Never heard of Moo Goo Gai Pan? It is a quick and easy stir-fry recipe starring chicken and mushrooms in a richly seasoned sauce. More importantly, this copycat recipe is insanely flavorful and super easy to make!
What is Moo Goo Gai Pan?
Moo Goo Gain Pan is an Americanized version of a Cantonese Stir-Fry whose signature ingredients are chicken, mushrooms, and a savory stir-fry sauce made with oyster sauce.
Reasons to Love this Stir-Fry Recipe
- Fast & Flavorful. Made with quick-cooking lean chicken and a slightly sweet, savory sauce, this Chicken and Mushroom Stir-Fry comes together with minimal hands-on prep work required.
- Affordable. You can make this entire recipe, which serves four, for about the same price as one order of takeout.
- Healthier Option. This chicken stir-fry recipe features lean chicken and fresh vegetables, and it is made with significantly less oil and sodium than any restaurant's version of Moo Goo Gai Pan.
- Kid-Friendly. Moo Goo Gai Pan's sauce is not overpowering or too spicy. It is sweet and savory and approved by picky eaters--even if they may pick out the veggies!
Notes On Ingredients
- Chicken: Either boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs work in this recipe for Moo Goo Gai Pan.
- Cornstarch: Cornstarch is used to thicken the sauce and to marinate the chicken. Using cornstarch in the marinade may sound odd, but it is a trick that will help the chicken stay tender.
- Egg White: An egg white is also another key ingredient to creating restaurant-quality stir-fried chicken.
- Vegetables: The only vegetable that is considered a must when making Moo Goo Gai Pan, is mushrooms. After all, it is a recipe for a chicken and mushroom stir-fry. Along with the mushrooms, I like to include carrots and snow peas for added nutrition, flavor, and crunch. Feel free to use any vegetables that have similar cooking times to the mushrooms, such as peppers, onions, edamame, or green beans.
- Bamboo Shoots: Bamboo shoots are a fairly traditional addition. They add a nice crunch and flavor to the dish. You can find canned bamboo shoots in the Asian section of your grocery store.
- Oyster Sauce: The key ingredient in Moo Goo Gain Pan sauce is oyster sauce. It has such a rich punch of flavor, but if you don't have it on hand, you can use Hoisin. Keep in mind that some brands of oyster sauce contain MSG. If you need/want to avoid MSG, Kikkoman Oyster Sauce is made without added MSG.
- Mirin: If you don't have mirin, feel free to use rice wine vinegar.
- Chicken Broth: Be sure to use low-sodium chicken broth/stock to control the level of sodium in the sauce.
- Peanut Oil: For stir-fries, peanut oil is a great option as it can handle a high smoking point. If you don't have peanut oil, use vegetable oil.
- Gluten-Free Modification: To make this Moo Goo Gain Pan gluten-free, use Tamari in place of the soy sauce, and be sure your broth is gluten-free. The oyster sauce also can be a source of gluten. Be sure to check the label closely.
- Egg-Free Modification: Coating the chicken in egg white will help keep the chicken tender. However, if you have an egg allergy, omit the egg and add 2 tablespoons of water to the marinade to thin it.
- Soy-Free Modification: In place of the soy sauce you can use Coconut Aminos. However, the oyster sauce also contains soy. You can opt to use a vegetarian mushroom "oyster" sauce or additional Coconut Aminos.
How to Make Moo Goo Gai Pan
The following tips are provided to help you achieve perfect results. You will find the detailed instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Prepare the Chicken
The secret to making restaurant-quality Moo Goo Gai Pan is to thinly slice the chicken and marinate it in an egg white and cornstarch. This is called a velveting technique which makes the chicken melt in your mouth tender.
To make the chicken easier to slice, place the chicken into the freezer for 10-15 minutes to make it easier to thinly slice.
Prepare the Sauce
It is best to prepare the sauce before stir-frying the chicken and vegetables, as the stir-fry comes together quickly, leaving you little time to whisk together the sauce.
Stir-fry the Chicken
You want to stir-fry the chicken before cooking the vegetables. This will allow the chicken to get a nice sear on the meat, adding texture to the stir-fry.
Stir-fry the Veggies
Add the vegetables to the same skillet that you stir-fried the chicken in and saute them until they are just crisp-tender.
Add the Sauce
Before adding the prepared Moo Goo Gai Pan sauce, give it a good whisk to combine again. Then add to the skillet, toss with the chicken and vegetables, and cook until the sauce is glistening and thickened.
Serve this Copycat Moo Goo Gai Pan with rice or cauliflower rice as desired. I personally love to serve over Instant Pot Jasmine Rice or Instant Pot Brown Rice with a drizzle of Sriracha hot sauce. Delish!
- Refrigerate: If you happen to have any leftover Moo Goo Gai Pan, allow it to cool slightly. Store the cooled stir-fry in an air-tight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
- Reheat: To reheat, microwave individual servings or heat in a dry skillet over medium heat until warmed through.
- Freeze: I don't recommend freezing Moo Goo Gai Pan, as the vegetables do not retain their texture when defrosted and reheated.
More Asian-American Copycat Take-Out Recipes
- Homemade Ramen
- Instant Pot Mongolian Beef
- Vegetable Fried Rice
- Instant Pot Beef and Broccoli
- Chicken Katsu
- Hunan Beef
Need more inspiration for planning meals that your family will love? Sign up for my FREE Meal Plans and each week you will get a meal plan with a shopping list.
If you tried this recipe for Moo Goo Gai Pan, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.
Moo Goo Gai Pan
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
- 1 egg white
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce divided
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch divided
- ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
- ¼ cup Mirin
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil divided
- 8 ounces button mushrooms sliced
- ½ cup sliced carrots
- ½ cup halved snow peas
- 8 ounce can of bamboo shoot strips drained and rinsed
- Place the chicken into the freezer for 10-15 minutes to make it easier to thinly slice.
- While the chicken is in the freezer, whisk together the egg white, 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved.
- Remove the chicken from the freezer and thinly slice the chicken against the grain into very thin slices. Place the chicken slices into the cornstarch mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 10 minutes to 1 hour. I find that 30 minutes is best.
- Meanwhile whisk together chicken broth, mirin, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch together until the cornstarch has dissolved. Set aside until needed.
- After the chicken has marinated, heat ½ tablespoon of the oil in a large wok or large skillet over high heat until shimmering.
- Once the oil has heated, remove the chicken from the marinade, discard the marinade, and add the chicken to the heated pan. Stir fry the chicken until nearly cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan to a clean plate and wipe out the pan with a paper towel.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of the oil to the same pan and heat until shimmering. Add in the mushrooms and stir fry for 1 minute. Add in the carrots, and snow peas and stir-fry until crisp tender, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add in the reserved sauce and bring to a boil. Add in the cooked chicken and simmer until thickened about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the bamboo shoots.
- Serve over rice, cauliflower rice, or in lettuce wraps.