30-Minute Dinner/ Chicken Recipes/ Dinner/ meat

Chicken Chow Mein

22 February 2022 By Aleksandra

Chicken chow mein is one of my favorite take-out dishes. These easy stir-fried noodles with tender chicken, crunchy vegetables, and simple sauce are truly delicious. You can make this dish in 30 minutes at home and it will taste way better than from a restaurant!

Chicken chow mein on a green plate.

About this dish

This version of chicken chow mein is not entirely traditional but rather what you would order in a restaurant or buy in a take-away food chain.

The homemade version is absolutely delicious and well worth a try especially if you got those greasy noodles with onions and cabbage and almost no other vegetable or chicken at a restaurant and you weren’t a fan of it.

This dish is really easy and quick to make at home and you can control what ingredients you want to put in it.

The traditional version of chow mein noodles is made with crispy pan-fried noodles that resemble a large pancake with stir-fried vegetables on top.

Below you will find information about the ingredients and how to prepare the recipe. For the measurements and detailed instructions scroll down to the printable recipe card.

Recipe Ingredients

Here’s what you need to make this dish:

Labeled ingredients for chicken chow mein.

For the stir fry you will need:

  • Noodles for chow mein – it’s best to use chow mein noodles – they are thin Chinese egg noodles. You can also use ramen noodles (just toss the seasoning packet) or mie noodles for this recipe. Dried noodles can be found in most supermarkets and you can also find fresh noodles in Asian stores.
  • Chicken – I used chicken breasts but boneless and skinless chicken thighs can also be used.
  • Green onions and garlic.
  • Vegetables of your choice – I used napa cabbage (you can also use regular white cabbage, I prefer naba cabbage because it softens quicker), button mushrooms (I love mushrooms in stir fries), and carrots.

For the chow mein sauce you will need:

  • Oyster sauce – has a deep savory flavor and it’s necessary for this dish. You should be able to find it in your grocery store. Don’t worry, the sauce won’t taste like oysters or fish. I wouldn’t try to replace oyster sauce in this recipe.
  • Soy sauce – use low-sodium if you’re watchin your sodium intake.
  • Toasted sesame oil – make sure to use toasted sesame oil – it’s very aromatic and smells intensely like sesame seeds. Always add it to the sauce or season your dish with it, but it’s not suitable for frying. You can use regular sesame oil for frying but it has a rather neutral smell and taste.
  • Corn starch – it thickens the sauce, potato starch can also be used.

Make it differently

Use another type of protein – shrimp or thinly cut beef or pork would also be delicious.

Use other vegetables – green beans, broccoli, bell peppers, celery, bean sprouts, bok choy cabbage, white cabbage, now peas, spinach.

Make it vegetarian – this dish would also be delicious without the chicken!

Make it more spicy by adding red pepper flakes or chopped fresh chilis.

How to make chicken chow mein step by step

Chicken in the marinade in a blue bowl. Chow mein noodles in a pot.

STEP 1: Marinate the chicken

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon corn starch, and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Add the chicken cut into small, bite-sized pieces. Season the chicken with black (or white) pepper. I’m not adding any salt because the soy sauce is already salty. Toss to coat and set aside.

TIP: you can marinate the chicken in a Chinese marinade made with baking soda. This process is called velveting meat. You can read more here on how to velvet chicken.

STEP 2: Cook the noodles

Cook the noodles according to the package instructions. I cook mine always 1 minute shorter to ensure they are not overcooked (they will be cooked briefly later with the sauce). Spread the cooked noodles on a large plate or baking sheet lined with kitchen towels to dry them out a bit.

Sauce ingredients are being stirred in a bowl. Chopped vegetables on a chopping board.

STEP 3: Make the sauce

Whisk all the ingredients for the sauce in a medium bowl.

STEP 4: Chop the vegetables

Cut the carrot into matchsticks, slice the mushrooms into thin slices, cut the cabbage into thin slices. Slice the green onions: white part into thin slices and the dark green park into large chunks. Reserve some green onions for the garnish (the dark green parts). Finely chop the garlic.

Cooked chicken in a pan. Cooked vegetables in a pan.

STEP 5: Cook the chicken

Heat a large frying pan over high heat. When hot add the oil. When the oil is hot add the chicken. Don’t stir for the first 1-2 minutes letting the chicken brown, the cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

STEP 6: Cook the vegetables

Add another tablespoon of oil and all the vegetables to the pan. Cook over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes until softened but still crunchy.

Sauce is being added to a pot with noodles, chicken and vegetables. Noodles are being tossed with the sauce and other ingredients.

STEP 7+8: Assemble

Add the chicken back to the pan, add the sauce and noodles.

Let the sauce come to a boil then stir everything together until evenly coated.

If your pan is too small you can transfer all the ingredients into a large pot to stir them together comfortably.

Sprinkle with thinly sliced green onions.

Enjoy!

TIP: To make this dish more authentic you could also pan-fry the noodles until crispy and browned. I usually omit this step when I’m in a hurry but crispy noodles add texture and flavor to the dish.

Noodles are being picked from a pot with kitchen tongs.

Storage

You can store the leftovers for up to 3 days in the fridge. The noodles reheat well. The noodles will be a little bit softer because they will absorb some of the sauce. Add a splash of water when reheating this dish.

Recipe FAQ’s

What is a chicken chow mein?

Chicken chow mein is a popular Chinese take-away dish. It’s made with chicken, chow mein noodles, vegetables, and easy stir fry sauce.

What’s the difference between chicken chow mein and lo mein?

Different type of noodles is used for both dishes. Chow main dish is made with pan-fried noodles and in the lo mein the noodles are simply tossed with the other ingredients. In Chinese, chow mein means fried noodles. Lo mein translates to tossed/stirred noodles.

Can spaghetti noodles be used for chow mein?

I haven’t tried that but I’ve read you can cook spaghetti noodles with baking soda to achieve a similar texture and flavor of the chow mein noodles. You can read more about it here.

More Chinese take-out dishes for you to enjoy

Close up picture of chicken chow mein noodles in a pot.

Did you make this recipe? RATE THE RECIPE or tell me in the COMMENTS how you liked it! You can also add a photo of your dish. It would make me very happy and will help other readers. Thank you!!

Chicken Chow Mein

Chicken chow mein is one of my favorite take-out dishes. These easy stir-fried noodles with tender chicken, crunchy vegetables, and simple sauce are truly delicious. You can make this dish in 30 minutes at home and it will taste way better than from a restaurant!
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Chicken chow mein noodles in a white pot are being picked with kitchen tongs.
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 610kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

for the chicken:

  • 13 ounces (370g) chicken breast
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • ground black pepper to taste

for the noodles:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups thinly sliced napa cabbage
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 6 button mushrooms
  • 3 green onions
  • 9 ounces (250g) chow mein noodles or ramen noodles

for the sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch

Instructions

  • Marinate the chicken: In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon corn starch, and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Add the chicken cut into small, bite-sized pieces. Season the chicken with black (or white) pepper. I'm not adding any salt because the soy sauce is already salty. Toss to coat and set aside.
  • Cook the noodles according to the package instructions. I cook mine always 1 minute shorter to ensure they are not overcooked (they will be cooked briefly later with the sauce). Spread the cooked noodles on a large plate or baking sheet lined with kitchen towels to dry them out a bit.
  • Make the sauce: whisk all the ingredients for the sauce in a medium bowl.
  • Chop the vegetables: cut the carrot into matchsticks, slice the mushrooms into thin slices, cut the cabbage into thin slices. Slice the green onions: white part into thin slices and the dark green park into large chunks. Reserve some green onions for the garnish (the dark green parts). Finely chop the garlic.
  • Cook the chicken: Heat a large frying pan over high heat. When hot add the oil. When the oil is hot add the chicken. Don't stir for the first 1-2 minutes letting the chicken brown, the cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
  • Cook the vegetables: Add another tablespoon of oil and all the vegetables to the pan. Cook over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes until softened but still crunchy.
  • Assemble: Add the chicken back to the pan, add the sauce and noodles. Let the sauce come to a boil then stir everything together until evenly coated. If your pan is too small you can transfer all the ingredients into a large pot to stir them together comfortably.
  • Sprinkle with thinly sliced green onions.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • To make this dish more authentic you could also pan-fry the noodles until crispy and browned. I usually omit this step when I’m in a hurry but crispy noodles add texture and flavor to the dish.
  • Calories: 1 serving (1/4 of the recipe). This is only an estimate!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese-inspired
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