Chicken egg foo young is a classic American-Chinese carryout dish. Make this recipe at home for a Chinese restaurant-style chicken omelette!
Egg foo young is classified as American-Chinese cuisine. Along with carryout favorites like chop suey, General Tso’s, beef and broccoli, and sweet and sour, the dishes aren’t necessarily authentic Chinese.
While some were created by chefs in Asia, the recipes were adapted in the U.S. to include ingredients that Americans find more desirable. Most (if not all) do include some Chinese flavors though.
The origins of egg foo yong date back to 1849, during the American gold rush. Apparently, cooks in Shanghai invented the dish, but it became an American recipe when it was served in the United States to large groups of Asian laborers who were panning for gold.
This recipe includes chicken, but there are several versions of the Chinese omelette. Foo yung versions include pork, shrimp, beef, and there’s also a vegetable egg foo young.
Chinese Egg Foo Young
Cuisine: American-Chinese / Asian
This dish is an interesting cross between a deep-fried chicken omelette and an egg fritter. It almost always comes with a serving of deliciously creamy egg foo young gravy.
The Cantonese name foo young in English means hibiscus egg.
Egg fu young, egg foo yong, foo yung, chicken omelette
Main dish (breakfast or dinner)
Difficulty: Easy 🥄
Whole eggs are combined with flour, a variety of spices, vegetables, and dark or white meat chicken. The egg mixture is pan fried in a wok and served with savory egg foo young gravy.
Ingredient notes and substitutions
- Shredded chicken- The simplest and quickest way to prepare the meat is to shred rotisserie chicken. I prefer thigh meat but white meat can be used. If you prefer to cook your own meat, use boneless chicken thighs or chicken breasts.
- Vegetables- Like I mentioned earlier, this recipe is really versatile. I use finely shredded carrot, white onion, scallion (green onion), and bean sprouts, but you could use any veggies you prefer.
- Flour- An authentic egg foo young recipe doesn’t typically include flour. I use a little bit to help hold the batter together. You can omit it if you’d like, or use a low carb/gluten free flour like almond flour.
Making chicken egg foo young
If you've made my pakoda recipe, or fritters of any type, the process of making foo young is pretty much the same.
- Combine ingredients to make a batter.
Nothing fancy here, just use a mixing spatula to combine everything. You may want to use a fork to break the egg yolks first; it will help to incorporate them in with the other ingredients.
- Preheat oil in wok.
Be sure that whatever cooking oil you use has a high smoke point. These are oils that can handle the high heat without scorching or burning. Good high smoke point oils for frying are peanut, canola, avocado, and grape seed.
- Scoop mixture and fry in batches of 3 or less.
Keep your batch size small so that the chicken egg foo young aren’t crowded together in the pan. This ensures that they turn golden brown on all sides.
- Drain excess grease on a wire rack.
To keep the foo yung warm while you fry the remaining batter, set your oven to 200°F. and put them on a wire rack set over a baking sheet in the oven.
Egg foo young gravy
The gravy is SO good and beyond simple to make. All you do is whisk the ingredients together in a saucepan over heat and thicken it with a cornstarch slurry. It couldn’t be easier!
It’s a creamy and savory gravy, with a tiny little kick of spice from cayenne pepper (which you can omit, if you’d like). Typically, the gravy has a brown color, but I include turmeric, which gives it a beautiful golden yellow hue.
The gravy can be used for so much more than serving over the chicken egg foo young, though! Treat it like you would a brown gravy; serve it over potatoes, rice, meat or vegetables- it’s fantastic.
Storing leftover gravy
If you have any leftover egg foo young gravy, store it in the refrigerator and reheat it in a microwave or saucepan on the stovetop. The leftovers will keep for about a week in the fridge.
Typically, the fried Chinese omelettes are served with a topping of egg foo young sauce. Because they are packed with protein and vegetables, many people choose to serve them with a starch like white or fried rice.
Like most deep-fried foods, the fried omelettes don’t freeze well for too long, but they’ll keep in the freezer for a couple of weeks. Cool them completely, then wrap individually in plastic wrap. Store the individually wrapped egg foo young in a large freezer bag or airtight container.
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Chicken Egg Foo Young with Gravy
- 2 cups cooked chicken shredded (See Note 1)
- 2 cups bean sprouts
- 1 cup carrot peeled and shredded
- 1 ½ cups onion diced
- 2 green onions chopped
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- 8 large eggs
- 2 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 6 cups cooking oil for frying (see Note 2)
Egg Foo Young Gravy
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoon all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne powder or sriracha sauce (optional)
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 2 teaspoon soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 green onion chopped fine
- toasted sesame seeds
Egg Foo Young Gravy
- In a large saucepan heat the oil over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook to form a paste, 2 minutes. Add the turmeric, paprika, garlic and onion powders, and cayenne. Cook another minute and whisk in the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, turn heat to low and whisk in oyster and soy sauce and sesame oil. Cook for 3 minutes until slightly thickened.
- Mix the cornstarch with ¼ cup water and stir to mix. Whisk into gravy and cook another 3 minutes on low until gravy is thick enough to coat a spoon. Cover and set aside.
Egg Foo Young
- Add 6 cups of oil to a large wok placed over medium high heat. You want a temperature of 350°F to fry properly.
- In a large bowl add the shredded chicken, bean sprouts, carrot, onion, green onions and sesame oil. Add the eggs and gently toss to break yolks and coat everything, folding onto itself. Sprinkle with flour and toss again to coat the mixture.
- Using a metal ladle or curved Chinese spatula, drop a ¾ cup scoop of the mixture into the oil, folding it back onto itself towards the sides of the wok to keep mixture together. Pull the spatula back and up to release. Repeat, dropping three foo young into the oil. Cook 1 minute per side until golden brown. Remove from oil and set on wire rack lined pan to drain. Repeat with remaining batter mixture. Makes 8 chicken egg foo young total.
- Serve immediately with gravy poured over each fried chicken omelette and top with chopped green onion and toasted sesame seeds.
- I use Costco rotisserie chicken breast meat. I typically use 1 chicken breast for this recipe. Feel free to substitute thigh meat, same amount.
- Use a high smoke point cooking oil for deep frying. Good options are peanut oil, avocado, grape seed, canola, or sesame.
- Recipe adapted from The Woks of Life.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.
This recipe sounds delicious and not too difficult to make. I was wondering if this can be made in the air fryer rather than deep-fried? Also - is there a substitute for oyster sauce, since I don't have it on hand.
I have not experimented with the air fryer, sorry, but I can't advise there. Dark soy sauce, regular soy sauce + equal fish sauce or hoisin maybe decent alternatives for the oyster sauce Jan.