What Sides Go with Stir Fry?

The vegetables are being cooked separately.

Stir fry is a delightful meal enjoyed by many for its quick preparation and versatile nature. It can encompass a wide variety of flavors and ingredients, making it an ideal meal for any night of the week. But, as delicious as a stir fry may be on its own, the question of what side dishes best complement this dish often arises.

The answer to that question really lies in the type of stir fry one is preparing. Traditional Asian-inspired stir fries are rich in flavor and typically prepared using a wok with ingredients such as soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. Additionally, they may feature meat, seafood, tofu, and an assortment of vegetables.

For these traditional stir fries, there are quite a few side dish options that can enhance the overall dining experience. The key is to opt for side dishes that complement the flavors and textures of the stir fry without overwhelming the palate or stealing the spotlight from the main dish.

Staple Side Dishes

White Rice

White rice is a classic and versatile side dish for stir fry. It allows the flavors of the main dish to shine, providing a neutral canvas for any sauce. Jasmine and Basmati are popular choices for their fluffy texture and aromatic qualities. Preparing white rice is simple: rinse, add water, and cook—either on the stovetop or in a rice cooker.

Brown Rice

For a healthier alternative, consider brown rice. This whole grain option retains its nutrient-rich bran and germ, making it a more nutritious choice. Brown rice has a nutty flavor and chewy texture, which adds depth to the dining experience. To cook brown rice, follow a similar method as white rice but adjust water ratios and cooking time accordingly.


Finally, noodles add an exciting twist to the traditional stir fry side dish selection. With various types of noodles available such as egg noodles, rice noodles, and soba noodles, there are plenty of options to suit your taste preferences. Noodles can be boiled, stir-fried, or even served chilled. Pairing your stir fry with noodles can bring a new dimension to your dinner, offering an alternative texture and delicious flavor.

Soup and Salad

Egg Drop Soup

Egg Drop Soup is a favorite Chinese dish that pairs well with stir fry. It features a delicate chicken broth base with wispy strands of beaten eggs. This soup is both light and flavorful, making it a perfect complement to the bold flavors of stir fry. Add some greens for an extra boost of nutrients.

Hot and Sour Soup

Hot and Sour Soup is another delicious soup option to have with your stir fry. It combines a tangy, spicy broth with tofu and various vegetables, like cabbage and mushrooms. This soup adds a different dimension of flavor and texture to your meal, offering both warmth and spice to contrast your stir fry.

Cucumber Salad

Asian cucumber salad is a refreshing choice to pair with the richness of stir fry. Thinly sliced cucumbers are marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, and sesame oil. Chinese pickled cucumber is also an option, providing a tangy side dish full of flavor, crunch, and bright acidity.


Coleslaw made with a mix of cabbage, carrots, and other veggies can be a great side for your stir fry. For a more Asian-inspired twist, consider adding ingredients like soy sauce, sesame oil, or even Chinese okra to your coleslaw dressing. This will add both color and depth to your meal, making it an irresistible combination.

Vegetable Side Dishes

Bok Choy

Bok Choy is packed with nutrients and has a tender texture. A simple sauté with garlic and a splash of soy sauce brings out its natural flavors. You can also steam it for a healthier option. Pair this veggie with your stir fry for added crunch and nutrition.


Broccoli adds both color and a hearty texture to your meal. Roast it with a touch of olive oil, garlic, and salt for a delicious side. Alternatively, blanch it to retain its bright green color and nutrients. Combine broccoli with your favorite stir fry for a tasty and nutritious combination.

Zucchini Noodles

Zucchini noodles, or “zoodles,” are a great low-carb alternative to traditional noodles. Spiralize fresh zucchini, and sauté them with a bit of oil or sauce. Add in garlic and other veggies for extra flavor. Zucchini noodles complement a variety of stir fry dishes and provide a lighter, healthier option.

Snap Peas

Snap peas are crunchy, sweet, and perfect for stir fry side dishes. Serve them raw, steamed, or sautéed with your choice of seasonings. They pair well with other veggies like bell peppers and carrots. Snap peas provide a delightful burst of freshness to any stir fry dish.

Savory Rolls and Pancakes

Spring Rolls

Spring rolls are a popular side dish to pair with stir-fry. They’re made from a thin, crisp pastry filled with a mixture of vegetables and sometimes shrimp or chicken. Enjoyed either fresh or fried, spring rolls are typically served with sweet dipping sauces like sweet and sour or hoisin sauce. They add a delightful texture contrast to your stir-fry meal.

Egg Rolls

Egg rolls are another delicious option to serve alongside stir-fry. Made with a thicker wheat flour wrapper, they’re filled with a combination of savory ingredients like cabbage, carrots and protein such as pork or shrimp. Egg rolls are usually deep-fried, resulting in a crispy and satisfying bite. Serve them with soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, or spicy mustard for added flavor.

Scallion Pancakes

Scallion pancakes offer a unique and satisfying side dish for stir-fry. These pan-fried, layered flatbreads are made with dough rather than batter and are filled with chopped scallions. They provide a chewy and flavorful contrast to the textures in your stir-fry. You can enjoy scallion pancakes with a dipping sauce made from soy sauce, vinegar, and a touch of sesame oil to elevate the taste.

Diverse Protein Options


Chicken is a versatile and popular protein choice for stir fry dishes. You can use chicken breasts, which are lean and easy to cook, or thighs for a juicier option. Marinate the chicken in soy sauce, garlic, and ginger to enhance the flavor. This pairs well with various vegetables and toppings.


Beef is a delicious option for stir fry meals. Opt for thin cuts like flank or sirloin, and marinate them in soy sauce, garlic, and your choice of seasoning. Stir-fry beef quickly over high heat to keep it tender. Combine it with colorful veggies for a satisfying and nutritious meal.


Pork offers a savory and tender addition to stir-fry dishes. Consider using pork loin or tenderloin, sliced thin for quick cooking. Marinate the pork in soy sauce and spices for a flavorful result. Pair it up with a mix of fresh vegetables for a well-balanced, delicious stir fry.


For vegetarian and vegan options, tofu is a fantastic protein source in stir fry dishes. Made from soybeans, it absorbs flavors easily and can be marinated in soy sauce and seasonings. Try using firm tofu cut into cubes, and cook until slightly crispy. Incorporate an array of veggies and toppings for a wholesome, plant-based meal.

Exciting Sauces and Seasonings

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is a staple in stir fry dishes, providing a rich, salty flavor. Different types exist, including light, dark, and reduced-sodium options. It can be combined with ingredients like ginger, chili, or sesame oil for a customized taste. Experiment with various ratios to find your perfect blend.

Oyster Sauce

Oyster sauce is a thick, savory sauce made from oyster extracts. It adds depth and umami flavor to your stir fry. Try mixing it with soy sauce or other seasonings like ginger and spices to enhance its taste. Be mindful of its salt content and adjust your seasonings accordingly.

Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin sauce is a sweet and tangy option that adds a distinct flavor profile to your stir fry. Its unique taste comes from a blend of soybeans, garlic, chili, and spices, making it an excellent complement to various ingredients. Combine hoisin with sriracha to create a sweet and spicy kick, or mix it with sesame oil for a nutty infusion.


Curry can be an exciting addition to your stir fry, offering warm and comforting notes of spices. Both curry paste and curry powder can be used, with each delivering unique flavors. Experiment with Indian and Thai curry varieties for diverse tastes. Combine curry with ingredients like coconut milk, ginger, or chili for a rich, multidimensional dish.

Enhance Your Stir Fry with Toppings

Sesame Seeds

Add a sprinkle of sesame seeds to your stir fry for a mild, nutty flavor and a bit of crunch. They work particularly well with dishes like sesame noodles and General Tso’s cauliflower. Toast the seeds lightly in a pan to bring out even more of their rich taste. This versatile topping can be used whole, ground into a paste, or incorporated into sauces.

Chopped Nuts

Incorporating chopped nuts into your stir fry adds texture and complements the natural flavors of your dish. Nuts like cashews, peanuts, and almonds provide an extra layer of crunch to your meal. For a hint of sweetness, try adding a small amount of sugar to your nuts while toasting them in a separate pan. Remember to choose unsalted nuts or adjust your seasoning accordingly.

Chopped Green Onions

Green onions, also known as scallions, provide a fresh and zesty punch to your stir fry. Pair them with sprouts for a crisp, refreshing contrast to richer ingredients. You can use both the green and white parts of the onions, thinly slicing them diagonally for visual appeal. For a touch of heat, toss in some red pepper flakes with your green onions to intensify the stir fry’s flavors.

Leftovers and Creative Side Ideas

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes make a nutritious and delicious addition to stir fry dishes. You can either bake, roast, or steam them as a simple side dish. For a more creative twist, try mashing or dicing them and adding some spices to complement the main dish. This versatile ingredient can also be included directly in your stir fry for an extra boost of flavor and texture.

Fried Rice

Egg fried rice is a popular side dish that pairs well with stir fry. It’s quick and easy to make and a great way to utilize leftover rice. Simply sauté veggies of your choice, add cooked rice, and mix in scrambled egg. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, or any of your favorite seasonings for a flavorful side to accompany your main meal.

Lo Mein

Lo mein is another excellent option for using leftovers in a creative way. Perfect for lunch or dinner, this noodle dish complements any stir fry. To make it, cook your noodles and toss them in a mixture of soy sauce, garlic, and ginger. Add vegetables, proteins, or other accompaniments of your choosing to create a balanced meal.

Wonton Soup

Wonton soup is a warm and comforting side that goes great with stir fry dishes. It consists of wontons, typically filled with ground pork and spices, swimming in a savory broth. For a home-cooked version, you can fill the wontons with leftover meat or vegetables and personalize the broth with your own seasonings. Enjoy a bowl alongside your stir fry for a satisfying and complete meal.


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