Wondering how to cut carrots for stir fry? There are several methods that work extremely well, and that’s what I want to teach you in this post!
Cutting Carrots Chinese Style
Stir Fries are amazing. Chances are you’ve come to this post because there’s some kind of stir fry recipe you’re dying to try. Carrots in stir fry are most often seen in chinese or other Asian recipes.
For example, I’ve had carrots cut in the methods I’m about to show you in a Thai Chow mein from a delicious Thai restaurant near me.
Cutting carrots Chinese-style (or for any Asian dish) is not hard at all! There are a few different methods you can choose from.
What Makes a Carrot Cut GOOD for Stir Fry?
Now, before we get into the specific cuts, let’s talk about what makes a carrot GOOD for stir fry anyway? Why can’t you just cut it into typical “coins”?
The key to having good carrot cuts for stir fry is exposing as much surface area on the carrot as possible. This will allow the carrots to cook much faster, since they’re not being boiled.
3 Different Ways to Cut Carrots for Stir Fry
Onto the best carrot cuts for stir fry! Check out the video below, or keep reading for tips and photos. (And make sure to subscribe to my youtube channel here!)
Method 1: Diagonal Cuts
The first, and probably simplest way to cut carrots for stir fry is by using a diagonal cut.
This is very similar to carrot coins, except it exposes much more surface area.
To make this cut, you’ll want to angle your carrot away from you. The sharper the angle, the longer your carrot slice will be (and thus the more surface area you will have on the carrot).
It is also important to note that it is better to angle your carrot rather than keep your carrot straight and angle you knife a lot. It will be overall much easier to cut.
Method 2: Matchsticks
If you want smaller pieces of carrot in your stir fry, you can also cut the carrots into matchsticks.
Now, there are several ways to do this. A very simple way for a homecook is to take the diagonal slices you just made, and simply cut those down further. (See tutorial below).
However, this doesn’t result in the most perfectly straight matchsticks, so if you’re a stickler for knife cuts, you’ll want to julienne the carrot instead. (This is a more complex process so we will not cover it in this post).
Method 2: Longer Chunks
Another quick and easy option is to cut carrots into longer chunks!
For this cut, start by cutting the carrot directly in half. (Make sure you have a sharp knife for this!)
Then, cut the two halves into 4 quarters.
Now you should have 4 pretty even, long pieces of carrot. From here, simply cut horizontally across into 3 sets of chunks.
Of course, you can cut these as long or as short as you want!
So here is what we have: 3 sets of carrot cuts that are perfect for stir fry: diagonal, easy matchsticks, and long chunks! See below.
How to Stir-Fry Carrots
Once you have your carrots all cut, it is not hard to stir fry them. I usually heat a bit of olive oil in a pan. Once it’s hot, I throw in the carrots and let them fry in the hot oil for a few minutes.
The next step is to add a little water to the pan. This will allow the carrots to cook without browning, and it will also add a nice little glaze!
Of course, you can add other veggies as well, or add herbs and aromatics to enhance the flavor. If you’re stir-frying chinese style, you’ll likely add a sauce at some point as well.
Do you have to peel carrots for stir fry?
It is totally up to you! Your stir fry will still turn out fine if you leave the peels on, but some people (like myself) may prefer peeled carrots. It’s up to your own preference. Just make sure to scrub your carrots well if you decide not to peel them.
Which vegetables take the longest to stir fry?
Carrots are among the veggies that take a longer amount of time to stir fry. Carrots are a lower moisture veggie, which makes it takes longer. That is why we want to expose as much surface area as possible when we cut carrots for stir fry. However, some veggies are much quicker, like zucchini, spinach, and peppers.
Stir fry is a delicious thing to make, and it will go even more successfully if you cut your carrots correctly, with lots of surface area! Diagonal cuts, matchsticks, and chunks will all work great for a stir fry. So now it’s your turn—grab a carrot and start your next stir-fry! Which cut are you going to try first?