Panda Express Mushroom Chicken
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Panda Express Mushroom Chicken is probably the most delicious way to get your meat and veggies! Perfectly tender chicken is stir fried in a mouthwatering umami sauce along with crisp zucchini and meaty mushrooms. After a quick marinade and even quicker stir fry, you’ll have a chicken and mushroom recipe that’ll outshine even the best Chinese takeout!
Panda Express Mushroom Rice
This copycat chicken mushroom recipe is probably my favorite Panda Express™ menu item that I make at home. It’s quick, easy, and always tastes great!
And one of my favorite things about this recipe is that I can customize it with whatever meat and vegetables I have laying around.
Everything is good when it’s stir fried in that sauce!!
My fellow Panda addicts will also love making my copycat Panda Express recipes for their fried rice and Kung Pao chicken!
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
- Chicken – Boneless, skinless chicken is the easiest to work with when we’re talking stir fry.
- Shaoxing Wine – If your local grocery store has a solid international section, you should be able to find this Chinese cooking wine!
Otherwise, a cheap dry sherry or dry white wine can be used instead. Those who don’t want to use wine at all can use grape juice cut with a bit of rice vinegar.
- Brown Sugar – This is what works to caramelize the outside of the chicken, searing it to juicy perfection!
I like to use light brown sugar, but you can use dark for a sweeter, more intense flavor.
- Cornstarch – In the marinade to help tenderize the meat, and in the sauce for a thick, silky consistency.
It’s working double time, so don’t forget this key ingredient!
- White Mushrooms & Zucchini – These are the two veggies included in the original Panda Express mushroom chicken.
Don’t be afraid to switch it up, though! There are countless other veggies that can be thrown right in: broccoli, eggplant, snap peas, carrots, and more!
- Oyster Sauce – Thick, strong, sweet, and salty. It really is one-of-a-kind, and you won’t get the iconic Chinese restaurant flavor without it.
In a pinch, though, you can use fish sauce or a mix of Worcestershire and soy sauce.
- Mirin – A sweet marsala is the closest substitute, while your best non-alocholic alternative is rice wine vinegar.
Things to Know Before Making Panda Express Mushroom Chicken at Home
- Keep It Hot – Keep that temperature up when browning the chicken and searing the veggies.
Otherwise, you’ll really just boil and steam them – leaving you with a soggy mess.
- Marinade Guidelines – You can easily make this marinade the morning or even night before stir frying!
However, don’t let the chicken sit in the marinade for longer than a day.
It’ll start to deteriorate, break down, and actually become tougher instead of more tender. Gross!
- More Marinade Guidelines! Finally, don’t reuse the marinade for another batch. Once you get the chicken out, dispose of it immediately.
It’s full of bacteria from the raw meat! Gross again!
- Use The Right Tools – A seasoned wok is ideal for stir frying. If you don’t have one, then a nonstick skillet is your next best choice.
That goes for whenever you’re browning meat!
Storing and Reheating Mushroom Chicken from Panda Express
Let everything cool to room temperature before storing in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months!
If freezing, go with a freezer-safe bag. Portion it out if you want to thaw and reheat single servings at a time.
To reheat, throw it all back in the skillet on medium (not high this time!) heat until warmed through.
Alternatively, you can throw it onto a baking dish and let it reheat in the oven. These are the two best methods for reviving that crisp texture!
Panda Express Mushroom Chicken FAQ
Panda Express mushroom chicken, along with the rest of their chicken dishes, is made with thigh meat – so, dark meat.
I like to use breast meat in my copycat recipe because it’s easier to slice, stir fry, and serve. But feel free to use whatever cut you’d like!
This can be tricky – cook it too little and it’s unsafe, but cook it too long and it’s rubbery!
When we’re cooking with these bite-sized pieces, though, the job gets a bit easier. Once the pieces are browned on both sides, they’re likely cooked through. To be safe, though, you can use a digital thermometer to make sure the temperature has reached 165°F.
Two reasons: baking soda and cornstarch!
The baking soda “velvets” the chicken – a common technique found in your average Chinese mushroom chicken recipe.
In other words, the baking soda tenderizes and breaks down the proteins in the meat further than your average acidic marinade. The baking soda and cornstarch together help the chicken brown and the exterior crisp up quickly and deliciously without drying out the meat, keeping it moist and juicy!
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
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Other Panda Express Copycat Recipes
Panda Express Mushroom Chicken
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine, or cooking sherry
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 tablespoons canola oil, or vegetable oil
- 2 cups sliced white mushrooms
- 1 zucchini, cut into half circles
- Sesame seeds for garnish
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon mirin or rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
- 1/4 cup light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Pat chicken dry with a paper towel, then transfer it to a medium sized bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, Shaoxing wine (or sherry), brown sugar, cornstarch, and baking soda. Pour mixture over the chicken pieces. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to marinate.
- To a medium bowl, add all sauce ingredients and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- Chop the vegetables and gather the seasonings so that everything is prepared before you start cooking.
- Drain the marinade from the chicken; immediately discard the marinade – do not reuse!
- Heat 1-2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add marinated chicken and saute, tossing occasionally, until browned on all sides and cooked through. Remove chicken from the pan and set aside. **You may need to cook chicken in batches so the chicken can cook in a single layer with space between each piece.
- Add the sesame oil to the skillet, along with the ginger and garlic. Saute for 1-2 minutes until the garlic and ginger are fragrant.
- Increase heat to medium high, then add the mushrooms and zucchini to the skillet. Saute for 1-2 additional minutes.
- Add the sauce mixture to the skillet, stirring and cooking until the sauce thickens. Place the chicken back into the pan, tossing to coat with the sauce.
- Garnish with sesame seeds and serve.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published December 2022
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I love being able to have panda express at home! It’s just as good, if not better!