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20 Beginner-Friendly Chinese Recipes You Can Make At Home

Let's eat!

Brooke Greenberg / BuzzFeed

Chinese cuisine is diverse, delicious, and — with the right recipes — totally beginner-friendly. Here's a guide to some of the classics you can try at home.

1. Easy Chicken Lo Mein

What is it: Chewy egg noodles stir-fried in a savory sauce with meat and vegetables. Here, that includes chicken, mushrooms, carrots, and sugar snap peas.

Get the recipe: Easy Chicken Lo Mein

2. Kung Pao Chicken

What is it: Often served with a generous serving of rice to balance everything out, this spicy chicken dish uses Sichuan peppercorns and dried red chiles to amp up the heat.

Get the recipe: Kung Pao Chicken

3. Dan Dan Noodles

What is it: A traditional Sichuan noodle recipe that's a one-two punch of umami and intense spice, this dish is known for its nutty, rich sauce. Here, it's made with Chinese sesame paste, chili oil, and ground Sichuan peppers.

Get the recipe: Dan Dan Noodles

4. Easy Egg Drop Soup

Emma Christensen / Kitchn

What is it: One of the best parts of egg drop soup is its simplicity. This version is built on three core ingredients: broth, thickener (in this case, cornstarch), and the comforting, swirled-in eggs.

Get the recipe: Easy Egg Drop Soup

5. Twice-Cooked Pork

What is it: This is made by first boiling the pork, then stir-frying it in a fragrant medley of green onions, red chili peppers, and doubanjiang, a salty Chinese bean paste.

Get the recipe: Twice-Cooked Pork

6. Mapo Tofu

What is it: Spicy, silky tofu cubes swimming in a garlicky, gloriously mouth-numbing sauce made with Sichuan peppercorns and doubanjiang. Tofu can't get any more decadent than this.

Get the recipe: Mapo Tofu

7. Pineapple Buns

What is it: This classic Hong Kong pastry is ubiquitous in Chinese bakeries worldwide and, despite its name, doesn't actually contain any pineapple. The name refers to the dessert's pineapplelike texture. Underneath it all, it's a buttery, lightly sweet pastry that you won't be able to get enough of.

Get the recipe: Pineapple Buns

8. Dumplings

What is it: These can be filled with pork, beef, lamb, or vegetarian ingredients like carrots and cabbage — and making them at home only takes a bit of practice. (Be careful, though, not to burn yourself when biting into them, because the filling might still be piping hot!)

Get the recipe: Dumplings

9. Red Braised Pork Belly

What is it: A melt-in-your-mouth pork belly dish that's coated with caramelized rock sugar. And yes, you can have it for dinner.

Get the recipe: Red Braised Pork Belly

10. Mantou

What is it: Pillowy-soft steamed buns that are served most often in northern parts of China as an alternative to rice. ☁️

Get the recipe: Mantou

11. Sichuan Chili Oil

What is it: No Chinese food–eating experience is complete without a pot of this Sichuan-bred chili oil, which gets its complex spicy flavor (a must-try for any spice fanatic) from a combination of a dozen ingredients like red chiles and star anise.

Get the recipe: Sichuan Chili Oil

12. Egg and Tomato

What is it: A super-simple stir-fried recipe often served as comfort food, sick-day food, and an easy dish for busy days.

Get the recipe: Egg and Tomato

13. General Tso's Chicken

What is it: General Tso's chicken is arguably the most famous Hunan dish in America, though the version you'll find in most Chinese restaurants today is pretty removed from its origins. Either way, this at-home version is really good.

Get the recipe: General Tso's Chicken

14. Beef and Broccoli

What is it: Thinly sliced beef stir-fried with broccoli and a brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, and soy sauce concoction. (If this won't get you to eat more broccoli, I don't know what will.)

Get the recipe: Beef and Broccoli

15. Century Egg Congee With Chicken

What is it: This rice porridge is guaranteed to satisfy all of your cravings. To cut grocery shopping, skip the century egg.

Get the recipe: Century Egg Congee With Chicken

16. Sweet and Sour Chicken

What is it: Crispy chicken covered in a sweet and slightly vinegary sauce — and this home-friendly version is baked instead of fried for less mess.

Get the recipe: Sweet and Sour Chicken

17. Hot and Sour Chicken Noodle Soup

What is it: The name is self-explanatory, but one great thing about this dish is how forgiving it is in terms of ingredients. If you don't have rice vermicelli noodles, swap in angel hair pasta or Italian vermicelli noodles.

Get the recipe: Hot and Sour Chicken Noodle Soup

18. Drunken Chicken

What is it: It feels like every cuisine has its own version of a booze-soaked chicken recipe. This Shanghai edition calls for cooking a whole chicken, steeping it in a rice wine brine, and serving it cold. It's the perfect summer recipe.

Get the recipe: Drunken Chicken

19. Chicken Chop Suey

What is it: Though you'll likely find a version of chop suey at your local takeout place, its connection to actual Chinese culture is debated. Still, it's a super-practical dish — and a great way to clear out your fridge. Here, you'll toss leftover meat and veggies in oyster sauce, soy sauce, and sesame oil.

Get the recipe: Chicken Chop Suey

20. Boba (Bubble) Tea

What is it: While "boba" (or bubble tea) can be a catchall name for the popular Asian drinks that originated in Taiwan, it's specifically referring to the chewy tapioca balls found in them. If you don't have a boba shop near you, you can make your own at home. Order some tapioca pearls and start with this recipe.

Get the recipe: Boba Tea