This Moo Goo Gai Pan recipe is an easy way to enjoy a favorite Chinese takeout dish at home. With tender chicken, plus fresh mushrooms and vegetables in a savory sauce, this simple stir-fry is a family favorite!

A plate of moo goo gai pan is shown on a table with a serving plate of the dish near it.


 

Our family loves a good Chinese takeout meal – and this Moo Goo Gai Pan recipe is an easy, delicious way for us to gather in the kitchen and make it ourselves. Talk about a fun way to catch up on a Friday night! This simple stir fry boasts a rich, savory sauce that flavors tender strips of chicken and fresh mushrooms and vegetables. It’s a gorgeous meal all on its own, but if you’re looking for ways to add to the table, make some potstickers and super greens – these recipes make my family HAPPY!🥰

Why My Family Loves This Moo Goo Gai Pan Recipe

We love to explore food and flavor, and my goal is to never get into a boring rut when it comes to dinnertime. This moo goo gai pan chicken recipe has been a proven winner around here. Here’s why we think you’ll love it, too:

  • Light yet flavorful. The moo goo gai pan sauce is light, yet packed with savory flavor (I amped up the flavor from what you might know from restaurants serving this dish), and wraps itself around the chicken, mushrooms, and veggies in a super delightful way.
  • Hearty. You know me. I’m always looking for more tasty, interesting ways to incorporate lean high-protein meals into our day. Full of tender stir-fried chicken, this dish definitely satisfies.
  • Adaptable. While classic moo goo gai pan includes mushrooms and vegetables such as bok choy, water chestnuts, and bamboo shoots, don’t let that stop you from adding whatever YOU like. Because my family loves the carrots in this dish, I always add more than the recipe calls for. Also know that this dish is an excellent way to clean out the vegetable drawer!

What Is Moo Goo Gai Pan?

Moo Goo Gai Pan is an American riff on a classic Chinese takeout dish. Adapted from a Cantonese favorite, moo goo gai pan translates to “fresh mushrooms with sliced chicken”. My version is a simple stir-fry dish with sliced chicken, mushrooms, and other vegetables in a savory sauce.

Recipe Ingredients

Grab some chicken, fresh mushrooms and veggies, and let’s get started! Find the exact ingredient amounts in the printable recipe card at the end of this post.

ingredients to make the chicken for Moo Goo Gai Pan

For the Chicken

  • Olive oil
  • Chicken – I use skinless, boneless chicken breasts, but you could also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
  • Salt & pepper
  • Garlic powder – This gives an earthy, pungent flavor to the chicken.
  • Soy sauce – For classic umami flavor.
  • Cornstarch – This creates a light coating of breading on the chicken – and gives a fun texture!
ingredients to make the vegetables for Moo Goo Gai Pan

For the Vegetables

  • Olive oil
  • Mushrooms – Classic moo goo gai pan includes fresh button mushrooms, although I like to use cremini/baby bella mushrooms for their added flavor. If you’re not a fan of mushrooms, either cut them large enough where they are easy enough to pick out of your own individual serving or just leave them out entirely.
  • Carrots – My family loves carrots, so I always add more than the recipe calls for.
  • Snow peas – Disclaimer: We couldn’t find snow peas the day we were photographing this dish, so the photos show edamame. Just know that this should be fresh, tender snow peas!
  • Water chestnuts – I love the crunchy texture of water chestnuts! Use a canned variety and drain away the liquid.
  • Bamboo shoots – This adds flavor and a fun meaty texture. Again, use a canned variety and drain away the liquid.
  • Garlic – Add more fresh garlic if you wish!
ingredients to make the sauce for Moo Goo Gai Pan

Moo Goo Gai Pan Sauce Ingredients

  • Soy sauce For savory deliciousness in the sauce.
  • Ginger & garlic – Use fresh ginger root and garlic – so yummy!!
  • Chicken broth I always opt for a low-sodium chicken broth so I can better control the salt level.
  • Cornstarch This helps to thicken the sauce a bit, so it coats the chicken, mushrooms, and vegetables.
  • Brown sugar – This adds a little touch of sweetness.
  • Sesame oil – I always use toasted sesame oil because it has the most delicious aroma and flavor – but regular sesame oil is fine if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Green onions & sesame seeds – For garnish.
A close up shot of moo goo gai pan showing vegetables and chicken in sauce.

How to Make Moo Goo Gai Pan

This simple yet flavorful meal is always a hit in our house. Here’s how we make it. Find the detailed instructions in the recipe card lower down.

  • Season chicken. Toss the chicken with salt & pepper, garlic powder, soy sauce, and cornstarch in a bowl.
  • Cook. Cook the chicken in olive oil in a skillet until browned and cooked through.
  • Cook vegetables. Saute minced garlic and sliced carrots in olive oil, then add the snow peas, water chestnuts, mushrooms, and bamboo shoots.
  • Make sauce. Combine soy sauce, garlic, ginger, chicken broth, cornstarch, brown sugar, and sesame oil to create the moo goo gai pan sauce.
  • Combine & heat. Return the cooked chicken to the skillet with the mushrooms and vegetables, and pour the sauce over it. Fold to combine, then cook until the sauce has thickened and everything is thoroughly heated.
Moo Goo Gai Pan in an earthenware bowl
  • Serve. Serve hot, garnished with green onion and sesame seeds.
Chopsticks lift a portion of moo goo gai pan from a plate.

Tips & Variations

Here are a few tips to guide you through making this recipe, and I’ve included a few variation suggestions as well.

  • Freshness counts. Fresh ingredients make up a significant portion of this dish, so make sure everything is beautifully fresh for the best flavor and texture.
  • Add other vegetables. Substitute or add more vegetables, like bok choy, Napa cabbage, broccoli, bell pepper, zucchini, snap peas, celery, baby corn, shiitake mushrooms, edamame, and asparagus. Just keep in mind that different vegetables require different cooking times.
  • Use dark meat chicken. Dark meat from a chicken is definitely more flavorful and juicy. If you like dark meat, I recommend using boneless, skinless chicken thighs for this dish.
  • Use another protein. While this dish traditionally features chicken, you can easily substitute it for another protein. Thinly sliced beef or pork, cubed tofu, and shrimp all work well. If using shrimp, be sure to not overcook it, to keep it from getting dry and rubbery.
  • Adjust the moo goo gai pan sauce flavors. Our family likes this recipe as-is, but you can adjust it to fit your family’s personal tastes:
    • add spice with some dried red chili flakes or chili garlic sauce
    • add sweetness with additional brown sugar, or try honey instead
    • add herbs such as cilantro or Thai basil
    • add more ginger & garlic…always a great choice!
  • Make the sauce thicker. If you want the sauce to be thicker, simmer it for a bit longer after combining everything in the skillet at the end. For an even thicker sauce, make a cornstarch slurry by whisking 2 teaspoons cornstarch in 2 tablespoons chicken broth – then add as much as you like to the sauce while it’s actively simmering at the end. 
  • Make the sauce thinner. Maybe the sauce is thicker than you’d like? Then simply whisk in some additional chicken broth.
Moo Goo Gai Pan served in earthenware dishes

Serving Suggestions

Here are some of our favorite serving suggestions:

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

If you have leftover moo goo gai pan chicken, here’s how to store and reheat it:

  • In fridge – Place leftover, cooled moo goo gai pan in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • To reheat – You can reheat this dish in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave in 20-second intervals until heated through. Or, place the leftover moo goo gai pan chicken and vegetables in a skillet and reheat over medium heat. If you want to loosen up the sauce, add a little more chicken broth.

More Chinese-Inspired Recipes

overhead photo of Moo Goo Gai Pan in an earthenware bowl

Moo Goo Gai Pan

Yield: 4 servings
prep time: 15 minutes
cook time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
total time: 45 minutes
This Moo Goo Gai Pan recipe is an easy way to enjoy a favorite Chinese takeout dish at home. With tender chicken, plus fresh mushrooms and vegetables in a savory sauce, this simple stir-fry is a family favorite!
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Ingredients

For the chicken

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced against the grain
  • 1 teaspoon Morton kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the vegetables

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup snow peas
  • 1 can (8 ounce) sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 can (8 ounces) sliced bamboo shoots, drained
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced

Moo Goo Gai Pan sauce

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger root
  • ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • chopped green onions and sesame seeds, garnish

Instructions

For the chicken

  • In a medium bowl, combine chicken with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, soy sauce, and cornstarch. Toss well to coat chicken evenly.
  • In a large skillet or wok, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add seasoned chicken and cook until nicely browned and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.

For the vegetables

  • In same skillet, add 2 tablespoons olive oil.
  • Add carrots and saute for 1-2 minutes. Stir in snow peas and water chestnuts, then add mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and garlic. Stir-fry for 5-6 minutes, or just until the vegetables are crisp-tender.

For the Moo Goo Gai Pan sauce

  • While vegetables are cooking, make the sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, garlic, ginger, chicken broth, cornstarch, brown sugar, and sesame oil.

Finish

  • Return cooked chicken to skillet with the vegetables.
  • Pour Moo Goo Gai Pan sauce over chicken and vegetables. Stir to combine. Then allow the sauce to thicken, about 2 minutes.
  • Serve hot, garnished with green onions and sesame seeds.

Nutrition Information:

Serving: 1 Calories: 469kcal Carbohydrates: 20g Protein: 41g Fat: 25g Saturated Fat: 4g Polyunsaturated Fat: 19g Cholesterol: 97mg Sodium: 1191mg Fiber: 5g Sugar: 6g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Spoonacular. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.
Did you make this recipe?Please leave a comment below. And share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #afarmgirlsdabbles or tag @farmgirlsdabble!