We love this easy chicken broccoli stir fry recipe! It has tender and juicy chicken breasts and perfectly cooked broccoli, cooked in the most delicious stir-fry sauce with lots of fresh garlic and ginger. I love serving this over rice or noodles.
Watch the video
I’m so excited to share this chicken broccoli stir fry with you! We’ve been making it a lot lately. The secret to the best chicken stir-fry is to marinate your chicken in a simple mixture of soy sauce, cornstarch, and oil. As simple as it sounds, this guarantees the most flavorful, tender stir-fried chicken.
We use our garlic ginger sauce for this fantastic stir-fry. It’s loaded with flavor and knocks the socks off of anything you can buy at the store. Don’t hold back on the fresh garlic or ginger; this chicken and broccoli stir fry can take it. We use the same sauce for this delicious veggie stir fry.
- Chicken breasts or chicken thighs both work well in this recipe. You can swap the chicken for thinly sliced pork if you’d like.
- Broccoli florets are perfect for this recipe. I love the simplicity of the chicken and broccoli but feel free to toss in more veggies like we do in this vegetable stir fry.
- Chicken marinade made with soy sauce, cornstarch, and some oil. It’s simple and guarantees juicy, flavorful, tender chicken.
- Stir fry sauce — here’s our easy stir fry sauce recipe. It’s as close to authentic as possible and calls for lots of fresh garlic and ginger. I love it so much.
How to make chicken and broccoli stir fry
We’ll start by marinating our chicken and recommend leaving the chicken in the marinade for at least 30 minutes. You can leave it longer — overnight should be fine. The marinade of soy sauce, cornstarch, and oil seasons our chicken, and since we add cornstarch, the chicken stays unbelievably moist and tender even when cooked.
As the chicken marinates, I usually make my garlic stir-fry sauce. It’s quick to do. The most time-consuming part is mincing the fresh garlic and ginger.
Now, we can cook our stir fry — it goes FAST. For this chicken and broccoli stir fry, we quickly cook the chicken and broccoli separately. This way, the chicken cooks perfectly without forcing us to overcook the broccoli.
Cooking the chicken for our stir fry takes about 5 minutes. Toss it into a little bit of hot oil, spread it into one layer, and cook without moving until the underside starts to brown. Then flip and cook until done. Transfer to a plate, and move on to the broccoli.
Add more oil to the wok or skillet, then toss in your broccoli. Stir the broccoli around the pan and watch as they turn bright green. After 3 to 5 minutes, the florets will be crisp-tender.
Combine the chicken, broccoli, and the stir-fry sauce. We stir in the sauce when the broccoli and chicken are mostly cooked. Then, to make your stir fry rival the ones you get at your favorite Chinese restaurants, use a mixture of cornstarch and cold water to thicken the sauce until it’s a perfect consistency, saucy, and sticking to the broccoli and chicken.
What is velveting?
You can velvet your chicken for this chicken and broccoli stir fry recipe. Velveting is a Chinese cooking technique that produces unbelievably soft and tender meat. If you have ever ordered from a Chinese restaurant and reveled over how soft, silky, and tender the meat is, they’ve likely used the technique of velveting. It’s genius. So much so that it’s unfortunate the method isn’t more well-known.
Velveting meat is a three-part process. Marinate, quickly blanch in hot oil or water and finish cooking by quickly stir-frying. Most restaurants use oil to blanch the meat. Having a big pot of oil ready is easy for them. We don’t typically have this at home, so we prefer water when we velvet at home. Both water and oil generate similar results (Shao Z. from Serious Eats tested this if you are interested).
2 Options for cooking the chicken for this stir fry
- Skip velveting the chicken in water and cook the marinated chicken right in the pan or wok (this is what we do in our video). The chicken is perfectly seasoned and still tender.
- Velvet the chicken by quickly cooking it in boiling water (40 to 50 seconds), and then stir-fry it with the broccoli and sauce. This method creates the most tender, almost silky chicken.
Both methods make a delicious stir-fry, but whenever we velvet the chicken in water first, we are blown away by the silky, tender texture of the cooked chicken.
Note about cooking the broccoli: If you velvet the chicken in water before you do, you can quickly blanch the broccoli until it is bright green and crisp-tender. Next, transfer the blanched broccoli to a colander to release as much water as possible, and then quickly stir-fry it with the velveted chicken and sauce.
Do I need to use cornstarch in this stir fry?
For the best results, use cornstarch. We call for cornstarch twice in our chicken and broccoli stir fry recipe. First, we use it to marinate and velvet the chicken. Second, we use it as a thickener for the sauce at the end. Think of the cornstarch as a barrier for the chicken. It acts as a barrier in two ways. First, the flavor of our marinade (in our case, soy sauce) stays inside the chicken; second, when we cook the chicken, the cornstarch prevents moisture from leaving the inside. So, the cornstarch protects our chicken’s flavor, tenderness, and juiciness. It makes a big difference, I promise.
If you do not eat cornstarch, you can leave it out. We still recommend that you marinate the chicken in the soy sauce and oil, and remember that the sauce will be thinner than shown in our photos. Consider using a different thickener for the sauce at the end of the recipe. All-purpose flour and arrowroot are both options. Mix two tablespoons with 1/4 cup of cold water to thicken the sauce with flour. To thicken the sauce with arrowroot, use one tablespoon of arrowroot powder mixed with 3 tablespoons of cold water. Note: Arrowroot does not reheat well, so it is best to serve the stir fry immediately.
What is the best pan to use for stir fries?
A wok is terrific for stir-fries, but any heavy-bottomed skillet works for this chicken broccoli stir fry recipe. A large cast iron skillet is perfect. We use high heat when cooking stir fries, so pans with nonstick surfaces aren’t the best. Cast iron, stainless steel, and carbon steel are all excellent options. Depending on how often your pan has been used, you might experience some sticking. If you do, keep the heat high and add more oil to help the chicken and broccoli move around in the pan.
Garlic Chicken Broccoli Stir Fry
We love this chicken and broccoli stir fry recipe! It features tender and juicy chicken, perfectly cooked broccoli, and the most delicious garlic ginger stir fry sauce. You have a few options for cooking the chicken and broccoli. Everything you need to know has been shared in the article above.
Marinating the chicken in soy sauce, cornstarch, and oil guarantees flavorful and tender chicken. For the most tender, silky textured chicken (like the chicken at your favorite Chinese restaurant), consider option two (velveting the chicken in water).
We love this stir fry with plain rice or Coconut Rice.
Watch Us Make the Recipe
You Will NeedChicken and Broccoli
1 ¼ pounds boneless and skinless chicken breast or thighs, sliced against the grain into thin strips
1 pound broccoli florets, cut into small pieces, 5 to 6 cups
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
3 tablespoons neutral oil like vegetable or avocado oilStir Fry Sauce
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger (thumb-size piece of ginger)
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine, substitute dry sherry or mirin, see notes
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
- Marinate Chicken
1For the most tender chicken, slice it against the grain into thin strips. Next, place it into a bowl with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon of oil.
2Mix until well blended, then set aside to marinate for at least thirty minutes. If you do this more than thirty minutes before, marinate the chicken in the refrigerator.
- Make Stir Fry Sauce
1Combine all of the stir fry sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat.
2Heat the sauce while stirring until the sugar dissolves. Use straight away or store in an airtight container, refrigerate, and use within two days. For questions about the ingredients and substitutions for this sauce, see our stir fry sauce recipe
- Make Stir Fry (Shown in Video)
1Stir one tablespoon of cornstarch with three tablespoons of cold water, and then set aside.
2Heat a large, heavy skillet or wok over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of high heat oil (like vegetable or avocado oil), and then add the marinated chicken in one layer. Cook without moving the chicken for one minute or until the underside starts to brown. Toss the chicken around the pan and cook until the chicken is almost cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes more. Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside.
3Add another 1 tablespoon of oil to the hot skillet/wok, and then stir in the broccoli florets. Cook while stirring the broccoli around the pan until it turns bright green and is crisp-tender, 3 to 5 minutes.
4Place the chicken back into the hot skillet/wok, and toss the broccoli and chicken around the pan for about one minute.
5Pour in the stir fry sauce. Give the cornstarch mixture one more stir, and then slowly pour it into the stir fry. Stir everything around until the sauce thickens and sticks to the chicken and broccoli. Serve immediately.
- Alternate Method: Velvet the Chicken in Water
1Fill a wok or large saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the broccoli florets and cook until bright green and crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the broccoli to a colander. Immediately rinse with cold water or fill the bowl with cold water and some ice to stop the broccoli from cooking any further.
2Adjust the heat so that the pot of water is boiling again, then add one teaspoon of oil and the marinated chicken. Stir the chicken once or twice to prevent sticking to each other. Cook until opaque but still raw on the inside, 30 to 40 seconds.
3Use the slotted spoon to remove the chicken from the boiling water — be sure to shake the spoon as you do this to remove as much water from the chicken as possible. Set the chicken down into a colander or plate lined with paper towels so that it drains even more while you prepare the next step.
4Heat a large, heavy skillet or wok over high heat. If you used the wok to velvet the chicken, you need to drain the water and dry the wok well.
5Stir one tablespoon of cornstarch with three tablespoons of cold water, and then set aside.
6When the skillet or wok is hot, add two tablespoons of high heat oil (like vegetable or avocado oil). When the oil looks shimmery, toss in the broccoli and chicken. Stir them around the pan for about one minute, and then pour in the stir fry sauce.
7Give the cornstarch mixture one more stir, and then slowly pour it into the stir fry. Stir everything around until the sauce thickens and sticks to the chicken and broccoli. Serve immediately.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- Shaoxing wine is a Chinese rice wine often used in Chinese cuisine. It’s the most authentic choice in this recipe, so we highly recommend adding it to your pantry if you can find it. However, if you cannot find it, we have two alternatives: dry sherry and mirin. Mirin is sweeter than Shaoxing wine, so you will likely need to reduce the sugar by 1 tablespoon. One more option is to use rice wine vinegar. This will make the sauce taste a little different, and you may need a little more sugar.
- Gluten-free tips: When shopping for the ingredients listed above (especially the soy sauce), look for gluten-free on the label. If you cannot find gluten-free soy sauce, look for gluten-free tamari, which, unlike soy sauce, is traditionally made without or with very little wheat.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.