Better Than Takeout Dan Dan Noodles


Dan Dan Noodles are a beloved street food from the Sichuan province of China, known for their bold, complex flavors and comforting heat. Traditionally, this dish features a savory ground meat topping, chewy wheat noodles, and a rich, spicy sauce made with ingredients like soy sauce, sesame paste, and Sichuan peppercorns. The name “Dan Dan” refers to the carrying pole (dan dan) street vendors once used to carry their stoves and ingredients, serving up this delicious noodle dish on the go.

Our version of Dan Dan Noodles aims to capture the authentic taste of this classic dish while offering a healthier, homemade alternative to takeout. This recipe is not only packed with flavor but also balanced with nutritious ingredients, making it a satisfying meal for any night of the week. By using fresh ingredients and controlling the levels of salt and oil, you can enjoy a restaurant-quality dish that is tailored to your taste preferences.

The key to perfect Dan Dan Noodles lies in the harmony of its components: the noodles should be cooked to al dente perfection, the meat should be richly seasoned and slightly crispy, and the sauce should be a tantalizing blend of heat, nuttiness, and umami. Topped with fresh greens, crunchy peanuts, and aromatic herbs, this dish is a feast for both the eyes and the palate.

Whether you are a fan of spicy food or just looking to try something new, these Better Than Takeout Dan Dan Noodles are sure to impress. The combination of textures and flavors creates a culinary experience that transports you straight to the bustling streets of Sichuan. With easy-to-follow steps and readily available ingredients, you can recreate this iconic dish in your own kitchen, enjoying a deliciously satisfying meal that beats any takeout option.


1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons sesame oil

▢6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or smashed

▢1-2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes

▢1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce

▢1/4 cup hoisin sauce (make sure to use GF, if needed)

▢1 tablespoon honey

▢2 tablespoons rice vinegar

▢3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter or tahini

▢8 ounces Chinese style egg noodles, or rice noodles

▢2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth

▢2 cups fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped

▢1/2 pound ground chicken or pork

▢2 cups mixed mushrooms, chopped

▢black pepper

▢1 medium shallot, chopped

▢4 green onions, chopped


1. To make the chili oil. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the 1/3 cup sesame oil, the garlic, and chili flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally until the garlic is fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and very carefully transfer the oil to a heat proof bowl or glass jar.

2. Meanwhile, combine the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, vinegar, peanut butter/tahini, and 1/3 cup water in a bowl.

3. Cook the egg/rice noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside. To the pot used to cook the noodles, add the broth and 1/2 of the soy sauce mixture.

Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stir in the spinach. Keep warm.

4. Place the skillet used to make the chili oil, over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil and the chicken. Season with black pepper and brown all over, breaking it up as it cooks, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and shallot, and cook another 2-3 minutes. Slowly pour in 1/2 of the soy sauce mixture. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the sauce coats the chicken and the meat begins to caramelize and get crispy, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2-4 tablespoons chili oil.

Remove from the heat.

5. Ladle the broth into bowls. Add the noodles and toss combine. Spoon the meat over the noodles. Top with green onions and additional chili oil.

Cooking Note

  • Noodles: Chinese wheat noodles are traditional, but spaghetti or any thin noodle can be substituted.
  • Sesame Paste: If you can’t find Chinese sesame paste, tahini is a good substitute.
  • Sichuan Peppercorns: Toast and grind the peppercorns for the best flavor. If unavailable, use a small amount of ground black pepper and coriander for a similar effect.

Serving Suggestions

Dan Dan Noodles are best enjoyed fresh and hot. Serve with:

  • Soup: A light broth or miso soup complements the rich and spicy noodles.
  • Dumplings: Steamed or fried dumplings make a great appetizer or side dish.
  • Vegetables: Serve with a side of steamed or stir-fried vegetables to balance the meal.


  1. Adjust Heat: Customize the spice level by varying the amount of chili oil and Sichuan peppercorns.
  2. Prep Ahead: Prepare the sauce and meat topping in advance for a quick assembly.
  3. Leftovers: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop.

Prep Time

  • 15 minutes

Cooking Time

  • 20 minutes

Total Time

  • 35 minutes

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)

  • Calories: Approximately 450 kcal
  • Protein: 20 grams
  • Sodium: 900 milligrams


Better Than Takeout Dan Dan Noodles are a perfect example of how homemade meals can surpass the flavors and satisfaction of restaurant dishes. By making this dish at home, you have complete control over the quality of ingredients, ensuring a healthier and fresher meal. The rich, savory meat topping combined with the spicy, nutty sauce creates a deeply flavorful experience that is both comforting and exhilarating.

The process of preparing Dan Dan Noodles at home also allows you to tailor the dish to your personal taste. You can adjust the level of spiciness, the balance of flavors, and even the choice of garnishes to suit your preferences. The flexibility of this recipe means you can make it as traditional or as customized as you like, exploring the vibrant flavors of Sichuan cuisine in your own kitchen.

Serving these noodles with fresh garnishes like green onions, cilantro, and roasted peanuts adds a delightful contrast of textures and flavors, elevating the dish to a new level. The freshness of the herbs and the crunch of the peanuts enhance the overall eating experience, making each bite a pleasure.

Moreover, making Dan Dan Noodles at home can be a fun and rewarding cooking project. The satisfaction of creating a restaurant-quality dish from scratch is immense, and it’s a great way to introduce your family or friends to the rich and diverse flavors of Chinese cuisine. This recipe is not only a treat for the taste buds but also a feast for the eyes, with its vibrant colors and beautiful presentation.

Whether you’re looking to impress guests, enjoy a special meal with your family, or simply treat yourself to something delicious, these Better Than Takeout Dan Dan Noodles are an excellent choice. They offer a perfect blend of heat, umami, and nuttiness that is sure to satisfy cravings and leave everyone asking for seconds. Enjoy the culinary adventure of making and savoring this iconic Sichuan dish right at home.

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