These nutty Spicy Peanut Noodles are the ideal quick Southeast Asia inspired lunch or dinner. Customize this versatile noodle dish with your own vegetables, protein, and spice level to make it your own.
Fridge cleanout dinners are the best! Nothing makes me happier than using up languishing vegetables or repurposing leftovers into another fabulous meal. Slightly soft (not moldy) peppers can find new purpose in peanut noodles or a Black Pepper Chicken Stir Fry. Leftover turkey can become soup or tasty Baked Hawaiian Roll Turkey Sliders.
Spicy Peanut Noodles
Everyone loves a quick dinner, especially when it’s full of healthy ingredients and loaded with flavour. These easy spicy peanut butter noodles are no exception… they are sure to return to your weekday dinner routine time and time again.
Speaking of time, this is a quick dinner with only 20 minutes recipe prep time. The 25-minute cooking time goes by quickly so it’s important for the vegetables, protein, and sauce to be prepared before you start cooking.
Fair warning! Once you make this spicy peanut noodle recipe, you’ll be craving it non-stop. The luxurious peanut butter sauce will stick in your mind (not the roof of your mouth). You’ll be craving its nutty sweetness accented by pops of spice and salty umami from the soy sauce. It all coats the noodles and vegetables perfectly so that each bite is full of delicious peanut flavour.
About this Recipe
Most people assume this peanut noodle recipe to be ‘Thai inspired’ because it contains peanut butter. However, there are only a few dishes in Thai cuisine and they contain ground peanuts, never creamy peanut butter. The dish that comes closest isn’t a dish at all. Satay sauce is made with ground peanuts, red curry paste, coconut milk, fish sauce, tamarind, and sugar and is used for dipping.
The peanut sauce in this recipe is closer to Indonesian style satay sauce but also contains sesame oil and rice wine vinegar. It’s a delicious fusion, containing ingredients from many Asian cuisines!
Ingredients for Spicy Peanut Noodles
That said, the ingredients for the peanut sauce and the noodle dish itself are both highly customizable. If you stock a variety of Asian ingredients in your pantry, you can have fun substituting ingredients in the sauce. Additionally, both the vegetables and the chicken can be swapped out according to your preferences.
- rice noodles
- vegetable oil
- red bell pepper
- green onions
Flat, wide rice noodles work best in this recipe; however I have also used Japanese soba noodles and even pasta in a pinch.
Choose your preferred vegetable oil (olive, canola, peanut) for stir frying the vegetables and chicken. The combination of carrot, red bell pepper, and cabbage is quite delicious, but you can add or substitute sugar snap peas or snow peas, mushrooms, or zucchini if you like.
For protein, choose chicken (breast or thigh), thinly sliced beef, or pork. However, this dish is great as an entirely vegetarian dish featuring firm or crispy tofu. The protein-rich peanut sauce also makes these noodles completely satisfying without the addition of any extra proteins.
Peanut Sauce Ingredients
As mentioned previously, this spicy peanut sauce is a fusion of many different Asian ingredients and is highly customizable according to ingredient availability and preference. For an even richer sauce, you can substitute coconut milk for the water.
- Peanut Butter
- Soy Sauce
- Rice Wine Vinegar
- Sesame Oil
The only ingredient that must remain in the sauce is garlic. Even the creamy peanut butter can be replaced with chunky peanut butter. For a nut free version, try it with Chinese sesame paste or tahini and toasted sesame seeds.
Soy sauce adds saltiness and delicious umami to the sauce but is easily replaced with gluten free tamari or fermented fish sauce. In Thai cuisine, the sweetness is palm sugar instead of honey, but you can also use brown sugar.
Rice vinegar adds a sour acidity that cuts through the richness of the peanut butter. However, freshly squeezed lime juice, tamarind juice or even Chinese black vinegar can also be used to add the sour component in this noodle dish.
Finally, the spice comes from red Thai curry paste instead of Sriracha (a chili garlic sauce). You can substitute sambal oelek (an Indonesian sugar-free sriracha), chili oil, red pepper flakes,
How to Make Spicy Peanut Noodles
For this noodle recipe, all you’ll need is a large high-sided pan or wok. One pan dinners make after dinner cleanup a breeze! What could be better?
Cook the Noodles
To soften the noodles, place them in a small heatproof bowl or deep dish then cover them with boiling hot water. Carefully separate the noodles and leave them to sit for a few minutes until they are no longer translucent and soft. Drain and set aside.
How to Make Spicy Peanut Sauce
Make the sauce in a small bowl by mixing 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter with 1/4 cup warm water until it is mostly smooth. Then mix in 1/3 cup soy sauce, 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons honey, 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar, and 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil.
Add the 1 teaspoon of sriracha sauce, then taste the peanut sauce and add more as desired. Mix until smooth, taste and adjust the balance of salty, sweet, sour, and umami.
Cook the Dish
In a large pan or wok, heat the olive oil on medium to high heat. Sauté the onions for a bit and then add in the carrots, peppers, cabbage, and 3 tablespoons of warm water. Mix well. Cover and let vegetables cook for 3 minutes over medium heat.
Add in the chicken and cook another 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the veggies are tender.
Putting it All Together
Stir in the noodles, then the sauce, and mix until noodles are evenly covered. Lower the heat to medium low and add the peanut and green onions.
Mix the cornstarch and water to create slurry. Pour the slurry into the noodles and stir carefully to distribute the sauce and keep the noodles from breaking. When the sauce has thickened, remove from heat.
Serve hot with extra peanuts, sesame seeds, or chopped fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime.
If you make these Spicy Peanut Noodles, please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Pinterest for my latest recipes. Also, if you do make this recipe please tag me on Instagram, I’d love to see what you guys are making! Thank you so much for reading my blog.
- 7 oz. (200 g) rice noodles
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 medium onion sliced into half moons
- 1 carrot; sliced into matchsticks
- 1/3 cup cabbage; sliced
- 1/2 red bell pepper; sliced into thin strips
- 1 chicken breast; cut into one inch chunks
- 1/4 cup green onions; sliced
- 2 Tablespoons chopped peanuts
- OPTIONAL GARNISH - extra chopped peanuts, sesame seeds, chopped cilantro
FOR THE SAUCE
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/3 cup peanut butter
- 1/3 cup soy sauce*
- 2 cloves garlic; minced
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha (optional)
- 1/2 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 Tablespoon water (room temperature)
- In a small heatproof bowl or deep dish, add the noodles. Pour boiling hot water over the noodles until completely soaked. Carefully separate the noodles and leave them to sit for a few minutes until they are no longer translucent and soft. Drain and set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix all of the sauce ingredients together until smooth. Make sure the water is warm, so the peanut butter will combine well. If you still see a bit of peanut butter not mixing perfectly, don’t worry, it will when it heats up in the pan.
- In a large pan or wok, heat the olive oil on medium to high heat. Sauté the onions for a bit and then add in the carrots, peppers, cabbage, and 3 tablespoons of warm water. Mix well. Cover and let vegetables cook for 3 minutes on medium heat.
- Add in the chicken and cook another 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the veggies are tender.
- Stir in the noodles, then the sauce, and mix until noodles are evenly covered. Lower the heat to medium low and add the peanut and green onions.
- Mix the cornstarch and water to create slurry. Pour the slurry into the noodles and stir carefully to distribute the sauce and keep the noodles from breaking. When the sauce has thickened, remove from heat.
- Serve hot with extra peanuts, sesame seeds, or chopped fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 951Total Fat: 35gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 1797mgCarbohydrates: 120gFiber: 10gSugar: 18gProtein: 42g
Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.