Chicken Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce is a perfect easy weeknight dinner! You'll also find variations and meal prep instructions below!
Stir fry is pretty much the perfect weeknight dinner. Generally veggie and protein-packed, it's a nutritious evening meal. Plus, it comes together so quickly!
One of my favorite things about stir fry is just how versatile it is though. You can use virtually any protein and veggies you like. Serve over rice, noodles, cauli rice, quinoa, etc. As long as you have an excellent sauce to pull it all together, it's probably going to be pretty delicious.
And, oh, this sauce! What is it about peanut sauce that's so addictively good? It's just so savory, perfectly salty and has just a touch of sweetness and spice (optional). All of these flavors come together for a pretty incredible sauce, if I do say so myself.
Oh, and the stir fry itself is pretty great too 🙂 I use chicken here but feel free to mix up the protein. Shrimp, thinly sliced beef or pork or even tofu would all be excellent. Similarly, you can use whatever veggies you have on-hand. I use red pepper, mushrooms and carrots here. Broccoli, snow peas or sugar snap peas, or green beans would also be delicious!
Finally, this stir fry is delicious over ramen noodles but you could also use rice noodles for a gluten free version, or cauli rice if you don't eat grains.
If you make this chicken stir fry with peanut sauce, I'd love to see it! Post a photo and tag me @prepdish on Instagram. And for more stir fry inspiration, check out my Paleo Stir Fry Sauce Recipe and my 3 Quick Stir Fry Recipes.
Chicken Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce
For the Peanut Sauce:
- 1/4 cup tamari (or soy sauce or coconut aminos)
- 1 T sesame oil
- 1 T rice vinegar
- 1/8 cup honey
- 1/2 tsp sriracha*
- 1 T peanut butter*
For the Stir Fry:
- 1 # boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 red pepper
- 8 oz sliced mushrooms
- 2 carrots
- 1 T olive oil
- 8 oz ramen noodles (or rice noodles)
- 1 cup shelled peanuts
For the Peanut Sauce:
- In a medium container combine: 1/4 cup tamari, 1 T sesame oil, 1 T rice vinegar, 1/8 cup honey, 1/2 tsp sriracha & 1 T peanut butter.
For the Stir Fry:
- Slice 1 red bell pepper.
- Cut 2 carrots into matchstick size.
- Cut chicken into bite sized pieces.
- Heat 1 T olive oil in a wok or deep saute pan over medium-high heat.
- Add chicken pieces and cook, stirring, until cooked through 165 F. Remove from pan.
- Add carrots, sliced bell peppers & mushrooms and cook, stirring, for ~5-6 mins or until softened.
- Cook ramen noodles according to package instructions.
- Place chicken back in wok w/ vegetables and stir in peanut sauce.
- Once noodles are cooked & drained, toss w/ stir fry until well coated. Serve w/ peanuts on top.
Stir Fry Tips – How to Make Amazing Stir Fry Every Time!
Once you get the hang of it, stir fry is quite simple but there are a few tips to make it better. Mainly, you want to achieve that perfect texture where everything is cooked the right amount, which can be tricky when you're using lots of different veggies, plus protein.
Here are some of my best stir fry tips to help you achieve amazing results every time:
- Cook the protein separately. You'll see in the recipe above that the chicken cooks before the veggies and you then remove it from the pan. This is to ensure that the meat has a good texture and doesn't get overcooked while you're waiting for the veggies to cook. I know this step can seem annoying but, trust me, it's worth it to wind up with a delicious tasting stir fry!
- Add the sauce at the end. Stir fry is all about cooking the ingredients quickly over fairly high heat. If you add in the sauce too early, everything winds up soggy instead of crisp and nobody wants that! To achieve the perfect texture, add in the sauce in the last couple of minutes of cooking, just long enough for all of the flavors to meld together.
- Take shortcuts! While I do prefer fresh veggies here to frozen, you can use a bag of frozen stir fry veggies in a pinch. What I like to do though is buy pre-chopped veggies to speed up the process. You can buy pre-sliced mushrooms, pre-choped broccoli OR veggies that don't need chopping like snow peas!
What makes this a healthy chicken stir fry recipe?
Stir fry essentially consists of protein + veggies in a tasty sauce. When you use a homemade sauce like the peanut sauce in this recipe, that makes for quite a nutritious meal! Here are some of the nutritional benefits from this recipe:
Peanuts (Copper, Folate, Vitamin E, Manganese, Magnesium)
High in protein, peanuts are legumes rather than actual nuts. They're a great source of folate and vitamin E. Make sure to get peanut butter that contains only peanuts and perhaps a bit of salt to maximize the nutrition.
Chicken (Selenium, Zinc, B Vitamins)
In addition to being packed with protein, chicken is a good source of several vitamins and nutrients. Selenium is beneficial for both your immune system and your thyroid. B vitamins promote a healthy brain and high energy levels. Chicken is also considered a good food for weight loss due to its high protein content and relatively low calories, depending on the cut of chicken.
Bell Peppers (Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Folic Acid, Iron, Potassium, Fiber, Antioxidants)
Bell peppers provide tons of good-for-you vitamins. The combination of iron and vitamin C in bell peppers makes them particularly good for preventing anemia. They're also highly beneficial for eye health.
Want a pro tip? Choose red! Red bell peppers like the ones in this recipe offer even more nutrients and can have 1.5 times as much vitamin C and 11 times as much beta-carotene as green bell peppers.
There are of course many kinds of edible mushrooms but the ones you most commonly find in the grocery store are either white button mushrooms or crimini (baby bella) mushrooms. Mushrooms are an excellent source of the antioxidant selenium as well as B-vitamins, copper and potassium.
Carrots (Vitamin A, Vitamin K1, Potassium, Vitamin B6, Antioxidants)
Both budget and kid-friendly, carrots are full of fiber and vitamins. Carrots also contain carotenoids, an antioxidant. As a result, they’re great for eye health, lowering cholesterol, and reducing cancer risk. Both cooking carrots and eating them alongside a source of fat, like the peanuts in this recipe, can help your body absorb more of the carrots' beta carotene. Beta carotene can then be converted into vitamin A.
Can I turn this into a paleo stir fry recipe?
Yes! Chicken stir fry with peanut sauce is actually quite easy to convert to paleo. Here are the changes you need to make:
- Use cashew butter, almond butter or sunbutter in place of the peanut butter.
- Top stir fry w/ slivered almonds or chopped cashews instead of peanuts.
- Use coconut aminos in place of tamari.
- Serve over cauli rice instead of ramen noodles.
- Omit the sriracha or sub a paleo version like this one from Yellow Bird in Austin. You can also make your own paleo sriracha!
Your final result will taste a bit different, but will still be totally delicious!
Is this a good meal prep chicken recipe?
Yes! Stir fry is perfect for meal prep. Because it cooks so quickly, most of the effort involves chopping the veggies. If you chop the veggies and make the sauce ahead of time, the meal comes together quite quickly.
I want more easy weeknight chicken dinners!
It's easy to get bored with chicken but there really are so many ways to cook it. Chicken is such a versatile ingredient and a great one for quick weeknight meals. Here's a little inspiration for you to level up your weeknight chicken dinners.
Homemade enchilada sauce takes this one to the next level! This is a great one to serve to a group, as everyone can top their bowl with the toppings they love.
Sheet pan meals are the best! This one includes lemon, kalamata olives and artichoke hearts for tons of flavor.
For some major weeknight chicken dinner inspiration, check out my roundup of my favorite ways to use shredded chicken.