These sesame noodles are a recipe my mom used to make all the time as her signature potluck dish. Back in the day, it was considered quite exotic because sesame oil was less widely available and rather expensive. For this reason, my mother halved the amount of sesame oil called for but I think it was a good change regardless of the reason.

I don’t know the origins of the recipe– it was scribbled onto a slip of paper but my mom cleverly nicknamed it “Spaghetti with Bite” due to the generous quantity of crushed red peppers.


You can! And, some people say, it even tastes better when it’s been given a little time to absorb the flavors of the sesame dressing. Here are a few things to keep in mind, to make sure your sesame noodles stay at their best. Don’t overcook your noodles, whether you’re making the salad ahead or not. They’re going to absorb the dressing and you want them to retain some chew.

When you make the dressing, you can keep a little aside and add it to your noodles right before serving. Let them come to room temp, toss with the extra dressing and you’re ready to go.

A white plate with sesame noodles, garnished with cilantro, peanuts, and sesame seeds, with a fork and a bowl of green onions and soy.

Sesame Noodles

5 / 10 votes
Quick and easy to put together, sesame noodles can be eaten cold but it's tastiest at room temperature. You can throw in leftover sliced grilled chicken or steak if you have it to make it more substantial but we love it without any meat.
Sasha Pravdic
Servings6 servings
Calories635 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time45 minutes


  • 1 pound spaghetti or angel hair pasta
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes, depending on your heat tolerance
  • 1/4 cup mild vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped roasted salted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds, toasted


  • In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to directions and drain in a , but don’t rinse.
  • While pasta is cooking, in a small skillet over medium heat, warm crushed red pepper and oils until sizzling, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully stir in honey, soy sauce, and salt.
  • In a serving bowl, combine honey mixture and drained pasta. Let pasta sit and come to room temperature, tossing occasionally so that the liquid gets absorbed.
  • Just before serving, top with cilantro, peanuts, scallions, and sesame seeds.


Serving: 1 servingCalories: 635 kcalCarbohydrates: 80 gProtein: 16 gFat: 30 gSaturated Fat: 10 gMonounsaturated Fat: 9 gSodium: 924 mgFiber: 5 gSugar: 20 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2021 Sasha Pravdic. Photo © 2021 David Leite. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

These simple sesame noodles were quick to make and delicious to eat. Ingredients are most likely in your pantry, which makes it a nice lunch or dinner on the fly.

The noodles absorb the sauce and are so flavorful with the heat from the crushed red pepper flakes. The peanuts add a wonderful crunch while the cilantro brings that freshness we all love; however, I felt it screamed for some acid. After my first taste, I added a good squeeze of fresh lime juice which was a game-changer for me. In addition, I chose to add a protein, marinated baked tofu, which was the perfect accompaniment to the dish.

There is something quite addicting about a bowl of pasta sitting on the counter that is best eaten at room temperature. A slight swoop with your fork as you walk by, a little rest to absorb more spicy sesame sauce, then another stolen bite. Perhaps just one more forkful to test the suggested accompaniments?

I was drawn to this recipe for sesame noodles for several reasons. It is fast, easy, uses pantry staples and it looked like something that would suit my family’s crazy work life. Perfect for those who work late hours and easily packable for lunch the next day.

I used toasted sesame oil as that is what I had on hand and a teaspoon of red pepper flakes for a little bite. Combined with green onions, garden-fresh cilantro, sesame seeds, and salted peanuts, this was a perfect mouthful of goodness. To provide a counterbalance to the slight spiciness, I served this with a Japanese-style cucumber salad.

These sesame noodles are perfect for a non-standard appetizer. Packed full of flavor and light to digest. Very easy to prepare and the ingredients are easy to find, or in my case, I had all of them in my pantry. I had a birthday dinner for a friend and everybody loved it!

These are phenomenal sesame noodles that are great cold or at room temperature. The flavor is fantastic and it has a nice heat level without being spicy through and through.

I used 1.5 teaspoons of red pepper flakes. I found myself sneaking forkfuls of the leftover noodles every time I went to the refrigerator for something and a week later I’m still thinking about them! I’m looking forward to making these again and tossing in some chopped chicken or shrimp to mix it up as well. I’m going to try a little less canola oil on my second pass and substitute a little pasta water instead.

About Sasha Pravdic

Sasha started saving recipes and cooking in earnest while she was in high school and has never lost her love of all things kitchen and cooking related. She has no formal training, just a willingness to try lots of recipes and the persistence to repeat, tweak and practice a recipe until she gets it right. In a fast moving world, she loves the unhurried pace of a meal well-prepared and enjoyed. Her “job” as a tester could not be more perfect!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I made this yesterday late afternoon for dinner. I let it sit in the bowl at room temperature as suggested and tossed it each time I passed by. It absorbed all of the sauce and before serving I added the toppings. Yum! Can’t wait to try it cold today.

    Why do you say not to rinse noodles after draining? Other recipes have you rinse. I followed your directions.

    1. Hello Peggy, thank you for writing and we’re glad you enjoyed the dish! The residual starch on the surface of the noodles gives the sauce body, at least that’s what I think the author is aiming for. When it comes to noodles, the rinse-or-not-to-rinse question is a curious one. In Japanese cuisine, for example, they are always rinsed when slick noodles are in order (for stir-frying when you want the noodles to move freely in the pan, or for cold dishes when you want the noodles to go down easy in hot summer months). All this is to say it really depends on what you desire the finished dish to be. Try the recipe with rinsed pasta and let us know how it turns out!

    2. Peggy, I’ll let the author chime in here, but since there is oil in the sauce, there’s no need to rinse it.

    3. Hi Peggy,

      I have found that they don’t absorb the oil/honey mixture as well when they are rinsed first and I don’t like the slippery texture. Also, I’m a lazy cook so one less step in an already simple recipe is right up my alley!

  2. 5 stars
    Fast and delicious. I made this in the morning to have for dinner but it was so good I ended up eating it for brunch – didn’t even make it to lunch! Definitely in my repertoire now.

    1. Terri, dee-lighted you enjoyed the soup! I gotta say I couldn’t stop going back to the bowl after I made this. It’s addictive.