I never met a noodle I didn’t like.  I would rather have any kind of noodle than rice or potatoes.  My favorite guilty treat is a bowl of skinny noodles with tomato juice, a dash of seasoned salt and a little bit of butter, piping hot out of the microwave — kind of a really stripped down marinara, but as easy and familiar as tomato soup.  Don’t judge — I bet you have some favorite treat that would make your mother’s eyebrows rise right up to her hairline.

Getting that water on to boil, cooking and draining whatever noodles are wanted, and then all the cleaning up — these things are time consuming, and may require more energy than is available at the end of a working day.  I keep single servings of noodles in my freezer, ready to go.  I like those thin Chinese noodles sold fresh in the produce section, or in their dried form in the oriental foods aisle.  I cook up the whole package, cool them quickly under cold running water, give them a toss with a little spritz of canola oil, and freeze them up in 1-cup containers, leaving some headroom.  One minute in the microwave right out of the freezer, and they’re ready to douse with sauce, or throw in a stir fry.    Sometimes I want them just plain and quite dry, so they go into the frying pan with a little canola, a few drops of sesame oil, a little soy sauce, some herb/garlic blend and some dried chives.  I like to let them get a but crunchy on the pan, and I eat them with chopsticks because I can.  If you added bean sprouts, shredded carrot, green onions and cooked chicken, you would have something like chow mein.  Other times I like to add a good dose of that Teriyaki sauce from the elsewhere on this website, and some left-over steak and sesame seeds – simple, fast and tasty!

To get to the point of my current topic,  I used to keep a bottle of commercial peanut sauce in the fridge until it grew it’s own particular kind of green fuzzy coat.  I just didn’t use it often enough to prevent the eventual spoilage, and I have never been quite organized enough to freeze single portions — I have cubes of chicken stock, and cubes of pesto, but that’s as far as I’m willing to go.  For me, it’s just as easy to make a serving of peanut sauce from things I have in my fridge anyway.  That way, it’s customized to my personal taste (some days I want it really spicy, and others I do not), and there’s no waste at all.

This really easy sauce is delicious with hot noodles, any veggies you like, and just about any protein.  As an added bonus, you can thin it with a little lime juice, and it’s good for a cold noodle salad, if the weather is hot and that’s what you’re wanting.

This Peanut Sauce is not “authentic” to any cuisine – it’s just the one I like.  If you’re looking for a flavor more reminiscent of Thai food, this is not the sauce you are seeking:  you want the one with coconut milk, an

Spicy Peanut Sauce for Noodles


  • 1 Tbsp Peanut Butter (any kind – purists will insist on natural and/or organic, but I don’t, and chunky is fine)
  • 1 Tbsp Chicken Broth (Vegetable broth is ok too; you have cubes in the freezer, right?) (Water also works, if you have nothing else.)
  • 1 Tbsp Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce  (If you aren’t already using this on everything crisply fried, you must not get out much – try dipping fingers of grilled cheese sandwich in it!)
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce (I use sodium reduced, but you don’t have to.  Choose gluten-free if you need to)
  • 1 teaspoon Rice Wine Vinegar (if you don’t have it, then use lemon or lime juice to taste, which will probably be less than a teaspoon)
  • ½ tsp sriracha (rooster) sauce, or a good pinch of chili flakes, or ¼ tsp of sambal olek, or a good shot of tabasco or Frank’s Hot:  SEASON TO TASTE
  • ¼  teaspoon sesame oil (if you don’t have it, never mind, but it adds a lovely flavor)
  • 1 finely minced garlic clove (not too big),or 1/8 tsp granulated or powdered garlic, OR TO TASTE
  • ½ tsp grated fresh ginger, or ¼ tsp dried, OR TO TASTE
  • Noodle choices:  The food police aren’t looking – you can use any kind of noodle you want — rice noodles (thin or wide), spaghettini, angel-hair pasta, gluten-free noodles.  It’s a pretty thick sauce, so it will coat thin noodles very well. You’ll need about a cup of cooked noodles, depending on how hungry you are, and whether or not you intend to add other stuff too.


In a microwaveable dish (I use a pyrex measuring cup), heat the peanut butter for 15 seconds or so to soften it.

Add everything else and stir or whisk to combine as best you can – it’s going to be lumpy.   It doesn’t matter if it is.

Heat in the microwave on full power for 20 seconds.  Stir enthusiastically.  Repeat until the sauce comes to the boil, but watch carefully or it will boil over and make a big mess.  It will take just a bit less than a minute.  Everything will smoothly combine and thicken nicely as it comes to the boil.  If it gets too thick, add a bit more chicken stock.  If it’s boiling and it’s still very runny, add another teaspoon of peanut butter.  Didn’t I say it was easy?

As always, you should taste this sauce and see if the balance suits your palate.  Saltiness will depend on the brand of peanut butter and the brand of soy sauce – taste and adjust.  Add more sweet chili dipping sauce if it’s too salty, or maybe even a pinch of brown sugar.  If you want more “zip”, add more vinegar or citrus juice.  If you want more heat, you know what to do.  Fresh ginger and garlic really make a difference.

You can use the sauce right away, or you can store it in the fridge in a covered container for at least a week.  It will thicken up when cold, but thin out again when added to hot ingredients.

My daughter-in-law gave me this neat mincing dish, which makes quick work of the garlic, and is even better than my microplane grater for extracting fresh ginger pulp.

For the Full-Meal-Deal Hot Noodles with Stuff:

Stir fry some pork, beef, chicken, shrimp, or heat up some leftover cooked meat.  Add some vegetables (I’m particularly partial to broccoli with my peanut sauce). Add (thawed) cooked noodles and enough sauce to coat everything. Keep stirring until everything is well acquainted and creamy.  If the sauce threatens to “tighten up” or the mixture is dry, add more broth or water.  When it’s hot and perfect, tip it out onto a plate and eat it right away — you can clean up later.

This is fast food at its finest.  It’s really quick to prepare if you have the noodles waiting in your freezer.  Peeled garlic cloves and ginger can be kept on hand in the freezer too. Peanut butter is a “meat alternate” — you don’t need to add more protein to make your stir-fry balanced.  If you make the sauce twice, you probably won’t even need a recipe after that.  The only way I could make this easier is if I showed up and did it for you, but realistically, this is as close as I’m going to get

For Noodle Salad:

Make a batch of the sauce, and then thaw your frozen noodles for 1 minute in the microwave and tip them into a bowl.  Let the peanut sauce cool while you sliver any vegetables you like (peppers, cucumber, zucchini, snow peas, cabbage – no limits). Dress the noodles and vegetables with peanut sauce, thinned with a squeeze of lime or lemon juice.  Add a protein if you wish — this is a good way to use up the rest of that left-over steak, chicken, or pork tenderloin. I call this “Fridge Cleaner Salad”.  Feel free to make up your own name

No matter how rushed you are, please take time to enjoy your meal.  One of the saddest things I can imagine is a solo diner consuming their dinner right out of the cooking pot, leaning over the kitchen sink to minimize drips.  Make it pretty — add a finishing touch of thinly sliced green onion tops, chopped peanuts, maybe a little lime wedge, to elevate your experience from eating to dining.  Be as good to yourself as you would be to a guest, and everything will taste better.