Basic Stir-Fry

Lunch / Dinner

Basic Stir-Fry

This adaptable Stir-Fry recipe gives you basic guidelines with plenty of options for meats, vegetables, and sauces. Play around and discover your own favorite combinations.

The motto of a good stir-fry is “be prepared” — just like the Boy Scouts. Marinate the meat, mince ginger and garlic, and cut the vegetables before you fire up the wok. French chefs call this mise en place [MEEZ ahn plahs], or “everything in its place.” But Chinese cooks were practicing it long before French chefs started preaching it. You’ve got to be organized to pull off a good stir-fry; there’s no time to stop once the wok is fired up. Stir-frying should not take more than 10 minutes from start to finish.

Stir-frying is a close cousin to sautéing, but with a couple of differences. First and foremost is the level of heat — you need a lot of heat to stir-fry properly. That intense heat cooks meats and vegetables quickly to keep as much of the original color, flavor, and nutrients as possible. And that heat is the reason you stir stir-fries — actually, you use your whole arm, like tossing a salad. If the food stands still, the heat will dry out the meats, and burn the vegetables.


4 servings

Total Time

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Meat Preparation & Veg Cook Times




Combine sherry, broth, sauce, sweetener, citrus juice, cornstarch, and salt in a bowl; add meat and marinate while prepping other ingredients.

Prepare aromatics (garlic, ginger, pepper flakes); combine. Prepare vegetables. Remove meat from marinade, letting excess drip off; reserve marinade.

Heat wok or skillet over high until hot; add 2 Tbsp. oil. Stir-fry meat in batches until it’s no longer pink, 23 minutes; transfer to a plate.

Add 1 Tbsp. oil to wok; stir-fry aromatics 10–15 seconds. (They should sizzle, but watch them, they burn quickly.)

Add remaining 1 Tbsp. oil and slow-cooking vegetables; stir-fry 34 minutes. Add medium-cooking vegetables; stir-fry 23 minutes.

Add meat and reserved marinade; stir until sauce thickens and meat is cooked through, 23 minutes.

Off heat, add fast-cooking vegetables; toss to coat with sauce and heat through. Top servings with nuts, seeds, scallions, and/or herbs.


You need a hot wok or skillet for stir-frying — heat it over high heat and test with your palm. Adding 2 Tbsp. oil to the hot wok prevents sticking.


Stir-fry meat in batches — it cooks faster, and sears instead of steams. Stir-fry each batch until no longer pink, 2–3 minutes. Remove and set aside.


Add 1 Tbsp. more oil and stir-fry aromatics 10–15 seconds, just to release oils. They should sizzle, but watch them — they burn quickly.


Add 1 Tbsp. more oil and slow-cooking vegetables; stir-fry 3–4 minutes. Now add medium-cooking vegetables and keep stir-frying 2–3 minutes more.


Add reserved meat and marinade; stir until sauce thickens and meat is cooked through, 2–3 minutes.


Off heat, add fast-cooking vegetables; toss to coat with sauce and heat through. Serve stir-fry with rice; top with garnishes.

Nutritional Facts

Nutritional Facts

Per serving (with beef, broccoli, carrots, bell pepper, mushrooms)

Calories: 333

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 20g 30%

Saturated Fat 5g 25%

Cholesterol 41mg 13%

Sodium 608mg 25%

Carbs 15g 5%

Protein 18g

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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