

Naturally, they both work well with rice as well as other Chinese dishes.

Variations and Similarities

The two, General Tso and sesame chicken come in a variety of variations.

For instance, there is a version of chicken that is called “almond shrimp” where the meat is, as you can guess, shrimp. Also, rather than sesame seeds, the dish is seasoned with shavings of almonds. The other ingredients are similar.

Some people consider Kung Pao chicken as General Tso even though both meals are quite different. When it comes to the spices used, Kung Pao is considered to be a spicy and hot dish, while General Tso is a sweet and spicy dish. the sweet taste of its own.

Kung Pao chicken also contains peanuts, whereas there are no Nuts within the first General Tso recipe.

You may also encounter “hybrids” where some chefs can mix different spices and flavors to completely alter the taste of the dish.

As we mentioned earlier Sesame chicken is thought to be sweeter than General Tso however you can find a variation of this recipe that requires dry round chilies, or even green chilies.

It’s all in the detail however if you’re not looking for authenticity, we think you’ll be able to enjoy each of the variations has to offer with the delicious meals.

Spice Levels

We can’t talk about the two dishes without discussing their spice profiles.

As previously mentioned as well, General Tso has a spicier flavor due to the dried herbs and spices. The spice level of both dishes is different.

In the same restaurant, you may discover the spices in General Tso to be stronger and in another, there is a possibility of having sesame chicken seasoned with sauteed chilies, despite their sweetness.

But, if we were to quantify the level of spice present in both dishes, then we’d give General Tso as 6/10 while sesame chicken is at a decent 2/10. This rating is in the case of the best version.

Naturally, many restaurants and chefs will alter the flavor profile to fit the locality and community to allow more people to take pleasure in both meals.

The legend goes that General Tso was not a very popular or notable recipe in the province of Hunan because locals considered it far too sweet and sweeter than their tastes.

An interesting piece of information: Hunan is an isolated province located in China that is the province home to the legendary military leader General Tso (the person the dish is named for).

The dish was modified by adding more spices to ensure that it could be accepted by the locals of Hunan.

Sesame chicken, on the other hand, is deeply connected to Asian American culture.

The delicious sweetness, easy-to-eat taste, and appearance of the dish attracted many people across North America. It didn’t take long before sesame chicken was firmly established as a favorite in a variety of Chinese eateries.

If we’re talking about the popularity of a dish, it is possible to state that both these meals are equally well-loved and are well-known to a lot of people.

There’s an excellent chance that you’ve eaten both of these dishes without knowing that!

General Tso and sesame chickens are so adaptable that you can include any kind of meat, vegetable, or another ingredient to create a different flavor.

Many Chinese restaurants have different names for these dishes. But, for the avid foodie, the two meals are easy to identify.

Since both of them are halal and kosher and also available without meat, they’re accessible to anyone, without any restrictions. This is another reason why these meals are extremely popular across the globe.

Comparison of Flavor of Generala Tso vs Sesame Chicken

Here’s a chart that explains the number of spices and the general flavor profile of these dishes:

TraitGeneral TsoSesame Chicken
SpicinessMedium to high spicinessNot so spicy at all
FlavorSweet, spicy, and tangyTangy and sweet
StyleBreast, chicken boneless thighThighs of chicken (Cubes)

It’s evident that these recipes have plenty of similarities, yet they differ fundamentally in the way they’re cooked and their taste.

If you’re seeking a bit more spice General Tso will satisfy your desire for a sweet and spicy dish.

However, if you like a flavor that is neutral or not spicy, the sesame chicken will be the perfect choice to suit your tastes.

The reason we’ve given only a single “spice” rating to sesame chicken is due to the many variations the dish can be served in.

If you’re a fan of General Tso, you’ll recall that we have mentioned that the recipe originally used to make General Tso was changed to suit the region of Hunan due to the sweetness of the dish initially.

It’s just that many restaurants alter the spice levels of each dish to ensure that they are more appealing to the general public. In general, chicken with sesame will always be milder than General Tso.

Roundup of General Tso vs Sesame Chicken

General Tso and Sesame chicken are the mainstays of Chinese-American cuisine throughout North America and all around the globe. Both of these dishes are extremely well-loved and have a massive fan base.

General Tso is thought to be a spicy and sweet dish with noticeable tangy undertones due to rice vinegar as well as other ingredients. While sesame chicken can be similar but sweeter, and flavored with sesame seeds.

Both dishes are a host of different variations. You are likely to find different levels of spice and taste profiles because of the different flavors of Soy sauce, chicken broth, and other spices.

While General Tso is a little more well-known and well-known Sesame Chicken follows quickly and is a staple on numerous menus.

It all depends on your personal preferences and what you prefer about your sauce.

Sesame chicken is a fantastic opportunity to explore the world of Chinese-American cuisine, however, If you’re more drawn to spicy foods then we recommend you meet General Tso.

Interesting Facts & Questions

After having discussed the differences between chicken with sesame seeds and General Tso’s Chicken, we’ll take a look at some more questions we think you’ve asked when going through this post!

Is General Tso’s Chicken Genuine Chinese Food Item?

While the ancestors of this dish originate from China The dish has been modified to suit the tastes that are typical of Americans.

A large number of Chinese immigrants added their own variations to this dish in order to make the dish more appealing to diverse ethnic groups.

But, because of how discolored the recipe has been over time It’s difficult to determine this recipe’s “authentic” but since this dish is so well-known, lots of people are using the traditional General Tso flavor as a standard for other variations.

Sesame Chicken Is the Same As Orange Chicken or Kung Pao Chicken?

No. Sesame chicken can be described as an incredibly sweet and tangy food that has an umami flavor. Kung Pao chicken is a delicious hot and spicy chicken dish cooked using peanuts.

In the same way, orange chicken also originates from Hunan and has a variety of ingredients but also the addition of orange peels.

Sesame chicken can be spiced with sesame seeds and some other variations to the dish.

For instance, the seeds could be baked and later seasoned for the dish. Alternatively, you could replace chicken with other kinds of protein, such as shrimp.

How Can I Get General Tso or Sesame-Chicken?

The two meals are able to be found in any Chinese American restaurant. They are frequently served and are included on menus of numerous restaurants due to their popularity. You can therefore get them virtually everywhere.

If you’re looking for authentic Chinese food, we strongly recommend you visit the best Chinese restaurant in your area.

You can also visit various restaurants to see if they can add small changes to both of these delicious dishes.

Did you find this guide helpful?
Norah Clark

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, the founder and editor of YummyTasteFood! She's a seasoned food writer and editor with over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry as a former pastry chef, sous chef, and barista. When not writing about food, she explores new recipes or travels the world for culinary inspiration.

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