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Moo Goo Gai Pan is a classic Chinese dish! Tender chicken pieces and mushrooms with crisp vegetables such as carrots, water chestnuts, and snow peas all stir-fried together with a savory sauce. Way better than take out and it only 20 minutes!

I am all about skipping the take out and making Chinese food at home. If you love Chinese food as much as I do try this Skinny Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chicken, Awesome Kung Pao Shrimp or Instant Pot Beef and Broccoli.

Moo Goo Gai pan on a dish.

Moo Goo Gai Pan Recipe

Seriously! Skip takeout and make this at home. It’s one of my all-time favorite Chinese dishes. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some takeout, but I also love to make moo goo gai pan at home and enjoy it in the comfort of my sweatpants. It is so much better than I thought it could ever be! The combo of tender chicken pieces and crisp veggies all in a savory sauce is amazing. You are going to love how easy and delicious this moo goo gai pan recipe is! It truly is better than takeout.

There is little to no seasoning on moo goo gai pan. Just the perfect sweet and savory sauce that enhances all the flavors in this dish! You will have dinner on the table in less than 20 minutes. If you are craving Chinese food, skip those expensive food delivery apps and make this Moo Goo Gai Pan recipe instead! You won’t regret it and your family will love every bite!

Where Does Moo Goo Gai Pan Come From?

Moo Goo Gai Pan is best known for being a popular Chinese takeout dish. It’s part of Cantonese cuisine and usually includes chicken and mushrooms that are served with other vegetables depending on your preference and where it is prepared. It’s a quick and easy Chinese dish that is now modernized into an American-Chinese stir fry.

Ingredients for Moo Goo Gai Pan

This is everything you need to make a delicious moo goo gai pan stir fry! All the flavors from the ingredients blend so well together to make this a fresh and hearty meal. Check out the recipe card for exact measurements!

  • Olive Oil: Used to cook the chicken in.
  • Chicken Thighs: I cut my chicken thighs into 1 inch chunks but if you like the classic Chinese thin sliced cuts of meat that will work too. Just be sure not to overcook your sliced chicken since it is thinner. If you don’t want to use thigh meat, you can also use boneless skinless chicken breasts.
  • Salt and Pepper: Help to enhance all of the tasty flavors of moo goo gai pan. Season to taste!
  • Vegetables: The great thing about stir fries is that you can throw in leftover veggies that you have in the fridge. I used carrots, mushrooms, water chestnuts, and snow peas! Bok choy, bamboo shoots, celery, or cabbage are great options as well.
  • Chopped Green Onions and Sesame Seeds: For garnish! These add a little extra flavor and also give the moo goo gai pan great presentation.

For the Sauce:

  • Chicken Broth: This is the liquid gold that makes the moo goo gai pan sauce come to life! It adds depth of flavor and richness to the dish.
  • Soy Sauce: This umami bomb ties everything together in the sauce. It gives the dish that classic savory taste we all know and love.
  • Brown Sugar: Sweet, sweet brown sugar! This guy brings balance to the moo goo gai pan sauce by adding a touch of sweetness that complements the salty and savory flavors.
  • Garlic: This tiny but mighty ingredient packs a flavorful punch in the sauce. It adds a subtle yet powerful garlicky aroma and taste that will make your mouth water.
  • Hoisin Sauce: This sweet and savory sauce is a staple in Chinese cuisine, and it adds a unique flavor to the moo goo gai pan sauce.
  • Sesame Oil: Just a small amount of sesame oil goes a long way in adding nuttiness and depth to the sauce.
  • Cornstarch: Cornstarch is the key to achieving the perfect consistency in the moo goo gai pan sauce. It thickens the sauce just enough to coat the chicken and veggies without being too heavy.
  • Water: Last but not least, water! It’s what helps to bring all the ingredients together and create a delicious, cohesive sauce. It’s like the glue that holds everything together, and also helps to adjust the sauce’s consistency.

Recipe for Moo Goo Gai Pan

You can’t go wrong with this Chinese dinner staple. It’s quick, simple to make and served up hot and ready in less than 20 minutes. Time to gather up your ingredients and a saucepan! This saucy, savory dish is the perfect solution for a hungry family on busy weeknights.

  1. Cook Chicken: In a large skillet or wok add the olive oil and turn to medium high heat. Then salt and pepper the chicken and cook in the wok until cooked throughout and no longer pink. Remove and set aside on a plate.
  2. Sauté Vegetables: Add a tablespoon of olive oil and carrots and sauté until almost tender 1-2 minutes. Then add the mushrooms and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add in the water chestnuts and snow peas and sauté for a minute more.
  3. Whisk Sauce Ingredients: To make the sauce, whisk in a small bowl the chicken broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, hoisin, and sesame oil. Combine the cornstarch and water in another small bowl and whisk into the sauce.
  4. Combine: Add the chicken back to the wok and pour the sauce on top and let simmer until it starts to thicken.
Process of making moo goo Gai pan.

Tips and Tricks

This moo goo gai pan recipe is foolproof and really hard to get wrong. But here are a few extra tips to make sure your meal turns out as delicious as your favorite Chinese restaurant!

  • Vegetable Size: It’s best to cut the vegetables all the same size and width. This will help ensure that they cook evenly and at the same rate.
  • Don’t Overcook the Veggies: Moo goo gai pan is all about fresh, crisp veggies. To ensure they retain their texture and flavor, don’t overcook them. They should be tender but still have a bit of crunch.
  • Don’t Overcrowd the Pan: When cooking the chicken and veggies, make sure not to overcrowd the pan. This can cause the ingredients to steam instead of sear, resulting in a mushy texture.
  • Cutting Chicken: When cutting the chicken a simple trick is to place the chicken in the freezer for about 20 to 30 minutes. Letting the chicken become hard but not frozen helps cut the chicken easier. Be sure to cut against the grain for best results. At this time, it is best to slice the chicken into thin slices or one inch chunks depending on what you prefer.
  • Keep Your Wok Hot: Make sure your wok or skillet is always hot when cooking the chicken and vegetables. This will help them become seared to perfection!
  • Serve With Rice: Moo goo gai pan is traditionally served with steamed rice, which helps to soak up the delicious sauce and balance out the flavors. Yum!
Moo goo gai pan in a staub pan.

Make it a Complete Meal!

These other easy Chinese dishes are great for serving alongside your moo goo gai pan! Adding a side salad like my Chinese Chicken Pasta Salad with Sesame Dressing, 20-Minute Vegetable Lo Mein or a simple white rice can make this into a complete meal that rivals your favorite takeout spot.

Storing Leftovers

If you have leftover moo goo gai pan, keep it! It’s so easy to heat up for a quick and delicious lunch. Chinese food is one of those things that tastes just as good the next day.

  • In the Refrigerator: Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
  • Reheating: Reheat over the stove at medium heat until warmed through. Make sure the internal temperature of your chicken reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Enjoy with white rice.
Moo goo gai pan on a white plate.

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Easy Moo Goo Gai Pan Recipe

4.50 from 6 votes
By: Alyssa Rivers
Moo Goo Gai Pan is a classic Chinese dish! Tender chicken pieces and mushrooms with crisp vegetables such as carrots, water chestnuts, and snow peas all stir-fried together with a savory sauce. Way better than take out and it only 20 minutes!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Equipment

  • Want to make this even easier? Here are a few products that I LOVE:
  • Wok or Skillet

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • In a large skillet add the olive oil and turn to medium high heat. Salt and pepper the chicken and cook in the wok until cooked throughout and no longer pink. Remove and set aside on a plate.
  • Add a tablespoon of olive oil and carrots and sauté until almost tender 1-2 minutes. Then add the mushrooms and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add in the water chestnuts and snowpeas and sauté for a minute more.
  • To make the sauce, whisk in a small bowl the chicken broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, hoisin, and sesame oil. Combine the cornstarch and water in another small bowl and whisk into the sauce.
  • Add the chicken back to the wok and pour the sauce on top and let simmer until it starts to thicken.

Video

Notes

Originally posted January 26, 2020
Updated on March 30, 2023

Nutrition

Calories: 419kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 23gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 111mgSodium: 750mgPotassium: 706mgFiber: 4gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 7998IUVitamin C: 21mgCalcium: 37mgIron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Asian American, Chinese
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!
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About Alyssa Rivers

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Alyssa Rivers and the food blogger behind The Recipe Critic. The blog launched in 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family. Each recipe is tried and true, family-tested and approved.

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Recipe Rating




9 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Made this tonight and it was a hit! I added more veggies (peppers, broccoli, baby book choy, eggplant, and ginger. I also added Sambal Olek for some heat and some cashews too. Next time I would cut back a little on the brown sugar but otherwise, we enjoyed it.

  2. 5 stars
    I did a variation of this recipe using some seasoned ground beef–and did some substitutions on the veggies (frozen green beans and some whole baby carrots)–and it was exceptionally good! I am new to your site though have been so impressed and pleased with the high caliber of what you post and share. Thank you so much.

  3. 5 stars
    Thank you Alyssa for all your awesome recipes!!!! I love to cook too, and enjoy trying anything you send out. Keep up the good work.

  4. This was good and healthy, but the prep took me 20-30 minutes.
    I needed to cut up 2 thawed chicken breasts, the green onions, carrots and organize all the ingredients for the sauce. The cooking went quickly.
    The dish was tasty, colorful and healthy!

  5. 2 stars
    My family of 5 tried this meal tonight. Unfortunately, it was quite bland. I have made a few similar recipes from this site with same ingredients (hoisen, sesame…). and those dinners have been awesome. I know in the paragraphs above it says mild taste. I didn’t taste anything. Not a hint of sweet or savory. Two starts because it is healthy.