Beef Chow Mein

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Easy 30-minute Beef Chow Mein has flavorful pieces of beef, plenty of veggies, and an addictive savory sauce coating it allToday I’m sharing all my tips and tricks for how to make Beef Chow Mein even better than takeout!

Want to replace the beef with chicken? Try this Chicken Chow Mein version instead.

Up-close shot of finished Beef Chow Mein with tongs holding the noodles.

Looking for an easy veggie-packed meal that can be ready in 30 minutes or less? Beef Chow Mein is just that! It’s simple to make and loaded with veggies. The stir fry sauce that covers this dish can be put together in just minutes and perfectly coats the noodles, beef, and veggies. 

View of the stir fry sauce in a bowl.

What is the difference between Beef Lo Mein and Beef Chow Mein?

It is often assumed that the main difference between lo mein and chow mein is the type of noodles that are used. 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”

Using other vegetables

One of the great things about Beef Chow Mein is how easy it is to customize. Feel free to use your favorite veggies. 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 you prefer. Here are some ideas:

  • Bean sprouts
  • Thinly sliced celery
  • Julienned carrot
  • Thinly sliced green bell pepper
  • Thinly sliced sweet peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Red cabbage (instead of green cabbage)
  • Water chestnuts
  • Snow peas

If you can’t find the frozen vegetables recommended (not sponsored) in this recipe, I’d recommend adding 1-2 additional cups of cabbage, about 3/4 cup julienned carrot pieces, and 3/4 cup thinly sliced celery. (Add all these veggies in after about 1 minute of the beef cooking.)

Drained chow mein noodles being picked up with tongs.

QUICK TIP

Wait! Does this recipe actually call for marinating the beef 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.

Can you freeze Beef Chow Mein?

Beef Chow Mein doesn’t freeze well. I recommend eating it fresh as soon as it’s finished being made. This recipe doesn’t make too much — 2 generous servings or 4 small servings.

More noodles:

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Beef Chow Mein

5 from 6 votes
Easy 30-minute Beef Chow Mein has flavorful pieces of beef, plenty of veggies, and an addictive savory sauce coating it allToday I'm sharing all my tips and tricks for how to make beef chow mein even better than takeout!
Print Recipe

Beef Chow Mein

5 from 6 votes
Easy 30-minute Beef Chow Mein has flavorful pieces of beef, plenty of veggies, and an addictive savory sauce coating it allToday I'm sharing all my tips and tricks for how to make beef chow mein even better than takeout!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword beef chow mein
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 167kcal
Author Chelsea
Cost $8.20

Ingredients

  • 1 package (10 to 11 ounces) frozen stirfry vegetables
  • 1/2 pound (8 ounces) flank steak thinly sliced against the grain
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups green cabbage cut in small shreds
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons garlic cloves minced (~2 large cloves)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger minced (~1-inch piece)
  • 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 beef stock (beef broth works)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar lightly measured, do not pack!
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted (or plain) sesame oil
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • Optional: toasted sesame seeds

Instructions

  • BEEF PREP: Thinly slice the beef (1/4 inch thick) against the grain. Slice long strips into 2-3 smaller pieces. Place in a small bowl and toss with baking soda. Place in the fridge, covered, for 15 minutes. This will make the beef super tender! After 15 minutes, place beef in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse thoroughly. (This step is optional; you can simply slice the beef and use like that.) Place in a bowl and add 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of the sauce Cover and marinate for 15 minutes to an hour. Pat dry with a paper towel and it's ready for this recipe!
  • VEGGIE PREP: prepare the ingredients in advance 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). 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: Whisk the cornstarch and soy sauce with a fork until completely smooth. Stir in the oyster sauce, beef 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: Add the frozen veggies (unthawed and don't add liquid) to a large nonstick skillet. Put the heat on high and, stirring frequently, cook until mostly thawed, about 5 minutes (add vegetable oil if sticking/needed). Transfer to a plate. Add 1 and 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil to the same skillet and keep over high heat. Add the white roots of the onion for a minute or two and then add in the garlic and ginger. Be very careful to make sure neither burn -- only cook for about 10-20 seconds. Add the beef (patted dry from the marinade) and stir constantly for about 1 minute or until both sides are lightly browned (but not cooked through).
  • COOK CONT.: Add the cabbage right on top. Stir near constantly until cabbage is wilted, about 1-2 minutes. Add the vegetables that were set aside back in to the pan. Add in the cooked noodles and the sauce mixture. Toss with tongs for 1 minute. Add in the thinly sliced tops of the green onions.
  • Enjoy immediately with toasted sesame seeds if desired.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 167kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 847mg | Potassium: 321mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 109IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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22 Comments

  1. So cute to hear about your little nugget enjoying the parade! I really love the theme of it too. My 4th was more low-key and just involved staying at home, so I’ll just have to live vicariously through you ;).

    This looks delicious! My half-Asian heart is singing right now <3

  2. 5 stars
    Made this tonight. Delicious!!! Will definitely make again. The cabbage adds a great flavour!
    Thanks for a great recipe!

  3. lo mein and chow mein do use different types of noodles. Lo mein are thick and yellow round shape noodles where as chow mein could mean pan fried, stir-fried, or deep fried noodles in Mandarin. The translations from Cantonese to Mandarin then to Western interpretation made them a bit confusing. Lo = to pick it from bottom up and toss | Chow = stri-fry. So not only the types of noodles are different the cooking techniques are different, too.

  4. 5 stars
    Simply divine! I used a wok, because I doubled the recipe. The sauce was bliss and the beef oh so tender. Thank you, I will be adding this to my repertoire!

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