Peanut noodles likely originated in Asian cuisines, where peanuts and noodle dishes are both very common. The creamy, protein-rich peanut sauce coats the noodles, vegetables, and protein to create a filling and satisfying meal.
While they make a great main course, peanut noodles also shine as a flavorful side dish with grilled meats or stir fries.
The peanut sauce is very versatile; its flavor pairs well with chicken, beef, shrimp, tofu, or loads of crunchy vegetables. Almost any noodle works too, from lo mein to pad thai rice noodles. Keep reading for tips on making authentic peanut noodles and customizing them to your taste.
Benefits of Peanut Noodles
There are many reasons why peanut noodles have become a go-to meal for many home cooks and food bloggers:
- Budget-friendly: Peanut noodles rely on pantry staples like peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, and noodles. The flavor punches well above its price tag.
- Nutritious: Peanuts offer protein, healthy fats, fiber, magnesium, and vitamin E. When paired with vegetables and lean protein, peanut noodles make for a balanced meal.
- Customizable: Don’t like certain veggies or proteins? Swap them out! The sauce pairs well with anything. Love spice? Add sriracha! Peanut noodles are very customizable.
- Kid-friendly: The creamy, mildly sweet sauce is appealing to young palates. Add a side of fresh fruit for a super-nutritious kid-pleaser.
- Perfect for meal prep: The noodles hold up well for several days in the fridge, making peanut noodles ideal for weekday meal prep.
- Crowd-pleasing: Peanut noodles are loved by almost everyone and are perfect for potlucks and parties. They also travel well for picnics and tailgates.
With so many benefits, it’s easy to see why peanut noodles are adored by home cooks everywhere. Keep reading for the classic recipe and tips for putting your own spin on this favorite.
Cooking Tips for the Best Peanut Noodles
Here are some handy tips for making peanut noodles that are restaurant-quality and delicious:
- Use an authentic peanut sauce, not just peanut butter mixed with soy sauce. Or make your own sauce by blending peanut butter with broth, vinegar, garlic, ginger, and other aromatics.
- Go easy on the soy sauce, or the dish may end up too salty. Tamari is a great gluten-free alternative.
- For extra creaminess, blend some tahini or cashew butter into the sauce. This also helps the sauce cling nicely to the noodles.
- Don’t skimp on tossing the noodles while saucing; this helps every strand get evenly coated in deliciousness.
- For extra crunch, top the finished dish with crushed peanuts, fried shallots, sesame seeds, chopped green onions, or fried garlic.
- For meal prep, store the sauce separately from the noodles to prevent sogginess. Mix them together before enjoying.
- Customize with your favorite mix-ins! Chicken, shrimp, beef, and tofu are all popular proteins. Load it up with crisp vegetables too.
- Make it vegetarian by using peanut sauce made with vegetable broth and loading up on veggies, tofu, or tempeh.
The basic peanut noodle formula is very flexible. Keep these tips in mind, and you can create a flavorful noodle dish the whole family will request again and again!
Customize Your Own Peanut Noodles
One of the great things about peanut noodles is how versatile the recipe is. You can customize them in so many ways to suit your tastes and what you have on hand. Here are some delicious flavor variations to try:
- Thai Peanut Noodles: Use lime juice instead of vinegar, add red curry paste for heat, and mix in edamame, bell peppers, and basil. Top with chopped peanuts.
- Sesame Peanut Noodles: Blend tahini and peanut butter for the sauce and add sesame oil for a nutty flavor. Garnish with sesame seeds.
- Spicy Peanut Noodles: Turn up the heat with extra Sriracha in the sauce and stir.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re new to making peanut noodles, here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
What kind of noodles work best?
Most long, thin Asian noodles work wonderfully and hold the peanut sauce nicely. Good options include pad thai rice noodles, lo mein, udon, linguine, spaghetti, or soba noodles. Avoid shorter pastas like penne or rotini.
Does it matter if I use crunchy or creamy peanut butter?
Not really—both work! Creamy peanut butter will result in a smoother sauce, while crunchy peanut butter provides a bit more texture. But crunchy peanut butter will soften up nicely after blending with the other sauce ingredients.
What protein, vegetables, and mix-ins work with this recipe?
One of the best things about peanut noodles is how customizable they are! Good proteins include chicken, shrimp, beef, pork, or tofu. Load it up with vegetables too—bell peppers, shredded cabbage or carrots, edamame, cucumbers, broccoli, and red onion are all tasty choices.
Can I meal-prep peanut noodles?
Absolutely! Store the sauce and noodles separately. Mix them together when ready to eat. The noodles may soak up some of the sauce, so you may need to add a splash more sauce or broth when reheating to get back to the creamy consistency.
Are peanut noodles gluten-free?
They can be! Use peanut sauce made with gluten-free tamari instead of soy sauce. Choose rice noodles or gluten-free egg noodles. Just confirm that your peanut butter and other mix-ins are also gluten-free certified.
Can I freeze peanut noodles?
Freezing works best for the sauce, not the noodles. The noodles tend to turn soggy once thawed. Make a double batch of sauce and freeze half for a super-quick future meal. Simply cook fresh noodles and toss with the thawed peanut sauce.
Peanut Noodles Recipe
- 1 pound of linguine or spaghetti pasta
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons of rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons of sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional, for spice)
- 1 cup of hot water
- 2 tablespoons of lime juice
- Chopped green onions, peanuts, and cilantro for garnish
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add the pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water before draining.
- Whisk together the peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes (if using) in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the hot water until smooth and combined. The sauce should be pourable but still thick.
- Drain the cooked pasta and add it to the peanut sauce. Toss to coat the noodles, adding the pasta water a tablespoon at a time if needed to thin out the sauce.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Taste and season with extra soy sauce, lime juice, or red pepper flakes if desired.
- Serve the peanut noodles garnished with green onions, peanuts, and cilantro. Enjoy!
- Use smooth peanut butter for the creamiest texture.
- Add any extra veggies you want.
- Works well with rice noodles for gluten-free
- Garnish with green onions, peanuts, and cilantro.
- The sauce will thicken upon refrigeration.
- Add water or broth when reheating leftovers.
Hi, I’m Julie, the passionate foodie and founder of Juliesfamilykitchen.com. I created this blog out of a drive to prove someone wrong, and then I realized how much I truly enjoy cooking and trying new recipes. In my free time, when I’m not running around after my kids or spending quality time with my partner, you can usually find me in the kitchen experimenting with new dishes.