Dan Dan Noodles

Dan Dan noodles in a shallow bowl with creamy pork broth and crispy pork
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A slightly creamy, spicy pork sauce-and-broth hybrid coats toothsome Asian noodles in our recipe for one of China’s most beloved Sichuan street food dishes, dan dan noodles.

What Are Dan Dan Noodles?

Dan dan mian, or dan dan noodles, are one of Sichuan (sometimes spelled Szechuan) province’s most famous culinary exports. Sichuan cuisine is defined by its heat, and our spicy Szechuan noodle recipe is no exception! There are many, many versions of dan dan noodles out there—some are face-numbingly spicy, and others  (like ours) have heat, but don’t completely set your mouth on fire. Our dan dan noodles recipe packs a flavorful punch thanks to a garlicky, gingery, brothy pork sauce with peanut butter and as for spice, you can easily adjust the heat factor to suit your own tastes.

Ingredients laid out on table for Dan Dan noodles

Sichuan Peppercorns 101

Known for their uniquely spicy, numbing heat, Sichuan peppercorns are one of dan dan noodles ingredients that really makes it a memorable, one-of-a-kind dish. These pinky-red peppercorns are the dried fruits of a Sichuan pepper plant called zanthoxylum simulans. They’re a defining flavor of the famously heat-centric cuisine of China’s Sichuan province and, ground up, they are a classic component of Chinese five spice powder. We love their uniquely fruity flavor, and they can easily be found in Asian markets and online. To grind the Sichuan peppercorns, either use a mortar and pestle, a very clean coffee grinder or a pepper grinder.

What Can I Substitute for Sichuan Peppercorns?

If you’re looking for a slightly milder dan dan noodle recipe, simply substitute red pepper flakes for the Sichuan peppercorns. You’ll have a slightly different flavor profile, but the spiced, fragrant noodles will still be delicious.

Close up of homemade Dan Dan Noodles in a creamy pork broth topped with crispy pork and scallions

Peanut Butter or Chinese Sesame Paste?  

Some dan dan mian recipes call for Chinese sesame paste, which tastes nothing like (the much easier to find) tahini. So, to keep things simple, we’re calling for peanut butter as a sub instead. Not only does it perform similarly to traditional Chinese sesame paste, but our favorite local Chinese restaurant uses it in their crave-worthy dan dan noodles! And, if peanut butter doesn’t work for your family, you can just leave it out—it’ll still be wonderful dish.

Ladle pouring creamy pork broth and pork over noodles fresh udon noodles

How To Make Dan Dan Noodles

Our easy dan dan noodles come together quick—within minutes you’ll be tucking into the spicy Chinese noodles of your dreams. Gather your ingredients and get cooking! Here’s what to do:

  1. Cook your noodles! They’re going to get bathed in piping-hot dan dan sauce, so it’s OK if they cool a bit while you make the garlicky, spicy pork sauce.  
  2. Fry the pork! When it’s nearly cooked, toss in fragrant fresh garlic and ginger.
  3. Dan dan sauce time! Mix the garlicky fried pork with soy sauce, sherry, stock, peanut butter, cinnamon, ground Sichuan peppercorns, sugar and chili paste. Simmer for five minutes to thicken the sauce and make your house smell AMAZING.
  4. Pour the brothy dan dan sauce all over your cooked noodles, garnish and slurp away!
Styled bowl of homemade dan dan noodles in a creamy pork broth topped with crispy pork and fresh scallions

Tools You’ll Need:

Other Asian Noodles We Love:

Styled photo of dan dan noodles in a creamy pork broth with striped linen and chopsticks.
Close up of dan dan noodles hanging from wooden chop sticks

Dan Dan Mian For All!  

If you try your hand at our easy dan dan noodles recipe, snap a photo of it and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you share your noodles with. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

Dan Dan Noodles

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 lbs fresh udon or yaki soba (or 1lb other dried asian noodles), cooked according to package instructions
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 lb ground pork
2 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup dry sherry (or Chinese rice rice wine vinegar or red wine vinegar)
4 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 tsp cinnamon
6 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, ground (or 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes)
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp Sambal Oelek Chili Paste
1/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped

Method

  1. Cook noodles according to package. Divide evenly in 4 bowls.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add pork, breaking it up into small bits. Once the pork is nearly cooked through add fresh ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).
  3. Stir in the soy sauce, sherry, chicken stock, peanut butter, cinnamon, ground Sichuan peppercorns, sugar and chili paste. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until sauce thickens, about 5-7 mins.
  4. Spoon equal amounts of pork sauce over cooked noodles and garnish with peanuts and scallions.

Notes: Some recipes use Chinese sesame paste. This tastes nothing like tahini, use peanut butter as a sub instead! We’re using peanut butter because our favorite local Chinese restaurant does and it’s crave worthy!

Notes: How to grind your peppercorns: Either use a mortar and pestle, roughly chop with a knife, coffee grinder or simply use a pepper grinder.

If you leave the peanut butter out, it is still a wonderful dish.