Stir fry can be one of the easiest and tastiest dishes in your arensal of 30-minute meals; this all-purpose Stir Fry Sauce will also make it healthy! Salty, sweet, and oh-so simple, it’s a perfect alternative to syrupy store-bought sauces. With all-natural all-stars like honey, garlic, and sesame oil, it’s also naturally gluten free, paleo and vegan friendly.
On the seemingly endless list of culinary sauces, condiments and dips where regular ol’ home cooks like you and me need to choose between homemade and store-bought, stir fry sauce should top the list of homemade every time!
There are few reasons not to make this incredibly useful condiment at home: it’s quick, it’s easy, it’s frugal, it’s healthy, and it’s packed with so much flavor. Actually, I can’t think of ANY reason not to make homemade stir fry sauce!
When it comes down to it, making this healthy Stir Fry Sauce is practically as easy as just opening a jar (which is an actual step in the process) and penny for penny, it’s less expensive than certain brands on the shelf anyway. Plus it’s way better for you and way tastier, if I do say so myself.
Frankly, the hardest part of using this sauce is settling on what protein/veggie combo to pour it over. (Psst…start with our healthy chicken stir fry or beef and veggie stir fry if you consume meat, our our cauliflower stir fry or stir fry noodles if you’d prefer to keep it plant-based).
What Makes this Stir Fry Sauce Healthy?
I’m going to go out on a limb and say if you are even the slightest bit health conscious, and you looked closely at the ingredients in most shelf-stable Asian-inspired sauces at the grocery store, you’d shudder as much as you would at the thought of store-bought roux. Between the sugars, starches, and chemical preservatives…well, it ain’t “good” for you.
Our easy, homemade stir fry sauce is…
- Simple: seven real, whole “clean” ingredients go into our all-purpose stir fry sauce recipe. They’re whole foods that you can easily source and pronounce, with absolutely no added preservatives or fillers.
- Refined Sugar Free: white sugar can be found in so many bottled sauces, dressings, and condiments! I certainly do not avoid sugar, but I do try to reduce my family’s consumption of it. Our recipes uses honey (or agave or maple syrup) for that kick of sweetness found in every great stir fry sauce.
- Soy Free and Gluten Free: if you’re allergic to soy, have a gluten allergy or intolerance, or simply prefer not to consume either, store-bought sauces are a challenge. Our stir-fry sauce relies on coconut aminos to reduce or eliminate potential allergens. (Note: if you’re allergic to coconut, soy sauce or gluten-free tamari can absolutely be substituted with terrific results!).
- Frugal: frugal doesn’t always mean healthy, but it does in this case. Ounce for ounce, homemade stir fry sauce is a definite bargain, and if you keep a well-stocked pantry, you probably have most or all of the ingredients on-hand.
Healthy Stir Fry Sauce Ingredients
- Coconut aminos: feel free to substitute regular aminos, soy sauce or gluten-free tamari, but be mindful of any other added salt in your stir fry recipe.
- Rice Vinegar: unseasoned rice vinegar; it has a sweet and mild flavor and just the right hit of tang.
- Orange Juice: a little goes a long way toward adding an acidic tang to the sauce. If you’re not an OJ-drinking household, the juice of one orange is plenty (you only need two tablespoons). Plus, fresh orange juice is so flavorful and guaranteed to be refined sugar free.
- Honey: nature’s favorite sweetener, and mine. Use agave nectar or maple syrup for a vegan version.
- Cornstarch: cornstarch will thicken once heated; use arrowroot to thicken if you’re keeping it paleo.
- Sesame Oil: toasty and flavorful – definitely worth getting if you don’t already have it.
- Garlic: fresh, finely minced garlic add peppery flavor.
Optional Stir Fry Sauce Ingredients
- Fresh Ginger: adds a peppery, earthy zest to the sauce; start with one teaspoon.
- Red Pepper Flakes: or 1-2 teaspoons of chili paste for a spicy sauce
How to Make Stir Fry Sauce
I don’t say this often – so believe me when I say – this Stir Fry Sauce is a winner every time. It’s delicious; it’s simple; it’s healthy; it’s quick; it’s gluten-free; it’s vegan; it’s kid-friendly; it’s got a Ph.D. in neuro-science. Give this sauce more boxes, and it will check them. I cannot overstate how reliable and handy this healthy stir fry sauce is. And the added bonus? It goes with just about any meat and/or vegetables you can think of (or even just the ones you have in your freezer).
There are no big tricks or gimmicks here and zero special tools required.
- Combine all ingredients in a lidded glass jar or 1-cup measuring cup.
- Shake or whisk to blend.
- Store stir fry sauce in the fridge for up to a week; whisk just before pouring into your stir fry to reincorporate the cornstarch that has settled to the bottom of the jar.
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- Be sure the garlic is finely minced for best texture; grate for a microplane or mash if you’d like a very fine texture.
- If adding fresh ginger, grate with a microplane, again for best texture.
- Because our stir fry sauce isn’t made with fillers like broth, stock, or water, the flavor is very rich – but it also won’t look like enough sauce (as written, this recipe yields about ⅔ cup of stir fry sauce). It’s plenty to coat a stir fry recipe of about one pound of protein with one pound of fresh vegetables. If you like your stir fry extra saucy, scale up the recipe by 1.5-2x the ingredient amounts listed.
How to Store Stir Fry Sauce
If you’re making ahead, store in a lidded jar in the fridge for a week, but you can probably eke out 10 days. This recipe will yield enough for one meal (or four servings) so you shouldn’t need to worry about leftovers.
If you’re making a large batch, stir fry sauce can be frozen. We like to freeze in large silicone trays or in freezer bags, which can lay flat.
As prepared, this sauce is tangy, tart, and on the very slightly sweet side. It’s terrific as a base for customization, and because it isn’t spicy, my kids LOVE it! The flavor is intense, since it’s not watered down with chicken broth, while coconut aminos keeps in on the less salty side.
- Make it Vegan: use maple syrup or agave nectar in place of honey. It’s terrific with stir fry noodles or tofu in place of chicken or beef.
- Make it Paleo and/or Grain Free: be sure to use arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch.
- Make it Spicy: for a kick in all directions, add 1-2 teaspoons of chili paste plus 1-2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
How to Make A Simple Stir Fry
Coming in around ⅔ cup of sauce, the recipe yields enough to stir fry approximately 1 pound of protein with 1 pound of vegetables. For a vegan or vegetarian meal, plan on ½ pound of noodles and a pound of vegetables. To make a simple stir fry meal, follow these basic steps:
- Stir fry thinly sliced beef, peeled and deveined shrimp, or one-inch pieces of diced chicken, pork, or tofu in your choice of fat until just barely cooked to your liking (remove 1-2 minutes before fully cooked so the protein doesn’t overcook later). Remove the protein with a slotted spoon and set aside. Alternatively, boil half a pound of stir fry noodles (we like udon) according to package directions.
- Stir fry the vegetables until cooked to your liking in your fat of choice. We stir fry vegetables in batches, cooking heartier vegetables like carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, and asparagus first for 3 minutes, then adding softer vegetables like bell peppers, cabbage, and snow peas and cooking for 3 minutes longer along with the heartier vegetables.
- Pour in the stir fry sauce, return the protein (and/or noodles) to the wok or skillet, give everything a good toss.
- Simmer 2-3 minutes more until the sauce thickens the vegetables are cooked through.
- Garnish as desired (sesame seeds, green onions, chopped cashews or peanuts, cilantro) and enjoy!
Try one of our tested and perfected recipes:
- Healthy Chicken Stir Fry
- Mostly Veggie Steak Stir Fry
- Favorite Stir Fry Noodles
- Cauliflower Stir Fry with Shiitake Mushrooms
Did you make this Healthy Stir Fry Sauce? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
5-Minute Healthy Stir Fry SaucePrint Recipe Rate this Recipe Pin Recipe
- Small Lidded Jar
- ¼ c coconut aminos, or gluten-free tamari or soy sauce
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp cornstarch, or arrowroot powder
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Combine all ingredients in a lidded jar or glass measuring cup. Shake or whisk until well combined.
- Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 1 week.