Velveting Pork: A Comprehensive Guide to Achieving Tender and Flavorful Stir-Fries

In the culinary realm, the technique of velveting meat has emerged as a game-changer, particularly for stir-fries. Originating from Chinese cuisine, this method involves marinating meat in a specific mixture to enhance its tenderness and flavor. This guide will delve into the intricacies of velveting pork, providing step-by-step instructions and exploring the science behind this remarkable technique.

What is Meat Velveting?

Meat velveting is a process that involves marinating meat in a mixture of cornstarch, baking soda, and water. The cornstarch forms a protective coating around the meat, preventing moisture loss during cooking. The baking soda, on the other hand, breaks down the proteins in the meat, resulting in a more tender texture.

Why Velvet Pork?

Velveting pork offers numerous advantages, making it an indispensable technique for stir-fries:

  • Enhanced Tenderness: The combination of cornstarch and baking soda creates a tenderizing effect, resulting in meat that melts in your mouth.

  • Improved Flavor Absorption: The marinade allows the meat to absorb flavors more effectively, leading to a richer and more flavorful dish.

  • Reduced Cooking Time: Velveting reduces the cooking time required for pork, ensuring that it remains tender and juicy.

Step-by-Step Guide to Velveting Pork


  • 1 pound pork, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon water


  1. Slice the Pork: Cut the pork into thin slices against the grain. This will help the marinade penetrate more deeply.

  2. Combine the Marinade: In a bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, baking soda, and water until a smooth paste forms.

  3. Marinate the Pork: Add the pork slices to the marinade and mix thoroughly. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight.

  4. Prepare for Cooking: Remove the pork from the marinade and shake off any excess. The pork is now ready to be cooked.

Tips for Velveting Pork

  • Use Cold Water: Cold water helps the cornstarch form a more effective coating around the meat.

  • Don’t Over-Marinate: Over-marinating can result in the meat becoming mushy.

  • Cook Over High Heat: High heat is essential for searing the meat quickly and locking in the juices.

  • Don’t Overcook: Overcooking can toughen the meat. Cook the pork until it is just cooked through.

Velveting pork is a simple yet transformative technique that can elevate your stir-fries to new heights. By following these steps and incorporating the provided tips, you can achieve tender, flavorful, and restaurant-quality pork that will impress your family and friends. Experiment with different marinades and seasonings to create unique and delicious variations.

Velveting Pork for Stir Fry


Can you use velveting on pork?

You’ve probably heard of velveting chicken and beef but did you know that velveting is the perfect process to tenderise chewy cuts of pork? Make the most of inexpensive pork cuts like pork shoulder and tenderise them using one simple household ingredient.

Can you velvet pork chops with baking soda?

You can velvet with a mix of egg whites, cornstarch, and oil. Or, for an even easier option, you can use water and baking soda to tenderize meat this way.

How do Chinese make pork so tender?

How do you tenderise pork for stir fry? Velveting is a Chinese technique that helps keep meat tender during stir frying. Adding cornstarch and bicarb to your meat during the marinating process helps to coat your meat, giving it a velvety feel that makes the meat feel extra soft.

How to velvet ground pork?

In a medium bowl, add the pork, water, Shaoxing wine, oyster sauce, and baking soda (if using). Mix with your hands until the pork is well coated and the liquid is absorbed into the meat. Add the cornstarch, vegetable oil, and optional sesame oil and white pepper (if using).

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