Chicken Chow Mein

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Easy 30-minute Chicken Chow Mein with tender chicken bites, plenty of veggies, and an addictive savory sauce coating it all. Today I’m sharing all my tips and tricks on how to make chicken chow mein BETTER than takeout!

Image of the prepared Chicken chow Mein with tongs in the bowl.

 
Image of all the freshly chopped veggies that go into this dish.
 
Image of the cooked pasta that goes into Chicken Chow Mein.

The best type of noodles for Chicken Chow Mein

It may look like spaghetti, but taking the time to find more-authentic pasta makes a big difference. Try these:

  • Yakisoba: (such as Fortune® brand) is generally found in the refrigerated produce section of grocery stores
  • Fresh chow mein noodles are a good option but are often hard to find in the US. (They are available at some Asian grocery stores.)
  • Dry chow mein noodles: (such as Wel-Pak®) are generally found in the Asian aisles of grocery stores alongside soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sesame oil (which are all conveniently needed for this dish).
  • Dry spaghetti: In a pinch, go with thin spaghetti. The flavor will be slightly different, but still good.

Image of the sauce that goes all over the Chicken Chow Mein.

Using other vegetables

One of the great things about this chicken chow mein is how easy it is to customize. I like celery, carrots, and cabbage best, but feel free to use your favorites. As long as the quantities remain consistent (and the veggies are chopped so they’ll cook in the right amount of time), you can use whatever. Below are some ideas:

  • Bean sprouts
  • Thinly sliced green bell pepper
  • Thinly sliced sweet peppers
  • Snow peas
  • Mushrooms
  • Red cabbage
  • Water chestnuts

Tips for this recipe

  • Making healthy chicken chow mein: to put a healthier spin on this recipe, replace some or all of the noodles with spiralized zucchini!
  • Ultra-tender chicken: I learned this trick from Cooks Illustrated. Chop the chicken into small bite-sized pieces (smaller the pieces = more evenly dispersed chicken and quicker cooking) and toss with baking soda. (Rinse it off, dry thoroughly, and it’s ready to use) This keeps the chicken super tender!
  • Veggie chopping: Chop the veggies in even sizes (and as indicated in the recipe) so everything will cook through in the right amount of time. If the veggies are too big or thick, they’ll take longer to cook and the chicken will likely be overdone. Very thin celery slices, thin julienned carrot pieces, and finely shredded cabbage for this chicken chow mein recipe.

QUICK TIP

Wait! Does this recipe actually call for marinating the chicken in baking soda? Yes, it does. The technique is called velveting, and it’s the secret behind the super-tender meat served in Asian restaurants. Some recipes swap out corn starch for the baking soda, but either of these ingredients changes the pH level of the meat and prevents the meat fibers from getting tough and stringy. Just make sure to rinse the baking soda off the meat before cooking.

Bowl of chicken chow mein noodles

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Chicken Chow Mein

4.82 from 11 votes
Easy 30-minute chicken chow mein with tender chicken bites, plenty of veggies, and an addictive savory sauce coating it all. Today I'm sharing all my tips and tricks on how to make Chicken Chow Mein even better than takeout!
Print Recipe

Chicken Chow Mein

4.82 from 11 votes
Easy 30-minute chicken chow mein with tender chicken bites, plenty of veggies, and an addictive savory sauce coating it all. Today I'm sharing all my tips and tricks on how to make Chicken Chow Mein even better than takeout!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword chicken chow mein
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 -4 servings
Calories 351kcal
Author Chelsea

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into small bite-sized pieces
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups green cabbage cut in small shreds
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger minced (~1-inch piece)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons garlic cloves minced (~2 large cloves)
  • 3/4 cup julienned carrots (~1 large carrot)
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced celery (~2 stalks)
  • 1/4 cup green onions (~3 onions)
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 package (6 ounces) chow mein noodles (I use WEL-pak)
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons lite soy sauce
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock or chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (lightly measured, do not pack!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted (or plain) sesame oil toasted (or plain)
  • Freshly cracked pepper

Instructions

  • CHICKEN PREP: Cut the chicken into small bite-sized pieces. Place in a small bowl and toss with baking soda. Place in the fridge, covered, for 15 minutes. This will make the chicken super tender! After 15 minutes, place chicken in a fine mesh sieve and rinse thoroughly. Pat dry with paper towels and use in this recipe. (This step--called velveting-- is optional; you can simply chop the chicken and use like that.)
  • VEGGIE PREP: Have all the ingredients ready before beginning, because the cooking goes fast! Finely shred the cabbage, coarsely mince the ginger and garlic (don't want too fine of a mince or they burn; don't use jarred/tube ginger or garlic). Peel the carrot and then julienne into very small/thin pieces. (I cut into rounds and then cut into matchsticks) Very thinly slice the celery (I slice on the diagonal). Thinly slice the green onions to separate the white root from the green. You should get about 1/4 cup thinly sliced white roots. Reserve the thinly sliced green part for later.
  • SAUCE PREP: In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch and soy sauce with a fork until completely smooth. Stir in the oyster sauce, chicken stock, brown sugar, and sesame oil. Add pepper to taste (I add about 1/2 teaspoon). Whisk until smooth. Reserve for later.
  • NOODLES: Follow package directions to prepare the chow mein noodles. Rinse in cold water and set aside.
  • COOK: Heat vegetable oil over high heat in a large skillet. Add the white roots of the onion for a minute or two and then and in the garlic and ginger. Be very careful to make sure neither burn -- only cook for about 20 seconds. Add chicken and stir constantly for about 1 minute or until both sides are lightly browned (still not cooked through).
  • COOK CONT.: Add in all the prepped veggies: the shredded cabbage, julienned carrot and thinly sliced celery. Stir near constantly until veggies are crisp-tender and cabbage is wilted, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in the cooked noodles and the sauce mixture. Toss with tongs for 1 minute, until the sauce thickens. Add in the thinly sliced tops of the green onions.

Recipe Notes

Nutritional information includes chow mein noodles, but using a different type will affect the calculations.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 351kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 1812mg | Potassium: 955mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 8450IU | Vitamin C: 47mg | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 2mg

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Easy 30-minute chicken chow mein with tender chicken bites, plenty of veggies, and an addictive savory sauce coating it all. Today I'm sharing all my tips and tricks for how to make chicken chow mein BETTER than takeout! This is sure to be a hit! Recipe via chelseasmessyapron #eay #chinese #best #withcabbage
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25 Comments

  1. HI Chelsea,

    I was turned on to your website by a co-worker and absolutely love your recipes! I’m a Type II diabetic so I can use a lot of the recipes however is there anyway you can start adding nutrition value? I shouldn’t have anything high in carbs and can’t tell just how high some of the recipes are.

    Thanks!

  2. 5 stars
    Such an easy dinner and so good. It is a great way to us up whatever veggies I have in my fridge and avoid take out!

  3. 4 stars
    I am an experienced cook, prep time unrealistic, needed more sauce as well. I did toss the chopped chicken with baking soda as directed and not sure what the point was? But tasted good and filling.

    1. Tenderizes the chicken 🙂 Sauce can certainly be doubled; I also find sometimes a really good pinch of salt takes it to the finish 🙂 Thanks for the comment Chris!

  4. 5 stars
    This truly is the best recipe chow mien recipe. ????
    I like to double the chicken and veggies so this makes enough for my husband and I for 2 big dinners, so 4 generous servings. Making this for the 3rd time for dinner tonight so will have the leftovers on Saturday night … love having a night off from cooking!
    The baking soda/velveting step for the chicken is an absolute must.
    Thanks. ????

    1. I am so happy to hear you guys love this so much! Thanks so much for taking the time to write this comment Lori! 🙂

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