Chicken chow mein is one of those classic Chinese take-out dishes that just about everybody enjoys.
This is a great dish that’s easy to make and tastes so delicious you’ll swear it was takeout!
When I was a kid, my mother would order from the popular “Cathy’s Chinese Restaurant” back home in New Brunswick in the nearby town of Sussex. If you’re not familiar with Sussex, it’s a beautiful little dairy farming town filled with lots of friendly people and gorgeous scenery.
Whenever we were in town, we’d stop in to grab some take-out from out local Chinese restaurant and it became sort of a family tradition whenever we went to Sussex. We all loved that place and I have so many happy memories associated with the restaurant. 🙂
While my version of chow mein isn’t exactly like Cathy’s version, it’s almost as good and I know you'll enjoy it too!
This recipe for homemade chicken chow mein is really simple to make. Basically, all you have to do is get your ingredients chopped up and ready beforehand and follow the steps in the recipe below.
Mix up the sauce in a measuring cup and be sure to have your noodles prepared before you start. For this recipe, I used a package of classic Chinese chow mein noodles but if you don’t have those, you can also use any medium thick long pasta. I personally prefer the Chinese noodles for authenticity, but the recipe tastes just as good if you use regular pasta.
The chicken breast slices in this recipe cook in a little bit of oil with some garlic and fresh ginger creating such a delicious fragrance throughout the whole house as you stir fry.
A great shortcut for making chow mein is to use a bag of shredded coleslaw and carrot mix. The stuff is already cut up and prewashed so it’s a great way to save time. If you’d rather cut up your own cabbage and carrot mix, you could definitely do that as well.
This recipe makes for a great meal and is awesome served with egg rolls or any other Chinese side dish that you’d like.
I hope you enjoy this recipe!
What is chicken chow mein made of?
All you need are some simple ingredients like boneless skinless chicken breasts that you've thinly sliced before cooking (alternatively boneless chicken thighs can be used), noodles, beansprouts and vegetables. Any medium thick, long pasta noodles or thin spaghetti noodles are fine but the Asian ones, the packaged, prepared chow mein noodles are the most authentic to the restaurant taste.
The beauty of this dish is that it's so versatile – you can add in whatever vegetables you have on hand! I like to use chopped celery, chopped green onions, bean sprouts and (to make things easier) a small bag of pre-cut coleslaw mix (containing cabbage, carrots, etc.) though of course you can buy a whole green cabbage and slice it yourself if you desire to.
Minced cloves of garlic and and minced fresh ginger are used for flavoring the chow mein sauce. The chow mein sauce is composed of water, low sodium soy sauce, oyster sauce, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and vegetable oil.
How to make chicken chow mein – Overview
Chicken Chow Mein is an easy and delicious dish that can be prepared in under 20 minutes.
To begin making the dish, heat oil for a couple of minutes at medium heat in a large wok. Then add garlic and ginger to the oil and stir for about 1 minute until fragrant. Next add chicken to the wok and cook chicken until it's no longer pink before removing from the pan and setting aside.
While you're cooking the chicken separate out your ingredients for your sauce – this should include water, soy sauce, oyster sauce, brown sugar and rice wine vinegar – mixing them all together in a measuring cup and set aside for later use. Then add a bit more oil if needed before adding in your coleslaw mix as well as celery to the wok in addition to pouring in some of your premade sauce. Cook these ingredients for around 5 minutes until softened before returning your cooked chicken back into your wok with the remaining sauce.
Next add your bean sprouts and three-quarters of your green onions while cooking everything on low heat for just over 1 minute. Add noodles to combine with everything else before turning off the heat completely. Then add some sesame oil while tossing stir fried noodles and everything together with a set of tongs. Serve cooked chow mein noodles right away with any extra green onion slices as garnish!
Chicken Chow Mein Recipe Variations
- Mix in some shrimp alongside your chicken for a seafood variation.
- Mix in some baked or fried tofu cubes alongside your chicken breasts or replace the chicken with tofu for a vegetarian version.
- The chicken breasts can be substituted with boneless chicken thigh meat, or swap the chicken for beef or pork.
- You can use other vegetables such as bok choy, snow peas, purple cabbage, celery, and mushrooms for additional flavor and texture.
- Try adding some diced bell peppers for a touch of sweetness and crunch.
- If you prefer something with more heat, then add in some fresh chili peppers, chili oil or red pepper flakes.
- If you can't find chow mein noodles you can change up the noodles, use ramen noodles or crispy noodles for a different take on chow mein.
What to Serve with chicken chow mein?
Chicken chow mein is such a versatile dish and you can serve it with so many sides that will bring the best flavors to your cooked noodles. Here are some great ideas to help you create the perfect meal:
Fried rice: Fried rice is the classic accompaniment for chicken chow mein. Not only does it taste amazing, but it’s also incredibly easy to make. For a low calorie alternative to fried rice, try serving steamed white or brown rice instead. It’s an easy way to bulk out your meal and make it more filling.
Baked or roasted vegetables: If you want something a bit healthier than fried rice, why not try adding some oven-roasted vegetables? The sweetness of roasted carrots, zucchini, and bell peppers pairs perfectly with the savory flavor of chicken chow mein.
Noodles: Not a fan of fried rice? Why not try serving chicken chow mein with some classic Chinese noodles, like lo mein noodles, Shanghai noodles or egg noodles?
Soup: Nothing beats the comforting flavors of soup on a cold day. Try serving creamy corn and potato soup alongside your chicken chow mein for an extra cozy dinner.
Crispy spring rolls are always a great side dish to serve with chicken chow mein. Not only do they look beautiful on the plate, but their crunchy texture will provide a contrast to the chow mein.
Can I make chicken chow mein ahead of time?
To save time you can chop your veggies in advance and have them ready to go for when you need them, but chow mein is best eaten fresh at the time of making or served as leftovers.
How to Store and Reheat Leftover chicken chow mein
If you’re lucky enough to have leftover chicken chow mein, don't worry – it's easy to store and reheat! Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your extra helping.
First, let your leftovers cool completely before storing them in an airtight container. Refrigerating warm or hot food can cause condensation and moisture buildup, which can make the noodles soggy. It’s best to let your chow mein sit at room temperature until it's evenly cooled off.
Once cool, store your leftovers in an airtight plastic container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. For optimal taste and texture, be sure not to mix old and new portions in the same container.
When it's time to reheat your chow mein, you can use either the microwave or stovetop. For a quick reheating, place your leftovers in a microwave-safe bowl with a damp paper towel over top of it. Heat for 1-2 minutes at 40% power, then leave them to rest for 2 minutes before serving.
If you prefer traditional methods, transfer your chow mein into a non-stick pan and stir gently over low heat for about 4-5 minutes until heated through. Add a small amount of oil or water if necessary to keep the noodles from sticking together or burning.
How long is leftover chicken chow mein good for?
If stored correctly, leftovers should still taste fresh for up to 4 days. It's important to store your chow mein in an airtight container and refrigerate it promptly after cooling down.
Easy Chicken Chow Mein
- Yield: 6 – 8 Servings 1x
- 14 oz package prepared chow mein noodles, set aside (any medium thickness noodles are fine though but the Asian ones are best)
- 1 lb chicken breasts, thinly sliced
- Small bag of pre-cut cole slaw mix (containing cabbage, carrots,etc) – don't worry about the exact size of the bag – more or less won't hurt the recipe 🙂
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped
- 5 green onions, chopped (set aside about 1/4 of them for garnish)
- 3/4 inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbsps + 2 tsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 4 cups bean sprouts, rinced
- Vegetable oil
- Heat the oil in a large wok for a couple minutes at medium heat.
- Add the garlic and ginger to the oil and stir. Cook for about 1 minute until fragrant.
- Add the chicken to the wok and cook on medium. Cook until they are no longer pink. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Combine water, soy sauce, oyster sauce, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar in a measuring cup and set it aside so it's handy.
- Add a tiny bit more oil to the wok if needed and add the cole slaw mix and celery. Add a small amount of the sauce that was set aside and cook for about 5 minutes. The veggies should be softened.
- Add the chicken back to the wok and pour in the remaining sauce.
- Add the bean sprouts and 3/4 of the green onions. Cook for a little over 1 minute then turn down the heat to LOW.
- Add the noodles to the wok and stir everything around so the sauce coats everything.
- Turn off the heat.
- Add the sesame oil to the wok and toss the noodles. I find that using a set of tongs helps when tossing the noodles and combining everything.
- Serve right away and garnish with additional green onion slices.
- Category: Main
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