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If you like Panda Express Mushroom Chicken, I believe you'll find that this copycat recipe is close to the original but is actually better ... in my humble opinion.
Tender chicken, mushrooms, and zucchini in a thick, rich soy ginger sauce ... such depths of flavor!
Pairs perfectly with your favorite rice. Or you can make up a batch of my Panda Express fried rice with scrambled eggs and mixed vegetables.
Sometimes I will serve simply with short-grain brown rice. Sometimes I go all out with fried rice. Either way, it turns out perfectly delicious!
What You'll Need
2 tablespoon olive oil (or other oil)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 pound chicken breast , cut into ½- to 1-inch pieces
6 medium mushrooms , 2-3 cups, thick sliced (I used cremini)
1 medium zucchini , 1-½ to 2 cups, thick sliced
For the Marinade
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoon fresh ginger , peeled and minced
1 tablespoon garlic , minced
2 tablespoon rice vinegar (plain without seasonings)
2 tablespoon white wine (dry or not so dry will do - I used Pinot Grigio)
2 tablespoon corn starch
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
So how is this "copycat" recipe deemed better, you may ask?
I believe it's better due to the ooey-gooey, thick sauce versus brothy and runny that I've experienced at the restaurant.
Also, much more flavor. Think more soy, more ginger, more "I can't tell what it is" flavor ... it's just that good!
Also, I used chicken breast instead of thigh meat. Thigh meat can be very flavorful in itself. However, if you don't trim the fat, even though fat adds flavor, it messes with the whole experience (in my opinion).
Plus, when you use chicken breast meat, you can make it just as tender if you marinate and cook it right (as I'll show you in a minute).
How to Make Mushroom Chicken
The first key to making a delicious Panda Express chicken mushroom dish is to marinate the chicken while heating up the pan.
This only takes about 10 minutes, so you're not waiting around and you don't have to prep early in order to develop the flavors.
I take the fresh chopped ginger and garlic and add to a medium-sized bowl along with the soy sauce, rice vinegar, white wine, and corn starch. With a whisk, I blend it all together until corn starch is smooth.
To the marinade, I add the cut-up chicken pieces and stir together to coat all the pieces. I let this mixture sit while I heat up a heavy skillet to medium heat for about 10 minutes.
When the pan has heated for about 10 minutes, I will add the olive oil (or other oil) along with the sesame oil to the skillet. I then move the skillet around to coat the entire bottom of the pan.
Then I drain most of the liquid from the marinade into another bowl. I do this with my hand to ensure that the chicken doesn't escape.
Then I will drop the chicken by handfuls into the hot skillet, leaving most of the liquid behind in the bowl.
Naturally, some of the marinade liquid will end up in the skillet, which is fine, but you don't want a lot. You want only what naturally goes there when transferring with your hands.
Note that you will use the rest of the marinade near the end of the cook time, so don't discard it.
You will cook the chicken for about 10 minutes, turning halfway through the cook time. This should cook the chicken at least most of the way.
Next, you will turn down the heat a bit and add the mushrooms. Then you will stir, cover the pan, and cook for about 5 minutes.
While the mushrooms are cooking, you will add the honey and sesame seeds to the residual marinade. Then you will blend with a whisk until incorporated.
After cooking the mushrooms for five minutes, you will then add the zucchini and rest of the marinade to the skillet and stir.
Cover and cook only slightly (no more than 2 minutes) in order to lightly cook zucchini but keep it from going to mush.
Enjoy this delicious Panda Express mushroom chicken over your favorite rice or all by itself! Let me know what you think about it in the comments below!
Pairs fantastically with my Panda Express Fried Rice! You may also love my Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken (especially if you like spicy).
Tips & FAQs
This mushroom chicken Panda Express recipe is quite simple, but you may have some questions.
Here are some tips to help you achieve the most flavorful recipe possible.
How do I best replicate the chicken mushroom recipe from Panda Express?
You want a tender, flavorful chicken with mushrooms and zucchini in a delicious soy ginger sauce.
Ideally, the sauce will be thick and rich instead of thin and brothy. This is achieved with corn starch, which is added to the marinade.
If you want to use chicken thighs like Panda Express does, by all means do so. You will have a fattier meat that has a good amount of flavor.
You can also have the same flavor with chicken breast meat but without the extra fat. I'm not opposed to fat, but, personally, I don't like the "mouth feel" of the soft, fatty meat in the end product.
I like tender meat, though, so the key to tender meat is to cook it fast on a high heat so it browns and seals in the juices.
Marinating your chicken in the marinade while preheating the pan is also a crucial part of making this recipe a success.
Then, as already mentioned, you will cook the chicken quickly, sealing in the juices, which equates to more tender, flavorful chicken pieces.
Please let me know how your Chicken Mushroom turns out in the comments below!
Panda Express Mushroom Chicken (copycat recipe)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil (or other oil)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 pound chicken breast , cut into ½- to 1-inch pieces
- 6 medium mushrooms , 2-3 cups, thick sliced (I used cremini)
- 1 medium zucchini , 1-½ to 2 cups, thick sliced
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon fresh ginger , peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon garlic , minced
- 2 tablespoon rice vinegar (plain without seasonings)
- 2 tablespoon white wine (dry or not so dry will do - I used Pinot Grigio)
- 2 tablespoon corn starch
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- Heat a heavy skillet to medium heat (5-6) on the stove top.
- For the marinade, take the fresh chopped ginger and garlic and add to a medium-sized bowl along with the soy sauce, rice vinegar, white wine, and corn starch. With a whisk I blend it all together until corn starch is smooth.
- To the marinade, I add the cut-up chicken pieces and stir together to coat all the pieces. Let this mixture sit while heating up the skillet for about 10 minutes.
- When the pan has heated for about 10 minutes, add the olive oil (or other oil) along with the sesame oil to the skillet and move the skillet around to coat the entire bottom of the pan.
- Drain most of the liquid from the marinade into another bowl. I do this with my hand to ensure that the chicken doesn't escape. Then I drop the chicken by handfuls into the hot skillet, leaving most of the liquid behind in the bowl. (Don't discard the extra marinade liquid.)
- Cook the chicken for about 10 minutes, turning halfway through the cook time. This should cook the chicken at least most of the way.
- Turn down the heat a bit (about 3) and add the mushrooms, stir, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes.
- While the mushrooms are cooking, add the honey and sesame seeds to the residual marinade and blend with a whisk until incorporated.
- After cooking the mushrooms for five minutes, add the zucchini and rest of the marinade to the skillet and stir. Cover and cook only slightly (no more than 2 minutes) in order to lightly cook zucchini but keep it from going to mush. Enjoy!
Don't Forget to Pin For Later!
Love chicken and mushroom combination. I also like chicken breast rather than the thigh.
Me too, Sadia! Thanks for stopping by!
The chicken is absolutely coated with sauce. Looks so good! I love a good copycat dish. Thanks for the recipe!
Thanks Farah! It's a great recipe (if I do say so myself 😉 )
Such an easy and simple dish, perfect for busy midweek days. And this is as good if not better than the original. 🙂
Thanks Anita! We agree!
The marinade for this sounds delicious. Such a great easy chicken dish.
It is, Dannii! You will love it!
The first closeup of this chicken is so delicious. I should definitely make this recipe over the weekend - I just can't miss it!
Thanks Danielle ... the flavors are out of this world!
What can you substitute for the wine? Sounds delicious! 🙂
Thanks for stopping by, Tammy! You could leave it out, or possibly add lemon juice in place of the wine. I haven't tried any variations, so I really don't know. Probably safest to just leave it out if you don't have it. Let me know what you do and how it turns out!
i dont use any alcohol in my cooken. Can you give me a subsition
Brenda - You could use chicken stock in place of the wine. Thanks for your question - let me know how yours turns out!
This recipe was sooo good. I fallowed it step by step. Turned out terrific. Thank you.
Excellent! Thanks for letting me know, Belinda!
I thought the chicken was amazing, tender and flavorful.The mushrooms should have gone in with the zucchini, they were overcooked, maybe they just needed to be cut thinker! The zucchini had to cook far longer than given, but it turned out perfectly. All minor adjustments. The big adjustment was the sauce. make at least 4 times what the recipe calls for if you want any for your rice. Overall, it was easy to make, and had an amazing flavor. I will tweek it a little, and definitely make again. Very delicious!!
Sandra - Thank you for your thoughtful and thorough review! I will make a note of your suggestions. The cook times are definitely based on the thickness of the veggies as well as personal preference.
Delish! I used chicken broth instead of wine and it was great