That Spicy Chick

Spicy Dan Dan Noodles

This Spicy Dan Dan Noodles is made with spicy ground pork, silky thin wheat noodles, and a creamy, nutty, and spicy Sichuan pepper chili oil and sesame sauce infused broth. It’s quick and easy to make, full of bold and striking Sichuan flavors, and each bowl is crowned with juicy pork and shrimp wontons! It’s also vegetarian and gluten-free adaptable.

Spicy Dan Dan Noodles (担担面, dan dan mian) – the popular Sichuan noodle dish that’s beloved to many globally. My version of this classic Sichuan noodles is on the soupier side than the typical drier Americanized version. The latter tends to more saucy than broth-y, but both versions are incredibly delicious!

The spicy broth makes it super comforting and warming, which is something we all love when it’s chilly, rainy, or snowing. But if you’ve been following the blog for a while now, you know I love my spicy noodle soups – especially when juicy wontons are involved – any time of the year! 😉

Note: This post was originally published in January 2019. I’ve since then updated the recipe to make it more delicious, and added improved photos, measurements, and more. I hope you enjoy!

Chopsticks pulling dan dan noodles from a bowl.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Quick and easy. Once you’ve gathered all the ingredients, dan dan noodles is a breeze to whip up. It’s ready to go in just about 35 minutes!
  • Convenient. Using a good quality store-bought Sichuan pepper chili oil simplifies and quickens the process for making this noodles dish on any given weeknight.
  • Perfect balance of flavors. The combination of Chinese white sesame paste and peanut butter gives the broth nutty flavors and a hint of sweetness. Combined together, they balance out the savory, spicy, and tangy vinegar flavors.
  • Customizable. You can use ground chicken, beef, turkey, etc. instead of pork, and make it vegetarian or gluten-free if needed.
  • WONTONS!! Juicy pork and shrimp wontons crown each bowl of this delicious soup noodles and make this version of Sichuan spicy dan dan noodles EPIC! 😍

What is Dan Dan Noodles?

Closeup top view of bowl with spicy pork soup noodles and wontons.

Dan dan noodles is a spicy sauce based noodles dish from China’s Sichuan region. It’s typically made with ground pork, a spicy Sichuan pepper chili oil infused thick sauce, pickled preserved vegetables (mustard greens), and thin white wheat noodles. The thickness of the sauce varies and can also be on the soupy side if broth or water is added to it. Common garnishes include spring onion (scallion) and fried peanuts.

Sichuan chili oil is made by infusing Sichuan red peppercorns, chili flakes, star anise, cinnamon and a variety of other dried spices in oil. The red peppercorn is what gives this noodle soup dish its distinct spicy numbing flavor. It’s not spicy numbing as in it’s-so-spicy-that-my-mouth-has-blown-off, but the spicy red peppercorn makes your mouth tingle a little. It’s a good kick on the tongue, but the heat will by no means kill you.

Dan dan noodles also has a hint of sweetness as some people add either Chinese white sesame paste and/or peanut butter to give it a boost of umami. (I like to add both in my version of this dish.)

Ingredient Notes

Labeled ingredients for Dan Dan Noodles Sauce.
Dan Dan Noodles Sauce Ingredients
  • Sichuan Pepper Chili Oil: The red peppercorns in this chili oil have a numbing property which make your lips buzz a little. It’s a unique sensation, and they make this noodle dish addictive and hard to stop slurping! I use a store-bought Sichuan pepper chili oil (Grandpa Sichuan Pepper) for this recipe. It’s easily available to me, convenient to use, and has great flavors! Try finding a jar of good quality Sichuan chili oil in an Asian or Chinese supermarket. Or order this Sichuan pepper chili oil online by Blank Slate Kitchen if you happen to live in the USA. Alternatively, you can quickly whip up a homemade Sichuan pepper chili oil by using one of the many recipes available online.
  • Shao Xing Rice Wine: An Asian pantry staple! This fragrant Chinese cooking wine has a floral aroma and adds depth of flavor to many Sichuan and Chinese dishes. Look for it an Asian or Chinese supermarket. Use dry sherry if unavailable.
  • Chinkiang Vinegar: This is a Chinese black vinegar and commonly used in dishes like Kung Pao Chicken and Sichuan eggplant stir-fry (Yu Xiang Qie Zi). Look for it an Asian or Chinese supermarket. Substitute with half balsamic vinegar and half white vinegar if unavailable.
  • Creamy (smooth) Peanut Butter: Although not traditionally used in authentic dan dan noodles, I love the creamy richness and sweet nutty flavors it adds to the broth! I recommend using a commercial creamy peanut butter instead of natural for this recipe as it will result in a smoother and cohesive broth.
  • Sesame Paste/Sauce: Chinese white sesame paste is what gives the broth its creamy rich sesame flavors and is traditionally used in authentic dan dan noodles (not peanut butter). While similar to tahini (a type of sesame paste used to make hummus), it has a more intense sesame flavor. Some Chinese sesame pastes are made with a blend of sesame seeds and peanuts – like the one I’ve used here. Look for it an Asian or Chinese supermarket.
Labeled ingredients for Spicy Dan Dan Noodles on a wooden board.
Dan Dan Noodles Fresh & Pantry Ingredients
  • Ground Pork: Try to use pork that is lean and not excessively fatty.
  • Sichuan Dan Dan Noodles: These are thin white wheat noodles. If you can’t find them, use any thin or medium thickness Asian white noodles made from wheat.
  • Mustard Tuber: Traditionally, preserved pickled mustard greens called yá cài (芽菜) are used in dan dan noodles. I use preserved mustard tuber (zhà cài – 榨菜), which is the stem part of the mustard green. It is easier to locate than yá cài in your local Asian supermarket, but both can be ordered online. But you can use either suì mǐ yá cài (碎米芽菜 – minced yá cài) or zhà cài for this recipe. Either spicy or regular preserved mustard greens or stems will work.
  • Clear Chicken Broth: You can use pork bone broth instead if you like. I prefer using an Asian style chicken broth for Asian soups. But any homemade or store-bought chicken broth will work. If using a low sodium broth, be sure to taste the soup and add salt to taste if needed.
  • Peppercorn Chili Oil: This is chili oil infused with the numbing flavors of Sichuan red peppercorns. You can omit it if it’s hard to track down or unavailable in your local Asian supermarket.
  • Chili Oil: This is a pure chili oil without any seeds or flakes. Find it in an Asian supermarket.
  • White Sugar: Just a pinch to balance out all the spicy and savory notes in the broth. Use more or less to taste.
  • Wontons (not pictured): Although dan dan noodles are not traditionally served with wontons, I love wontons in ALL of my noodle soups! I’ve used some store-bought pork and shrimp wontons here, but you can use your favorite type with any filling you love. Feel free to use either store-bought or homemade wontons.

Full ingredient list and amounts are in the recipe card below.

How to Make Spicy Dan Dan Noodles

Make the Spicy Ground Pork

  1. Cook the pork: Cook the ground pork with a bit of Sichuan chili oil, low sodium soy sauce, and some kosher salt. Add some preserved mustard tuber during the last few seconds of cooking. Once the pork has nicely browned and crisped up, switch off the heat and set aside.
Crispy browned ground pork with mustard tuber in a wok.

Make the Spicy Dan Dan Soup

Mix together all the spicy dan dan sauce ingredients in a small measuring cup (for easier pouring) or bowl.

  1. Sauté aromatics. Heat oils in a saucepot and sauté the aromatics – the garlic, ginger, spring onion white and light green parts, and also some red chilies.
  2. Add the spicy dan dan sauce. Stir to combine.
  3. Build the soup. Pour in the chicken broth and water. Give everything a good stir, then cover and simmer for a few minutes.
  4. Season. Uncover and season with white sugar and add preserved mustard tuber. Give the broth a taste and adjust sugar and salt if needed, then switch off the heat.
Process steps to make spicy dan dan broth.

Assemble the Dan Dan Noodle Soup Bowls

Two bowls with cooked noodles, crispy ground pork, and wontons.
  1. Cook the noodles. Cook according to package instructions in a separate pot of boiling water. Drain and run cold water over the noodles to get rid of excess starch and stop the cooking process. Divide the noodles evenly into bowls and spoon the spicy ground pork mixture on top. (You can garnish with chopped spring onion now, or later after adding the spicy broth to the noodle bowls.)
  2. Cook the wontons. Bring water to a boil in the same pot again. Add the wontons and cook according to package instructions. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the wontons to the noodle bowls.
  3. Serve! Ladle the spicy dan dan soup evenly over the noodle bowls and garnish with chopped spring onion. Serve immediately and with peanuts mixed with Sichuan pepper chili oil on the side if desired. Then enjoy!
Two bowls with spicy Sichuan pork soup noodles topped with wontons.

Full detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.

Cook’s Tips

  • Combine the sesame paste with warm water first when making the spicy dan dan sauce. The warm water will help break the thick and creamy paste down. Then you can easily mix in the rest of the sauce ingredients.
  • Use lean ground pork. Excessively fatty pork will release too much grease, which you will need to spoon out and discard or else the pork will cause the broth to be very oily tasting.
  • Use less chicken broth for a drier noodles dish. Use 250 ml / 1 cup of broth for a dan dan noodles that’s more saucy than brothy.
Two bowls with noodles. Chopsticks and a spoon in the bowl in front.

FAQs

Can dan dan noodles be made with tahini?

Although Chinese sesame paste is typically used instead of tahini, you can use tahini as a substitute if needed. They are both similar in flavor, though tahini has a less intense sesame flavor.

Are dan dan noodles spicy?

The heat in dan dan noodles comes from the Sichuan red peppercorns in the Sichuan pepper chili oil. They have a numbing spicy characteristic that makes your tongue and lips “zing”. This version of dan dan noodles is spicier than most others due to the addition of pure chili oil and fresh Bird’s Eye red chilies. However, the spiciness in this dish can easily be customized to taste.

Can I make dan dan noodles with chicken?

Sure! Simply swap the pork for ground chicken.

Chopsticks pulling noodles from a bowl of soup noodles.

Variations

  • Make it vegetarian. Swap the minced pork for minced Asian brown mushrooms such as shitake. Or use a plant-based ground meat substitute or top your bowl with crispy pan-fried tofu cubes instead. Also, use veggie broth and vegetarian wontons. (I highly recommend vegetarian spinach and mushroom wontons with a green spinach dumpling wrapper if you can find them!)
  • Use a different protein. If pork is not your thing, ground beef, chicken, or turkey would work great!
  • Serve with blanched Asian greens. You’re welcome to serve with blanched Asian greens like bok choy, choy sum, or Chinese broccoli if you like. Blanch them during the last 30 seconds of boiling the noodles, then drain and divide the noodles and greens into bowls.
  • Make it gluten-free. Serve with rice noodles (or any other gluten-free Asian style noodles), and use a gluten-free soy sauce and dry sherry (replacement for Shao Xing rice wine). Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find store-bought gluten-free wontons. You can choose to omit the wontons, or (if you have time) make homemade gluten-free wonton wrappers with a gluten-free filling of your choice.
Chopsticks pulling noodles and bowl with spicy soup noodles topped with wontons. Text overlay "Dan Dan Noodles with Spicy Soup & Wontons" and "thatspicychick.com".

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Bowl with dan dan noodles with broth, wontons, and a spoon.

Spicy Dan Dan Noodles

This Spicy Dan Dan Noodles is made with spicy ground pork, thin wheat noodles, and a creamy and spicy Sichuan pepper chili oil and sesame sauce infused broth. It’s quick and easy to make, jam-packed with flavor. Each bowl is also topped with juicy pork and shrimp wontons!

  • Author: Lavina
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 35
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Simmer
  • Cuisine: Sichuan
Scale

Ingredients

For the Spicy Ground Pork:

  • 7 ounces / 200 grams Ground Pork
  • ½ TBLS Low Sodium Light Soy Sauce
  • ½ TBLS Sichuan Pepper Chili Oil (see notes*)
  • ¼ TSP Kosher Salt, to taste
  • 1 TBLS Mustard Tuber (spicy or regular)

For the Dan Dan Sauce:

For the Spicy Dan Dan Soup:

  • ½ TBLS Peanut Oil
  • 1 TBLS Peppercorn Chili Oil
  • 12 TSP Chili Oil (pure chili oil without seeds/flakes)
  • 1 TSP Sesame Oil
  • 1 large Spring Onion (Scallion/Green Onion) – chopped, white and light green parts separated from dark green parts
  • 1.5 TBLS minced Ginger
  • 5 Garlic cloves – minced
  • 210 fresh Red Chilies (I used Bird’s Eye, but any small hot red chilies will work), to taste – finely chopped
  • 2 cups + 2 TBLS / 500ml Clear Chicken Broth (or Pork Bone Broth)
  • ½ cup / 118ml White Sugar
  • ¾ TSP White Sugar
  • 1 TBLS Mustard Tuber

To Serve:

  • 4.25 ounces / 120 grams uncooked Sichuan Dan Dan Noodles (or any white Asian wheat noodles)
  • 6 pieces frozen Wontons (any kind – I used store-bought pork and shrimp wontons)
  • 2 TBLS chopped Spring Onion (dark green parts only), or more to taste
  • Peanuts mixed together with Sichuan Pepper Chili Oil (optional)

Instructions

Prep:

  1. Prepare the fresh ingredients: Chop the spring onion (separating the white & light green parts from the dark green parts), ginger, garlic, fresh red chilies as indicated in the ‘Ingredients’ section.
  2. Make the spicy dan dan sauce: Mix together the sesame paste and warm water in a small measuring cup (or bowl) until the paste has broken down. Then stir in the peanut butter, low sodium light soy sauce, Shao Xing rice wine, chinkiang vinegar, and Sichuan pepper chili oil until combined well. Set aside.

For the Spicy Ground Pork:

  1. Cook the spicy ground pork: Place a medium-sized dry skillet or wok over medium high-heat. Once hot, add the ground pork and cook for 2 minutes, breaking up the lumps with your spatula, until no longer pink. (Note: If your pork is very lean, add a little oil to the wok before you start cooking. If it’s quite fatty and has released a lot of grease, scoop out and discard some of it before adding any seasonings.) Add ½ tablespoon of low sodium light soy sauce, ½ tablespoon Sichuan pepper chili oil, and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Continue cooking for 3-4 minutes or until the pork starts to crisp up and has browned. Stir in 1 tablespoon mustard tuber and cook for 30 seconds until combined well, then switch off the heat and set aside.

For the Spicy Dan Dan Soup:

  1. Make the Spicy Dan Dan Soup: Heat ½ tablespoon peanut oil, 1 tablespoon peppercorn chili oil, 1-2 teaspoons chili oil, and 1 teaspoon sesame oil in a medium sized saucepot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the spring onion white and light green parts, ginger, and garlic. Sauté for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the red chilies and sauté for 30-40 seconds until softened and combined. Pour in the sauce you made earlier and stir until combined well with the aromatics. Then pour in the chicken broth and ½ cup of water and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pot. Simmer for 5-6 minutes. Uncover and stir in the white sugar and 1 tablespoon of mustard tuber. Simmer for another minute, then switch off the heat.

To Assemble Noodle Bowls:

  1. Cook the noodles: While the soup is simmering, cook the noodles according to package instruction in a separate pot of boiling water. Drain and run cold water over the noodles to help get rid of excess starch and stop the cooking process. Divide evenly into bowls.
  2. Divide the pork: Spoon the spicy ground pork evenly on top of the noodles in the bowls.
  3. Cook the wontons: Add water to the pot again and bring to a boil. Add the wontons and cook according to package instructions. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the wontons into the noodle bowls.
  4. To Serve: Ladle the spicy dan dan soup evenly over the noodle bowls and garnish with chopped spring onion dark green parts. Serve immediately and with peanuts mixed with Sichuan pepper chili oil on the side if desired.

Notes

  1. Special Asian ingredients: You can find Chinese white sesame paste, Chinkiang vinegar, Sichuan pepper chili oil, Sichuan dan dan noodles, spicy or regular flavored preserved mustard greens (either ya cai – 芽菜 or zha cai – 榨菜) in Asian or Chinese supermarkets. Alternatively, you can purchase these ingredients online. Su mi ya cai is minced preserved mustard greens and available online from Amazon.
  2. Sichuan pepper chili oil: You should be able to find a readymade jar of Sichuan chili oil at Asian grocery stores. But if that fails, you can order this Sichuan pepper chili oil from Amazon or check out Blank Slate Kitchen to order a jar directly from them if you happen to live in the USA. A homemade one can also be used instead if preferred. The one I use is called Grandpa Sichuan Pepper, but there are many brands that make Sichuan pepper chili oil. 
  3. To make it milder. Omit (or use less of) the pure chili oil, peppercorn chili oil, and fresh red chilies. You can also use less Sichuan pepper chili oil, which will reduce the spicy numbing flavors that come from Sichuan red peppercorns.
  4. Make ahead. You can make the spicy ground pork and spicy dan dan soup ahead and store in a sealed airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. Reheat the broth in a pot on the stovetop over medium-high heat until hot throughout. Then follow the instructions above to assemble the noodle bowls. Do not combine the noodles with the soup beforehand as they will continue to absorb the broth over time.
  5. Make it vegetarian. Swap the minced pork for minced Asian brown mushrooms such as shitake, or use a plant-based ground meat substitute. Use veggie broth and vegetarian wontons to. Also, you can top your bowl with crispy pan-fried tofu cubes instead of making the spicy ground pork.
  6. Use a different protein. Ground beef, chicken, or turkey would all work well.
  7. Make it gluten-free. Serve with rice noodles (or any other gluten-free Asian style noodles), and use a gluten-free soy sauce and dry sherry (replacement for Shao Xing rice wine). Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find store-bought gluten-free wontons. You can choose to omit the wontons, or (if you have time) make homemade gluten-free wonton wrappers with a gluten-free filling of your choice.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 bowl
  • Calories: 501
  • Sugar: 6.6g
  • Sodium: 1566.5mg
  • Fat: 30g
  • Saturated Fat: 6.5g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 15.1
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 41g
  • Fiber: 3.8g
  • Protein: 19.7g
  • Cholesterol: 36.4mg

The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary based on several factors. It should only be used as a general guideline. For more information, please see our Disclosure.

This post may contain affiliate links. We are a part of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you) by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary based on several factors. It should only be used as a general guideline. For more information, please see our Disclosure.

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