Chinese Mushroom Chicken Stir Fry

4.85 from 20 votes
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This Panda Express style Chinese mushroom chicken is very easy to make and perfect for a weekday dinner. The tender chicken bites are cooked in an aromatic savory sweet sauce with juicy mushrooms and crispy bamboo shoots. {Gluten-Free adaptable}

Chinese Mushroom Chicken served on a plate

Since moving to the US, I’m often amazed at how trying out American Chinese food can open my mind towards the food of my own culture. I’ve experienced and recreated some of the popular American Chinese such as Orange Chicken, General Tso Tofu, and Beef with Broccoli. I’d never seen these dishes growing up in China. But they use various Chinese ingredients to create a sensation that’s true to traditional Chinese cooking. I enjoy these dishes and they somehow remind me of the food from home.

The theory proved right again on our way back from Los Angeles recently. During lunch hour, my husband and I were stuck in a tiny terminal with five restaurant options. After looking through the menus, we decided the most healthy option was Panda Express. I confess it was my first time ordering from the chain, since I often prefer smaller Chinese diners operated by immigrants. But to my surprise, the food turned out so good and I was obsessed with their mushroom chicken in the end.

The truth is, there is a mushroom chicken dish in traditional Chinese cooking. It is made with bone-in skin-on chicken, chopped to bite-size, then braised in a soy sauce based sauce with dried shiitake mushrooms. It’s a dish I often ate growing up. But I rarely make it anymore after moving to the US, because it can be hard to find such chicken cuts.

Trying the mushroom chicken at Panda Express made me realize that the best solution to recreating one of my favorite childhood dishes is to stir fry the ingredients instead of braising them.

Chinese Mushroom Chicken in a frying pan

Mushroom Chicken – Panda Express Style

The Panda Express mushroom chicken is very easy to make and perfect for a weekday dinner. The tender chicken bites are cooked in an aromatic savory sweet sauce with juicy mushrooms and crispy bamboo shoots. The Panda Express restaurant version doesn’t contain bamboo shoots. But I highly recommend them because they add a great texture and their taste goes perfectly with the sauce.

Which cut of chicken to use

The original Panda Express version actually uses dark meat, as is typical in China. I used white meat in this recipe and the result turned out great. And of course, you can use dark meat instead if you prefer.


I’ve talked in previous posts about why NOT to use a wok, and some of the best ways to set up your stir fry station if you’re using an electric stove. Long story short, the most convenient setup is to use your electric stove with a nonstick pan (such as the 12” Calphalon deep fry pan, which provides enough surface area against the heating element to heat up your pan well, while it’s also deep enough to hold the ingredients during cooking).

The benefit of using a nonstick pan is that it heats up faster on an electric stove than a traditional wok does. Plus, the nonstick surface prevents the food from sticking to the pan. Most Chinese stir fry dishes use cornstarch to coat the meat, which is very prone to sticking to the pan if you don’t use enough oil and heat the pan well.

On the other hand, if you prefer not to use a nonstick pan, I would recommend a cast iron or a carbon steel pan (Ignore stainless. They stick like hell). In this case, you will need to add more oil to prevent the meat from sticking.

Panda Express Style Mushroom Chicken

Marinating the chicken

The most important step for most Chinese stir fries. The marinade will season the meat and give it a deeper aroma. The cornstarch will coat the chicken and protect it from the high heat. It takes a bit of effort but yields a very juicy and tender result, just like the restaurant version.

Mise en place

I like to organize my ingredients in groups, so I can use less bowls. It also makes the cooking easier. Once you’re done prepping, your kitchen counter should have:

  • Chicken with marinade
  • Mixed sauce with a spatula (to stir again during the cooking)
  • Chopped ginger, garlic, and green onion in a bowl
  • Chopped mushrooms
  • Bamboo shoots

Chinese Mushroom Chicken cooking ingredients

Cooking process

The cooking happens very quickly once the pan has heated up.

It’s very important that you cook the chicken first, and take it out before adding the vegetables. It’s the best way to prevent the chicken from overcooking. Plus, it helps the pan to keep a high temperature to sear the vegetables instead of steaming them.

If you’re using a cast iron or carbon steel pan, the chicken might stick to the pan. In this case, drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine and use a wooden spatula to deglaze it.

To make this dish gluten-free, use tamari or coconut aminos to replace the soy sauce. Use dry sherry instead of Shaoxing wine. And use a gluten-free oyster sauce.

To sum up

You’d be surprised at how easy it is to prepare this restaurant dish at home, and the result is so good. I’ve made this dish very saucy so it is perfect to serve on top of rice. I hope you enjoy!

More takeout style recipes

Chinese Mushroom Chicken close up

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

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Mushroom chicken (Panda Express style) - The dish is very easy to make and perfect for a weekday dinner. The tender chicken bites are cooked in an aromatic savory sweet sauce with juicy mushrooms and crispy bamboo shoots. {Gluten-Free adaptable}

Chinese Mushroom Chicken Stir Fry

4.85 from 20 votes
This Panda Express style Chinese mushroom chicken is very easy to make and perfect for a weekday dinner. The tender chicken bites are cooked in an aromatic savory sweet sauce with juicy mushrooms and crispy bamboo shoots. {Gluten-Free adaptable}To make the dish gluten free, use tamari or coconut amino to replace soy sauce, use dry sherry instead of Shaoxing wine, and make sure to use a gluten free oyster sauce or homemade oyster sauce.
Author: Maggie Zhu
Course: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: takeout
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • 10 oz. (300 g) boneless skinless chicken breast (or thighs), sliced to 1/4” (5mm) thickness (about 1 chicken breast or 2 thighs)



Stir fry

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 lbs (225 g) mushrooms (white or baby portabella)
  • 1 cup sliced bamboo shoots , drained
  • 3 cloves garlic , chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ginger , minced
  • 2 green onions , chopped


  • Combine chicken and all the marinade ingredients in a big bowl. Stir to mix well. Let marinate for 15 minutes while preparing the other ingredients.
  • Combine all the sauce ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Stir to mix well.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Spread the chicken in the skillet in a single layer. Sear until the bottom turns golden without moving it, 1 minute or so. Stir and flip to cook the other side, until turns golden, another minute or so. Transfer the cooked chicken pieces to a big plate and set aside.
  • Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the mushrooms. Cook and stir until the mushrooms are cooked through and the liquid evaporated.
  • Add the bamboo shoots, garlic, ginger, and onion. Drizzle with a bit more oil if the pan looks dry. Stir and cook for a minute.
  • Stir the sauce again to thoroughly dissolve the cornstarch and pour it into the pan. Stir a few times until the sauce thickens.
  • Add the chicken back into the skillet. Stir to coat everything well with the sauce. Immediately transfer everything to a big plate.
  • Serve hot over steamed rice as a main dish.


Serving: 4g, Calories: 216kcal, Carbohydrates: 16.8g, Protein: 18.8g, Fat: 8.9g, Saturated Fat: 1.2g, Cholesterol: 45mg, Sodium: 737mg, Potassium: 707mg, Fiber: 1.9g, Sugar: 7.5g, Calcium: 20mg, Iron: 2.5mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Don't forget the last step! Leave a comment below, and tag me @OmnivoresCookbook and #OmnivoresCookbook on Instagram!
Mushroom chicken (Panda Express style) - The dish is very easy to make and perfect for a weekday dinner. The tender chicken bites are cooked in an aromatic savory sweet sauce with juicy mushrooms and crispy bamboo shoots. {Gluten-Free adaptable}

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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Marion says:

    Love your blog- I live in France now from SF and really miss Chinese food ! I will learn to cook from your blog


    5 stars
    I made this last night and really enjoyed it. I realized halfway thru, though, that my oyster sauce was empty (panic!) and had to come up with a quick substitute. 2 tbs soy sauce and 1 tbs Worcester sauce and we were good! not the same flavor, but husband had no complaints. I also didn’t have bamboo shoots, so I subbed sliced water chestnuts. They provided a nice crunch to contrast with the mushrooms. side note: even with the ton of rice I served with, there are no left overs. always a good thing!

  3. Esther says:

    Any suggestions for a bamboo substitute?

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Esther, you can water chestnut as substitution or a handful of snow peas. Or you can skip it all together since the original version of the dish does not include the bamboo shoots.

  4. Lara says:

    This was. so. good. I didn’t have oyster sauce so had to substitute but other than that… DELICIOUS!

    • Laura says:

      Can you tell me what you used as a substitute? I’m wanting to make this but have no oyster sauce. Thanks!

  5. Natural says:

    This is insanely good!! Tnks for sharing

  6. Lia says:

    5 stars
    I made this tonight for our dinner and it turned out great! It was very easy to make, as the directions were easy to follow. My family loved this dish, and I’ll definitely add this to our menu rotation.

  7. Shivangi Bhatt says:

    5 stars
    Made this with mock (Tofurkey) chicken and it was awesome!! Thanks!

  8. John says:

    4 stars
    Easy and great-tasting. I made a couple changes out of necessity … I didn’t have bamboo shoots, so I added a half head of Napa cabbage toward the end of cooking, also used straw mushrooms instead of button. Otherwise, all the seasonings and proportions were spot-on. I thought it was delicious, and my wife, who isn’t too keen on Asian foods, said to keep this one in the rotation.

  9. Karen K says:

    5 stars
    Outstanding!! Well described and organized. This is a must make again.

  10. Sapna mehra says:

    What a fabulous dish. I didn’t have bamboo shoots but that didn’t take away from how delicious it turned out. I replaced the oyster sauce with fish sauce.
    By golly this was really a restaurant style Chinese dish of a very high standard.
    Thank you for this. It made me look good. 😎

  11. Joyce McDonald says:

    5 stars
    I did this recipe today and my husband and I loved it! So delicious. I scaled down the amounts and didn’t need the Chicken stock anymore but it still came out absolutely delicious!!! This will be a mainstay in my food menu! Thank you Ms Zhu… ❤

  12. Eva says:

    5 stars
    Excellent flavor, used skinless chicken thighs and then added defrosted peas and carrots at the very end. Delicious! Reminiscent of a dish we like to order from one of our favorite Chinese restaurants. Thanks for the great recipe!

    Any chance you have a recipe for pei pa tofu?

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Eva, I’m glad to hear you like the dish and thanks for leaving a positive review!
      I don’t have a pei pa tofu recipe now but would love to develop one. It’s so delicious!

  13. Quinn says:

    5 stars
    Another winner Maggie. Like many other commenters, I did not have bamboo shoots. I substituted dried lily flowers instead. I also went a tad bit light on the sauce, and went way overboard with the dark green portion of scallions to give it a bit brighter appearance and “greener” taste. For mushrooms I used slice King Oysters for a meaty bite, and Bunashimeji for a more delicate flavor and appearance. The Bunashimeji should be added after the garlic, ginger and onion because they cook really fast.

    Thanks again Maggie!

    • Maggie says:

      The two mushrooms sound so good! And I think the lily flowers will add tons of flavors. So happy to hear you like the dish 🙂

  14. Rachele says:

    First, I love your recipes! Second, I enjoyed this dish but my husband found it too salty. I used low sodium soy sauce and low sodium chicken broth, so how else can I reduce the salt without compromising the flavor? A tbls less oyster sauce and a tbls less soy sauce in the sauce mixture maybe? The flavor was excellent so I really don’t want to mess that up.

    BTW, I was out of bamboo shoots so I used baby corn instead. They worked well in the recipe.

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Rachele, I’m glad to hear you like the recipe! You can reduce a 1 teaspoon soy sauce from the marinade. For the sauce, I would use 1/2 cup chicken broth with 3 teaspoons cornstarch, so it dilute it a bit without changing the flavor. You can reduce the soy sauce and oyster sauce too, which throw the balance of the sauce off a bit but shouldn’t be a big issue.

  15. Janet says:

    5 stars
    Made this the other night and forgot to take a picture. Loved it! I used chicken thighs and served over brown rice.

  16. Anne says:

    Excellent recipe, we loved it, thank you very much!

  17. Kay says:

    5 stars
    Made this tonight. It was wonderful. Even my picky eater significant other loved it. Will definitely make again. Thank you!

  18. Huong says:

    Can I substitute chicken stock or veggie stock with anything else? 😭

    • Maggie Zhu says:

      Yes, you can replace it with water. If you have any bouillon (chicken or veggie), a small amount of it (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon) will help boosting the flavor more.

  19. Peggy says:

    5 stars
    Spectacular dish. So easy to make and the flavors were so authentic. I’m 2for2 so far. Lots of fun too. Use the chunky bamboo shoots and slice yourself not the thin rectangular slices in the little can. I used fresh shitaki mushrooms. Wonderful!

  20. Joe says:

    4 stars
    This was great thanks. Used skin on thighs.

  21. Jim says:

    5 stars
    This recipe was delicious. Definitely will be using it more.

  22. Mali says:

    5 stars
    I’m based in Shanghai, and don’t eat our very often as I’m watching what I eat. It’s usually delicious at restaurants, but it’s rather uncommon to order just one dish not to mention that they are always covered in oil and sugar.

    Absolutely love this recipe. It’s tasty, and healthy AND I didn’t need to go to town with the oil to make it delectable.

    I did omit the sugar because I would rather get it from food, but it was still amazing nonetheless. I should, however, add more ginger to the dish next time.

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. Though I have no idea how it takes only 20 minutes to prepare and cook. It probably took me double. Though I’m no chef 😂

  23. Circ says:

    5 stars
    This was delicious. I used vegan ‘oyster sauce’ because I’m allergic to shellfish, but it was tasty and pretty quick to prepare. I really appreciate the technique of cooking the chicken and taking it out before cooking the mushrooms, I tend to get soggy vegetables when making stirfry and that really helped. Thanks for the recipe!

  24. Titus says:

    4 stars
    The recipe is good but the measurements to those of outside of the US are confusing. They drift from metric into cups (which in Europe we do not understand). Also, I had to look up ‘green onions’ because they are called scallions or spring onions or salad onions elsewhere.

  25. afra says:

    5 stars
    So simpel! So lovely! Great full umami flavours with lovely texture from the bamboo. Only change I made is that I made a bit more of the sauce and doubled the mushrooms (mix of regular and oyster) I will certainly be making this again….often 🙂

  26. Karin says:

    5 stars
    This is so delicious! I added baby bok choy to make it healthy (🤣) hunted down bamboo shoots & added a sprinkle of gochgaru on mine for a bit of heat. I marinated a bit longer than 15 mins because I forgot to make rice lol Got 5 stars from the family & no leftovers!

  27. Renai says:

    5 stars
    This was a hit with the entire family. Had to tweak slightly (no Shaoxing), but it still was way tastier than any Chinese food near my house!

  28. Pete says:

    I was keen to give this a try as it was 6:30pm, I had nothing organised for dinner and had all ingredients on hand aside from green onions. I substituted with wedges of red onion cooked with the mushrooms and yes I used a carbon steel wok and deglazed with shoashing as suggested. This is a really tasty quick stir fry. I couldn’t think of a better way to use these ingredients. YUM! Perhaps a handful of broccoli florets next time?

    • Maggie Zhu says:

      So happy to hear you like the dish! Yeah a handful a broccoli florets should work great. You can blanch them until al dente, then drain well, before adding them. I also like to cook them in the skillet by adding 1/4 cup water and cover the pan, so the broccoli get steamed this way. During the stir fry, add it to the pan with the cooked chicken.

  29. Waterbaby says:

    5 stars
    This recipe is delicious!! I mix up the mushrooms I use based on what I have on hand…..I would LOVE to try this recipe with morels sometime

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