This copycat chicken lo mein is super easy to make and takes only 20 minutes. It tastes just like the ones from Chinese takeout, if not better! Pair this chicken lo mein with some chicken and broccoli or sesame chicken to complete the homemade takeout meal. If you're in the mood for seafood, try out shrimp lo mein instead!
Lo mein is one of our favorite and staple Chinese takeout item thats always on our list. The flavors are simple. Savory, slightly sweet, and well rounded. It goes well with literally anything!
Please scroll down to the recipe card for the ingredient quantities!
For the chicken:
- Chicken breast - Although in most recipes, like in our chicken claypot rice, we always recommend chicken thighs. However, for chicken lo mein, it is easier to cut the chicken into strips if using chicken breast, and it'll taste better because the flavor will be milder. Do try to keep the chicken around ¼ inch thick or thinner.
- Water and cornstarch - Water helps to make the chicken juicy, while the cornstarch helps to keep the chicken juicy. The two mixed together is the basis of the velvet technique, which helps to keep delicate meat tender and juicy.
- Shaoxing rice wine - Using a little Shaoxing helps to get rid of any unwanted chicken flavor. It's optional, but we recommend it if you have it.
- Salt - For seasoning the chicken.
- Baking soda - A little baking soda goes a long way! Adding a little baking soda to the chicken helps to tenderize it and help the chicken absorb moisture, which helps to maintain its juiciness.
- Oil - To help the marinated chicken strips separate easier when cooking.
For the lo mein sauce:
- Oyster sauce and soy sauce - These two are the main flavors of lo mein sauce. The oyster sauce adds body and umami flavor, while the soy sauce thins out the sauce and adds saltiness. We recommend the low sodium soy sauce, however, if using regular soy sauce, use a little less.
- Sugar - To help sweetened and round out the flavor of the lo mein sauce.
- Dark soy sauce - In Chinese cuisine, dark soy sauce is usually added to give a dish extra color, like our red braised pork. Same applies to this lo mein sauce. However, the dark soy sauce also adds a subtle, sweet flavor that is unique to lo mein.
The rest of the lo mein:
- Lo mein noodles - These are also sometimes called fresh egg noodles or thick egg noodles. They're yellow in color and offered at most Asian markets. You can find them in vacuum bags in the refrigerated aisles or the frozen aisles where the dumpling wrappers and egg wrappers are found.
- Veggies - We used napa cabbage, onions, carrots, celery, and green onions because that is what Chinese restaurants use in their lo mein. However, if you don't mind the slight change in flavor, feel free to use your preferred vegetables or what you have on hand.
- Garlic - Minced garlic is a must! It adds so much flavor to the lo mein. Wthout it, any lo mein would taste flat and lacking.
- Sesame oil - Just to add a little nutty and toasted flavors to the lo mein.
- Shaoxing rice wine - This is optional. Shaoxing rice wine helps to make lo mein super fragrant. Just make sure to cook it all out before adding the lo mein sauce.
Best noodle for making lo mein
Lo mein noodles are also known as thick egg noodles. You'll usually find this noodle in the freezer either in a pouch or in the refrigerated aisle in vacuumed bags. These egg noodles are thick, roundish, and yellow in color.
So far, we like the lo mein noodles from Twin Marquis brand the most. It reminds me of how my parents' lo mein tastes. We found this at out local Asian market in the freezer aisle, next to the dumpling and wonton wrappers.
How to make chicken lo mein
Please scroll down to the recipe card for the full recipe and instructions!
1. Marinate the chicken. Combine the chicken strips, water, shaoxing rice wine, salt, and baking soda and mix until the water is mostly absorbed. Mix in cornstarch. Then, finish by mixing in some oil. Set aside to marinate for about 5 to 10 minutes, or overnight in the fridge.
🌟Pro tip: Get the chicken marinating first, then prepare all the ingredients. This will save time and the chicken can get tenderized in the meantime.
2. Make the lo mein sauce. Mix together the oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and dark soy sauce. Set aside until needed.
3. Blanch the chicken. In a boiling pot of water, add all of the chicken and immediately stir and break up the chicken strips. Let the chicken cook until done. Use a strainer to remove the chicken.
🌟Pro tip: Usually, by the time the water comes back to a boil, the chicken will be done cooking. Don't overcook the chicken or it'll be dry tough!
4. Boil the noodles and blanch the vegetables. Into the same pot of water, boil the noodles until done. At the last 30 seconds of cooking, add all of the vegetables. Drain well.
5. Stir fry garlic. In a wok or large sauté pan over medium high heat, add about 2 tablespoons of oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and stir fry until fragrant. Add the noodles, vegetables, and chicken and stir fry briefly.
6. Stir fry chicken lo mein with sauce. Drizzle in the rice wine and stir fry until fragrant and the alcohol is cooked off. Add the prepared lo mein sauce and stir fry until the noodles are evenly coated.
7. Finish. Add the green onion tops and sesame oil. Stir fry briefly until evenly combined. Enjoy while hot!
- Marinate the chicken first, then prepare the rest of the ingredients to help save time.
- Don't rinse the lo mein noodles after draining. The starch on the noodles help to thicken the sauce and help the sauce stick on the noodles. Because we want to avoid rinsing, it is best to cook the noodles when everything else has been prepared so that the noodles do no clump up and stick together.
- Don't overcook the chicken! If the chicken is cut into thin strips, it will only take max 30 seconds to 1 minutes to cook in boiling water. Usually, by the time the water is back at a boil, the chicken will be cooked. Overcooking the chicken will make the chicken dry and tough.
Storage and reheating
Leftover chicken lo mein can be stored in an airtight container and kept in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days. The lo mein can be reheated in the microwave or on the stovetop. If reheating on the stovetop, add the leftover chicken lo mein in a pan with a tablespoon or two of water and place over medium heat. Cover and let everything steam until hot. Once the water has evaporated, give everything a few tosses to finish.
Nope. The vegetables used in this recipe is the most common combinations of veggies used to make lo mein at Chinese restaurants. Feel free to use vegetables you prefer or have on hand. Just make sure to not overcook the vegetables so that they maintain their texture.
The biggest difference between lo mein and chow mein is the type of noodles use. Lo mein uses thick egg noodles that's boiled first, then stir fried. Chow mein usually uses thin egg noodles that's fried or stir fried.
Lo mein is an egg noodle stir fry dish that's garlicky, savory, and slightly sweet with hints of toasted, nuttiness from the sesame oil.
The purpose of Shaoxing rice wine is to make the chicken lo mein more fragrant overall and to get rid of any unwanted chicken flavor while marinated the chicken breast. If you'd rather, the Shaoxing rice wine can be skipped all together.
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Chicken Lo Mein
For the chicken:
For the lo mein sauce:
For the chicken lo mein:
- 16 ounces lo mein noodles also known as fresh egg noodles (usually 1 pouch)
- ½ small yellow onion sliced
- ½ large carrot peeled and julienned
- 4 ounces napa cabbage sliced
- 1 rib celery julienned
- 2 stalks green onion cut into 1 inch pieces (keep the whites and greens separated)
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced (about 2 to 3 cloves)
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing cooking wine (optional)
- 2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons oil or as needed for cooking (any neutral oil)
Marinate the chicken:
- To the chicken strips, add water, shaoxing rice wine, salt, and baking soda. Mix until well combined and the chicken has absorb all the liquid.
- Add the cornstarch and mix until well combined. Finish by adding the oil and mix well. Set the chicken aside to marinate for 5 to 10 minutes while prepping the other ingredients.
Prepare the lo mein sauce:
- Combine all of the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl and mix until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside until needed.
Make the chicken lo mein:
- Bring a pot of water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a high simmer.
- Add all of the marinated chicken to the simmering water and immediately stir and start separating the chicken strips. Let the chicken cook about 30 seconds to 1 minute or until just cooked through. Use a strainer to remove the chicken and set aside.*Usually, once the water returns to a boil, the chicken will be cooked. But the cook time will depend on how thick the chicken is cut.*
- Into the same pot of water, add the lo mein noodles and cook according to the package instructions.*Depending on the brand, the cook time can very. The one we used takes about 3 to 5 minutes to cook.*
- Towards the final 30 seconds of when the lo mein noodles are done cooking, add the vegetables (napa cabbage, onion, carrots, celery, and the white parts of the green onions). When the noodles are done cooking, drain everything and set aside.
- In a wok or large sauté pan over medium high heat, add about 2 tablespoons of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic and stir fry until the garlic is fragrant, about 15 to 30 seconds.
- Add the drained lo mein noodles with vegetables and the cooked chicken strips to the wok and stir fry briefly until well combined. Then, drizzle the shaoxing rice wine around the wok and stir fry until fragrant and the rice wine is cooked off.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken lo mein and toss until well combined and the noodles are evenly coated.
- Finish the lo mein by adding the green parts of the green onions and drizzling in the sesame oil. Stir fry briefly to combine. Enjoy while hot!
- Veggies - Feel free to use more, omit, or swap the vegetables used for ones you prefer. Just make sure to only blanch the vegetables until they are just cooked so that they keep their texture.