The 4 main ingredients in this peanut chicken stir fry with noodles are chicken, veggies, a homemade peanut sauce and noodles. The beauty of this dish is that you can modify any of them to what you have on hand. Not to mention a few good shortcuts.
Peanut chicken lovers will appreciate this simple weeknight dinner and hope there are leftovers for lunch.
I discovered a neat little trick a few years ago with some leftover packaged broccoli slaw I bought. I used it in a stir fry to save some time chopping vegetables. It turned out to be a great shortcut.
Since peanut butter is a favorite with our family, a stir fry with peanut noodles, chicken and vegetables is pretty much a sure win. For Jenna (the other kook), I leave out the chicken. She’s a vegetarian.
Just over 30 minutes later (or less if you use a shortcut), you can dish up a simple, healthy and yummy meal-in-a-bowl with so much flavor. Make make it as spicy or mild as you like.
I can’t decide if I like the leftovers even better the next day – cold straight out of the fridge 🙂
Ingredients – tailored to you taste
Chicken: Use boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs. Thighs are more flavorful and forgiving, but breasts are easier for this dish as there is no need to clean off the fat.
- Substitutes: Use sliced pork or beef. Or for a vegetarian version, try tofu or more veggies instead of chicken.
Vegetables: Buy a package of fresh broccoli slaw or kale slaw which usually contain other veggies like carrots, brussels sprouts and red cabbage. You can also use a simple plain cabbage slaw. I use red bell pepper, but you can buy any color.
- Substitutes: Use whatever other fresh vegetables you like such as sugar snap peas, green onions, asparagus, bean sprouts, green beans, zucchini, shaved carrots, bok choy, broccoli, etc. Cut them small as they will be quickly stir frying with the slaw.
Noodles: I like rice noodles for this recipe because they are thin which means more peanut sauce with each bite.
- Variations: Ramen noodles, fettucine or angel hair pasta also work great.
Peanut sauce: The sauce in the recipe is made with smooth peanut butter, brown sugar (or honey), soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, garlic and ginger.
Garnish: I like to add cilantro and sesame seeds and even a squeeze of lemon juice or lime juice. These are all optional.
Adjust the heat level in sauce: You can make it as spicy or mild as you like with more or less sriracha or a dash of hot sauce or some red pepper flakes if you prefer.
Step by step instructions
Tips for stir frying chicken
- Pat the chicken dry before stir frying.
- Season the chicken generously.
- Make sure the pan is hot before adding the chicken.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan. Cook in batches if needed.
- Don’t overcook the chicken or it will be dry.
- Slaw: The broccoli or kale slaw is a nice time saver – healthy veggies, no chopping.
- Chicken: Boneless chicken breasts are a bit easier than thighs as you don’t have to spend time removing the fat. An even quicker shortcut is to use chopped leftover or rotisserie chicken.
- Peanut sauce recipe: We have a shorter version in the recipe card. Or you can buy your favorite creamy peanut sauce in a jar.
- Veggies: Buy pre-washed baby spinach. You can also skip chopping veggies and use more slaw.
What if I have a peanut allergy?
Substitute almond butter or cashew butter unless you have a nut allergy. To avoid all nuts, try sunbutter (or sunflower butter) instead. Sunbutter is made from sunflower seeds and is a popular substitute. The flavors in the dish will be different of course.
What to serve with the peanut chicken
The recipe can be made an hour or two ahead and warmed in the microwave or on the stove. In both cases, add a little water or vegetable or chicken broth to loosen it up. It’s great cold too.
Allow the leftovers to cool to room temperature, then transfer them to an airtight container to be stored in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
Freezing is not recommended as the noodle can become too soft.
Try one of these recipes:
- tofu with peanut sauce
- peanut noodles with vegetables
- vegetable rice with spicy peanut sauce
- dumpling wraps with peanut sauce (shortcut)
And here’s another chicken and noodle recipe with no peanuts if you’re in the mood – 20-minute spicy chicken pasta (peri-peri style).
If you like this recipe, please leave a 5 star rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟in the recipe card below. And if you REALLY like it, consider a review in the comments. Thanks very much!
Peanut Chicken Stir Fry With Noodles
- 4 ounces pasta (fettucine, spaghetti, rice noodles, lo mein noodles etc) (about 1/4 of some pasta boxes)
- 2 teaspoon olive oil (you might need 1 extra teaspoon)
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs, cut in bite size pieces
- salt and black pepper
- 3 cups broccoli slaw or kale slaw (or more)
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach or more (optional)
Peanut Sauce (Note 1 for shortcut)
- 3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce – low sodium
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar (or lemon)
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar or honey or more to taste
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon each, grated ginger and garlic
- 2 teaspoons sriracha (or more to taste) (or sub chili garlic sauce or red pepper flakes)
- sesame seeds, chopped green onion, cilantro and/or squeeze of lemon or lime
- COOK NOODLES: Cook noodles in salted boiling water or as per package directions. Drain – reserving a cup of pasta water – and set aside.
- MAKE PEANUT SAUCE: Place all peanut sauce ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smoothly combined. Taste and adjust to your liking.
- STIR FRY CHICKEN: Pat chicken dry with a paper towel. Season generously with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet (preferably non stick) to medium high. Stir fry chicken for 3-6 minutes (depending on size of pieces) until cooked through. Do not overcook and do not overcrowd chicken in skillet (cook in batches if necessary). Remove chicken to a plate and cover to keep warm.
- STIR FRY VEGETABLES: Add a little more oil if needed and heat to medium high. Add green onions, peppers and broccoli slaw. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes until tender.
- FINISH STIR FRY: If noodles have cooled an clumped togehter, run them under hot water in a colander to loosen and warm them – then drain. Add cooked chicken, noodles and peanut sauce to the vegetables. Add baby spinach if using. Stir to combine everything and cook for 2-3 minutes until heated through and spinach wilts. Add a bit of pasta water at a time until you get the consistency you want (you will likely not need it all). Taste and adjust seasoning. If you have rinsed your noodles or used rice noodles, you will likely need to add salt or more soy sauce. Sprinkle on any garnishes you like and serve.
- To make a simpler peanut sauce: Whisk together, 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter, 2 tablespoons warm water, 1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce (plus red pepper flakes if you like it spicy). Alternatively, mix together peanut butter, a bit of water, sweet Thai chili sauce and a squeeze of lemon. In both cases, taste and adjust to your liking. Of course, you can also buy a good peanut sauce in a jar for the ultimate shortcut!
- Recipe variations
- Chicken: Use boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs. Thighs are more flavorful and forgiving, but breasts are easier for this dish as there is no need to clean off the fat. Substitutes: Sliced pork or beef or cooked rotisserie chicken (shortcut). For a vegetarian version, try tofu or more veggies instead of chicken.
- Slaw: Buy a package of fresh broccoli slaw or kale slaw which usually contain other veggies like carrots, brussels sprouts and red cabbage. You can also use a simple plain cabbage slaw.
- Other vegetables: Use whatever veggies you like such as red bell peppers, snap peas, green onions, asparagus, zucchini, shaved carrots, bok choy, broccoli, etc. Cut them small as they will be quickly stir frying with the slaw. Or skip extra veggies and use more slaw (shortcut)
- Peanut sauce: You can make it as spicy or mild as you like with more or less sriracha (or red pepper flakes if you prefer). Or use a good store-bought peanut sauce (shortcut)
- Garnish: I like to add cilantro and sesame seeds
- Make Ahead: The dish can be made ahead, stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days and warmed in the microwave or on the stovetop (add a splash of water to loosen it up). It’s great cold too.