10 Minute Cold Sesame Noodles – Quick + Easy (VIDEO)

5 from 13 votes
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Cold Sesame Noodles are one of my favorite things to eat during the warm summer months! They’re creamy, spicy, and so delicious – the sauce is made of sesame paste, chili oil, Chinese black vinegar and a touch of sugar to balance it all out. The best part is how Cold Sesame Noodles comes together in just 10 minutes!

Cold Sesame noodles plated in a bowl.

Watch the Cold Sesame Noodles Recipe Video Below!

What Kind of Noodles Should I Use?

This is the #1 question I get asked for noodle recipes, so I am including a photo of the exact brand that I like to use for Cold Sesame Noodles! The brand is called “Wu-Mu” and I got these from my local Chinese grocery (99 Ranch). They are a thin noodle made from wheat, which I find is perfect for soaking up the delicious Cold Sesame sauce!

If you cannot find this exact noodle, you can substitute with another long thin noodle of your choice. The star of the dish is the delicious sauce!

Dried wheat noodles in packaging.

Ingredients for Cold Sesame Noodles

Ingredients

  • dried noodles – see note and photo above for exact brand used
  • Chinese Sesame Paste – I like to use Chinese sesame paste, which is something I always have in my pantry. Chinese sesame paste is made from toasted sesame seeds, so I find that it has a deeper flavor than tahini or peanut butter. I’m including a photo of my jar below for reference.
    • You can substitute with a natural creamy peanut butter (try to avoid any with sugar and do not use the chunky kind!)
    • If you would rather use tahini, I would add a little bit of sesame oil for flavor.
  • Light Soy Sauce – this is “light” or “all-purpose” soy sauce; do not use dark soy sauce, as it is too thick and sweet for this recipe!
  • Chinese Black Vinegar – I use Chinkiang vinegar, which is fragrant, slightly sweet, and the right amount of sour. As you explore my blog and check out some of my other recipes, you’ll see that I use this ingredient A LOT. If you are interested in cooking a lot of Chinese recipes at home, I would recommend you buy a bottle to add as a pantry staple.
  • chili oil: I like to use my homemade chili oil! I get asked all the time what brand of chili oil is my favorite and I always say – my own! Making your own chili oil ensures that you can control for the quality of the ingredients, as well as customize to your liking. If you’re interested to making chili oil at home, definitely give my recipe a try!
  • Water
  • Garlic
  • 1/4 cup noodle cooking water – after cooking your noodles, reserve at least 1/4 cup of the water. 1/4 cup of the water will be used to make the sauce.
    • Note – if you find the sauce is too thick for your liking, you can use the reserved noodle water to loosen the Cold Sesame Noodles to your liking.
  • 2 scallions chopped (optional garnish)
  • 2 tbsp crushed peanuts (optional garnish)
Sesame paste in a jar.

Cold Sesame Noodles: Recipe Instructions

1. Make the Cold Sesame Sauce

First, make your sauce. I like to make my sauce in a jar with a lid – I combine all of the ingredients for Cold Sesame Noodles and place it in the jar and shake until combined. If you don’t have a jar with a lid or prefer not to, you can make your sauce in a bowl. Whisk until combined and smooth.

In a bowl or jar, combine the sesame paste, light soy sauce, Chinese black vinegar, sugar, chili oil, water, and grated garlic. Stir or shake until the sauce is combined and smooth!

If you have any leftover Cold Sesame sauce, you can keep it in an airtight container (like the jar you used to make the sauce) in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

2. Cook Noodles and Assemble

Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Cook noodles according to package instructions or to your desired doneness. Reserve at least 1/4 cup of the cooking water.

Drain your noodles and then immediately rinse the noodles to remove any excess starch and stop them from cooking. Drain them well – you do not want excess water to dilute your Cold Sesame sauce.

In a bowl, combine your Cold Sesame sauce mixture with 1/4 cup of noodle cooking water (reserved from earlier) and drained noodles. Combine and mix until the sauce is well incorporated with the noodles. If you find the sauce is too thick, add in a little bit of the reserved noodle water to loosen the sauce.

3. Add Noodles to Sauce

Once the noodles are mixed with the sauce, use the reserved noodle cooking water to loosen the sauce as needed. Garnish your Cold Sesame Noodles with scallions, sliced cucumber, and crushed peanuts!

PRO TIPS

Expert Tips for Cold Sesame Noodles

Rinse Your Cooked Noodles in COLD Water

It’s important to rinse your cooked noodles in cold water immediately, as this will 1. remove any excess starch (which you don’t want in your sauce) and 2. stop any residual heat from cooking the noodles further.

Pat Your Noodles DRY

Patting your noodles dry after rinsing in cold water will ensure that you will not dilute your delicious Cold Sesame sauce.

Reserve Noodle Cooking Water

  • You will need 1/4 cup noodle cooking water to combine with your Cold Sesame sauce.
  • If your sauce is too thick, you can use the noodle cooking water to loosen it.

Optional Garnishes

I like to garnish Cold Sesame Noodles with:

  • chopped scallions
  • crushed peanuts
  • drizzle of homemade chili oil
Cold Sesame noodles plated in a bowl.

Storage

I personally like to eat Cold Sesame Noodles fresh – I do not prefer them after they’ve been sitting or refrigerated. They’ll still taste delicious (the sauce will be even better as the flavors meld together) but the noodles will not be the same – the sauce will continue to thicken and they’ll grow stuck to each other. If you do have Cold Sesame Noodles leftovers, you can store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

What to Serve with Cold Sesame Noodles

Cold Sesame Noodles are spicy and nutty and go well with bright, light vegetable side dishes – I would make them with my Chinese Smashed Cucumber Salad, Din Tai Fung Cucumber Salad, and Din Tai Fung Green Beans.

If you want to pair them with a heartier appetizer, I would eat them with my Grandma’s Pork and Shrimp Wontons – these are the best wontons in the world, in my opinion!

I Love Noodles – What Other Dishes Should I Make?

Do you love noodles? I do, too! If you like this recipe and want something similar, try my 10 Minute Sesame Peanut Noodles (or the spicier version Spicy Peanut Noodles)! Looking for another 10 minute noodle dish? Make my Spicy Garlic Ramen! Chili Oil Noodles only takes 15 minutes! If you’re a fan of gochujang, you’ll love my Spicy Gochujang Noodles! If you are looking for a heartier dish with mouth-numbing Szechuan flavors, you’ll love my Dan Dan Noodles!

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5 from 13 votes

Cold Sesame Noodles

Servings: 2
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Cold Sesame noodles plated in a bowl
These cold sesame noodles are spicy, delicious and so refreshing! They're a perfect comfort meal any time and come together in about 10 minutes!

Ingredients 

  • 8 oz dried noodles
  • 1/2 cup reserved noodle cooking water

Spicy Sesame Sauce

Garnish

  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • cucumber, thinly sliced
  • crushed peanuts

Instructions 

  • In a bowl or jar, mix together sesame paste, light soy sauce, chinese black vinegar, sugar, chili oil, water and grated garlic. Mix until combined and the sauce is smooth.
  • Cook noodles according to package directions, reserving about 1/2 cup of noodle cooking water. If you want to enjoy this dish hot, transfer them directly to the sauce. If eating the dish cold, rinse under cold water and drain well.
  • Once the noodles are mixed with the sauce, use the reserved noodle cooking water to loosen the sauce as needed. Garnish with scallions, sliced cucumber, and crushed peanuts!

Notes

KEY TIPS:
Rinse Your Cooked Noodles in COLD Water: It’s important to rinse your cooked noodles in cold water immediately, as this will 1. remove any excess starch (which you don’t want in your sauce) and 2. stop any residual heat from cooking the noodles further.
Pat Your Noodles DRY: Patting your noodles dry after rinsing in cold water will ensure that you will not dilute your delicious Cold Sesame sauce.
Reserve Noodle Cooking Water: You will need 1/4 cup noodle cooking water to combine with your Cold Sesame sauce. If your sauce is too thick, you can use the noodle cooking water to loosen it.
Optional Garnishes: I like to garnish Cold Sesame Noodles with, chopped scallions, crushed peanuts and a drizzle of homemade chili oil

Storage

I personally like to eat Cold Sesame Noodles fresh – I do not prefer them after they’ve been sitting or refrigerated. They’ll still taste delicious (the sauce will be even better as the flavors meld together) but the noodles will not be the same – the sauce will continue to thicken and they’ll grow stuck to each other. If you do have leftovers, you can store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 106kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 2gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gSodium: 725mgPotassium: 90mgFiber: 1gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 120IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 21mgIron: 1mg

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

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Tried this recipe?Mention @cj.eats_ or tag #cjeatsrecipes!

About CJ

I’m a third generation Chinese-American home cook who has always loved cooking & eating! Welcome to my food blog, where you can find trusted, tested, easy & approachable recipes for the everyday home cook that taste delicious! I am so glad you're here!

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10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I like to make these cold noodles for my Mom. She just loves cold somen noodles so I use buckwheat noodles in this recipe. Soo good!