How to make a great stir-fry

Get 5 basic techniques and tips to make a great stir-fry step-by-step at home. Plus, check out lots of tasty stir-fry recipes with noodles, rice, chicken, vegetables and more.

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How to make a great stir-fry

Once you get the hang of the basic stir-fry technique, you open up a world of quick, nutritious and incredibly tasty meals with minimal effort. Here are the key tips you need to know to make sure all your stir-fries come out with beautifully tender-crisp veggies, golden proteins and full of great flavour.

5 tips for how to make a stir-fry step by step

Have your ingredients prepared

Once you get going with food in the pan, there won't be any time for slicing, dicing or wrangling any other ingredients. Stir-fries cook at a high heat and require constant attention, so have all your ingredients pre-chopped, packets opened and everything measured out and ready to go.

Use a wok or large frypan

The shape of a wok is specialised for stir-fries. It has a high, wide lip that makes it easy to toss, stir and flip away without fear of losing any ingredients. If you don't have a wok, don't be tempted to use one of your smaller pans, use your largest frypan instead.

Choose the right oil

Use an oil with a high smoke point to ensure your pan can get hot enough without burning the oil. Some oils with a high smoke point include peanut, sunflower, canola, rice bran and grapeseed oils - save the olive oil for a different meal.

Turn up the heat

This is a major key to a good stir-fry. Let your pan preheat over medium-high heat on a large burner. Keep a close eye on it for 2-3 minutes, until the oil is shimmering (but not smoking) before adding in your ingredients.
If the heat is too low, your ingredients may end up stewing and steaming rather than stir-frying, and you will end up with soft veggies and pale proteins. With the right amount of heat, your veggies will become vibrant and tender-crisp, and the meats will get some nice colour and browning.
On the other end of the spectrum, if your heat is too high and the oil is smoking, you run the risk of burning your ingredients before they've cooked through. If you accidentally heat up your oil too hot, simply take it off the heat for a few moments before continuing.

Change up the ingredients to your taste

One of the great things about stir-fries is that they're so customisable. Don't like asparagus? Sub in the same amount of snow peas. Feel like using pork instead of chicken? Give it a go! Just be conscious of the order that you add ingredients to your stir-fry. Hard vegetables like carrots or broccoli will take longer to cook than softer veggies like wombok or bean sprouts, and proteins like prawns will cook much faster than beef, so time their additions accordingly.

Some vegetables that are great in stir fries include capsicum, broccoli, baby corn, cauliflower, cabbage, onion, sugar snap peas, snow peas, sliced carrots, mushrooms, bamboo shoots and bok choy.

Stir-fry recipes

Get started with these tried and tested stir-fry recipes.

Get the recipe: Chicken Chow Mein

Enjoy this takeaway favourite at home with ease! Glossy egg noodles, lots of veggies and chunks of chicken all in a glorious sweet chilli based sauce.

Get the recipe: Honey and Soy Prawn Noodle Stir-fry

This seafood stir-fry is full of sweet and savoury flavour and lots of greens including broccolini and snow peas.

Get the recipe: Turkey Meatball Pad Thai

The classic pad Thai stir-fry noodles are given a twist with meatballs! 

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