This chicken chow mein is loaded with juicy chicken, savory veggies, chewy chow mein noodles, and tossed in a ridiculously flavorful chow mein sauce. Made with simple ingredients, you’ll never want to order Chinese takeout again!
I’m not going to lie, I love ordering Chinese takeout. It’s so convenient, and I’m always getting inspiration for new dishes to try and make at home. Along with salt and pepper tofu, Chinese cauliflower, and Mongolian chicken, chicken chow mein is easily one of my go-to dishes.
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What is chow mein?
Featuring egg-based noodles, chicken breast, and an assortment of stir-fried vegetables that are cooked in a brown savory, slightly sweet sauce, chicken chow mein is a popular Chinese recipe.
Why you’ll love this chow mein recipe
We first tried this when we were in America and were craving Chinese takeout, and thought the name sounded cool (seriously). Well, not only was it cool sounding but it tasted incredibly delicious!
It’s been one of our most-made family meals and the fact that the whole recipe comes together in just about 30 minutes is another reason to love this dish.
- Easy to customize. This recipe is full of flavor, but there are endless opportunities to customize the dish and make it a bit differently every time.
- Budget-friendly. Like summer rolls, This recipe uses easy-to-find ingredients, many of which are shelf stable, so there’s no reason to break the bank to make quality chow mein.
- Full of flavor. The sauce is loaded with flavor and gets soaked up perfectly when tossed in the noodles and tender chicken breasts.
- Quick and easy. This recipe is so fast, why not make some hot and sour, egg drop soup or crab rangoons to go with it?
What I love about this recipe and all of our Asian recipes is that since you’re making it in the comfort of your own kitchen, you get the final say in the ingredients! You control the salt, sugar, and spice, so you never have to worry about excess sodium or MSG. Here are the ingredients needed:
- Chicken. The protein of choice, preferably boneless and skinless chicken breast that has been cooked and cut into cubes.
If you don’t have chicken breast fillets on hand, swap it out for boneless chicken thighs or even tenderloins.
- Noodles. Preferably chow mein noodles, though spaghettini noodles will work as well.
- Oil. For sautéeing garlic and veggies. Any neutral cooking oil will work.
- Garlic. Minced.
- Cabbage, carrot, and spring onions. Finely slice the cabbage and carrot, and chop the onion into rings. Set some spring onions aside to use as garnish.
- Sesame seeds. For garnish.
For the chow mein sauce:
- Chicken soup. For essential liquid. Chicken soup adds a ton of flavor, though it can be swapped for chicken broth or water.
- Oyster sauce. Adds a sweet and salty flavor to the sauce.
- Soy sauce. You can use tamari if following a gluten-free diet.
- Sesame oil. An essential ingredient for all good Asian food.
- Shaoxing cooking wine. Adds complexity and a slightly sweet flavor.
For a non-alcoholic option, you can use rice vinegar with 1/2 a teaspoon of sugar.
- Corn starch. A thickening agent for the sauce.
- Brown sugar. Adds a necessary sweetness.
- White pepper. More subtle than black pepper.
How to make chicken chow mein
Making chicken chow mein is very simple. Just 30 minutes in the kitchen and a handful of steps are all you’ll need to get this delicious noodle dish on the table. Now, let’s get cooking!
Step 1- Make the sauce
Begin by combining the sauce ingredients in a large bowl and mix well to combine.
Then, mix the diced chicken with ¼ of the sauce and leave it to marinate for 10 minutes.
Step 2- Cook the noodles
Prepare the noodles per the package instructions. When done, drain and set them aside.
Step 3- pan fry chicken and vegetables
Heat the oil in a wok and cook the garlic for 10 seconds. Then, add the chicken and cook until it slightly browns. Stir often to prevent burning.
Then, add the cabbage, carrot, and spring onion. Let this cook for 2-3 minutes until the cabbage becomes tender.
Step 4- Combine all the ingredients
Last but not least, add the noodles along with the rest of the chow mein sauce and cook until the chicken is fully warmed and the sauce has thickened.
Sprinkle fresh spring onions and sesame seeds over the final dish and serve warm.
Follow these tips to ensure these noodles taste BETTER than your favorite takeout!
- Work fast. A wok is designed to cook what’s on the bottom at high heat for a short amount of time. As more ingredients get added, the cooked ingredients rise to the top, so work quickly once you start cooking.
- Cook the chicken in the marinade. If you don’t already have cooked chicken, then you can let raw chicken breast marinade in the chow mein sauce before cooking and slicing. This will infuse even more flavor into the chicken.
- Don’t use hot chicken soup. Corn starch needs cold liquid to activate and help thicken the sauce, so make sure your chicken soup (or water) is cold or at least room temperature before.
As we mentioned earlier, one of my favorite things about this recipe is how easy it is to customize. Here are some recommendations:
- Switch up the protein. This recipe is called chicken chow mein, but you can easily swap the chicken for beef, prawns, or tofu.
- Use different noodles. Like in a Korean spicy noodle recipe, which uses large, chewy udon noodles.
- Switch up the vegetables. Toss in some broccoli, green beans, and bell peppers, or top the final dish with bean sprouts.
- Make it spicy. Add red chili flakes, chili sauce, or Sriracha to make the dish as spicy as you’d like.
To store: Place leftover chicken chow mein in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to one week.
To reheat: Transfer chicken chow mein to a skillet and heat at medium heat until the dish is fully reheated, frequently stirring. The microwave will also work. Simply heat in 30-second intervals until fully warmed.
To freeze: Allow noodles to cool completely and transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze for up to 6 months.
Chicken lo mein usually uses thicker, more fatty noodles, whereas chicken chow mein uses thin noodles that usually contain eggs.
When made with gluten free noodles, this recipe can easily be suitable for celiacs.
There are just 473 calories in a serving of homemade chow mein.
Chicken Chow Mein
- 1/4 cup chicken soup or water
- 1/4 cup oyster sauce
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine or chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 10 oz chicken breast cubed
- 5 oz chow mein noodles uncooked
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups cabbage shredded
- 1 large carrot sliced into strips
- 3 green onions chopped
- Combine the chicken soup, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, Shaoxing wine, corn starch, sugar, and pepper, and mix well.
- Mix the chicken with ¼ of the sauce and leave to marinate for 10 minutes.
- Prepare the chow mein noodles per package instructions, drain, and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a wok and cook garlic for 10 seconds. Add chicken and cook until it is no longer pink, stirring regularly.
- Add cabbage, carrot, and spring onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the cabbage softens.
- Add noodles and the rest of the sauce and cook until the chicken cooks through.
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