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.

Chicken Stir Fry - Served with Steamed White Rice and Chopsticks

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!

Chicken Stir Fry Recipe - Served in a Skillet with Scallion Garnish

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
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow Squash
  • Eggplant
  • 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:

Chicken Stir Fry Marinade in a Glass Bowl with Garlic and Red Pepper

Thinly slice some chicken breast, then toss it well in the marinade.

Sliced Raw Chicken Tossed with Stir Fry 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:

Searing the Sliced Chicken in Hot Oil

You want to cook the chicken almost all the way through, about 80%, which only takes a couple minutes:

Mostly Cooked Thinly Sliced Chicken Breast in Skillet

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:

Sliced Bell Pepper, Snap Peas, and Carrots Poured Into Skillet

Cook for a few minutes to soften slightly, though they should still be somewhat firm. Then add baby corn, water chestnuts, and scallions:

Pouring Baby Corn, Water Chestnuts, and Scallions Into Skillet

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:

Pouring Partially Cooked Chicken Into Skillet with Vegetables

I also like to add cashews, for extra crunch:

Adding Cashews to the Skillet

Peanuts are great too!

At the end, I add a little bit of water or chicken stock to make it a little bit saucier:

Adding Water to the Stir Fry in Skillet

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.

Stir Fry Chicken and Vegetables - Served in a Bowl with Steamed White Rice

See all my Asian Recipes for more meal ideas. Enjoy!

More Favorite Asian Recipes:

Lettuce Wraps

Orange Beef

Quick Ramen Noodle Soup

Korean Kalbi Beef

Homemade Sushi

Chicken Stir Fry in Blue Bowl with Rice and Chopsticks

Chicken Stir Fry

A good balance of meat and vegetables, with plenty of flavor and spice. This is a great weeknight meal!
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Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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!

Notes

*Tip: Keep ginger root in the freezer! You can grate it straight from frozen using a Microplane (affiliate).

Nutrition

Calories: 343kcal, Carbohydrates: 17g, Protein: 40g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 129mg, Sodium: 1054mg, Potassium: 938mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 4139IU, Vitamin C: 47mg, Calcium: 42mg, Iron: 2mg

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.