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Healthy Chicken Stir Fry

An overhead shot of stir fry in a bowl.
Recipe At-A-Glance
Quick and Easy30 minutes
Skip the take-out and make this Healthy Chicken Stir Fry recipe right at home! In under 30 minutes, you'll have a flavorful dinner packed full of veggies.

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On any given day of the week, if you walk into my kitchen, there is a good chance that you’ll find me making this Healthy Chicken Stir Fry. Along with my Salmon Patties and Shrimp and Cauliflower Grits, this Healthy Chicken Stir Fry is a weeknight staple in our house—and has been for years! It’s packed full of flavor, and it’s bursting with the bright colors and powerhouse nutrition of a bevy of fresh veggies.

My favorite part of this stir fry is just how flexible it is. We offer a well-tested suggestion of veggies in the recipe below, but you can really experiment with what you include. Don’t like broccoli? Leave it out! Want to add in a can of baby corn? You do you! Want to use orange peppers instead of red? Rock it out! Have frozen veggies stashed the freezer? That works, too. The flavorful sauce and marinade brings it all together no matter what you add!

Cut veggies sit together - peppers, mushrooms, carrots and peas.

How do you make stir fry?

The method for making a stir fry is pretty much right there in the name of the dish! You fry foods over high heat while you stir them constantly to prevent sticking and burning. For this particular dish, we cook in two parts: first, we stir fry marinated chicken breast, and then we remove the cooked chicken and stir fry tons of fresh vegetables. In the end, the chicken gets mixed back in, along with a delicious stir fry sauce that thickens and flavors the entire dish.

What is a stir fry sauce?

Think of stir fry sauce as the gravy of a stir-fry—it adds a silky, rich texture and tons of flavor. You can purchase bottled stir fry sauce in the international foods section of the grocery store, but to be honest, it’s incredibly affordable and easy to make at home. Plus, you can completely control all the ingredients. If you need to reduce your sodium intake, you can do that. Don’t like ginger? Leave it out. Want to bring the heat? Add more red pepper flakes! Once you land on your perfect stir fry sauce, you’ll always have it at the ready.

A close up shot of Healthy Chicken Stir Fry in a bowl.

How do you thicken stir fry sauce?

A good stir fry sauce is thick and rich, and to get that texture, I recommend using either cornstarch or arrowroot powder (what I use) to help thicken the sauce.

Is chicken stir fry good for you?

This recipe is packed full of fresh vegetables, grains, and protein to make it a nourishing meal for just about anyone! Because we’re making our own stir fry sauce, you don’t have to worry about any artificial flavors, colors, or additives that might make you feel unwell. This stir fry is great for you!

If you don’t eat or have meat, we also have a veggie stir fry that is great for meal prep or quick dinners!

Partially-cooked vegetables get mixed with a wooden spoon in a wok.

How do I make this gluten-free?

The only gluten-containing ingredient in this recipe is the soy sauce. You can use either tamari or coconut aminos in place of the soy sauce (and make sure to serve it over a gluten-free grain like rice or quinoa), and you’ll have a gluten-free meal!

What are my options if I don’t want to use soy sauce?

A lot of folks choose to avoid soy sauce for a variety of reasons—maybe you’re trying to watch your sodium intake, or you can’t eat gluten, or you avoid soy in your diet. No worries, we’ve got options for you!

  • Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce—If you’re watching your sodium intake, grab a bottle of reduced sodium soy sauce. You’ll probably need to add back in a touch of salt to the finished dish, but this will help keep the sodium levels lower.
  • Tamari (Gluten-Free)—Regular soy sauce contains gluten, but tamari is a fermented soy sauce that is gluten-free. It has a slightly different flavor, but it does the trick.
  • Coconut Aminos (Soy-Free/Gluten-Free)—This is my substitute of choice! I don’t eat soy and my husband doesn’t eat gluten, so this is the winner in our house. I also happen to think it tastes EXACTLY like soy sauce!

Healthy Chicken Stir Fry sits in a bowl with chopsticks.

In what order should I cook the vegetables in a stir fry?

Because you’re cooking quickly under high heat, the order you put the vegetables in to a stir fry matter! The first vegetables you want to cook are vegetables that take the longest to soften—think hard veggies, like carrots. You let those sauté for a bit, and then add in the next hardest veggies—like peppers or broccoli. And then you continue until you get to the softest of veggies in the last few minutes of cooking. When it comes to cooking a stir fry, you’re looking for crisp-cooked veggies. No one wants stir-fry mush! It’s better to err on the side of a little undercooked here.

What can I use instead of rice in a stir fry?

If you don’t want to use rice as a base for your stir fry, you have tons of options! You can try cauliflower rice, broccoli rice, rice noodles, spaghetti squash, shirataki noodles, zucchini noodles, quinoa, farro—the possibilities are endless.

A close up shot of Healthy Chicken Stir Fry sitting in a bowl.

Can I use frozen veggies instead of fresh in this stir fry?

Yes! Frozen veggies are an excellent way to save some time when making a stir fry. You can use almost any frozen veggie in a stir fry (go wild and experiment!), but you will also find special “stir fry blends” in the frozen veggie section that are perfect for this meal! If you go the frozen route, you’ll want to add 3-4 minutes of cooking time to make sure they get entirely warmed through.

I don’t have a wok! Can I use something else?

A wok is a really nice addition to a kitchen if you plan on cooking a lot of stir fry (I have both a cast iron wok and a stainless steel one, and they are both amazing), but you absolutely don’t need one to make this dish! Any high-sided, large skillet will do the trick.

An overhead shot of stir fry in a bowl with chopsticks.

My Pro Tips for a Really Good Stir Fry

  • Experiment with the veggies you add to your stir fry. While we suggest the veggies below, the recipe is incredibly flexible! Use the veggies that you and your family enjoy the most for a custom stir fry that you’ll love.
  • Make sure to let the chicken marinate for at least 15-20 minutes before cooking. Even better if you can let it marinate for an hour or more.
  • Don’t skip the garnish! Fresh sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds add a wonderful amount of flavor and texture to the final dish. Also make sure to put out extra soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos, in case folks want a little extra boost of flavor.
 
Healthy Chicken Stir Fry

Healthy Chicken Stir Fry

Yield: 4 large servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Skip the take-out and make this Healthy Chicken Stir Fry recipe right at home! In under 30 minutes, you'll have a flavorful dinner packed full of veggies.

Ingredients

For the Marinade

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more to taste for added heat
  • 1 pound chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

For the Stir Fry

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and julienned
  • 1 large red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 cup snow peas, sliced into 1” pieces
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 2 cups frozen broccoli, defrosted
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • 4 cups cooked rice, noodles, or other serving options
  • Sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds, for serving

Instructions

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, lemon juice, honey, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and red pepper flakes. Add in the chicken, and then toss to coat. Let marinate in the fridge while you chop your veggies.
  2. When you have all your veggies ready to go, heat a large wok over high heat. Add one tablespoon of the olive oil.
  3. Drain the chicken from the marinade, reserving the marinade and placing it back in the fridge. Add the chicken to the wok and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about five minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate.
  4. Pour the remaining olive oil into the wok, and then add in the garlic. Cook for a minute, or until fragrant. Add in the carrots, bell peppers, snow peas, and mushrooms. Cook until bright in color and just crisp-cooked, about three minutes.
  5. Add in the broccoli and cooked chicken. Reduce heat to medium-low.
  6. Whisk the cornstarch into the reserved marinade, and then pour into the wok. Bring to a simmer and cook until thick, about five minutes. Serve on top of rice or noodles, topped with green onions and toasted sesame seeds, and additional soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos, if desired.

Notes

  • If using reduced-sodium soy sauce, you’ll need to taste the final stir fry for seasoning and add salt to taste.
  • Turning the marinade into a sauce here is safe because we heat it for five minutes, which kills any pathogens from the raw chicken. 
  • Feel free to experiment with the veggies you use! Baby corn, green peas, edamame, green beans, and water chestnuts are great additions. So are mung bean sprouts. Some of the photos in this post use those additions and tweaks so you can see just how delicious it looks!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 691Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 1312mgCarbohydrates: 75gFiber: 11gSugar: 12gProtein: 49g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.

Leave a Reply

166 Responses
  1. Katie

    I like making a knock off pad thai with zucchini “zoodles,” extra veggies, and a peanut/soy sauce for a quick, week night meal. We don’t eat a ton of meat (we were vegetarian for 10 years), so I’m not used to cooking meat…but I thought you were supposed to discard marinades after using them on raw meat?

    1. Cassie

      I’ve heard some people do, but I actually asked this question in my food safety class back during my stint in culinary school, and just as long as the marinade gets brought up to the same temperature as you would the meat, they said it was fine.

  2. Erin Ellis

    My favorite way is to stir fry some chicken and veggies and serve it over rice. Thank you for the wonderful giveaway.
    Erin
    ErinLoves2Run at gmail dot com

  3. Becky

    My favorite quick and healthy weeknight meal is a one pot dish of ground turkey, canned tomatoes, beans, frozen vegetables, and spices/garlic. Only 1 pot to clean, and no prep involved!

  4. Natalie

    My go to quick and healthy meal is a veggie stir fry with brown rice and either teriyaki sauce or soy sauce and sesame oil. It is so tasty and quick to prepare.

  5. Julie

    My favorite are chicken tacos or salads, made with shredded chicken that’s been cooked in salsa in the crockpot. So easy and delish.

  6. Sarah D.

    Put on some rice or quinoa to cook. Sauté onions until soft and then add kale and some water to steam. Blend up a tahini+lemon juice+soy sauce+sirracha sauce and serve with crunchy sunflower seeds. So tasty, healthy, and fast!

  7. Rachel B

    Question…. is the recipe correct in regards to the red pepper flakes? It says 1/2 cup…… we are breathing fire …. I had to make the kids a pizza instead bc it was soooo spicy.

      1. rachel b

        It happens. Kind of disappointing because i had to throw it out it wasn’t eatible after a few bites 🙁 hate wasting money and time. Wish you were closer and you could re make me a batch 😉

    1. Luis

      Great recipe. I added soy sprouts and a spoon of oyster sauce instead of cornstarch. I will try this again. My family loved it.

  8. Lani Tamaki

    My favorite quick and healthy meal to prepare on a weekday would be grilled lemon chicken with a big salad full of romaine, tomatoes, red onion, cucumbers, celery, jarred roasted bell peppers, avocado, and hemp seeds! I like to add a light rice vinegar salad dressing and pair it with a big glass of savingon blanc or Pinot Gris : )

  9. Alaina

    Favorite go-to quickie meal would have to be some kind of grain/veggie bowl – brown rice or quinoa or whole grain bread as a base, bunch of veggies (cooked or raw) piled on next, and a couple of poached eggs and a dash of salt/pepper/olive oil on top. Easy is good. Sooooo good.

  10. Margaret Smith

    I love chicken and rice. It’s quick and easy to make and tastes great.
    I also like your recipe and am going to give it a try. Thanks so much.

  11. Jessie C.

    My favorite recipe for quick and healthy weeknight dinner is one-pot Japanese chicken and eggs rice.
    tcarolinep at gmail dot com

  12. Anastasia Falling

    My favorite quick, and healthy, dish with rice is chicken & veggies with rice!! Simple, but with a lot of seasoning! So flavorful! 🙂

  13. Anne

    One of our favorite quick and healthy weeknight meals is boneless chicken with veggies all baked together on a sheet pan. And it’s easy to change up the flavors by using different veggies, herbs, and flavorings.

  14. Jeffrey

    We aren’t rushed that often simply because I do prepare food in advance, especially during baseball season. My boys are on different teams that practice at different times on opposite sides of the earth! And this year my oldest son has added Track to the mix! A healthy simple meal that we do make is stir-fry, especially in the summer when the garden vegetables are plentiful. It’s a great meal that gives the kids fuel to continue to go, go, go!

  15. Anastasia Falling

    I love a good pot roast for a quick, healthy dinner! Throw in a lot of veggies and let it cook all day. The, at dinner time, BAM! It’s ready to go! 🙂

  16. Cynthia C

    My favorite fast and healthy dinner is a shrimp and veggie stir-fry. I make extra for leftovers so I have an even quicker dinner later.

  17. hilary

    From a food safety standpoint, it’s really not advisable to reuse meat marinades. It’s getting cooked still in this recipe, but it’s rather dangerous to pour raw chicken bacteria back into cooked food in case it is not cooked long enough again. In future recipes, I would highly suggest not doing this!!

    I did the recipe without marinating the chicken, and it was still very nice.

  18. Gina M

    I love putting together a quick and easy tortilla soup, with rice of course!

    Thanks for the chance to win!
    wildorchid985 at gmail dot com

  19. Kathryn C

    #SweepstakesEntry- comment

    My best quick recipes during the week are to use quick cook minute rices, frozen veggies and strips of beef or chicken to combine & cook in tasty stir fry dishes

    KC

  20. Melody Wagstaff

    Prep is NOT 15 minutes!! It took about an hour to prep all the veggies involved. No doubt once everything is prepped the meal comes together in no time. Grossed out by the raw chicken marinade being used as the sauce later. Worth it to make a separate sauce from what the chicken soaks in. Overall did love the amount of fresh veggies in the dish but did not like eating an hour late. Consider skipping the prep and going with a ready made bag of stir fry veggies.

  21. Michele Crosse

    If I feel like a quick “sometimes” dinner, it’s got to be my creamy garlic prawns with rice. It takes about 4 minutes to go from wok to fork and about the same time to polish it off. Chuck in some crusty bread and I’m in heaven!

  22. Michele Crosse

    A favourite of mine is peacan nut and cottage cheese patties. They are unbelievable. They can not be detected as vegetarian! Throw a salad together and bingo – you’re on a winner dinner!

  23. Amanda

    Very tasty!!! I added some water chestnuts and bamboo shoots towards the end and I also used fresh broccoli instead of frozen. It came out very nice! 🙂

  24. B. Hunt

    All I have made in my life is eggs with toast, rice, and naans lol tomorrow is my first time cooking a proper meal since I got banned from the kitchen (8 years). I google a healthy stir fry recipe and clicked on this one…..wish me luck. *finger crossed* that I don’t blow up my apartment and that I cook an edible one. 🙂

  25. This was sooo good! Such a nice blend of flavors! I am kind of weird about re-using the marinade so I made a little extra. The dish was a little spicy for me but not for anyone else that tried it. I was wondering if the extra marinade should have less of the red pepper flakes??? I am not a cook….sooo Definitely will be having this again!!

    1. Cassie

      Sesame oil is a big flavor component of the dish, so leaving that out will make it a bit bland. But from a function standpoint—any cooking oil will work (avocado, olive, etc.).

  26. This looks SO good! I’m making a stir fry this week, for the first time in my lovely stainless steel wok I just bought, and I think I’ll try this one instead. Thanks!

  27. Charlie Mcgrath

    I make chicken stir fry a lot, every week. When my wife asked me if I liked it and I told her it was my best one yet, and I wasn’t kidding. This one’s a keeper!

  28. Liz Gorr

    I really liked this recipe and its flavors.
    The sauce was easy to make and the main reason I chose this recipe.
    I paired this recipe with chinese spicy green beans which roasted in the oven while I stirfried on the stove top.
    My question is why is this healthy?
    Is it because it uses fresh ingredients or it calorie count? What is the calorie count?

  29. Linda

    I made this the other night and it was great! I didn’t have sesame oil for the sauce but it was still great, I am keeping this recipe. and I didn’t use sesame seeds either.

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