This Chicken and Broccoli recipe rivals the Chinese-restaurant favorite, with tender, juicy bites of chicken and crisp broccoli dripping with the tastiest savory stir-fry sauce. It’s an easy, 20-minute recipe.
Gather Your Ingredients For This Chicken and Broccoli Recipe
Here’s what you’ll need.
- Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts: These serve as the protein-packed centerpiece of the dish. Cutting them into 2-bite chunks ensures even cooking. You could swap in chicken thighs if you like.
- Cornstarch: A key ingredient for tenderizing the chicken and thickening the sauce. Cornstarch ensures that your sauce clings beautifully to the chicken and broccoli.
- Kosher Salt: Essential for seasoning both the chicken and the overall dish, helping to enhance the natural flavors of the ingredients.
- Vegetable Oil: Used for cooking the chicken and sautéing the garlic and ginger, contributing to the dish’s overall texture and flavor.
- Garlic: Provides a punch of aromatic flavor that complements the chicken and broccoli.
- Fresh Ginger: Adds a spicy, zesty note that balances out the richness of the other ingredients.
- Broccoli Florets: These add crunch, color, and a serving of vegetables, making the dish well-rounded and nutritious.
- Chicken Broth: Helps to create a flavorful sauce and steam the broccoli, making it tender but still crisp.
- Soy Sauce: Introduces a salty, umami element that elevates the overall flavor profile.
- Oyster Sauce: Adds a complex, savory depth to the sauce.
- Honey: Introduces a subtle sweetness that contrasts beautifully with the salty and umami flavors.
- Sesame Oil: Gives a nutty, aromatic finish to the sauce.
- Black Pepper: Adds a touch of heat and complexity to the dish.
Variations and Substitutions
Looking to switch things up a bit? No problem! Here are some easy variations and substitutions to tailor the dish to your taste:
- Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free soy sauce and oyster sauce to make this dish gluten-free.
- Different Veggies: Not a fan of broccoli? Try using bell peppers, snap peas, carrots or baby corn for variety.
- Spice It Up: Add some red pepper flakes or a dash of Sriracha for a spicy kick.
- Low-Sodium: Use low-sodium chicken broth and soy sauce if you’re watching your salt intake.
- Sweetener Options: Prefer a different sweetener? Maple syrup or agave nectar can be used in place of honey.
- Oil Choices: If you don’t have vegetable oil, you can use canola oil or even olive oil as a substitute.
Grab these Tools
To make this dish a success, you’ll need a few essential kitchen tools. Here’s what to have on hand:
- Large Skillet or Wok: You’ll need this for cooking both the chicken and the vegetables. Make sure it’s big enough to handle all the ingredients without overcrowding.
- Mixing Bowls: Essential for mixing the chicken with cornstarch and other ingredients.
- Measuring Cups and Spoons: To accurately measure all your liquid and dry ingredients.
- Cutting Board and Knife: Needed for chopping the chicken and veggies.
- Spatula or Wooden Spoon: Useful for stirring and mixing ingredients in the skillet.
- Lid for Skillet or Wok: You’ll need this to cover the pan while the broccoli is cooking.
- Cooking Thermometer: To ensure the chicken is cooked to a safe temperature of 165°F.
How to Make Chicken and Broccoli: Easy Step-By-Step Directions
Follow these simple steps to whip up a delicious Chicken and Broccoli stir-fry in no time:
- Prep the Chicken: Toss chicken chunks with cornstarch and salt. This step helps to give the chicken a crispy exterior when it cooks.
- Heat the Oil: Preheat your oil in a large skillet or wok. Make sure it’s hot but not smoking; this ensures that your chicken gets a nice sear.
- Cook the Chicken: Lay the chicken pieces in a single layer in the pan and let them cook until golden. This forms a nice crust and adds flavor.
- Add Aromatics: Shift the chicken to one side and add garlic and ginger to the pan. These ingredients add the foundational flavors to the stir-fry.
- Prepare Chicken Broth Mixture: Stir cornstarch into chicken broth. This acts as a thickener for the sauce.
- Add Remaining Ingredients: Put the broccoli and all the sauce ingredients into the pan. The liquid components will make up the flavorful sauce.
- Cover and Cook: Put a lid on the skillet to help the broccoli steam, which makes it tender yet crisp.
- Uncover and Finish: Remove the lid and let everything cook for a few more minutes. This helps the sauce thicken and ensures the chicken is fully cooked.
How to Serve This Chicken Broccoli Stir Fry Recipe
This Chicken and Broccoli stir-fry is a versatile dish that pairs well with a variety of sides. You can serve it over steamed white or brown rice for a classic combination, or try it with quinoa for a protein-packed alternative.
Noodles, like this Chili Oil Ramen recipe, are delicious and in keeping with the same takeout theme.
Don’t forget to garnish with some sesame seeds or chopped green onions for added flair!
Make Ahead and Storage Instructions
Keep your Chicken and Broccoli tasting fresh with these storage tips:
- Make Ahead: You can chop all the veggies and prepare the chicken a day in advance. Keep them stored in separate airtight containers in the fridge.
- Leftover Storage: Store any leftover Chicken and Broccoli in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
- Freezing: This dish can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Just remember to thaw it in the fridge before reheating.
- Reheating: Use a skillet or microwave to reheat. If using a skillet, you may want to add a little extra broth or water to revive the sauce.
Notes, Pro Tips, and Science-Based Secrets
Get the most out of your Chicken and Broccoli stir-fry with these handy tips and tricks:
- Cornstarch Coating: Coating the chicken in cornstarch helps create a crisp texture and also thickens the sauce.
- High Heat for Searing: Cooking the chicken at medium-high heat initially ensures a good sear, locking in flavors and juices.
- Fresh vs. Frozen Broccoli: Fresh broccoli is ideal for its flavor and crisp texture, but frozen can be used in a pinch. Just extend the cooking time by a few minutes.
- Stir-Fry in Batches: If you’re doubling the recipe, cook the chicken in batches to maintain the high heat of the skillet for even cooking.
- Ginger and Garlic: Don’t skimp on these; they add the foundational flavors to your dish.
5 Common Mistakes People Make with Chicken and Broccoli
- Overcrowding the Pan: This leads to steaming instead of searing, affecting the texture and flavor of the chicken.
- Using Low Heat: A hot pan is crucial for getting that perfect sear on the chicken and making sure the stir-fry cooks quickly.
- Not Prepping Ahead: Stir-fry dishes come together quickly, so have all your ingredients chopped and sauces mixed before you start cooking.
- Skipping the Cornstarch: This ingredient is vital for achieving the right sauce consistency and texture in the chicken.
- Overcooking the Broccoli: The goal is crisp-tender broccoli, not mushy. So, keep an eye on it during the last stages of cooking.
Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about Chicken and Broccoli stir-fry:
The sauce for chicken and broccoli often consists of soy sauce, oyster sauce, chicken broth, and some sweetening agent like honey or sugar. Spices like garlic, ginger, and black pepper may also be added for additional flavor.
Yes, you can, but you may need to adjust the cooking time to ensure it becomes tender. It won’t turn out as crisp.
Hoisin sauce or a mixture of soy sauce and a little bit of sugar can be a good alternative to oyster sauce.
Cornstarch helps in two ways: it thickens the sauce and helps to get a crisp texture on the chicken. It’s recommended for best results.
Cooking the chicken at too low a heat or for too long can cause it to become dry. Stick to medium-high heat and keep an eye on the timer.
To cook broccoli without it getting soggy, you can steam, roast, or stir-fry it. The key is not to overcook it; keep an eye on the time and test its texture by poking it with a fork.
Chinese restaurants often briefly blanch broccoli in hot water then cool it in an ice bath before stir-frying. This process softens the broccoli while maintaining its bright green color and crispy texture.
Feel free to get creative! Bell peppers, carrots, or snap peas make excellent additions.
While best served fresh, you can make this dish a day ahead. Just reheat it gently so as not to overcook the ingredients.
Yes, chicken and broccoli can be a healthy dinner option. Chicken is a lean source of protein, and broccoli is rich in vitamins and fiber. If you control the amount of oil and sauces you use, this can be a very nutritious meal.
More Asian Takeout Recipes You’ll Love
If you love quick, easy Asian takeout-inspired recipes, you must also try:
Pad Woon Sen: This Thai stir-fried noodle dish is packed with veggies and can be customized with your choice of protein.
Gochujang Chicken: For a flavorful Korean-inspired dish, try this chicken recipe that features spicy and savory gochujang sauce.
Garlic Ginger Chicken: You won’t be able to resist the juicy, succulent chicken coated with a delectable glaze of honey, garlic, and ginger.
Hunan Shrimp: This Chinese shrimp recipe is a must-try for seafood enthusiasts, with a spicy, garlicky sauce that can be made in under 30 minutes.
Thai Basil Pork: Ground pork, fresh basil, and a savory sauce come together in this classic Thai dish.
Orange Chicken: Crispy chicken in a tangy and sweet orange sauce makes this Chinese-American dish a popular choice.
Honey Garlic Chicken: An easy and delicious chicken recipe that’s coated in a sticky honey garlic sauce.
Chicken and Broccoli
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 2-bite chunks (see note)
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch divided use
- ¾ tsp kosher salt divided use
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil divided use
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger minced
- 4 cups broccoli florets 11 oz by weight, or 1 small head of broccoli
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ tsp black pepper
- In a medium bowl, toss the chicken pieces with the cornstarch and ½ tsp of the salt.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering hot, add the chicken in a single layer. Cook it on the first side until it is golden, about 5 minutes, then flip and push the chicken to one side.
- Add the garlic and ginger to the empty side of the pan and let it cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant.
- Stir the remaining 1 tbsp cornstarch into the chicken broth.
- To the pan with the chicken, add the broccoli, remaining salt, chicken broth, soy sauce, oyster sauce, honey, sesame oil and black pepper. Give it a good stir and cover.
- Cook until the broccoli turns bright green, about 3 minutes, then uncover and continue cooking until it is crisp-tender and chicken is cooked through to 165ºF, about 2 minutes more.
Last Updated on October 22, 2023 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD