Why it’s so good!
A classic Chinese takeout, my take on chicken in oyster sauce is chunks of juicy chicken thighs and tender vegetables cooked in a flavourful sauce. It’s incredibly delicious and so quick and easy to make too – ready in 30 minutes!
The chicken and vegetables are bathed in a delectable, umami-packed sauce – think oyster sauce, garlic and soy sauce – and the spring onions add a satisfying crisp oniony crunch. It tastes amazing and is so effortless to make; this restaurant quality dish, made in the comfort of your own home, will become a family favourite.
When you need an easy comforting dinner on those busy weeknights, this oyster sauce chicken has you covered.
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Ingredients you’ll need
Jump to the recipe for full ingredients and instructions.
Chicken thighs: Boneless skinless chicken thighs will give the best flavour and texture but you can certainly replace them with chicken breast.
Vegetables: The veggies portion of this amazing oyster chicken stirfry is made up of red capsicum (aka red bell pepper) and spring onions (aka scallions or green onions). You can swap the capsicum for other colours, you could add broccoli in it’s place (in small florets) and even add mushrooms. Snow peas and baby corn are also really delicious in this dish.
Ginger: Fresh ginger, cut into thin matchsticks, adds a lovely zing to every bite. If you don’t like obvious pieces of ginger, you can use ginger paste in it’s place.
Garlic: Fresh garlic cloves are best in this dish but from a jar will work in a bind. I wouldn’t use garlic powder though.
Oyster sauce: The main component of the sauce is oyster sauce. It’s loaded with umami and adds salt too. It is actually made from boiled oysters but it tastes way better than that sounds.
Soy sauce: There are two types of soy sauce in this oyster chicken – light soy sauce and dark soy sauce. The light soy is there mainly for seasoning while the dark soy has a more intense flavour and adds colour. Dark soy is slightly thicker and very slightly sweeter than light soy sauce. If you don’t have it or can’t get it, just use light soy in it’s place and add just a pinch of sugar to the sauce too.
Sesame oil: Use for it’s nutty flavour, it adds depth to this stir fry recipe too.
How to make chicken in oyster sauce
Oyster sauce chicken is extremely quick to cook so make sure you have all of your ingredients ready before you begin.
Jump to the recipe for full ingredients and instructions.
1. Combine the sauce ingredients
In a small bowl or a jug, whisk together the sauce ingredients and set aside.
2. Season the chicken
Add the chicken, a little cornflour and a tablespoon of the stir fry sauce to a bowl and give it a good mix. This doesn’t need to marinate but you can marinate for an hour or so if you like.
3. Cook the chicken
Heat some oil in a wok or a large skillet then add the chicken to the hot oil. Let it cook on one side until a little caramelised, then turn it and cook on the other side. You can just stir fry it but that caramelisation adds amazing flavour. Set the chicken aside – it does not need to be fully cooked through.
4. Cook the veggies
Add the capsicum and the pale parts of the spring onions to the pan, along with the ginger and garlic and stir fry for a couple of minutes.
5. Add the sauce
Add the sauce to the pan and just bring it to a boil. Continue stirring it often.
6. Add the chicken back
Add the chicken and any juices it’s released back to the wok and bring it back to a boil, cooking for 3 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked through.
7. Add the spring onion
Finally, add the dark green parts of the spring onion and just cook for 1 minute.
All done! Stir fries like this chicken in oyster sauce are so quick and easy to make. This one is so flavourful and perfect served with just some steamed rice.
Tips and tricks
- Mise en place is a French term meaning to “set up”. In cooking it refers to having all your ingredients ready to go before you start and that’s so important when cooking stir fries. A stir fry moves quickly and you risk overcooking ingredients if you’re prepping ingredients while the cooking happens. As the name suggests, you need to keep stirring too, maybe not constantly but definitely regularly, so you won’t have a chance to prep at the same time.
- Don’t overcook the chicken: The chicken does not need to be cooked through before you set it aside. If it is, it will likely overcook by the time the oyster chicken is complete. You just want to get a little caramelisation and sear it all over. If you do happen to cook it through in that first stage, just add it back for the last minute or so to make sure it’s heated through and well coated in sauce.
- Don’t overcook the veggies: Likewise, don’t overcook the vegetables. You want them to be tender with just a little bite to them still, not mushy.
- Pork or beef also taste great in this recipe, in place of the chicken.
If you have leftovers, lucky you because it reheats beautifully. Just keep it stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. It also freezes well, so why not make up a double batch and have some ready to go in the freezer for an even quicker weeknight meal.
Is oyster sauce made from oysters? Yes, it is. Oysters are simmered until the liquid turns thick and viscous.
Despite being made from oysters, oyster sauce does not taste fishy at all. It has a umami-rich, savoury flavour with a slight sweetness.
Did you try this oyster sauce chicken recipe? Show it some love in the comments below.
- 500 g boneless skinless chicken thighs (1.1lb)
- 2 teaspoons cornflour (cornstarch)
- 4 spring onions (green onions/scallions)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (notes 1)
- 1 large red capsicum (bell pepper). sliced into strips
- 1 inch fresh ginger, sliced into matchsticks or finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided
- In a small bowl, combine the sauce ingredients. Start by mixing the 2 teaspoons of cornflour with the water, then add the rest of the sauce ingredients and mix well. Set aside.
- Cut the chicken into small bite size pieces then toss with the remaining 2 teaspoons cornflour and 1 tablespoon of the sauce mixture in a large bowl.
- Cut the white and pale green parts of the spring onions into 1 ½ inch batons. Now slice up the darker green parts the same size but cut them in half or quarters through the length and set aside separately to the rest.
- Add half the oil to wok or large pan over medium high heat. Add the chicken and let it sear for 2-3 minutes until turning golden and caramelised underneath. Flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Set the chicken aside.
- Add the remaining oil, pale parts of the spring onions, capsicum, garlic and ginger. Stir fry for 1 minute.
- Add the sauce, mix well and bring to a boil.
- Add back the chicken along with any juices and bring back to the boil. Cook for 3 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked through. If you’d like a thinner sauce, add a dash of water.
- Finally, add the green parts of the spring onions and cook for one more minute.
- Please take a moment to leave a comment & rating. It's appreciated and so helpful.
- Tablespoons: I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (equal to 4 teaspoons). Check yours before measuring.
- Cornflour/cornstarch: Called different things in different parts of the world, you are after the fine white powdery starch that is used for thickening sauces.
- Dark soy: If you don’t have or can’t get dark soy sauce, use regular soy sauce plus a good pinch of brown sugar instead.
- Ginger: You can use 1 tablespoon of ginger paste in place of the fresh ginger. If you don’t like obvious ginger matchsticks, just chop it finer, finely grate it or use the ginger paste instead.
- Nutrition details are approximate only – scroll below the recipe to find the full nutritional information.
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