Panda Express Chow Mein. Bouncy chow mein noodles stir fried in a savory simple sauce with crunchy cabbage, celery, onions. A quick and easy recipe made in one pan! It serves well as the perfect side dish. Ready in 15 minutes!
What is Panda Express Chow Mein?
Panda Express is one of the most popular Chinese fast-food chains in the United States. This Chinese takeout restaurant serves Americanized Chinese food. Their dry chow mein noodles are one of their most iconic delicious noodles - often a guilty pleasure for many! It's a lo mein stir fry with a savory sauce, cabbage, celery, and onions.
This is an easy chow mein dish that you can simply mimic at home and have it taste better than Panda Express! I love how they also only use a handful of ingredients and the results are still fantastic. The main differences between my recipe and the real thing is mine is made with less oil, it's tastier, and made with quality ingredients. It's a great side dish and I share a list of main course(s) that you can serve these noodles with below.
Please scroll down to below recipe card for exact measurements.
Note: Most Asian grocers will carry these ingredients. You may find some at your select local grocery store or online, like on Amazon.
- Chow mein noodles: or refer to FAQ section below for substitutes. Chow Mein Noodles are made of wheat flour, water, and egg. You can find these noodles in the refrigerated section of your Asian grocery store. These kinds of noodles are much tastier than the kind Panda Express uses (which tend to be soggy lacking that bouncy texture). If you want to mimic the exact texture of the panda express noodles, you can over cook these noodles for 60-90 seconds.
- Celery: This vegetable gives this copycat panda express chow mein recipe that fresh taste that is iconic to these noodles.
- Onion: White or yellow onion will work.
- Vegetable oil, or any neutral oil like avocado oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil or canola oil. Panda express uses a lot of oil in their stir-fry noodles for that oily texture. We'll be using less but you can always add more if you prefer.
Chow Mein Sauce:
- Regular soy sauce: this is just your all-purpose soy sauce. It's different from dark soy sauce where it's not thick and not as dark and saltier. In addition, it's also saltier than low-sodium soy sauce. If you're gluten-free, substitute with coconut aminos, tamari sauce or any gluten-free soy sauce that you enjoy.
- Oyster sauce or Vegetarian Stir Fry Sauce: Both are a savory thick sauce giving any dish a deep umami taste. It's not the same as hoisin sauce as hoisin is very sweet.
- Sesame oil
- Dark soy sauce: this helps to give the chow mein noodles some of that brown color
- Chicken stock: make sure it's unsalted chicken stock. Feel free to substitute with beef stock or vegetable stock
- Cornstarch: or substitute with potato starch or tapioca starch. This helps thicken our sauce to make it stick to our noodles
How to Make Panda Express Chow Mein
In a small bowl, combine Chow Mein Sauce ingredients as listed above.
In a large pot of boiling water, blanch chow mein noodles for 20-30 seconds until loosened.
Strain immediately. If you're using other noodles, blanch just until loosened and no more.
Fry Vegetables & Aromatics
In a large wok on medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Once oil is hot, add onions, cabbage and celery. Cook until softened, about 1 minute.
Toss in Noodles and Sauce
Sweep veggies to the side. Add remaining oil into empty space. Then add noodles and sauce.
Toss to mix until noodles have absorbed most of the sauce. Remove off heat and enjoy!
Storage & Reheating
Leftover chow mein will last 4 days stored in an airtight container. To reheat, reheat over medium heat in a non-stick pan or microwave for 2-3 minutes.
Can I add any other vegetables or protein to this dish?
Yes! Feel free to add the following suggested ingredients:
- snow peas
- bell pepper
- sautéed chicken breast
- bean sprouts
- fresh ginger
Where can I purchase chow mein noodles?
Any Asian grocery store will sell them in their refrigerated section.
Substitutes for Chow Mein Noodles?
Fresh yakisoba noodles, frozen yaki soba noodles, ramen noodles (not the instant kind) or any fresh noodles made of egg or are yellow in color will work.
What to Serve this With?
This panda express chow mein copycat recipe can be served with any main dish below:
- Orange Chicken
- General Tso Chicken
- Lemon Chicken
- Mongolian Chicken
- Mongolian Beef
- Kung Pao Chicken
- Black Pepper Beef
- Crab Rangoon
- Mushroom Chicken
- Black Pepper Chicken
Easy 15-min. Panda Express Chow Mein
- 1 lb chow mein noodles or sub with yaki soba noodles
- 2 cups cabbage thinly sliced
- 1 cup celery sliced on an angle
- 1 small onion sliced
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil or any neutral oil
- In a small bowl, combine Chow Mein Sauce ingredients as listed above. Set aside.
- In a large pot of boiling water, blanch chow mein noodles for 30 seconds until loosened. Strain immediately. If you're using other noodles, blanch just until loosened and no more.
- In a large wok on medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Once oil is hot, add onions, cabbage and celery. Cook until softened, about 1 minute.
- Sweep veggies to the side. Add remaining vegetable oil into empty space.
- Add noodles and Chow Mein Sauce. Toss everything together until mixed well and noodles have absorbed most of the sauce. Remove off heat. Serve and enjoy!
Suggested Equipment & Products
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.