Quick and Easy Chinese Chicken With Oyster Sauce

Chicken in oyster sauce recipe in a bowl

The Spruce

  • Total: 23 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 8 mins
  • Marinate: 10 mins
  • Servings: 4 servings
  • Yields: 4 to 5 cups
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
309 Calories
17g Fat
16g Carbs
24g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 309
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 21%
Saturated Fat 3g 17%
Cholesterol 63mg 21%
Sodium 867mg 38%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Protein 24g
Calcium 67mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Chinese restaurants are known for their ability to turn out a high volume of dishes in a noticeably short time. The secret is stir-frying, a speedy cooking method that tosses bite-sized pieces of meat and vegetables in hot oil over a wok or skillet. You can use the same technique at home to replicate Chinese takeout or get a work-night dinner on the table in a hurry. This recipe for Chinese chicken with oyster sauce delivers the dish—without you needing to call for takeout. (Speaking of takeout, you might want to make up a pot of white rice with this, too.)

Prepared oyster sauce, available at most grocery stores, adds the essence of oysters to this dish and the signature flavor associated with a number of Chinese dishes. Oyster sauce is a condiment comprised of oyster juices, salt, sugar; some versions include soy sauce thickened with cornstarch. The finished flavor of a recipe with oyster sauce—combined with all of the other ingredients—becomes more savory in taste than explicitly fishy.

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Click Play to See This Easy Chinese Chicken With Oyster Sauce Recipe Come Together

Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken (boneless breasts or thighs, chopped into bite-sized pieces)
  • For the Marinade:
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sherry (dry)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • For the Stir-Fry:
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil (divided)
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger (minced)
  • 2 green onions (sliced on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces)
  • 3 to 4 dried Chinese mushrooms (softened in warm water and sliced)
  • 1 can bamboo shoots (or 1 can baby corn, drained)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for chicken in oyster sauce
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  2. Combine the soy sauce, rice wine, and sesame oil in a large bowl.

    Combine marinade ingredients
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  3. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Sprinkle the cornstarch evenly across the meat and toss again.

    Add the chicken to the soy sauce, rice wine, and sesame oil, along with cornstarch
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  4. Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes.

  5. While the chicken marinates, dissolve the cornstarch in the water, then mix it with the water, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, sherry, sugar, and sesame oil.

    Mix together the cornstarch, water, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, sherry, sugar, and sesame oil.
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  6. Heat a wok or deep heavy skillet on high and add 1 tablespoon canola oil. When the oil shimmers, add the garlic, ginger, and green onion and stir-fry for about 1 minute or until fragrant and just starting to brown.

    Stir-fry the garlic, ginger, and green onions
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  7. Transfer the ginger, garlic, and onions with a slotted spoon to a small bowl.

    Ginger, garlic, and onions in a small bowl next to the wok
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  8. Remove the chicken from the fridge and stir-fry, stirring frequently, until it changes color, about 3 to 4 minutes.

    Chicken in the wok
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  9. Remove the chicken from the wok and discard the unused marinade.

    Chicken in a small bowl removed from the wok
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  10. Add the remaining oil and return the garlic, ginger, and green onion to the wok. Add the mushrooms and bamboo shoots (or baby corn) and stir-fry for 1 minute.

    Bamboo shoots, mushroom, green onions, garlic, and ginger in a wok
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  11. Return the chicken to the wok.

    Chicken added to the wok with veggies, garlic, and ginger.
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  12. Make a well in the middle and add the sauce, giving it a quick stir before combining it with the chicken and vegetables.

    Oyster sauce in the middle of the wok surrounded by chicken and vegetables
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  13. Stir-fry for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, or until the sauce thickens and coats all of the ingredients. Serve and enjoy!

    Chicken in oyster sauce finished recipe
    The Spruce

What's the Difference Between Oyster Sauce and Hoisin Sauce?

Oyster sauce is made from oyster juices, salt, sugar, soy sauce, and sometimes it's thickened with cornstarch. It's dark and thick like hoisin sauce, which is used as a glaze for meats, a dipping sauce and, like oyster sauce, in stir-fries. Hoisin sauce, however, is typically made from soybeans, fennel, red chili peppers, and garlic. It's decidedly sweeter than oyster sauce. Both are used regularly in Chinese cuisine to enhance the savory flavors in a dish.

Tip

  • Good prep is the key to executing a stir-fry dish because everything cooks quickly over high heat. Have all of your ingredients at the ready when it's time to cook and your dish will taste fresher and more vibrant as a result.
  • Try not to add too many things to the wok all at once. If you do, it will cool down your wok and your food will simmer or steam rather than fry. One of the tricks to stir-frying is to cook the ingredients in batches.

How to Store and Keep Chinese Chicken With Oyster Sauce

Leftovers will keep for 3 to 5 days if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat over low heat on the stovetop or in the microwave for a couple of minutes until warmed through.

Recipe Variations

  • For a spicier dish, add a dash of crushed red pepper flakes or hot sauce, to taste.
  • For additional color and flavor, add strips of red bell pepper along with the green onion.
  • Add about 1/2 cup of snow peas along with the mushrooms and bamboo shoots or baby corn.