Today’s recipe is a super easy pantry-friendly recipe: takeout style sesame noodles made with whole-wheat pasta tossed with rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil and scallions. It’s super basic and just the kind of recipe you want to have on hand any time of year.

three bowls of Sesame Noodles

This recipe was originally published on June 16th, 2015. I have updated the text and images to re-share with you today. 

I created this recipe years ago for a friend. She asked me to reverse engineer the sesame noodles from the deli at a local cafe. Her daughter Alison was in love with them and my friend was in turn spending ridiculous amounts of money on them (and wasting lots of plastic deli container packaging) every month. I came up with this recipe for her and shared it here. Today I am excited for you to try them too! 

They are so easy to make and just as good as any takeout sesame noodle you’ll try! 

What Are Sesame Noodles?

Sesame noodles are a cold side dish made with wheat noodles and sesame dressing. Sesame noodles are noodles tossed with dressing made with toasted sesame oil or Chinese sesame paste. They are usually served cold and quite simple in their presentation and ingredients. Some versions are spicy and some also include peanut in them.

They are a popular takeout item from Chinese or Asian restaurants and have many variations. This one that I am sharing today is typical of the kind we see commonly in the US. According to the New York Times what we know here as Sesame Noodles is more of a American Chinese recipe which was popularized in the 1970s. 

This version of sesame noodles have an easy to slurp texture (they’re sort of slippery) because they’re tossed with an oil and vinegar based dressing. They are similar to Peanut Noodles (which is another popular cold Asian-style noodle dish with nutty flavors) but Peanut Noodles have a stickier/tackier texture. 

Ingredients For This Simple Homemade Sesame Noodle Recipe

  • Whole-wheat linguine: For added nutrition (fiber) I used whole-wheat linguine instead of regular white pasta linguine. If you prefer a less prominent wheat flavor, you can opt for regular white pasta. You can also prefer a standard spaghetti instead of linguini if you prefer. 
  • Toasted sesame oil: To make this a user friendly recipe I wanted to call for ingredients that were easy to find. While some Sesame Noodles will call for Chinese sesame paste, but I didn’t want you to have to make a special trip for that. So I used toasted sesame oil. 
  • Rice vinegar: To give the dressing balance I added the rice vinegar for an acidic element. Make sure to look for natural or unseasoned rice vinegar. The kind labeled as “seasoned” also contains sweetener and salt too! 
  • Reduced-sodium soy sauce and Salt: To balance the flavors of the dressing, I used both reduced sodium soy sauce and salt. If you don’t have reduced sodium soy sauce, use regular and skip the added salt. 
  • Sweetener: To sweeten it up ever so slightly I used agave syrup because it is liquid and neutral in flavor. If you don’t have that you can use maple syrup. Or you could always use sugar, just be sure to whisk it until it dissolves into the dressing. 
  • Scallions: To finish off the sesame noodles, I added in a small amount of sliced scallions (or green onions.)
  • Black Sesame Seeds: While the black sesame seeds don’t really do much for the flavor of the recipe they do add a nice visual element. If you can’t find them, skip them or use white sesame seeds. 

How To Make Cold Sesame Noodles

Prepare The Noodles

  • Before anything else get your pot of water on the stove. (Waiting for it to come up to a boil is the hardest part of the recipe! Ha ha!) 
  • While the water is heating up, you can measure out the dressing ingredients into the bowl and chop your scallions. 
  • Boil the noodles according to the package instructions in boiling water. 
  • I discovered that the key to the texture is rinsing the noodles after they are cooked to was off the excess starch. That gives them the silky slurptastic texture.
  • Make sure to drain the noodles well once you rinse them. You don’t want to add extra water to the dressing as that will dilute the taste.

Prepare The Dressing

  • Combine the toasted sesame oil, vinegar, soy sauce, agave (or maple syrup) and salt in a large bowl. Whisk it well.
  • Make sure to use a large bowl because you’ll be adding the noodles right into the dressing and tossing them together so you’ll need the extra space.

Mix Together and Serve

  • Add the cooked and rinsed noodles to the dressing and toss them well with tongs. The oil in the dressing will coat the noodles and keep them from clumping together. 
  • To finish the noodles off, add in the sliced scallions and sesame seeds and toss them to combine them. 
  • Serve them immediately or chill them until you’re ready to serve them. 
sesame noodles on a white table

How To Make Gluten-Free Sesame Noodles

  • To make this recipe gluten-free substitute gluten free spaghetti (such as Tinkyada brown rice spaghetti) for the whole-wheat pasta. 
  • Replace the soy sauce with wheat free tamari. 
  • If you use rice noodles, make sure to rinse them very well with cold water and try not to overcook them as they will break apart and get clumpy.

Meal Prep and Make Ahead Tips

These sesame noodles are great for a make ahead dish for meal prep or for making ahead. 

How Long Do Cold Sesame Noodles Last?

These sesame noodles last up to five days if properly stored in a refrigerator. That said, the scallions don’t hold up that well, so you can wait to add them later if you want them to be crisp and bright green. 

  1. Take care to completely chill the noodles in step one.
  2. Once they are tossed with the dressing, transfer them to a resealable glass container. 
  3. Refrigerate them immediately. 
  4. Toss them with any  of the dressing that pools in the bottom of the container. Optionally, you can wait and add in the scallions and sesame seeds before serving. 

How To Make Them Ahead

  • To make a whole batch of these sesame noodles ahead, omit the green onions/scallions and store in a resealable container for up to 5 days. Add the scallion in just before serving.
  • For meal prep, divide these into single servings and add the scallions on top. 
sesame noodles in a three bowls on a white table

Serving Suggestions

Sesame Noodles in white bowls with black sesame seeds

At Healthy Seasonal Recipes, we specialize in cooking with fresh veggies and creating weeknight meals. Sign up HERE to get more produce-forward dinner ideas for FREE! If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought! Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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a close up of sesame noodles in two bowls with chopsticks

Sesame Noodles

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 11 reviews

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 cups 1x
  • Diet: Low Salt


These easy Sesame Noodles are made with whole-wheat linguine tossed with toasted sesame oil, scallions and black sesame seeds.


Units Scale
  • 10 ounces whole-wheat linguine
  • 4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 4 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon agave (or maple syrup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons black sesame seeds


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook linguini until al dente according to package directions. Drain in a colander. Rinse the linguini with cold running water until cold and drain well again.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk sesame oil, vinegar, soy sauce, agave and salt in a large bowl .
  3. Add noodles to the vinegar mixture and toss to coat. Add scallions and sesame seeds and toss to combine. Chill.


  • To make a whole batch of these sesame noodles ahead, omit the green onions/scallions and store in a resealable container for up to 5 days. Add the scallion in just before serving.
  • For meal prep, divide these into single servings and add the scallions on top.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: Asian


  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 294
  • Sugar: 4 g
  • Sodium: 380 mg
  • Fat: 8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 55 g
  • Fiber: 8 g
  • Protein: 11 g