Whip up a homemade spin on a takeout favorite with a flavor-packed recipe for Quick Chicken Chow Mein that’ll be on your dinner table in 30 minutes or less!
Table of Contents
Noodles in every way, shape and form are a food group in our house, whether bathed in a creamy cheese sauce, chilled and tossed in tangy peanut sauce or layered and baked as a classic Italian dish. If it features noodles, it’s a beloved favorite with my squad. I love this easy chicken chow mein recipe because I can grab whatever veggies and protein I have stashed in the fridge and whip up dinner faster than ordering delivery.
Chow mein is a Chinese dish starring stir-fried noodles (plus a combination of vegetables and sometimes meat or seafood) in a signature sweet and salty sauce. Traditionally the noodles are fried but often, as I do in this recipe, the yakisoba or fresh chow mein noodles are boiled and then added to the stir-fried vegetables, chicken and sauce. If you’d like to make this recipe more authentic, fry your noodles in a little oil before adding them to your pan.
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- It takes 30 minutes (or less) to make.
- Easy to customize with whatever vegetables, protein and noodles you have on hand.
- It’s packed with flavor, thanks to a quick-fix homemade sauce.
Pro Tip: This recipe doesn’t have to be made with chicken. You can sub in any other protein (think shrimp, steak or tofu) or keep it a meat-free main by loading it up with extra veggies.
No matter which way you customize it, one thing is certain: This fast, flavor-packed, meal-in-a-bowl is the answer to all of your “What’s for dinner?” dilemmas!
- Yakisoba noodles or fresh chow mein noodles: Yakisoba or chow mein noodles can often be found in the refrigerator section of most major grocery stores. If you can’t find either, you can substitute spaghetti or linguini.
- Protein: I developed this recipe using chicken breasts, but you can absolutely swap in your protein of choice. Shrimp, steak, pork or tofu would all be delicious.
- Oil: The best oil to use when stir-frying is in one with a high smoke point. I prefer to use vegetable oil. Soybean oil, peanut oil and canola oil are also good choices.
- Ginger: If fresh isn’t an option or not something you normally have in your kitchen, you can substitute ½ teaspoon of ground ginger.
- Veggies: I used celery, carrots, green cabbage and bean sprouts, but feel free to mix up the veggies with your favorites. Bok choy, bell peppers, broccoli, mushrooms and snap peas would all work great.
The Best Chow Mein Sauce
The key to a great chow mein comes down to the sauce. Simply combine oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, low-sodium soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil. It’s sweet, savory and totally delicious!
- Make the sauce. Whisk all of the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
- Cook the noodles. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook them according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Cook your protein. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the protein and cook, constantly stirring, until almost cooked through. (It does not need to be cooked through.) Push it to one side of the pan.
- Add the veggies. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil then add the garlic, ginger, celery, carrots, cabbage and bean sprouts. Cook, stirring constantly and incorporating the protein until the vegetables are tender and the protein is cooked through.
- Add the noodles and sauce. Toss to combine and serve immediately.
- My #1 tip for stir-fry success at home: Mind your mise en place. Stir-frying is a super-fast cooking method, which means it’s crucial to have all your ingredients prepped and within reach before you start cooking.
- Clean out your fridge! Stir-fries are a chance to make the most of leftover odds and ends. Grab whatever you’ve got and get dicing!
- Use whatever noodles you can find. While chow mein or yakisoba noodles are traditionally used in this recipe, you can absolutely substitute spaghetti in a pinch.
Both are Chinese in origin and made with egg noodles, veggies and protein. The biggest difference is in how each dish is prepared. With Chow Mein, the noodles are fried whereas in lo Mein, the noodles just get tossed with the sauce at the end of the cooking process.
No, all you need is a skillet. A wok works, too!
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
For the sauce:
- 1/3 cup oyster sauce
- 2 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
For the noodles:
- 10 oz. yakisoba noodles or fresh chow mein noodles (See Kelly’s Notes)
- 2 medium chicken breasts, cut into thin 1-inch strips (See Kelly’s Notes)
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
- 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup shredded green cabbage
- 1 cup bean sprouts
Make the sauce:
- In a small bowl, whisk together the oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil. Set the sauce aside.
Make the noodles:
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook them according to the package directions. Drain the noodles and set them aside.
- Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring constantly, until it is browned on all sides. (It does not need to be cooked through.) Push the chicken to one side of the pan.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil then add the garlic, ginger, celery, carrots, cabbage and bean sprouts. Cook, stirring constantly and incorporating the chicken, until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the noodles and sauce and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
- Yakisoba or chow mein noodles can often be found in the refrigerator section of most major grocery stores. If you can’t find either, you can substitute in spaghetti or linguini.
- Switch up this recipe with your protein of choice, including shrimp, steak, pork or tofu.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- ★ Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to give it a star rating below!
This post may contain affiliate links.
Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.