Weeknight Sesame Peanut Noodles with Chicken
Quick and creamy peanut noodles with toasted sesame and chili sauce! These noodles are quick enough to throw together on a weeknight, are made with chewy noodles, tender chicken, and smooth toasted sesame peanut sauce!
Sesame peanut noodles!
Smooth peanut butter, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, sweet red peppers, herbaceous cilantro, tender chicken, and chewy noodles. Just some of the things I love about this easy peanut noodle stir fry recipe!
It’s no secret that I love a good midweek noodle dinner, especially when the weather is cold and extra gloomy the way it is right now. Hot spicy noodles coated in peanut sauce are just about the only thing that will give me life, fill up my belly, and make me want to go back for seconds.
Now of course, if you follow a vegetarian diet, I’ve got you covered. Simply swap the chicken for pan-fried tofu (which has a similar peanut sauce) or you could even use oven-roasted broccolini or zucchini in its place. Maybe a medley of roasted veggies if you’re feeling particularly fancy.
The plan is to slurp all the noods. Someone hand me a fork; I’m done talking.
What do you need to make homemade sesame peanut noodles?
- Chicken: I season the chicken with a dash of sesame oil, corn starch, minced garlic, and some soy sauce – just pantry staples that will ensure that the chicken has flavor when you bite into it!
- Noodles: You can use a variety of noodles for this recipe. I happen to have my chuka soba noodles on hand – the ones I use for my garlic noodles recipe, so I used those. But you could also use prepared yakisoba (this will allow you to skip the boiling step altogether) or ramen noodles (so readily available!)
- Toasted sesame oil: I specifically like to use toasted sesame oil instead of just sesame oil for this recipe. Toasted sesame oil is smoky, toasty, and is usually used for finishing a recipe, but in this case, it lends a delicious smoky flavor to the noodles. Untoasted sesame oil is made from raw sesame seeds, and for the most part, it lacks flavor and smell.
- Lime juice: a fresh squeeze of lime juice helps brighten all the other flavors in this recipe. If you don’t have lime juice on hand, you could replace it with rice vinegar, but I find that this recipe tastes best with the sharp twist of lime.
- Sugar: brown sugar helps mellow out the spice and the citrusy touch of lime.
- Ginger + Garlic: add tons of delicious flavor to the noodles. These mellow out as they cook and add tons of delicious flavor to the peanut noodles.
- Chili sauce: I always happen to have chili garlic sauce on hand, so I used that (we’re a family that can never get enough garlic), but sambal works well, and even sriracha would do!
- Smooth peanut butter + chopped peanuts: I like to use smooth peanut butter for the sauce and chopped peanuts towards the end for a hint of crunch.
- Soy sauce: I use and recommend low sodium soy sauce for this recipe. The soy sauce adds umami, so you need the full quarter cup, but using regular soy sauce would add way too much salt to the noodles.
- Veggies + cilantro: I used a thinly sliced red bell pepper, scallions, and cilantro. You could certainly use a cabbage mix, shredded carrots, or other veggies to bulk up the noodles if you wanted!
How to make homemade peanut noodles:
- Marinate the chicken. Start by adding the thinly striped chicken to a bowl with cornstarch, sesame oil, garlic, and soy sauce. Allow the chicken to marinate for as little as 10 minutes and up to 12 hours if time permits.
- Boil the noodles. While the chicken is marinating, bring a large pot of water to boil. Once it boils, season with salt and boil the noodles according to package directions. If you used yakisoba noodles from your grocery store’s refrigerated section, you can go ahead and skip this step altogether! Once the noodles are done, drain and keep them in a colander until ready to toss in the sauce.
- Make peanut noodles. In a large skillet over high heat, add the oil and saute the chicken until cooked through. Remove the chicken to a plate; we’ll add it back in towards the end. Add the remaining sesame oil and the ginger and garlic, and cook in the oil to mellow out the flavors. Then, add the chili garlic, lime juice, brown sugar, peanut butter, water, and soy sauce. Stir until combined and the sauce is smooth. Add the noodles to the sauce and toss, then add the chicken, veggies, cilantro, and chopped peanuts and toss to combine. If you feel the sauce is a little thick for your taste, add another small splash of water and continue tossing the noodles until the sauce thins. Serve the noodles immediately.
Can I skip the protein in this recipe and serve it as a side dish?
Yes! You can! If you aren’t a big fan of protein or are already serving it with something else (hint hint, try my miso ginger salmon) then you can totally leave off the chicken in this recipe. It’ll take you much less time to put the noodles together and will still be just as delicious!
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- Crazy Good Quick Garlic Noodles
- Easy Broccoli Beef Ramen
- Cantonese Style Pan-fried Noodles
- Weeknight Dan Dan Noodles
- Garlicky Pad See Ew
- Spicy Curry Ramen with Tofu and Veggies
- Sesame Ginger Tofu and Veggie Stir Fry
- 8 ounces thinly sliced chicken
- 1 tablespoon EACH: cornstarch, toasted sesame oil, minced garlic, low sodium soy sauce, and high heat oil
- 8 ounces chuka soba noodles (or egg noodles/3 packets of ramen (flavor packets discarded)
- 2 tablespoons EACH: toasted sesame oil, lime juice, AND brown sugar
- 6 cloves garlic, minced (or more or less to taste)
- 1 tablespoon EACH: grated ginger AND chili garlic sauce (such as sambal oelek, more to less to taste)
- ⅓ cup EACH: smooth peanut butter AND water
- ¼ cup EACH: low sodium soy sauce, AND chopped peanuts
- 1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- MARINATE: In a bowl, toss together the chicken, cornstarch, toasted sesame oil, garlic, and soy sauce. Allow the chicken to marinate for 10 minutes before cooking.
- BOIL: While the chicken is marinating, bring a pot of water to boil. When boiling, season with salt, and boil the noodles according to package directions. Once the noodles are done, drain the noodles and keep them in a colander until ready to toss in the sauce.
- PEANUT NOODLES: In a large skillet over high heat, add the tablespoon of oil and saute the chicken until cooked through. Remove the chicken to a plate. Add the 2 tablespoons of sesame oil. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute before adding the chili garlic sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, peanut butter, water, and soy sauce. Stir until combined and the sauce is smooth. Add the noodles to the sauce and toss. Add the chicken back to the skillet along with the red pepper, green onions, chopped peanuts, and cilantro. Toss everything to combine and serve immediately! If you feel the sauce is a little thick for your taste, add another small splash of water and continue tossing the noodles until the sauce thins.