This Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry recipe is an easy weeknight meal that’s packed with lean protein and fresh vegetables – and it’s on the table in under 30 minutes. A simple Chinese chicken and broccoli recipe with an easy sauce and marinade – perfect for meal prep!
Estimated reading time: 14 minutes
If you’ve got a busy family like we do, you’ll already know the value of having a few tried and true, wholesome meals you can pull out of your back pocket and throw together in minutes on a busy weeknight. This Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry recipe is one we’ve made for YEARS and it shows up on our family’s menu at least once a month.
It’s simple, it’s tasty, it’s made with lean chicken breast and broccoli (ingredients that are easy to find year round), and it’s a dinner our family loves. What could be better!?
If you’re looking for new ways to get dinner on the table for your family, here’s what makes this Chinese Chicken and Broccoli recipe one we reach for over and over again!
- We love a good dinner that comes together with minimal prep and effort, and this Chinese Chicken and Broccoli takes hardly any chopping or measuring, keeping dinner prep to a minimum.
- When it comes to keeping prep time to a minimum, this recipe is a great one for adding pre-washed and pre-chopped broccoli from the produce section of the grocery store if you want to save even MORE time and effort. We’ve even used a bag of frozen broccoli in this recipe in a pinch and while the result isn’t quite as amazing as if we’d used fresh, it was still delicious and it saves SO much time!
- Meals that are easy to customize to your family’s tastes, preferences, and even food allergies or intolerances are always ideal, especially when you’re feeding kids or picky eaters. Choose whatever veggies your family enjoys if broccoli isn’t a favourite in your home and serve it with white rice, brown rice, minute or instant rice, or even ramen or rice noodles – whatever you prefer!
- When it comes to customization, meals that allow you to improvise depending on what ingredients you happen to have on hand are always a fantastic choice. This recipe works with any fresh veggies that stir fry well; think carrots, celery, cauliflower, mushrooms, peppers, onions, snow peas, etc. Use what you have in the fridge if you’re short on broccoli and turn this stir fry into a fridge-clean-out recipe!
- Stir fry recipes require minimal kitchen equipment so if all you’ve got on hand are the basics, this is the recipe for you! Be sure to have some measuring cups and spoons, a chopping board and a knife, a good skillet or wok, and a cooking utensil like a wooden spoon or wooden turner.
- Meal prepping is one of our favourite ways to save time and this Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry can be prepped in advance to save even MORE time! We love preparing the chicken ahead of time, chopping the broccoli, and mixing the sauce ingredients and placing everything in (separate) airtight containers in the fridge until it’s time to cook. This helps keep the ingredients fresh and gives you a delicious result with minimal prep time during the week.
- Freezing your leftovers to reheat on days you REALLY don’t feel like cooking is a great way to keep your stress level low when life gets busy. This Chinese Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry freezes well in an airtight container – just thaw it in the fridge overnight and reheat it in a skillet with a splash of water before serving it over rice!
Stir fry is a common term used to describe a method of cooking that’s traditionally Chinese. It involves shallow-frying ingredients quickly in a small amount of hot oil while stirring continuously in a wok or deep skillet. Because it uses high heat and only a small amount of oil, stir frying creates a crisp texture and allows the food to keep its nutritional value by avoiding over-cooking. Stir frying combines multiple ingredients and therefore multiple flavours in a single dish.
Stir frying requires movement – constantly stirring the ingredients to expose them to the high heat evenly. Typically, ingredients are added in order of their cooking times with the longest cooking ingredients added first and the shortest cooking ingredients added last.
A sauce is often added to the ingredients once they’re almost cooked through to bring everything together. Stir fry can be served on its own, over steamed rice or noodles, or the noodles can be thrown into the pan with the sauce and for a truly one-pan meal.
Making your own stir fry sauce is the key to a delicious and healthy homemade stir fry. Buying conventional sauces from the grocery store may save some time, but they’re packed with sugar and preservatives. Here’s the best and simplest way to make your own stir fry sauce that’s easy to make with basic grocery store ingredients and tastes absolutely delicious!
- Aim for a balance of salty, sweet, sour, and umami flavours. Using ingredients like soy sauce for saltiness (or gluten-free soy sauce if you’re gluten-free), rice vinegar for acidity, and hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, or brown sugar or honey for sweetness creates a delicious flavour balance.
- Cornstarch is essential for thickening your sauce and giving it that glossy, clingy quality. It’s important to mix cornstarch with a cold liquid like water before adding it to your sauce to avoid lumps.
- For a tiny bit of heat, ingredients like Sriracha or chili flakes can be great additions to a stir fry sauce. We use the tiniest amount of Sriracha and it gives a lot of flavour with hardly any heat.
- Fresh aromatic ingredients like garlic and ginger add a burst of flavour to the sauce. It’s best to use fresh garlic and ginger and to grate or finely chop them to distribute their flavours throughout the sauce.
- Adding sesame oil as part of the sauce mellows its strong flavour that can sometimes be overpowering, and it adds a delicious Asian-style flavour to the sauce.
- Adjust the thickness by adding more or less water or cornstarch.
- Add the stir fry sauce towards the end of cooking. This allows the flavours to combine and the sauce to thicken without overcooking the meat and the vegetables.
Marinating the chicken in a chicken stir fry marinade is not a required step, but it’s a step that makes a big flavour and texture difference. We use the process of “velveting” which means creating a chicken stir fry marinade out of soy sauce, vinegar and cornstarch. Soaking the chicken in this marinade, even for a few minutes (although overnight creates a GREAT result!) creates the perfect texture on the outside of the chicken pieces as they cook.
If you want to perfect your stir frying skills and learn to make the BEST homemade Chinese Chicken and Broccoli recipe, follow these pro tips!
There’s nothing worse than cooking a delicious stir fry and having to let it sit while your rice cooks. Be sure to cook the rice first so it’s hot and ready to go.
It’s crucial to have all ingredients prepped and ready before you start cooking. Stir frying is a fast process and there’s no time for chopping or mincing once you’ve started cooking. Chop your veggies and prepare the meat and sauce before you turn on the heat.
Chopping your veggies and meat to the right size, into small, even pieces helps ensure they cook quickly and evenly.
When preparing a stir fry, it’s important to use a wok or a similar pan that can handle high heat and has ample space for tossing the ingredients.
Oils with a high smoke point, like grapeseed, canola, or vegetable oil, are recommended for stir frying. Sesame oil is a great choice for flavour, but we recommend adding it to the stir fry sauce for flavour instead of using it to cook the meat and veggies.
Marinate and then cook the meat first, before the broccoli. This will allow you to cook the meat in batches (avoid overcrowding the pan!) and just until it’s cooked through to the correct internal temperature.
Aromatic ingredients like garlic, onion, and ginger are delicious ingredients that add a TON of flavour. Be sure to use fresh garlic and fresh ginger if you can!
Stir frying requires that you cook over high heat and keep the ingredients moving in the pan. The veggies should begin to caramelize on the outside and be slightly tender but not soft. The veggies should retain much of their bright colour.
Mix the sauce ingredients together in a bowl and be sure to add the cornstarch to thicken the sauce while the sauce is cold (before adding it to the hot pan). The sauce will thicken in the pan as it cooks and it will coat the meat and the veggies, creating a delicious and saucy stir fry.
Be sure to add the sauce only after the other ingredients are almost finished cooking. Turn the heat down, add the sauce and let it thicken and cook for just a couple minutes. The other ingredients won’t overcook and you’ll be left with the perfect sauce.
You’ll just need a few basic pieces of kitchen equipment to make this Chinese Chicken and Broccoli recipe. Here’s what we recommend having on hand (paid links):
- large skillet or wok
- chef’s knife
- Cutting Board
- measuring cups and spoons
- wooden cooking utensil
- mixing bowls
Here’s the list of ingredients you’ll need to make this easy Chinese Chicken and Broccoli recipe (paid links):
FOR THE CHICKEN AND MARINADE:
- 1 pound chicken breast
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon powdered ginger optional
- 1 large head of broccoli about 4 cups of broccoli florets (or 4 cups frozen broccoli florets)
FOR COOKING THE CHICKEN:
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 inch knob of ginger or 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
- 2 cloves garlic or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
FOR THE STIR FRY SAUCE:
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce optional
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons water
Looking to switch things up? Try one of these delicious variations on the classic Chinese Chicken and Broccoli recipe:
- Tofu – Replace half the chicken with seasoned tofu for some extra plant-based protein and to lower the cost of the meal.
- Cabbage – Add several handfuls of shredded cabbage instead of serving over rice for a lower-carb option.
- Beef – Substitute the chicken for lean beef for a delicious beef stir fry.
- Chicken thighs – Use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts for an even more flavourful stir fry with tender chicken that’s a little easier on the budget.
Time needed: 25 minutes
Follow these simple steps to make the perfect Chinese Chicken and Broccoli recipe.
- Prepare all your ingredients.
Chop the broccoli, get the chicken marinating, and mix your sauce ingredients together in a bowl.
- Cook the rice.
Start cooking the rice before you begin cooking the stir fry. The rice may take longer to cook than the stir fry and it’s best to serve the stir fry right after it finishes cooking.
- Use high heat.
Use high heat and a deep skillet for the best results. This will keep the chicken and broccoli tender without over-cooking.
- Cook the chicken first.
Stir fry the chicken first and once it’s cooked through, remove it to a plate and set it aside. You may need to cook the chicken in batches depending on the size of your pan (avoid overcrowding the pan).
- Stir fry the veggies next.
Stir fry the broccoli after the chicken and stir fry them just until tender. They should still retain their bright colour and be slightly crunchy.
- Add the sauce last.
Add the chicken back into the pan with the broccoli and then add the sauce. Cook the sauce just until thickened and until it coats the chicken and broccoli nicely, then serve the stir fry over rice.
Should you boil chicken before stir frying?
In some traditional recipes the chicken is boiled before stir frying, but it’s not necessary to boil the chicken first.
What gets cooked first in a stir fry?
Be sure to stir fry the meat first, remove it from the pan, and then stir fry the veggies. Add the meat back into the hot pan, reduce the heat, then add the sauce and cook just until it’s thickened.
Why is stir fry chicken so tender?
It’s because of a process called “velveting” which calls for the chicken to soak in a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar and cornstarch. This marinade softens the chicken and makes it extra tender.
Why is my chicken stir fry rubbery?
Stir fry chicken turns rubbery when it’s been cooked over low heat for too long. Be sure to use high heat and cook it only until cooked through.
Why is my chicken stir fry dry?
Overcooking the chicken will cause it to become dry. Be sure to cook the chicken only until it’s cooked through and don’t forget to add the sauce to be sure the stir fry stays nice and moist.
Why is my stir fry soggy?
Soggy stir fry can happen when the vegetables are overcooked and release too much moisture. Be sure to cook the vegetables only until tender. They should still be bright in colour.
Can I make stir fry ahead of time?
Yes, although stir fry is best served fresh. To make this recipe ahead of time we suggest preparing all the components and storing them in the fridge in separate containers. When it’s time to eat simply cook the prepared chicken, veggies and sauce according to the recipe directions.
Can I freeze stir fry?
This stir fry can be frozen, although it is best enjoyed fresh. To freeze it, add it to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
How to reheat stir fry?
Reheat this stir fry in a skillet on the stove with a splash of water. Be sure not to over-cook during the reheating process. Reheat just until heated through.
Is chicken and broccoli healthy?
Yes, chicken and broccoli stir fry can be a healthy option since it’s made with chicken breast, fresh vegetables, and a homemade sauce.
What goes well with chicken and broccoli?
We suggest serving chicken and broccoli over rice or noodles.
We hope you love this delicious stir fry recipe! We’d love to know what easy 30-minute meals you reach for on busy weeknights – let us know in the comments below!
- Easy Korean Beef Rice Bowls
- Power Bowl
- Pineapple Chicken Rice Bowls
- Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Bowls
- Chicken Stir Fry
- Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry
- Easy Homemade Ramen Bowls
- Easy Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowls
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For the Chicken and Marinade:
For Cooking the Chicken:
- Cut the chicken into 1 inch cubes and add to a bowl. Over the chicken add soy sauce, rice vinegar, cornstarch and ginger . Mix well and set to the side.
- Wash and chop your broccoli in bite sized florets. Set aside.
- Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat and add the sesame oil and vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add in the garlic and minced ginger. Add the chicken so the bottom of the pan is covered but not overcrowded. You may have to cook it in two batches.
- When the chicken is browned on all sides and cooked through, remove it to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken.
- Measure out the sauce ingredients, mix them and set aside.
- Add the broccoli florets to the hot skillet and stir fry for a few minutes. Make sure the broccoli stays vibrant in colour and maintains some crispy texture.
- Add the chicken (with the juices on the plate) back in and mix together. Add the sauce ingredients to the pan and mix them well until you get a nice, velvety sauce that thickens slightly.
- Serve over rice or noodles.
Recipe SubstitutionsFor this chicken and broccoli recipe you can use chicken tenders, chicken breast or even boneless skinless chicken thighs. Feel free to use any vegetables you like if you don’t have broccoli on hand.
Storage InstructionsThis chicken and broccoli keeps well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Freezer InstructionsAlthough we don’t recommend freezing this chicken and broccoli after cooking (for best results), it is possible to freeze it in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated, using Spoonacular, for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.
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