Chow Mein

This homemade Chow Mein is just as tasty as the one from your favorite Chinese restaurant, but made in even less time! The highlight of this vegetable-loaded noodle dish is the savory sauce – and that it can be made even heartier with the addition of your favorite protein.

If you love Asian inspired recipes as much as we do, you’ll love to try our Crockpot Orange ChickenGround Turkey Teriyaki Rice Bowl or Egg Fried Rice.

An overhead shot of vegetables and chow mein in a skillet

Chow Mein Recipe

Everyone has a favorite Chinese takeout meal. My husband’s is BBQ pork spareribs. My best friend’s is sesame chicken.

Traditionally, my faves have alway involved noodles. I’m not sure what makes Chinese noodles so much tastier that the rest – maybe it’s the sticky soy-based sauces they use. Or maybe it’s because they’re ready in, like, 3 minutes.

I do usually lean towards lo mein, but since making this Chow Mein recipe, I think I might switch it up a little more often!

What is Chow Mein?

Chow Mein, literally translated to “stir fried noodles,” is a Chinese meal consisting of noodles and various vegetables. At its most basic composition, it is a vegetarian dish, but it is sometimes served with meat or tofu.

In Westernized Chinese restaurants, there are two ways Chow Mein can be served:

  • Steamed, like this recipe, is popular on the West coast of the US
  • Crispy, also known as Hong Kong-style, is more common on the East coast

Steamed Chow Mein has a soft texture, much like lo mein, and is tossed with a soy-based sauce and vegetables. The Hong Kong-style is made using deep fried noodles in a thicker brown sauce.

A bowl of vegetable chow mein with chopsticks

How to Make Chow Mein

Making this Chinese favorite is so quick and easy! Scroll down to the printable recipe for detailed instructions.

  1. First, prepare your Chow Mein noodles (try these (like to Wel-Pac Chow Mein Stir Fry Noodles), or pick up your favorite at the grocery store) according to package directions. Set aside.
  2. While the noodles are boiling, prepare the Chow Mein sauce. Chow Mein sauce is customizable to your own tastes, just like many other Chinese sauces. In this version, I combined oyster sauce, soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, cornstarch, and sesame oil in a small bowl. Whisk together until well blended and set aside.
  3. Prepare the vegetables you are using, and gather everything close to the stovetop – Chinese cooking happens very quickly!
  4. When you’re ready to cook, heat a bit of cooking oil in a wok set over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic and ginger to the wok and stir fry for 10-15 seconds.
  5. Add the white parts of the scallions, sliced celery and mushrooms to the wok. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the chopped bok choy and cook until it is just wilted, about 1 minute.
  6. Finally, stir in the cooked noodles and sauce mixture. Stir fry everything for 1 minute, tossing constantly, until everything is well coated and warmed through.
  7. Remove the wok from the heat, add the green parts of the scallion, and toss. Serve immediately.

an overhead close up shot of vegetable chow mien

Customizing this Recipe

Customize your chow mein with anything you’ve got! The beauty of Chinese cooking is that it’s adaptable.

  • If you’re looking to make authentic steamed Chow Mein, stick with garlic, ginger, celery and onions or scallions. Carrots, bean sprouts, and cabbage or bok choy are also often added.
  • Other ingredients that make a great Chow Mein include mushrooms, snap peas, bell peppers, squash, broccoli, bamboo shoots, baby corn, or water chestnuts.
  • You can also make the meal heartier by adding a protein! This Chow Mein recipe is a great dish for using leftovers, so slice up some leftover cooked chicken breast, grilled steak, or pork roast, or add some shrimp or sauteed tofu to the final product.
  • If you really enjoy saucy noodles, then I recommend doubling the sauce recipe. The noodles do tend to soak up the sauce, so play around with it until you get the ratio just right for you!

What to do with leftovers

If you have leftovers, store in an airtight container within 2 hours and place in the fridge. Chow Mein will stay fresh for 3-4 days. You can reheat in a skillet or in the microwave. You may need to add a small amount of water to rehydrate the noodles.

Freezing instructions are the same – airtight container within 2 hours. For best quality, thaw and eat within 2-3 months.

Chow mein noodles lifted out of the pan with tongs.

More Asian-style Dinners To Enjoy!

Even More Vegetarian Recipes!

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A bowl of noodles and vegetables

Chow Mein

This homemade Chow Mein recipe is loaded with veggies and is just as tasty as the one from your favorite Chinese restaurant, but is made in even less time!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Chinese
Servings 4
Calories 551kcal

Ingredients
  

Chow Mein Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons mirin Chinese cooking wine
  • 3 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Chow Mein

  • 1 pound chow mein noodles
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons ginger freshly grated
  • 3 scallions cut into 1-inch pieces, white and green pieces separated
  • 3 stalks celery thinly sliced
  • 5 ounces shiitake mushrooms
  • 3 cups bok choy chopped (or green/Napa cabbage)
  • Optional additions - bean sprouts carrots, snow peas, green onion, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, cabbage, shredded or chopped chicken/pork/beef, or shrimp

Instructions
 

  • In a small bowl, whisk together oyster sauce, soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, cornstarch, and sesame oil. Set aside.
  • Prepare chow mein noodles according to package directions. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger and stir fry for 10-15 seconds. Add white parts of scallion, celery, and mushrooms, and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in bok choy until just wilted, about 1 minute.
  • Stir in noodles and oyster sauce mixture and stir fry for 1 minute, tossing constantly. Add green parts of scallion and toss. Serve immediately.

Notes

Feel free to customize this Chow Mein recipe to your own personal tastes. We like to add carrots, snow peas, green onion, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, cabbage, shredded or chopped chicken/pork/beef, or shrimp.

Nutrition

Calories: 551kcalCarbohydrates: 96gProtein: 20gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 1972mgPotassium: 303mgFiber: 8gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 2449IUVitamin C: 26mgCalcium: 73mgIron: 5mg
Keyword chow mein

 

Erica

Erica is a Florida-bred, Dominican-wed, nerdy foodie with an eye for pretty photos and incurable wanderlust, who learned everything she knows in the kitchen and about life from her Nana. She discovered her love of food at a young age and launched The Crumby Kitchen in 2014, where she shares her kitchen triumphs with a bit of sass and panache.

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