Proudly stepping onto the podium to accept the Gold Medal on behalf of fast weeknight dinners everywhere: Chicken Stir Fry. Loaded with vegetables and finished with juicy mandarin oranges to convince the veggie suspect, this recipe is a favorite of kiddos big and little.
Why You’ll Love This Easy Chicken Stir Fry Recipe
- Stir-Fries Are Fast and Healthy. In the Venn diagram of nutritious and quick dinners, this chicken stir fry falls right into that sweet spot in the middle. Recipes like Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry, Beef Stir Fry, and Tofu Stir Fry are a seriously tasty way to get your fill of vegetables and lean protein in a single meal.
- It’s Versatile. This chicken stir fry recipe is adaptable to the ingredients you have on hand—perfect for cleaning out that crisper drawer.
- You’ll Love the Sweet-and-Savory Flavor. Even among the robust collection of stir fry recipes on my site, today’s healthy chicken stir fry stands out. It’s juuuust sweet enough to make things interesting, without being cloying.
- Mandarin Oranges! Need I say more? While pineapple isn’t unheard of in a stir fry, mandarin orange segments are a little more unexpected—and a lot more delicious. They add a juicy burst of citrus flavor to this chicken stir fry recipe. (Love that flavor? Check out this Orange Chicken next!).
5 Star Review
“Will make this over and over again. I made it for my family and they all loved it!”— Claire —
How to Make Chicken Stir Fry
- Broccoli Slaw. My first secret ingredient. A variation of coleslaw, broccoli slaw features thinly shredded broccoli stems in place of (or in addition to) shredded cabbage. The beauty here? You don’t have to chop the broccoli. Simply open the bag, dump, and stir fry away.
- Mandarin Oranges. My second secret ingredient that makes this stir fry DELICIOUS. While I was making this stir fry, I took a cue from our cult classic Ramen Salad and tossed a few over the stir fry. It makes it fresh and kid-friendly
- Red Pepper. Thinly sliced red bell pepper adds color plus extra vitamins (A & C).
Feel free to add whatever extra veggies are in your refrigerator or even try frozen vegetables. See my tips for making this healthy chicken stir fry with frozen vegetables below.
- Lean Protein. I made the stir fry with diced, boneless, skinless chicken breast and a handful of shelled edamame. Feel free to use one or both.
If you want to try a lean protein other than chicken, using pork tenderloin in this Pork Stir Fry recipe is also lean. If you’re less concerned about keeping it lean, chicken thighs work too; they have a little more fat than chicken breasts.
- Soy Sauce and Rice Vinegar. Create that classic Chinese-style stir fry flavor we all know and love.
- Honey. Adds just the right amount of sweetness without overloading the sauce with high-calorie sweeteners (and Sweet and Sour Chicken agrees!).
- Garlic and Ginger. A powerful, dynamic duo that’s essential in any classic stir fry sauce.
- Cornstarch. Thickens the sauce and brings everything together into one delicious stir fry.
If you’re wondering what makes typical stir fry unhealthy, the culprit is likely in the sauce.
- Many stir fry recipes rely on heavy corn syrups or refined sugars in large quantities to achieve that sticky, sweet sauce everyone loves.
- My recipe relies on just a dash of honey, which balances the saltiness of the soy sauce in a healthy, guilt-free way.
- Cook the Chicken. Sauté the onion and chicken, then remove to a plate.
- Make the Sauce. Whisk together the chicken stir fry sauce ingredients in a bowl.
- Add the Vegetables. Next, sauté the vegetables until crisp-tender.
- Finish. Return everything to the skillet and pour the sauce over the top. Allow the sauce to thicken for a few minutes, then top with the mandarin oranges, green onions, and seeds. ENJOY!
- To Make Ahead. Chop the vegetables and cut the chicken breasts up to 1 day in advance. Store both in separate storage containers in the refrigerator until ready to prepare. You can also prepare the stir fry sauce 1 day in advance and store it in the refrigerator.
- To Store. Place stir fry leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers in a large skillet on the stove over medium-low heat. You can also reheat this recipe in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Store this dish in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Meal Prep Tip
This healthy chicken stir fry is great for meal prep.
- Prepare on Sunday and divvy up the stir fry into divided meal prep containers with a side of rice or quinoa for a healthy lunch to enjoy throughout the week.
- Layer in mason jars with rice or quinoa for a super transportable lunch you can tote to the office and easily transfer into a bowl for reheating.
Use leftover chicken stir fry to make lettuce wraps for lunch the next day, a la my Asian Lettuce Wraps with Chicken.
What to Serve with Chicken Stir Fry
- Healthy Grains. Pair chicken stir fry with your favorite grain to soak up any extra sauce! Try it with brown rice (or Instant Pot Brown Rice), white rice, or quinoa.
- Fried Rice. Enjoy a restaurant-style dinner at home by serving chicken stir fry with Cauliflower Fried Rice or Egg Fried Rice.
- Salad. Keep it light and fresh with Asian Cucumber Salad or Asian Noodle Salad on the side.
- Toppings. Garnish your stir fry with abandon! A drizzle of sesame oil, roasted peanuts or cashews, crushed red pepper flakes for some heat—you’ve got endless options!
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Large Glass Measuring Cup. For measuring and mixing up this easy stir fry sauce.
- Silicone Tongs. For quickly stirring and tossing your stir fry as it cooks without damaging your wok or skillet.
- Garlic Press. This garlic press is an absolute workhorse and it has a nifty little lever that pops out the garlic peel for you, making cleaning it out a breeze.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Prep Ingredients First. Stir fry recipes move quickly, so it’s important to have all your ingredients prepared before you start cooking. Chop all your vegetables, cut your chicken pieces, and measure out your spices and seasonings before you turn on the stove.
- Mind Your Vegetable Size. Try to cut your vegetables so they are uniform in size. This will help them cook in about the same amount of time.
- Swap in Frozen Vegetables. You can use frozen vegetables in this recipe if you prefer. Thaw them overnight in the refrigerator (or if you forget, warm them a little in the microwave). Pat them dry on a paper towel. Make sure your skillet is hot before you add the frozen vegetables, so they do not become soggy. Frozen veggies may cook faster than fresh, so keep an eye on them. Heads up: they won’t be *as* crisp as if you’d used fresh vegetables, but they’re a nutritious, budget-friendly, and time-saving option.
- Skip the Accompaniments. If you are looking for a new kind of stir fry, you could skip the actual noodles and/or rice entirely and enjoy this stir fry on its own with just the slaw. When the broccoli slaw sautées and soaks up the chicken stir fry sauce, its shape and texture resembles rice noodles.
Chicken Stir Fry
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 small onion diced
- 4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce divided
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 3 cloves garlic minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 red bell pepper cored and thinly sliced
- 12 ounces broccoli slaw
- 1 cup shelled edamame fresh or frozen and thawed
- 1 cup mandarin oranges packed in juice drained
- Chopped green onions for serving
- Toasted sesame seeds optional, for serving
- Prepared brown rice or quinoa for serving
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes.
- Add the chicken, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is completely cooked through and the juices run clear when cut, about 5 minutes. With a spoon, remove the chicken and onion to a plate and set aside.
- In a small bowl or large liquid measuring cup, stir together the remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce, ginger, garlic, honey, rice vinegar, cornstarch, and red pepper flakes until smooth. Set aside.
In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil. Add the bell pepper. Cook 3 minutes.
Add the broccoli slaw and cook until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 4 to 5 minutes more.
Return the chicken and onions to the skillet. Add the edamame and pour the soy sauce mixture over the top and stir to combine.
Let cook 1 minute to warm through and thicken the sauce. Top with the oranges, green onions, and sesame seeds. Serve hot with brown rice.
- TO STORE: Place stir fry leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm leftovers in a large skillet on the stove over medium-low heat. You can also reheat this recipe in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Store this dish in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
- TO MAKE AHEAD: Chop the vegetables and cut the chicken breasts up to 1 day in advance. Store both in separate storage containers in the refrigerator until ready to prepare. You can also prepare the stir fry sauce 1 day in advance and store it in the refrigerator.
Frequently Asked Questions
The secret to a good stir fry is balance—sweet and savory sauce, a combination of tender and crisp textures, and that perfect protein to veggie ratio.
Stir fry is cooked quickly, which keeps the protein from getting tough and the veggies from getting soggy.
Bite-sized pieces of chicken take about 5 minutes to cook in a stir fry.
Add harder vegetables like carrots first. Vegetables like mushrooms, asparagus, zucchini, and green beans should be added next, while quick-cooking or canned veggies like snow peas and baby corn can be added to the pan last.