Lo Mein Noodles made with your favorite veggies and protein and smothered in a mouthwatering Lo Mein Sauce. So much better than your favorite Chinese take-out restaurant and ready in just 25 minutes!
What is Lo Mein?
Lo mein is a popular Chinese dish consisting of stir-fried noodles. Its name comes from the Cantonese “lōu mihn,” which means “tossed noodles.” Traditional Cantonese-style Lo Mein is made with flour-and-egg noodles and stirred with a thin sauce. Sometimes, it will be served with wontons and meat on top.
Chinese-American versions of Lo Mein, on the other hand, are typically stir-fried with various vegetables and meats and tossed in a sweet and savory sauce made from soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, and other seasonings.
What is the Difference Between Chow Mein and Lo Mein?
Due to the similarities between some Chinese-American versions of lo mein and chow mein, it is not uncommon for the terms “chow mein” and “lo mein” to be used interchangeably. Even so, there are a few notable differences between the two:
- Noodles: Both dishes typically use wheat flour-egg noodles, but the type can vary. Chow mein usually uses thin and crispy noodles, while lo mein uses thick and soft noodles.
- Cooking method: The term “chow mein” translates to “stir-fried noodles” in Cantonese. The noodles are cooked to a crisp and then stir-fried with various vegetables and protein. Lo mein, on the other hand, involves tossing the boiled noodles in sauce with vegetables and protein. This results in softer, slippery noodles and a more saucy dish.
- Texture and Taste: Due to the different cooking methods, chow mein tends to be crispier and has a more robust, fried flavor. Lo mein, on the other hand, is softer and absorbs more of the flavors from the sauce.
Lo Mein Ingredients
- Protein: The most common proteins include thinly-sliced chicken, beef, pork, peeled and deveined shrimp, or extra-firm tofu. Choose just one or include a mix of a few.
- Veggies: So many amazing veggie options to choose from. This recipe includes carrots, onion, red bell pepper, and snow peas. Other top vegetable picks include sliced mushrooms, chopped bok choy or baby bok choy, bean sprouts, broccoli, water chestnuts, and spinach.
- Lo Mein Sauce: Each cook has their own “favorite” lo mein sauce recipe. That said, key ingredients include light soy sauce (which is just regular soy sauce), dark soy sauce, sesame oil, Oyster sauce or hoisin sauce (or both), fresh ginger, and fresh garlic.
- Noodles: Lo mein is made with lo mein noodles, which are egg noodles made with wheat flour. They are not gluten-free. You can find them at some regular grocery stores and most Asian specialty markets. They may be fresh or par-cooked. If you can’t find egg noodles, spaghetti noodles, dried ramen noodles, or soba noodles are all great substitutes. Rice noodles are excellent if you can’t have gluten in your diet.
How to Make Lo Mein
1. Prepare the Lo Mein Sauce: In a medium bowl, combine the soy sauce, chicken broth, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, and sugar. Set aside.
2. Have a Pot of Boiling Water Ready: Once you start cooking, things move quickly. It’s good to have water for the noodles ready and boiling before cooking begins.
3. Brown the Chicken: Add the oil to a wok or large skillet set over high heat. Add the chicken, and stir fry for 5-7 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan to a clean plate. Set aside.
4. Stir-Fry the Veggies: In the same wok or skillet, sauté the onion and bell pepper before adding the carrots, snow peas, garlic, and ginger. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the vegetables are crisp yet tender.
5. Cook the Noodles: Until al dente or slightly undercooked, then drain well.
6. Add the Sauce and Cooked Chicken: Return the chicken to the wok and add the sauce. Mix well to coat and cook for 2-3 minutes or until heated through. Finally, add the noodles to the pan and toss gently until well coated in the sauce.
7. Garnish: Popular options include green onions and sesame seeds.
Frequently Asked Questions
Dark soy sauce is aged longer than regular soy sauce and is often mixed with molasses or caramel and a bit of cornstarch. As a result, it is thicker, sweeter, and less salty than light soy sauce. It’s a must-have ingredient for many Asian sauces and recipes.
No. Lo Mein is not gluten-free. Several of the sauces (including regular soy sauce) and the egg noodles contain gluten.
Yes, leftovers can be frozen – expect, however, that there will be texture changes in the noodles, making them softer and mushier. The flavor should stay the same, though.
More Chinese Takeout Recipes
- Chinese Broccoli Recipe (Gai Lan)
- Orange Chicken Recipe
- Sweet and Sour Chicken
- 10-Minute Garlic Bok Choy Recipe
- Congee Recipe (Chinese Rice Porridge)
- Beef and Broccoli Recipe
If you try making this Easy Lo Mein Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
Lo Mein Recipe
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs - thinly sliced or chopped
- ½ yellow onion - sliced
- 1 red bell pepper - seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 cup carrots - sliced into thin matchsticks
- 1 cup snow peas
- 3 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger - grated
- 1 pound egg noodles
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the soy sauce, chicken broth, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, and sugar. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Have this ready for when it's time to cook the noodles.
- Add the oil to a wok or large skillet set over high heat. Add the chicken, and stir fry for 5-7 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan to a clean plate. Set aside.
- Return the same work or skillet to medium-high heat, add the onion and red bell pepper, and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
- Mix in the carrots, snow peas, garlic, ginger, and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes until the vegetables are crisp yet tender.
- Cook the noodles until al dente according to package instructions. Drain.
- Return the chicken to the wok and add the sauce. Mix well to coat and cook for 2-3 minutes or until heated through.
- Add the noodles to the pan and toss gently until well coated in the sauce.
- Garnish with chopped green onions/scallions or sesame seeds if desired.
- Thinly slice the veggies and chop the chicken into small, bite-size pieces. Lo mein is meant to cook quickly. Having everything chopped small helps speed up the process.
- Make sure everything is prepared before you start cooking.
- Cook the meat (chicken, beef, shrimp) before stir-frying the vegetables, then remove them.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)