These Chili Garlic Noodles are spicy, sweet and bursting with vegetables tangled around a bed of lo mein noodles in a shiny, glossy sauce.
It’s an easy, cozy, and comforting Asian side dish that brings take-out to home.
Fresh veggies, starchy noodles, umami-packed sauce all ready in less than 25 minutes – that’s certainly a side dish I would make over and over again.
But these Chili Garlic Noodles touch on everything you crave from Asian take-out. But with fresher, cleaner, delicious homemade quality.
Most of the ingredients require a quick trip (or click!) to the global or international section of supermarkets. But if you are a lover of homemade Asian cuisine, you probably already have most of these pantry staples on hand.
Gather together lo mein noodles, olive oil, red bell pepper, carrots, green onions, garlic, red chili flakes, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, sambal oelek, sesame oil, cornstarch, water, sesame seeds and sriracha.
Lo Mein Noodles. Lo mein noodles are an egg-and-wheat based noodle easily available nowadays at major supermarkets like Whole Foods and Target. Asian grocers are sure to sell them, too. They usually come in 8-ounce packages, which is just the right amount for two people. Keep in mind, some brands sell their noodles par-boiled. Simply follow the package directions when cooking.
Vegetables. I used a combo of red bell pepper (or any color), carrots and green onions. But this recipe bodes well with just about any vegetable. Snap peas, broccoli, baby bok choy would all be delicious!
Soy Sauce. I like a low-sodium soy sauce to control the amount of salt. Japanese tamari is a great substitute (and it’s naturally gluten-free!).
Hoisin Sauce. Hoisin sauce is basically like Asian BBQ sauce. Slightly sweet and tangy, it’s rich, robust and savory. Oyster sauce is a great substitute, just make sure to look for Vegetarian oyster sauce (made with mushrooms) to keep the recipe plant-based.
Sambal Oelek. Sambal oelek is an Indonesian chili garlic paste that really gives the dish its name (and character!). Sriracha is the next best substitute, but you could even try Chinese chili sauce or Gocuchang (which has a deeper, fermented flavor).
How to make chili garlic sauce and noodles
The magic is all in the chili garlic sauce. The trick to that shiny, glossy, lip-smacking finish is a cornstarch slurry. In other words, a simple mix of cornstarch and water you add at the very end of cooking. This simple technique will level-up your Asian cooking skills. Simply:
- Boil noodles. Bring a medium pot of water to a rolling boil. Cook noodles according to package directions, drain, toss with 1 tablespoon oil and set aside.
- Saute veggies. While your water is boiling, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper, carrots, and green onions and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until softened a bit.
- Stir in garlic. Add garlic cloves and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant.
- Add the spice and Asian staples. Next, add red chili flakes, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, sambal oelek and sesame oil. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, or until sauce has thickened slightly.
- Mix in the noodles. Add noodles into the mixture and stir together.
- Make the cornstarch slurry. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water. Pour into the noodle mixture and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until thick and saucy.
- Garnish + serve! Divide into two bowls. Top with more green onions, sesame seeds and sriracha, if desired.
I have to admit, Jared and I are guilty of a Panda Express run on busy weeknights. But when I first created this recipe, those trips were no longer necessary. It feels like your favorite side dish right at home.
It’s a fabulous Vegetarian side that can be transformed into the main meal with fried, scrambled or poached eggs. You can even whip up a batch of Honey Sriracha Brussels Sprouts for even more greens.
But it would pair wonderfully with Sheet Pan Beef and Broccoli or Sheet Pan Asian Salmon. The protein cooks simultaneously in the oven while you prepare the noodles on the stovetop. Two birds, one stone, you get the idea!
- Chow Mein Noodles: Chow mein noodles are the fried equivalent to lo mein. Both can be used interchangeably.
- Hakka Noodles: Hakka noodles are wheat or rice-based noodles common in Chinese cooking. Go for the rice variety if you’d like gluten-free noodles. Ching and Wai Wai are popular brands. They are widely available in Asian and Indian grocery stores.
- Soba Noodles: Soba noodles are Japanese noodles made from buckwheat flour, whole-wheat flour (to keep them from falling apart) and water. Simply replace the honey with agave or maple syrup and you have a completely Vegan side.
- Tofu Noodles (Shirataki): These are a unique Japanese noodle made of konjac yam root and tofu. Essentially, they are zero calories, virtually no carbs and high in fiber. A good choice for low-carb or keto-friendly version.
- Spaghetti or Linguine: If all else fails, any Italian long-grain pasta like spaghetti or linguine work wonders.
- Slightly undercook the noodles. I undercook my noodles according to the package by 1-2 minutes since they will further cook when mixed with the sauce. This prevents the noodles from turning to mush.
- Toss the noodles with oil. Drain and toss the noodles with a quick drizzle of olive oil while you finish the veggies and sauce. This prevents sticking.
- Prep and thinly slice the vegetables before starting the recipe. Thinly sliced vegetables are the key to any well-made stir-fry. This provides extra surface area and decreases their cooking time.
- Use less red pepper flakes or chili garlic paste if you don’t like it spicy. And if you add too much spice, tame it down with some more honey.
- Give it a toasty finish. Drizzle on some toasted sesame oil just before serving. This adds a wonderful, smokey flavor. Toasted sesame seeds (either prepared at home or store-bought) are another great option.
More Asian-inspired recipes you’ll love!
- Asian Short Rib Tacos
- Salmon Asian Salad
- Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- Cauliflower Fried Rice
- Cashew Chicken and Veggies
I seriously love seeing what you guys are making and sharing your creations with the College Housewife community!Print
These Chili Garlic Noodles are spicy, sweet and bursting with vegetables tangled around lo mein noodles in a shiny, glossy sauce ready in under 25 minutes!
8-ounces lo mein noodles
1 tablespoon olive oil, more for noodles
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled + julienned
3 green onions, cut into 2-inch pieces + more for topping
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon red chili flakes (less if you don’t like spicy)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons sambal oelek (chili garlic paste)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch
¼ cup water
sesame seeds, for sprinkling
- Bring a medium pot of water to a rolling boil. Cook noodles according to package directions, drain, toss with a drizzle of olive oil and set aside.
- While your water is boiling, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper, carrots, and green onions and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until softened.
- Add garlic cloves and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Next, add red chili flakes, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, sambal oelek and sesame oil. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, or until sauce has thickened slightly.
- Add noodles into the mixture and stir together.
- In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water. Pour into the noodle mixture and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until thick and saucy.
- Divide into two bowls. Top with more green onions, sesame seeds and sriracha, if desired.
Nutrition facts are based on 2 servings.
Keywords: stir fry, easy, sweet and spicy