Is General Tso Sauce Vegan and Cruelty Free? The Unpleasant Truth

Figuring out whether General Tso Sauce is vegan friendly can be a bit tough.

Condiment makers often mask their ingredients behind vague terms such as “natural flavors,” and even when they do list the ingredients, it can be hard to know whether those ingredients are vegan.

To make sure that you are only consuming food that aligns with your vegan diet and lifestyle, I’ve investigated the ingredients and production process of General Tso Sauce.

Here’s what I found out.

Is General Tso Sauce Vegan?

No. General Tso Sauce is not vegan.

General Tso Sauce is a popular Chinese-American condiment that is used to add flavor to meat and vegetable dishes. This sauce is made from a variety of ingredients, such as soy sauce/hoisin sauce, sugar, sesame seeds, rice vinegar/apple cider vinegar, garlic, ginger, toasted sesame oil, green onions, and chili peppers.

Unfortunately for vegans, this sauce contains refined sugar. Refined sugar is often processed through bone char, a black, porous substance made from the bones of animals. So unless it is labeled as “unrefined,” “raw,” or “organic,” refined sugar is assumed to be non-vegan.

There are also brands and recipes of General Tso Sauce that use chicken broth or honey, which is, of course, not vegan.

So, unless you make or find a recipe that is specifically vegan, General Tso Sauce is not something you can eat on a vegan diet.

Is General Tso Sauce Cruelty Free?

Yes! General Tso Sauce is cruelty free.

General Tso Sauce brands are not tested on animals at any point during their production process.

It also doesn’t contain any ingredients that are regularly tested on animals, such as artificial colors.

Animal testing is an inhumane and outdated practice that causes immense suffering and death to innocent animals. This practice needs to end, especially when there are viable cruelty-free alternatives available that don’t involve animals and are just as effective.

What Is General Tso Sauce Made Of?

Here are the ingredients of General Tso Sauce:

  • Soy sauce
  • Rice wine
  • Rice-wine vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Cornstarch
  • Dried red chili peppers (whole)
  • Garlic

Let’s break down each ingredient of General Tso Sauce:

Soy sauce

Soy sauce is a dark, salty sauce made from fermented soybeans. It is commonly used in Asian cuisine as a dipping sauce, marinade, or ingredient in other sauces and dishes. Soy sauce is vegan friendly.

Rice wine

Rice wine is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice. It is popular in East Asian countries and has a sweet taste. Rice wine is vegan friendly.

Rice-wine vinegar

Rice-wine vinegar is a type of vinegar made from fermented rice wine. It is used in many Asian dishes and has a slightly sweet taste. Rice-wine vinegar is vegan friendly.

Sugar

Sugar is a sweetener made from sugarcane or sugar beets. As mentioned earlier, sugar is not vegan unless it is labeled as “unrefined,” “raw,” or “organic.”

Cornstarch

Cornstarch is a powder made from corn that is used to thicken sauces and dishes. Cornstarch is vegan friendly.

Dried red chili peppers (whole)

Dried red chili peppers are a type of chili pepper that has been dried and adds spice to dishes. Dried red chili peppers are vegan friendly.

Garlic

Garlic is a type of onion that is used to add flavor to dishes. Garlic is vegan friendly.

Why Isn’t General Tso Sauce Vegan?

General Tso Sauce is not vegan because it contains a questionable ingredient, sugar. Sugar is often processed with bone char, which is made from the ground-up bones of animals. This makes sugar non-vegan.

There are also brands and recipes of General Tso Sauce that use chicken broth or honey, which are not vegan. So it’s best to check the ingredients list before purchasing or consuming it.

Is Sun-Bird General Tso’s Chicken Seasoning Mix Vegan?

No. Sun-Bird General Tso’s Chicken Seasoning Mix contains chicken broth and chicken fat.

This condiment is not safe for vegan consumption.

Is Minor’s General Tso’s Sauce Vegan?

No. Minor’s General Tso’s Sauce contains refined sugar and molasses.

This condiment is not safe for vegan consumption.

Is Iron Chef General Tso’s Sauce and Glaze Vegan?

No. Iron Chef General Tso’s Sauce and Glaze contains refined sugar.

This condiment is not safe for vegan consumption.

Is House of Tsang General Tso Sauce Vegan?

No. House Of Tsang General Tso Sauce contains refined sugar.

This condiment is not safe for vegan consumption.

Is Kevin’s Natural Foods General Tso Sauce & Marinade Vegan?

Yes! Kevin’s Natural Foods General Tso Sauce & Marinade does not contain animal-derived or questionable ingredients.

This condiment is safe for vegan consumption.

Vegan Alternatives to General Tso Sauce

General Tso Sauce may have more non-vegan brands and recipes than vegan ones, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find a vegan brand of this sauce. Here are some of my favorites:

You can also find some vegan recipes for General Tso Sauce online, either with just the sauce or with tofu or broccoli as a replacement for the chicken. Here are some:

With these delicious vegan recipes or brands for General Tso Sauce, you don’t have to sacrifice flavor or ethics when it comes to your food. There are plenty of delicious and cruelty-free options out there for you to choose from.

Final Words

So, there you have it! General Tso Sauce is usually not vegan because most recipes contain refined sugar. But there are plenty of vegan brands and recipes available so that you can enjoy this delicious sauce without harming any animals. 

With these options, you can have your sauce and eat it, too, with some simple vegan ingredients, such as tofu. Be it extra firm tofu, cooked tofu, or crispy tofu, this protein-rich dish will be satisfying with a vegan General Tso Sauce!