Make your own best takeout.
Chinese peanut sesame noodles are a popular dish for a reason. (Though not as popular as General Tso’s chicken or egg rolls, according to this survey.) Tasty warm or chilled, the flavor of sesame and a touch of peanut butter are mild, but nonetheless perfectly flavorful, especially when combined with bright scallion and a hit of salt and acid from soy sauce and rice vinegar.
Backstory: Chinese Peanut Sesame Noodles
I love developing my own recipes. But I also love sharing others’ recipes that I love and think are worth knowing. This is one of those recipes. The New York Times‘s über-popular recipe for Takeout-Style Sesame Noodles boasts over 6,500 five-star reviews and counting.
This recipe is closely adapted from this Chinese-American classic. I have substituted dry pasta instead of fresh noodles (virtually the same result, and easier and less expensive to source), and slightly adjusted a couple of ingredients and added scallions.
Recipe Notes: Chinese Peanut Sesame Noodles
This dish comes together quickly, especially if you make the sauce in advance. You’ll want to have room-temperature or slightly warm noodles when you stir in the sauce. This keeps the sauce nice and silky instead of seizing up. A few more notes:
- I love to top this with some lightly-crushed peanuts for a bit of crunch and texture
- If you are able to find fresh lo mein noodles, the equivalent will be one pound. Otherwise, use 8 to 10 ounces dry spaghetti.
More Asian-Inspired Favorites:
- Thai Coconut Chicken and Vegetable Curry
- Chicken and Shrimp Fried Rice
- Homemade Wonton Soup
- Spicy Sesame Rice Noodles With Broccoli
Chinese Peanut Sesame Noodles
- 8 ounces dried spaghetti noodles or 1 pound fresh or frozen thin lo mein noodles
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil, plus a glug
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Chinese sesame paste (or tahini if not available, though this will taste a bit more mild)
- 1 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoons finely-grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons chili paste or chili oil, or to taste
- 2 scallions, green and light green parts, sliced thin
- peanuts and sesame seeds, to garnish (optional)
- Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain, rinse well with cold water, and toss with a glug of sesame oil.
- Whisk together the 2 tablespoons sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, tahini or sesame paste, peanut butter, sugar, ginger, garlic, and chili paste/oil (if using).
- Pour the sauce over the noodles and toss to coat with most of the scallions and a generous sprinkle of sesame seeds. Serve, garnishing with some peanuts, a sprinkle of sesame seeds, and the remaining scallions.PRO TIP: Have leftovers? The sauce may seize up in the fridge, making the noodles appear a little dry. Rewarm in a pot over medium-low heat with a couple tablespoons of water, tossing frequently, until reconstituted.
These noodles look delicious. Do you use toasted or light sesame oil?
Hi, Sheila! I use toasted because I like the slightly more robust flavor, but either will be fine.
Very good recipe and was easy to make. Thank you for the tip about reheating. It worked very well with a little bit of water.
I am making this now – but don’t see a measurement for rice vinegar? Its part of the sauce – but not listed in the ingredients …so I am winging it!
Egads!! Thank you for the close read! I always love when I have an editor 🙂 If I’m not too late, do 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar. I’ve corrected the recipe. Thanks again, and my sincere apologies for the omission!