Use up those fresh vegetables, garlic, and herbs from your garden this year with this delicious homemade Chicken Chow Mein. It’s probably already one of your favorite Chinese takeout dishes, but making it from scratch is definitely more cost-effective and way healthier than ordering takeout. Made with chicken, fresh veggies, classic chow mein noodles, and the best homemade chow mein sauce, this is going to be your new go-to “let’s eat healthy at home” dish.
What is the Difference Between Lo Mein and Chow Mein?
Many people think the difference between lo mein and chow mein is the type of noodles that are being used, but it really boils down to how the noodles are cooked rather than the type of noodles being used. You may have noticed that lo mein noodles seem to be silky smooth while chow mein is a bit crispy. This is because the noodles are cooked differently.
Chow mein refers to fried noodles whereas lo mein refers to tossed or mixed noodles. However, the two names are commonly used interchangeably. Since this recipe has us cook the noodles then add them to the rest of the ingredients with the sauce, it’s technically a lo mein recipe with chow mein sauce. Both are delicious Asian dishes.
Kitchen Items You May Need
- Wok or Deep Frying Pan
- Measusing Spoons
- Measuring Cups
Chow Mein Ingredients
If you’ve grown any garden veggies, you can use those in this recipe! Fresh ingredients work best. Here’s what you’ll need to make this copycat takeout chicken chow mein:
- Chicken– I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cut each breast into cubes. You can use any boneless, skinless chicken you prefer.
- Olive oil– You can use any oil to cook your chicken. If you don’t have olive oil, you can use vegetable oil, canola oil, or butter.
- Chow mein noodles– You’ll need uncooked chow mein noodles. You can typically find them in the Asian cuisine section at your local grocery store, but if not, spaghetti noodles can be a good substitute.
- Cabbage– Rinse your cabbage and remove any wilted or dead leaves. Then, shred your fresh cabbage using a grater or a knife. I used a green cabbage, but a red one will work just fine too.
- Carrot– You’ll only need one large carrot. Be sure to cut it into thin skinny sticks. I use the julienne slice cut which makes the slice look like matchsticks.
- Green Onions– Cut your green onions into 1-2″ pieces. You can also cut some smaller pieces to use as a garnish on top.
- Bean sprouts– Fresh bean sprouts you sprout yourself are so good, but you can also find them at your local grocery store.
- Garlic– Press two to three cloves of garlic for this recipe. You could use pre-made minced garlic, but it won’t have as much flavor.
- Hoisin Sauce– This is a fragrant, pungent sauce that can be found in the Asian foods section at your local grocery store.
- Sesame oil– Sesame oil has a high smoke point which makes it ideal for using in stir fries, like this chicken chow mein. If you don’t have any, you could also use sunflower oil, coconut oil, or flaxseed oil.
- Chicken broth– Chicken broth adds flavor to your sauce, but also helps to blend all the ingredients together to make sure they all get covered with the sauce.
- Sugar– Combined with the hoisin sauce which has a bit of spicy kick, sugar helps tame the spice making this a sweet and spicy dish everyone will love.
- Cornstarch– You’ll need cornstarch to help thicken the sauce, giving it the perfect consistency for your chicken, noodles, and veggies.
- Soy Sauce-is used to add flavor that’s salty with umami, which translates to a savory taste.
How to Make Chow Mein
Step 1: Prep
First, gather your ingredients so you’re ready to start the recipe. Note the size of the carrot slices (matchstick shape) and the chicken breast cubes.
Step 2: Make the Chow Mein Sauce
Next, grab a bowl and combine the Hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, chicken broth, sugar, and cornstarch. Whisk until smooth. Set the bowl aside.
Step 3: Cook the Noodles
Once your sauce is ready, cook the chow mein noodles as directed on the package and drain. Set aside.
Step 4: Cook the Chicken
Heat your large WOK or deep frying pan with olive oil and cook the chicken pieces until golden brown. Remove the chicken from the pan and set the pieces aside.
Step 5: Cook the Veggies
After the chicken is done, add the carrots, cabbage, chopped or pressed garlic, and carrots to the WOK or deep frying pan, cook until slightly softened. The cabbage will be a LITTLE translucent.
Tip On Peeling Garlic
My daughter told me about this nifty little tool. It peels the garlic when you roll the cloves. It’s magical! Then you use your garlic press. ZYLISS Garlic Peeler
Finished Chicken Chow Mein
Finally, add the chicken and noodles back into the Wok or deep frying pan. Add the bean sprouts to the pan. Pour the sauce over the mixture and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Be sure to toss everything well as you cook. Serve hot from the pan and garnish with the green onions. Enjoy.
Chicken Chow Mein Recipe Card
- 16 -ounces of uncooked boneless, skinless, chicken breast, cut into small bite-size pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 12 -ounces uncooked chow mein noodles (prepare per package instructions, and drain)
- 2 cups shredded cabbage
- 1 large carrot, Julienne sliced (skinny sticks)
- 4-6 green onions, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
- 1 cup bean sprouts (or one 14-ounce can of bean sprouts, drained)
- 2-3 garlic cloves, pressed
- 1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
1. Grab a bowl and combine the Hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, chicken broth, sugar, and cornstarch. Whisk until smooth. Set the bowl aside.
2. Cook the chow mein noodles as directed on the package and drain. Set aside.
3. Heat your large WOK or deep frying pan with olive oil and cook the chicken pieces until golden brown. Remove the chicken from the pan and set the pieces aside.
4. Add the carrots, cabbage, chopped or pressed garlic, and carrots to the WOK or deep frying pan, cook until slightly softened. The cabbage will be a LITTLE translucent.
5. Add the chicken and noodles back into the Wok or deep frying pan. Add the bean sprouts to the pan.
6. Pour the sauce over the mixture and cook for about 2-3 minutes.
7. Serve hot from the pan and garnish with the green onions. Enjoy.
Is Chow Mein Healthy?
Chinese food can be a healthy option, especially if you are using fresh ingredients. The noodles are prepared in light oil with lots of veggies and lean protein. Thus, this dish is low in calories and high in nutrients, making it a fairly healthy option for those who are counting calories.
Do I Need a Wok?
No, you don’t need a wok. In fact, it is totally fine to use a regular skillet if you don’t have one. However, just make sure it is a big skillet with high sides so that your food doesn’t go flying as you toss and mix your ingredients.
How Do I Store Leftover Chow Mein?
To maximize the life of your chicken chow mein, you will want to refrigerate it in airtight containers or a Tupperware bowl. If stored properly, chicken chow mein can be kept in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Simply reheat it in the microwave in 30-second intervals until warm when you want to serve it a second time.
What to Serve with Chicken Chow Mein?
Chow mein is typically an Asian side dish. Since this has added chicken in it, it could be served as a main course with other Asian sides. Fried rice, steamed veggies, dumplings, salad, orange chicken, or Chinese pork are all great additions to this dish.
For years I’ve been making egg foo young. I plan to do a post soon to show you how to make that too, so I made some today and enjoyed it as a side dish to this chicken chow mein. I took pictures of the eff foo young cooking process, so you should see that post soon.
More Homemade Recipes to Try
One of the best ways we can become self-sufficient is to grow and make our own food. However, making the same things over and over can get rather boring. Expanding what you can cook is a great way to prepare for not being able to run to your favorite Chinese restaurant. If you love Chinese food as much as I do, you’ll love this homemade chicken chow mein. Let me know what you think about this Asian cuisine offering in the comments below! May God Bless this world, Linda