Cantonese Style Beef Chow Mein Noodles (Baked, Crispy!)
Cantonese style chow mein noodles with saucy beef and crisp vegetables are one of my favorite restaurant dishes! The sweet potato-made chow mein noodles are baked to a golden crisp, loaded with extra chow mein sauce, tender beef, peppers, and onions on top. You’ll love this popular takeout dish made simple and healthy at home!
If you are looking for a quick and gluten-free noodle stir-fry, you’ll also love my hibachi noodles and garlic chili noodles!
One of my favorite things to do when I was studying in Taipei was visiting a Hong Kongese owned noodle restaurant nearby my college in Peitou. A big plate of crispy Cantonese style beef chow mein with crisp vegetables is perfect for two hungry students and is a fantastic one plate meal that basically has it all – extra saucy beef, crispy noodles, and crunchy vegetables. Oh so satisfying! 🙂
Today’s Cantonese beef chow mein is made paleo and whole30 and that means if you eat gluten-free, this dish is perfect for you, too! 🙂
What is Cantonese chow mein?
Traditional Cantonese style chow mein features chow mein noodles that are either flash fried or pan fried to super crispy. Because the noodles are crunchy (dry), the toppings are often saucy (wet) so that the chow mein sauce can soak it through some noodles. The toppings can be beef, pork, chicken, or vegetable. Quail eggs and napa cabbage are often used as toppings in the dish.
What’s the difference between chow mein and Cantonese style chow mein?
Chow mein means stir-fry noodles. Chow means stir-fry, Mein means noodles. The noodles can be fresh noodles or boiled noodles, stir-fried on a stovetop. The noodle texture is soft and a little chewy. Cantonese style chow mein noodles are crispy. They are often made with wheat flour and thin noodles. They can be deep fried or pan fried to crispy texture.
Lo mein, chow mein. and Cantonese style chow mein are all under the umbrella of Chinese fried noodles. Fried noodles can mean stir-fried, pan-fried, or deep-fried noodle dishes.
Ingredients for the chow mein and chow mein sauce
- Noodles – To keep this dish gluten-free and paleo, I spiralize Hannah Sweet Potatoes and roast them in 2 large sheet pans in the oven until crispy.
- Protein – I thinly slice the beef and add the seasoning for more flavor.
- Vegetables – Any crisp and crunchy vegetables are great for this recipe. I use bell peppers.
- Chow Mein Sauce – chicken stock, coconut aminos, fish sauce, toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar, black pepper, and arrowroot starch to thicken the sauce.
Best types of sweet potatoes/yams for paleo crispy chow mein noodles
I use Hannah sweet potatoes that have a light tan skin and white flesh. Japanese yams also have a white flesh however the texture is too dense to make spiralized noodles. I recommend Hannah for white color noodles or garnet or jewel sweet potatoes for orange color noodles.
How to make crispy chow mein noodles with beef
- Season and bake the spiralized sweet potatoes in the oven over two large sheet pans until golden crispy. This will be the paleo Cantonese style inspired chow mein noodles.
- Season the thin sliced beef and sear them in a hot pan or wok.
- Saute the garlic, ginger, and onion then add the peppers
- Return the beef and the chow mein sauce to the pan.
- Place the crispy noodles on a large serving plate. Before serving, pour the saucy beef over. Serve hot and immediately.
Ingredient swap suggestions
- Protein: If you don’t eat beef, you can also use chicken breasts.
- Vegetables: If you can’t have bell peppers, use broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, julienned carrots, or diced celery.
Tips for making the best Crispy noodles Beef chow mein
- Spread the spiralized sweet potatoes out in an even layer so that they don’t touch. If they are crammed together, they will steam instead of bake, and won’t be crunchy.
- The edge of the noodles tend to get baked faster. Toss them at half baking point.
- Once the noodles are out of the oven, let them cool. The noodles will turn even more crispy.
- To keep the noodles crispy, only combine the toppings – saucy beef – and the noodles before serving.
Also check out these helpful articles –
How to make the best beef stir-fry
7 stir-fry mistakes to avoid
What goes well with Crispy Beef Chow Mein
- Tatsoi recipe simple salad
- Paleo Asian coleslaw
- Paleo kale salad
- Sauteed swiss chard with chickpea miso butter
- Bok Choy Salad
- Chinese broccoli with vegetarian oyster sauce
- Browse Paleo Salad Recipes
- More Paleo Side Dishes
More Healthy Takeout!
- Beef and broccoli stir-fry
- Asian chopped salad with crispy chow mein noodles
- Whole30 cup noodles
- Mongolian beef
- Hunan beef stir-fry
- Chicken and broccoli
- Sesame Chicken
- Sweet and sour chicken
- Pepper steak
- Sweet ginger pork
- Browse more Paleo Chinese dishes
Cantonese beef chow mein (paleo, whole30)
For the chow mein noodles:
- 2 lb Hannah sweet potatoes, white flesh, or garnet or jewel sweet potatoes (orange flesh)
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- 4 tbsp avocado oil
- ½ tsp coarse sea salt
For the beef:
- 1 lb skirt steak, or flank steak, hanger steak, sirloin flap meat
- 2 tbsp coconut aminos
- ½ tsp coarse sea salt
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp arrowroot starch, or tapioca starch
- ¼ tsp baking soda
For the chow mein sauce:
- 2.5 tbsp coconut aminos
- 0.75 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1.5 tsp arrowroot starch, or tapioca starch
- 6 tbsp chicken stock
- 2 whole bell peppers, sliced
- 4 oz. yellow onion, about 1 small, sliced
- 0.6 oz garlic cloves, about 4 large cloves, sliced
- 0.4 oz ginger, julienned
- 2.5 tbsp avocado oil, for the stir-fry
For the crispy chow mein noodles:
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Spiralize the sweet potatoes and add them to a large mixing bowl. Season and toss with garlic, onion, powder, oil and salt.
- Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread out the noodles on the prepared baking sheet so that they don’t touch. If they are crammed together, they will steam instead of bake, and won’t be crunchy.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes. The edge of the noodles tend to get baked faster. Toss them at half baking point. Once the noodles are out of the oven, let them cool. The noodles will become even more crispy.
For the beef and other ingredients:
- Thinly sliced the beef against the grain. Mix them well with the seasonings from coconut aminos to baking soda. Set aside in the fridge.
- Slice the peppers in one plate. Prepare the onion, garlic, and ginger on another plate.
- In a well-heated large cast iron or stainless steel saute pan, add 1.5 tbsp oil. Sear the beef over medium-high heat in one layer without disturbing until crisp brown, about 2 minutes. Use a firm tip spatula to flip and cook for 30 seconds additional. Set the beef and pan juice aside in one bowl.
- Use the same skillet and start it dry, add 1 tbsp oil. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger. Season with a pinch of salt. Saute over medium heat for 10-15 seconds. Add the peppers. Season with another pinch of salt. Saute for 15-20 seconds.
- Return the beef to the pan. Give the chow mein sauce a stir then add it to the pan. Toss for 1 minute. Turn off the heat.
- To serve, place the noodles in a large serving plate. Pour the saucy beef and vegetables on top of the noodles right before serving so that the noodles remain crunchy. Serve hot and immediately.
I use Hannah sweet potatoes that have a light tan skin and white flesh. Japanese yams also have a white flesh however the texture is too dense to make spiralized noodles. I recommend Hannah for white color noodles or garnet or jewel sweet potatoes for orange color noodles. To make ahead, I recommend seasoning the beef a night before. You can also spiralize the sweet potatoes and store them in a large container lined with paper towels. The noodles are most crunchy when they are made and enjoyed the same day.
We loved it!!! I could not get the sweet potatoes to work so used regular chow mein noodles and they worked just fine. The flavour was just delicious. Another great recipe from Chiu.
Wow Wow Wow. I have always been skeptical about using vegetables/potatoes as noodles because I have had some that just weren’t the right consistency and always turned me off from trying them, but my sister convinced me to try this recipe. I was not disappointed! The noodles made the dish and I wish I would have tried this sooner. I have loved all iheartumami dishes, but this is my new favorite!
Whoa, this is so brilliant! You way of creating noodles for this dish is so great. Can’t wait to try it!
This is a winner! We used rice and millet ramen noodles instead of the sweet potato because we can eat them and it saves time. But YUM!!! Chihyu’s recipes are better than going to a restaurant!
Best combo ever! Reminds me of my childhood 😀
Wow. I’ve made a handful of dishes from iheartumami and so far this one is my favorite. I’m a big fan of pan fried crispy noodle dishes and this dish fulfills that craving.
I used regular sweet potatoes because I couldn’t find the kind she says to try to use and I think it worked just fine! I also used the air fryer instead of the oven in hopes to get a crispier flavor. They were very crispy so it works (in batches, 5 minutes each batch at 380) but I never made them in the oven so I can’t compare.
That’s wonderful! Yes! So happy to hear! Thanks, Shelby.
Chow mein is my favorite! I love the crispy noodles! It’s so easy to make and SO DELICIOUS!
Delicious!! And so easy to make. The sauce is delicious, not too salty or oily tasting. I used a cast iron wok and it really got the crust on the beef like you see in Chinese restaurants.
What a great idea to use roasted sweet potato noodles as a swap for chow mein noodles!! I can’t wait to make it this weekend!
We love this recipe & especially that chow mein sauce, yum!
This was so delicious. We really enjoyed it and such a nice change from cauliflower rice. Thank you!!
A perfect healthy no carb recipe with oodles of flavour and texture. Love it.
Soooooo good! Our family of 5 had no leftovers! I couldn’t find Hannah potatoes so used a Garnet. It was delicious. The kids said “Put this on the favorite list!” Thank you!
Forgot to add in my 5+++++ star rating!
Holy moly! Just made this dish and it hit the spot as I’ve been craving some good Chinese food!!! You are a godsend and a genius, ChihYu! While it did take prep work, especially with the spiralizer that I haven’t used in months, it was soooo worth it. Now I can enjoy a chow mein dish without feeling so crappy. Thank you thank you thank you!!!
So flavorful and amazing! This will be on repeat at our house.
Because I love all your recipes, it’s hard to say one’s my favorite, but I’ll say, this is one of my FAVORITE of your recipes (LOL!). So much fun! We love the crispy baked noodles and the flavorful sauce, meat and veggies. This is such a special dinner that everyone gets excited about, and so pretty to serve. I love the idea of getting to the Asian grocery store soon, too, to buy quail eggs, as you mentioned, as an extra special garnish to use sometimes.
Thanks so much, Megan!