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The rich flavor of sesame and the nutty taste of peanut butter come together in these tender and heart-healthy Spicy Sesame Noodles. Whether you enjoy them hot or cold, the perfect blend of sweetness and spice gives this recipe a complex and satisfying flavor profile that will leave everyone reaching for seconds.
Better-Than-Takeout Sesame Noodles
These sesame noodles are full of bold flavors that blend beautifully to make the perfect sweet and spicy dish. The natural ingredients make it so much healthier than the takeout version, since there are no preservatives and everything is fresh. And all that natural flavor makes it taste better, too!
These noodles are the perfect meal for you to make your own. There are so many possibilities for add-ins and garnishes, and you can experiment with different ingredients until you find what works for you. It’s already vegetarian and it’s easy to make gluten-free, so it offers something for everyone!
What You’ll Need
We’ll start with the ingredients for the sauce, then move on to what you’ll need for the noodles. You can find exact amounts for all the ingredients in the recipe card.
For the Sesame Sauce
- Ginger: Cut and peeled fresh ginger root.
- Garlic: Peeled whole or chopped cloves.
- Honey: Substitute with brown sugar to make it vegan.
- Creamy Peanut Butter
- Rice Vinegar: Or use sherry vinegar.
- Soy Sauce: Use tamari or gluten free soy sauce, if needed
- Chili Pepper Sauce: I used Sriracha, but Tabasco works too.
- Coconut Oil: Or substitute peanut or canola oil.
- Dark Sesame Oil
For the Noodles
- Noodles: One 16 ounce package of Asian-style rice noodles. Alternatively, you can make it with thin spaghetti or linguini, using gluten free if necessary.
- Dark Sesame Oil
How to Make Spicy Sesame Noodles
These spicy noodles are a great quick dinner option. Follow these steps to get perfectly cooked and seasoned noodles in less than 20 minutes!
Mince the Garlic and Ginger: Place the ginger and garlic into a food processor or a blender and run the machine until they are finely minced.
Start the Sesame Sauce: Add the honey, peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, hot sauce, coconut oil, and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil to the blender. Process everything until it reaches a smooth consistency, and leave it in the blender.
Boil the Water: Bring a large pot of water to a boil on the stove over high heat.
Prepare the Noodles: Add the noodles to the water and cook them according to the directions on the package, or until they are just tender. Set aside 1 cup of the water you cooked the noodles in and drain the rest from the noodles. Rinse them quickly with warm water, then drain them again.
Finish the Sesame Sauce: Add the reserved cup of water from the noodles to the sesame sauce and process everything again until it’s evenly blended.
Coat the Noodles With Sesame Oil: Place the warm drained noodles in a large bowl and toss them with 1 tablespoon of sesame oil.
Add the Sauce to the Noodles: Add the sauce and mix it into the noodles until everything is coated. Taste it to check that the seasoning is right, and add salt if you think it’s necessary.
Serve and Enjoy: Serve the right away or let the noodles cool to room temperature so that the flavors can come together.
Are Sesame Noodles Supposed to Be Eaten Cold?
The great thing about these spicy sesame noodles is that they taste amazing hot or cold! It’s really up to you to decide how you want to serve them. Try them both ways to see which one you like better. You can also let each person choose whether or not to heat their portion.
Mix in any add-ins and add garnishes as desired. Serve the noodles at room temperature or refresh them in the microwave.
- Add a protein: Top it with Chili Lime Shrimp, hard boiled eggs, or some grilled chicken or steak.
- Serve as a side: This will make your meal of Banh Mi Salad more satisfying, or have it with Shrimp Rice Paper Rolls.
- Bring it to a picnic: Serve it with picnic salads like Pineapple Coleslaw or Berry Watermelon Salad.
Tips for Success
These noodles are easy to make and full of spicy flavor. Here are some things to keep in mind so they come out great every time.
- Don’t Forget the Oil: Tossing the noodles in the sesame oil before adding the sauce is an important step to stop the noodles from absorbing the sauce. Having that barrier of oil highlights the bold flavors of the sesame and peanut butter.
- Follow the Directions on the NoodlesPackage: The steps laid out in the recipe card assume that you’re using rice noodles, which take just a few minutes to cook. This amount of time will change based on what kind of pasta you use, so make sure to check the box before starting.
- Use Natural Peanut Butter: While any kind of creamy peanut butter works, using the natural stuff makes this dish healthier and gives it a nuttier flavor.
- Let It Sit: Make sure you don’t skip the cooling step. Allowing the noodles to cool down to room temperature after the sauce is added helps all the flavors come together. If you want to serve it hot, reheat it in the microwave.
Add-Ins & Variations
There are so many delicious ways to jazz up these spicy noodles! These ideas will help get you started.
- Use a Different Oil: I love the subtle coconut flavor I get from using coconut oil, since it really meshes well with the other ingredients and adds even more depth. However, peanut oil is also a good option, since it fits in with the nutty flavor, and even canola oil works.
- Make It Gluten-Free: Making this into a gluten-free meal is a breeze. Just substitute tamari for the soy sauce, or find a gluten-free brand of soy sauce, and use gluten-free noodles (Asian rice noodles are already gluten free).
- Other Garnish Options: I topped my spicy sesame noodles with chopped scallions, cilantro and sesame seeds, but there are tons of other options to choose from. Shredded carrots are a great choice, as are bean sprouts and pickled radish. To get an even bigger peanut flavor, try sprinkling chopped & toasted peanuts onto your noodles. Squeezing fresh lime or lemon juice over the top is also a great way to bring out the flavors.
- Add a Protein: There are so many sources of protein that go great with this dish. To keep it vegetarian, add grilled tofu or scrambled egg. You can also toss in some cooked grilled chicken or sautéed shrimp.
How to Store Leftovers
This is a super easy meal to prepare in advance. Both the sauce and the pasta can be kept in the fridge separately, and they can also be stored after they’ve been mixed together. Keep the noodles in an airtight container or a sturdy ziplock bag in the fridge for up to 5 days – or 3 days if you decide to add a protein like meat or tofu.
Can I Freeze This Dish?
I don’t recommend freezing these noodles. It can change the texture and the taste of both the sauce and the noodles. If you don’t think you’ll be able to finish your leftovers within a few days, you can halve the recipe and cook half a package of noodles or pasta, then save the rest of the uncooked pasta for another time.
Shop the recipe
I love to make the sesame sauce in my Blendtec high-powered blender using the Twister Jar. It gets the ginger and garlic nice and chopped, the sauce super creamy, and it’s the perfect size!
If you purchase a Blendtec and use the code CUPCAKESANDKALECHIPS, you will receive 2o% off. I am a Blendtec Ambassador so earn a commission on sales, but I have been using their products for years and I am always thrilled to recommend them.
More Asian-Inspired Dishes to Try
- Cold Sesame Peanut Zucchini Noodles
- Gluten Free Beef Stir Fry
- Crock Pot Asian-Style Mongolian Beef Stew
- Quick and Easy Vegetable Beef Stir Fry
- Gluten Free Chicken Fried Rice
Spicy Sesame Noodles
For the Sesame Sauce
- 1 piece about 2 inches of fresh ginger, peeled
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 Tablespoons honey, or light or dark brown sugar for vegan
- 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar or sherry vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons regular or low-sodium soy sauce, gluten free soy sauce or tamari, if needed
- 2 Tablespoons chili pepper sauce such as Sriracha or Tabasco
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil, or peanut or canola oil
- 2 Tablespoons dark sesame oil, divided
- 16 oz. package Asian-style rice noodles or thin spaghetti or lnguini (gluten free, if needed)
- Sliced scallions, toasted sesame seeds, cilantro, additional sriracha sauce, shredded carrtos, etc. for garnish, if desired.
- Make the sesame sauce: Place the ginger and garlic into a food processor or a blender and run it until they are finely minced. Add the honey or brown sugar, peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, Sriracha sauce, coconut oil, and 1 Tablespoon of sesame oil. Process until smooth and reserve the sesame sauce in the food processor.
- Prepare the noodles: Bring a large pot of water to a boil on the stove over high heat. Add the noodles and cook them according to the package directions until just tender. Set aside 1 cup of the noodle-cooking water, then drain the noodles. Rinse quickly with warm water and drain again.
- Add the reserved cup of cooking water to the sesame sauce and process to blend. Place the warm drained noodles in a large bowl and toss them with 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Add the sauce and mix until everything is coated. Taste for seasoning, adding salt if necessary.
- Serve hot, at room temperature, or cold with any desired garnishes.
- To Store: Keep the noodles in an airtight container or a sturdy ziplock bag in the fridge for up to 5 days – or 3 days if you decide to add a protein like meat or tofu.