DIY Mason Jar Stir-Fry Sauce

Stir-frying is a great technique when you have a little bit of a few things. Often as the garden is just ramping up, you don’t have quite enough of a single vegetable to get a good, solid feed without wiping out all of that vegetable. And then late August comes, and you have too much of every kind of vegetable, but that’s another story.

At this time of year, maybe you have a handful of sprouted broccoli, and a few leaves of kale, and a couple of green onions that are finally bigger than a stir-stick. Or perhaps you have some spring garlic, a few early peas, a handful of overwintering carrots, some spinach and a couple leaves of cilantro.

Harvest first, cook second is a good rule. When your harvest basket demonstrates variety but not necessarily a huge quantity of any particular vegetable, a stir-fry is a fast and easy way to get a garden dinner on the table.

Stir Fry Tips

Stir-fry is more a concept than a recipe, and it’s an easy one to master. The tricks are: hot pan, small pieces, add-in cooking.

  1. Hot Pan: Please don’t use non-stick here. I mean, actually, don’t use non-stick at all, but especially not here because the goal is to get your pan sizzling hot. Think of the canaries! I use a large wok, but a large a cast iron skillet or large heavy frying pan will work great.
  2. Small pieces: Your veggies and any meat should be small enough to cook quickly. Think one-bite size, and aim for slices more than chunks.
  3. Add-in cooking: this is where people often get it wrong with stir-frying. You can’t just chuck everything in at once. You start with the stuff that takes the longest to cook, like meat, onions or carrots, and progressively add-in in the stuff that takes less time, like peppers or green beans. You throw in things like leafy-greens, green onion tops and herbs at the very end.

Mason Jar Stir-Fry Sauce

To make the process even simpler, it helps to have a simple, versatile sauce on hand to toss over your veggies. This is mine. It’s Asian-y enough to taste right on a stir-fry, but basic enough to go with pretty much any meat. You can dress it up or down with whatever additional seasonings, like ginger, garlic, Sriracha, sesame, chili, etc. float your boat. As is, it’s kid-approved.
  • 1 ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup oyster sauce
  • 1 cup maple syrup (Use the real stuff. If you only have maple flavored syrup, use brown sugar to taste instead.)
  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup dijon mustard, to taste.

Pour items into appropriate size jar. Most of my quart jars have built-in measuring marks on the side of the jar; or just eyeball it – you don’t have to be real exact with this.

Seal jar with a leak-resistant lid and shake it all up to mix everything together. I am absolutely in love with my new reCap Mason Jar Lids which make stuff like this super easy.

You can make this sauce your own. Want a tangier sauce? Add more vinegar and mustard. Want it less sweet? Back off on the maple syrup. Vegetarian? Use one of the many mushroom “oyster” sauce options. Addicted to Sriracha (and without spice-phobic children)? Squirt a little hotness in there.

Makes 4 cups and keeps more or less indefinitely in the fridge assuming you don’t modify your recipe by adding any fresh garlic, ginger or whatnot to the sauce.

To use this sauce, add it to your stir-fry towards the end of cooking, when your veggies are 1 to 2 minutes from crisp-tenderness. This sauce has enough sugar in it that it will quickly glaze around your stir-fry components. A lot of stir-fry sauces are thickened with a corn starch slurry, but I prefer a less clinging sauce and skip that step.


  1. Alicia says

    Great idea! I even “Pinned” this one. I am going to order some of those mason jar lids, too. Thanks!

  2. Shanna R. says

    Thanks for another great idea! I look forward to reading your thoughts Monday – Thursday.

    Thanks again!

  3. LadyBanksia says

    Hi, E –

    Two questions re: jar caps… where’d you get these cool ones? Item for a future give-away contest, maybe?? ;^)

    also – have you tried the ceramic, re-usable ones? I’d like to hear from those who have, and heir thoughts – hits/misses, etc. I’m tempted to convert over to them…

    Thanks, and glad you got past the blogger funk from the other day – love your stuff!


    • says

      reCAPs are available here:
      I have no affiliation with the company, but contributed to the Kickstarter campaign that got the company up and rolling so I really want them to succeed. For my start-up contribution I was sent 10 of the lids and am finding them infinitely useful. reCAP is brand new and awesome so you should support them by buying one if you can. The company hasn’t approached me about a promo giveaway but I would absolutely do so if they supplied the caps. No one is getting mine, though, I need them! ;)

      I haven’t used the ceramic jar lids – I’ve heard people adore them and I’ve heard people have a very high failure rate with them….so I think reviews are all over the map. I’m interested in the Weck with the glass and rubber gasket myself. So pretty and euro-chic!

  4. Lora Van Nortwick says

    Very timely post for me! The last two days I have made stir fry. First was with spinach and pak choi from my garden (boy that cooks down to nothing!) with chicken and then last night was stir fried rice (from the leftover rice the night before) with broccoli, carrots (from the store but I do have some started in my garden) and pork. And I had used soy sauce and oyster sauce just like you!
    Stir fry is one of my favorite ways to eat vegetables!

  5. Jennifer says

    Your list of ingredients includes “¼ dijon mustard, to taste. ” is that supposed to be 1/4 cup?

  6. says

    Mixed this up tonight and stir fried with onion, ginger, garlic, green onions, asparagus and shrimp. Other than the fact that I overcooked the shrimp a bit it was fantastic! Definitely worth keeping in the fridge. Thanks!

  7. says

    Another quickie for asian/indian dinners is a blenderized mash of garlic and ginger. Into a blender, throw one part whacked-up nekkid garlic cloves and one part whacked-up ginger cubes. Add as little water as you think you can get away with. VVVRRRR!!! Freeze for easy dispersement later via flat breakable sheets or ice cubes. I packrat away a ton of this stuff every spring, it’s a perfect stir-fry, curry, chowmein, chinese take-out makeover, CORN (Clean Out Refrigerator Now) kick-start.

    This recipe trick donated in sincere thanks for the excellent content.

  8. says

    Well .. here it is August and I’m starting to have a lot of heads of cabbage to pick. Last night we had stir fry and I whipped up a maple syrup based sauce with fresh grated ginger, soy sauce, garlic and sesame oil. Will give yours a try as I think we will be having a lot of stir fry. Love the lid :)

  9. Natalie says

    Hi there!!

    I made this not long ago and it was FANTASTIC!!! How long do you think it will stay good for in the fridge?

    Thank you!


  10. says

    I just got a jar of Five Spice mix, so I’m going to experiment with that for the next few stir fries I make, but outside of the oyster sauce (last time I tried a recipe which called for this, I thought it turned out vile), your recipe looks interesting.


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