That Spicy Chick

Quick & Easy Chicken, Bacon, and Cabbage Stir-Fry

This Quick & Easy Chicken, Bacon, and Cabbage Stir-Fry is loaded with tender chicken breast pieces, smoky bacon, and an abundance of light and fresh Napa cabbage. It’s ready to go in just 35 minutes, and perfect for busy weeknights with a bowl of steamed white rice!

wok with stir-fried chicken, bacon, cabbage, red chilies, dried red chilies, and spring onions

Friends, this easy weeknight stir-fry is RED HOT in!

This Chicken, Bacon, and Cabbage Stir-Fry is fantastic for busy weeknights because it is soooo simple and quick and easy to make! All you need is a couple of Asian pantry staples to get this on the table in just 35 minutes!

It’s perfect for those hectic nights when you want dinner on the table pronto, but don’t want to grab greasy takeout.

Best of all, you have all your veggies and protein in one dish! Pair it with a bowl of steamed white rice and you’ve got yourself a well-rounded meal without putting a whole ton of effort into it!

wok with stir-fried chicken, bacon, cabbage, chopped red chillies, and spring onions

INGREDIENTS IN CHICKEN, BACON, AND CABBAGE STIR-FRY:

  • Tender chicken breast pieces thanks to an Asian marinating method called velveting (more information on this process below!).
  • Smoky delicious bacon pieces! 🤤
  • An abundance of fresh Napa cabbage (or Chinese cabbage). It’s the star of this super simple stir-fry dish! You can find it Asian markets as well as in some large supermarkets.
  • There’s A LOT of garlic because I ❤️ garlic. And it’s actually really good for digestion!
  • We also have some ginger (also really good for digestion) as one of our aromatics here.
  • Some fresh red chilies (you can use Holland or bird’s eye chilies) and Thai dried red chilies for a blast of heat! By the way, you can omit both types of chilies if you’re not big on heat. Or just use less or one type. Also, feel free to deseed them if you prefer to make this dish milder.
  • Yellow onion and green onions (spring onion/scallions). I use both in this stir-fry because onion just tastes wonderful with bacon always! And spring onion is simply a MUST in almost all of my Asian stir-fries – be it for garnish or briefly cooked in the wok with everything else towards the end!
  • Seasonings: Salt, black pepper, a dash of white pepper, and some crushed red chili flakes to taste.
stir-fried chicken, bacon, and cabbage in round white serving dish.

My favorite thing about this dish is that not only is it pretty healthy with all the lovely and fresh Napa cabbage, but the sauce that seeps down and into the steamed white rice is totally mouthwateringly tasty! It doesn’t quite have your runny egg yolk “oomph” to it like the deep fried Thai style egg in this Spicy Thai Basil Chicken. But this sauce definitely ranks high on my oomph factor scale!

round white serving bowl with stir-fried chicken, bacon, and cabbage. Chopsticks on side of dish and stacked bowls in the back.

WHAT’S IN THE SAUCE?

Glad you’ve asked! The sauce is composed of 5 ingredients only. We have:

  • Corn Starch – To help thicken the sauce.
  • White sugar – Just a pinch to round out all the flavors.
  • Low sodium light soy sauce – For some umami. I prefer to use low sodium over regular soy sauce because I’m not a fan of salty foods. However, you can totally use regular soy sauce instead if you have it on hand. Just use a bit less for this recipe than indicated so that the saltiness is not overwhelming in the dish.
  • Shaoxing Rice Wine – An essential cooking wine that is used in most Chinese stir-fries. It is used either for marinating or as a component of the sauce in the stir-fry. (Or for both, like I have done so here.)
  • Chinese Black Rice VinegarThis is a dark, slightly sweet and tangy sauce. It balances out the salty flavors from the soy sauce.
  • Water – two tablespoons to give more volume to the sauce and balance out the salty, sweet, tangy, and umami flavors.
chicken, bacon, cabbage, spring onion, dried red chilies in white round serving bowl

HOW TO MAKE THIS QUICK & EASY CHICKEN, BACON, AND CABBAGE STIR-FRY:

As per usual, I follow the same method I use to make pretty much all of my stir fries. The first step is to get all the prep work for the final stir-fry dish done.

round white serving bowl with stir-fried chicken, bacon, and cabbage. Chopsticks and stacked bowls in the back.

Prep:

  1. Prepare the fresh ingredients: Start by preparing all your ingredients. Mince the garlic, grate the ginger, and chop up the Napa cabbage, red chilies, onion, spring onion, and the bacon into bite sized strips.
  2. Marinate the chicken: Next, marinate the diced chicken breasts in low sodium soy sauce (use tamari or a gluten-free soy sauce if you want to make this gluten-free), Shaoxing rice wine, and a splash of sesame oil to make it nice and tender. This is called velveting meat. We’re marinating the meat in cornstarch, sauce, and oil so that it’ll be super soft and tender when we cook it. It’s a very common tactic used in Chinese restaurants.
  3. Make the Sauce Bowl: Then, make your sauce bowl by adding a bit of corn starch, a bit of sugar, low sodium soy sauce, Shaoxing rice wine, and Chinese black rice vinegar. You can substitute with regular rice vinegar and a bit of sugar or balsamic vinegar if you don’t have black rice vinegar on hand. But I totally recommend making a trip to an Asian store to get some as it does wonders for this dish and you can use it in several other Asian recipes!
  4. Partially cook the chicken: Then, heat up some peanut oil (or any other cooking oil) and add the chicken pieces. Cook the chicken three fourths of the way through, then use a slotted spoon spatula to transfer the chicken pieces to a fine mesh strainer. Hold the strainer above the wok to let the oil drain into it, then transfer the chicken to a clean bowl and set aside. Clean out the wok with some paper towels and set it back on the stove.
round white serving bowl with stir-fried chicken, bacon, cabbage, and dried red chillies in sauce . Chopsticks and stacked bowls in the back.

For the Chicken, Bacon, and Cabbage Stir-fry:

Once all the prep is done, you’re ready to stir-fry and have dinner on the table in just 15 minutes!

  1. First, heat some peanut oil (or any other cooking oil you prefer), chili oil (if using), and a bit of sesame oil in your wok over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped bacon strips. Stir them around for a few minutes and cook until they’re brown, but not fully crispy. (They will continue to cook alongside the other ingredients).
  2. Next, toss in the yellow onion slices, and sauté them with the bacon until they’re translucent and tender.
  3. Then add the garlic, ginger, and spring onion whites and continue stir-frying until fragrant. (Do mind the garlic and be careful not to burn it! You can lower the heat if needed.)
  4. Next, add the fresh red chilies and Thai dried red chilies and keep stir-frying.
  5. Then, in goes all the lovely Napa cabbage! Toss and continue stir-frying everything to combine for a minute.
  6. Add the chicken back into the wok and give everything a good toss. Then pour in the sauce over everything and continuing stir-frying.
  7. Season with black pepper, white pepper, kosher salt, and crushed red chili flakes to taste, and add a splash of sesame oil.
  8. Then, toss in the spring onion greens and continue stir-frying for another minute.

Then…..that’s it! Just transfer to a serving dish and enjoy with some steamed white (or brown) rice!

stir-fried chicken, bacon, and cabbage in round white serving dish. Stacked blue bowls in back.

CAN I MAKE THIS GLUTEN FREE?

Yes! Use tamari or a gluten-free soy sauce instead of the low sodium light soy sauce. Also, it’s best to double check that the brand of Black Rice Vinegar and Shaoxing Rice Wine that you’re using is indeed GF certified. The Pat Chun Black Rice Vinegar I have linked to is gluten-free. Other than these mentioned ingredients, the rest of the ingredients in this dish are naturally gluten-free.

hand holding wooden chopsticks with a piece of chicken and cabbage above a stir-fry in a white round serving dish. stacked blue bowls in back

As you can see, everything in this Chicken, Bacon, and Cabbage Stir-Fry gets quickly flash cooked in your wok and ultimately tastes absolutely AMAZING and HOT (temperature wise), and fresh!! 😍

I hope you give it a try and that you enjoy this light, healthy, and easy weeknight dish as much as I do! 🤗

wooden chopsticks holding up a piece of chicken and cabbage. chicken, bacon, cabbage, spring onion stir-fry in wok

MORE QUICK & EASY WEEKNIGHT STIR-FRIES

Looking for more quick & easy stir-fries? Check out some of my favorites below!

Print
stir-fried chicken, bacon, and cabbage in round white serving dish.

Quick & Easy Chicken, Bacon, and Cabbage Stir-fry

This Quick & Easy Chicken, Bacon, and Cabbage Stir-Fry is loaded with tender chicken breast pieces, smoky bacon, and an abundance of light and fresh Napa cabbage. It’s ready to go in just 35 minutes, and perfect for busy weeknights with a bowl of steamed white rice!

  • Author: Lavina
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 34 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stir-fry
  • Cuisine: Chinese
Scale

Ingredients

CHOPPING

  • 1014 Garlic cloves – minced
  • 3 TBLS Ginger (about 2″ chunk) – minced
  • 316 Fresh Red Chilies, to taste and deseeded depending on your desired heat level – chopped
  • ¼ of a whole large Napa Cabbage head (about 3 cups chopped) – chopped into bite sized pieces, washed, and dried
  • ½ Yellow Onion – thinly sliced
  • 2 Spring Onions (Scallions) – chopped into 1” pieces, whites & greens separated

CHICKEN MARINADE

SAUCE BOWL

  • 1 TSP Corn Starch
  • ½ TSP White Sugar
  • 3 TBLS + 1 TSP Low Sodium Light Soy Sauce (or tamari or gluten-free soy sauce for a gluten-free alternative)
  • 2 TBLS + 2 TSP Shaoxing Rice Wine
  • 2 TBLS Chinese Black Rice Vinegar Sauce (I use Pat Chun brand)
  • 2 TBLS Water

OTHER

  • 4 & ½ TBLS Peanut Oil (or any other cooking oil)
  • 1 TSP Chili Oil (optional)
  • 1 TSP Sesame Oil
  • 2 Chicken Breasts (about 400g), boneless, skinless – diced into bite sized cubes
  • 26 Thai Dried Red Chilies, more or less to taste and deseeded if desired – Cut into halves and thirds depending on length*
  • 5 slices Bacon – chopped into bite sized strips (I used Oscar Mayer’s Naturally Hardwood Smoked Bacon)
  • 1 TSP Kosher Salt, to taste*
  • ½ TSP coarse ground Black Pepper, to taste*
  • 3 grinds (about 1/8 TSP) Ground White Pepper*
  • 12 TSP Crushed Red Chili Pepper flakes, more or less to taste*

Instructions

Prep:

  1. Chopping: Prepare and chop all the “CHOPPING” ingredients and set aside. (Note: Remember to separate the spring onion whites from the greens.)
  2. Chicken Marinade: Mix together the corn starch, low sodium light soy sauce, shao xing rice wine, a splash of sesame oil (about ¼ TSP) in a large bowl. Add the diced chicken and mix to coat them well with the marinade. Set aside to marinate while you prepare the other items.
  3. Sauce Bowl: In a medium bowl, corn starch, white sugar, low sodium light soy sauce, shao xing rice wine, black rice vinegar, and water. Mix thoroughly and set aside.
  4. Prep for the Marinated Chicken: Turn on the stove and set to high heat. Add 2.5 TBLS peanut oil and ½ TSP sesame oil to a wok. Lift and rotate the wok in a circular motion so that the oil spreads around the perimeter, then place it back on the stove to let it heat up. Once heated, add the chicken and spread evenly in the wok. Let the chicken cook and brown for about 1 minute before tossing and flipping the pieces. Once they are about three fourths of the way cooked, remove the chicken pieces to a fine mesh strainer and hold above the wok to let the oil drain. (You can gently shake the strainer to speed up the draining process, but be careful not to shake with too much as it will cause some of the cornstarch to come off and make the chicken a bit mushy.) Transfer the chicken to another clean large bowl and set aside. Discard the oil in the wok and wipe with paper towels. Set back on stove.

For the Chicken, Bacon, and Cabbage Stir-Fry:

  1. Heat 2 TBLS peanut oil, 1 TSP chili oil (if using), and about a ½ teaspoon of sesame oil in your wok over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot – about 30-40 seconds later, add the bacon pieces. Stir-fry them for 2-3 minutes or until brown, but not fully cooked and crispy.
  2. Add the onion and continue stir-frying for 1-2 minutes or until they are translucent and tender.
  3. Add the garlic, ginger, and spring onion whites. Continue stir-frying until fragrant for about 1 minute. [Note: Do mind the garlic as you don’t want it to burn. You can turn down the heat here if your wok is pretty hot already, but I found that I didn’t need to.]
  4. Add the fresh red and Thai dried red chilies and continue stir-frying for another minute. Then, add the cabbage and stir fry to combine for a minute.
  5. Add the semi cooked diced chicken back into the wok, and toss to combine everything in the wok.
  6. Stir the contents of the sauce bowl with a spoon (the corn starch will have clotted up at the bottom of the bowl) and then pour in the sauce in a circular motion to coat all the ingredients in the wok. Stir-fry and keep tossing to combine for about a minute.
  7. Season with kosher salt, black pepper, white pepper, and crushed red chili pepper flakes to taste and add the remaining ½ TSP sesame oil. Continue stir-frying for 1-2 minutes. The cabbage will be tender but not have completely wilted by now.
  8. Add the spring onion greens and stir fry to combine for about 30-40 seconds.
  9. Turn off the heat and transfer to a serving dish. Serve immediately with steamed white rice.

Notes

  1. Seasonings: I have provided the measurements that I use for the kosher salt, black pepper, white pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. I recommend adjusting the seasonings to your own taste as you’ll know best how much salt or spice you prefer. 😉
  2. To make it gluten-free: Use tamari or a gluten-free soy sauce instead of the low sodium light soy sauce. Also, it’s best to double check that the brand of Black Rice Vinegar and Shaoxing Rice Wine that you’re using is indeed GF certified. The Pat Chun Black Rice Vinegar I have linked to is gluten-free. Other than these mentioned ingredients, the rest of the ingredients in this dish are naturally gluten-free.
  3. Feel free to serve this with brown rice or quinoa for a healthier dinner!

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 medium bowl
  • Calories: 476
  • Sugar: 14.3g
  • Sodium: 1171.3mg
  • Fat: 26.5g
  • Saturated Fat: 6.8g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 17.2g
  • Trans Fat: 0.1g
  • Carbohydrates: 27.5g
  • Fiber: 4.2g
  • Protein: 31.6g
  • Cholesterol: 96.1mg

The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary based on several factors. It should only be used as a general guideline. For more information, please see our Disclosure.

wok with stir-fried chicken, bacon, cabbage, red chilies, dried red chilies, and spring onions

This post may contain affiliate links. We are a part of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you) by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary based on several factors. It should only be used as a general guideline. For more information, please see our Disclosure.

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