For quick, easy, and budget-friendly meals, you can't beat stir frying. We'll teach you the simple techniques that go into making restaurant-worthy stir-fry dishes.

By Allrecipes Editors
Updated August 07, 2020

Learning how to make a super easy stir-fry is a skill that will get you through some of your biggest challenges in the kitchen. We'll share the basics behind delicious (and fast) stir-fry dinners.

Unexpected company?

Make a stir-fry.

Nothing in your fridge but random meat and produce?

Make a stir-fry.

Need an inexpensive dinner to feed a family?

Make a stir-fry.

Only have 60 minutes to make dinner, eat it, and get the kids to soccer practice?

Make a stir-fry.

Stir frying is quick, easy, and extremely versatile. Once you know the basics behind putting together a great stir-fry, you can easily introduce new ingredients, make a variety of sauces, or try traditional stir-fry recipes like Kung Pao Chicken or Beef with Broccoli.

How to Make Stir Fry

A great stir-fry typically consists of three important components: protein, vegetables, and sauce. For a basic stir-fry, start with 1 pound of protein and 2 pounds of vegetables, and a basic stir-fry sauce (recipe below). Optionally, you can add in aromatics or herbs to change the flavor profile of your dish.


  • 1 lb. chicken, beef, or pork cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 lbs. vegetables, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tbsp aromatics, such as garlic, ginger, or shallots (optional)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs, such as basil or cilantro (optional)
  • Basic Stir Fry Sauce (see below)
Photo by Allrecipes


1. Set a large wok or frying pan over medium-high heat and allow it to get screaming hot. Swirl in 2 Tablespoons of oil (1 Tablespoon if using a non-stick pan).

2. Add your meat and cook until browned on each side (and cooked through if using chicken or pork). Remove the browned meat from the pan and set aside on a plate.

Photo by Allrecipes

3. Transfer the densest vegetables (i.e., those that take the longest to cook, such as carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, or bell peppers) into the pan and cook for 1 minute.

Photo by Allrecipes

4. Add in any quick cooking vegetables (snap peas, onions, celery, baby corn, snow peas, mushrooms, zucchini, or bok choy) and cook for another minute.

Photo by Allrecipes

5. Add in any aromatics, if using. Cook for 30 seconds, moving them around the pan constantly to avoid burning.

Photo by Allrecipes

6. Return the meat to the pan and pour in the sauce. Toss well to coat all of the meat and vegetables. Let cook for one minute until bubbling.

Photo by Allrecipes

7. Turn the heat off and stir in any fresh herbs, if using.

8. Serve hot with a side of cooked rice or noodles.

How to Make Stir-Fry Sauce


  • 1 cup broth
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

Whisk ingredients together in a medium-bowl.

Pro tip: To make a thick glaze (like for Sweet and Sour Chicken), whisk in 1 teaspoon corn starch and let sit for ten minutes before adding to the stir-fry.

Photo by Allrecipes

Stir Frying Dos and Don'ts


  • Prepare all of your ingredients before you begin to cook. Stir-fries cook very quickly so you will not have time to do any dicing or slicing once you have food in the pan.
  • Cut all of your ingredients into similarly-sized pieces to promote even cooking.
  • Cook items in batches as necessary to avoid crowding the pan.
  • Prepare your rice or noodles before you start your stir-fry.
  • Stir, then fry. Then stir. Then fry. If you keep stirring the entire time, your meat and vegetables will never brown!
  • Add garlic. Trust me, it should be added to every stir-fry, ever.


  • Add food to a cold pan. Any time you add ingredients to the pan it should make a satisfying sizzling sound.
  • Allow any excess liquid to form in the pan. If you add too many ingredients, the liquid won't evaporate quickly so it will pool in your pan. If this happens, use a spoon to remove the liquid.
  • Use an oil with a low smoke point, such as olive oil. Canola and peanut oils are your best bet.
  • Cook the vegetables past the point of tender-crisp. They will lose their crunch and color.

Related Content: