This shrimp lo mein recipe is incredibly easy to make and takes less than 30 minutes to make. It's great for a quick meal and tastes just as good, if not better than takeout! Pair this shrimp lo mein with our beef and broccoli for a surf and turf combo.
Shrimp lo mein is Kyong's favorite Chinese takeout dish. He said it's because the flavors are just on point and you can serve it as lunch, dinner, or quickly make it as a last minute side dish.
You can see why it's one of the most popular items at every Chinese restaurant. Now you can easily make it at home and wonder why you've never tried to before!
If you're looking for more easy, quick meals or sides you may also like our egg fried rice, shrimp fried rice, BBQ mini sausage stir fry, and vegan eggplant "unagi" don. Also, our homemade Chinese chili oil is a great condiment to top off any Chinese takeout dish with some mild spice.
What is shrimp lo mein?
Shrimp lo mein is a super popular Chinese takeout dish consisting of egg noodles stir fried with shrimps, vegetables, and some garlicky lo mein sauce.
In Chinese, lo mein is lāo miàn (捞面), which translates to strained noodles. The translation comes from how the lo mein noodles are boiled and drained before use.
Please scroll down to the recipe card for the ingredient quantities!
For the lo mein:
- Lo mein noodles - You can find them frozen and sometimes fresh (usually in vacuumed bags). They're a type of egg noodles, and they're thick and roundish in shape. They're also quite yellow in color.
- Onion, carrot, celery, napa cabbage, green onion - Vegetables are not absolutely necessary, however, we highly recommend them because they add so much flavor, color, and texture to the lo mein.
- Garlic - An absolutely! Fresh garlic adds flavor to the lo mein sauce that can't be replicated.
- Oyster sauce - One of the base flavoring for the lo mein sauce. It's umami packed, savory, and well rounded. If you don't have oyster sauce, you could use a little fish sauce with extra soy sauce and a little extra sugar to substitute. You could also substitute with this vegetable stir fry sauce and use a little less sugar. Do note that either substitutes will not taste the same as using oyster sauce.
- Soy sauce - Feel free to use either regular or light sodium soy sauce. We like to use Kikkoman's low sodium soy sauce.
- Dark soy sauce - This is a Chinese pantry staple that tastes similar to soy sauce but tastes less salty and a little sweet. Dark soy sauce gives dishes a lovely rich, amber brown color, like in our red braised pork.
- Sugar - To add some sweetness and round out the flavor. If you prefer, you could substitute with honey, but the flavor will be a little different.
- Shaoxing cooking wine - Although adding rice cooking wine is optional, we highly recommend it! It adds extra fragrant and a huge part of making homemade lo mein taste like restaurant quality.
- Toasted sesame oil - Just a touch of toasted sesame oil to finish the lo mein. It adds some nuttiness and toasted flavor to the dish.
- Oil (any neutral oil)
For the shrimps:
- Large shrimps - We prefer large shrimps for our shrimp lo mein, but you can use small ones too. Just make sure to peel and devein them.
- Soy sauce - For seasoning the shrimps. Either regular or low sodium will work.
- Shaoxing cooking wine - Rice cooking wine gets rid of any unwanted seafood smells and flavors. Highly recommended. If you don't have Shaoxing cooking wine, you could substitute it with some dry sherry.
- Oil and cornstarch - For velveting the shrimp. This will protect and prevent the shrimps from drying out.
What kind of noodles should I use for 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 shrimp lo mein
Marinate the shrimps:
1. In a medium bowl, combine the peeled and deveined shrimps, soy sauce, Shaoxing rice wine, oil, and cornstarch. Mix until the shrimps are evenly coated. Set it aside as you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Make the lo mein sauce:
2. In a bowl, mix together oyster sauce, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and sugar. Set it aside until needed.
Make the shrimp lo mein:
3. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add the lo mein noodles. Cook the noodles according to the package instructions. At the last 30 seconds, add the vegetables to the water to blanche. Drain the noodles with the vegetables and se aside.
📝 Note: Depending on the brand of lo mein noodles used, the thickness of the noodle may be different and the cook time will vary. The brand we used takes about 3 to 5 minutes to cook.
🌟 Pro tip: Make sure to have the noodles thawed and separated/loosened before boiling. Also use at least a 6 to 8 cup pot, preferably larger, because the noodles will expand as it cook and the water will foam up from the starch.
4. In a wok or large sauté pan over medium high heat, add enough oil to generously cover the bottom. Once the oil is hot, add the marinated shrimps and sear on both sides until golden and about 90 percent cooked, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the shrimps and set aside.
5. Leave about 2 tablespoons of oil in the wok/pan and remove the excess oil if needed. Keep the heat on medium high and add the minced garlic. Sauté the garlic until fragrant, about 15 to 30 seconds.
6. Add the drained noodles and vegetables and stir fry for a few seconds to combine everything. Drizzle the Shaoxing rice wine around the wok/pan and stir fry for about 15 to 30 more seconds to cook off the alcohol. Then, add the shrimps back to the lo mein noodles.
7. Give the prepared sauce a good mix and pour it over the noodles and shrimps. Stir fry for a couple of minutes, until the everything is even in color and coated with the sauce.
8. Drizzle the sesame oil into the shrimp lo mein and add the green onions. Stir fry for another 30 seconds or so and transfer to a serving plate. Enjoy while hot!
- Don't rinse the lo mein noodles after draining it. The starch on the noodles help the sauce thicken and helps the sauce stick onto the noodles. And because we don't want to rinse the noodles, it's best to cook the noodles when they're needed to prevent them from sticking together and clumping.
- Thaw and loosen up the lo mein noodles. If you're using the same egg noodles as we did for our shrimp lo mein, do thaw the noodles completely before using. And before boiling the noodles, we recommend that you roughly loosen up the noodles to separate the strand. Otherwise, there's chances of the noodles clumping.
- Don't cook the vegetables for too long. The purpose of adding the vegetables at the last 30 seconds of when the lo mein noodles are done boiling is to simply blanche the veggies. This way the veggies won't require a long time to cook when added to the wok/pan.
Lo mein in general is best enjoyed within the hour of making it because it tends to lose it's beautiful fresh sheen as it sits. But if that's not a deal breaker for you, you can let the shrimp lo mein cool completely before covering and refrigerating it for up to 3 to 4 days max.
You can easily reheat the shrimp lo mein in the microwave or on the stovetop. Do note that, the noodles won't taste as good as when it was first made.
If microwaving, give the lo mein a splash of water, then cover and microwave until heated through.
To reheat on the stovetop, heat the shrimp lo mein in a nonstick pan. Add a little bit of water to the lo mein and sauté on medium heat until hot.
Typically, shrimp lo mein from Chinese restaurants always include some vegetables. Most commonly, you'll find onions, carrots, celery, napa cabbage, and green onions.
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, while 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.
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Easy Shrimp Lo Mein Recipe
For the shrimps:
For the rest of the shrimp lo mein:
- 16 ounces lo mein noodles also known as fresh egg noodles (usually 1 pouch)
- 4 ounces napa cabbage sliced (about 2 to 3 leaves)
- ½ small yellow onion sliced
- ½ large carrot peeled and julienned
- 1 rib celery julienned or thinly slice
- 2 stalks green onion cut into 1 inch pieces (keep the green and whites separate)
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced (about 2-3 cloves)
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine (optional)
- 2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- Oil as needed for cooking (any neutral oil will do)
Marinate the shrimps:
- In a medium bowl, combine the peeled and deveined shrimps, soy sauce, Shaoxing cooking wine, oil, and cornstarch. Mix well, until the shrimps are evenly coated. Set aside as you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
For the sauce:
- In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the lo mein sauce (oyster sauce, soy sauce, dark soy, and sugar). Set aside until needed.
Make the shrimp lo mein:
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add the lo mein (egg noodles). Cook the noodles according to the package instruction. Towards the final 30 seconds of cooking, add the vegetables (onion, carrot, napa cabbage, and celery). Drain the noodles and vegetables, then set it aside.*Depending on the brand, the cook time can very. The ones we use takes about 3 to 5 minutes to cook. Also, make sure the noodles are thawed and loosened before boiling!*
- In a wok or large sauté pan, add enough oil to generously cover the bottom and heat the oil over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the shrimps and sear on both sides until golden and the shrimps are 90 percent cooked, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove the shrimps and set them aside. Cook the shrimps in small batches if needed, but don't overcrowd the pan!
- Leave about 2 tablespoons of oil in the wok or pan, and remove excess oil if needed. Keep the heat on medium high and add the minced garlic. Sauté until the garlic is fragrant, about 15 to 30 seconds.
- Add the cooked lo mein noodles and vegetables, then give everything a few toss to combine. Then, drizzle the Shaoxing cooking wine around the wok/pan and stir fry for about 15 seconds to cook off the alcohol. Add the shrimps back into the wok/pan.
- Give the the prepared sauce a good stir and pour it over the shrimps and lo mein noodles. Stir fry and toss everything for a couple of minutes, until everything is even in color and coated with sauce.
- Drizzle in the sesame oil and add the green onions. Stir fry and toss the lo mein for another 15 to 30 seconds to finish the lo mein. Transfer to a serving plate and enjoy while hot!
- Lo mein noodle cook time - Depending on the brand you get, the noodle thickness may be different and so will the cook time. The brand we use takes about 3 to 5 minutes to cook until just tender. You can find a photo of the noodles in the post above. You don't want to overcook you noodles though! The noodles will become really soft and break in to small pieces.
- Don't rinse the noodles. No need to rinse the lo mein noodles after draining. This way, the noodles will get nicely coated with the sauce.
- Vegetables - Adding some vegetables to the lo mein adds texture and different flavors. Although they are optional, we highly recommend it!