General Tso's Whole Turkey


A Chinese take on the holiday roast turkey. The sauce is a sweet and spicy flavorful glaze on the crispy skin of the turkey with a hint of orange and cranberry. The whole red peppers with green onions on the side add a festive touch. The dressing is a savory rice dressing with cranberries and nuts. Sure to become a year-round favorite. Garnish with whole dried red peppers and green onions along the side.

Prep Time:
1 hrs
Cook Time:
3 hrs 30 mins
Additional Time:
8 hrs
Total Time:
12 hrs 30 mins
1 whole turkey



  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 3 small dried red chiles, or more to taste

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 2 green onions, chopped

  • ¼ cup light sesame oil

  • 1 small shallot, chopped

  • ½ (16 ounce) can whole berry cranberry sauce

  • 1 cup turkey broth

  • ½ cup soy sauce

  • ¼ cup orange juice

  • ¼ cup white vinegar

  • ¼ cup plum wine

  • ¼ cup white sugar

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger root

  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic

  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest

  • 1 (12 pound) whole turkey, neck and giblets removed

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch


  • 2 cups cooked white rice

  • ½ cup cooked wild rice

  • cup dried cranberries

  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts

  • 2 small green onions, chopped

  • 1 small shallot, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

Basting Oil:

  • cup vegetable oil

  • cup sesame oil


  1. Heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Toast dried red chiles in the hot oil until they turn dark red, about 2 minutes. Toss black pepper, 2 chopped green onions, light sesame oil, and 1 small chopped shallot into the hot oil; remove from heat.

  2. Blend cranberry sauce, turkey broth, soy sauce, orange juice, white vinegar, plum wine, ginger, garlic, and orange zest in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Stir toasted red pepper mixture into glaze. Divide glaze in half.

  3. Place turkey into a large basting bag and pour half the glaze over the turkey and into the cavity. Seal the bag and refrigerate turkey overnight.

  4. Dissolve cornstarch in the remaining half of the glaze and refrigerate in a covered container.

  5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

  6. Remove turkey from marinade; discard the used marinade. Set turkey onto a rack inside a roasting pan.

  7. Mix white rice, wild rice, dried cranberries, walnuts, 2 small chopped green onions, 1 chopped shallot, and 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a bowl. Lightly stuff the turkey cavity with the rice mixture. Combine 1/3 cup vegetable oil with 1/3 cup sesame oil in a bowl and set aside.

  8. Roast turkey in the preheated oven, basting with vegetable and sesame oil mixture every 15 minutes, until skin is browned and crisp, about 2 hours. Stir reserved glaze containing cornstarch thoroughly and baste turkey every 15 minutes until glaze has baked onto turkey and an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh reads 165 degrees F (75 degrees C), 1 1/2 to 2 more hours.

Cook's Notes:

This recipe also lends itself well to whole chicken.

General Tso (Zuo Zongtang, 1812-1885) was a military leader during the Qing dynasty. The spiciness of this dish is sure to release your inner warrior!

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

802 Calories
44g Fat
23g Carbs
75g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 15
Calories 802
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 44g 56%
Saturated Fat 10g 51%
Cholesterol 212mg 71%
Sodium 685mg 30%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 75g
Vitamin C 5mg 24%
Calcium 81mg 6%
Iron 5mg 29%
Potassium 811mg 17%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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