Thanks to these 30-minute Dan Dan noodles, dinner night has never been easier! So fast, so easy, and so scrumptious, the Asian-style sauce knocks it out of the park with flavor.

30-Minute Asian Dan Dan Noodles

I’m a longtime fan of Asian-inspired noodle dishes. Please see Exhibit A.

30-Minute Asian Garlic Noodles
Super Simple Spicy Thai Noodles
Red Coconut Curry Noodles
Hoisin Rice Noodles
Kicked Up Ramen Noodles

While no doubt there are more authentic recipes of Asian noodles out there (and I’m sure they are amazing), these simplified versions are easy, fast and packed with flavor.

In fact, very often, noodle dishes like this are my go-to for saving dinner night when time is short, I’m grumpy, there are no dinner angels to be found, and chaos at home is far reaching.

30-Minute Asian Dan Dan Noodles

These Dan Dan noodles are incredible. Taking my favorite flavors from several other dishes, the sauce covering the tender ground beef and noodles is a little sweet, a little spicy, and a little creamy.

For those who haven’t quite converted to savory peanut sauces (one of my favorite flavors in the history of ever), this recipe is a great place to start. The peanut butter flavor is subtle and doesn’t overpower the other tangy, spicy and sweet elements of the sauce.

Dan Dan noodles! It’s not just fun a name to say (you should have heard my kids chanting it all day when I told them what was for dinner); you simply can’t beat a 30-minute meal that tastes this amazing.

P.S. In case you missed Monday’s post, I’m on an adventure in Ghana this week with little to no access to internet, but in the name of loving food more than life, I’ve prescheduled some posts to go up in my absence (and the recipes this week are two of my ultimate favorites the last little while). My trusty assistant (and lovely sister), Emily, will be answering questions and comments until I get back. Thanks for your patience and I can’t wait to reconnect when I get back! 

30-Minute Asian Dan Dan Noodles

What To ServeRoasted broccoli
Fresh, seasonal fruit

One Year Ago: Blueberry Custard Pie with Buttery Pecan Streusel
Two Years Ago: Peach Frozen Yogurt {Quick, Easy, Healthy}
Three Years Ago: Black Bean Hummus

30-Minute Dan Dan Noodles

Yield: Serves 6-8

30-Minute Dan Dan Noodles

Chili garlic sauce is a great ingredient to keep on hand (it lasts forever in the fridge). It is usually quite readily available at most grocery stores in the Asian foods aisle (the Huy Fong brand). If you don’t have it or can’t find it, try subbing in sriracha sauce and upping the garlic by a clove or two.

Low-sodium broth and soy sauce is pretty important in this recipe, otherwise it will probably be too salty.

If fresh ginger intimidates you, never fear! I buy a big knobby handle of it, cut it into 1-inch pieces (no need to peel), stash it in the freezer in a ziploc bag and then pull it out for recipes like this. Straight from the freezer, it grates like a dream on a rasp grater or the small holes of a box grater and the flavor is so yummy.

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces spaghetti noodles
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce (plus more to taste, if you like things spicy)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 pounds lean ground turkey or beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (see note above)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup fresh, chopped cilantro

Directions

  1. Cook the spaghetti noodles in a large pot of lightly salted, boiling water until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water. Return to the pot and set aside.
  2. For the sauce, in a medium bowl or large liquid measuring cup, whisk together the broth, peanut butter, soy sauce, chile-garlic sauce, cornstarch, brown sugar, rice vinegar and sesame oil until smooth. Set aside.
  3. In a large, 12-inch nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat, add the ground meat, salt, pepper, garlic and ginger, and cook, breaking the meat into pieces, until no longer pink, 6-7 minutes. Drain any excess grease.
  4. Return the skillet to medium heat, whisk the sauce to recombine, and pour over the meat mixture. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly. Stir in the cilantro.
  5. Pour the meat/sauce mixture over the noodles in the pot. Serve immediately.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/dan-dan-noodles/

Recipe Source: inspired and heavily adapted from a Cuisine at Home recipe 

37 Responses to 30-Minute Dan Dan Noodles

  1. Kath says:

    Your Dan Dan Noodles look great! I love your tip about freezing ginger. No more tossing leftover pieces of ginger that have gotten moldy. 😉

    • Sheree L says:

      And for those of us who are super-lazy (that’s me!), you don’t even have to cut it into one inch pieces. Just throw the whole thing in a freezer bag and grate as needed (peel and all)!

      • Mel's Kitchen Cafe Admin says:

        Hello Sheree – Mel doesn’t have access to internet right now so I’m helping her out with comments for the next few days. Great idea! That would be me. I can’t stand peeling ginger. Thanks for the tip.

  2. Ginny says:

    I’m excited to try this tonight! BUT, even more excited about your adventure in Ghana! There are so many delicious dishes to try! I lived in Togo for 2 1/2 years. You MUST try Red Red (black eyed pea stew with plaintain) and fufu with light soup! Some good places in Accra to get authentic local food are Chez Clarisse, the Ghanaian Village at La Palme hotel (although be sure to bring bug spray!), and my favorite–Chez Tante Marie–be sure to sit upstairs!

    • Mel's Kitchen Cafe Admin says:

      Thanks for the great recommendations Ginny. Mel will be so excited to report back on her adventure when she gets back! That food all sounds delicious.

    • Mel says:

      Thank you so much, Ginny! We are on our way back right now and I agree, the food was delicious! Thanks for the recommendations (I wish I would have had internet there in Accra to see what you suggested).

  3. Becky says:

    I have never heard of Dan Dan noodles. What does the “Dan Dan” refer to?

    • Mel's Kitchen Cafe Admin says:

      Hey Becky – Mel doesn’t have access to internet right now so I’m helping her out with comments for the next few days. There are about a million versions of Dan Dan noodles floating around the food world now, but here is why they got started with that name. Kind of interesting 🙂 “The name refers to a type of carrying pole (dan dan) that was used by walking street vendors who sold the dish to passers-by. The pole was carried over the shoulder, with two baskets containing noodles and sauce attached at either end. As the noodles were affordable due to their low cost, the local people gradually came to call them dandan noodles, referencing the street vendors. Literally, the name translates as “noodles carried on a pole”, but may be better translated as “peddler’s noodles”.”

  4. Salem says:

    How much does the sesame oil matter? Or can I just use an oil already in my pantry? 🙂

    • old man dave says:

      Sesame oil adds its own unique taste.

    • Mel says:

      Sesame oil definitely adds a unique and delicious taste and is worth keeping on hand in the fridge (lasts a long time).

      • Sarah says:

        Are you supposed to refrigerate sesame oil?! I’ve always kept it in the pantry.

        • Mel says:

          I always refrigerate it because I’ve had some go seriously rancid in the pantry. Certain brands I’ve noticed get a little thicker in the fridge but it still works fine (Trader Joe’s brand is the one I usually buy).

      • Salem says:

        Okay thanks! I ended up buying some and making these last night, and my husband loved them (and three of our neighbors who were over for dinner). I didn’t love them, due to either the ginger and the pb, or the fact that I’m pregnant. But everyone else loved it, and it was so fast and easy!!!

  5. Kelsey says:

    This is right up our alley! I make your other Asian noodle dishes all the time so I’m sure this will be a hit! I hope you had a wonderful trip!!

  6. Nita says:

    Wow! This was so wonderful and flavorful! I absolutely loved this dish! It came together quick and it was so delicious! This will definitely be made regularly in my house.

  7. Mona says:

    What Brand of Rice vinegar do you use? I thought they were all sweet, but the last bottle I bought was Not sweet at all. In Asian noodle recipes, is the most common Rice vinegar used; Sweet or not sweet? I’ve never made Any Asian recipes, & I LOVE Asian noodles, so I am going to buy all the ingredients & try your recipes. These DanDan Noodles sound like a easy start for me. LOVE your site! Mona

    • Sheree L says:

      Mona, I’m sure Mel will reply, but wanted to add my 2 cents! I use a lot of rice vinegar and use the Marukan brand, but here’s the key: buy plain rice vinegar, NOT seasoned rice vinegar. Hope that helps!

  8. Holly says:

    I made these last night and they were a big hit! Even though the meat mixture is similar in appearance to your Korean beef recipe (which we also love), this has its own unique flavor. I could tell as soon as I mixed up the sauce that it was going to be delicious! Welcome home, Mel, and looking forward to hearing all about your trip to Africa!

  9. Alicia says:

    Ditto to what several others have said. This was super tasty and quick to boot. My husband requested this go in the “regular rotation”, so that is saying something. Thanks, Mel! And welcome back!

  10. Melanie says:

    My family LOVED this dish. Thanks for sharing it with us !

  11. Denise says:

    I made this last night and my five kids gobbled it up! They were all asking for seconds. Thanks!

  12. Gina says:

    I am one of those who is not crazy about peanut butter in savory dishes, but went ahead and took Mel’s advise and made this. The peanut flavor is very subtle and with the fresh garlic and ginger and Asian flavors it was very good! We had an unexpected dinner guest and it was enjoyed by all! Thanks Mel!

  13. Leah says:

    I use probably 3-4 of your recipes a week. My kids (teenagers) know if I say it’s a “Mel recipe” it will be tasty. This is one of my absolute favorites. I don’t know what I love about it so much but it is delish! Thanks for being my go-to!

  14. Carrie says:

    Ok, you’ve outdone yourself posting this recipe. I finally got around to trying it this week and we were blown away by its flavor and simple weeknight ease. Both of my young children slurped it up (good thing it was bath night). I halved the sauce mixture and used just one pound of ground meat (I actually use lean elk meat because my husband is a hunter) and it was awesome! I also used angel hair pasta. I can easily see how adding some shredded carrots or red bell pepper to this could amp up the veggie factor, but its fab on its own, too. I wouldn’t recommend skipping the cilantro because it makes the flavor pop. Thanks – this is going into our regular rotation.

  15. Alana says:

    Our entire family of eight LOVED this dish! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  16. Becki says:

    I was trying to figure out what to cook for dinner that night, and when I checked my feed and saw this recipe, I made it the same day. I had everything on hand and it was SOOOO good. My husband and kids LOVED them. I’d never even heard of this before, but it’s definitely going into the rotation. I used whole wheat spaghetti and it worked so well. Thanks for all the yummy recipes!

  17. Rita says:

    I made your Dan Dan Noodles on a whim for company last week. What a great recipe! So quick and easy and very tasty! I received compliments from everyone. Even my son who has spent many years in China loved the flavor (even though he chided me for using spaghetti noodles!)
    This has been moved into my regular rotation of recipes at home.
    Thanks so much Mel!

  18. Ariane says:

    Meatballs, sloppy Joe’s, & meatloaf is about all I do with ground turkey (don’t buy ground beef)…until today. Thank you for the tasty & easy recipe. I left out the ginger accidentally and it was just fine to us.

  19. Megan says:

    How integral is the cilantro? Cilantro was out of stock and I’m so bummed because I wanted to make this tonight! Think it would be worth it to postpone until I can make another grocery store trip?

  20. Janna says:

    This was delicious!!! Seriously love the flavor! This is definitely going into the rotation. Always fun to find new flavors. And so easy! Thanks!! Btw, my hubby is a cilantro hater so I made without and still love it!

  21. mangomama says:

    I added matchstick cut carrots and a handful of frozen peas– turned out yummy! But I like the suggestion by another poster to add sliced red bell peppers — and, I’d keep the carrots as well, making it a one dish dinner. Thanks for a fast, easy, delicious recipe!

  22. Aubrie says:

    Delicious! Next time I’ll add some chopped peanuts on top, or use crunchy peanut butter because I think it needed a crunchy contrast. Thanks for another great recipe! Even my picky kids loved it. My 6 year-old daughter told me I needed to get on my computer and tell you that it was so yummy!

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