Chicken and Broccoli (Chinese Takeout Style)

An easy chicken and broccoli stir fry recipe that yields juicy chicken and crisp broccoli in a rich brown sauce, just like the one at a Chinese restaurant. {Gluten-Free Adaptable}

Homemade chicken and broccoli in a skillet

Chicken and broccoli should be on your weekday dinner rotation menu, because it’s so easy to prepare and the result tastes even better than takeout. If you rarely cook Chinese stir fries at home, this is a great dish to start with. It only requires one protein, one vegetable, and one sauce. The cooking doesn’t require a wok and the process is very simple. Start your steamed rice while preparing this dish and your dinner will be ready in 30 minutes.

Stir fried chicken with broccoli served on steamed rice

Cooking notes

1. What cookware to use

I’ve discussed why not to use a wok and how to set up your stir fry station in the past in great detail.

Before moving to the US, I always cooked with a small cast iron wok and gas stove in my Chinese kitchen. I switched to a heavy nonstick skillet when I moved to Austin, because it heated up faster and held heat better on the electric stove. Now that I finally have a gas stove again in my New York kitchen, the flame is so weak that sometimes I have trouble boiling water. Now I use both nonstick and carbon steel pans depending on the dishes I make.

If you just started cooking Chinese food, or if you have a similar kitchen situation to mine (electric stove, IH stove, or not-so-powerful gas stove), cooking with a nonstick skillet or carbon steel skillet will be the best option. It’s easier to learn to use, heats up better, and creates great results.

Stir fried chicken with broccoli

2. Key ingredients

Aromatics – It’s very important to use fresh ginger and garlic to create the authentic Chinese food experience. Sometimes I add a handful of chopped green onion to further add fragrance to the dish.

Oyster sauce – In my world it’s a sauce that is quite close to hoisin sauce, only it tastes much better. It adds a rich, savory umami (from oyster extract) and a slightly sweet note to the stir fry sauce.

Shaoxing wine – Used in most Chinese stir fry dishes, including vegetables. It adds a deep fermented savory taste. If you do not want alcohol in your dish, you can use chicken broth to replace it. The flavor of the sauce will fall flat a bit, but you will still get a great result.

Dark soy sauce – It has a darker color and tastes less salty than soy sauce. It’s commonly used in Chinese stir fries to add a beautiful caramelized color to the meat. You can replace it with soy sauce if you don’t have any on hand. Your dish will come out lighter than mine, but still taste great.

3. Easy prep

Getting your working station organized is key to making good stir fries. Different from many Western style cooking techniques, the Chinese stir fry process happens very quickly. Once you heat up the pan, it usually takes less than 5 minutes to cook a dish. Be sure to cut all the ingredients, make the sauce, and have all the ingredients ready near your stove.

When I prepare my stir fry, I like to go one step further and group the ingredients according to the cooking steps, so I can use fewer prep bowls. It makes your working station less crowded, prevents you from forgetting to add ingredients during cooking, and makes clean-up faster.

In the case of the chicken and broccoli stir fry, you should have 5 items near your stove:

  • Mixed sauce
  • Marinated chicken
  • Chopped broccoli
  • Chopped ginger and garlic
  • Cooking oil (not shown in the picture)

Ingredients to making chicken and broccoli

4. Cooking process

Making chicken and broccoli is super easy. All you need to do is:

  • Steam the broccoli in the stir fry pan using a bit of water. I do this instead of blanching the broccoli in a separate pot. It cooks faster this way and you only use one pan in total.
  • Heat up your pan very hot. Sear both sides of the chicken. It helps to brown the chicken better if you spread it in the pan in a single layer and don’t touch it until the bottom is browned.
  • Add the aromatics.
  • Add the cooked broccoli and the sauce, then cook until sauce is thickened.

That’s it!

Chicken and broccoli cooking step-by-step

5. One word on oil

The amount of oil you need largely depends on the type of pan you’re using. If you use a nonstick pan, you can cut the oil to 1 tablespoon without any problem. If you use a carbon steel or cast iron pan, you might need to use more oil, so the bottom of the pan is covered completely with a thin layer of oil to prevent the chicken from sticking to the pan.

Stir fried chicken with broccoli close-up

More delicious take-out style recipes

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

Chicken and Broccoli (Chinese Takeout Style) | An easy chicken and broccoli stir fry recipe that yields juicy chicken and crisp broccoli in a rich brown sauce, just like the one from a Chinese restaurant. {Gluten-Free Adaptable}

Chicken and Broccoli (Chinese Takeout Style)

An easy chicken and broccoli stir fry recipe that yields juicy chicken and crisp broccoli in a rich brown sauce, just like the one at a Chinese restaurant. {Gluten-Free Adaptable}
To make this dish gluten free, use dry sherry instead of Shaoxing wine. Use tamari or coconut amino to replace dark soy sauce. And make sure you pick a gluten-free oyster sauce such as this one.
4.84 from 18 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: takeout
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 246kcal
Author: Maggie Zhu

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (450 g) boneless skinless chicken breast (or thigh)

Marinade

  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Sauce

Stir-fry

  • 1 head broccoli , chopped into bite-sized florets
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 4 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger , minced

Instructions

  • Slice the chicken against the grain into thin bite-size pieces, no thicker than 1/4” (1/2 cm), transfer into a medium-size bowl. Add the marinade ingredients. Stir to mix well. Let sit for 10 minutes while preparing other ingredients.
  • Combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Stir to mix well.
  • Bring 1/3 cup of water to a boil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli and cover. Steam until the broccoli just turns tender and the water evaporates, about 40 to 50 seconds. Transfer the broccoli to a plate. Wipe the pan with a paper towel held in a pair of tongs if there’s any water left.
  • Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Spread the chicken in the skillet in a single layer. Allow to cook without touching for 30 seconds, or until the bottom side is browned. Flip to cook the other side for a few seconds. Stir and cook until the surface is lightly charred and the inside is still pink.
  • Add the garlic and ginger. Stir a few times to release the flavor and fragrance.
  • Return the broccoli to the pan. Stir the sauce again to dissolve the cornstarch completely and pour it into the skillet. Cook and stir until the sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Transfer everything to a plate immediately.
  • Serve hot with steamed rice or boiled noodles as a main dish.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 246kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 9.8g | Saturated Fat: 1.2g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 634mg | Potassium: 512mg | Fiber: 0.8g | Sugar: 3.5g | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg
Chicken and Broccoli (Chinese Takeout Style) | An easy chicken and broccoli stir fry recipe that yields juicy chicken and crisp broccoli in a rich brown sauce, just like the one from a Chinese restaurant. {Gluten-Free Adaptable}

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Meet Maggie

Hi I'm Maggie Zhu! Welcome to my site about modern Chinese cooking - including street food, family recipes, and restaurant dishes. I take a less labor-intensive approach while maintaining the taste and look of the dish. I am originally from Beijing, and now cook from my New York kitchen.

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Recipe Rating




23 thoughts on “Chicken and Broccoli (Chinese Takeout Style)

  1. Ken Lam

    4 stars
    Love chicken and broccoli with either brown or light sauce. You should look into a simple induction burner. Far superior to low BTU gas burners. With a good carbon steel pan/wok, you get instant heat. Even a cheap $50 burner really gives you value.

    Reply
  2. Dan Douglas

    5 stars
    Greetings from the Upper Westside. I made the take out chicken and broccoli recipe last night for my wife and her best friend who is a chef. They loved it.
    Two issues:
    1. There is no mention of marinating the chicken in the recipe although you include a Meat and Marinade mixture.
    2. I did manage to marinate half of the chicken anyway in the Meat amd Marinade mixture and cooked that batch in a carbon steel skillet from Madein. Chicken stuck to the pan. I added more stock and it worked out well.
    3. The other unmarinated batch I cooked in a non stick skillet from Misen which turned out beautifully.
    Glady to hear your advice. Going to try more of your recipes.

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Dan, thanks so much for the thorough feedback and so sorry I missed a step when writing the recipe! Just did edit and now it includes the marinating step.
      Re sticking issue: the marinade contains cornstarch and it’s easy to stick to the pan. I would always use more oil if cooking with a carbon steel pan to prevent from sticking. Or it’s a good idea to cook them in nonstick pan if you prefer to use less oil. The marinade does help to keep the meat tender and flavorful, so I always recommend it.

      Reply
    1. Pamela

      My family loved this recipe ! It was so easy to make, tasted just like takeout, but much healthier. Will be making it again soon. Thank you!

      Reply
  3. Carolyn

    5 stars
    This was so good but then again so is everything else that I have tried from this website! Marinating the chicken is definitely worth the time. I made double sauce as we like our dishes saucy 🙂
    Definitely a 5 star recipe

    Reply
  4. Lisa

    5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe, the sauce was one of a kind. I used a 1/2 tbps of dark brown sugar instead and it came out so yumm! Glad I found the cooking wine as well. Definitely will make this again!

    Reply
  5. Diane

    5 stars
    We have tried many, many recipes to “recreate” this takeout meal…all others failed, as we could never get the sauce right. This is it!! It was easy and was made gluten-free for my Celiac son and now he can have his favorite “takeout style” safely. Thank you so much for this recipe. We will go to your website for more!

    Reply
  6. Alice Carroll

    It’s interesting to know that the oiliness of this chicken and broccoli recipe depends on the kind on pan it is cooked on. My best friend and I have been planning to look for a nice Chinese place to eat at before the pandemic cancelled that plan entirely. I hope, once the quarantine becomes a bit less stricter, we could at least get some takeout from a Chinese restaurant, eat at the same time, and talk online about what we think of it.

    Reply
  7. Dianna

    5 stars
    Wonderful recipe and from my stove to table in less than 20 minutes….my has a special double burner and cast iron wok ring for Asian cooking but I do not own a wok, just a old large nonstick deep skillet with a glass clad…a hold over from another set of cookware. Happy I did keep it. Thank you so much for the recommendations of sauces, supplies and your videos.. can’t wait to try more recipes.

    Reply
  8. Dianna

    5 stars
    Wonderful recipe and from my stove to table in less than 20 minutes….my stove has a special double burner and cast iron wok ring for Asian cooking but I do not own a wok, just a old large nonstick deep skillet with a glass clad…a hold over from another set of cookware. Happy I did keep it. Thank you so much for the recommendations of sauces, supplies and your videos.. can’t wait to try more recipes.

    Reply
  9. Stephen Gheen

    4 stars
    Served this dish tonight served accompanied by brown rice with excellent results. The chicken is not overcooked, the vegetable retains its independent flavor and provides a contrasting crunchy texture to the chicken and rice. The sauce is a bit sweet for my taste but can be easily controlled by varying the amount of sugar added. This recipe will be added to my list of dishes regularly served. Thank you!

    Reply
  10. barstoolkate

    Made this last night and found it to be the stir fry recipe I’ve longed for my whole life! The brown sauce is as good as from a restaurant and seems like it would be easily adaptable beyond chicken and broccoli.

    Reply
  11. Jeff

    5 stars
    Delicious recipe! Closest I’ve tasted to takeout chicken and broccoli. I was amazed at how great it tasted! I added some water chestnuts with the broccoli step just because I like them. Great recipe— thanks!

    Reply
  12. My

    4 stars
    I happen to be watching the show Lucky Chow and saw your interview. Went to Instagram and those wonderful and appealing pictures of your dishes. I was amazed of the variety of dishes and the simplicity.
    I just cooked the Chicken and Broccoli dish. Stayed true to the sauce and marinade. I used 2 chicken thighs, debone and sliced, added onions, red bell pepper , garlic , ginger and carrots , broccoli,. I normally do not use Shaoxing wine. But now I will.

    FAST, EASY AND DELICIOUS
    Thank you for your Website and your recipes.

    Reply