This One Pot Chicken Chow Mein is a fast and healthy dinner the whole family will love! Loaded with juicy chicken, bell peppers, cabbage, peas and carrots, it’s ready in about 30 minutes!
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A Quick and Healthy One-Pot Dinner
It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, life always seems to be busy!
With 3 kids aged pre-school to grade 4, we are always on our toes, and healthy, one pot dinners are our go-to’s most days.
I know that this is not a traditional chow mein recipe, but it is my take on chow mein with simple ingredients that we usually have on hand. If you’re looking for a totally authentic recipe, you are welcome to look somewhere else 🙂
What’s the Difference Between Chicken Chow Mein and Chicken Lo Mein?
Like I said, I will never profess to know anything about cooking authentic Asian food, but I do my best and this is one recipe we all love. I load it up with veggies and there are no fights at dinner time.
However, if you wanted to make this recipe more authentic, you could turn it into a more traditional chow mein or lo mein without too much hassle.
What’s the main difference? Basically, it’s about the cooking technique. Both dishes start with Chinese egg noodles that have been cooked al dente. From there, chow mein dishes are made with stir-fried noodles topped with savory sauce, veggies, and/or meat. In lo mein dishes, the noodles are cooked briefly in the sauce along with the other ingredients.
As a one-pot dish, this easy chicken chow mein recipe doesn’t exactly take either approach. It may not be authentic, but it is flavorful, easy, healthy, and fast! You can have dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes!
Let’s take a look at the ingredients for this easy recipe. Most If you’re not sure whether hoisin sauce is worth an extra purchase, just do it. It adds so much amazing flavor and you will find yourself using it over and over. (Note: To see the recipe card with amounts and nutrition info, scroll to the bottom of this post!)
- Oil: I use canola oil for gently cooking the chicken and veggies, but you could substitute any oil you prefer. Just make sure it has a reasonably high smoke point—you don’t want to ruin the flavor of a more delicate oil. Sesame oil is a common choice, but has a strong flavor so I would recommend just using a little for finishing.
- Chicken: Breasts are my go-to, but chicken thighs would also be fine. They should be boneless and cut into cubes.
- Fresh Vegetables: Red bell pepper, snap peas, shredded cabbage (or coleslaw mix), and matchstick carrots are a colorful and easy combination. However, feel free to substitute your favourites!
- Garlic: Freshly minced garlic is my favorite, but garlic powder is also fine.
- Ginger: Again, I like to use minced fresh ginger, but the recipe will still be super tasty with powdered ginger.
- Red Pepper Flakes: These can be omitted for a milder dish, or you can use a couple of pinches of cayenne for more heat.
- Broth: To give our one-pot pasta more flavor, I use chicken broth instead of water to cook the pasta. You can also use vegetable broth or water, depending on what you have or prefer.
- Soy Sauce and Hoisin Sauce: These two Asian sauces combine to make the perfect easy chow mein sauce!
- Noodles: You’ll need a box (375 grams or about 13 ounces) of whole grain spaghettini pasta, or an equal amount of dried ramen or chow mein noodles.
- Water and Cornstarch: These are optional, for thickening the sauce.
How to Make One Pot Chicken Chow Mein
To make this recipe, you’ll need to saute everything briefly and then simmer to cook through. It’s easiest and fastest if you get your ingredients prepped and ready to go before you start the cooking process!
See the detailed recipe down below in the recipe card.
- Cook the Cubed Chicken. Place a large skillet on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the oil and allow it to heat for a few seconds. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and saute or stir-fry until the chicken cubes are mostly browned.
- Cook the Vegetables. Add the bell peppers, peas, cabbage and carrots (or whatever veggies you choose) and cook for a few minutes, until the veggies are softened slightly.
- Add the Aromatics. Stir the garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes into the mixture, and cook for one minute release their fragrances and flavors.
- Add Liquids and Noodles. Stir in your broth of choice (or water), the soy sauce, and the hoisin sauce. Bring everything to a boil over medium-high heat. Gently drop in the noodles, and reduce the heat to medium.
- Finish Cooking. Cook the pasta along with the other ingredients uncovered for about 5 minutes. Stir the pasta frequently to keep it from clumping and sticking (we don’t want no clumps!). Once most of the liquid has been absorbed, cover the pot and cook everything for 3-4 more minutes, until pasta is al dente or cooked to your preference.
- Enjoy! At this point, you can serve the pasta. If you want a thicker sauce, mix a bit of corn starch with water, and stir the mixture into the pot. The sauce will thicken as you stir.
Tips and Variations
This dish is so, so flexible! You can change the pasta, the protein, the veggies, and even how you prepare it. As you know, I’m not a big fan of rules here, so you do your thang! Here are a few ideas
- Protein: This dish works well with lean cubed boneless pork chops, cubes of firm, well-drained tofu, or even browned ground beef. I don’t recommend using cubes of steak, because they may over- or under-cook (depending on the cut). And if you’re into batch cooking or meal prep, you can made a big batch of Instant Pot Shredded Chicken and setting some aside for this Chicken Chow Mein!
- Veggies: You might want to mix up the veggies. Onions, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, snow peas, bean sprouts, green onions, bok choy, water chestnuts… the choices are endless!
- Two Pots? If you like, you can cook the noodles in the broth separately from the stir-fried, saucy veggies and chicken. Cook them until al dente, and then give them a quick stir-fry in a skillet to get a crispy pan-fried texture. Yum!
This one-pot meal is complete in itself, but if you’d like to add an extra dish or two, one of these simple takeout-style recipes would be a great choice! Meal prep is easy if you make several main dishes one night per week, and set the leftovers aside (or freeze them) to use later in lunches, etc.
- Mongolian Beef: Set it and forget it! This Mongolian Beef with Pineapple is great over your favorite rice or noodles.
- Grilled Chicken: Sweet and Spicy Coconut Grilled Chicken? How can I put this… you need this chicken in your life! And you don’t have to use an outdoor grill. It cooks up just as perfectly on a grill pan or cast iron skillet.
- Sweet and Sour Chicken: Another slow-cooker favorite, this easy Crockpot Sweet and Sour Chicken is a sticky, sweet, and tangy main course the whole family will adore.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Store this pasta in airtight containers in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to 3 days.
The best way to reheat saucy pasta is in the microwave or in a covered skillet. Reheating in the pot may result in a scorched bottom layer and cold top layer!
- To Microwave: Place the desired portion in a shallow layer on a plate and microwave for 10-30 seconds at a time until hot. Stir to prevent hot and cold spots.
- To Reheat on the Stove: Place the desired portion in a shallow layer in a skillet. Add a splash of water or broth if the pasta seems dry. Heat on low, covered, until the dish is steaming hot.
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One Pot Chicken Chow Mein
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
- 3 cups shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix
- 2 large carrots peeled and shredded
- 1 red pepper thinly sliced
- 1 cup stringless snap peas
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- ¼-½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 cups chicken broth*
- ⅓ cup soy sauce*
- ⅓ cup hoisin sauce
- 375 grams whole grain spaghettini pasta (or an equal amount of dried ramen or chow mein noodles)
- 2 tablespoons water optional
- 1 tablespooon corn starch optional
- honey for sweetening optional
- Add oil to a large pot and cook chicken over medium-high heat, just until mostly browned.
- Add pepper, peas, cabbage and carrot and cook for 2-3 minutes, until veggies are softened slightly.
- Add garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes and cook 1 minute.
- Stir in broth, soy sauce and hoisin sauce and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add pasta and reduce heat to medium.
- Cover and cook, stirring every couple of minutes so that the pasta doesn't stick together (we don't want clumps!), until al dente or desired tenderness is reached.
- If desired, combine corn starch and water and stir into pasta to thicken sauce. You can also add a tablespoon or so of honey to balance out the soy sauce if needed. Serve.
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