Panda Express mushroom chicken is one of my favorite dishes from my college days in New York. It’s a one-pot meal that’s both healthy and delicious, with tender chicken and crisp veggies in a savory ginger-garlic sauce. This homemade version is easy to make and healthier than takeout.

In this copycat recipe, I’ll share the expert tips and tasty side options to complete your meal. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner, you’ll find this recipe straightforward and satisfying. Let’s get cooking!

An overhead shot shows crispy chicken chunks with zucchini and mushrooms stir fry served in a white color plate with a wooden spoon.
Juicy chicken chunks with crisp veggies…simple, healthy, and delicious!


Mushroom chicken Panda Express is one of my favorite dishes from my college days. It’s a one-pot meal with lean protein and sweet veggies, plus a secret gluten-free chicken stir fry marinade that makes the chicken super tender and flavorful.

Ingredients needed to make this dish

For the chicken:

  • Chicken breasts: Provides a lean protein base for the dish, becoming tender and juicy when combining with our chicken marinade.
  • Coconut aminos: Adds a savory, slightly sweet flavor to the seasoning. If using soy sauce, mix with a touch of brown sugar.
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Baking soda: Helps tenderize the chicken, making it extra juicy.
  • Garlic powder: Infuses a rich, garlicky taste into the chicken.
  • Tapioca starch or potato starch: Creates a light, crispy coating on the chicken when pan-fried.

For the vegetables:

  • Zucchini: Adds a fresh, slightly sweet flavor and a tender-crisp texture.
  • White button mushrooms or cremini mushrooms: Provide a rich, earthy flavor and a hearty texture.

For the sauce:

  • Chicken stock: Adds depth and richness to the sauce.
  • Coconut aminos or soy sauce: Contributes a savory and umami flavor.
  • Aged balsamic vinegar: Provides a tangy, slightly sweet note that balances the sauce.
  • Toasted sesame oil: Adds a nutty, aromatic flavor to the dish.
  • Garlic: Infuses a bold, aromatic flavor into the sauce.
  • Fresh ginger: Adds a warm, slightly spicy note that complements the garlic.


  • Balsamic vinegar or rice vinegar can be used if you don’t have aged balsamic vinegar.
  • Chicken thighs (dark meat) can be substituted for breast. Trim some of the fat if using thighs. The restaurant version uses thigh meat. Keep in mind that chicken thighs release more moisture during stir-frying, which can dilute the sauce.


  • Make it spicy: Add some red pepper flakes or garlic chili sauce for a bit of heat.
  • Extra savory: Add a dash of oyster sauce to the stir fry.
  • Mix and match your veggies: If you don’t like zucchini, try diced broccoli, carrots, snow peas, sugar snap peas, yellow squash, baby corn, or water chestnuts.

How to make mushroom chicken from Panda Express

This chicken mushroom and zucchini stir fry comes together so easily! Here’s how to make mushroom chicken at home in 20 minutes or less.

A step-by-step photos shows slicing the chicken and vegetables, make the sauce before stir-frying
  1. Velvet the Chicken: Dice chicken breasts into 1-inch cubes. Mix with coconut aminos, salt, baking soda, and garlic powder. Refrigerate.
  2. Prepare the Vegetables: Slice zucchini into half-moon shapes and halve or quarter the mushrooms.
  3. Make the Mushroom Chicken Sauce: Combine chicken stock, coconut aminos, balsamic vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger.
  4. Dust the Chicken with Starch: Lightly coat the marinated chicken with tapioca starch.
A step-by-step photo shows getting the pan hot, pan fry the chicken, saute the veggies to put the dish together
  1. Preheat the Pan with Oil: Heat 4 tbsp of avocado oil in a large pan or wok over medium heat for 3 minutes. The oil is ready when bubbles form around a wooden chopstick (350F/177C).
  2. Pan-Fry the Chicken: Add chicken in a single layer and cook over medium-high heat undisturbed for 3 minutes. Flip and cook for 2 more minutes until golden brown. Remove from the pan.
  3. Toss in the Vegetables: In the same pan, add more oil if needed. Sauté zucchini and mushrooms with a pinch of salt for 3 minutes.
  4. Pour in the Sauce and Toss to Combine: Return the chicken to the pan, pour in the sauce, and toss to coat. Cook for 1 minute. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tips for tender chicken stir fry

  • Pan-fry in a Single Layer: Cook the chicken in a single layer to prevent it from steaming.
  • Chicken Stir Fry Marinade: Similar to my black pepper chicken, a touch of baking soda and a quick marinade is all you need. For more tips, check out my guides on How to Stir Fry in a Stainless Steel Pan and How to Velvet Chicken.
  • Ensure the Pan is Hot Enough: Test the heat by placing the tip of a chopstick in the oil while preheating. The oil is ready when you see bubbles forming around the chopstick.

Storage and make-ahead

  • This Panda mushroom chicken stir fry keeps well in the fridge in a glass airtight container for up to 4 to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave on high for 1 minute. The leftovers taste even better the next day!
  • To prepare ahead of time, slice the vegetables and marinate the chicken a day in advance. When you’re ready to cook, simply stir-fry them together.

Serving suggestions

I have some delicious suggestions to pair with your Panda Express chicken and mushroom. These options will complement your meal perfectly!

Rice and Noodles:


Takeout Combo:

Helpful Tips

  • Velvet the Chicken: Use a quick marinade with coconut aminos (or soy sauce), salt, baking soda, and garlic powder to tenderize the chicken. This keeps it juicy and flavorful.
  • Use a large skillet and get your pan nice and hot for the best cooking results.
  • Hot Pan is Key: Make sure the pan is hot enough before adding the chicken. Test the heat with a chopstick; if bubbles form around it, the oil is ready.
  • Single Layer Cooking: Pan-fry the chicken in a single layer to prevent steaming and ensure a crispy exterior.
  • Prep Ahead: For a quicker meal, slice the vegetables and marinate the chicken a day in advance.


What is Panda Express mushroom chicken made of?

The dish consists of pan-fried chicken with zucchini and mushrooms in a light ginger soy sauce.

What is in Panda Express mushroom chicken sauce?

According to the chain, ingredients may vary by location, but the basis of the sauce is soy sauce and ginger.

How do I avoid overcooking the chicken?

Use our velvet chicken method with a quick marinade and pan-fry the chicken in a single layer without overcrowding the pan to ensure tender, juicy chicken every time.

More Panda Express Asian chicken recipes

Looking for more delicious Asian chicken recipes? Check out these tasty options! They’re perfect for satisfying your takeout cravings right at home.

A side close shot shows the crispy chicken texture with crisp zucchini and mushrooms served in a white plate.
Photo shows a copycat recipe of Panda mushroom chicken stir fried with chicken breasts, zucchini, and mushrooms served in a white color plate.
5 from 15 votes

Panda express mushroom chicken recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: ChihYu Smith
Panda express mushroom chicken with juicy chicken chunks, zucchini, mushrooms stir-fried in a soy ginger sauce. Healthy, easy, and delicious!
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For the chicken:

For the vegetables:

  • 10 oz. zucchini, 1 large
  • 8 oz. white button mushrooms, or cremini mushrooms

For the sauce:



  • Slice the chicken into 1-inch cubes and in a bowl add and mix well with the seasonings from coconut aminos to garlic powder. Set aside in the fridge while you prepare other items.
  • Slice the zucchini in half, lengthwise, and dice it to a little less than half-inch thick so they look like a half-moon shape. Halve or quarter the mushrooms.
  • In a measuring cup or bowl, combine the sauce ingredients from stock to ginger.
  • In a 10 to 12-inch saute pan, add the oil and preheat over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Test the temperature with a wooden chopstick, if it shows bubbles around the chopstick when inserting it into the oil, the temperature is hot enough. You can also use a thermometer to reach 350F/177C.
  • In the meantime, lightly coat the chicken with the starch. Toss well.
  • Add the chicken one by one into the pan. Turn up the heat to medium-high. Pan-fry the chicken in a single layer without disturbing it for about 3 minutes on the first side. Then use a chopstick or tong to cook the flip side for about 2 minutes. Transfer them out to a separate plate.
  • You should have some oil left in the skillet, if not, add 1 more tablespoon of oil. Saute the zucchini, mushroom, and 2 pinches of salt over medium-high heat for 3 minutes.
  • Return the chicken to the pan and pour in the sauce. Toss to coat the sauce over for 1 minute. Transfer the food to a large serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.


  • Soy sauce can be used in place of coconut aminos. It is saltier, so half the amount if using soy sauce and balance the saltiness with brown sugar.
  • Balsamic vinegar or rice vinegar can be used if you don’t have aged balsamic vinegar.
  • Chicken thighs can be substituted for breast, but it’s a good idea to trim some of the fat if using the thighs. Pandas chicken zucchini mushroom uses thigh meat.
  • Potato starch or arrowroot starch would work in place of tapioca when coating the chicken. In general, I don’t recommend using cornstarch.
  • Use a large skillet and get your pan nice and hot for the best cooking results.


Serving: 1serving, Calories: 385kcal, Carbohydrates: 17g, Protein: 33g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 12g, Trans Fat: 0.02g, Cholesterol: 91mg, Sodium: 923mg, Potassium: 939mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 185IU, Vitamin C: 17mg, Calcium: 33mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American Chinese
Keyword: mushroom chicken, mushroom chicken panda express, panda express mushroom chicken
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