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Cold Peanut Sesame Noodles

Cold Peanut Sesame Noodles

Jane Bruce

Cold Sesame Noodles

Even though the weather is slowly getting warmer, cravings for a delicious bowl of pasta don't necessarily go away. Here's a solution: cold noodles! This dish is refreshing and crisp, while still having the comforting, hearty feel of pasta. Enjoy!

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  • 1 pound soba noodles
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Chile sauce, to taste
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and julienned
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper, seeded and julienned
  • 1/2 cucumber, julienned
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, roughly chopped

1 pound Chinese-style noodles (or any spaghetti-type pasta)
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil

6 tablespoons peanut butter
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
6 tablespoons dark soy sauce
6 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
1/2 cup dark sesame oil
2 tablespoons sherry
4 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup honey
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons hot pepper oil (see instructions below)*
1/2 cup hot water

Garnish (optional, depending on taste)
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
1/2 firm medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and julienned
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Cook noodles in large pot of boiling unsalted water over medium heat until barely tender and still firm.

Drain immediately and rinse with cold water until cold. Drain well and toss noodles with (2 Tbsp) dark sesame oil so they don't stick together.

FOR DRESSING: Combine all ingredients except hot water in a blender or food processor fitted with steel blade and blend until smooth. Thin with hot water to consistency of whipping cream.

Just before serving, toss noodles with sauce. Garnish with cucumber, peanuts, green onion, and carrot shreds. Serve at room temperature.

Dressing will keep well indefinitely in the refrigerator. Use about 2-4 heaping Tbsp. of dressing per pound of noodles.

*Hot Pepper Oil: Amount you use depends on how hot you like it. 2 Tbsp. will give it a nice "bite." If your tastes run to the very hot, you might want to use 3 Tbsp.

If you don't want to buy the oil "ready made" in the market, here's a recipe: 1/4 cup hot red pepper flakes, 1 cup oil.

Combine in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil, and immediately turn off heat. Let cool. Strain in small glass container that can be sealed. Refrigerate.

Deliciously Simple

What I love about this dish is the simplicity. If you&rsquore like me, you already have a jar of Spicy Peanut Sauce prepared but if not, that&rsquos ok! It takes mere minutes to whisk up!

After that, it&rsquos just basic ingredients from the pantry and the fridge.

Sesame Peanut Cold Noodles

Super great for hot weather, especially when I was living in China and no one wants to turn on the stove when it's blistering outside.


1 handful whole wheat noodles

20 g creamy natural peanut butter

10 g low sodium soy sauce

5 g miran (sub with rice vinegar and sugar)

2 tbsp white sesame seeds


Mix together sauce ingredients, put peanut butter and sesame paste in a bowl first. Then add oyster sauce, soy sauce, mirin and black vinegar to thin out the paste. Add 1 tbsp of water at a time to get the sauce to a thinner consistency.

Boil a pot of water and cook thin noodles for 6-8 minutes depending on package instructions. Drain and rinse under cold water.

Pour the sauce over the noodles and toss so the sauce covers all the noodle surface.

Julienne cucumber and carrot to serve over the noodles for extra crunch. Sprinkle on white sesame seeds.

Sesame Noodles

On the most hectic days of our hectic lives, it's best to go simple. For these sesame noodles, you can use any noodle in a pinch, and the nutty dressing comes together in under 10 minutes. You'll spend more time slicing some refreshing cucumbers than you will actually cooking. The only step that requires heating is boiling your noodles&mdashthe rest is just tossing everything together in a large bowl and slurping to your heart's content.

For best results, I love using dried wheat noodles&mdashoften labeled "oriental noodles" and found in the dry goods shelves of your local Asian stores&mdashbecause they tend to cling to the silky sauce perfectly. Reserve a cup of your noodle cooking water for your sauce as the starches in that water will be key in creating a smooth, slightly tacky dressing for your noodles. If you can't find Chinese sesame paste, you can substitute tahini&mdashjust note that the flavor will be a little less toasty and slightly more floral.

For topping, use as much (or as little) store-bought chili crisp or homemade chili oil to spice it up to your liking, and be sure to slip a few cucumber slivers into each bite to balance out that heat.

If you've made this recipe, we'd love to hear your thoughts! Drop us a comment down below to let us know how you liked it.

Sichuan Cold Sesame (or Peanut) Noodles Recipe

After reading the dan dan noodle recipe post, Jay emailed earlier this week asking for assistance with a noodle dish that he was trying to replicate from a Bay Area restaurant named Crouching Tiger (where’s the Hidden Dragon?). He shared his sauce recipe with me and asked me to help him tweak it. I looked up the restaurant’s menu and the characters for the noodles that Jay was interested in -- “Sichuan Cold Noodles.” Then I checked out recipes for it online and in my cookbook collection.

Turns out that Jay was looking for an authentic version of Chinese peanut noodles, a dish that I made and ate with abandon in the late 1980s, early 1990s. My husband (then boyfriend) and I ordered the room temperature noodles coated in a spicy, tangy peanut butter-based sauce at Chin Chin in Brentwood, California.

At that time, the restaurant’s “noodles in peanut sauce” defined Chinese cold noodles for many people in Los Angeles. With vegetables and chicken in the mix, the Chin Chin noodles were a great one-dish meal. We were poor students and after a few rounds of takeout, I came up with my own recipe and wrote it down in a recipe keeper. 

Jay’s inquiry prompted me to revisit my old recipe and prepare it this week. I made the sauce two different ways – with peanut butter and then with sesame paste. The former pays homage to delicious fusion flavors of the past and the latter reflects the sensibilities of today. Both were tasty in their own right. 

Decades ago, peanut butter was a convenient stand in for sesame paste. I didn’t know squat about chile oil or Sichuan dou ban jiang chile bean sauce so I reached for sambal olek made by the Huy Fong/Rooster company. Given that, pick what you want and use ingredients you have access to. I offer options for you to tinker with and come up with something on your own. You cannot go wrong.

For convenience, I cook the noodles and vegetables in the same pot and keep them in a zip-top plastic bag in the fridge. I return them to room temperature before finishing with the sauce and protein. Hand-shredded poached chicken breast is the go-to for Sichuan cold noodles but you can instead use thin strips of seasoned pressed tofu or smoked pressed tofu (buy it or make it from Asian Tofu, pages 38 and 40).

If you opt for the chicken, cook it in the pot of water before cooking the noodles. Remove the chicken, then use the pot for the noodles and vegetables. Instead of celery, try cucumber but don’t blanch it. For the peanut butter, I prefer just ground peanuts for purity in flavor. 

Gluten-free friends, try this with rice noodles like thick round bun noodles and use 3 tablespoons of wheat-free soy sauce/tamari for the regular and dark soy. See the vegetarian dan dan noodles recipe for more noodle guidance and a photo of the Chinese sesame paste. If you have a rendition of these noodles, what's your approach or secret?

Sichuan Cold Noodles

Yields: 4 servings


  • 8 ounces (240 g) dried Chinese noodles or 12 ounces (360 g) fresh Chinese noodles
  • 2 ribs celery, thinly sliced on diagonal (include the leaves if you like their bite)
  • 1 large carrot, julienned to resemble a fat bean sprout
  • 8 ounces (240 g) bean sprouts
  • 3 tablespoons Chinese sesame paste or unsalted peanut butter, or 2 1/2 tablespoons tahini and 1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons chile oil (preferably with chile flakes), Sichuan chile bean sauce (dou ban jiang), or sambal olek (Rooster brand)
  • 2 tablespoons Chinkiang vinegar, or 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic and 1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons regular soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 heaping teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, toasted until fragrant in a skillet then pounded to a coarse texture
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 12 ounces (360 g) hand-shredded, cooked chicken breast or thin strips of pressed tofu
  • 2 small green onions, green part only, cut into thin rounds
  1. Bring a 4-quart (4 l) pot of water to boil. Cook the noodles until they are still a bit chewy – al dente. Add the celery, carrot, and bean sprout. Stir and when the vegetables have slightly softened (there may be little bubbles at the edge of the pot), drain. Flush with water and drain well. Cool to room temperature or transfer to a container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Return to room temperature before using.
  2. Meanwhile, stir together all the sauce ingredients – from the sesame paste to the sugar, until smooth.Taste and tweak the flavors for a tangy, spicy, salty and slightly sweet finish. It should be a little punchy because the other ingredients will dilute it a tad. Add the Sichuan peppercorn when you are satisfied.  The sauce thickens so add 1 tablespoon water if it’s gloppy. Let rest 10 minutes before using or refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  3. To serve, toss the noodles and vegetables with a little sesame oil to separate things. Divided among individual serving bowls or put into a communal bowl. Plop sauce on top, add the chicken and sprinkle on the green onion. Stir together and enjoy.

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Recipe Cold Sesame Noodles with 4-Ingredient Peanut Sauce

  • Calories: 215
  • Protein: 9 g
  • Total Fat: 5 g
    • Unsaturated Fat: 5 g
    • Saturated Fat: 0 g
    • Natural Sugar: 1 g
    • Added Sugar: 0 g

    These cold sesame noodles are a family favorite in my house. They’re ridiculously easy to make and the peanut butter sauce requires only four simple ingredients (one of them is water!). Go ahead and enjoy it with any pasta of choice—whole grain, chickpea, lentil, soba etc. If you have a peanut or nut allergy, feel free to use any nut or seed butter. And if you don’t have broth on hand, you can swap in ¼ cup rice wine vinegar or mirin. Bonus: if you happen to have ’em in your pantry, sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds are two extra tasty garnishes. Dig in!

    • • 1 b ox whole-grain pasta, cooked and drained
    • • ½ cup peanut butter (or any nut or seed butter)*
    • • ¼ cup warm water
    • • ¼ chicken or vegetable broth
    • • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
    • • Optional extras: Squirt of Sriracha or any favorite hot sauce, sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds for garnish

    *Warm peanut butter in microwave for 10-15 seconds to soften up for easier mixing

    In a medium bowl, mix together peanut butter, water, broth, and soy sauce until everything is well combined and smooth. Add an optional squirt of Sriracha or hot sauce if you like some heat.

    Toss some of the sauce with your cooked pasta (I recommend 2 tablespoons for every 1 cup cooked noodles) and enjoy warm or cold. Garnish with optional sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds and enjoy!

    NOTE: You’ll likely have leftover sauce, which will last for up to a week in the fridge simply give it a good stir and warm in microwave to soften and thin it out. If it’s too thick, simply add extra broth, water or rice vinegar when reheating.

    Cold Peanut Sesame Noodles

    Even though the weather is slowly getting warmer, cravings for a delicious bowl of pasta don't necessarily go away. Here's a solution: cold noodles! This dish is refreshing and crisp, while still having the comforting, hearty feel of pasta. The peanut-y sauce is creamy and rich, while the fresh veggies provide a cooling crunch. Enjoy!


    3 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

    2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

    1 1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

    1 1/2 tablespoon creamy peanut butter

    1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

    1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and julienned

    1/2 orange bell pepper, seeded and julienned

    2 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

    1/4 cup peanuts, roughly chopped


    In a large pot of boiling water, cook the soba noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool. Set aside.

    In a medium bowl, combine garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, peanut butter, ginger, brown sugar, and chile sauce. Whisk well to combine. Adjust spice level and seasoning to taste.

    In a large bowl, combine the noodles, remaining ingredients, and the sauce. Mix well until everything is coated in the sauce. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

    Asian Cold Sesame Noodles (Nut Free)

    Cold noodles are one of the best dinners for warm, muggy summer evenings. My go to cold Asian Noodles recipe is wildly popular with family and friends. Except for the ones allergic to peanuts, that is.

    I am am a total peanut butter junkie through and through. A jar of creamy peanut butter is dangerous in front of my face. I also love cold noodles, and just had to find a way to dish them up without nuts so everyone can pile it on freely.

    With this recipe, they might be piling it on two or three times…

    I’m ecstatic to say I finally wrapped my chopsticks around this Asian Cold Sesame Noodles dish, without worrying about peanut allergies. This toothsome dish actually tastes nutty, thanks to pure sesame paste. The Littles actually thought there was PB in their mountain of noodles and were surprised that there wasn’t.

    Hello, Tahini. I love that stuff in hummus, and now I’m diggin’ it in these noodles.

    Tahini lends a rich thickness to the flavorful sauce. It imparts a deliciously toasty and aromatic flavor, while also providing healthful protein. Combined with Asian toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, and seasonings, this sauce is Deeeelightful. Capital D.

    The cucumbers and carrots provide a refreshing crispness to the dish’s texture. Add chicken or shrimp if you like, or leave it meatless.

    Garnish with plenty of green onions, toasted sesame seeds, and of course Sriracha. We don’t do Asian anything without Sriracha these days. One of my Littles squirts it on like nobody’s business. Everyone can spoon as much or as little heat onto their noodles as they like.

    Chopsticks optional. But totally fun.

    By the way, this dish is best eaten right after its tossed. Leftovers are still definitely yummy, but it will lose some of its sauciness the longer it sits.

    Here’s to plenty of nights warm enough to nosh on cold noodles. All without breaking a sweat. Enjoy.


    • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
    • 1/3 cup soy sauce
    • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
    • 3 tablespoons natural, unsweetened, salted peanut butter
    • 3 tablespoons sugar
    • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons mirin (available in the ethnic section of most grocery stores)
    • 1 small garlic clove, minced
    • 3 tablespoons Chinese sesame paste or tahini
    • 1 small shallot, minced
    • 5 tablespoons roasted peanut oil (see Note)
    • 1 pound fresh Chinese egg noodles
    • 1/2 large seedless cucumber—peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and cut into fine matchsticks
    • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
    • Small handful Cilantro sprigs for garnish


    In a blender, combine the ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, peanut butter, sugar, vinegar, rice wine, garlic, sesame paste, shallot and 3 tablespoons of the peanut oil and puree until smooth. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and refrigerate for 45 minutes.

    In a large pot of boiling water, cook the noodles until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold running water until chilled. Shake out the excess water and blot dry transfer the noodles to a bowl and toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons of peanut oil. Add the peanut-sesame sauce and toss well to coat. Garnish with the cilantro, cucumber and scallions.