Chicken Lo Mein

4.93 from 38 votes
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Chicken lo mein is easy to make at home in a wok or large pan. This dish is loaded with lean protein, crunchy vegetables, and chewy egg noodles, then it all comes together with a flavorful stir fry sauce.

Chicken lo mein cooking inside a wok.

Chinese restaurants are famous for their stir-fried dishes like kung pao chicken, teriyaki chicken, and lo mein which have thick-cooked noodles that soak up the umami-laden sauce. The long strands are delicious, but they also signify longevity in Asian culture, so they are a popular dish to serve at celebrations like the Lunar New Year.

Thin slices of chicken breast cook quickly in a blazing hot wok, along with crispy bok choy, shredded carrots, and fresh bean sprouts. Fresh egg noodles and a savory oyster sauce mixture help the dish come together in a snap. In less than 30 minutes, you’ll have dinner ready faster than you can order take-out.

Ingredients portioned into bowls to make a chicken stir fry.

What is lo mein?

Low mein is a popular Chinese dish using thick egg noodles that are stir-fried and tossed with a savory sauce. The noodles are pre-cooked before adding to the wok. Fresh vegetables add color and crunch, like carrots, green onions, bean sprouts, bok choy, red bell pepper, or snow peas.

You can add protein to make it a heartier dish like sliced chicken, beef, shrimp, or tofu.

Fresh noodle selection

Fresh noodles are par-cooked, so you just have to warm them up in the pan. Venture into an Asian market, and you’ll find endless options. They often won’t be clearly labeled as “lo mein,” but if you see it, grab it! I use fresh egg noodles with thicker strands to give the characteristic chew. 

I’ve seen them also labeled as “chow mein stir fry noodles,” but it varies by brand. Fresh yakisoba, Chuka soba, and ramen as acceptable substitutions for this stir fry. If the noodles are raw, boil them for a few minutes, rinse and drain well before using. 

If using dried noodles

Suppose you can’t find fresh noodles, then no problem. Dried noodles like chow mein, Chuka soba, or even thick Italian spaghetti are good options. Boil until chewy or al dente, rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process, then drain well before adding them to the wok. You’ll need about 6 ounces (170g) of dried noodles.

Bok choy and pieces if chicken cooking inside a wok.

Prepare the chicken

Use lean, boneless skinless chicken breast for a low-fat, quick-cooking protein option. Slice it against the grain, into ¼-inch thick pieces, about 2-inches long. Alternatively, you can use chicken thighs if you enjoy the taste of dark meat instead.

Just trim off the excess fat so the dish doesn’t get too greasy and cut into 1-inch chunks. To add more flavor to the surface of the meat, season with salt, pepper, and sesame oil.

Make the lo mein sauce

The lo mein sauce is a combination of oyster sauce, soy sauce, chicken broth, and cornstarch. It provides a strong, rich, and savory flavor. It will get quickly soaked up by the noodles and infused into each bite. If you like more of a gravy-style or “wet” noodles, double the sauce for this recipe.

Lo mein noodles cooking in a wok.

Pan selection

Who else is excited to grab their wok? It’s a workhorse in my kitchen, quickly cooking ingredients for a one-pan dish. The rounded vessel efficiently circulates heat on the bottom and up the sides, for quick stir-frying and flavor development. 

Alternatively, a nonstick skillet or stainless steel pan with sloped sides works well for the task.

Stir fry the meat and vegetables

Make sure to have all of the ingredients prepared and portioned. The cooking process will go fast, less than 10 minutes. Once you add the vegetable oil to the hot pan, stir-fry the ginger and garlic until fragrant. This process instantly adds bold and pungent flavor and aroma to the dish. 

Add the chicken in a single layer for quick and even cooking, then stir-fry until tender. Cook the carrots and bok choy until crisp-tender for texture contrast.

Cook the noodles and sauce

Place the par-cooked noodles into the pan and cook until warmed through. Pour in the sauce, and cook until thickened and glossy. It only takes about a minute for the cornstarch to swell and coat the ingredients.

Stir in the delicate bean sprouts and green onions at the very end. They are ready when just softened and wilted. The hot and steamy noodles are ready to eat.

Noodles and vegetables stir frying in a wok.

Difference between lo mein and chow mein

The main difference between lo mein and chow mein is the thickness and type of noodle used in the dish. Traditionally, lo mein noodles are tossed in a thickened sauce with a soft and thicker texture.

Chow mein noodles tend to be thinner in size and are either crispy and fried (ordered Hong Kong style), or the noodles are soft and covered with a sauce. Each region showcases a different style, which has evolved.

Change up the flavor

  • Protein: Tofu, beef, pork, or shrimp are tasty alternatives. 
  • Vegetables: Snow peas, snap peas, red bell peppers, mushrooms, and broccoli are colorful and healthy add-ins. 
  • Spices: Make the dish spicy with red chili flakes, chili garlic sauce, or chili oil.
Chicken chow mein served in a white bowl next to chopsticks.

Serve this with

FAQ

Can spaghetti be used for lo mein?

Yes! If you have a hard time finding lo mein noodles, you can use long spaghetti pasta as a substitute. Look for dried thick spaghetti to mimic the larger egg noodles. They will have a smooth and slippery texture with a nice chew. Make sure to cook them until al dente, rinse with hot water, and drain well before adding to the hot stir-fry.

Why are my lo mein noodles sticky?

If fresh and par-cooked, they compress together in the package. It will loosen when added to the pan and coated with the moisture in the sauce. If using dried noodles, make sure to cook until al dente so that it doesn’t release too many starches on the surface that could cause sticking. Briefly rinse with hot water to wash any sticky starches off the surface, and drain well before adding to the pan.

Close up photo of chicken lo mein in a white bowl.

How to thicken the lo mein sauce

Using cornstarch is the quickest and most effective way to thicken lo mein sauce. For about a ½ cup of sauce, I find that 2 teaspoons are a good amount of starch to create a luscious sauce that clings to the noodles. For a grain-free alternative, Arrowroot powder can be used as a substitute. Use 1 ½ teaspoon for every 1 teaspoon of cornstarch.

Chicken Lo Mein

Chicken lo mein stir fry recipe loaded with lean protein, bok choy, bean sprouts, and carrots. A flavorful Chinese meal with chewy egg noodles.
4.93 from 38 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine Chinese

Ingredients 
 

  • ½ pound boneless skinless chicken breast, ¼” slices
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoon sesame oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ¼ cup unsalted chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 ounces baby bok choy, leaves separated
  • ½ cup shredded carrots
  • 1 pound fresh lo mein noodles
  • ½ cup bean sprouts
  • ¼ cup green onions, 1 ½” pieces

Instructions 

  • Season the Chicken – In a medium bowl, combine sliced chicken, salt, pepper, and ½ teaspoon sesame oil.
  • Stir Fry Sauce – In a small bowl, whisk together 1 teaspoon sesame oil, oyster sauce, soy sauce, chicken broth, and cornstarch.
  • Cook the Aromatics – Heat a wok or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, then add the vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot, add in garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 20 seconds.
  • Cook the Chicken – Add the chicken in one layer, and allow it to cook for 1 minute without moving. Stir and cook for 30 seconds. Add in the bok choy and carrots and cook for 1 minute.
  • Cook the Noodles – Loosen the noodles and then add them to the pan and stir-fry for 1 minute.
  • Add the Sauce – Add the stir fry sauce mixture and cook until thickened, about 1 minute.
  • Add the Sprouts – Add the beans sprouts and green onions, and cook for 1 minute.
  • To Serve – Immediately serve while still hot.

Recipe Video

Equipment

Notes

  • Fresh Noodle Options: Ramen, chow mein, or yaki-soba can be substituted for lo mein. These are sold in the refrigerated section at markets.
  • Using Dried Noodles: Use 6 ounces of dried noodles of lo mein, chow mein, pancit, yaki-soba, Chuka-soba, or thick spaghetti noodles. Cook to the manufacturer’s directions and drain well before adding it to the pan.
  • Using Chicken Thighs: Trim off the excess fat, and cut into 1-inch chunks.
  • For Saucier Noodles: Double the sauce ingredients.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 4 servings
Calories 549kcal (27%)Carbohydrates 86g (29%)Protein 23g (46%)Fat 12g (18%)Saturated Fat 6g (30%)Cholesterol 36mg (12%)Sodium 1343mg (56%)Potassium 307mg (9%)Fiber 3g (12%)Sugar 1g (1%)Vitamin A 3385IU (68%)Vitamin C 10.9mg (13%)Calcium 33mg (3%)Iron 0.7mg (4%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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14 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Angie says

    Hi Jessica – When I stir fry chicken breasts I notice that a whitish fluid seeps out of the chicken and sort of coagulates around it. It is very unappetizing. Is there a way to prevent that happening?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Angie- Often times that white goo is a mixture of water and soluble proteins from the chicken. Sometimes if chicken breast is cooked very quickly or baked in a more moderate temperature, those soluble proteins push out from the muscle, cook and turn white. Perfectly fine to eat. Sometimes I’ve seen this happen more when the chicken has been previously frozen, or the meat is larger in size. There are also some thoughts of this happening more with meat that has been brined in a salt solution after processing to keep the chicken more moist after cooking. Perhaps check out the label of the chicken you buy and see if it’s been treated with salt, if so, pick another brand that has not and give that a try.

  2. Alison says

    We made this tonight, Jessica, and it was delicious! I followed your suggestion and doubled the sauce. This is one we will make again and again. Thanks!

  3. Judy Caywood says

    Love this recipe so much. Just printed it to make tonight…last hurrah before starting Keto tomorrow. I have all the ingredients ready to go.

  4. Laura says

    This was good. I did double the sauce as that’s the way I like it and had leftover snow peas. I simmered the noodles a minute before using, not sure it needed. I’d make this again for sure.

  5. Marilyn says

    I made the fried rice for my granddaughter, whose mother was Chinese. She loved it, said it was the best she’d ever eaten.