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How to Stir Fry

How to Stir Fry

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Stir frying is a Chinese cooking technique where you take ingredients, and fry them with a small amount of hot oil while you stir, letting the ingredients to evenly cook. If you’ve never done it before, here’s how to stir fry!


Here are some equipment or tools you will need to stir fry.

How to stir fry

Wok / Pan

You will need a wok or pan. Woks are originally from China, and are a a cooking pot that has a deep rounded bottom. They can be used to stir fry, steam, pan fry, braise, and more.

You can use a pan if you do not have a wok, in fact, we do this quite often because we have some really good cooking pans.

Spatula / Chopsticks

You will need something to stir the ingredients, and this is usually a spatula or chopsticks. Chopsticks are actually a great option if you are good at using them, because you can also pick up specific pieces of the food and move things around as needed, but definitely not required.

One thing to note though is if you are using a nonstick wok or pan, you will not want to use a metal spatula. It will damage the coating of your nonstick wok/pan.

Cooking Oil

Cooking oil is required in the stir fry. However, not all cooking oil is the same! One of the things to consider is the oil’s smoke point as stir frying involves high heat.

If you are not familiar with smoke point, it is also known as burning point and is the temperature in which the oil begins to burn and produce smoke that is clearly visible. This is both bad for health and can make the food taste bitter and burnt.

The most common stir fry oils to use is vegetable oil, as it has a high smoke point. You will want to use an oil that has a smoking point at or above 400F. This includes canola oil, coconut oil, corn oil, grapeseed oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, and more.

Other Ingredients

This will highly depend on what dish you are cooking! You can stir fry any meat, seafood, or veggie, or mix of meat, seafood, and veggies (which I love to do).

Here are some ideas:

Chicken Zucchini Mushrooms Stir Fry

Chinese Green Beans Stir Fry

Shrimp Broccoli Stir Fry

Stir Fry Spinach and Mushrooms

Pepper Steak with Onion Stir Fry

Jalapeño Chicken Stir Fry


Now let’s talk about how to actually stir fry!

How to stir fry

First thing you want to do is prepare all the ingredients before turning on the heat. This means slicing your veggies, cutting up your meat and/or seafood, etc.

The goal is to cut each ingredient about the same size so that they cook at the same rate. So for example, if you were stir frying shrimp and broccoli. Make sure the the broccoli florets are all about the same size. The shrimp and the broccoli do not have to be the same size.

If you are cooking meat or seafood, I recommend marinating them beforehand for at least 15 minutes. Remember to pop it in the fridge if it’s more than 15 minutes for food safety reasons. Most my recipes describe the marinade, but if you’re only looking for a marinade you can check out this stir fry steak marinade or this hibachi steak marinade.

When all the ingredients are prepared, heat your wok/pan to high heat. Heat the wok/pan before adding the oil. Then add the oil, and move the pan around to coat pan with oil.

You will need to time when to your add your ingredients. Some ingredients cook much faster than others, so do not add all the ingredients at once unless they cook about the same time.

As an example – in this Stir Fried Celery and Mushrooms recipe, the celery takes longer to cook, so you add the celery first. Then add the mushroom later. You can also cook an ingredient first, and then remove from pan and set aside while you cook other ingredients as needed. These steps are usually called out in the specific recipes.

After you add your ingredients, it will start to cook pretty fast because of the high heat, so be sure to take your spatula or chopsticks and stir constantly to ensure everything is cooked evenly.

Remove ingredients from the pan as soon as they are done cooking to make sure they don’t get too well done.

Check out all my stir fry recipes here!

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