Chicken Stir Fry
This Chicken Stir Fry is a great recipe to have in your regular meal rotation. It’s easy to make, always flavorful and delicious, and can be customized using whatever vegetables you have on hand.
There’s a reason that stir fry is often one of the first recipes a cook learns how to make.
It’s more of a formula than a recipe, and is one of the most useful and practical cooking formulas there is.
You can customize it endlessly, according to whatever proteins and vegetables you have on hand. And it’s easy to keep sauce components like soy sauce in your fridge all the time.
Serve it with steamed rice or fried rice, and you have a filling and complete meal anytime!
A lot of people think of stir fry as a relatively quick preparation, and well, it can be.
I find it depends a lot on what kinds of vegetables you’re using, because different types require varying amounts of chopping and prep.
Vegetables to Use for the Quickest Stir Fry:
To cut down on time, try to find pre-prepped bagged vegetables at the store. My local grocery has the following options already bagged and washed:
- Snap Peas
- Snow Peas
- Broccoli Florets
- Sliced Mushrooms
- Carrot Chips
- Green beans
More Fresh Vegetables for Stir Fry:
These are vegetables you will likely have to buy bulk and prep, but they are wonderful too.
- Bok Choy
- Yellow Squash
- Red Bell Pepper
- Red Onion
Fill In With Canned Items from the Pantry:
- Baby Corn Pieces
- Water Chestnuts (Buy it already sliced)
How to Make Chicken Stir Fry:
In a medium bowl, combine soy sauce, cornstarch, rice wine vinegar, garlic, red pepper flakes, ginger, and black pepper:
Thinly slice some chicken breast, then toss it well in the marinade.
Let the chicken sit for 5 minutes, then sear it in hot fat in a skillet, only cooking half of it at a time, so you don’t overcrowd the pan:
You want to cook the chicken almost all the way through, about 80%, which only takes a couple minutes:
Remove the chicken to a bowl, then add the vegetables that need to be cooked.
Here I have snap peas, sliced carrots, and red bell pepper strips:
Cook for a few minutes to soften slightly, though they should still be somewhat firm. Then add baby corn, water chestnuts, and scallions:
These don’t really need to be cooked, so just toss around for 2 minutes to incorporate with the rest of the veggies and warm them up.
Add the chicken and the juices back to the pan:
I also like to add cashews, for extra crunch:
Peanuts are great too!
At the end, I add a little bit of water or chicken stock to make it a little bit saucier:
This isn’t really a saucy stir fry, but a lot of the moisture cooks off during the high heat cooking, and this adds some of it back.
Serve it with rice to complete the meal.
See all my Asian Recipes for more meal ideas. Enjoy!
More Favorite Asian Recipes:
Chicken Stir Fry
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp freshly grated ginger*
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1.5 lbs chicken breast sliced thinly (3 breasts)
- 3 tbsp ghee or other high heat cooking fat, divided
- 1 large carrot cut into coins (3/4 cup)
- 1 small red bell pepper cut into strips (1 cup)
- 4 ounces snap peas (1 heaping cup)
- 4 scallions sliced (1/2 cup)
- 15 oz can baby corn (dry weight 7oz)
- 8 oz can water chestnuts (dry weight 5oz)
- 1/2 cup toasted cashews or peanuts
- 1/4 cup chicken stock or water, if needed
- The key to success with a stir fry is to have all of the ingredients prepped ahead of time and lined up next to your cooking area. Vegetables cut, chicken sliced, garlic minced, and other ingredients measured out. The actual cooking will happen very quickly over very high heat, in 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, stir to combine the soy sauce, cornstarch, rice wine vinegar, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Add the thinly sliced chicken and toss well. Let this sit for 5 minutes.
- Preheat a 12" skillet over medium high heat, then add 1 tbsp ghee. It should shimmer in the pan. Add half the chicken, spreading it in an even layer. Let the chicken sit for 30-60 seconds to brown, then toss and stir it around for another minute longer. It should be mostly cooked through, about 80%. Remove that batch of chicken to a bowl and add 1 tbsp ghee, and the remaining chicken. Repeat the cooking process, then remove the chicken to the bowl.
- Add the remaining tbsp ghee, thenImmediately add the carrot, bell pepper, and snap peas. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until slightly softened but still firm.
- Add the scallions, baby corn, and water chestnuts to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the chicken and the juices to the pan, then add the cashews. Toss for 1 minute. If the stir fry seems dry, add the chicken stock or water, then stir for 1 more minute. Check that the chicken is cooked through, then enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
Post updated with new photos and writing in November 2020. Originally published October 2012.