All-Purpose Stir Fry Sauce

By Ann Fulton

This flavor-packed, prep-ahead sauce can be paired with an endless variety of proteins and vegetables-and every single ingredient is a pantry staple!
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Mix a big batch of this flavorful sauce for quick and easy skillet meals that rival your Asian takeout favorites. Every single ingredient is a pantry staple and can be paired with a seemingly endless variety of proteins and vegetables.





I have no good answer as to why I have never before shared this recipe! I’ve made it countless times over the years. As popular as it is in our house, I almost always double the batch for extra-easy meals in the coming week or two.

Conveniently, every single ingredient is a pantry staple, and the flavor-packed sauce they form can be paired with a seemingly endless variety of proteins and vegetables. Adding to its inherent flexibility, you may use however much sauce and stir fry ingredients are needed, making this meal perfectly suited to one person or many.

Leftovers, when they occur, are a treat, and my husband and kids are always eager to claim them for a quick lunch.

I’ve actually shared the sauce recipe with a handful of friends and readers over the years, and the feedback is consistently glowing. Many have sent photos of the stir fry they created, and I love how every single one looks different. That’s the sort of recipe this is.

Everyone here enjoys broccoli, onions and red bell peppers, so I regularly include those vegetables in our stir fries. Mushrooms are popular with three out of four of  us, so they make frequent appearances, too.

The “kitchen sink” reference came to be because I often add miscellaneous odd and ends from the crisper drawer: a random carrot or stalk of celery, a thinly sliced wedge of leftover cabbage or handful of hearty greens, and so on. That said, cauliflower, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts are all fair game, too.

Recently I enhanced a bag of frozen stir fry vegetables with a smattering of fresh veggies. It’s a worthy option for those who don’t like to chop! Frozen peas or edamame and canned (and drained) water chestnuts offer a few more worthy choices.

Proteins can be mixed and matched as well. Chicken is a go-to here, but just the other night I used half a bag of frozen and thawed shrimp (peeled but uncooked), and that was a hit. On occasion I use sliced flank steak, although vegetarians could reach for tofu or one of the increasingly popular plant-based meat alternatives.

My hope is that you will now try this versatile recipe and find it worthy of making as many times as I have!


This flavor-packed, prep-ahead sauce can be paired with an endless variety of proteins and vegetables-and every single ingredient is a pantry staple! 

Asian flavors appeal to so many, and making them at home is a healthier way to enjoy what is often a deceptively sodium- and fat-laden meal. Plus you can ratchet up the veggies, use everything you enjoy (or need to clear out of your crisper drawer), and vary the proteins based on what suits your mood or is stashed in your freezer. This recipe is easy to make vegetarian or vegan as well.

If you are serving the stir-fry over rice, you may wish to use more sauce to have plenty of extra to flavor the rice. Feel free to eyeball according to preference.

I posted this picture on my Instagram page the other week with a question as to what type of recipes you’d like to see more of in the coming weeks. As always, feel free to comment or message me with requests!


Some last thoughts

  • On the scale of spiciness, the 1 tablespoon of sriracha called for in this recipe is similar to a medium salsa. It has some kick but isn’t too fiery. If not sure, you may start with 1½ to 2 teaspoons for flavor without the kick.
  • If you try this sauce and like it, feel free to double the recipe for use over the next two weeks. (I recently let a batch sit for three weeks and it was just fine.)
  • I mention vegetarian options, but to accommodate vegans as well, use agave or a sweetener of choice in place of the honey.
  • typically use low sodium soy sauce or tamari, but I once tested the recipe with regular soy sauce. I was worried it would be too salty, but everyone loved it. Beware of this option, however, if sensitive to salt or watching sodium levels.
  • Rice is traditionally paired with stir fries, but rice noodles and alternatives such as black bean noodles or even black quinoa pair well, too. Optionally, the stir fry may absolutely be served on its own.


All-Purpose Stir Fry Sauce
Yield: 1+ cup
This flavor-packed, prep-ahead sauce can be paired with an endless variety of proteins and vegetables-and every single ingredient is a pantry staple! 
  • ½ cup (120ml) low-sodium chicken broth (I’ve also used vegetable broth)
  • ½ cup (120ml) low-sodium soy sauce or tamari (use gluten-free if needed)
  • 1 tablespoon (20g) honey
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) sriracha (more or less to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon each ground ginger and garlic powder (could substitute 1 teaspoon each freshly minced)
  • 1½ tablespoons cornstarch (may substitute arrowroot powder)

Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl or jar, whisking in the cornstarch last. The sauce may be covered and refrigerated for approximately two weeks. The cornstarch will settle, so just stir well before using.

To make a stir fry: when ready to use, stir-fry approximately 4 cups of your favorite veggies over medium to medium-high heat in about 2 teaspoons of oil in a wok or 12- to 14-inch nonstick skillet. You’ll want to slice the vegetables into bite-size pieces and start with the veggies that take longest to cook. (I like to cook mushrooms, carrots, and broccoli a little longer than asparagus, snap peas, and bell pepper. When in doubt, cook separately and remove to a plate when cooked to your liking.)

Once the veggies are done, remove them all to a plate, add 2 more teaspoons of oil, and stir fry one pound of protein—shrimp, chopped chicken, sliced steak, tofu, etc.—until just barely cooked. Return the veggies to the skillet, and give the sauce a quick stir before pouring ½ to ⅔ of the sauce over top. Stir to incorporate, and continue to cook another minute or two to thicken the sauce. Sprinkle with sliced green onions, sesame seeds, chopped peanuts, cashews, etc., and serve over rice if desired.



If you are serving the stir fry over rice, you may wish to go heavier on the sauce in order to have extra to flavor the rice. Feel free to eyeball according to preference.

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  1. Colleen

    Very flexible and forgiving sauce! I have made this with and without the ginger ( better with), subbed agave for the honey (jury’s out on that one), used EVOO, even chicken bouillon for the chicken broth. Just worked with what I had on hand, but stuck with the recipe proportions. I know I missed out on some depth of flavors, but it is still good!

    1. Ann Post author

      Thank you for the wonderful feedback, Colleen! I’m thrilled the stir fry sauce has served you well and has adapted to the ingredients you’ve had on hand.

  2. Mary McGovern

    I’m a first timer to one of your recipes, Ann, and your stir fry recipe was delicious! I used shrimp as the protein and broccoli, carrots, mushrooms and water chestnuts for the veggies. Served it with leftover rice pilaf and it was a big hit with my husband. I have the leftover sauce waiting in the fridge to be used again! Thank you, Ann!

    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Mary, I’m delighted you tried one of my recipes and that it was a success. The combination you put together sounds wonderful, and I so appreciate your comment!

  3. Jean Husson

    This is great. I will try it this week. Suspect it could be frozen if need be.

    Going forward I’d love to see some lentil recipes since that is what I panic bought. Got 4 kinds ready to go. That said, some low carb ones would be useful to get back to healthier options.

    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Jean, I haven’t frozen the stir fry sauce although, as I mention, I have stretched the refrigerator life beyond the two weeks I recommend in the recipe with no adverse effects. Also, I appreciate your suggestion regarding the lentil recipes. I do have several already on the blog but will think about some new options. They certainly are a great pantry staple, and there are so many ways to enjoy them!

  4. Gina Plain

    Was planning a stir fry this week and was going to try to find a good sauce recipe. How timely! Can’t wait to try. You’ve never steered me wrong!

  5. Mary Lou Keller

    oooh this looks really good! I have everything I think to make this PLUS I bought a bag of stir fry veggies last week so I need to use them along with chicken I have in the fridge.
    This will be dinner for tonight. Thanks Ann!!

    1. Ann Post author

      Don’t you love it when that happens, Mary Lou? I’m delighted this appeared at just the right time for an easy (and hopefully well liked!) dinner tonight.