This chicken chow mein with vegetables is easy, healthy, and better than takeout! Delicious stir fried Chinese egg noodles tossed with chow mein sauce, lean chicken, and beansprouts!
This chicken chow mein recipe is made with thin Chineses egg noodles, stir fried with vegetables, and tossed in a delicious chow mein sauce made of soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sesame oil.
It's faster and healthier than takeout and makes a delicious, quick weeknight meal that's ready in under 30 minutes!
Ingredients you'll need
- Chow mein noodles - these are thin, Chinese egg noodles that are found in Asian grocery stores. They can come pre-cooked and sold in vacuum sealed packages. You can also use dried egg noodles, ramen noodles, or yakisoba noodles.
- Vegetables - use any vegetables you have on hand. Cabbage, carrots, mushrooms are great.
- Chicken - I used boneless, skinless chicken breast but you can use any protein you want.
Chow Mein Sauce:
The sauce is a sweet and salty combination of two types of soy sauce mixed with oyster sauce for lots of umami flavor.
- Oyster sauce - a sweet and salty sauce with lots of umami flavor; you can substitute with hoisin sauce or teriyaki sauce. The flavors will be slightly different, but still delicious!
- Dark soy sauce - this adds a deep, dark color that's slightly sweeter and thicker than regular soy sauce. Substitute with regular soy sauce if you don't have any.
How to make chicken chow mein
- Mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl and add a tablespoon of the sauce to marinate the chicken.
- Prep the vegetables ahead of time. Use any combination you have on hand. You want a total of about 3 to 4 cups.
- If using fresh chow mein noodles (also called thin Chinese egg noodles), soak them in hot water for 2 minutes to loosen them up. If using other noodles, cook them slightly less than the directions state. Drain it very well. Then pan fry them with oil in a large pan heated over medium high heat.
Make sure to spread the noodles in one layer and then flip them over to the other side. The noodles will crisp up and turn a golden brown which helps them absorb the chow mein sauce later.
Fresh chow mein noodles are thicker, softer, and lighter in color, compared to fried chow mein noodles, which are thinner, darker in color, and less flexible to the touch.
- Cook the chicken and set it aside, then add the vegetables and stir fry until for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the noodles, the rest of the sauce, and the chicken back into the pan and stir fry everything together.
- Lastly, add the bean sprouts and scallions to the pan and toss to combine. If you find the noodles are dry, add a few tablespoons of chicken stock or water.
- Garnish with sesame seeds and serve immediately.
Expert tips & tricks
- Make sure to drain the noodles well. Too much water in the pan will prevent the noodles from getting crispy in the pan. It can also create a lot of splatter when adding the noodles to the hot pan.
- Pan frying the noodles adds great texture and helps it absorb the sauce. Don't skip this step we want to remove any excess water so that the vegetables and noodles stay crispy.
Ingredient substitutions & variations
- Noodles - substitute with ramen noodles, yakisoba noodles, or any thin egg noodles. You can even use thin pasta noodles and it would taste great, but it may not get crispy like chow mein noodles.
- Protein - substitute with any protein you have on hand. Shrimp, beef, pork, and tofu are great additions to this chow mein.
- Vegetables - use any vegetables you have available. Good choices are snow peas, bok choy, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, cabbage, and peppers.
For spicy chicken chow mein, add any of the following:
- chili pepper flakes
- lao gan ma sauce
Frequently Asked Questions
Chow mein noodles are thin, Chinese noodles made of wheat flour and eggs that are stir fried together with sauce and vegetables to make a popular Chinese noodle dish. Translated directly, 'chow' means stir fried while 'mein' means noodles.
Chow mein can vary by the region you're in. The noodles can be served deep fried or pan fried with more or less sauce depending on where you are. Hong Kong style chow mein uses crispy, deep fried noodles.
This recipe uses pan fried noodles which create a golden brown layer of crispy noodles.
Pan fried noodles are thinner, darker, and more stiff compared to the fresh egg noodles, which are softer, a pale yellow color, and more pliable in comparison.
Chow mein noodles are thinner and fried instead of boiled. The literal meaning is “stir fried noodles” as they are stir fried until they become crispy on the bottom.
Lo mein noodles, on the other hand, are thicker, softer, and chewier than chow mein noodles. Lo mein noodles are used in dishes that have thicker sauces and are boiled ahead of time. The literal meaning is ‘tossed noodles’ as they are ‘tossed’ with sauce and vegetables.
See my chicken lo mein recipe for more details and to taste the difference!
You can buy them in Asian grocery stores. Fresh, pre-cooked chow mein noodles can be found in the refrigerated section and come vacuum packed. They are coated with a bit of oil to prevent them from sticking together.
You can also buy dried chow mein noodles or even use ramen or yakisoba noodles. Any thin, egg noodles can be used, even pasta for this recipe. They may not get as crispy as the chow mein noodles but it would still taste delicious with the sauce and vegetables!
More Chinese takeout recipes to try:
- The Best Chicken Lo Mein
- Chinese Hot and Sour Soup
- Egg Drop Soup – Easy and Authentic!
- Panda Express String Bean Chicken Breast Copycat
- Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken Copycat
- Honey Garlic Chicken Stir Fry
- Panda Express Mushroom Chicken Copycat
Chicken Chow Mein with Vegetables
- 16 oz refrigerated fresh chow mein noodles* - cooked and drained well; *see Note 1 for substitutions
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast - cut into bit size pieces
- 3 Tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 ½ cups shiitake mushrooms - sliced into ½ inch pieces
- 2 ½ cups cabbage - sliced into 1 inch pieces; use napa, green cabbage, or bok choy
- 1 large carrot - shredded; about 1 cup
- ½ large red bell pepper - sliced into ⅓ inch pieces
- 3 stalks scallions or chives - chopped in 2 inch long pieces
- 1 ½ cup mung bean sprouts - rinsed and drained
- 1 teaspoon toasted white sesame seeds
Chow Mein Sauce
- Add all the ingredients for the chow mein sauce in a medium bowl and stir until the brown sugar dissolves. Add 1 Tablespoon of the marinade to the chicken pieces and set it aside.
- If using fresh packaged chow mein noodles, soak it in warm water for 2 minutes and then drain well. If using dried egg noodles, cook slightly less than the directions state and drain well.
- Heat a large pan on medium high heat and add half of the oil. Add the noodles to the pan and spread it to an even layer. Let the bottom of the noodles pan fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Then flip it over and let the other side crisp up. Remove the noodles and set it aside. See Note 2 for more details.
- Add the remaining oil to the pan and cook the marinated chicken pieces for 3 to 4 minutes or until fully cooked. Remove the chicken and set it aside.
- Add the mushrooms, cabbage, red bell pepper, and carrots to the pan and stir fry together for 3 minutes or until the vegetables start to soften.
- Add the pan fried noodles, the rest of the sauce, and the chicken back to the pan and stir fry everything together for 1 minute. Turn off the heat, then add the bean sprouts and scallions and toss it together. (Note: If your noodles seem dry and you prefer more sauce, add a few tablespoons of chicken stock or water. This can happen if using fresh chow mein noodles.)
- Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top and serve immediately.
- Substitutions: Substitute chow mein noodles with ramen noodles, yakisoba noodles, thin pasta noodles, or any type of thin egg noodles. Cook them slightly less than their directions state and drain them well. Note: some noodles may not get crispy like chow mein noodles but would still taste delicious. Find fresh, refrigerated chow mein noodles in Asian grocery stores. They come sealed and vacuum packed.
- Pan frying: Pan frying the chow mein noodles add texture and help them absorb more of the sauce by removing any excess liquid. Pan fried noodles will look thinner and darker. See the photos in the post for comparison.
- Storing leftovers: Store any leftovers in an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
*Nutritional information is an estimate, calculated using online tools.