Chicken Broccoli Stir-fry

4.69 from 29 votes
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This quick and easy chicken broccoli stir-fry recipe is ready in 30 minutes! It’s a one-pan dish packed with hearty protein and vegetables simmered in savory garlic soy sauce.

Chicken broccoli stir-fry recipe being made in a large wok.

Recipe Science

  • Stir-frying chicken quickly at high heat sears the meat to retain juiciness and creates a flavorful crust through the Maillard reaction.
  • Cooking broccoli in a wok with water steams it, tenderizing the fibrous vegetable while retaining its bright color and nutrients.
  • Using a cornstarch-based sauce, it thickens rapidly during stir-frying, adding a glossy finish and concentrated flavor.

Why It Works

Grab your wok. It’s time to make a delicious broccoli chicken stir-fry! I always have these two ingredients in my fridge for a healthy dinner. Paired with a flavorful garlic soy sauce served over rice, it will be your new favorite Chinese dish at home.

The trickiest part of cooking poultry and cruciferous vegetables is timing. I’ll show you how to cook broccoli and sear the meat to make this a one-pan dish. It all comes together in the hot wok in less than 15 minutes. No need to order takeout!

Ingredients You’ll Need

Ingredients needed to make this stir fry recipe.
  • Chicken: For a quick-cooking, lean protein option, use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Cut the pieces against the grain into 1/2-inch thick slices.
  • Stir-Fry Sauce: A savory combination of chicken stock, soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice vinegar, honey, and cornstarch.
  • Oil: To sear the chicken, use a neutral-tasting, high-smoke-point oil, like vegetable oil. Sesame oil flavors the dish.
  • Vegetables: Broccoli florets are very tough and fibrous. To quickly tenderize them, cut them into 2-inch pieces. Add minced garlic and ginger for aromatics.
  • Garnish: Top the stir-fry with sesame seeds for added texture.

See the recipe card below for all ingredients and measurements (US and metric).

Ingredient Substitutions

This chicken stir-fry is easy to customize! Give these tasty variations a try:

  • Chicken Options: If you prefer dark meat, use boneless skinless chicken thighs. Trim the excess fat to prevent the dish from becoming too greasy. I recommend purchasing 1 ¼ to 1 ½ pounds of thighs since you will discard a portion of the product.
  • Make it Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free soy sauce and oyster sauce. Tamari and coconut aminos are good swaps for regular soy sauce.
  • Add Vegetables: Add additional veggies like onions, water chestnuts, sugar snap peas, cauliflower, asparagus, green beans, diced bell peppers, or mushrooms.
  • Sweetener Swaps: Instead of honey, use granulated sugar, maple syrup, or brown sugar
  • Make it Spicy: To the stir-fry sauce, add red pepper flakes, chili oil, or Sriracha.

How to Make Chicken Broccoli Stir-Fry

Pieces of boneless skinless chicken breast marinating in a white bowl.

Step 1: Marinate the Chicken

Briefly marinate the chicken in soy sauce, sesame oil, and cornstarch for at least 10 minutes. This creates a flavorful surface and crust on the chicken. I like to do this step first, then finish prepping the other parts of the recipe.

Whisk and stir fry sauce inside a clear glass measuring cup.

Step 2: Make the Sauce

I combine essential Chinese pantry staples to make a balanced sauce with a strong umami flavor. The sauce ingredients combine soy sauce, chicken broth or stock, oyster sauce, rice vinegar, honey, and cornstarch to thicken the sauce. You can even make the stir-fry sauce several days in advance for meal prep.

Pieces of chicken breasts cooking inside a wok.

Step 3: Cook the Chicken

Use a wok or a large nonstick skillet for cooking the stir-fry. To quickly develop flavor on the surface of the sliced chicken, sear it in hot vegetable and sesame oil. Spread it in a single layer, and let the pieces brown, without moving, for a few minutes.

Stir-fry to finish cooking the meat, but don’t overcook, as the lean poultry can dry out fast! Transfer the pieces to a clean bowl to make room for cooking the broccoli.

Bright green broccoli florets cooking in a wok with ginger and garlic.

Step 4: Cook the Broccoli

Instead of using a separate pot to blanch the florets, you can do it directly in the hot wok. Add the broccoli along with ¼ cup of water. This will steam the florets in just a few minutes.

They shouldn’t be thoroughly cooked, as they will continue to soften when the sauce is added. Add the garlic and ginger, and stir-fry for 30 seconds. They add a pleasant spice and aroma to the dish.

Pouring stir fry sauce in the middle of a wok filled with broccoli.

Step 5: Thicken the sauce

Add the stir-fry sauce to the center of the pan. Continuously stir until the sauce is thickened, less than a minute. The hot liquid and steam will continue to tenderize the broccoli.

Wok spatula mixing chicken and broccoli in a hot pan.

Add the chicken back to the pan to warm for a few minutes.

Chicken and broccoli served in a bowl with white rice and garnished with sesame seeds.

Step 6: Garnish and Serve

I like to garnish with sesame seeds right before serving the dish over steamed rice.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is chicken and broccoli sauce made of?

A mixture of soy sauce, oyster sauce, chicken stock, rice vinegar, a sweetener like honey, sugar (or brown sugar), and cornstarch. Once cooked, the thickened savory sauce clings to the meat and vegetables.

How do I make sure my stir-fry chicken is tender?

Cook the chicken first in hot oil. This quickly sears the meat, making the pieces juicy and more flavorful on the surface. Remove the pieces while cooking the other ingredients, then add them back after thickening the sauce to warm. This keeps the pieces tender and prevents over cooking.

Do I need to boil broccoli before stir-frying?

No, the broccoli is added to the pan raw. It’s steamed in high heat in the wok with a small amount of water to tenderize the vegetables. This happens after searing the chicken and removing the meat from the pan. If using blanched florets, skip the steaming step.

Can you use frozen broccoli in the stir-fry?

Frozen broccoli florets are an affordable and convenient option for stir-fries. They are chopped into smaller pieces and blanched. Add them directly to the pan while frozen, then cook until defrosted. Then, add the sauce to finish the dish. The pieces may be softer in texture compared to fresh, as the plants’ cell walls freeze and rupture as they defrost during cooking.

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Chicken Broccoli Stir-fry

This delicious and healthy chicken broccoli stir-fry is quick and easy to make. Perfect for a weeknight dinner, this dish is sure to become a family favorite!
4.69 from 29 votes
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings 4 Servings
Course Entree
Cuisine Chinese

Ingredients 
 

Chicken Marinade

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, or thighs, ½" thick slices
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Stir-fry Sauce

  • ½ cup unsalted chicken stock , or broth
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey, or sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Chicken and Broccoli Stir-fry

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 5 cups broccoli florets, about 2" pieces
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • teaspoon sesame seeds, (optional)

Instructions 

  • Marinate the Chicken – In a medium bowl, combine sliced chicken, soy sauce, cornstarch, sesame oil, and pepper. Marinate for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the other ingredients.
  • Make the Sauce – In a medium bowl, whisk together the chicken stock, soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice vinegar, and honey. Whisk in cornstarch until no lumps remain. Set aside.
  • Cook the Chicken – Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and sesame oil. Once hot and shimmering, carefully add the chicken in a single layer. Cook without moving until browned, about 2 minutes. Stir-fry until no longer pink, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a clean plate.
  • Cook the Broccoli – Add the broccoli and water to the pan. Stir-fry until the florets are bright green and the water has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook the garlic and ginger until fragrant, 30 seconds.
  • Thicken the Sauce – Whisk the stir-fry sauce. Make a well in the center of the pan, then add the sauce, and stir continuously until thickened, about 1 minute. Add the chicken to the pan and stir to combine. Cook until the broccoli is tender and the chicken is warm, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • To Serve – Garnish with sesame seeds (if using) and serve immediately.

Recipe Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • Recipe Yield: 4 cups
  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Using Chicken Thighs: Purchase 1 ¼ to 1 ½ pounds. Trim off the excess fat.
  • Make it Gluten-Free: Use oyster sauce like Lee Kum Kee Green Label or Kikkoman. Use tamari or coconut aminos for soy sauce.
  • Storing: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • Reheating: Cover and microwave on high setting in 15 to 30-second increments until hot.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 4 Servings
Calories 862kcal (43%)Carbohydrates 63g (21%)Protein 119g (238%)Fat 16g (25%)Saturated Fat 4g (20%)Polyunsaturated Fat 3gMonounsaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0.1gCholesterol 290mg (97%)Sodium 5928mg (247%)Potassium 3397mg (97%)Fiber 13g (52%)Sugar 21g (23%)Vitamin A 2974IU (59%)Vitamin C 413mg (501%)Calcium 289mg (29%)Iron 7mg (39%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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