These are the super easy dan dan noodles you’re going to be making over and over again when you want a fast, easy, flavorful meal that takes just under ten minutes.

Dan dan noodles for the win!

This is my go to meal when I don’t know what to eat but I want something fast and quick and flavorful. Technically it isn’t dan dan mian/dan dan noodles but it technically is too. See, dan dan noodles are one of those dishes, the kind where there are a thousand variations, even in Sichuan, where they’re from. They can come in soup, they can come more dry, they can have pork, they can be vegetarian, they can be whatever you want, really. The beauty of these noodles is: if you can boil noodles and mix sauce in a bowl, you can make these super satisfying spicy noodles.

spicy noodles |

What do these dan dan noodles taste like?

These noodles are spicy, savory, and nutty with a little hint of malty vinegar. They’re full of flavor and so good.

How to make dan dan noodles

  1. Mix. In a large bowl, mix together all the the sauce ingredients.
  2. Cook. Add the noodles to boiling water and cook according to the package directions. Save 1/4 cup of the cooking water then drain the noodles.
  3. Toss. Toss the noodles with the sauce until coated and glossy, loosening with extra hot noodle water if too thick.
  4. Eat. Enjoy immediately topped with toasted sesame seeds and extra chili crisp if desired.

spicy noodles |

Ingredients for dan dan noodles

Chinese sesame paste

This is similar to tahini but really different. Just by looking at it, you can tell that Chinese sesame paste is a lot darker and thicker. That’s because it’s made from toasted un-hulled sesame seeds whereas tahini is make from untoasted hulled sesame seeds. Chinese sesame paste is nuttier, deeper, and more toasty tasting. If you love sesame, you’ll love it. It’s super thick, so give it a good stir (just like natural almond butter) before using. They sell sesame paste at Asian grocery stores and online. Whangzhihe is probably the most common sesame paste sauce you’ll see.

Chili crisp

Our go-to brand, along with the rest of the world is Lao Gan Ma. It’s a chili oil that’s deeply savory, not too spicy, and has little bits of crispy crunchy bits that are incredibly addictive. The crunchy bits are chili peppers, garlic, and roasted soy beans. It’s seriously amazing. You can buy it at Asian grocery stores or online. You can even make your own at home! 

Lao gan ma chili crisp |

Soy sauce

There are so, so many soy sauces out there. I could write a whole blog post on soy sauce! Most good Asian grocery stores devote a whole aisle to the hundreds of different types. Obviously the best one is the one in your pantry, but if you’re running out or want to expand your soy sauce collection, make sure you go for naturally brewed. There are two main types of soy sauces commercially available: naturally brewed/fermented and chemically produced. Get the naturally brewed or fermented for its complex deep aroma and flavor. We like both Amoy and Lee Kum Kee. In this case, you’re looking for light soy sauce. Even better if you get first extract/first press soy sauce.

Chinese black vinegar

Black vinegar, also known as Zhenjiang or Chinkiang vinegar is a black sticky rice based vinegar that is fruity, slightly sweet, malty, and just the bit reminiscent of balsamic. It has a deep flavor and just a hint of smoke. It adds acidity and sweetness and is a backbone in Chinese cooking. It’s perfect for balancing out rich flavors like sesame. Chinese black vinegar can be found at Asian grocery stores and online.


Just a touch of sugar balances out the spice and tang of the chili crisp and vinegar. The hint of sweetness contrasts the savory flavors and makes everything sing.


Raw garlic adds a huge punch of garlicky spiciness. Make sure your finely mince, or better yet, use a garlic press.


You can use any type of noodles for this recipe but I love using knife cut noodles, known as dao xiao mian (刀削面) or Chinese shanxi planed noodles. They’re noodle ribbons with a ruffled, frilly edge that have an amazing texture. The center of the noodle is thicker and chewier and the frills are thinner and more supple. Sometimes they’re referred to as non-fried noodles because they’re steamed before they’re dried, unlike a lot of other dried noodles. They sell them at Asian grocery stores and online. They don’t sell the ones we buy online but these look pretty similar, you just need to use the noodles and discard the sauce packets.

planed noodles |

Ingredient substitutes

This an easy noodle bowl, so don’t worry too much about the ingredients. If you need to substitute ingredients, go for it!

  • Chinese sesame paste substitute: You can use natural, unsweetened peanut butter or tahini mixed with 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • Chili crisp substitute: If you don’t have chili crisp but you have crushed red peppers, you can make a quick substitute by heating up a bit of oil until shimmery and pouring them over the crushed red peppers.
  • Black vinegar substitute: The top choice to substitute is balsamic vinegar because it will have the same sweet notes. If you don’t have balsamic you can use rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or white vinegar with a 1 tsp of brown sugar mixed in.

Happy spicy noodle bowl eating!

xoxo Steph

spicy noodles recipe |

Dan Dan Noodles

When you want a fast, easy, flavorful meal that takes just under ten minutes.
Serves 2
4.69 from 16 votes
Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 4 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 2 tbsp Chinese sesame paste
  • 2 tbsp chili oil or to taste
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp black vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1-2 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 2 servings noodles of choice
  • toasted sesame seeds if desired


  • In a large bowl, mix together the sesame paste with the the chili oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and garlic.
    spicy noodles sauce |
  • Cook the noodles according to the package instructions. Save 1/4 cup of the cooking water, then drain well.
    planed noodles |
  • Toss the noodles with the sauce, loosening with hot noodle water if too thick.
    spicy noodles |
  • Enjoy topped with toasted sesame seeds and extra chili oil.
    spicy noodles |


Estimated nutrition doesn't include your noodles of choice.

Estimated Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Dan Dan Noodles
Amount Per Serving
Calories 297 Calories from Fat 248
% Daily Value*
Fat 27.5g42%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 45mg15%
Sodium 985mg43%
Potassium 44mg1%
Carbohydrates 8g3%
Fiber 1.7g7%
Sugar 5.1g6%
Protein 5.6g11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


  1. Molly says:

    Can you tell the brand of chili oil and noodles?

    1. Stephanie says:

      it’s lao gan ma chili crisp. i don’t have the packaging for the noodles anymore, but they’re dried knife cut noodles. hope that helps!

  2. Preeti says:

    Hi, which brand of chili oil, sesame paste and black vinegar did you use? Will be much easier to track down at my local market if I have the brands :) Can’t wait to try this recipe!

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi preeti,

      the chili oil is lao gan ma, the sesame paste is wangzhihe. i don’t remember which black vinegar brand it was because i changed bottles, but i’ve used koon chung before. hope that helps!

  3. Ankasan says:

    What is the weight of your serving of noodles? Ie. My two servings could be another person’s one serving or another person’s four servings. And yes, you mention having a preference for a certain chili oil but don’t include the brand or a picture. Thanks.

    1. Stephanie says:

      the chili oil is lao gan ma and the noodles are 2 ounces dried

  4. greg weiss says:

    dood! fess up the deets on the brand of chili oil and other ingredients used

  5. Elvis says:

    Either these guys dont read the comments or too lazy to its hilarious that you’re replying the same answers to all of them haha nice recipe.

    1. Stephanie says:

      no one reads the comments LOL

      1. Jaya says:

        5 stars
        You’re basically a good blog saint

  6. Judie F. says:

    hey steph, i just wanted to tell you that you are so amazing. i bought your book recently and was super inspired by it (i can’t wait to make the popcorn chicken). i, like most people like perusing you and mike’s work but i’ve seldom made anything yet because i’m lazy. however, i finally got off my butt and made this recipe and my boyfriend and his brother loved it. my boyfriend finished it and what’s funny is, the very next day, his brother came around looking for seconds but of course it was all gone unfortunately. haha. anyhow, i just wanted to encourage you to keep doing what you’re doing. your loyal followers love your stuff even though they may not all express their gratitude. you inspire me to keep cooking and i look forward to your posts on instagram constantly. no pressure though. just keep doing you. thank you for all of your hard work.

    1. Stephanie says:

      oh my gosh, this is the sweetest! thank you so much for taking the time to write :D i’m blushing!!

  7. Jez Poyser says:

    I’d like to echo Judie F. Your blog is one of THE best i’ve come across and the food is next level delicious. Also the photography is awesome. Keep it up!

    1. Stephanie says:

      thanks so much jez!! :)

  8. Nina says:

    What kind/brand of noodles did you use? This looks so good!!!

    1. Stephanie says:

      they’re knife cut planed noodles. you can find them at the asian grocery store – don’t have a brand name though!

  9. Esther says:

    I am hungry

  10. Rose says:

    5 stars
    OMG!!! i want to have it.can’t wait.This looks so good.

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