Garlic Chicken Lo Mein Recipe

Ah, lo mein; the takeout classic standing strong beside orange chicken and broccoli beef. We've all ordered it once (or many times), satisfying a craving for salty, silky noodles and tender sliced chicken. There's really nothing better than a takeout box full of noodles — except, maybe, making them yourself.

Chicken lo mein is quick and easy to make, mostly relying on organized prep and a good marinade. In this garlic chicken lo mein recipe developed by Michelle McGlinn, the chicken is soaked in a cornstarch slurry first, tenderizing the meat in a spicy chili-garlic sauce. More garlic is added to the wok while cooking the vegetables, making this lo mein extra garlicky with just a hint of spice. Making lo mein yourself means customizing the dish to your liking: Add more garlic if you're a garlic fiend, throw in different vegetables you love, or add a hint of chili oil to the sauce to make it spicier. Sure, nothing will beat takeout, but this healthy homemade version sure comes pretty close.

Gather your garlic chicken lo mein ingredients

To make the chicken, grab chicken breasts, chilis, soy sauce, sesame oil, canola oil, and cornstarch. You can use any boneless, skinless chicken here, so long as they're sliced into thin strips before marinating. The chilis can be any pepper you prefer; even jalapeños would work fine. McGlinn loves red chilis like Thai and Fresno or green chilis like serrano. You'll need quite a bit of garlic here to make this dish really garlic-forward. You can start with 5 large cloves, but feel free to add a few more. Fill the lo mein with vegetables, starting with ginger, scallion, carrot, bell pepper, and snow peas. Some other veggies options could include spinach, bok choy, broccoli, or mushrooms.

Lastly, grab a hefty handful of lo mein noodles. You can find these at most grocery stores near the ramen noodles, but if you're having trouble just use spaghetti.

Velveting the chicken

Velveting is a Chinese technique for tenderizing meat. The technique varies slightly from chef to chef, some chefs insisting on a quick boil or simmer after marinating the meat to properly soften the texture, with others relying on specific marinade ingredients to tenderize the meat before stir-frying. In this recipe, the chicken is tenderized with a cornstarch slurry, joined by flavoring like chilis and garlic for super-flavorful meat. Let the chicken rest for 30 minutes or so to properly tenderize, then continue with cooking. McGlinn likes to put the chicken in the marinade, then prep everything else while it rests.

The importance of mise-en-place

Stir-frys are quick and very hands-on. Even the meat fries quickly, needing pretty constant attention to avoid burning in the hot wok. You won't have time to julienne carrots or chop ginger once you start, so prep everything in advance (also known as mise-en-place). This doesn't have to be fancy, nor do you need a hundred little pinch bowls. Put the aromatics in one bowl and the veggies in another, then keep your prepped noodles and the sauce mixture nearby.

Cook the chicken

Slicing the chicken into thin strips helps it cook faster in the wok. Heat some neutral oil — canola or vegetable work great — until very hot, then add the chicken. Stir it often, flipping to brown each side. The chicken won't be dark brown, but rather, a light golden brown with a firmer texture and opaque coloring. Remove the chicken from the wok just as it cooks through.

Bring together the stir fry

This is where it's really important to have everything ready, because each step only takes a few minutes. Keep your neutral oil handy to add whenever the wok looks a little dry, then start with the aromatics. Fry until fragrant, then add the vegetables. Soften the veggies, then toss in the noodles and sauce. Toss the noodles gently to coat in the sauce, rotating them until the sauce begins to separate the noodles into glossy strands. Throw the chicken back in and warm it through, continuing to toss.

To serve, divide the noodles into bowls, scooping extra veggies on top if they didn't already incorporate. Slice the green part of the scallion and sprinkle on top of the noodles. You can also add sesame seeds, cilantro, chili crisp, or hot sauce.

Store any leftovers in airtight containers in the fridge for up to a week, using the microwave to reheat. Lo mein makes a great meal prep since the noodles reheat easily and keep their flavor well. Give these garlicky noodles a try for an easy lunch or dinner and serve them alongside potstickers, eggrolls, and seaweed salad for a taste of takeout at home.

Garlic Chicken Lo Mein Recipe
5 from 35 ratings
When you're craving a takeout classic but want to cook at home, this chicken lo mein recipe loaded with garlic and vegetables is just what you need.
Prep Time
Cook Time
side view of lo mein in a bowl
Total time: 25 minutes
  • 1 pound chicken breasts, sliced into strips
  • 1 Fresno chili, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 5 cloves garlic, divided
  • 1 inch ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, julienned
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 10-20 snow peas
  • 7 ounces lo mein noodles, boiled to al dente
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the chicken, chili, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon oil, and cornstarch. Grate garlic into the mixture and combine well. Let marinate while prepping the remaining ingredients.
  2. Once noodles are cooked, lightly drizzle with remaining sesame oil and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon oil with the remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce.
  4. In a wok over medium heat, cook chicken with marinade until firm, opaque, and completely cooked through, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove chicken from the wok.
  5. Mince the remaining 4 cloves of garlic. Add more oil to the skillet if needed, then add the garlic, ginger, and the white part of the scallions. Cook until fragrant and soft, about 1 minute.
  6. Add the bell pepper, carrot, and snow peas and cook until soft, another 5 minutes. Turn the heat to medium low and add the soy sauce mixture, then add the reserved noodles and toss gently to coat. Return the chicken to the wok and toss gently to combine.
  7. To serve, top with green part of the scallions.
Calories per Serving 496
Total Fat 18.3 g
Saturated Fat 2.4 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 124.5 mg
Total Carbohydrates 47.2 g
Dietary Fiber 4.2 g
Total Sugars 5.3 g
Sodium 530.9 mg
Protein 34.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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