It’s easy to make the Panda Express mushroom chicken recipe at home! This wok-fired dish is packed with protein and vegetables and stir-fried with ginger soy sauce.
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One of my family’s favorite Chinese take-out items to order is the Panda Express mushroom chicken. Tender pieces of meat and big chunks of mushrooms and zucchini make for a delicious entree. I quickly realized that I needed to make a version to prepare at home so we could skip the long lines at the restaurant.
Grab a wok! I’ll show you my simple stir-fry technique that yields juicy chicken simmered in a savory sauce. The key is to get all components sliced, chopped, and mixed before cooking. The recipe only takes 30 minutes from start to finish for a fast and satisfying meal all in one pan. Serve with fried rice and chow mein for a complete dinner.
Marinate the chicken
You’ll need one pound of boneless skinless chicken breast, cut against the grain into 1/2″ thick slices. If you prefer dark meat, use chicken thighs. It’s also a more affordable option. The extra fat also prevents the meat from drying out. However, I recommend purchasing 1 ¼ to 1 ½ pounds because you’ll need to trim off the excess fat so it doesn’t taste too greasy.
Briefly marinate the pieces in a mixture of soy sauce, cornstarch, and sesame oil for at least 10 minutes. This allows the savory notes to infuse into the meat. I do this step first, so it’s ready once I’m done chopping up the vegetables and making the sauce.
Make the stir-fry sauce
The sauce is crucial in making my Panda Express mushroom chicken copycat version. The menu states it’s a “light ginger soy sauce,” but I know it’s not just two ingredients. Chinese sauces are a balance of deep umami notes mixed with tangy, sweet, and aromatic components.
My stir-fry sauce combines chicken stock, soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice vinegar, granulated sugar (or brown sugar), and cornstarch for thickening. A small amount of oyster sauce adds an incredible dimension to the sauce, instead of soy sauce alone.
Stir-fry the chicken
Use a wok or large nonstick pan to make the chicken stir-fry. Heat the pan over medium-high heat. This will quickly brown the meat. Spread the pieces in a single layer, then let it cook for about 2 minutes to sear, adding more flavor to the surface.
To finish cooking, stir-fry until the tender chicken is fully cooked. Transfer the chicken to a clean bowl so it doesn’t dry out while cooking the vegetables.
Cook the vegetables
This recipe has two types of vegetables; mushrooms and zucchini. I love this combination, especially since squash and fungi are available year-round. Slice the green zucchini into 1/2-inch thick pieces. Half-moon shapes cook faster than rounds.
Stir-fry in hot vegetable oil over medium heat until crisp and tender. Add in sliced white mushrooms. They are neutral in flavor and cook fast. The entire process takes less than 5 minutes.
Thicken the sauce
Once the veggies are done cooking, add the ginger-soy sauce mixture to the center of the pan. The cornstarch in the sauce will cook quickly, in under a minute. Continuously stir to help the starches distribute and gelatinize. Add the cooked chicken back to the pan, stirring to warm before serving.
Serve this with
More Panda Express Recipes
Frequently asked questions
It combines stir-fried pieces of chicken, sliced mushrooms, zucchini, ginger, and soy sauce. Cornstarch thickens the sauce so that it clings to the ingredients. My copycat recipe uses big pieces of protein and vegetables for a heartier entree.
Typically dark meat is used. Chicken thighs are an affordable and flavorful cut that pairs well with the stir-fry sauce. The extra fat makes the chicken tender and doesn’t dry out as fast when sitting in the hot pan for service.
How to make the mushroom chicken recipe gluten-free
The soy sauce is fermented with wheat, while oyster sauce contains wheat flour. However, it’s easy to make the marinade and sauce gluten-free. Brands like Lee Kum Kee and Kikkoman sell gluten-free oyster sauce and tamari. Coconut aminos can also be substituted for soy sauce but will have a sweeter taste.
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Panda Express Mushroom Chicken
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, or thighs, ½" thick slices
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ cup unsalted chicken stock , or broth
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, brown sugar, or honey
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
Mushroom Chicken Stir-Fry
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 4 cups sliced zucchini, ½" thick slices
- 8 ounces white mushrooms, ½" thick slices, 3 cups
- Marinate the Chicken – In a medium bowl, combine sliced chicken, soy sauce, cornstarch, and sesame oil. Marinate for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the other ingredients.
- Make the Sauce – In a medium bowl, whisk together the chicken stock, soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, garlic, and ginger. Whisk in cornstarch until no lumps remain. Set aside.
- Cook the Chicken – Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and sesame oil. Once hot and shimmering, carefully add the chicken in a single layer. Cook without moving until browned, about 2 minutes. Stir-fry until no longer pink, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a clean plate.
- Cook the Vegetables – Reduce the heat to medium. Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the zucchini, and stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, and cook until the moisture just begins to release, about 2 minutes.
- Thicken the Sauce – Whisk the stir-fry sauce. Make a well in the center of the pan, and add the sauce. Stir continuously until thickened, about 1 minute.
- To Serve – Add the chicken back to the pan and stir to combine. Cook until the zucchini is tender and the chicken is warm, about 1 minute. Serve immediately.
- Recipe Yield: About 5 cups
- Serving Size: About 1 ¼ cups
- Using Chicken Thighs: Purchase 1 ¼ to 1 ½ pounds. Trim off the excess fat.
- Make it Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free oyster sauce like Lee Kum Kee Green Label or Kikkoman. Use gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos for soy sauce.
- Storing: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Reheating: Cover and microwave on high setting in 15 to 30-second increments until hot.
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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