Chinese Cold Sesame Noodles

Chinese Cold Sesame Noodles on plates

The Spruce Eats / Mateja Kobescak

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Chill: 20 mins
Total: 45 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
569 Calories
15g Fat
97g Carbs
9g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 569
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 19%
Saturated Fat 2g 11%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 397mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 97g 35%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 2mg 9%
Calcium 41mg 3%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 125mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Cold sesame noodles, a popular item on Chinese food menus, have been Americanized to include peanut butter, making this dish a closer relative to Thai noodle dishes and more family-friendly. Although there are several ingredients in the recipe, you probably have most of them in your pantry—especially if you cook Asian food often. Peanut butter combines with sesame oil, soy sauce, tahini, cooking sherry or rice vinegar, maple syrup, garlic, and ginger to make a flavorful sauce that is then tossed with cooked rice stick noodles.

Rice stick noodles are a thinner variety of rice noodles, which are flat and most often the size of linguine. In this recipe, they are quickly boiled in water, drained, and then stir-fried in sesame oil until soft. Then the noodles are tossed in the peanut sauce until well coated and the dish is chilled until nice and cold.

This recipe for cold sesame noodles is a great base for adding a few diced or julienned veggies if you like, such as broccoli, snow peas, or bell peppers. Shredded carrots and thinly sliced cucumbers also work nicely. Top the dish with sesame seeds or crushed peanuts, fresh cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice for a colorful finish with a bit of crunch.

This recipe is vegan, but if you need it to also be gluten-free, be sure to use a gluten-free and wheat-free soy sauce (such as tamari).

“This was a very tasty vegan version of Chinese cold sesame noodles. The recipe was simple to prepare, and the quantity of peanut sauce was just right. Next time, I’ll definitely garnish it with sesame seeds, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime. A very flexible recipe with an easy option to make it gluten-free as well.” —Diana Andrews

Chinese Cold Sesame Noodles/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 pound rice stick noodles

  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil, divided

  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter (creamy is best)

  • 1 teaspoon water

  • 1 tablespoon tahini

  • 1 tablespoon cooking sherry, or rice vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce, or tamari for gluten-free

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

  • 2 medium green onions, white and green parts chopped

  • Salt, to taste, optional

  • Toasted sesame seeds, optional

  • Coarsely chopped cilantro, optional

  • Lime wedges, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Chinese Cold Sesame Noodles

    The Spruce Eats / Mateja Kobescak

  2. Cook the rice noodles in boiling water just until they begin to soften but are not yet all the way cooked, about 5 minutes. Drain well.

    Rice noodles in a pot with water

    The Spruce Eats / Mateja Kobescak

  3. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil and fry the noodles, stirring frequently. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the noodles are soft. Remove from the heat.

    Rice noodles in a pan

    The Spruce Eats / Mateja Kobescak

  4. In a large bowl or blender, whisk or blend together the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, the peanut butter, water, tahini, sherry or rice vinegar, maple syrup, soy sauce (or tamari), garlic, and ginger.

    Sesame oil, peanut butter, water, tahini, rice vinegar, maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Mateja Kobescak

  5. Toss this mixture with the noodles. Adjust the seasoning with salt, if necessary.

    Rice noodles with peanut sauce in a pan

    The Spruce Eats / Mateja Kobescak

  6. Stir in the chopped green onions. Chill about 20 minutes before serving. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds, cilantro, and lime wedges, if desired. Enjoy!

    Chinese Cold Sesame Noodles on a plate, served with lime wedges

    The Spruce Eats / Mateja Kobescak

Can I Serve Sesame Noodles Warm?

If a cold noodle dish won't go over well at the dinner table, you can offer it warm or room temperature. Simply serve it straight from the stovetop.