Sesame Noodles

Sesame noodles take on the cold Asian noodle bowl flavors you love and give them a make-over for time and pantry ease. Soy, cilantro, honey, peanuts, and sesame oil give you the flavors you crave, red pepper flakes give you the ability to make it as spicy as you like. Adapted from a family recipe by an LC recipe tester, so you know it’s going to be divine.

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

Adapted by LC recipe tester Sasha Pravdic | Personal collection, 2021

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.–Sasha Pravdic


We’re glad you asked. LC Hump Day Pasta (#LCHumpDayPasta) is a little something we cooked up to help you on the night of the week that you feel least like cooking. Wednesday was traditionally Prince Spaghetti Day (for those of you old enough to remember). We’ve revamped and updated that to Hump Day and included every type of pasta there is.


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.

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☞ Contents

Sesame Noodles

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

Prep 10 minutes
Cook 10 minutes
Total 45 minutes
6 servings
635 kcal
5 / 8 votes
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  • 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 colander, 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.
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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 635kcal (32%)Carbohydrates: 80g (27%)Protein: 16g (32%)Fat: 30g (46%)Saturated Fat: 10g (63%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 8gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gSodium: 924mg (40%)Potassium: 394mg (11%)Fiber: 5g (21%)Sugar: 20g (22%)Vitamin A: 272IU (5%)Vitamin C: 2mg (2%)Calcium: 72mg (7%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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.

Originally published September 22, 2021


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


  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. 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. 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. 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.

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