Basil Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry

Basil Chicken Stir-Fry recipe from Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner cookbook by Stacie Billis

Basil Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry is my favorite weeknight stir-fry, and also delicious made with beef.

The key to making this — and really, any stir-fry — successfully is to work quickly with high heat. And that means being prepared.

While I always hope that you’ll prep ingredients before jumping into cooking, this is one of those recipes where it’s necessary. Keep your mise en place (fancy for prepped ingredients) within an arm’s reach by the stove. And no multitasking! Then get your skillet or wok searing hot and go!

Basil Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry recipe from the Winner Winner Chicken Dinner cookbook by Stacie Billis

Get your copy:
Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner: 50 Winning Ways to Cook It Up  

Getting your timing off by even a little bit can mean overcooked chicken, burnt veggies, and/or not enough sauce — all of which are a bummer, even if the overall flavor is spot on.

Basil Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry

Serves 4


5 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
4 tablespoons unseasoned rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chicken stock
1 tablespoon cornstarch
4 tablespoons neutral oil, such as grapeseed, plus more as needed
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut in half
2 bell peppers cut into 1/2-inch thick strips (I like using 1 red and 1 yellow or orange pepper)
5 garlic cloves, finely minced or grated
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups (about 2 ounces) basil leaves (Thai basil if you can find it)
Cooked rice, for serving (optional)


Whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, stock, and cornstarch in a small bowl or medium measuring cup; set aside, keeping the whisk close by.


Place a large skillet or wok over high heat for 30 seconds. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and heat until shimmering, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, tossing frequently until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.


Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the skillet or wok and as soon as the oil is shimmering — which may very well be immediately — add the green beans and peppers. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, tossing frequently, until just tender and charred in spots, about 4 minutes.

If at any point in this or subsequent steps the oil cooks off or the mixture begins to burn, reduce the heat to medium-high (but not lower). You can also add a small additional glug of oil.


Push the vegetables to the edges of the skillet or wok and add the garlic and pepper flakes to the open space in the middle. Cook, keeping them contained in the center space, but moving them around to prevent burning, for about 20 seconds.


Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet or wok and toss everything together once. Give your stir-fry sauce a whisk (the cornstarch likely settled to the bottom) and add it to the skillet or wok. Cook, tossing constantly, until the sauce thickens and coats all of the ingredients, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove from the heat, add the basil, and serve immediately, over rice, if desired.

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