I stir fry several times a week. When I do I do each portion seperately, made to order.

How much oil should I use? How do I figure out how much oil to use for each portion since some are bigger than others, i.e. I stir fry much less for a portion for my 5 year old daugher.

3 Answers 3


Use about 2-3tbsp for a 'normal portion', and reduce that by the same factor as you reduce the portion for your daughter, e.g. if your daughter's portion is half the size, use 1tbsp.

Remember you can always add oil, but you can't take it away (not easily anyway), so err on the side of caution and whack a bit more in if it seems necessary.

  • I would say start with 2 tablespoons as well, and then see if that is transferring enough heat to cook your food well and giving you the flavor and texture that you like. Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 15:13
  • Plus, if you do end up with sticking, you can always just scrape the heck out of a regular carbon-steel wok. You don't need to be gentle with them. So just use as little oil as possible to get the job done.
    – Aaronut
    Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 16:01

If you are aiming to reduce oil, I don't have a measurement, but perhaps a technique that might be useful. With stir frying, we generally start with a very hot dry wok, If you've waited long enough the oil should spread thinly right away. I find I add a lot less that way.

The second thing is the kind of vessel you're cooking in. Stainless steel will require more oil, then a more traditional, well seasoned carbon steel wok..


Hot hot hot wok! I can use as little as 1/2 Tbsp. For an adult size stir fry portion. Since we are all watching our intake this does not seem to drown the flavors. A quick bead around your wok will coat a thin layer and nothing will stick. The trick is having everything ready keep the wok moving and start with the wok HOT!

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