When it comes to finding the best lo mein recipe, we know better than anyone that it can be tough to replicate the carton of lo mein that your favorite greasy takeout spot is slinging.
But we’re pretty sure that after years and years of *careful* research and observation on what makes a great lo mein and my dad’s years in my grandparents’ Chinese takeout kitchen, we’ve perfected more than a handful of the best lo mein recipes, AKA America’s favorite noodle (okay, maybe aside from spaghetti…).
I remember growing up, we would get a carton of lo mein at the oddest of times—usually as a “snack.” Late at night after a movie, between errands in the middle of a New Jersey strip mall, and on road trips and vacations when my mom wasn’t content with anything but Chinese food––even the Chinese American takeout variety.
I have a lot of memories of us sitting in a car somewhere random, passing one big takeout carton of beef lo mein back and forth among the four of us like a peace pipe—maybe with a little swipe of chili oil tossed in as my sister and I got older. At about $5 or $6, it couldn’t be beat! Who wants a granola bar when you can have a few bites of lo mein amiright?
We’ve found that today, it’s becoming harder and harder to find a superior Chinese takeout spot, which means lots of disappointing, bland and greasy orders of lo mein. Hence, why we’ve rounded up all the classic lo mein recipes you need, with different variants for you to try when you’re feeling adventurous. From chicken lo mein and beef lo mein to vegetable lo mein, we’ve got you covered with the best lo mein recipes!
In case you’re wondering about the noodles, most of these recipes call for fresh, pre-cooked lo mein noodles—see this picture for the brand we typically use, but you can also check out our ingredients page on Chinese Noodles and Wrappers for more info! If using cooked noodles, you do not have to boil them before using them in your lo mein stir-fry.
If using fresh, uncooked egg noodles, however, you will have to boil them beforehand, drain them, and set them aside before throwing them into your dish:
But you can actually use a range of different Chinese noodles, including fresh white wheat noodles, and we’ve even pulled off some of these recipes with spaghetti in a pinch.
While these recipes will help you achieve the perfect results, we often make lo mein when we have a bunch of veggie odds and ends and small pieces of pork, beef, or chicken, and we want a simple but delicious meal. The overall formula is julienned veggies + sliced protein + noodles. Once you’re familiar with the overall process, feel free to make substitutions and experiment with different combinations of protein and veggies!
The classic of classics—simple chicken lo mein. It’s like a warm blanket—hearkening back to simpler days of no fuss noodles, and for me, more youthful days parked in a mall somewhere in the middle of New Jersey at the food court, sifting through way too many $1 Claire’s surprise bags.
Our Shrimp Lo Mein recipe has plenty of perfectly cooked shrimp and veggies that we can bet is way better than any shrimp lo mein you’ve ever gotten at a takeout place. It takes a little bit of careful preparation, but you’ll never look back once you’ve tried it.
Vegetable Lo Mein is a great side dish and a much tastier way to get your fill of veggies. Sometimes we even make lo mein that primarily consists of vegetables! It’s a great way to use up the random vegetables that can accumulate in your fridge at the end of the week.
Our family’s classic, preferred order––big strips of tender beef tossed with perfect soy-sauced noods. It really needs no introduction. ‘Nuff said.
We also love using fresh lo mein noodles for other noodle dishes, and this red curry noodle recipe with chicken is pretty much as easy as opening a can of red curry paste.
Hokkien noodles from the Fujian province are popular in China, but also in Malaysia and Singapore. They’re essentially lo mein egg noodles, and this is our simple take with chicken, and lots of ginger and scallion.
Okay, so it’s not Thanksgiving—heck, it’s not even fall at the moment—but for anyone who wants to substitute shredded chicken, this is a great recipe to use. Also, perfect if you have leftover roasted turkey or chicken on hand!
This is one of the first recipes we ever posted, but we recently updated it with spaghetti instead of fresh lo mein noodles. The original, while the photos are less than glamorous, is still one of our favorites: Kaitlin’s Special Noodles (Ground Pork Lo Mein). Plus, anyone who’s currently obsessed with Lao Gan Ma chili sauce, this is for you!
If you’re looking for other noodle recipes, head over here!