How To Make Stir Fry Vegetables

Here's how to make stir fry vegetables and related tips.

Stir fry vegetables are cut into bite-size pieces and then cooked very quickly at high heat. They become deliciously coated with the oil in which they're cooked. You can stir fry them to the level of crispness or softness that you choose.

Stir frying allows vegetables to retain extra nutrition (and taste) that can be lost with methods that use long cooking times.

I've come to prefer the taste and simplicity of stir-fried vegetables without meat, thickening, sauces, or seasonings. This is certainly the easiest way to enjoy many vegetables, with a minimum of fuss.

The Wok

A wok is a type of cooking pot. It traditionally has a small cooking area at the bottom and tall sloping sides. Small pieces of food are cooked in oil at a high temperature.

There is no substitute for an electric wok, although I have also used a stovetop wok. It is also possible to stir fry in a large frying pan.

You need sizzling high temperatures (at least 375 degrees F.) to stir fry. An electric wok allows you to set and maintain this temperature. An electric frying pan might be the best alternative to a wok.

An electric wok is not expensive; it gives you the appropriate tool for how to make stir fry with the best results.


  • Cut everything into small pieces before you start.
  • Heat sufficient high-heat vegetable oil to keep the food from burning to the wok or pan. Normally, two tablespoons of oil would be recommended. However, in my electric wok, which has a relatively small cooking area, I use as much as 4 tablespoons of oil.
  • Add the vegetables and cook at 375 degrees F.
  • You must stir continuously. A long-handled wooden spoon is best.
  • The food will cook swiftly, in a few minutes.

Tips On How To Make Stir Fry Vegetables

In a traditional method for multiple ingredients, small pieces of one food are stir fried on the cooking area and then pushed up the sides of the wok; another food is cooked and pushed up the sides; and then everything is mixed together at the end.

It is not necessary to be concerned about using this method. If you know your vegetables will cook in about the same amount of time, cook them at the same time. Simply add last any food that will cook more quickly than the other foods and that you don't want to overcook. An example is: mung bean sprouts, which cook very quickly and which I prefer crispy.

If using meat: always stir fry pork first, so that it will be cooked thoroughly; then add vegetables; other meats and shellfish would be added and cooked last. Any meat would be cut into very small pieces before starting; it is possible to marinate the pieces in the refrigerator.

It is possible but not necessary to add broth with a thickener at the end and continue to cook in the broth.

It is possible but not necessary to add soy sauce, other sauces, or seasonings.


The oil used must be suitable for high heat, as the heat used is too high for butter and for many kinds of vegetable oil. The oil will also flavor the vegetables.

The oil should be labeled for "high heat" above 375 degrees F.

I use organic high oleic safflower oil (expeller pressed and refined), which is labeled for use up to 450 degrees F. High oleic safflower oil is from a safflower hybrid and is different from regular safflower oil.

I also use refined avocado oil.

Unfortunately, no refined oil is truly healthy.

The traditional oil used to stir fry is unrefined sesame oil.

Stir Fry Vegetables

Asparagus – small pieces
Bamboo shoots - sliced
Bok choy - sliced
Broccoli – florets cut into pieces
Carrot - very small pieces
Celery - sliced
Daikon radish - sliced
Green pepper - sliced or small pieces
Mung bean sprouts
Mushrooms – sliced
Pea pods
Radishes - sliced
Scallions – sliced
Water chestnuts – sliced

My Favorite Stir Fry

My favorite stir fry is a bok choy stir fry.

Related Book

The Everything Stir-Fry Cookbook

From the basics to 300 recipes, including how to make sauces!