This easy chow mein noodles recipe is the healthier version of your favorite take-out! Stir-fried veggies, crispy noodles tossed in a deeply flavorful sweet and savory sauce all done in 1 skillet ready to slurp in 30 minutes!
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30-Minute Chow Mein
When you think of ordering Chinese takeout, chow mein noodles are probably one of your top picks on the menu. I know it is in my family! There’s something so crave-able about those signature crispy crunchy noodles stir-fried with veggies and coated in that beautiful sweet and savory, sometimes spicy, sauce. I could eat a bowl of it on its own or better yet, topped with kung pao chicken, kung pao shrimp or sweet and sour chicken.
It’s one of the reasons why I can never get enough of dishes like veggie beef ramen or vegetable chow mein because the balance of different flavors and textures is something that can only be found in these restaurant-style dishes!
This recipe is hands-down the BEST. It’s a quick 30 minute guide to making this dish right at home using only 1 pan and tons of flavor!
I love good take out once in a while, but if I can save money and time by making it myself anytime I want, you bet I’m going to find a way and then share it with all of you. This fried rice with ham is another takeout favorite I have recreated at home!
What are Chow Mein Noodles?
It’s a stir fried noodle dish made with chow mein noodles (although there are various noodle substitutes available), veggies, and sometimes protein like chicken, beef, or tofu. In this case, it’s made with crunchy carrots, crisp cabbage, and optional bean sprouts and coated in a flavor packed sauce. The method of frying the noodles is what sets them apart from other noodle dishes because of the signature crispy texture that chow mein noodles are famous for.
Chow Mein vs Lo Mein
Have you ever wanted to order chow mein but you mistakenly ordered lo mein instead? Or vice versa and wondered what you did wrong? You wouldn’t be the first! The difference is really in how the noodles are prepared.
Both noodles are boiled at first but chow mein noodles are added to the pan first to crisp up nicely before the sauce is added, which then softens them up to a chewier texture. Whereas lo mein noodles are added to the sauce, veggies, and chicken, and then tossed around just before serving. In a chow mein the noodles are the star of the show, so the other ingredients aren’t as abundant. In a lo mein, it’s less noodles, more everything else.
What Noodles Do I Need For Chow Mein?
For a more authentic dish, pick up traditional chow mein noodles from an Asian market or grocery store. I prefer to stir fry rice noodles because they’re gluten-free, but you can also use ramen noodles or even angel hair pasta if you prefer.
Tips & Variations
- More veggies. For even more vegetables or substitute for what you like. Double the cabbage and carrots or swap for bell peppers, snow peas, water chestnuts, mushrooms, broccoli, or bok choy. For sturdier veggies like bell peppers and broccoli, cook a few minutes before adding in the cabbage.
- Add spice. Add a splash of sriracha sauce and red pepper flakes for heat.
- Protein. Toss in some protein like chicken for chicken chow mein, shrimp, or beef if desired. To keep it vegetarian throw in some cubes of tofu or tempeh.
- Wonton strips. For a nice crunch, top your noodles with some crispy wonton strips.
- Omit the oyster sauce. Oyster sauce does give it a depth of flavor that rounds out the dish nicely, but if you don’t have any, swap for hoisin sauce. It won’t be the same, but it’ll still taste great.
More Asian Inspired Recipes:
- Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry
- Fried Rice
- Egg Roll in a Bowl
- Crockpot Beef and Broccoli
- Chicken Pad Thai
Chow Mein Noodles
- 2 Tablespoons oil
- 12 ounces stir fry rice noodles , chow mein noodles or angel hair pasta
- 2-3 cups chopped cabbage
- 2 large carrots , julienned
- 3 garlic cloves , minced
- 1 cup bean sprouts , optional
Chow Mein Sauce
- ¼ cup oyster sauce
- ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1-2 Tablespoons sesame oil
- ½ cup chicken broth or vegetable broth, more as needed
- 1-2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
For garnish: sliced green onions
- Cook noodles al dente according to package (about 4 minutes). Be careful not to overcook. Drain and rinse in cool water.
- While the noodles are cooking, mix together the sauce ingredients.
- Heat a large skillet or wok pan over medium heat. Add the oil and then add in the cabbage and carrots. Cook 1 minute and then add in the garlic. Cook 1-2 more minutes.
- Add noodles into the pan and the pour the sauce over top of the noodles. Toss until combined.
- Add sliced green onions to the top if desired. Serve while hot.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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