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Chicken Chow Mein

Stir-fried noodles, studded with chicken and veggies, our chicken chow mein recipe makes your DIY Chinese takeout dreams come true.


homemade chicken chow mein with carrots, cabbage, celery and green onion on a plate

No, It’s Not Authentic Chinese Food. Yes, It Is Delicious.

Remember that steaming hot mound of deeply savory, oil-slicked stir-fried noodles, studded with perfectly tender chicken and veggies that was your go-to order on takeout night? What if you could have that very chicken chow mein you loved as a kid, in your own home, faster that delivery and (of course) fresher, too?

raw chicken, chow mein noodles, soy sauce, oil, cabbage, celery, noodles, garlic, green onions and bell peppers.
raw chicken breast pieces velveted in a bowl with cornstarch and soy sauce
chicken pieces in a bowl that has been tossed in salt, soy sauce and cornstarch and then poached
poached chicken pieces and garlic cooking in a large skillet

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What Is Chow Mein?

And, while we’re on the topic, what’s the difference between chow mein and lo mein? And is chow mein authentically Chinese, or is it American-style Chinese food? You’ve got so many chow mein questions, and luckily, we’ve read up, so we’ve got so many chow mein answers! Let’s dive in:

  • What is chicken chow mein? Chow mein falls solidly into the category of Chinese-American cuisine—it is not an authentic Chinese dish. It’s likely derived from a few different authentic stir-fried noodle dishes, but was created in American Chinese restaurants to cater to Western palates. To sum it up, takeout-style chicken chow mien is just a totally retro, deeply inauthentic, much beloved dish that we crave on the regular. You too? Read on for our super easy chow mein recipe!
  • What’s the difference between lo mein and chow mein? We’ve done a lot of reading on this topic, and in all honestly, a lot of people in America seem to use these two terms nearly interchangeably, but the primary, most consistent differences seem to be the type of noodles used and the order in which things are cooked. Chow mein is usually made from dried noodles, whereas most lo mein recipes call for fresh egg noodles (the kind you’d find in a refrigerated section of a grocery store). Chow mein recipes (like ours) call for the noodles, veggies and chicken to all be stir-fried together, while many lo mein recipes have the noodles tossed in right at the end or even call for the veggies and / or meat to be served on top of a pile of cooked noodles.
  • Will I like this chow mein recipe? Uh, YEAH. These stir-fried noodles are extremely tasty. You can just recycle all those takeout menus now.
shredded cabbage, sliced bell peppers, chopped celery, shaved carrots, garlic and ginger being cooked in a large skillet
oyster sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar and chili sauce stirred together in a bowl
fresh chow mein noodles cooked in sauce in a large skillet
chicken, chow mein noodles and stir fried veggies being tossed in sauce in a skillet

The Ingredients You’ll Need To Make Chow Mein

  • Chicken breast
  • Cornstarch
  • Soy sauce
  • Dried chow mein noodles
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Oyster sauce. If you’re not familiar with oyster sauce, it’s time to get familiar! This classic Chinese sauce is indeed made from oysters (just like it sounds like it is) and is the key to the super savory goodness of chow mein (and lots of other beloved takeout classics).
  • Rice vinegar
  • Brown sugar
  • Chili sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Canola oil
  • Veggies: carrots, celery and cabbage
homemade chicken chow mein with bell peppers, celery, carrots and a sauce in a skillet

How To Make Chow Mein

There’s a lot of “into the pan, then out of the pan, then back into the pan, then back out of the pan” work to do here, so it’s helpful to have a few plates set near the stovetop while you work. Other than that, this easy chow mein recipe is just that—easy! Here’s how to make it:

  1. Season the chicken—salt, soy sauce, cornstarch.
  2. Boil the chicken piece (4 minutes) and the dried chow mein noodles (about 3 minutes) separately.
  3. Stir-fry the chicken. Stir-fry the boiled chicken pieces for a few minutes in a combo of sesame and canola oil.
  4. Stir-fry the veggies. Stir-fry the veggies in that same sesame-and-canola oil mixture.
  5. Make a sauce. Whisk together oyster sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, chili sauce and rice vinegar to make a sauce.
  6. Stir-fry the noodles! Fry the cooked chow mein noodles with that yummy sauce until the noodles are a bit caramelized and even crispy in places.
  7. Stir-fry it all together! Add the chicken and veggies and toss it all together.
  8. Eat up!
homemade chicken chow mein with bell peppers, celery, carrots and a sauce in a skillet
homemade chicken chow mein with bell peppers, celery, carrots and a sauce in a skillet

Tools You’ll Need

More Better-Than-Takeout Recipes To Try

homemade chicken chow mein with bell peppers, celery, carrots on a serving plate
homemade chicken chow mein with bell peppers, celery, carrots on a serving plate

Toss Those Takeout Menus!

Because you’re a chow mein-making pro now! When you make this recipe, we’d love to hear about it! Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

Chicken Chow Mein

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  25 min
  • Cook Time:  35 min
  • Calories: 649


  • 1 ½ lbs chicken, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 5 tbsp soy sauce, divided
  • 12 oz package dried chow mein noodle
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil, divided
  • 6 tbsp vegetable or canola oil, divided
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • ¼ cup oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1-2 tsp chili sauce
  • 1 cup Carrots or bell peppers, julienned
  • 2 cups cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ cups Celery, 1/2-inch chopped
  • Green onions, thinly sliced, optional


  1. In a bowl, toss the chicken pieces with salt until evenly coated. Then, add the cornstarch and 2 tbsp soy sauce to the chicken and mix again until every piece is well-coated.
  2. Bring 2 pots of water to a boil (one medium and one large). Add the cornstarch-coated chicken to the medium pot and boil the chicken for 4 minutes. Strain it out and set the chicken aside.
  3. Add the chow mein noodles to the large pot of boiling water and cook according to package (3 mins) using a colander strain the noodles and set aside the colander. If the noodles stick together, rinse under water to separate them before adding them to the pan.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil and 2 tablespoons canola oil in a large wok or skillet set over medium high heat.
  5. Stir-fry the chicken for 2 minutes and set aside onto a large plate.
  6. Add another 1 tablespoon sesame oil and 2 tablespoons canola oil to the hot pan and cook the veggies along with the garlic and ginger, for 3 minutes, remove the veggies from the pan and set aside with the chicken.
  7. In a small bowl mix together the oyster sauce, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, rice vinegar , brown sugar and chili sauce together until fully combined, set aside.
  8. Add another 1 tablespoon sesame oil and 2 tablespoons canola oil to the pan and stir fry the cooked chow mein noodles along with the sauce for 5 minutes on high heat. Some pieces will get nice and carmely and crispy. Add the veggies and chicken toss to combine.
  9. Serve warm.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories649
  • Protein46 g
  • Carbohydrates65 g
  • Total Fat26 g
  • Dietary Fiber2 g
  • Cholesterol66 mg
  • sodium1803 mg
  • Total Sugars8 g

Chicken Chow Mein

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Sandra

    Why am I coating the chicken in cornstarch and soy sauce just to then "wash it off" again when I put the chicken in a pot of boiling water for 4mins? Am I missing something here?

    The cornstarch does not wash off. This is a technique called "Velveting." When you coat the meat in the cornstarch mixture and then blanch it you create a coating that seals in all of the juices so that those small thin pieces of chicken don't get dried out. It also creates a coating of velvet texture on the chicken. Hope this helps!

  • Candy Dawson

    What is oyster sauce

    It is a rich, syrup like sauce that is used in Chinese cuisine made from oyster extract.

  • Shaylen

    How many people does it serve?

    Serves 6!

  • Jennifer

    Would this recipe work without the chicken? If I just skipped the first part?


  • RockinRic

    I just made this for dinner tonight and it was awesome. I did add sprouts, bok choy and canned chestnuts and of course baby corn on the cob to your recipe and it was amazing. There is enough for at least another dinner and a lunch as I’m a single person but no matter I will enjoy the left overs. I find meals like this are much taster the next day. Thank you so much for such an easy meal and so tasty. It does take a while to prep all the ingredients but once you’ve done this it goes together in a flash. I highly recommend making this recipe. Cheers everyone and enjoy.

    Thanks Rick, we are so happy that you loved it!

  • Kelly

    Seriously the best chicken chow mein. It tastes just like take-out chow mein. I cook from online recipes a lot but never leave a review. This recipe is SO GOOD that I had to. 10/10

    Thank you so much Kelly! We are so glad you loved it and are so happy you left a review!

  • L J Slatt

    Absolutely delicious! Will definitely make again

    Thank you, this is so wonderful to hear! Glad you loved it!