Skip to Content

General Tso Meatballs

Tso tangy. Tso sweet. Tso easy. These General Tso Meatballs might just beat your favorite takeout.

This is a picture of general tso meatballs. There is a dark green lettuce wrapped filled with rice and meatballs.

General Tso Meatballs

I'm not much of a war historian, so I can't really claim to know everything (or anything) about General Tso. However, I have to give respect where respect is due.

The man makes some fine chicken, and though it's found at Chinese restaurants, it's a staple of American cuisine.

Whenever I try to make a play on a popular dish, I have a little voice in my head saying something like why mess with a good thing? And if I were trying to convince you that I could make better General Tso's Chicken than your local Chinese joint, I'd be losing that battle real quick.

These general tso meatballs are here to take advantage of the fact that, due to the general popularity of the dish, you're likely to find a bottle of General Tso's sauce at your local supermarket. Rather than try to use that sauce to make a slightly less satisfying version of a takeout dish, I want to leverage its flavor to make an easy, tasty meatball recipe.

That, and I'm going to use turkey to do it instead of chicken, because that's just what I feel like making it with. Not convinced? Check out the recipe below

This is a plate of general tso meatballs. There are dark orange meatballs on top of white rice on a white plate.

General Tso Meatballs Recipe

Here's everything that goes into making these General Tso meatballs:

Ingredients

  • ground turkey (I use 93% lean)
  • egg
  • panko breadcrumbs
  • parmesan cheese
  • kosher salt
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • chili powder

Sauce Ingredients

  • General Tso sauce

Yes, the sauce ingredients is just a bottle of store-bought sauce.

You could venture out to make your own homemade sauce. You could probably make it taste great! However, I encourage you to remember what I'm going for here: quick, easy, ready in a pinch.

Can I bake meatballs instead of frying?

Obviously, meatballs aren't the first food item to enter the baked vs. fried debate. Very often, it's a trade off, where fried foods are seen as indulgent and baked foods are seen as "healthy." In reality, nothing is quite that straightforward, but you have to cook these somehow, right?

With this particular meatball mixture, I find that baking still leads to the delicious crispy texture I'd expect to find in a fried batch—so no need to bust out the frying pan this time!

How to Make General Tso Meatballs

Here's how to make these General Tso meatballs:

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Add all meatball ingredients (except the general tso sauce) in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.
  • Use your hands or a cookie dough scoop to roll the mixture into balls.
  • Spread the meatballs evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake the meatballs for 15 mins (or until internal temp reaches 165 degrees).
  • In a separate bowl, add the general tso sauce.
  • In small batches, add a few of the meatballs to the bowl of sauce. Coat completely and place back on the baking sheet. Repeat this step until all meatballs are coated.
  • Bake the sauced meatballs for 5 more minutes.
  • Serve with ranch dressing, pasta, salad, rice or whatever you wish!

If it seems uncomplicated, that's because... it is. Really.

After I developed this meatball recipe, I haven't had a single time where something's turned out less-than-fabulous. It's really easy to get a consistently good product every time.

What is General Tso's sauce made of?

In general (ha)? Soy sauce, vinegar, hoisin sauce, sugar, with room for a few other things.

This is a picture of general tso meatballs. There is a dark green lettuce wrapped filled with rice and meatballs.

FAQs about Turkey Meatballs

How do you know when turkey meatballs are done?

  • Although ground meat is sometimes hard to check, you can put a probe in these meatballs to check for doneness like you would a full piece of meat. Ultimately, you're trying to bring the turkey up to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Should meatballs be cooked before putting them in sauce?

For these baked meatballs, we cook them most of the way before adding sauce and finishing. You could cook them completely and sauce them, but that isn't necessary from a food safety standpoint.

What sides go with meatballs?

Do you need egg in meatballs?

For this recipe, an egg is used to bind the ingredients together. There are definitely some possible substitutes—greek yogurt or cheese, for example. I've even heard of someone using applesauce!

This is a plate of general tso meatballs. There are dark orange meatballs on top of white rice on a white plate.

Is it better to bake or fry meatballs?

When you bake meatballs, you aren't introducing extra fat from oil that would come along with frying. Obviously, the final texture and flavor will be different, so it just depends. For my meal prep needs, baking works perfectly, and it's super easy to do.

Can I bake meatballs on aluminum foil?

Yes. Spray aluminum foil with cooking spray. Then add rolled meatballs.

What is the difference between General Tso and orange chicken?

More meatball recipes:

This is a picture of general tso meatballs. There is a dark green lettuce wrapped filled with rice and meatballs.
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

General Tso Meatballs

Tso tangy. Tso sweet. Tso easy. These General Tso Meatballs might just beat your favorite takeout.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: general tso, general tso meatballs, turkey meatballs
Servings: 4
Calories: 256kcal
Author: Jordan Smith

Equipment

  • oven
  • baking sheet
  • Mixing Bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground turkey 93% lean
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder

Sauce Ingredients

  • ½ cup General Tso sauce

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Add all meatball ingredients (except the general tso sauce) in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.
  • Use your hands or a cookie dough scoop to roll the mixture into balls.
  • Spread the meatballs evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake the meatballs for 15 mins (or until internal temp reaches 165 degrees).
  • In a separate bowl, add the general tso sauce.
  • In small batches, add a few of the meatballs to the bowl of sauce. Coat completely and place back on the baking sheet. Repeat this step until all meatballs are coated.
  • Bake the sauced meatballs for 5 more minutes.
  • Serve with ranch dressing, pasta, salad, rice or whatever you wish!

Notes

This recipe makes about 30 meatballs. To portion, divide into 4ths; for a more exact portion measurement, divide total food weight (not including dish) by 4. To log in MyFitnessPal, search "Jordo's World General Tso Meatballs". 

Nutrition

Calories: 256kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 137mg | Sodium: 576mg | Potassium: 29mg | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 10IU | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 9mg
Recipe Rating




Catherine Lewis

Sunday 7th of August 2022

This was so delicious and easy! Perfect weeknight meal that will definitely be on repeat at our house!