If you don’t have a chicken stir fry in your cooking repertoire yet, then this recipe is the one you need to try. It’s quick and easy, and you and your family will get a generous healthy helping of chicken and fresh vegetables. This stir fry recipe was developed by Melissa Olivieri, who shares Pinterest-worthy but simple savory and sweet recipes on her blog, The Olive Blogger. Olivieri and her husband live outside of Toronto, Ontario, and very soon, they’re going to be first-time parents.
Olivieri’s recipes are often created with a big family in mind (her in-laws are Italian, after all!), and her stir fry is no exception. This recipe makes a large amount that Olivieri says is "awesome for leftovers." Also, she told us that "like so many dishes with a sauce, it will be even tastier the next day." If you have some chicken and a few vegetables in your refrigerator, you can make Olivieri’s stir fry tonight!
Gather together the ingredients for this chicken stir fry recipe
"I love the versatility of this chicken stir fry recipe," Olivieri told us. "You can adapt it to whatever you have on hand, especially those sneaky veggies that hide in the back of the crisper until you toss them out!" Olivieri’s vegetable mix for her stir fry includes broccoli, bell peppers, carrots, snow peas, and green onions. But you can easily substitute these with any other vegetable you prefer, like cauliflower, zucchini, or sliced red onion.
For the chicken, you can buy either chicken breast tenders or a whole chicken breast and cut it up yourself. Whichever you choose, Olivieri recommends cutting the chicken "into similar-sized pieces to ensure they cook evenly." As you’re gathering together the ingredients for this stir fry, don’t forget the ingredients for the sauce, which is an integral part of the dish.
Make the sauce for the chicken stir fry
The first step is getting the chicken stir fry sauce ready, and Olivieri’s method takes about two minutes to do. This recipe makes about three cups of sauce, so you’ll need a 32-ounce Mason jar. Measure out each ingredient, and pour it into the jar. You’ll need chicken broth, water, apple cider vinegar, low-sodium soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, ground ginger, garlic, and cornstarch. Cornstarch is a common ingredient in most Asian sauces, particularly in stir frys, and it’s always added at the end to thicken the sauce. (If it’s overheated, cornstarch’s thickening agent breaks down.)
Once you’ve got the sauce ingredients in the mason jar, screw the lid on tightly, and shake the jar vigorously. Cornstarch tends to clump if it’s not thoroughly mixed in with liquid, so make sure to keep shaking the jar until the sauce is well-combined. Olivieri told us that the sauce can be made ahead of time and will keep in the fridge for up to one week.
Prep the veggies for this chicken stir fry recipe
Before you start cooking your chicken stir fry, you’ll need to prep the vegetables first. It’s a little time-consuming, but you don’t have to be precise. As long as you cut and slice the veggies into approximately the same size, they’ll all cook through at the same time. Start with the carrot. Wash and peel the carrot, then slice it in half lengthwise. Turn the cut side down on the cutting board, and slice the carrot into half moons, about one-half-inch thick. Now slice the snow peas in half. If you want to get fancy, cut them on the diagonal.
Moving on to the bell peppers (they can be any color), cut off the stem end, then slice the pepper in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and the white ribs with a paring knife. Put the cut side down on your cutting board, and gently press the pepper half so it flattens. Slice the pepper into one-inch strips, then cut the strips into one-inch pieces. Separate the broccoli into individual florets, keeping a bit of stem on each floret. Finally, slice the scallions, separating the white parts from the green parts, which you’ll use later as a garnish.
Season and brown the chicken in batches for this chicken stir fry
Mix together the kosher salt, garlic powder, and ground black pepper in a small bowl. Pat the chicken strips dry with paper towels, then spread them out on your cutting board (make sure it’s dry too). Sprinkle the seasoning over the chicken strips, turning them to ensure you season both sides. Divide the chicken strips into batches — Olivieri recommends at least two.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add the sesame oil and vegetable oil. When the oil shimmers, carefully add the first batch of chicken strips with tongs. Brown the chicken for three minutes, then flip them over and brown the other side for two to three minutes. Transfer the browned chicken strips to a plate or large bowl, and repeat with the other batches. You may need to add a little more oil with each batch.
Cook the veggies then add the chicken for this chicken stir fry
When you’ve finished the last batch of chicken strips for your chicken stir fry, add the prepped veggies to the pan. Toss them with tongs to evenly coat them with oil. Pour in a half cup of water, cover the pan, and lower the heat. This allows the vegetables to steam and retain their vibrant color and crunchy texture. After seven minutes, remove the lid and add the chicken. Keep stirring everything until the vegetables are done. The carrot will take a little longer to cook, but Olivieri recommends three additional minutes, which is just enough time for the vegetables to cook through to al dente.
Stir in the sauce and serve this chicken stir fry
The final step is adding the chicken stir fry sauce. If you’ve prepared the sauce ahead of time, take it out of the fridge while you’re prepping the vegetables. Before pouring it into the pan, give the mason jar a good shake because the cornstarch may have settled to the bottom. Even if you’ve just made it, shake up the sauce to be sure the cornstarch is thoroughly combined with the other ingredients. Now, add one cup of the sauce to the pan, and set the heat to medium. As the sauce comes to a boil, it will begin to thicken.
Keep stirring the chicken and vegetables to coat them, and if you want more sauce, then by all means, add more! Olivieri likes to serve her stir fry over rice, egg noodles, or even thin spaghetti. The final touch is garnishing each plate with a sprinkle of the green parts of the sliced scallions you reserved earlier. This stir fry recipe is so quick and easy for any night of the week, so why not try it tonight?
If you don’t have a chicken stir fry in your cooking repertoire yet, then this recipe is the one you need to try. It comes together in a pinch.
- 1-½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 2 bell peppers
- 1 large carrot
- 1 head broccoli
- 2 cups snow peas
- 2 scallions
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil + 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1-½ cups chicken broth
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup low-sodium soy sauce
- ¼ cup lightly packed brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Put all of the ingredients for the sauce (chicken broth, water, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, brown sugar, ground ginger, garlic, and cornstarch) into a mason jar, and screw the lid on tightly. Shake the mason jar until ingredients are well mixed. Set aside.
- Wash and dry the vegetables before prepping them. Cut carrots into half-inch half moons. Slice snow peas in half. Dice peppers into 1-inch pieces. Slice green onions, separating the greens into a separate small bowl. Chop broccoli into medium-sized florets, leaving some of the stem on.
- Heat a large pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon sesame oil and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. While the pan is heating, pat chicken dry with paper towels, and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
- Cook chicken in at least two batches, browning it on each side three minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Repeat with each batch.
- Add all of the prepared vegetables to the hot pan, stirring to coat with the oil. Add half a cup of water and cover the pan. Steam the vegetables for approximately seven minutes.
- Remove the lid, and add the browned chicken, stirring to combine. Cook until vegetables are desired doneness. If you like a little crunch to vegetables, cook for three minutes.
- Stir in 1 cup of the sauce, and set the heat to medium. Let the sauce come to a boil as it thickens. Stir to coat the chicken and vegetables, and add more sauce if desired.
- Serve over rice or noodles.