33 Stir-Fry Recipes For Your Wok

Dust off that wok and crank up the heat for these flavorful stir-fry recipes.

Overhead view of gong bao ji ding (Sichuan kung pao chicken), served on a porcelain plate with intricate blue trim.

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

Every cook seems to have a certain piece of cookware that they keep coming back to, day after day. It could be a trusty stainless steel skillet, a well-seasoned carbon steel pan, or an enameled cast iron Dutch oven, but for many of us at Serious Eats, it's unquestionably a wok—one of the most important tools in our kitchens.

The beauty of the wok is that you can use it for all sorts of techniques, but its real purpose in life is stir-frying. The convenience, versatility, and pure deliciousness of stir-fry makes it the perfect weeknight meal. No matter what the contents of your fridge look like, you can have an awesome stir-fry on the table in virtually no time. We've rounded up 33 of our favorite recipes, from kung pao chicken multiple ways and crab fried rice to vegetarian lo mein and Korean-style pork, to illustrate the incredible variety that's just a wok away.


Cashew Chicken Ding With Jicama, Celery, and Red Bell Pepper

Closeup of cashew chicken ding with jicama, celery, and red bell pepper, served on a square white platter.

Serious Eats / Shao Z.

While you might not know the name, you've probably eaten lots of dishes that fall into the category of ding, a type of stir-fry made with diced chicken and vegetables. A ding also needs something crunchy, such as the nuts in the takeout classic cashew chicken. Jicama adds even more crunch, and we round out the assortment of vegetables with mushrooms, celery, and sweet bell pepper.

Takeout-Style Kung Pao Chicken (Diced Chicken With Peppers and Peanuts)

Takeout-style kung pao chicken in wok with a metal spatula.

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

The most famous ding in America is almost certainly kung pao chicken—you'll find it on pretty much any Chinese takeout menu in the country. Our version is made with bell peppers, celery, peanuts, and a mild sauce thickened with cornstarch. We use thigh meat for the diced chicken, which stands up to the heat of the wok better than white meat.

Gong Bao Ji Ding (Sichuan Kung Pao Chicken)

Overhead view of gong bao ji ding (Sichuan kung pao chicken), served on a porcelain plate with intricate blue trim.

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

The kung pao chicken you'll find in China is more intense than the dish we know by the same name in the United States. There are multiple ways to make it—you can try a funky, fiery version flavored with fermented bean paste, or this recipe, made with Sichuan peppercorns and dried red chiles, that's closer to how this dish is actually served in Chengdu. Cutting some of the more aggressive ingredients results in a simpler, more nuanced dish.

Stir-Fried Chicken With Mushrooms and Oyster Sauce

A bowl of stir-fried chicken with mushroom and oyster sauce.

Serious Eats / Shao Z.

One of the secrets to making a restaurant-style stir-fry is water-velveting—marinating meat with egg white, wine, and cornstarch, then blanching it, allows it to achieve an almost unnatural level of silkiness. This recipe shows off the technique, pairing water-velveted chicken with savory oyster sauce and both fresh and rehydrated dried mushrooms.

The Best General Tso's Chicken

General Tso's chicken, served on a rectangular plate with steamed white rice.

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

General Tso's isn't technically a stir-fry, but with cashew chicken and kung pao chicken already on the list, it somehow felt wrong to leave it out. We keep the dish from getting cloying (as it sometimes can be) by balancing the sweetness of the sauce with dried red chiles and acidic rice vinegar. Spiking the fry batter with vodka gives the chicken a shatteringly crisp crust.

Cha Kreung Satch Moan (Cambodian Lemongrass Chicken Stir-Fry)

Cha kreung satch moan (Cambodian lemongrass chicken stir-fry) served on a red platter, ready to share.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

If you’re looking for an introduction to Cambodian cuisine, start with cha kreung satch moan. The stir-fry brings together a combination of salty, sweet, pungent, spicy, and herbal flavors. It starts with a paste made by pounding lemongrass, galangal, fresh turmeric, and plenty of makrut lime leaves. This paste gives the chicken a vibrant yellow color while holy basil and jalapeños offer fresh, crisp, and bright flavors.


Phat Bai Horapha (Thai-Style Beef With Basil and Chiles)

Phat bai horapha (Thai-style beef with basil and chiles), served in a bowl. Thin shreds of lemongrass, fried shallots, and chopped bird's eye chiles are scattered on the slices of well-browned beef.

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

Phat ka-phrao, a beef stir-fry flavored with garlic, shallots, fish sauce, and Thai bird chiles, can be found across Thailand. Re-creating the dish at home is tough because the ingredient that gives the dish its name—holy basil, or ka-phrao in Thai—is nearly impossible to get in the States. Fortunately, you can make something equally delicious with easier-to-find purple basil.

Stir-Fried Beef With Chinese Broccoli

Stir-fried beef with Chinese broccoli, piled high on a white oval platter set on a black surface.

Serious Eats / Shao Z.

Beef with broccoli is usually the worst offering at a Chinese buffet—who wants a dish laden with bland, overcooked florets of Western broccoli? Our version of the dish replaces them with Chinese broccoli, which has a more complex, mildly bitter flavor. Once you've got that ingredient, the rest of the dish is simple—just shallots, garlic, marinated beef, and an oyster sauce–based sauce.

Stir-Fried Beef With Kale and Frisée in Black Bean Sauce

Overhead view of stir-fried beef with kale and frisée in black bean sauce, served on a rectangular porcelain platter.

Serious Eats / Shao Z.

This recipe applies a Chinese technique to two decidedly Western ingredients, kale and frisée, with surprisingly good results. We cook them like any other hearty greens—adding the stems to a hot wok, followed by the leaves. There's no need for blanching, which makes this recipe super quick and leaves you with one fewer pot to clean.

Stir-Fried Beef With Snap Peas and Oyster Sauce

Overhead view of stir-fried beef with snap peas and oyster sauce.

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

Stir-frying is a very quick cooking technique, so it works well with thin cuts of meat. Skirt steak satisfies that requirement and brings the added benefit of a loose texture that's perfect for soaking up marinades. This stir-fry—which takes only half an hour, including the marinating time—pairs the beef with snap peas, oyster sauce, chicken broth, Shaoxing wine, sugar, sesame oil, and soy sauce for a super-fast and flavorful dinner.

Lomo Saltado (Peruvian Stir-Fried Beef With Onion, Tomatoes, and French Fries)

Overhead view of a lomo saltado, served with fries and a large puck of white rice.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

This Chinese-Peruvian dish combines ingredients from both cuisines with the deep, smoky flavor provided by stir-frying. Tender slices of beef are cooked over a high flame along with red onion, tomato, and a sauce of ginger, garlic, and soy sauce; allowing the contents of the wok to briefly catch fire (if you're daring enough!) will bring even more of that smoky wok hei flavor to your food. Serve the stir-fry with a mound of rice and a pile of crisp French fries.

Sichuan Dry-Fried Beef

Closeup of a black ceramic platter piled high with Sichuan dry-fried beef.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Dry-frying is a technique in which vegetables or meat is fried in oil until much of its moisture has cooked off. Though you might imagine this would produce tough and dry beef, it actually provides a pleasingly chewy, crisp texture. Here, once the steak has finished cooking and most of the oil has been poured off, the meat is added back to the wok with garlic and spicy chiles as well as sliced carrot and celery. The dish is finished with a dusting of numbing Sichuan peppercorns.


Stir-Fried Lo Mein Noodles With Pork and Vegetables

Stir-fried lo mein noodles with pork and vegetables, served in a large black bowl and placed on a wooden table, along with serving bowls and garnishes.

Serious Eats / Emily and Matt Clifton

If you want a break from the usual white rice that goes alongside a stir-fry, try adding noodles to make it a complete meal. Here, that means lo mein, which we mix up with strips of country-style ribs, purple cabbage, Chinese broccoli, carrots, and a variety of aromatics. Serving it with sambal oelek on the side lets each eater customize the spiciness level to their taste.

Stir-Fried Cucumbers With Spicy Ground Pork

A white porcelain plate mounded with stir-fried cucumbers with spicy ground pork.

Serious Eats / Shao Z.

If you only ever eat cucumbers raw or pickled, you aren't using the vegetable to its full potential. Salting and lightly cooking cucumbers tenderizes them, turning their crunch into a meaty bite. One of our favorite ways to cook cucumbers is in this easy stir-fry, seasoned with marinated ground pork, soy sauce, and sesame oil.

Jaeyook Kimchi Bokum (Korean Spicy Marinated Pork With Chiles and Kimchi)

Closeup of jaeyook kimchi bokum served in a small white porcelain vessel.

Serious Eats / Daniel Gritzer

They don't always get as much attention as the noodles, stews, or barbecue, but stir-fries are a major part of Korean cuisine. If you need an introduction to Korean stir-fries, try this spicy-sweet dish made with pork shoulder marinated in gochujang (Korean chile paste) and gochugaru (Korean dried-chile powder).

Stir-Fried Sweet-and-Sour Pork

Overhead view of stir-fried sweet-and-sour pork served on a white plate with a raised pattern decorating its rim.

Serious Eats / Shao Z.

Water-velveting isn't just for chicken—you can use it to give the same silky texture to pork loin. That's how we start our take on sweet-and-sour pork, adding onion, bell pepper, and canned pineapple to complete the stir-fry. We use pineapple juice in the sauce, but balance it out with acidic rice vinegar and aromatic sesame oil.

Singapore Noodles

Overhead closeup of Singapore noodles, served in a blue patterned porcelain bowl.

Serious Eats / Shao Z.

The history of Singapore noodles is unclear—they probably aren't actually Singaporean—but we are confident about how to make the tastiest version. Most of the seasoning comes from curry powder, which we add to the noodles and vegetables separately so that everything turns out perfectly spiced.

Braised Eggplant With Pork in Sichuan Sauce

Closeup of braised eggplant with pork in Sichuan sauce.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

To ensure the eggplant in this stir-fry comes out tender, we steam it before adding it to the wok. In the wok, the juicy slices of eggplant get mixed with ground pork, garlic, ginger, and spicy chiles in a sweet and tart sauce. After that, just turn down the flame and let the mixture simmer until the sauce has thickened and the eggplant has absorbed as much flavor as possible.

Kimchi and Asparagus Stir-Fry With Spam and Fried Egg

Kimchi and asparagus stir-fry with Spam and Fried egg served in a bowl and topped with grated Spanish chorizo and minced chive.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

This dish takes the flavors of Italian asparagus alla Milanese and gives them a Korean twist. We thinly slice the asparagus before stir-frying it with kimchi and spam. The finished product is topped with a fried egg, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and finely grated Spanish chorizo. Make sure to freeze your chorizo for easy grating.


Stir-Fried Cod With Yellow Squash and Asparagus

Stir-fried cod with yellow squash and asparagus, served on a blue and white porcelain platter.

Serious Eats / Shao Z.

A wok is designed to allow you to flip and toss whatever you're cooking with ease, but fish isn't as sturdy as chicken or beef. The water-velveted cod in this recipe needs to be treated more gently—turn each piece carefully so it doesn't fall apart. For your restraint, you'll be rewarded with a light, elegant dinner of bright, colorful vegetables and tender chunks of fish.

Kung Pao Fish With Dried Chiles and Sichuan Peppercorns

Closeup of kung pao fish, served on a white square porcelain plate with white rice.

Serious Eats / Shao Z.

Our kung pao fish takes its cues from the intense Sichuan version of the stir-fry, not the mild American-style takeout dish. That means lots of mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorns and funky doubanjiang, or chile-bean sauce, plus garlic, scallions, and peanuts. Go with a firm white fish, like catfish or tilapia for this recipe.

Stir-Fried Shrimp With Eggs and Chinese Chives

Closeup of stir-fried shrimp with eggs and chinese chives, served in a white bowl.

Serious Eats / Shao Z.

This homestyle Cantonese dish pairs scrambled eggs and shrimp with ginger, garlic, and Chinese chives—a classic flavor base in Chinese cooking. Brining the shrimp with baking soda helps keep them plump and tender. Not in the mood for shrimp? You could easily make the dish with roast pork, or no meat at all.


Phat Phrik Khing With Tofu and Long Beans (Thai Dry-Curry Stir-Fry)

Overhead view of phat phrik khing with tofu and long beans, served with rice. A sprig of basil is nearby.

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

As tempting as it can be to reach for a jar of ready-made curry paste, nothing you'll get in a store compares to what you can make at home. For this Thai dry curry, we use a mix of fresh and dried chiles, galangal, garlic, shallots, lemongrass, and makrut lime leaves to make a chile paste, which we then use to flavor crispy tofu and blistered green beans.

Stir-Fried Bok Choy

An inlaid, oblong porcelain bowl filled with stir-fried bok choy.

Serious Eats / Fiona Reilly

Leafy greens like bok choy, gai lan, and Chinese spinach have a fresh, vegetal flavor that can easily be overshadowed. Cooking them quickly and simply is the best way to preserve that flavor—here, we use a handful of aromatics and subtle seasonings to highlight the bok choy.

Lo Hon Jai (Buddha's Delight): Chinese Vegetarian Stir-Fry

Closeup of Buddha's delight stir-fry, served on a white plate with raised decoration on the rim.

Serious Eats / Shao Z.

Traditionally served for Lunar New Year, Buddha's Delight is a vegetarian stir-fry packed with flavorful, filling ingredients. It contains plenty of veggies, but also soy- and wheat-based components that give it extra heft: tofu puffs, bean curd sticks, and Chinese braised gluten. If you don't live near a good Asian grocery, some of those might be less accessible, but you can find them all online.

Stir-Fried Lo Mein With Charred Cabbage, Shiitake, and Chives

Stir-Fried Lo Mein With Charred Cabbage, Shiitake, and Chives on a black ceramic plate on a black table cloth.

Serious Eats / Melissa Hom

This vegetarian version of lo mein goes heavy on the vegetables—to make the dish more nutritious and more flavorful, we use almost as much cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, and chives as we do noodles. It's important to blanch the noodles before tossing them into the wok, or else they can clump up.

Stir-Fried Cucumbers With Trumpet Mushrooms and Torch Hei

Overhead view of a gray, flecked bowl full of stir-fried cucumbers with trumpet mushrooms and torch hei

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

The heat of a wok is the perfect vessel for turning cucumbers and mushrooms into a tender, juicy side dish free from mush. A blast from a kitchen blowtorch imparts an extra layer of smoky wok hei flavor on the cucumbers, which then get mixed with meaty king trumpet mushrooms and funky fermented bean curd. The result is a simple vegetarian stir-fry that doesn’t skimp on flavor.

Fried Rice

Easy Vegetable Fried Rice

Easy vegetable fried rice inside a green ceramic bowl.

Serious Eats / Eric Kleinberg

There's nothing wrong with packing your fried rice full of other ingredients, but we typically prefer to keep the focus on the rice itself. That means going easy on the mix-ins (in this case, peas, carrot, onion, and scallion) and seasoning with just a teaspoon each of soy sauce and sesame oil. Despite what you might have heard, you don't necessarily need to use day-old rice; fresh rice fries up just fine.

Fried Rice With Blistered Green Beans and Basil

Fried rice with blistered green beans and basil, served on a square plate with shingled slices of cucumber.

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

Looking for something more vegetable-heavy? This recipe is for you—it uses a half-pound of green beans per two cups of rice, along with garlic, scallions, Thai chiles, tons of basil, and an egg. As with any other stir-fry, don't forget to cook everything in batches rather than all at once, to avoid steaming the ingredients instead of stir-frying them.

Thai-Style Crab Fried Rice

Thai-style crab fried rice, served in a black earthenware vessel with shingled cucumber slices.

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

This take on fried rice looks to the sea for inspiration—we make the dish with fresh crab (if you can get it; use canned if you can't) and season it with fish sauce. We tend to prefer jasmine, medium-grain white, or sushi rice for this and all our fried rice recipes. Long-grain rice works, but it doesn't get the same chewy-tender texture as shorter varieties.

Quick and Easy Pork Fried Rice With Corn and Shishito Peppers

Quick and easy pork fried rice with corn and shishito peppers, served in a small bowl.

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

Fried rice isn't just for using up day-old rice; it's also great for repurposing other leftovers in your fridge. We came up with this recipe with pork tenderloin in mind, but basically any meat you find yourself with would be appropriate. You can also sub out the sweet corn and shishito peppers for whatever you have on hand that sounds tasty.

Fried Rice With Chinese Sausage, Cabbage, and Torch Hei

Closeup of fried rice with Chinese sausage, cabbage, and torch hei.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

This fried rice is studded with sweet and salty Chinese sausage and tender leaves of Napa cabbage. Juicy green peas and sliced scallions add a touch of brightness while a sauce made of Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, and sesame oil brings together more savory notes. Wok hei flavor is added first to the cabbage and then to the entire dish at the end, allowing its signature smoky aroma to permeate throughout.

Garlic Fried Rice

Overhead view of chicken adobo served with garlic fried rice.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

The key to the garlicky flavor in this fried rice is infusing the oil used to fry the rice with garlic beforehand, then straining out the garlic bits and adding them to the rice at the end. This prevents the garlic from burning and leaving behind a bitter taste. The intense garlic flavor of this fried rice makes it the perfect accompaniment to savory and saucy dishes like Filipino-style chicken adobo.

September 2017