Chilled sesame noodles are a perfect lunch for hot days, and they’re incredibly easy to make with just a handful of ingredients. You’ll love the combination of crisp vegetables, tender noodles, and umami-rich oyster sauce.
Even though summer is winding down, this always seems to be the hottest time of year, which means no one wants to spend an hour or two in the kitchen making dinner. On blazing hot days, these chilled sesame noodles are one of my go-to “cool down” dishes.
My mom made this dish for us a lot when we were younger because of how easy it is. My brother and I loved the flavors and the fact that it was served ice cold. You can throw in whatever you want as far as veggies go, too. I used my mandoline to thinly slice the veggies, but a steady hand and a sharp knife also work.
What You’ll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Cucumber – Julienne this using a mandoline or a knife.
- Carrot – The carrot also needs to be julienned, but you can buy them that way at the grocery store and save yourself some prep time.
- Fresh plain Asian noodles – These can often be found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, near the tofu. Learn more: Types of Noodles Used in Chinese Cooking
- Oyster sauce
- Sesame oil
What Is Oyster Sauce?
Oyster sauce is a sweet, umami sauce made with oyster juice, sugar, and salt. If you’ve never had it before, it’s one of my favorite Asian condiments, and don’t worry, it doesn’t really taste like oysters. It’s like a soy sauce paste with a unique taste and it totally transforms noodle dishes.
Hoisin sauce can be substituted for oyster sauce in a pinch, but it’s really not the same. Hoisin sauce is much sweeter, and it’s also thicker than oyster sauce, so you’ll need to thin it out a bit; I recommend thinning it with soy sauce so you can dial down some of the sweetness and up the umami factor.
How to Make Chilled Sesame Noodles
This is the kind of cold noodle recipe that’s perfect for meal prep. Here’s what you’ll need to do.
Cook the noodles. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the noodles according to the package instructions.
Prep the veggies. Slice the vegetables and place them in a large bowl. Refrigerate the veggies until you’re ready to assemble the salad.
Cool the noodles. Drain the noodles in a colander, then run cold water over them to cool them down. Alternatively, you can put them in the freezer or fridge to cool them faster. Drain off any excess water.
Assemble. Add the noodles to the bowl with the vegetables and toss everything with the oyster sauce and sesame oil.
Chill. Return the bowl to the refrigerator and chill for 2 to 3 hours.
Serve. Top the noodles with the scallions and serve cold.
This recipe is super customizable, so you can easily adapt it to your tastes and preferences. Here are some ideas.
- Switch up the veggies. You can add spiralized zucchini instead of the cucumbers, shredded daikon radish, blanched green beans or asparagus—seriously, whatever happens to be in season (or in your crisper drawer).
- Add some protein. Those little marinated tofu cutlets they sell in the refrigerated section at the grocery store are perfect here; just cut them into bite-sized pieces.
- Go to town on the garnishes. Add fresh basil leaves, sesame seeds, sriracha, or chili-garlic paste.
I usually eat chilled sesame noodles as a light meal on their own, but you can serve them alongside some of my other favorite Chinese and Taiwanese recipes:
- Taiwanese Braised Minced Pork (滷肉飯)
- Chinese Curry Pockets [咖哩餃]
- Spicy Chinese Cucumber Salad
- Instant Pot Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup (牛肉面)
How to Store Leftovers
These chilled sesame noodles will last for 2 to 3 days in the fridge. Store them in an airtight container to keep them fresh.
Can This Recipe Be Frozen?
No, fresh, uncooked vegetables don’t freeze and reheat well, so I don’t recommend trying to freeze these sesame noodles. If you’re looking for a freezer-friendly noodle dish, try Drunken Noodles with Tofu.
Chilled Sesame Noodles
- ½ a large cucumber, julienned
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 10 ounces (284 g) fresh plain Asian noodles
- ¼ cup (58 g) oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- Scallions, to top
- In a large pot, bring water to a boil and cook the noodles according to the instructions on the package.
- In the meantime, slice your veggies and throw them in a large bowl to chill in the fridge.
- When noodles are done, you'll want to let them cool by running them under cold water (I know, I know) or put them in the freezer or fridge to cool faster.
- When noodles are cool, drain it of excess water and throw them in the large bowl where the veggies are.
- Pour the oyster sauce and sesame oil on top and toss to coat everything. Place in fridge for 2-3 hours.
- Top with scallions and serve cold.
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