This oyster sauce chicken stir fry with snow pea leaves is classic Cantonese home cooking at its finest! Tender velvet chicken is stir-fried with snow pea leaves and woodsy mushrooms in a deeply savory and sweet oyster sauce that’s to die for.

This authentic Chinese oyster chicken stir fry dish is made in every household for good reason. It’s fast, easy, affordable, and loaded with flavor. For another easy oyster sauce stir fry recipe be sure to try my beef with oyster sauce stir fry!

Image shows chicken breast stir fried with oyster sauce with shiitake and snow pea leaves in a red color plate.
Tender chicken breast stir fry with the most delicious oyster chicken sauce


This quick Chinese chicken recipe for oyster sauce chicken is an ideal weeknight dinner option. It’s one of my favorite easy Chinese chicken recipes because it’s fast, affordable, and simple to prepare. The ingredients are accessible, and you probably have everything you need in your pantry already.

Photo shows ingredients and oyster chicken sauce used to make the dish.

For the velveted chicken:

  • Chicken breast: Use boneless and skinless, thinly sliced and velveted/marinated.
  • Soy sauce: Just a touch used for savory umami flavor. You can also sub coconut aminos if you are soy or gluten-free.
  • Tapioca starch: Used for velveting the chicken as well as thickening the sauce. You can also use arrowroot powder, potato starch, or cornstarch if you tolerate it.
  • Baking soda: A touch of baking soda will help tenderize the chicken.
  • Coarse sea salt, olive oil, and avocado oil
  • White pepper: White pepper is more commonly used in Chinese cooking, so it gives an authentic flavor. You can also use black pepper.


  • Garlic cloves: Thinly sliced.
  • Green onion: Sliced diagonally. Separate the green and white parts.
  • Ginger: A small knob, julienne cut.


  • Mushrooms: I use a mix of shiitake, brown beech, white beech, oyster, and/or maitake. You can use any combination or just use Shitake. See our guide on How to prepare dried shitake mushrooms.
  • Snow pea leaves: If you can’t find snow pea leaves, substitute with baby spinach.

For the oyster chicken sauce:

  • Oyster sauce: It’s the flavor essence of the dish so don’t skip it. It adds a deep savory and sweet flavor and it also thickens the sauce slightly. If you use store-bought, my favorite brand is Megachef oyster sauce. It’s gluten-free. See our guide on Chinese pantry staples for more gluten-free choices or try our homemade vegetarian oyster sauce.
  • Soy Sauce: Soy sauce is commonly added to oyster sauce recipes for added umami. I use a mix of light soy sauce and dark soy sauce for maximum flavor and a rich color.
  • Rice vinegar: Just a touch to help brighten the dish.
  • Chicken stock: Or use water.
  • Chinese Shaoxing wine: Or substitute Taiwanese Michu or gluten-free mirin. This optional ingredient adds a splash of authentic flavor.

Substitutions and variations

  • Oyster sauce variety: Lee kum kee premium oyster sauce is a popular choice they have both classic and gluten-free versions, or give my homemade vegan oyster sauce a try. It’s made with dried shiitake mushrooms.
  • Use chicken thighs: Use skinless and boneless chicken, diced into bite-sized pieces. Chicken thighs contain more moisture than chicken breasts. Pat them dry before seasoning and dust them with a bit more starch to soak up the moisture.
  • Coconut aminos: If allergic to soy, Use a 1:1 ratio to substitute coconut aminos for dark soy sauce, and use 1.5 to twice the amount of coconut aminos to substitute for light soy sauce. Increase the starch quantity to thicken the chicken oyster sauce.
  • Other vegetables: Diced red bell pepper, broccoli florets, snow peas, or bamboo shoots (drained well) would be nice additions to this dish.
  • Spicier: Add a touch of red pepper flakes, Korean gochugaru, or Chinese dried red chili peppers to the stir fry for some added spice.

How to make Chinese chicken stir fry in oyster sauce

This recipe for chicken in oyster sauce uses classic Chinese cooking techniques to achieve a great depth of flavor and perfectly tender Chinese chicken. Read our complete guide for more details on how to velvet chicken for the best results! Complete all prep before quickly stir-frying for best results.

Person demos preparing oyster chicken sauce, velvet chicken, and prepare vegetables before cooking.
  1. Prep the ingredients: Velvet the chicken with a quick marinade; prepare the aromatics; trim the mushrooms; and dice, rinse, and pat dry the greens. Mix the sauce in a small bowl.
Person demos velvet chicken breast and pan sear them in a hot pan.
  1. Saute the chicken: Heat a large pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the chicken in a single layer and pan fry until golden brown, about 2-3 mins. Flip and sear the other side, about 1-2 mins. Once cooked through and golden, transfer the chicken out and set aside.
  2. Saute the aromatics: Use the same pan, add more oil, and saute the aromatics with a small pinch of salt for 10 seconds. Turn the heat up and saute the mushrooms for 30 seconds.
Person demos sauteing snow pea leaves with chicken and oyster sauce in a wok pan.
  1. Add the veggies: Add snow pea leaves and ¼ tsp salt. Saute until the leaves are slightly wilted but not mushy or watery, about 1 minute. If the pan feels dry, add more oil.
  2. Stir in the sauce: Return the chicken to the pan along with the green scallion parts and pour in the sauce mixture. Toss to coat before serving hot over rice.

More ways to use oyster sauce

Oyster sauce is a superstar in Chinese cooking. It’s not just for stir-fries but also great for braising, adding that special touch to sauces, or making a beef or chicken marinade with oyster sauce. Cooking with oyster sauce brings a savory, umami-packed flavor that can make a dish shine.

Despite what some might think, oyster sauce doesn’t have a fishy taste. For those looking for a quality option, Megachef, a Thai brand, is a fantastic choice. It’s gluten-free and made with real oyster extracts.

If you’re not able to eat shellfish, don’t worry! There are vegetarian versions available, often made from mushrooms. I even have a recipe for a homemade vegetarian oyster sauce that uses rehydrated dry shiitake mushrooms.

How to use oyster sauce in stir fry

  • Add to Sauce: Mixing oyster sauce and soy sauce is a winning combo. Oyster sauce adds a bit of sweetness and a shiny gloss to your sauce, while soy sauce brings in a savory, salty flavor. Add this mix towards the end of your stir-fry to wrap up the dish with a burst of flavor.
  • Marinate Meat: Oyster sauce isn’t just for sauces; it’s also a fantastic marinade ingredient. Whether you’re prepping chicken, pork, beef, tofu, or seafood, a little oyster sauce mixed with ginger, garlic, and toasted sesame oil can elevate your marinade. Letting your ingredients marinate overnight will make your stir-fry or other oyster sauce dishes even more delicious.

What else to make with oyster sauce

  • Braise: A classic in Cantonese cooking is braised chicken with oyster sauce. This dish is often made in a clay pot, using a whole chicken cut into pieces, chicken wings, or chicken oyster thighs. Start by seasoning and searing the chicken, then fry some ginger and green onions. Braise everything with oyster sauce, soy sauce, and Shaoxing wine until the sauce thickens.
  • Grill/Bake/Air Fry: Oyster sauce can also be used as a marinade for grilling, baking, or air frying. It makes the meat tender and packed with flavor. For any chicken and oyster sauce recipe, choosing dark meat like thighs, wings, drumsticks, or leg quarters will give you juicier and more flavorful results.

How to make ahead, store, and reheat

This quick recipe for chicken with oyster sauce is perfect to make ahead of time. You can prep the stir-fry ingredients in advance or cook the entire dish as meal prep.

  • Make-ahead: Slice and velvet the chicken, dice aromatics, and prep the vegetables (rinse, drain, and pat dry) ahead of cooking.
  • Storage: Once cooked, store leftovers in the fridge for 3-4 days.
  • Reheat: In a microwave on high for 1 minute or reheat on a stovetop until warmed through. If the dish feels a bit dry, add a few tablespoons of chicken stock to help moisten it.

What to serve with Chicken in Oyster Sauce

Chinese chicken and mushroom in oyster sauce is traditionally served over rice. The combination of lean protein, nutritious vegetables, and carbs makes it a wonderful meal on its own. It also pairs well with any of your favorite Chinese vegetable dishes, appetizers, and soups for a family-style meal.

Expert tips

  • Slice the Chicken Thinly: Cutting the chicken into thin slices against the grain at a 45-degree angle ensures it cooks quickly and stays tender. This technique is key for a stir-fry that’s both delicious and easy to chew.
  • Velvet the chicken: Marinating the chicken in a mixture of soy sauce, starch, and seasonings helps to tenderize the meat and infuse it with flavor. Even just 15 minutes can make a big difference in the depth of taste and texture.
  • Use High Heat: Cooking at a high temperature is crucial for stir-frying. It sears the chicken and vegetables quickly, locking in flavors and keeping them crisp. Make sure your pan is hot before adding your ingredients.
  • Prep Your Ingredients: Having all your vegetables and aromatics prepped and ready to go makes the cooking process smooth and fast. Stir-frying is a quick cooking method, so you won’t have time to chop as you go.
  • Par Dry The Vegetables: Make sure your snow pea leaves or spinach are well-dried after washing. Excess water can steam the vegetables instead of stir-frying them, affecting the texture and diluting the sauce.
  • Don’t Overcrowd the Pan: Use a large pan and cook in batches if necessary to ensure every piece of chicken and every vegetable slice gets enough space to cook evenly. Overcrowding can lead to steaming instead of frying, resulting in less flavorful food.
  • High-Quality Oyster Sauce: Invest in a good quality oyster sauce for the best flavor. It’s the backbone of the dish’s umami depth, so choosing a brand like Megachef, which is known for its authentic flavor and gluten-free option, can elevate your dish.
  • Vegetarian Options: For those with shellfish allergies or dietary preferences, a vegetarian oyster sauce made from mushrooms can be a great substitute without sacrificing the dish’s rich flavor profile.


What does oyster sauce taste like?

Oyster sauce has a savory, slightly sweet flavor with a rich umami depth. It’s not fishy but rather adds a complex, glossy richness to dishes without overwhelming them.

What does oyster chicken taste like?

Oyster chicken combines the tender, savory taste of chicken with the rich, umami flavor of oyster sauce, creating a deliciously balanced dish with hints of sweetness and a glossy finish.

Why is oyster sauce used in stir fry?

Oyster sauce adds depth, umami, and a touch of sweetness to stir-fries. It’s a quick way to instantly boost the flavor of a dish.

What does oyster sauce go with?

Oyster sauce pairs well with meats, vegetables, noodles, and rice, enhancing stir-fries, marinades, braises, and sauces with its savory, umami-rich flavor.

More recipes using oyster sauce

Using oyster sauce is a quick and easy way to boost the flavor and richness of a dish. Here are some of my most popular Chinese takeout recipes using oyster sauce that you can make at home.

A side close shot shows oyster chicken stir fry with snow pea leaves and shiitake in red color plate.
Recipe for chicken with oyster sauce served in a red plate.
5 from 1 vote

Oyster sauce chicken stir fry recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 38 minutes
Servings: 5 servings
Author: ChihYu Smith
Chinese oyster sauce chicken stir fry with shiitake and snow pea leaves is an authentic dish with tender chicken tossed in the most savory delicious oyster chicken sauce.
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For the chicken:

  • 1.25 lb chicken breast
  • 0.5 tbsp soy sauce, or 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1.5 tsp tapioca starch, or potato starch, or cornstarch
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp coarse sea salt, plus more for stir fry
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • tsp white pepper, or black pepper, optional
  • 2-2.5 tbsp avocado oil


  • 0.7 oz garlic cloves, thinly sliced, 4 large
  • 3 bulb green onions, sliced diagonally, separate white and green parts
  • 0.2 oz ginger, julienned, a small knob
  • ¼ tsp salt, plus more to taste


  • 5-6 oz Mixed mushrooms, shiitake, brown beech, white beech, oyster, and/or maitake
  • 8 oz. Snow pea leaves, or spinach, diced to sections

Oyster chicken sauce:



  • Hold your knife at a 45-degree angle and slice the chicken against the grain into thin pieces (about ⅛”). In a medium bowl, combine the chicken with ingredients from soy sauce to pepper, if using. Set it aside in the fridge to marinate for 15 minutes.
  • Prepare the garlic, scallion, and ginger. Trim the bottom ends of the mushrooms and separate them apart.
  • If using snow pea leaves, nip the tougher bits away. Break off any flowers or curly tendrils and discard those as well. If using spinach, dice it to sections. Rinse the vegetables and set aside to drain well. Pat them dry before stir frying.
  • Combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Set them aside ready to use.

Saute the chicken:

  • Preheat a large saute pan or wok over medium heat until it feels pretty hot, add 1 tbsp oil and swirl it around the skillet. Add the chicken, turn heat up to medium-high, and quickly spread out the chicken into a single layer. Pan fry them without disturbing until they are golden brown color, about 2-3 mins. Then use a spatula with a firm tip to flip and sear the flip side, about 1-2 mins. The chicken should be cooked through and golden brown on the outside. Transfer them out and set aside.


  • Use the same pan, add 1 tbsp oil and saute aromatics with a small pinch of salt for 10 seconds. Turn heat up to medium-high, add the mushrooms, and saute for 30 seconds.


  • Add snow pea leaves and ¼ tsp salt. Saute until the leafy greens are slightly wilted but not mushy or watery, about 1 minute. If the pan feels dry, add half more tablespoon of oil.


  • Turn heat up to high, return the chicken and scallion greens to the pan. Stir the sauce again then pour it in. Keep tossing and stirring for 30 seconds to coat the sauce over the chicken. Turn off the heat and transfer to a large serving plate. Serve hot with rice.


  • Spinach has a softer texture than snow pea leaves. If you use spinach, reduce cooking time. The goal is to saute the leafy greens until they are just slightly wilted but don’t overcook them. The greens should remain crisp and not soggy. Watery vegetables will dilute the sauce and therefore make the dish less tasty.
  • Use a large saute pan, 12-inch at least, to help you saute the ingredients quickly and evenly.
  • Make-ahead: Slice and velvet the chicken, dice aromatics, and prep the vegetables (rinse, drain, and pat dry) ahead of cooking.
  • Storage: Once cooked, store leftovers in the fridge for 3-4 days.
  • Reheat: In a microwave on high for 1 minute or reheat on a stovetop until warmed through. If the dish feels a bit dry, add a few tablespoons of chicken stock to help moisten it.


Serving: 1serving, Calories: 265kcal, Carbohydrates: 6g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Cholesterol: 73mg, Sodium: 1000mg, Potassium: 554mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 225IU, Vitamin C: 34mg, Calcium: 19mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese, Taiwanese
Keyword: oyster chicken, Oyster sauce chicken stir fry, recipe for chicken in oyster sauce
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