Egg noodles, fresh veggies and beef strips, tossed in a garlicky, sweet and spicy sesame sauce. This easy beef lo mein is a complete meal that is on the table in less than 30 minutes.
This recipe first appeared on Savory Experiments where I am a contributor.
I’m love dinners that come together quickly and that don’t require fancy ingredients.
Cooking a dinner that requires just one or two pots is even better.
This beef lo mein hits all those points. It is easy, fast, and other than boiling some noodles, the rest cooks in just one pan.
This is the type of meal where you don’t have to worry about exact measurements or using exact ingredients. In fact, it is a great way to use up left-over bits of vegetables and that lonely steak that is sitting in the freezer.
And while this recipe is for beef lo mein, you can easily swap the beef for chicken, pork, shrimp, or leave the meat out completely to make this a healthy vegan dish.
The combination of ingredients are endless, and they are all delicious, so no need to stress about what you have on hand.
Why this recipe works
- It’s quick – This meal can be on the table in about 30 minutes.
- It’s easy – It uses simple ingredients.
- It’s a complete meal – With the beef, vegetables and noodles this dish has everything you need to make a complete meal.
The great thing about this dish is how simple the ingredients are and how easy it is to switch things out based on what you have on hand.
Even the sauce for this dish uses simple pantry ingredients that you likely already have in your refrigerator.
Beef – I use thinly sliced sirloin, but you can pretty much use whatever you like. I’ve use flank steak and even strip loin.
Noodles – Lo Mein is generally made with a Chinese egg noodle, but spaghetti noodles work just as well.
Vegetables – You can really use anything you like. Broccoli, bell peppers, snow peas, carrots, mushrooms and bean sprouts are all popular choices.
Lo Mein sauce – This is a simple sauce of soy sauce, brown sugar and sesame oil. You can also find bottled sauce in many grocery stores.
For a full ingredient list see the printable recipe at the bottom of this post.
Pro Tip – Use a frozen bag of stir fry veggies to save even more time.
Start by thinly slicing the beef and dicing the vegetables. Then fill a large pot with water and set it on the stove. Bring it to a boil while you start cooking.
One – Add one tablespoon of vegetable oil to a wok or large, deep skillet. Heat over medium high heat and add the beef. Cook just until no longer pink then remove to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
Two – Drain any liquid from the pan, then add 1 tablespoon of oil and the vegetables. At this time you can drop the noodles in the boiling water as well.
Cook the vegetables for about 5 minutes, just until they begin to soften. While they are cooking, mix the sauce.
Pro Tip – Make sure you slice the beef against the grain for tender meat.
Three – Add the beef back to the pan.
Four – Drain the noodles, add them to the pan along with the sauce and toss to combine all the ingredients. Cook for about 2 minutes until the sauce has slightly thickened and the noodle are coated.
Serve garnished with sliced green onion and toasted sesame seeds.
Pro Tip – If you don’t like spice, you can simply leave the sriracha out of this recipe.
Chow Mein vs Lo Mein
Chow Mein and Lo Mein are very similar. Both are noodle dishes that are combined with vegetables and often some form of protein, such as beef or chicken.
But there are a few differences between the popular dishes.
The primary difference is in the preparation of the noodles. While both Chow Mein and Lo Mein traditionally use an egg noodle, Chow Mein noodles are partially cooked and then fried before adding the additional ingredients.
With Lo Mein the noodles are cooked, then added to the wok after the vegetables and proteins have been stir fried. Then the noodles are drenched and tossed in a delicious soy based sauce together with the rest of the ingredients.
Chow Mein tends to be a bit drier, and will usually contain fewer quantities of vegetables and meat.
Lo Mein is deliciously saucy, and full of veggies and meat.
Noodles For Lo Mein
Traditionally, Lo Mein is made with Chinese egg noodles. Sometimes they are specifically marketed as Lo Mein noodles, sometimes they will just be labeled Chinese noodles.
These are long noodles that look similar to spaghetti noodles. They are usually found in the ethnic section of the grocery store where you can find all the Asian sauces.
Sometimes you can find fresh ones in the produce aisle as well.
If you can’t find Lo Mein noodles, go ahead and use spaghetti. It works just as well, has a similar texture, and is probably already in your pantry.
If you can’t find Lo Mein noodles in your area spaghetti noodles are a great substitute.
This dish doesn’t freeze particularly well. I’ve tried it, but find the noodles just soak up the sauce and when reheated you are left with a dry, clumpy mess in addition to soft, mushy vegetables.
We have successfully refrigerated leftovers for lunch the next day though. You can reheat in the microwave or skillet. I suggest adding a bit of extra sauce when reheating.
More Easy Meals
Other recipes you might like:
Beef Lo Mein
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil divided
- 1 pound beef sirloin steak thinly sliced against the grain
- 8 oz lo-mein or spaghetti noodles
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 Cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 Cup broccoli florets
- 1 Cup snow peas
- 1 Large bell pepper sliced
- 2-3 green onions sliced
- 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Lo- Mein Sauce
- 6 Tbsp light soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp dark brown sugar
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp sriracha sauce or to taste
- 1 Tbsp corn starch
- Mix all ingredients for sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- While waiting for the water to boil, heat a wok or large deep skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
- Add the beef and cook until no longer pink, then remove from the pan to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
- Drain any liquid from the pan then add remaining one tablespoon of oil, garlic and vegetables. Meanwhile, drop the noodles in the boiling water and cook according to package directions. (5-9 minutes depending on noodle used)
- Cook the vegetables until they begin to soften, then add the beef back to the pan. Drain the noodles and add them to the pan.
- Pour the sauce into the pan and. Cook while tossing 2-3 minutes until heated through, the noodles are coated and sauce has slightly thickened.
- Add sliced green onion and toasted sesame seeds and serve.