Easy Stir-Fry Sauce

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Making an excellent all-purpose Chinese stir-fry sauce takes less than 10 minutes to prepare! A combination of savory Asian ingredients will boost the taste of any meat or vegetable stir-fry recipe.

A glass jar of stir-fry sauce with white sesame seeds floating on top

When you’re in a pinch of time but looking for a fast, flavorful and wholesome meal then a stir-fry is a great option. It’s a one-pot wok dinner that can be filled with healthy proteins and/or vegetables. One way to speed up meal preparation is to make a quick homemade stir-fry sauce that can even be prepared in advance. Just stir and simmer!

This versatile sauce is made with a combination of Asian-inspired flavors like soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil and a touch of honey to add a delicious savory glaze to wok-fired ingredients.

Side profile of a glass jar containing Chinese stir-fry sauce

How to Use a Stir-Fry Sauce

Making a stir-fry is simple, and the best part is it’s customizable too! Once you’ve selected your ingredients and give them a quick saute in a wok or large pan, it’s time to add the sauce.

This sauce has a combination of umami flavors and a touch of natural sweetness from honey to balance the flavors. The key to adding body and glossiness is to use a little bit of thickening agent, like cornstarch or arrowroot powder, which is whisked right into the mixture. The stir-fry sauce should be added to the hot pan at the very end of cooking and brought to a boil. The elevated temperatures allow the starches to swell and instantly thicken the liquid in under a minute. That’s it!

This easy stir-fry sauce recipe makes about 1 cup, plenty to add to about one pound of protein or four cups of vegetables. You can add as much of the sauce as you like, or save half for another meal later in the week. Just make sure to shake or whisk before cooking as the cornstarch will settle to the bottom of the container over time. This sauce is also great to use for noodles like chow mein or lo mein.

More Chinese recipes

Properly adding a thickening agent to sauces

When using cornstarch or arrowroot powder, the fine white powder needs to be whisked and fully dispersed in cool-to-room temperature liquid. This process creates a slurry mixture, which does not clump when added to a hot pan. If the dry powder is added directly to hot liquid, it will swell too quickly and form lumps which are difficult to blend into a sauce.

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Stir-Fry Sauce

Making an excellent all-purpose Chinese stir-fry sauce takes less than 10 minutes to prepare! A combination of savory Asian ingredients will boost the taste of any meat or vegetable stir-fry recipe.
Pin Print Review
4 from 16 votes
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time1 min
Total Time6 mins
Servings 8 servings
Course Condiment
Cuisine Asian

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup oyster sauce
  • ½ cup unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon shaoxing cooking wine, optional
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Instructions 

  • In a medium-sized bowl whisk together soy sauce, oyster sauce, chicken stock, cooking wine and honey.
  • Add cornstarch and whisk until most of the powder is dissolved and no lumps remain.
  • Add in sesame oil and whisk to combine.
  • Sauce can be cooked by itself by placing in a small saucepan, set over medium-high heat. Constantly whisk until thickened, about 30 to 60 seconds. Pour over desired protein and vegetables.
  • Sauce can be calso ooked in the same pan as stir-fried ingredients at the end of cooking. Add in the center of a hot pan over medium-high heat, stirring until thickened, 30 to 60 seconds. Stir to combine all ingredients.

Notes

  • Recipe Yield: 1 cup
  • Typically 1/2 cup is used for 1 pound of protein and 4 cups of vegetables. However, this makes extra to serve on the side.
  • The uncooked sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Make sure to shake or whisk the sauce before cooking.
  • Cornstarch can be substituted for arrowroot powder, however, do not reheat.
  • MAKE IT VEGAN OR VEGETARIAN: Substitute hoisin sauce for oyster sauce. Substitute vegetable broth/stock for chicken stock. Use brown sugar, granulated sugar or maple sugar instead of honey.
  • MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE: Make sure the oyster sauce or hoisin sauce is labeled gluten-free. Use gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos.

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Nutrition Facts
Stir-Fry Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 28 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 0.1g1%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.2g
Sodium 628mg26%
Potassium 1mg0%
Carbohydrates 5g2%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 1g2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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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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4 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Amara Williams says

    What is oyster sauce? Do you have to use it? Is there a substitute? I used chicken broth powder but for this and another stir-fry recipe is read of yours, that doesn’t seem like it will work.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Great question! Oyster sauce a mixture of caramelized oyster juices, salt, sugar, sometimes soy sauce, thickened with cornstarch. It’s a very strong savory/umami flavor and sweet. There is no perfect substitute, but you could use hoisin for a similar texture but it’s not as sweet. Coconut aminos will provide sweetness and a savory flavor, but no body. Soy sauce will just be savory with no contribution to texture.

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