Home > Dinner > Chicken Chow Mein Chicken Chow Mein May 16, 2019 | 25 Comments SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Jump to Recipe This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy. 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! My boys are obsessed with all things noodles and sauce. (They request this Spaghetti Bolognese at least once a week!) So, to change things up a bit (but keep noodles on their plates) I make Chicken Chow Mein frequently. It’s quickly become a family favorite and I can’t complain about that. I love it too! Plus, it’s incredibly simple to make, and packed with veggies. Today I’m sharing this easy recipe for Chicken Chow Mein, as well as veggie variation ideas and the best types of noodles to use. But first, let’s do a little Chicken Chow Mein 101! What is the difference between chow mein and lo mein? Many people think that the main difference between lo mein and chow mein is the type of noodles in the dish. However, mein (mian) is simply the Chinese word for noodles. So, lo mein translates to “tossed noodles,” while chow mein (chao) translates to “fried noodles.” Wow, who’d have thought you’d learn a bit of the Chinese language today? What is the difference between chop suey and chow mein? Chop suey is a stir fry made with vegetables, meat, and spices served with rice; chow mein is a stir fry made with noodles, meat, vegetables and spices. You can read more about the differences between the two here. Do you cook chow mein noodles? No. Crispy chow mein noodles have already been cooked. They’re meant for topping meals or salads, great for making desserts (like this one), and tasty by themselves as a snack. While this meal doesn’t call for crispy noodles, nobody’s going to stop you from topping Chicken Chow Mein with a handful of them for a crunchy element! Chow mein sauce These are the components of Chicken Chow Mein sauce, which creates the awesomeness of this dish: Cornstarch: just a little for thickening Soy sauce: use regular or lite, not dark or sweet soy sauce Oyster sauce: for an amazing depth of flavor (don’t worry it doesn’t make the dish taste like oysters). Hoisin can be used in a pinch, but the flavor will be different. Chicken stock: I prefer the flavor of stock, but broth also works here. Use low sodium if possible, because there are quite a few salty ingredients here. Brown sugar: just a little to balance flavors Sesame oil: adds a great authentic flavor –toasted sesame oil is my favorite! QUICK TIP Oyster sauce is really and truly made from oysters. But don’t let that scare you! It doesn’t taste like seafood at all–more like a BBQ/soy sauce blend. It’s made with caramelized oyster juices, sugar, salt and sometimes soy sauce that is thickened with cornstarch. It’s a dark, sweet/salty syrup and it’s what makes Asian cuisine so mysteriously delicious. 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. 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. More delicious chicken dinners Chicken Ramen Coconut Chicken Curry Mango Chicken Chimichurri Chicken Cilantro Lime Chicken FOLLOW ALONG! Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates, recipes and content. Chicken Chow Mein 4.82 from 11 votes - Review this recipe 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! SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Chicken Chow Mein 4.82 from 11 votes - Review this recipe SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe 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 Ingredients1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into small bite-sized pieces3/4 teaspoon baking soda3 cups green cabbage cut in small shreds1 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 oil1 package (6 ounces) chow mein noodles (I use WEL-pak)1/2 tablespoon cornstarch1 and 1/2 tablespoons lite soy sauce1 and 1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce1/3 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 InstructionsCHICKEN 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 NotesNutritional information includes chow mein noodles, but using a different type will affect the calculations. Nutrition FactsCalories: 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 DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.