The Best Way To Cut Chicken For Stir-Fry

Making a stir-fry for dinner is a great way to be creative and use a lot of ingredients to create bold flavor. It's also a great way to make a meal that cleans out your fridge or freezer, if you have an abundance of meat you need to use. A stir-fry can also utilize a multitude of vegetables in one dish when your produce bin is overflowing. So if you ever find yourself hitting the gorgeous produce stands at the farmers market only to come home and wonder what the heck you're going to do with all the squash, snap peas and bell peppers you bought, never fear.

Vegetables will be more forgiving in the pan. You can chop, dice or julienne them and they'll usually come out cooked nicely. Meat can be a bit more tough — no pun intended — but there's a trick for how you should cut your meat so that it will be nice and tender even when cooked for a short period of time. According to Fine Cooking, the longer you cook meat the more tender it is, but most stir-fry recipes are meant to go from countertop to stove to table in less than an hour.

Cut it against the grain

When cutting meat for a stir-fry, you want to cut small uniform pieces, so that each piece cooks through evenly. Some beef stir-fry recipes call for thinly sliced beef, but with chicken there are a few options. According to Serious Eats, you can cut small cubes of chicken, julienne the chicken or cut it into thin slices. If you choose to slice it, you want to slice it a certain way.

Meat Answers notes that you should always cut a chicken breast against the grain. The grain of the chicken breast refers to the direction of the muscle tissue. If you cut with the grain, your meat ends up tougher than if you cut against it. It should be mentioned, however, that with chicken you want to cut against the grain with a slight bias, so that your pieces don't become too mushy in the frying pan or wok.

Having a hard time thinly slicing your chicken? Try popping it into the freezer for 15 to 30 minutes before slicing (via Employ these techniques the next time you're planning a stir-fry dinner and you'll be smiling all the way to flavor town.