Chow Mein is a Chinese noodle dish with big flavor, with crispy fried noodles tossed with lots of veggies in a savory sauce, done in under 30 minutes!
Easy Chow Mein
If you enjoy crispy stir fried noodles, Chinese Chow Mein is the dish for you.
Chow Mein is a recipe defined by its wonderfully crispy noodles tossed in a simple savory Chinese sauce, often accompanies by a simple selection of vegetables and sometimes protein.
You may have enjoyed it at your local Chinese restaurant or Chinese takeout. Home cooking is much more enjoyable when making Chinese food, as you can control everything that goes into the dish, including the spicy elements, which you won't usually find in Chow Mein.
I'm including some spicy chilies and chili flakes, along with chopped chicken to make a Chicken Chow Mein that has a nice touch of spice, though you can very easily adapt this recipe to your own preferences.
Let's talk about how to make Chow Mein, shall we?
Chow Mein Ingredients
- CHOW MEIN SAUCE
- Oyster Sauce. Oyster sauce adds a wonderful umami flavor to this dish. If you're unable to find it, consider hoisin sauce, or use extra soy sauce mixed with a teaspoon of brown sugar as an oyster sauce substitute.
- Soy Sauce. I'm using a light soy sauce, but try a combination of light and dark soy sauce for a more robust flavor.
- Sesame Oil.
- Cornstarch. Optional to thicken, mixed with 1 tablespoon water to form a slurry. You can skip for a thinner chow mein sauce.
- CHOW MEIN RECIPE
- Dried Chinese Noodles. See the recipe notes for other options.
- Vegetable Oil. For cooking and lightly frying the noodles.
- Chicken. You can use other proteins, or skip for a vegetarian Chow Mein.
- Vegetables. Ginger, Garlic, Onion, Bell Pepper, optional Spicy Chilies, Scallions. See recipe notes for other options.
- For Garnish. Spicy chili flakes, chopped scallions
How to Make Chow Mein - the Recipe Method
Make the Chow Mein Sauce. Whisk the chow mein sauce ingredients in a small bowl until combines. Set aside.
Oil the Chow Mein Noodles. Toss the prepared noodles in a large bowl with the vegetable oil. Coat them evenly with the oil.
Lightly Fry the Noodles. Heat a large pan or wok to medium-high heat and add the noodles. Stir fry the noodles for 2-3 minutes, or until they become crispy and brown slightly. Remove from heat and add back to the bowl, but keep the oil in the wok.
Noodle Cooking Tip
Stir frying the noodles in oil is a key step in making Chow Mein, making them wonderfully crisp, as opposed to the tender noodles of Lo Mein.
Stir Fry the Chicken. Add the chicken to the wok and stir fry for 2 minutes, or until the chicken browns and cooks mostly through.
Ginger and Garlic. Add the ginger and garlic and stir fry for 1 minute.
Onion and Peppers. Add the onion and peppers and stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
Scallions and Sauce. Add the scallions and chow mein sauce and stir fry for 1 minute to warm. Remove from heat.
Serve. Stir in the noodles, garnish, and serve.
Boom! Done! Your Chow Mein is ready to serve. Easy enough to make, isn't it? So quick and easy! I'm serving mine up with chicken and some extra spicy chili flakes.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Softening the Noodles. Be sure to boil the noodles until al dente, or almost just soft, as this will affect the resulting texture of the dish. Cooking times can vary, depending on the thickness of the chosen noodles, so be sure to follow the packaging instructions.
- Noodle Substitutions. If you can't find Chinese egg noodles in grocery stores, use other dried noodles - linguine, ramen noodles, or long egg noodles.
- Protein Options. Skip the chicken for a vegetarian version. Other protein options include shrimp or tofu.
- Vegetable Options. Add mushrooms, carrots, cabbage, bean sprouts.
- Chow Mein Sauce. Up your chow mein sauce game by adding some dark soy sauce and a bit of sriracha to spice things up.
Chow Mein will last up to 5 days in the refrigerator in a sealed container. It isn't bad served cold, but is easily reheated in a microwave or tossed in a hot pan.
You can also freeze it for 2-3 months.
That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoy this Chow Mein recipe. Let me know if you make it. I'd love to hear what proteins you've decided to use, if any, and how you spiced it up!
If you enjoy Chinese cooking, I recommend the following cookbook for the American cook, which I used to adapt this recipe. It has a lot of great recipes.
- Easy Chinese Cookbook: Restaurant Favorites Make Simple, by Chris Toy (affiliate link, my friends!)
Recommended Wok for This Recipe
Amazon Affiliate links, my friends!
HexClad 12 Inch Hybrid Stainless Steel Wok Pan with Stay-Cool Handle - I've been loving this wok, makes stir frying and clean up so easy.
Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes
- Lo Mein Noodles
- Chicken Lo Mein
- Spicy Ramen Noodles
- Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao)
- Yakisoba Noodles
- Dan Dan Noodles
- Mie Goreng (Indonesian Stir Fry Noodles)
- Szechuan Chicken
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Chow Mein Recipe
CHOW MEIN SAUCE
- 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch optional to thicken, mixed with 1 tablespoon water to form a slurry
CHOW MEIN RECIPE
- 8 ounces dried Chinese noodles cooked to al dente
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 pound chicken cut into bite-sized pieces (optional - see recipe notes. Omit for vegetarian)
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 large onion sliced
- 1 large red bell pepper sliced
- 1-2 spicy chilies optional, for spicy - I used a couple jalapenos
- 5-6 scallions chopped
- For Garnish. Spicy chili flakes, chopped scallions
- Whisk the chow mein sauce ingredients in a small bowl until combines. Set aside.
- Toss the prepared noodles in a large bowl with the vegetable oil. Coat them evenly with the oil.
- Heat a large pan or wok to medium-high heat and add the noodles. Stir fry the noodles for 2-3 minutes, or until they become crispy and brown slightly. Remove from heat and add back to the bowl, but keep the oil in the wok.
- Add the chicken to the wok and stir fry for 2 minutes, or until the chicken browns and cooks mostly through.
- Add the ginger and garlic and stir fry for 1 minute.
- Add the onion and peppers and stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the scallions and chow mein sauce and stir fry for 1 minute to warm. Remove from heat.
- Stir in the noodles, garnish, and serve.
Hi Mike, thanks for this great recipe. It definitely works. I made it a couple of weeks ago and am making it again tonight. I used 1/2 of a red and yellow bell and mixed up the protein with chicken, shrimp, and tofu. I also used 3 Thai peppers for a little heat . Thanks again!
In your recipe tips and notes, you say to soften the noodles, but you don't have that step in the recipe. I'm assuming that is a step for lo mein and now chow mein. Love your recipes.
Mike Hultquist says
Hi, Lesley. Thanks for the comment. In the recipe card, I wrote for the noodles "cooked to al dente". The extra note is just a reminder.