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Chow Mein Noodles

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!

chow mein noodles in skillet

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 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!

chopping vegetables on wooden board

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 noodles in black skillet

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, 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.
chow mein noodles

More Asian Inspired Recipes:

chow mein noodles in black skillet

Chow Mein Noodles

5 from 2 votes
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!
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Servings: 8

Equipment

  • skillet

Ingredients 

  • 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

For garnish: sliced green onions

    Instructions

    • Cook noodles al dente according to package (about 4 minutes). Be careful not to overcook. Drain and rinse in cool water.
      cooking rice noodles in pot
    • While the noodles are cooking, mix together the sauce ingredients.
      mixing soy sauce and sugar in bowl
    • 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.
      cooking cabbage and carrots in skillet
    • Add noodles into the pan and the pour the sauce over top of the noodles. Toss until combined.
      cooking rice noodles in skillet
    • Add sliced green onions to the top if desired. Serve while hot.
      chow mein noodles in skillet

    Notes

    Noodles: If you want to make a more authentic dish, purchase chow mein noodles from an Asian store. I prefer to use the stir fry rice noodles (which are gluten free). You can also use ramen noodles or even angel hair pasta. 
    Vegetables: This is a great dish to add in more vegetables. You can double the cabbage and carrots if preferred. You can also add in bell peppers (cook a few minutes before adding in cabbage), bok choy and mushrooms. 
    Protein: To make a complete meal, you can add in cooked chicken, beef or pork. 
    Spices: If you’d like to take the heat up a notch add in a splash of sriracha sauce and red pepper flakes.

    Calories: 232kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 363mg | Potassium: 140mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 3028IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 1mg
    Course: Side Dish
    Cuisine: Asian
    Author: Jamielyn Nye

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