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Dinner Recipe: Peanut Sauce & Noodles

A slightly soupy version of Thai Peanut Noodles, a reliable favorite of mine and my clients

A slightly soupy version of Thai Peanut Noodles, a reliable favorite of mine and my clients

This Thai Peanut Noodle recipe competes with my Beans & Rice for the crowd favorite. It goes on nearly every single guided trip, and on most personal trips, especially if I have a prepared batch of sauce already in the fridge.

The sauce is worthy of at-home use. Amanda and I have a container of it in the fridge, combine it with rice noodles and a chicken breast from the skillet.

Update (March 13, 2017)

I have modified the sauce, to reduce the number of ingredients and to make it runnier, so that it can be more easily poured from a bottle in the field. If you prefer a thicker version, add more peanut butter and less olive oil.

Meal stats

  • Recommended meal weight: 5.7 oz
  • Total calories: 810
  • Caloric density: 142 calories/ounce

Ingredients

As an alternative to the crushed peanuts, you can use raisins, which injects some sweetness instead of crunchiness. If you have a big appetite, consider adding both.

The garlic needed for one 2-oz serving of the sauce is 0.03 oz. That’s a healthy sprinkle, but not enough to measure on my postal scale.

For spiciness and flavor, consider Sriracha chili sauce. Like garlic, an appropriate amount for a single serving barely registers, just .04 oz. A field-friendly alternative are red pepper flakes, which are part of the universal spice kit.

A sprinkle of green onions is a nice addition, but unnecessary.

At-home preparation

Ramen noodles have their own packaging, and I normally leave them that way. The exception is a short solo trip, when at home I may crush up the noodles and re-bag them with the raisins or crushed peanuts. One package of Ramen per meal per person.

The raisins or crushed peanuts are bagged separately and divided in the field.

The sauce should be made at home. Mix all of the listed ingredients (minus the noodles and peanuts) together. I recommend making big batches with a kitchen mixer, unless you want an arm workout.

Carry the sauce into the field in a 4- or 8-oz Nalgene HDPE Container or a 16- or 32-oz Nalgene Wide-Mouth Bottle. Even if you only need one serving, do not attempt to use a 2-oz bottle to save a few grams over the 4-oz or 8-oz size — you will struggle to pour the sauce into it and to clean it later.

The sauce is relatively involved -- there are several ingredients, and it's difficult to mix large batches without a mechanical mixer. So I make big batches that I can send out on group trips or that I can pull from for short solo trips.

The sauce is relatively involved — there are several ingredients, and it’s difficult to mix large batches without a mechanical mixer. So I make big batches that I can send out on group trips or that I can pull from for short solo trips.

Cooking instructions

  1. If you prefer smaller noodle pieces to long, stringy ones, crush the noodles before opening the package. Be careful — the package can rip open.
  2. Remove the MSG-filled “flavor” packet.
  3. Bring to a boil at least 1.25 cups (10 oz, 300ml) of water. I prefer soupy meals, however, so I normally use at least 2 cups.
  4. Add the Ramen and the peanuts, turn off the stove or let it burn out, and let the noodles sit for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the sauce.

If you use more than the minimum 1.25 cups of water, everything can be added at the very beginning, since the extra water will prevent scorching the ingredients.


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64 Responses to Dinner Recipe: Peanut Sauce & Noodles

  1. Matt June 9, 2015 at 5:15 pm #

    This looks like a great recipe! I cannot wait to try it. Thanks

  2. Bonnie June 9, 2015 at 6:34 pm #

    i can attest that this dish is very yummy indeed!

  3. Scott June 9, 2015 at 7:04 pm #

    Sounds good. Are all the ounce measurements weight or volume?

    • Andrew Skurka June 9, 2015 at 7:27 pm #

      Weight. I put everything on a postal scale. It’s much easier to plan and make large quantities this way, and the weight better corresponds to caloric density.

      • Tom bierman August 10, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

        Not so easy for making single servings. Do you have ingredients by volume? This is delicious though… Just made it for lunch as a test and it’s awesome. I think I went a little too hot with the siracha though. Lol

        • Andrew Skurka August 10, 2015 at 8:05 pm #

          No, sorry, I always go by weight.

          Indeed, this recipe isn’t great for single servings. It’s best for groups, or for longer solo trips when you could have it for a few nights.

      • Gordon March 13, 2017 at 9:33 pm #

        I use the original recipe, and I multiply by eight. When mixed, put the batch on a plate, and smooth it into a round, flat shape. Cut into eighths, separate out each pie-slice shaped segment, roll each into a ball, and then refrigerate. Go backpacking soon, or it gets eaten for up for lunches very quickly.

        • Andrew Skurka March 13, 2017 at 9:45 pm #

          Please try the new recipe and let me know what you think.

          I can relate to your problem. Knowing that I have a 16-oz bottle of it in the fridge makes for almost too easy of a fallback if I don’t have a dinner plan.

  4. Dogwood June 9, 2015 at 11:24 pm #

    I’ve been making my version for several yrs now making up larger numbers of prepackaged dinners for longer hikes happening not far into the future but using Taste of Thai dry Peanut Sauce mix(or Outdoor Herbivores dried PB that leaves the fat cals in), Taste of Thai Rice Noodles(they contain a pack of Chili oil), extra peanuts, green onions, and dry coconut milk. Sometimes I’ll slice a few bits of fresh sweet red pepper strips into it. Never dawned on me to add raisins.

    • Jim Bradford November 8, 2016 at 8:01 am #

      Dogwood, your recipe sounds interesting. What quantities of each ingredient do you use?

  5. Bestiole June 11, 2015 at 9:03 am #

    How long could it be kept at room temperature?

    • Andrew Skurka June 11, 2015 at 9:18 am #

      Not sure. How long would you trust lime juice and soy sauce, the only refrigerate-after-opening ingredients, at room temperature? Probably longer than you would think — there is a lot of salt in the sauce.

  6. Rob June 15, 2015 at 7:21 pm #

    Andrew, Could you give us the recipe for a large batch of sauce please?

    • Rob June 23, 2015 at 5:39 pm #

      And how do you portion out from a large batch?

      • Andrew Skurka June 24, 2015 at 11:20 am #

        I try to get it as even as I can. Some bowls get a little more, some a little less, but overall I can do a pretty good job of giving everyone an equal share.

  7. David Eitemiller June 19, 2015 at 7:46 pm #

    Ok Andrew used this the other night out in the Sawatch as didn’t remember from trips and wanted to supplement my normal gourmet home dehydrated meals (ha!). Worked good and I am sure you keep things tame for clients not knowing how much salt or spice they like (and I know you bring spice kits to help with that).

    So just a suggestion for others that made mine even better: add more salt (of course), and more important add some serious curry powder. Curry + wilderness = happiness.

    • Andrew Skurka June 19, 2015 at 10:17 pm #

      Funny, because I often add curry to my peanut noodles too, though I’m doctoring just about every dish nowadays — I think I’ve had the Thai Peanut Noodle meal 50+ times.

  8. Russell Johnson July 11, 2015 at 9:55 am #

    Thanks for posting this. It’s indeed yummy and proof that you can eat tasty meals while backpacking. I sometimes add dehydrated peas and cilantro for variety. One question: When you’re traveling solo, and will eat this meal only once or maybe twice, how do you pack the sauce? Just in a smaller plastic container?

    • Andrew Skurka July 17, 2015 at 4:12 pm #

      You can try a smaller plastic container. But make sure that it has a large opening — the sauce must be spooned out, not poured.

      Interestingly, I just finished a 10-day trip and I intentionally did not take this meal for this exact reason. For 3 nights, I figured it was not worth the hassle of finding and carrying a small container. It was easier to take a 16-oz Platy filled with olive oil that could be used in all of my other meals.

  9. Patti July 14, 2015 at 11:20 am #

    Thanks for posting your recipes. This will be a great recipe for me and my husband’s next backpacking or bikepacking trip. I did a test run at home and I really like it. I used toasted sesame oil and really liked it, but not sure if it will really matter. I had it sitting in the fridge, so why not try it? I tried it with the peanuts, but actually liked it more without them. Maybe I’ll try the raisins next. We will have no problem devouring this for dinner. Red pepper flakes really helped too.

  10. Chris July 25, 2015 at 1:52 pm #

    Tried this recipe on a recent 5 day backpacking trip. SO DELICIOUS!!!! Mahaloz and Cheers!

  11. todd c September 23, 2015 at 9:46 am #

    I made a recipe that looks to be almost identical using the Peanut Sauce Mix from A Taste of Thai (available at my local grocery store). This product has two foil pouches in the box. Each pouch has about 2 oz of sauce mix, which is pretty much the same as your recipe. You could supplement with olive oil and if you use the sauce mix package from the oriental flavor instant ramen (which is essentially dehydrated soy sauce) you get something that would seem to be almost the same. I added a couple of tablespoons of red lentils for extra fiber, protein, potassium. It also helps get a nice creamy consistency.

  12. Gordon October 4, 2015 at 2:55 pm #

    Just ran a test on this, multiplying the amounts by eight. I do not have high-end mixer, so I used a food processor with the blade for mixing dough. Seemed to work fine, although the resulting mixture was a little lighter than what is in your photograph, and also more granular.

    Do the one-person amounts come from a linear scaling of the batch amounts? My first attempt was a little bland, so it’s more Sriracha sauce next time!

    • Andrew Skurka October 4, 2015 at 7:38 pm #

      The difference in consistency could be due to the mixer or some of the ingredients, especially the peanut butter.

      The 1-person amounts are scaled up for batch-making, not the other way around. I add extra salt and spices to my personal batches, too, but in a group setting it’s best to let each group member control their own spice settings.

  13. Anne in CO October 12, 2015 at 3:52 pm #

    Another way to get to peanut sauce is to do 1:1 of peanut butter and bottled sweet chili sauce. Sweet Chili Sauce is basically everything on the “sauce” recipe aside from the peanut butter.

    I’ve seen this at some conventional grocery stores but if you have a good Asian Grocery around they’ll have it in big bottles. (And also ramen and other quick cooking noodles in bulk packs without the seasoning pack)

  14. Matt October 15, 2015 at 8:51 pm #

    I am planning on making this for a group on an overnighter. I am thinking of combining the ingredients in the water as it heats, rather than mixing at home and then just putting in the water. See any reason this would not work out? I saw above a mechanical mixer was used, but it seems like if the ingredients (primarily the PB I guess) are thinned in heating water a mechanical mixer would not be necessary.

    thanks, Matt

    • Andrew Skurka October 16, 2015 at 2:12 am #

      In theory that will work. It just ends up being a lot of ingredients to divide in the field. The most troublesome ingredient is the PB — it’s thick, and the sauce is difficult to mix once it’s added. A hybrid approach may work best, whereby you pre-mix the non-PB ingredients and then distribute the PB and non-PB rations in the field.

  15. Matt October 16, 2015 at 9:10 am #

    Thanks for the response. I don’t plan to divide any ingredients up until the meal is complete. This is one pot for six people, a communal meal.

  16. Gordon October 16, 2015 at 12:07 pm #

    Just about finished with the whole batch I made, and I haven’t even been backpacking! Allow me to recommend http://www.explore-asian,com for their Jasmine Red Rice Noodles. They are gluten-free, vegan, organic, etc.

  17. Eric October 29, 2015 at 10:11 pm #

    I tried your recipe and it is good. Just like Gordon I haven’t even taken it out in the field yet. I have a couple of additions though. One is Ginger. I added some sliced fresh ginger to the recipe and it gives it even more zing. I have also taken fresh ginger root out as its own ingredient and added to dishes in the field. It holds up well for a week or two, just keep it in a bag. It is also very cheap, like 50 cents for a big hunk.

    My next addition might get a little resistance, but I also added fish sauce to the recipe. It gives it a more authentic flavor.

    Keep up the recipes, maybe I will join you on a Yosemite trip some day.

  18. Carter Owens November 9, 2015 at 4:05 pm #

    Had this on the first night of a 2 night section of AT with my girlfriend and her father, who primarily relies on Mountain House dehydrated meals. Boom – it was a hit. Definitely a great reward for the end of a hard day, and going into our regular recipes for backpacking trips. Prep wasn’t too difficult, but without an ounce scale it required a a few tricky conversions. Added packaged chicken and will bring along some extra sriracha next time. Thanks so much for sharing!

    -Carter

  19. Alex December 28, 2015 at 8:22 am #

    A lighter weight and a less robust way I do the Thai Ramen is to bring the ramen noodles without the flavor packet, a Jiff “to-go” peanut butter cup, 2 packets of soy sauce from chinese take out, and a packet of sweet chili sauce from the market. Us 1.5 times the water for the ramen, this way you have water left for the sauce. Once the Ramen is cooked add the to go peanut butter, soy sauce, and sweet chili sauce. Light weight, minimal clean up and SIMPLE.

  20. Albert March 29, 2016 at 12:56 pm #

    I had this a couple of weeks ago on a trip. Outstanding meal. A few of tweaks to improve prepping/portability/packaging – replaced peanut butter with 3/4-1 oz of PB2 powdered peanut butter – easier to portion out and store in a ziplock. Added a little more sugar and olive oil. Two Soy sauce packets from chinese takeout and 2 hot sauces from White Castle instead of Sriracha. Out on the trail, all prepared with 2 cups of water – which made for a soupy meal. In the future, I think I’ll add a bit of instant mashed potatoes to the mix to thicken up the dish and make it more substantial.

  21. doug April 28, 2016 at 9:32 pm #

    If one WERE to add curry powder, how much would you suggest?

    • Andrew Skurka April 28, 2016 at 9:50 pm #

      No more than 0.1 oz per solo serving.

  22. doug April 28, 2016 at 9:57 pm #

    Excellent, thanks.

    I will add as I do like a good curry zing..

  23. Ronnie June 7, 2016 at 12:28 pm #

    Can store sealing with a Foodsaver. In fact, I keep all my bulk freeze dried and bulk dried fruits/sesame sticks/snack provisions fresh storing in Mason jars long term sealed with the Foodsaver mason jar attachment.

  24. Tim June 7, 2016 at 2:29 pm #

    I tried this today in a “dry method” and it was amazing

    .5 oz Peanut Powder Jif)
    1/4 teaspoon siracha powder (didn’t register on the scale)
    2 packets true lime (crystallized lime)
    .05 oz garlic
    .1 oz sugar

    in the field
    1.5 cups water,
    boil Raman
    Add
    .75 oz raisins
    1 Soy Sauce packet (from Chinese take out)
    ~1.2 oz coconut oil (extra oil to replace the missing oil from the peanut butter)
    Let sit 5 min and enjoy.

    I did add quite a lot of salt and a bit of curry from my spice kit.
    This is for sure one of my new favorites.

  25. Grady June 23, 2016 at 12:11 am #

    would it be over ambitious to add dehydrated chicken to this dish?

    • Andrew Skurka June 23, 2016 at 9:50 am #

      Unless you are looking to add calories and volume, you’d want to take out an equal amount — the dish is the right size for most, as is.

  26. Randi July 25, 2016 at 9:40 pm #

    Getting ready to make the sauce tomorrow. Rather than carry a potentially leaking container, I’m going to try freezing individual portions in an ice-cube tray and then sealing it in small “packets” with the Foodsaver.

    I really enjoyed this recipe during a 15-day trek last summer.

    • Andrew Skurka July 28, 2016 at 8:17 am #

      I have carried this sauce many times, plus other potentially messy things like olive oil, and I think you’re making it unnecessarily fussy.

      Store it in a container, and store the container inside a freezer bag (gallon or quart). Done.

      • Matt Swider August 19, 2016 at 9:53 pm #

        We carried 20 servings worth in 6 zip lock bags on a recent trip. The bags were double bagged. I can only attest to the two bags I cooked with, one had the inner bag leak a fair amount, but it was all contained in the outer bag. I suspect that if the sample size got big enough that even double bagging it would leak at some point, but I would use double bagging again. Maybe using a freezer bag the next time though.

        • Andrew Skurka August 20, 2016 at 2:16 pm #

          You put the peanut sauce in standard storage bags? Wow, that was bold. Glad it wasn’t a disaster. I know that Tupperware adds a few ounces, but it seems like a good investment to me. If I’m on a trip where such ounces matter, I’ll go with some of my other meals.

  27. Zach N November 29, 2016 at 11:11 am #

    This is one of my favorite recipes but there is a powder peanut butter that has come onto the market and that is what I use. A little more light weight and I can mix all of my ingredients into a zip block which I cook and eat the meal out of it. PB2 is the product

  28. Tim March 15, 2017 at 5:23 pm #

    Hi there just wanted to say this is an excellent source of info and probably the best hiking recipes I’ve come across!
    I may have missed it but I can’t actually see the steps of how to make the sauce for this dish?
    Thanks!

    • Andrew Skurka March 15, 2017 at 8:58 pm #

      The sauce is easy: mix all the ingredients together.

  29. Matt March 16, 2017 at 1:12 pm #

    Has anyone verified the updated recipe is platypus capable now? I see the update note:
    Update (March 13, 2017)
    I have modified the sauce, to reduce the number of ingredients and to make it runnier, so that it can be more easily poured from a bottle in the field. If you prefer a thicker version, add more peanut butter and less olive oil.

    Just want to know someone has actually poured this INTO and out of a platypus type container.

    • Andrew Skurka March 16, 2017 at 4:37 pm #

      At room temperature it is probably Platy-compatible. At home I keep it in a wide-mouth Nalgene, which makes it easier to scoop after refrigeration-consistency. Plus, the Nalgene cleans up better in the dishwasher.

  30. Thomas March 17, 2017 at 1:31 pm #

    I dispensed the original formulation of the sauce in 1 oz single serving cups ( the small containers that extra cheese or red paper flakes come in with pizza). Not a single mishap during a 1-month through hike during which I used Andrew’s Thai noodle recipe 8 times. Easy to scrape out into the pot, easy to control portions, easy to dispense into portions, minimal packaging dead weight.

  31. Jim Bradford March 17, 2017 at 2:07 pm #

    Another take on a similar recipe using only dry ingredients:

    1.75 – 2 cups of water
    1 package Ramen noodles or Taste of Thai Brown rice noodles (yummier)
    1 package of Taste of Thai Peanut sauce mix
    1 oz dry coconut milk powder
    1 oz chopped peanuts (sprinkled on top after cooking)

    Can be prepared in a pot or as a freezer bag meal if so desired with all dry ingredients mixed in the bag. It’s slightly spicy due to the peanut sauce mix. Could be jazzed up with some olive oil for more calories, raisins for sweetness or soy sauce for saltiness.

  32. Spike April 18, 2017 at 10:48 am #

    I would like to know what appears red in the image displaying the mixing of the sauce and in the completed meal image on the top there are green herbs in the dish

    • Andrew Skurka April 19, 2017 at 9:14 am #

      The red ingredient in the mixing bowl is Sriracha sauce, which adds spice and flavor but which some find too hot. The green herbs in the top photo is probably some leftover green onion that I had on the trip for another meal. Not necessary.

  33. Kevin April 26, 2017 at 6:19 pm #

    If the cal/oz are correct for all your ingredients (and I think they are), then your recipe is 810 calories for 5.7 oz, not 710 calories. Just thought you (and everyone else planning their meals) should know

    • Andrew Skurka April 26, 2017 at 9:57 pm #

      Good catch, thanks. The cal/oz formula was not accounting for the peanuts.

      That bumps up the cal/oz nicely. 142 now.

  34. MarkL May 18, 2017 at 11:03 am #

    In Seattle we have a lot of asian foods even at our local grocery stores. Here are a couple of other options:

    Lotus Foods Millet and Brown Rice Ramen. Almost double the carbs (19g/oz vs 10 for Top Ramen noodles), and twice the fiber. Also much lower fat, which isn’t that important, but which can also be easily supplemented other ways if you want more. It also comes in a 30 oz bag (12 cakes) without the seasoning. I can’t remember the price. I’m sure it is more expensive.

    Soba noodles have about 22g of carbs per oz.

    Rice stick noodles have a little over 100 cal and about 24g of carbs per oz

    All of these are lower in cal/oz due to the lower fat content (not fried), but the oil and PB are much more calorie dense anyway. Adding raisins would boost it as well.

    • MarkL May 18, 2017 at 1:56 pm #

      Another variation would be to use sweet soy sauce, eliminate the honey, and reduce the regular soy (or use low sodium soy sauce)

  35. Bill Sexton May 18, 2017 at 12:26 pm #

    I make something similar using Thai Kitchen Gluten Free Red Curry Paste, 4 oz from Walmart. It’s $2.50. To it I add some coconut milk and a scoop of peanut butter. If you like curry use the entire 4 oz but if you have two people and a big enough pot for 2 bags of ramen, use all 4 ounces. Love the site!!!!!

  36. Bob Aldrich May 22, 2017 at 8:08 pm #

    I have been online for the last hour. There is no way to print this recipe. Once I write it down, I have to translate weight to volume.

    If you want to be useful to Joe Backpacker, consider making the recipes printable, with measurements available in any middle class kitchen.

    I’m old–61–and have been backpacking since I was 17. None of this is insurmountable, but it should be easier.

    • Andrew Skurka May 22, 2017 at 8:28 pm #

      To print, use the button on the left side of the screen with the printer icon. Or, depress Ctr + P. It works fine for me in the Chrome browser; not sure what you’re using.

      As far as measurements go, I actually don’t know what they are with standard measuring devices, e.g. tablespoons and cups. By using weight, it is extremely easy to scale up or down this recipe. For example, if I want to make 10 servings, I just multiply the weights by 10. Sometimes, I’m making 50 servings, in which case I multiple everything by 50.

    • MarkL May 22, 2017 at 10:06 pm #

      As with many recipes, exact precision is not always necessary. 🙂

  37. Gordon May 22, 2017 at 8:51 pm #

    Well, I just turned 65, and although I’ve been backpacking for less than five years now, I bought a scale, and it works just fine to weigh both my gear and the ingredients in Andrew’s recipes. 😉 And, while printing is good, I cut and paste his recipes into emails that I send to my iPad. It’s a great tool in the kitchen!

  38. bd May 23, 2017 at 8:08 pm #

    What is the red ingredient in the mixer in the picture above? I don’t see any red ingredients in your recipe. Thanks!

    • Andrew Skurka May 23, 2017 at 8:13 pm #

      Sriracha sauce. Optional ingredient. Not recommended for those who don’t like spicy heat.

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