Velveting Chicken for Chinese Stir fry Recipe & How To

What is velveting chicken? It’s a process where you pre-cook marinated chicken so that when you use it in your stir fry recipes, it is tender, juicy and not over cooked or dried out.

Updated on Jan 3, 2015

I have spent many a night cooking Chinese food and so many times I wondered “how in the world does the Chinese restaurants get their chicken so tender?”. Well, come to find out, they use this process called “Velveting” to process the meat so that it comes out consistent and perfect ever time.

There are several ways to velvet chicken. The most popular is listed below. The other way is to do something similar, but instead of boiling water, you cook the chicken in oil. Another way uses baking soda and is a quicker marinade.

** Update 1/3/2015: I tried the baking soda method tonight and it was so easy and simple. I added about 1/4 cup of baking soda with 3/4 cup of water and added the sliced chicken. Then I let it sit while I prepared the vegetables/etc. It sat for no more than 20 minutes. Then I rinsed it and added the wine/vinegar/sugar/salt marinade with cornstarch and stir fried it. Wow! Super soft and delicious. I’ll create a separate post later for this method, but I suggest you try it.

I will be presenting several recipes in the future that use this technique. So, look for recipes labeled ‘Snow White Chicken and…’.

You can also use this method for beef, however, I haven’t tried it.  I think beef may need a different wine as well as a longer marinade. Once I try it, and it is successful, I will post it and hopefully inspire you to try out your hand at some home cooked Chinese recipes.


Velveting Chicken for Chinese Stir-Fry

Serves 4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 25 minutes
By author Dish Ditty


  • 1 Egg White
  • 1 tablespoon Cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese Cooking Wine (or Cream Sherry)
  • 1 teaspoon Seasoned Rice WIne Vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Chicken Breast (boneless, thinly sliced)


Velveting chicken can be done in advance and chicken can be refrigerated for use in stir fry recipes later.


Step 1
Whisk ingredients together
Whisk together egg white, cornstarch, wine, seasoned rice wine vinegar, and salt.
Step 2
Marinade Chicken
Mix in the thinly sliced chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Step 3
Boil Water
Wipe off excess liquid. Drop in small batches into boiling water.
Step 4
Remove from water
Boil for about 1-2 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked. Remove from the water quickly, do not over cook.
Step 5
Velvet Chicken
Use this chicken in your stir fry dishes to create a soft tender white chicken as seen in dishes like Snow White Chicken with Snow Peas.
Step 6
Chinese Rice Wine
Picture of typical Chinese Wine
How to Velvet Chicken for Chinese Stir Fry by Dish Ditty

How to Velvet Chicken for Chinese Stir Fry

18 Replies to "Velveting Chicken for Chinese Stir fry Recipe & How To"

  • comment-avatar
    Rex Ju June 8, 2015 (9:12 pm)

    can you omit the chinese cooking wine and use unseasoned rice wine vinegar and still get velveted, tender meat? (assuming I use the corn starch and egg white) Also do you recommend stir frying or just cooking on one side and then giving it a flip to the other side? Thanks!

    • comment-avatar
      Dish Ditty June 9, 2015 (7:52 am)

      Hi Rex,
      I wouldn’t substitute the wine to the unseasoned rice wine vinegar. You will wind up with a very interesting flavor if you do that. I would instead use chicken broth. And maybe let it marinade a little longer. You can also use any white wine or even Dry Vermouth if you don’t have sherry.

  • comment-avatar
    Cathy June 29, 2015 (1:59 pm)

    In your update on 1/3/2015, can you give the amounts of the ingredients wine, vinegar, salt, sugar and cornstarch ? Then do you add the sauce the recipe calls for?

    • comment-avatar
      Dish Ditty June 29, 2015 (2:07 pm)

      Hi Cathy, for my comment on 1/3/2015, I use the marinade provided in whatever recipe I’m cooking. But here’s a basic marinade that will work with almost any chicken stir fry. You can add white pepper, cilantro, five spice… whatever other flavor profile you want to have in your dish. Or, just use this as the basic marinade and then use the other flavors in your sauce.
      3 tablespoons Wine (Dry Vermouth, Sherry or Shao Xing Wine)
      1 tablespoon Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar
      1 teaspoon Sugar
      4 dashes Salt

      Another comment: be sure to thoroughly rinse the chicken when using the baking soda method. I find that putting it in a strainer and rinsing for a bit of time is best. Otherwise, the baking soda may sit on the bottom of the bowl and you might not notice it until you try to add your chicken to the stir fry (which is not fun).

  • comment-avatar
    Staci September 19, 2015 (5:50 am)

    Can I omit the egg white?

    • comment-avatar
      Dish Ditty September 19, 2015 (5:52 am)

      Hi Staci, there are several methods listed. I also had heard that some people use cornstarch and water mixed together instead of egg white

    • comment-avatar
      Katie S. July 23, 2019 (1:04 pm)

      My Ex Husband’s Mom was born and raised in Hong Kong and moved to the states in her 30’s before having children. She used to run a very popular local restaurant for several years before they retired and closed it down. Every Sunday we would go to her house and have a family dinner with all of the siblings, their spouses, and the grandchildren and we’d rotate who was going to cook. When I would watch my former Mother in law cook and make Chicken Chow Fun, she would marinate the chicken by using cornstarch, water, white cooking sherry, and a little Oyster Sauce (since its very salty, you wouldn’t need to add any extra salt. She used the Red label Panda Brand by Lee Kum Kee.) Also, if you’re looking for an alternative to the regular salty soy sauce, try the Lee Kum Kee Sweet Soy Sauce. It is so tasty!! 🙂 It’s not super sweet like a teriyaki sauce. But just enough sweet to give an excellent flavor. I often use it as a component for sauces whenever I cook Chinese food. It’s one of my secret ingredients to what I call my kids and I “Yum Yum Sauce” .

  • comment-avatar
    Kisshelle April 27, 2016 (11:28 am)

    So if you use the baking soda method do you boil it or just let it marinade?

    • comment-avatar
      Dish Ditty April 27, 2016 (12:00 pm)

      Just marinade and then rinse it really, really well. It doesn’t take that long, usually the amount of time it takes for me to cut up the vegetables.

  • comment-avatar
    David September 8, 2016 (8:06 pm)

    Use only Chinese ingredients in Chinese dishes do not use baking soda use Chinese cooking methods ,not fast food methods

  • comment-avatar
    Bec January 25, 2017 (4:02 pm)

    I am SOOOOOO glad I tried the baking soda & water method!! It is EXACTLY like a Chinese restaurant would taste. Super easy, ingredients on hand & quick. Thx!! 🙂

  • comment-avatar
    Lore February 9, 2018 (9:33 pm)

    This sounds awesome; I can’t wait to try it. My family of 6 boys (men now) & my husband love Chinese food. Thank you for sharing.

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  • comment-avatar
    Liz December 10, 2019 (7:02 am)

    Can this be done with beef if your table includes some non vegetarians?

    • comment-avatar
      Dish Ditty December 13, 2019 (12:18 pm)

      Yes, you can use beef or chicken for vevletting.

  • comment-avatar
    Andrea H. January 25, 2020 (4:53 am)

    I know it may be a weird question, but can you do this and use chicken in other types of dishes [italian, mexican, etc]? My one year old is super picky about eating meat, but loves chicken from the Chinese food restaurant. We think it’s a texture thing.

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