What is Velveting Chicken?

How to velveting chicken
How to velveting chicken. Jen Voo Photography Getty images
  • 4 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins,
  • Cook: 1 mins
  • Yield: 1 pound (Serves 6 - 8)
Ratings (23)

“Velveting” is a cooking technique in Chinese cooking. This cooking technique is most likely to be used in “stir-fried” dishes. You can velvet all kinds of meat as recipes require.


Please don’t mix up “velveting chicken” with “Chicken Velvet”. Chicken velvet is a mixture of minced chicken breast, egg white and liquid that is either added to a soup or deep-fried.


“Velveting” is basically where you coat or marinade poultry or meat for stir-fries with egg white and corn flour or corn starch. In the East, a lot of people and chefs marinade meat or poultry for stir-fries with soy sauce and “potato starch” or “sweet potato starch” before stir-frying or deep frying. This is the most common way to velvet the chicken in the East. You can use a whole egg or egg white to velvet the chicken but it really depends on which recipe you are going to cook. But generally if you want to use egg as an ingredient to velvet your meat or poultry, I would recommend you to use egg whites, as egg yolk can make the colour of the food quite dark.


Also, I would add a little bit of oil (1 teaspoon or 1 tablespoon depending on how much chicken or meat you are cooking) into the mixture. Oil can stop the meat or chicken from sticking together once you start cooking them in the oil.


Alternatively, you can coat chicken breast with a mixture of egg white and cornstarch (rice wine or dry sherry and salt are frequently added), marinade for up to 30 minutes, and then cooked very briefly in hot oil until the colour turns to white. After velveting, the chicken is added to the stir-fry, to finish cooking with other ingredients.


The “Velvet” technique is usually used with chicken breast because chicken breast contains less fat than other kinds of meat. So if you velvet the chicken breast, the velvet technique can lock in the juices of the chicken breast and after it has cooked the breast will still taste moist, juicy and full of flavour. The texture will also be less dry, hard and tasteless.

You can marinade/velvet the meat or chicken a day before you want to cook it. After preparing the egg white mixture and coating the chicken cubes, store the chicken in a sealed container in a refrigerator until ready to use. Otherwise, you can also store the velveted chicken or meat in the freezer bags and store them in a freezer. You can defrost them before you want to cook it. This way can help you plan ahead and get organized with your weekly dinner.


Some of examples of the dishes that should use “velvet” technique:


Kung Pao Chicken

Broccoli Chicken

General Tso’s Chicken

Shanghai Style Sweet and Sour Pork


Edited by Liv Wan


Simple Steps to Velvet Chicken: 

What You'll Need

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 cups vegetable or peanut oil 

How to Make It


  1. Chop the chicken into 3/4 – 1 inch cubes. In a bowl, stir together the egg white and corn flour.
  2. Add the egg white mixture to the chicken cubes, tossing or using your finger to coat the chicken in the mixture. Marinate the chicken in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  3. Lay out paper towels or get a colander ready to drain the chicken after cooking. Heat 2 cups oil in a preheated wok until the oil reach 180c. You can taste the heat by placing a piece of chicken in the wok - it should float immediately. Add the chicken cubes, and let cook until they just turn white, this will take about 30 seconds.  Using a wooden spoon or chopsticks to gently separate them. Quickly remove the chicken cubes from the wok as soon as they turn white, and drain in a colander or on paper towels.
  1. Finish cooking the velveted chicken by stir-frying with the vegetables, tossing and stirring to make sure the chicken is cooked through.


* Before you deep-fry food please check “Deep-fried Cooking Techniques in Chinese Cooking”