Panda Express Chow Mein (Copycat)

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Panda Express Chow Mein that tastes exactly like you’re sitting down at the restaurant eating your combo plate except half the oil and it just takes a few minutes to make!

Panda Express Chow Mein that tastes exactly like you're sitting down at the restaurant eating your combo plate except half the oil and it just takes a few minutes to make!Panda Express Chow Mein has been a popular recipe on the blog since the beginning and with good reason. Cabbage, celery and onion sautéed and tossed with Yakisoba noodles in a soy and oyster sauce mixture make for a perfectly recreated food memory. You can take it a step further too and enjoy with my Panda Express Mushroom Chicken (my favorite). Panda Express Chow Mein that tastes exactly like you're sitting down at the restaurant eating your combo plate except half the oil and it just takes a few minutes to make!zx I think it was a rite of passage as a teenager of the 90s to enjoy a styrofoam container full of this Panda Express Chow Mein, Orange Chicken and Beef and Broccoli. The oily residue on your lips and all over your napkin meant you had just gone for it and gotten the chow mein instead of the healthier white rice or veggies (seriously, who would get the white rice there?)

My go to used to be Potato Chicken, but that got taken off the menu and for the life of me I cannot find a good copycat recipe and I haven’t had it recently enough to try to recreate it from memory. If you want a fan for life, you could point me in the direction of a good copycat recipe of their Potato Chicken! I would seriously love you for it!Panda Express Chow Mein that tastes exactly like you're sitting down at the restaurant eating your combo plate except half the oil and it just takes a few minutes to make!The best part of this Panda Express Chow Mein is it isn’t even hard to make. There are only a few ingredients and really just a couple of steps. The one thing you want to do is be sure to use Yakisoba noodles. They are the same in texture and flavor and when looking for an exact copycat, that is pure gold!

Sautee veggies, add noodles and add in the soy sauce and oyster sauce. I mean even bottled sauce stir fries take as much work and this is a dish you’ll enjoy much more than that!

About the only place this recipe could go wrong would be with the vegetables. Make sure you slice the onions, cabbage and celery thinly. Put the oil in the pan, set to high. If you have a wok, this would be a perfect time to break it out because woks are made for high heat, fast cooking. The angled sides of a wok help to increase the surface area for browning which speeds up the process significantly!A perfect Panda Express Chow Mein Copycat recipe! The only difference you will find is that it is about half as much oil, so you don't feel so heavy after your meal! Enjoy with my Panda Express Mushroom Chicken Copycat dish!
Let cook for a couple of minutes until it is caramelized a bit. Stir and let more of it caramelize. Add the noodles and toss together. Add the soy sauce and oyster sauce and toss together.

Keeping track of all the Panda Express copycat recipes here on the blog?

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As more Panda Express dishes get added to their menu you’ll find the Panda Express Recipe Index that I’ve made of all the recipes on one page updated to reflect new menu items. Panda Express Chow Mein that tastes exactly like you're sitting down at the restaurant eating your combo plate except half the oil and it just takes a few minutes to make!

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Tools used in the making of this Panda Express Chow Mein recipe:
Yakisoba Noodles: These noodles are the perfect (easy find) swap for Panda Express Chow Mein if you’re looking online or in the store. There are more authentic versions, like these Chow Mein noodles, but for the money and the ease, buy the packages and ditch the spice packets.
Oyster Sauce: This is a unique flavor and ingredient. If you avoid seafood and want another option I recommend Vegetarian Oyster Sauce (made from mushrooms) but I don’t recommend you swap this out for something else altogether. I know sometimes people recommend Hoisin Sauce as a replacement, it would not give you the authentic flavor here if you do that though.
Soy Sauce: Nothing much to say here except Kikkoman has the best flavor overall and I always recommend reduced sodium.
Wok: Great for high heat, quick cooking. This wok is a great addition to your kitchen if you love cooking Chinese food or stir fries in general.

Recipe

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Panda Express Chow Mein (Perfect Copycat)

5
  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Course: Main
  • Cuisine: Chinese (sort of...)
A perfect Panda Express Chow Mein Copycat recipe! The only difference you will find is that it is about half as much oil, so you don't feel so heavy after your meal! Enjoy with my Panda Express Mushroom Chicken Copycat dish!

Ingredients

  • 2 packages of dry Yakisoba Noodles (cooked without spice packets and drained)
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion , sliced
  • 8 oz cabbage , sliced
  • 2 oz celery , cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoons oyster sauce

Instructions

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Sliced the onions and cabbage thinly.
  2. Cut the celery on a bias thinly as well.
  3. Put the oil in the pan, set to high and when the oil is hot add the veggies.
  4. Let cook for a couple of minutes until it is caramelized a bit.
  5. Stir and let more of it caramelize.
  6. Add the noodles and toss together.
  7. Add the soy sauce and oyster sauce and toss together.

Recipe Notes

Adapted slightly from Rasa Malaysia, who is an absolute genius in the kitchen.

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Linked up at: Weekend Potluck & Creative Muster,

Nutrition Information

Yield: 6 servings, Amount per serving: calories

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert, Inc.

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Dinner then Dessert TIPS If you are making this Panda Express Chow Mein and you want to recreate more of your favorites but want to take a bit of an easier route, you can look in the grocery store near the soy sauce for pre-packaged Panda Express sauces. I haven’t tried them but I mean they come straight from Panda Express so I would imagine they would be an easy way to have an authentic Panda Chicken dish with these delicious noodles.  Just an idea. I would still make my Mushroom Chicken instead though! 😉

In case you’ve read down this far, here is an original shot of this dish from when it was first pictured on the blog… ah memories! A perfect Panda Express Chow Mein Copycat recipe! The only difference you will find is that it is about half as much oil, so you don't feel so heavy after your meal! Enjoy with my Panda Express Mushroom Chicken Copycat dish!

Panda Express Chow Mein that tastes exactly like you're sitting down at the restaurant eating your combo plate except half the oil and it just takes a few minutes to make!
Panda Express Chow Mein that tastes exactly like you're sitting down at the restaurant eating your combo plate except half the oil and it just takes a few minutes to make!
Panda Express Chow Mein that tastes exactly like you're sitting down at the restaurant eating your combo plate except half the oil and it just takes a few minutes to make!
Panda Express Chow Mein that tastes exactly like you're sitting down at the restaurant eating your combo plate except half the oil and it just takes a few minutes to make!

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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Comments

      1. Tried the chow mein and simply added chicken… brilliant. I did, however add slightly more of the sauces.
        Going to try more Sabrina recipes now. Well done girl!!

  1. Holy moly! That IS a perfect copycat. It looks just like the stuff I get from Panda Express. Yummo!

  2. Love this! Panda Express is one of my guilty pleasures, and their chow mein is a must every time. I’ve seen this floating around Pinterest for awhile now, why have I not made it yet?! Your pictures are wonderful, looks even better than what you get at the restaurant!

  3. Panda Express is one of my weaknesses so I can not wait to try this chow mein. I even craved it when I was pregnant with my third child and was known to load up the other two just for a drive thru run!

    1. I have to say the first time I saw a Panda drive thru I thought it was a gift the universe for me! Haha. So many times I would have gotten Panda except for the long lines in the store. The drive thrus are awesome!

  4. Panda Express has surprisingly good chow mein. I’d love to try making this healthier copycat recipe for my family!

  5. This looks like a delicious copy cat recipe. I will have to try it on the weekend. I am sure my family will love it.

  6. That looks delicious. Will be adding that to my menu rotation. It’s always fun to be able to eat the same things we like when we dine out, but save the money and make it ourselves.

  7. We do not have Panda Express around here, but this recipe looks great and makes me wish I did! I love Asian-inspired dinner time meals.

  8. I cooked this and the suggested chicken recipe for dinner yesterday And I loved it. I can’t compare it with Panda Express because we don’t have here in Portugal but I couldn’r care less. This was delicious, very easy and quick to prepare and cook and with few ingredients! I jsust didn’t add the celery to the noodles nor the sesame seeds to the chicken because I forgot to buy them. I think regular dry chinese noodles would work fine, no need to buy those yakisoba/ramen noodles. I loved this and surely keep on doing it! I’ll rate 5 stars the chicken recipe too. Só smooth and tasty!

    1. Yes regular Chinese noodles would be great, they aren’t the easiest to source in grocery stores here so the yakisoba noodles are an easy substitution. I am so glad you enjoyed them! We make these noodles frequently!

  9. Sorry folks, but It is really annoying sifting through all of the ‘it looks good’ and’I’m going to try it’ comments. I want to see replies from people who have actually made the posted recipe!!! At least wait until you’ve tried it. Some have said ‘it’s in the oven and smells great. You can’t wait a few more minutes until it’s OUT of the oven to leave a comment. Makes me wonder about comments, period.

    1. I have to say I sort of scan comments on blogs too looking for reviews of those who made them. I wish there was a way to sort those! Also I am pretty guilty of responding to all comments because I get so excited people want to talk about the recipe so I made it twice as long. Sorry 🙁 I hope you do try the recipe though, we actually had it for dinner last night with some potstickers and Hoisin chicken. 🙂

    2. I had this exact frustration! Also from those who have absolutely no point of reference since this is a “copycat” recipe from a restaurant. I’m sure this is great but not helpful for those who actually want to know if this tastes like the real thing.

      1. Yep, my only other option would be to delete them. Then people would be hurt their comments are getting deleted. It’s sort of a catch 22. I want to be inviting and welcoming and of course love hearing people love how the recipes look but getting people to come back and comment after the fact is pretty hard. The best I can offer is that you look on Pinterest for this recipe. Here is a link to one of the pins: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/238831586469839734/activity/tried They have a button for people who have tried it to comment. Also here is the older pin for it before I reshot the pictures with more commentary: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/238831586466147041/activity/tried and if you want a different chow mein recipe I also have this one: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/238831586467332559/activity/tried Hope that helps 🙂

  10. I have a quick ingredient question. The directions say oyster sauce, but the link takes you to hoisin. Is it really just oyster sauce and the link is an error? Thanks! Can’t wait to try it!

    1. Yes! The link changed on me, thank you so much for catching that! 🙂 It is supposed to link you to oyster sauce. I am off to change that now. Using hoisin would be a totally different flavor.

      1. OK great! I figured that was what happened. Just wanted to make sure before I ruined it. I just always like to see the brands people use. 🙂 Thanks so much! On the anniversary menu tonight since we’re snowed in!

        1. And here I am with a heated blanket on and it is 50 degrees out. I officially won’t complain at all anymore! I hope you have a fantastic anniversary dinner!

  11. I made this today and followed the recipe exactly. Its pretty close to panda express’ chow mein and it was delicious! It was very easy and next time I think I will try the chow mein noodles in the Asian aisle at the grocery store. I also made the copycat mushroom chicken recipe and had them together. Yummy! Thanks for the recipes!

  12. This was so good and tastes exactly like Panda Express, but for 1/2 the price! Thank you for posting! Delicious!

    1. So sorry, this comment got snared in the spam filter!

      Nope, But they do make vegetarian oyster sauce made with mushrooms if you’d like to experiment with veg options :/

  13. Recently made and taste very close to the panda noodle dish. I bought the fresh yakisoba noodles (found in freezer section) and they worked out great. Definite keeper.

  14. I couldn’t find the noodles that you specified so I bought the brand “Sun Luck” chuka soba chow mein noodles. They come in a 6oz package. Should I still use two?

    1. So sorry this message got snagged in my spam filter! I am sure you made this by now, I hope it worked out! I would use those noodles without concern 🙂

  15. Hi, I tried the recipe but it didn’t turn out well, the noodles were a little sticky and it didn’t taste much like Chow Mein at all. Do you know what I could do to make it better? I boiled the noodles first, it didn’t say to but I assumed you did. Also I used mushrooms instead of onion, celery and cabbage but I don’t think that would change much, the noodles were thin and stretchy even though I used Yakisoba noodles. Any suggestions?

    1. I’m so sorry it didn’t turn out. Did you change the ingredients to the sauce at all? If you’d like, you can email contact @ dinnerthendessert.com and we can try and figure it out.

    2. I think the onion adds a lot to the flavor. The mushrooms would alter the outcome as well. I microwaved the noodles. They’re instant noodles so maybe they’re not meant to be boiled? I’m not sure if that would affect the consistency.

  16. so I need to make this dish gluten free. What noodle do you suggest a rice noodle or gluten free spaghetti? Thank you! Btw I made your slow cook pineapple chicken last week it was awesome.

    1. Barilla makes a gluten free spaghetti that I know a lot of my GF friends love. You really only need to cook it al dente as it’ll cook the rest of the way after it’s drained. Glad you enjoyed the Slow Cooker Pineapple Chicken!

  17. My family loves chow mein and I have tried other more complicated recipes but this one beat them all! I added shrimp to the recipe and it was great, everyone loved it! My only advice is to undercook the noodles a bit since they will continue to cook when you mix them with the other ingredients.

  18. Hello love your website. I haven’t had a chance to try any of the dishes yet but plan to soon as hubby and I are big Panda express fans.

    I just had a few questions. Have you ever tried to make these recipes and freeze them? We are big crock pot and freezer meals and while I understand some of these might not be as good in the crock pot I wouldn’t mind defrosting in the fridge overnight and then cooking it in my Wok later but I wanted to see if you’ve tried it or know anyone who has because I’d love to make some of these in bull and freeze them for some yummy Chinese nights 🙂

    1. I haven’t tried any of these in a slow cooker version as I think they would lose a lot of their authenticity to Panda Express but keep your eyes open on the site because I do have quite a few slow cooker versions coming that would fit exactly what you’re looking for.

  19. TRIED IT!
    I also went through the comments looking for reviews and found that most people that commented were just excited to try it.
    I decided to give it a try because I’ve been obsessed with panda Express chow mein for the past couple months. Idk why lol.
    First try, it came out a little sour. I’m pretty sure I added a smidge too much oyster sauce.
    This last one was better. I was very precise about the sauce measurements and it came out good. It’s not exactly like panda but it’s a good cheaper version of panda chow mein. It didn’t have as much flavor but I am definitely making this again.I mean I ate it all lol. I’d say give it a try?

    1. You can of course use different noodles if you prefer them but it would not be an authentic copycat. The flavors would still be delicious though!

  20. I made this tonight, but used whole wheat spaghetti noodles and cut the oil by about half. It was very yummy and even my super picky teenage son approved. I did end up basically tripling the sauce because the noodles really soaked it up. 

  21. I can tell you that oyster sauce is not a ingredient in panda express chow mien, nor is it a ingredient anywhere on Thier menu. All sugars are white, not brown, and white vinegar is used not rice vinegar or rice wine. But otherwise most of your copycats look “close” enough to be be delicious if not BETTER than Thier greasy dishes cooked in a FRYER. happy cooking

    1. So thats the issue, I’ve tried with and without oyster sauce. The version posted tastes EXACTLY like the dish minus the extra oil, so unless there is some sort of proprietary sauce they’re using, I’m not sure where else the depth of flavor is coming from. Would love more insight but I can understand if you’re not allowed to give it out. Also for the white vinegar, I find that their vinegar doesn’t have the same punch the vinegar I use had, so I’ve been recommending rice vinegar for the smoother flavor. Would love to know the strength or brand of white vinegar they’re using. And thanks for the kind words! I love Panda, so making the recipes at home was one of the reasons I was excited to start the blog.

  22. I made this for dinner tonight and I cannot believe how absolutely delicious it is. I added some left over rotisserie chicken and served it as a main course. This isn’t five stars, it’s TEN stars. 

    Rating: 5
  23. Tried this tonight, tasted great. Had to use 2 containers of the Maruchan brand yakisobi noodles that you make in the microwave. I did have some problems getting the noodles to mix with vegatables but finally got it done. I think you nailed the taste. Something was a little different on the texture(a little softer than panda), but other than that loved it. Thanks for posting this recipe.

  24. Wow this was awesome couldn’t believe it was better than Panda Express in my opinion make it just like the recipe but I did add chicken.Our favorite Chinese restaurant closed  in our town so now I have to make my own….. can’t thank you enough for this recipe!

    Rating: 5
  25. After reading all comments I’m a little confused. I know the directions don’t say to boil the noodles, but I don’t understand how they are cooked. Do they just soften once you mix them with the veggies?

    1. Hi Emily, in the ingredients list it calls for:
      2 packages of dry Yakisoba Noodles (cooked without spice packets and drained)

      hope that helps 🙂

  26. I just made this tonight and it was wonderful! The noodles didn’t have the same crisp as Panda Express but the taste was spot on. I would welcome any suggestions on how to get the noodles a little crisper next time I make it because I will certainly be making this again. 

    Rating: 5
  27. I made this for the first time tonight, and it was delicious. I was initially wondering if it would be enough seasoning, it is such a small amount of soy sauce and oyster sauce, plus there is no garlic or ginger. But the flavor was spot on. There is no need to change a thing. My husband (who doesn’t really care for Panda Express chow mein) and I both loved it. Thanks for a great recipe. 🙂

    Rating: 5
  28. It turned out fantastic. The recipe is so quick, easy, and budget friendly that I can tell this will be a a weekly or bi-weekly thing (at the very least) in my kitchen. I used Yakisoba Noodles (57 cents at Walmart). The Cabbage and lettuce(around 3 bucks/ with plenty left over) I brought a pot of water to boil, broke up two packs and cooked for no more than 4-5minutes then drained. From then on followed your recipe exact. I got mushroom oyster sauce and soy sauce from local asian market but i wouldn’t be surprised if Walmart had those also. I don’t have a panda express and I don’t need one. Thanks Sabrina

    Rating: 5