Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce Recipe

Last weekend, I was sucked in yet again to “snowstorm backpacking.” We planned another snowshoeing trip, but knew ahead of time that there was going to be a storm- again. I was really the only one against it this time. Everyone who had avoided the trip to Yosemite was now itching to get out, and used my success as an even bigger reason to go. I tried to get myself out of it, threatening to spend my weekend cuddled up with my chihuahua in my living room. But I couldn’t let the other Dirty Girls have fun without me, especially when I didn’t have any real excuse. I grumbled a good amount; all the way to Aimee’s house, and then all the way to Mt. Abel.

It ended up being a fabulous weekend. There were three people who had never used snowshoes before, and then me who had only done it once. Then there were the two “manly men”. They had the experience/age, whiskey, and the GPS. Aimee’s dad wins the prize for the manliest. He showed up with the hugest backpack I’ve ever seen! And after putting on his pack cover, I swear it looked like he was going to hang glide right off the side of the trail into the Carrizo Plain! I felt bad for him, but I was pretty happy about everything he brought. And I (secretly) didn’t even end up sore after the trip thanks to the things I didn’t have to carry.

Our dinner consisted of three recipes- one from each Dirty Girl. My recipe was Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce. I made it the first time in Yosemite, and couldn’t believe what an easy camping recipe it ended up being. I cut and measured everything at home, which allowed my frozen fingers to remain hidden in their gloves longer. Plus, it was once again nice to have ingredients that are usually already around for snacking. The peanut butter gives it that stick-to-your-ribs feeling, and the spiciness gives you some heat on a cold night. Most peanut sauces that use peanut butter suggest creamy, but I find chunky to be much more satisfying. The first time I made this, I added canned chicken. Aimee added broccoli, and my mom used only half a chili. Improvise away.

Spicy peanut sauce before adding the noodlesDanny's huge manly backpack

Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce Recipe

Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce


2-3 servings

Prep Time / Cook Time


Activity Guide

Backpacking, Bike Touring, Car Camping


  • 1/2 pound spaghetti noodles
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 thai bird chile, minced (or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter, preferably chunky
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (optional)


  • Cutting board
  • Fork
  • Knife
  • Large pot
  • Skillet
  • Stove
  • Strainer


  1. Boil water and cook noodles until al dente, about 10 minutes. Reserve about a half cup of the cooking liquid. For small backpacking pots, you may need to break noodles in half first.
  2. In a skillet on medium-high, saute garlic, ginger, and chili in the sesame oil until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add soy sauce and peanut butter, and stir until smooth, about 1 minute. You may need up to 1/2 cup of cooking liquid if the sauce ends up too thick, so set this aside before draining noodles.
  4. Strain noodles, and mix with the sauce.Β Stir in fresh cilantro and make sure noodles are fully coated in sauce. Serve hot.

20 thoughts on “Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce

  1. I finally got around to making this (at home) tonight… this is definitely an easy and *filling* meal – I’m sure it would be perfect after a long day outside. And the chili peppers add some serious kick to help keep you warm.

    Great work gals, this site is very well done!

    1. I’m a 3 – 8 day hiker and love your recipes but I’ve made a few adjustments to make them lighter and use less fuel. I dehydrate as many items as possible including spaghetti. I added crushed red peppers and chilli powder. Good choice on chunky peanut butter, can’t dehydrate but love the taste.

      1. Hi Jeff, you actually can get powdered peanut butter, and it works great in a sauce, but you’d have to add chunks separately (with some chopped peanuts). This recipe works great backpacking. Maybe I’ll do a separate write up for it with those considerations in mind. Thanks!

        1. I would love to see some adjustments for a 19 day trip. Only taking a jet boil so wouldn’t have the luxury of the other sauce pan fmto do sauce fixings. Any suggestions?

  2. Em Trudeau, I’ve confirmed that your recipe is internationally translatable (and delicious!) to wilderness areas of South Africa! On a hectic backpacking trip to the Groendal Wilderness, I nabbed this recipe and it was a hit with my hiking mates! I kept the sauce basics the same, but added a lot of vegetables that we sauteed in another pot – broccoli, butternut squash, celery, onion, carrot, peppers, and spring onions on top.

    Thanks for the sweet recipe ideas, keep it up! This site keeps me longing for the woods and forthcoming excursions!

    1. Hey Jill,

      Glad you tried it and made it your own. The sauce is definitely meant to go on whatever you like, and I’m impressed to hear you were in the wilderness with fresh vegetables.

  3. My boyfriend and I opted to go for a short backpacking/snowshoeing trip up to Blue Ridge to camp out for the new year. I seized the opportunity to remind him of this site, and we quickly decided to prepare this recipe for our new year’s eve dinner. It was a hit!

    We made a few small changes, though. We used chow mein noodles (since we had some at home already), and prepared them the night before, as well as all of the seasoning. It made a fast and convenient dinner, and hit the spot in the below-freezing weather. We’ll definitely be referring to this site some more. Thank you!

    1. Thanks so much for the feedback! Chow mein noodles are a great choice for this recipe. Let us know what other feasts you come up with for your adventures πŸ˜€

  4. I just made this recipe while car camping up in Acadia National Park and it turned out wonderfully. I had made some variations of this in the past from other recipe guides, but your addition of cilantro took it to another level. Thanks!

  5. We are packing this for a 7 day backpacking trip we are starting on Saturday, do you think dried ground ginger will do the trick? Was planning to do this later in the week and it is going to be hot so didn’t want to deal with spoiled/shrivelled up ginger. πŸ™‚

    Also bringing your loaded mashed potatoes which we have had before, yum! If I have time I also plan to make biscotti – but I’ve got a busy week leading up to my week of freedom. πŸ™

    1. Hi Michelle! Yes, I think dried ginger will be fine, just use a little at a time. I’ve also used powdered peanut butter, which works really well. It’s hard to get everything ready for a trip, but worth the effort. I’m trying to get myself to dehydrate and freeze things way in advance so I can just grab and go, but haven’t gotten that organized quite yet. Have a great trip!

  6. Hey! I’m looking to do as many dehydrated meals as possible when backpacking. Both for weight and ease (just boil water)!!! Any suggestions/modifications for making this into a dehydrated meal.

    1. Hi Leisel, absolutely! I’ve made this using ramen noodles, which are easier to rehydrate than regular dried pasta. You could also pre-boil pasta and then dehydrate it in little birds nests if you don’t like ramen. Powdered peanut butter is pretty easy to come by nowadays, and works perfectly for sauces. The easiest way to deal with dried versions of the other ingredients is to buy them already dehydrated, and then check the packaging for the amounts necessary to mimic the fresh amounts in this recipe. You could easily dehydrate them yourself, though. And then I’d leave the sesame oil out and just bring an individual packet of soy sauce. Have fun!

    1. Great question Erin. That’s something we have been experimenting with for some time. We have used small food safe containers with a narrow mouth and filled these at home with cooking oil or whatever liquid ingredient is needed for the recipe. These are small white plastic containers – usually sold in travel sections of REI or similar stores like this. This has worked fairly well but I would still put the bottle in a ziplock bag as a back up. Other options, GoStak Twist n’ Lock Storage Jars. Lastly, for oil or soy sauce, the lazy way is to get prepackaged packets. Hope this helps!

  7. We made this on a week long backpacking trip in Northern Ontario last summer. We’re just about to head out for a quick overnight an will be bringing this again. I love to eat well in the back country, love your recipes! Thank you!

  8. This was tasty but a little too rich for us – I’d reduce the sesame oil to 1 T and would only make 2/3 of this recipe for 2 people. Above, it says it serves 2-3 – I would say it makes 3+ servings. We saved the leftovers and had them for lunch the following day. I also added 1/2 c. of rehydrated dried veggies from Karen’s Naturals. I substituted dried ginger (1 tsp) for the fresh, but wished I hadn’t. I also used the 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper (freshly purchased) and found it just a little too spicy.

    This recipe was a lot heavier than the others we brought – not sure I’d make it again for a backpacking trip, but it’s inspired me to make peanut noodles at home again!

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