This 20-minute easy chicken stir-fry recipe combines juicy diced chicken with mixed vegetables in a delicious homemade soy, sweetener, and sesame oil sauce. A quick, sweet and savory, restaurant-quality meal to enjoy with rice or noodles!
Quick and easy stir-fry recipes like pepper steak, sesame chicken, and this chicken stir fry recipe are easy meals loaded with fresh, vibrant vegetables and lean proteins in a flavor-packed preservative-free homemade sauce – and all in one pan. The results are restaurant-quality but healthier and more cost-effective. Plus, this healthy stir fry is ready In just 20 minutes, perfect for busy weeknights!
In this instance, tender diced chicken is lightly marinated and stir-fried with tender-crisp vegetables. I’ve used broccoli and bell peppers, but this chicken and vegetable stir fry is a great opportunity to clear out your fridge! It’s then coated in a simple, rich, sweet and savory stir-fry sauce that will have adults and children alike (even picky eaters) clamoring for seconds.
If you have any leftovers, they freeze and reheat wonderfully, too! Want to try out even more restaurant-quality fakeout recipes from home? Check out orange chicken, egg-fried rice, and Chinese eggplant!
Stir Fry Ingredients
Simple, pantry-friendly ingredients are all you need to prepare the best chicken stir fry recipe.
- Chicken: I used boneless, skinless chicken breast, which I cut myself. However, it’s possible to buy it pre-chopped, too (though I find the pieces are a little too chunky).
- Oil: Use any neutral-flavored, high-heat cooking oil. I.e., vegetable oil, peanut oil, canola, grapeseed, etc.
- Aromatics: This stir-fry combines minced garlic, ginger, and dried chilies (or crushed red pepper flakes) for a fragrant, aromatic base.
- Vegetables: One of my favorite stir-fry combinations is bell peppers and broccoli.
An easy stir-fry recipe is a great “clear out the fridge” opportunity that allows you to make the most of whatever veggies (fresh or frozen) you have to hand. Other popular stir-fry vegetables are onion, baby corn, carrots, green beans/snow peas, mushrooms, zucchini, shredded cabbage, bean sprouts, water chestnuts, spinach, etc.
- The chicken marinade: To make a super tasty and tender chicken, I used a simple marinade of soy sauce, sugar (regular, brown, honey, or a sugar alternative), salt, white pepper, cornstarch, and baking soda.
- Scallions: (Green onion) to garnish. You might also like adding a sprinkle of sesame seeds or even some toasted cashews or peanuts.
The Stir-Fry Sauce
For the simplicity of its ingredients, this wonderfully full-bodied and complex flavor makes for the best sauce for chicken stir fry.
- Soy sauce: You can use reduced-sodium soy sauce if preferred, though a combination of dark and light soy sauce provides the best overall depth and flavor. Tamari/coconut aminos make for a great gluten-free alternative.
- Sweetener: You can use regular white sugar or add depth with some honey instead. Sugar alternatives will also work – adjust the sweetness to taste.
- Rice vinegar: This (or apple cider vinegar) will add a subtle tang to the sauce. Alternatively, or with the vinegar, you might also enjoy adding a splash of Shaoxing wine, mirin, or dry sherry for extra depth and flavor.
- Toasted sesame oil: This will add a nutty, toasty flavor to the stir-fry sauce, creating a wonderful full-bodied taste.
- Cornstarch: (combined with a little water) To thicken the sauce into a glaze-like consistency. Arrowroot or tapioca starch would work for a corn-free, paleo, whole-30 sauce.
What Is the Best Chicken for Stir Fry?
It’s best to use tender, lean pieces of meat that are easy to slice into thin strips/small, diced pieces and cook quickly. I.e., boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs. Smaller chicken tenderloins will also work.
How to Make Chicken Stir Fry
First, slice the chicken into small ½-inch diced pieces (or ¼-inch thin strips if preferred, though the cooking time will be reduced slightly).
Then, toss the meat into a bowl with all the marinade ingredients and set aside.
Meanwhile, mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and whisk the cornstarch slurry in a separate bowl.
Next, slice or mince the garlic and ginger and chop the vegetables into small, even, bite-sized pieces.
Next, add half the oil to a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken in a single layer (do it in batches if necessary) and stir-fry for 3-5 minutes or until cooked through. Then, remove it from the skillet.
Reduce the heat to medium, add the remaining oil to the pan, and then stir-fry the ginger, garlic, and dried chilies for 20-30 seconds. Add the broccoli and bell pepper and stir-fry for just a few minutes until they’re tender-crisp.
Add the chicken back into the skillet along with the stir-fry sauce and cornstarch slurry and mix well. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir constantly until it thickens (about one minute).
If the sauce isn’t thick enough, add more cornstarch slurry. If it’s too thick, add some water (or chicken broth).
Finally, remove the chicken and vegetable stir-fry from the heat and enjoy it garnished with sliced green onion (scallions).
What to Serve with Chicken Stir Fry?
My favorite way to finish off this chicken vegetable stir-fry is with a carb, like:
- Rice (white rice, jasmine rice, basmati, etc.),
- Noodles (glass, ribbon, soba, lo mein, chow mein, etc.).
If you’d prefer a low-carb option, enjoy it with cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles. You might also enjoy the stir-fry alongside more vegetable dishes, like simple sauteed spinach, green beans, asparagus, or sugar snap peas.
More Asian Dinner Recipes
- Vegetable stir-fry with noodles
- Japanese chicken ramen
- Korean vegetarian bibimbap
- 10-minute garlic chili oil noodles
If you try this easy chicken stir-fry recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!
Easy Chicken Stir Fry Recipe
- 1.2 lb chicken breasts 4 small; or chicken thighs – skinless, boneless
For the chicken marinade
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar or honey
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
For the sauce
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce dark, light, reduced-sodium, or a combination
- 1 tablespoon sugar or honey
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
For the stir fry
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil or another high-heat cooking oil, divided
- 8 oz bell peppers 2 small-medium, red & orange
- 4 oz broccoli 1 small head' or other vegetables (check recipe notes)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 0.5 oz ginger
- 3 dried chilies or 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 3 stalks scallions
For the cornstarch slurry
- 2 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot/tapioca starch
- Slice the chicken into small ½-inch diced pieces (or ¼-inch thin strips if preferred, though the cooking time will be reduced slightly).
- Toss the meat into a bowl with all the marinade ingredients and set aside while preparing the rest (or longer – see the Notes below).
- Mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and the cornstarch slurry in a separate bowl. Slice or mince the garlic and ginger. Chop the vegetables into small, even, bite-sized pieces.
- Add half the oil to a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken in a single layer (do it in batches if necessary) and stir-fry for 3-5 minutes or until cooked through. Then, remove it from the skillet.
- Reduce the heat to medium, add the remaining oil to the pan, and then stir-fry the ginger, garlic, and dried chilies for 20-30 seconds. Add the broccoli and bell pepper and stir-fry for just a few minutes until they’re tender-crisp.
- Add the chicken back into the skillet along with the stir-fry sauce and cornstarch slurry and mix well. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir constantly until it thickens (about one minute).If the sauce isn't thick enough, add more cornstarch slurry. If it's too thick, add some water (or chicken broth).
- Remove the stir-fry from the heat and enjoy it garnished with sliced green onion (scallions).
- For super tender chicken: If you have the time, leave it to marinate for at least 30 minutes, and don’t omit the baking soda for tender, juicy, flavorful chicken.
- Cut everything into bite-sized pieces: This ensures even cooking and a little piece of everything in every bite.
- Use a wok if possible: It provides more even heat distribution than a skillet.
- Ensure the pan is HOT: This is the best way to cook chicken for stir fry, as it will cook quickly without drying out.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan: Otherwise, the chicken will steam rather than sear. Cook it in batches if necessary.
- Tweak the flavors: Since you’re making the stir-fry at home, it’s easy to adjust any of the ingredients to your liking. I.e., more saltiness, sweetness, tang, spice, etc.
- Be careful not to overcook the veggies: They should be tender-crisp, retaining a crunch. If you cook them for too long, they’ll become mushy.
- Swap the chicken: This combination of veggies and sauce will also work well with beef, turkey, or shrimp.
- Swap the veggies: Stir-fries are a great “clear out the fridge” opportunity that allows you to make the most of whatever veggies (fresh or frozen) you have to hand: onion, baby corn, carrots, green beans/snow peas, mushrooms, zucchini, shredded cabbage, bean sprouts, water chestnuts, spinach, etc.
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