Craving Panda Express chow mein? Recreate your favorite noodle dish cheaper and better by learning how to make a customizable version at home with our copycat recipe. You'll be amazed at how quickly it be ready to eat. You'll want to make this again and again.
This Panda Express chow mein copycat recipe uses fresh and simple ingredients that are easy to find in the Asian section at your grocery store. The ingredients quickly come together to make a delicious and satisfying noodle side dish.
The Panda Express noodles are much darker in color than our recipe for this photo shoot. This is due to the noodles used and the how dark the sauce is.
The Panda Express noodles are just a bit larger in diameter and are chewy with some tooth to them, so you'll want to take this in consideration when purchasing and cooking your noodles. If you can find them locally or online try Wan Hua Foods Stir Fry Noodles or Japanese Yaki Soba Noodles.
On the Panda Express website they say they have onion and celery in their chow mein, but when I bought some recently the only vegetable present was cabbage.
- Oil: high heat neutral oil and finish off with sesame oil
- Vegetables: onion, celery (optional), cabbage
- Noodles: mein, stir-fry, or Yaki Soba noodles
- Sauce: liquid aminos or dark soy sauce, mirin, and oyster sauce or vegan oyster sauce
- Spices: salt, to taste
See recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
- Vegan & Vegetarian: Use vegan oyster sauce and noodles with no egg.
- Gluten Free: Use liquid aminos and gluten free noodles.
- Need more veggies? Use carrots, snow peas, bell pepper, bean sprouts, and green onion.
- Want protein? Add Shiitake mushrooms, peanuts, tofu, chicken, beef, pork, or shrimp.
- Want this spicier? Add chili oil, sriracha sauce, or Korean gochujang chili sauce after it's removed from the heat.
- Can't find the right noodles? Try stir-fry, chow mein, Yaki Soba, ramen, lo mein, udon, or angel hair pasta.
How to Make
Gather all the ingredients. Note: We included celery in this ingredient photo, but left it out of the recipe because my recent purchase of Panda Express' chow mein had no onion or celery in it just cabbage. I left the onion in for flavor.
Cook the noodles according to package directions, rinse in cold water, drain and add two tablespoons of heated oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.
- In a wok over medium high heat, heat up the oil. Stir fry the onion (and optional celery) for two minutes, while constantly stirring.
- Add the cabbage and continue stirring for a minute.
3. Add the cooked noodles.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together the liquid aminos or soy sauce, oyster sauce, and mirin. Pour in the sauce and cook until heated through, 3 to 5 minutes.
5. Season to taste with sesame oil and salt.
6. Serve with your favorite Chinese main course dishes while it's still hot.
For a large side (4 cups or 512g) of chow mein, there are 510 calories, 6g of fiber, and 13g of protein. Our version has 309 calories, 3.1g of fiber and 8.9g of protein for a one cup serving size. The noodles we used were 200 of those calories. Make note different noodles will change the calories and carbs. For more nutritional information, please scroll to the end of the recipe card.
A large side costs $4.20 for 4 cups (512g) of chow mein.
The Panda Express website says that their noodles are made of wheat, so they aren't gluten free, but they are free of eggs.
It's easy to get these two dishes confused, but they differ in the preparation method, texture, and the amount of sauce that is used.
Chow Mein: means fried or stir-fried. Parboil the noddles first, then stir fry them. Because of this, the texture is a little oily and a bit crispy compared to lo mein. A little bit of sauce is added to the stir fry so the noodles are drier than lo mein.
Lo Mein: means tossed. To prep the noodles, parboil, then toss with sauce. The texture of the noodles is softer, more like pasta, and a good amount of sauce is added. Lo mein noodles are easy to slurp.
- Have everything prepped before hand as this dish comes together quickly.
- Under cook the noodles by one minute since they will finish cooking in the wok.
- You'll want a noodle that has some tooth to it and is a bit chewy.
- For a more authentic Panda Express type noodle, try Wan Hua Foods Stir Fry Noodles or Japaneses Yaki Soba Noodles.
- If you want the noodles dark, use a dark soy sauce.
- Make the noodles, then toss with warm oil to prevent sticking.
More Panda Express Copycat Recipes
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Panda Express Chow Mein Copycat
- 3 tablespoons classic olive oil
- ½ cup yellow onion, chopped or thinly sliced
- ½ cup celery, thinly sliced on the bias, optional
- 1 ½ cup green cabbage, sliced
- 8 ounces chow mein or stir fry noodles
- 3 tablespoons liquid aminos or dark soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Whisk together the liquid aminos or soy sauce, oyster sauce, and mirin in a small bowl.
- Heat up the olive oil over medium high heat in a wok. Add the onion and optional celery and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the cabbage and cook for a minute, while stirring constantly with a large wooden spoon.
- Add the cooked noodles and the sauce. Cook until heated through, roughly 3 to 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add sesame oil and a bit of salt. Serve while still hot.
- Prep everything before starting.
- Since the noodles will finish cooking in the wok, undercook them by one minute.
- To be like Panda Express, you'll want a noodle that has some tooth to it and is a bit chewy. We used Hokan Chinese mein noodles for the photos. The brand and type of noodles will affect the calories.
- For a more authentic noodle, try Wan Hua Foods Stir Fry Noodles or Japaneses Yaki Soba Noodles.
- A dark soy sauce will make your noodles look more like the Panda Express ones.
- To prevent sticking, toss the noodles with oil.
Serving sizes and nutritional information are only an estimate and may vary from your results.