Bok Choy is a side dish that’s simple, nourishing, and packed with delicious flavors. Below I share my favorite ways to prepare and cook bok choy.

Preparing this dish takes only minutes, and makes a marvelous side with any lunch or dinner. Serve with fried rice with take-out style sweet and sour chicken or Mongolian Beef!

Cooked bok choy in a bowl with seasame seeds

Bok choy is one of my favorite stir fry veggies. This delicious cabbage was introduced to North America during the gold rush in the late 19th century.

How to Choose Bok Choy

Bok choy should be firm and waxy with no brown spots. It is sometimes known as pak-choi and while there are many varieties, it most often is seen in two different sizes in North American grocery stores.

  • A full-grown head of bok choy is about a foot long, with thick white ribs and dark green leaves along the top edges.
  • Baby bok choy (photographed here) is about half that size and has a milder flavor than many people prefer over the more pungent adult version.

Whatever the name or size, it’s always versatile, easy to prep, and remains a staple of Chinese cuisine; it’s a stir-fry workhorse.

What does Bok Choy taste like? It has a mild, peppery flavor that makes it suitable for many dishes or salads. Chop or grate it raw for salads or slaw, or, keep it simple and cut in half, brush with oil, and grill. The great thing about this vegetable is that it retains its crunchiness, even when cooked.

Flavors that pair well with bok choy include minced garlic, soy sauce, ginger, red pepper flakes or chili paste, sesame oil, lemon juice, tamari.

bok choy cut in half on a cutting board with a knife

How to Cut Bok Choy

Clean Well! The stalks can often have dirt or grit at the base of the stem so be sure to remove them and rinse well. If cutting in half lengthwise (photo above) run cold water through the stems making sure to remove any dirt or grit.

Bok choy leaves cook faster than the crisp ribs (stems) so they can be cut to cook separately. If using baby bok choy, the leaves and ribs can be cooked together.

  • Baby Bok Choy can be cut in half lengthwise and grilled or cooked on the stove.  Cutting this way makes for a pretty presentation and a crisp ribs with tender leaves.
  • You can also separate baby bok choy by pulling the ribs off and rinsing and then cutting the leaves off to cook separately in a pan.
  • For larger bok choy, I prefer to separate the leaves from the stalks and cook them separately.

For salads, baby bok choy can be shredded and enjoyed raw.

cut bok choy on a marble board

How to Cook Bok Choy

This veggie is quick and easy to cook and comes together in no time flat.

  1. Combine sauce ingredients and set aside (per the recipe below).
  2. Stir fry the garlic, ginger, and sliced bok choy in oil for a few minutes.
  3. Stir in the sauce and add the tops and simmer a few minutes more.

Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve.

Bok choy is best served tender-crisp, be sure not to overcook it!

steps for cooking bok choy in a pan

What to Serve With It

The combination of soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and chili flakes are the perfect complement to tender-crisp bok choy.

Storing and Reheating the Leftovers

Leftovers will keep in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to four days, or in the freezer for up to four months. Reheat on low or medium in the microwave or stovetop until heated through. Don’t overdo the heat or your bok choy could get mushy and overdone.

Take-Out At Home

cooked Bok Choy in a bowl
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Sesame Ginger Bok Choy

Simple, nourishing, and packed with delicious umami flavors, this Bok Choy recipe is ready in 15 minutes!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 16 minutes
Servings 4
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  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger minced
  • 8 heads baby bok choy chopped, whites & leaves separated
  • sesame seeds for garnish


  • Combine soy sauce, water, sesame oil, and chili flakes in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet and cook the garlic and ginger until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Mix in the whites of the bok choy and cook 3-4 minutes. Add soy sauce mixture and leaves and cook 2 minutes more or until heated through and leaves are gently wilted.
  • Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.


Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in a skillet on the stovetop until heated through. 
5 from 88 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 45 | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 255mg | Potassium: 10mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 126IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, Asian, Chinese
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bok chow before and after cooking with writing to show How to Cook Bok Choy
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Holly Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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  1. In this recipe, how much regular bok choy would be substituted for the baby bok choy? The weight of the bok choy is not given.