Spicy Garlic Noodles are full of garlicky flavor, the crunch of fresh cabbage and carrots, and a warm punch of spice. You'll sauté the cabbage for a few minutes only to keep a nice bite and soak the rice noodles to help you cook them perfectly. The sauce is tangy, salty, sweet, and spicy making these easy 15-minute garlic noodles a winner for lunch or dinner any day of the week.
This recipe for spicy garlic noodles is super easy to put together. Once you mix the sauce and soak the rice noodles, all you'll need to do is some quick cooking in a large skillet before adding everything together. See the video below.
From beginning to end this recipe should take about 20 minutes. Soak the noodles while you roughly chop some cabbage and make the sauce. Start cooking and 15 minutes later you'll be digging into the tastiest, spicy, garlicky noodles.
You'll need just one ingredient that you may not already have - gochujang paste, but it's fairly easy to find. Gochujang paste is a fermented Korean red chili paste, popular in traditional Korean cooking.
I don't know a lot about Korean cooking yet, although I love learning (hey Youtube). But the paste has become one of my must-haves in the kitchen. It's fermented, which I love, and the paste itself is salt, sweet, and spicy, making it the perfect addition to a sauce. (Also, Gochujang mayo - try it). I find this ingredient at my local Asian food store. But you can also find Gochujang on amazon.
Use the table of contents below to jump to any section of this blog post, including information about the ingredients, substitutions you can make, how to store this recipe, step-by-step photos, and a printable recipe card. You can also use the jump to recipe link above to get right to the card.
About the ingredients for this recipe.
See the recipe card below for exact amounts.
- onion, carrot + cabbage: these are the base vegetables for this dish. I like them julienned or thinly sliced so they cook quickly.
- fresh garlic: the big flavor in this dish, 4 large cloves of garlic, freshly minced.
- rice noodles: I use the small thickness of rice noodles - like a pad thai noodle. The width is somewhere between a fettucine and linguine noodles, but you can really use whatever noodle width you prefer.
- gochujang paste: the is one of the base flavors of the sauce and adds the spice. Feel free to add a pinch or two of red pepper flakes for more spice.
- soy sauce: for saltiness and flavor
- rice vinegar: for tang
- maple syrup: to balance out the flavors
- water and cornstarch: to help make a thick sauce
- sesame oil: for extra flavor at the end
- green onions, sesame seeds, and sriracha hot sauce: for optional but recommended garnish
This is Korean Gochujang paste. It usually comes in these little red tubs, at least in my grocery store. Store it in the fridge after opening.
Like every recipe, it's helpful to prepare all of the parts before turning on the stovetop. The French term for this is mise en place. I love that beautiful term. Everything in place. Let's get started.
Prep ingredients and make the sauce
To prepare the noodles for cooking, soak them in warm water for about 6-8 minutes, until softened but not mushy. If you use hot water they will get too soft and soggy and break apart when cooking. Warm water will help soften them so that you can finish cooking them in the pan in just a few minutes.
Next prepare the vegetables. Mince or chop the garlic. Thinly slice the onion and cabbage. This helps it cook faster. I usually buy carrots julienned for this recipe because it's quicker, easier. We only want the vegetables to cook for a few minutes so they retain some texture and bite to them.
Now make the sauce. Mix together all of the sauce ingredients apart from the cornstarch and water. Stir the sauce and set it aside.
That looks like a lot of words but all of that prep should only take between 5 and 10 minutes.
Cooking the noodles
Now let's cook. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of oil and then add the onions. Cook the onions for about 5-6 minutes, or until softening but not browning.
Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring often.
Now add the carrots and cabbage and cook them for about 2-3 minutes, stirring often. This will just soften these vegetables leaving a nice crunchy bite, which I like because the noodles are quite soft so the different textures are nice.
Next, drain the noodles. Add the sauce to the pan. Mix the cornstarch with cold water, not warm or hot water, or else it won't mix smoothly. Add the cornstarch and water mix to the pan. The sauce will thicken. Add the soaked noodles and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring often so everything gets coated in the sauce.
Turn the heat off and add the sesame oil and then stir it though.
Serve right away, while it's hot. Garnish with sliced green onion, toasted sesame seeds and a drizzle of sriracha hot sauce.
✔ This dish is vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free.
> To make this spicier, add red pepper flakes when cooking, and garnish with sriracha hot sauce. To make it less spicy, use less of the gochujang and don't garnish with sriracha.
Try my sesame noodles for another 15-minute noodle side dish.
I use a large skillet and a flat wooden stirrer to make this recipe.
This recipe will store in the fridge for about 3-4 days. Reheat in a microwave on a reheat setting (not cook) for 3-5 minutes, depending on the power of your microwave.
Recipe Note: This recipe uses Gochujang paste, a Korean ingredient but isn't really based on any specific dish. The sauce is just a balanced combination of sweet, spicy, salty, and sour that I like.
More recipes like this
Spicy Garlic Noodles
For the Noodles
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 4 large cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 medium onion (sliced)
- 1-2 cups julienned carrots
- 4 cups shredded or sliced cabbage
- 8 oz rice noodles (½ lb)
For the Sauce
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Gochujang Hot Pepper Paste (or sambal oelek)
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil (to finish)
- green onions (sliced)
- toasted sesame seeds
- sriracha hot sauce
- Soak the noodles in warm water about 6-8 minutes. Don't soak in hot water or they will be mushy.
- Make the sauce by combining all ingredients except the cornstarch and water, and whisking together. Set aside.
- Add 1 tablespoon of cooking oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 5-6 minutes, until softened but not browned.
- Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the carrot and cabbage and cook for 2-3 minutes, until softened but still having a crunchy bite to them.
- Mix together with cornstarch and cold water. Add the sauce, the cornstarch mixture, and the noodles. Stir. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring until the sauce has thickened and everything is covered in the sauce.
- Turn the heat off and add the sesame oil.
- Serve and garnish with sliced green onions, sesame seeds and sriracha hot sauce.
Nutritional information is an estimate. Values vary based on products used.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.
Gochujang paste is a fermented Korean red chili paste, popular in traditional Korean cooking.
You can use Sriracha Hot Sauce or Sambal Oelek.
Soak dried rice noodles in warm water for 6 minutes and then either stir fry or add to soup.
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