Simple Chicken and Green Bean Stir Fry

Chicken and green bean stir fry is all about tender chicken with blistered fresh green beans, wrapped in a bold and delicious homemade stir fry sauce.

The whole family will enjoy this simple and healthy weeknight dinner. So move over Chinese food take out. We're upping our game.

chicken and green bean stir fry in skillet with sesame seeds

Basic steps

  1. Prep the beans and chicken.
  2. Stir fry the chicken (and while it's cooking, stir the sauce together)
  3. Stir fry the green beans
  4. Toss together the beans, chicken and sauce in the pan

Healthier than a restaurant version

Most Chinese restaurants deep fry the beans and chicken to speed up the cooking process. We are sautéing the beans with high heat and very little oil which blisters the beans and maintains some crispness. We are also using just a bit of mayonnaise to sauté the chicken instead of deep frying it.

What you will need for this recipe

Chicken - I prefer to use boneless chicken thighs as they are more flavorful and juicy and less likely to dry out. But boneless skinless chicken breast or tenders work very well too.

Green Beans - We're using string beans, the most common ones you'll find at the market or grocery store.

Shaoxing wine, a Chinese rice wine, can be found in an Asian market and even some mainstream grocery stores. It's excellent in this dish if you can snag it. If you can't, don't worry, there are substitutes.

The remaining ingredients for the sauce - garlic, ginger, soy sauce, red pepper flakes and brown sugar - are things you likely have in your pantry or fridge.

Tips

Chicken

  • Slice chicken breasts across (perpendicular to) the grain of the meat for more tender, less stringy chicken.
  • Cut chicken fairly thin so that it cooks more quickly. Just be cautious not to overcook it or it will become dry.
  • Sauté the chicken with a thin coating of mayonnaise and sesame oil for great flavor and moistness. You won't taste the mayo at all.

Best pan to use

  • I prefer a large nonstick skillet for the chicken bean stir fry as you only need a dash of oil and it's easier for clean up. A wok or a cast iron skillet will work well too and, in fact, better for browning the chicken.

Sauce tips

  • Double the sauce if you like to have extra to soak into the rice.

Step by step instructions

green beans, chicken boneless thighs in bowl, marinade ingredients in small dishes
Gather ingredients: fresh green beans, boneless chicken, sauce (brown sugar, red pepper flakes, sesame oil, soy, Shaoxing wine, garlic, salt, ginger, cornstarch) - plus oil and a little mayonnaise for chicken
bite size chicken pieces sauteing in skillet
Cut chicken into bite size pieces. Coat with mayonnaise and sesame oil. Stir fry in a large skillet on medium-high heat until lightly browned and cooked through.
cooked browned chicken in white bowl
Set cooked chicken aside.
green beans and red pepper in skillet
Stir fry green beans and optional red peppers.
chicken and green bean stir fry in skillet with sesame seeds
Add sauce and chicken. Stir to coat chicken and beans. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.
chicken and green bean stir fry on plate over quinoa with sesame seeds
Serve over white rice, brown rice or quinoa.
chicken and green bean stir fry in skillet with sesame seeds p

Tailor To Your Taste

  • Flavor: Add a tablespoon of oyster sauce or bottled black bean sauce for more depth of flavor if you like.
  • Vegetable options: Add green onions, red peppers or sliced onions when sautéing the beans.
  • Substitutes
    • Shaoxing wine: Replace with regular dry sherry or anything called "rice cooking wine". Mirin (a sweeter Japanese rice wine) or even apple cider vinegar with a bit of sugar can be used in a pinch. Note: rice vinegar is not the same thing.
    • Green beans: I know this recipe is a green beans stir fry, but you can skip the beans if you don't like or have them. Try mushrooms, bok choy, celery, peppers and onions instead. Or other veggies from your fridge.
  • Double the sauce if you like it to soak into the rice.

Shortcuts

  • Buy green beans already trimmed and washed.
  • Chicken
    • Buy chicken tenders or boneless chicken breasts that have already been thinly sliced by the butcher or grocery store. Less cutting and trimming off fat.
    • I actually grill boneless chicken thighs for a few minutes per side, then cut them into bite size pieces. I find it quicker than stir frying which sometimes needs two batches if the pan is not large enough.
  • Use two pans: You can cut some time by stir frying the chicken and beans in two separate pans at the same time. But you have to wash two pans 🙁
  • Use ginger and garlic already minced (in frozen cubes or jar) instead of fresh ginger and garlic. Although fresh is best!

Make Ahead

  • All the meal prep (sauce, beans, chicken) can be done a few hours or a day ahead. Keep the chicken in the fridge, covered.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. I love the chicken and green bean stir fry cold! 

FAQ

What is the difference between dark soy sauce and light soy sauce?

Here's an excellent article on the differences of various soy sauces and when to use them by Recipe TinEats. In a nutshell, dark soy sauce is darker, thicker, sweeter and more flavorful. And yes, it contains more salt. For this recipe, I use low sodium soy sauce because that's what I buy. If you have both, use half and half.

What is Shaoxing wine?

Shaoxing wine is an essential pantry ingredient in Chinese cooking and restaurants. It's a type of Chinese rice wine that adds that authentic flavor to Chinese dishes. It is darker than clear rice cooking wine and has a deeper flavor. And not the same as rice vinegar. Better substitutes are dry sherry or another rice cooking wine with a pinch of sugar.

What to serve with this green bean chicken stir fry

Serve it over white rice, brown rice, rice noodles or quinoa. You don't really need any other side dishes unless you want to stretch the meal with a side salad or a refreshing Thai mango salad.

Other Chinese-style dishes to try

Or you might be interested in other delicious meals under 400 calories.

Recipe

chicken and green bean stir fry in skillet with sesame seeds
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4.80 from 5 votes

Simple Chicken and Green Bean Stir Fry

Chicken and green bean stir fry is all about tender chicken and blistered green beans, wrapped in a bold and delicious homemade stir fry sauce.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese-style
Servings: 3
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ pounds boneless skinless chicken, thighs or breast
  • 12 ounces fresh green beans, washed and ends trimmed (¾ pound/340 kg/4 cups)
  • ½ red pepper, cored and thinly sliced Optional
  • 1 ½ tablespoons mayonnaise, Note 1 light is fine
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil for pan frying beans
  • Garnish: 2-3 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds.

Stir Fry Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce, Note 2
  • 3 tablespoons Shaoxing wine, Note 3 (or less to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (or maple syrup)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves) (or more to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • ¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes for medium heat
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch

Instructions

  • PREPARE CHICKEN: If using whole boneless chicken breast, cut it thinly across (perpendicular to) the grain of the meat to avoid stringy chicken. For tenders, cut in thirds. For boneless thighs, trim excess fat and cut into small bite size pieces.
    In a medium bowl, add chicken, mayonnaise, sesame oil and salt. Mix to coat evenly. Note 3.
  • STIR FRY CHICKEN: Heat nonstick skillet or cast iron pan to medium-high heat. Add coated chicken in a single layer and sauté for 2-3 minutes undisturbed. Turn chicken and cook another 2 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned. Don't overcook the chicken or it can get dry. Set aside in a bowl.
  • MAKE SAUCE: While chicken is cooking, mix all sauce ingredients in a small bowl or cup.
  • STIR FRY GREEN BEANS: Wipe pan with a paper towels or scrape off crusty bits with a plastic utensil. Add a teaspoon oil. Still on medium-high heat, sauté beans for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until blistered (charred) and tender crisp. If using red peppers or green onions, add them halfway through.
  • COMBINE AND SERVE: Lower heat to medium heat and add sauce and cooked chicken. Stir well to combine and heat through, about 1 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Sprinkle on sesame seeds and serve over rice or quinoa.

Notes

  1. MayonnaiseA light coating will prevent sticking, add flavor and help prevent dryness when cooking the chicken. You will not taste the mayonnaise at all when cooked. 
  2. Soy sauce: If you have dark soy sauce, use 1 tablespoon dark soy and 2 tablespoons regular or low sodium. This will give the dish lovely color and more depth. If you don't have any, use whatever soy sauce you have. 
  3. Shaoxing wine substitute: Use regular dry sherry or anything called "cooking rice wine" with a pinch of sugar. Mirin (a sweeter Japanese rice wine) or even apple cider vinegar with a pinch of sugar can be used if needed. Rice vinegar is not a great substitute
  4. Chicken cooking method: Instead of stir frying the boneless chicken, you can leave the pieces whole, coat with the mayo and sesame oil, then grill until just cooked, about 6-7 minutes total. Rest for a few minutes and cut into pieces. I find grilling quicker than stir frying if the size of the pan requires cooking the chicken in two batches. Another option is to use separate pans for the chicken and beans and cook them at the same time. 
  5. Variations
    • Flavor: Add a tablespoon of oyster sauce or bottled black bean sauce for more depth of flavor if you like.
    • Vegetable options:
      • Add green onions, red peppers or sliced onions when sautéing the beans. 
      • Green beans substitute: If you don't like or have green beans, try mushrooms, bok choy, celery, peppers and/or onions instead. Or other veggies from your fridge.
  6. Make Ahead
    • All the prep (sauce, beans, chicken) can be done a few hours or a day ahead. Keep the chicken in the fridge, covered.
    • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. I love chicken and green bean stir fry cold! 
 
Nutritional information is estimated based on white meat chicken breasts, low sodium soy sauce and sesame seed garnish. Optional red peppers are not included. 

Nutrition

Calories: 364kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 122mg | Sodium: 1645mg | Potassium: 1036mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 993IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 2mg
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