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Garlic Noodles (+ Easy Recipe)

Prepare to swoon over these incredible garlic noodles!

They’re everything you dream about in one slurp-worthy dish. Spicy, savory, and garlicky, they’ll satisfy your biggest umami cravings. 

Homemade Spicy and Savory Garlic Noodles in a Bowl on a Wooden Board
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These comforting noodles are a testament to the magic of simplicity.

They’re so easy to throw together on a weeknight. But the flavors are restaurant-quality.

Grab your chopsticks and let the slurping begin!

What Are Garlic Noodles? 

Garlic noodles are where Asian and Italian cuisine collide. This recipe is a fusion of umami goodness slathered all over tender spaghetti. 

I’d love to take all the credit, but this dish has existed since the 1970s. Chef Helen An at the Thanh Long restaurant in San Francisco is the creator. 

The story goes that she got some pretty disappointing Italian food somewhere in North Beach. So, she created this scrumptious dish.

Despite the simplicity, recreating garlic noodles requires precision and specific ingredients. 

These noodles are a chewy, spicy, garlic-packed delight! Oyster, fish, and soy sauce lend their umami richness. A splash of sesame oil introduces a nutty undertone. Cayenne and red pepper chili flakes bring the heat. 

Often, this noodle dish comes with Dungeness crab. For the sake of keeping things less complicated and wallet-friendly, there’s no shellfish. But add it if you like!

Garlic Noodles Ingredients - soy, fish, seasme oil, cayenne, salt, spaghetti, cheese and gree onions


If you love Asian cuisine and pasta, you should already have everything on this list. 

If not, don’t worry. There’s nothing unusual or hard to find!

  • Soy, fish, oyster, and Worcestershire sauce – These are the key components to creating the umami-packed sauce. 
  • Sesame oil – This gives the sauce more depth. 
  • Cayenne – Add a pinch in the sauce for a kick of heat. You can also leave it out for a less spicy version.
  • Salt – A pinch to season the pasta water.
  • Unsalted butter – Because everything tastes better with a little butter! Other fats don’t have the same level of richness, so don’t skip it. Also, be sure to use unsalted. The sauce is salty enough.
  • Garlic – You can’t have garlic noodles without it! Use about 8 to 12 cloves, depending on the size. 
  • Spaghetti – The heart of the dish. If you like your noodles thinner or thicker, swap them out for another type. You can also use a gluten-free substitute. 
  • Parmesan cheese – Parmigiano-Reggiano is the best. But use whatever you have on hand. 
  • Green onion – For a burst of freshness and a hint of green.
  • Red pepper chili flakes – To garnish the pasta when it’s complete. 
Homemade garlic noodles with onions and red pepper chili flakes in a bowl on a wooden board

Best Types of Noodles to Use 

Good old-fashioned Italian spaghetti is closer to the original dish. So those are the noodles I use in this recipe.

But really, you can use any type of noodles you like.

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Rice noodles are an excellent gluten-free alternative. Different shapes of pasta will also mix up the texture. 

Here are some of my favorite substitutions to use for this dish:

  • Brown rice noodles
  • Angel hair
  • Soba noodles
  • Udon noodles
  • Ramen noodles
  • Gluten-free spaghetti

How to Make Garlic Noodles 

This recipe might not be as easy as one-two-three, but it’s pretty simple to whip up.

If you can mix, fry, and cook pasta, it’s a breeze.

  1. Prep the sauce. Mix the soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sesame oil, and cayenne in a small bowl. Set it aside. 
  1. Cook the garlic. Melt the unsalted butter in a skillet on medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant. Turn off the heat.
  1. Add the sauce. Once the garlic is done, pour in the sauce and stir until combined.
  1. Boil the pasta. Fill a large pot with water, add a pinch of salt, and bring it to a boil. Add the noodles and cook them for 12 minutes or the desired doneness. 
  1. Toss the noodles. Drain the noodles, then add them to the skillet with the garlic sauce. Add Parmesan and toss the noodles. 
  1. Plate and garnish. Transfer the noodles to your serving vessel of choice. Top them with green onions and red pepper chili flakes. 
Garlic noodles with spices, spaghetti and cheese

Tips for the Best Garlic Noodles

Here are a few tips to ensure your noodles come out perfect every time:

  • Salt your pasta water! It’s a simple step to season the noodles properly.
  • Get crabby. Add cooked Dungeness crab. The sweet, succulent shellfish is at home in this dish.
  • Thin it out. Use pasta water to thin the sauce if it’s too thick. Just remember to not drain it all away!
  • Go easy on the Parmesan. It will overwhelm the dish.
  • Add more garlic! It’s right there in the name, after all. So don’t be shy.
  • Pack it with protein. Chicken, beef, or pork all work. 
  • Add veggies for a nutrition boost. Broccoli, mushrooms, and onions are some ideas.

How to Store Leftovers 

Were your eyes bigger than your stomach? Not a problem! Here’s how to store leftover garlic noodles.

To Store: Transfer them to an air-tight food container and keep them nice and cool. They’ll stay fresh for about 5 days in the fridge.

To Freeze: For longer storage, freeze your leftovers. Cool them down completely, then transfer them to a freezer-friendly container. 

And don’t forget that label!

Remember, freezing can change the texture of the noodles. And the longer they’re in there, the more the quality declines. So eat them within 3 to 4 months.

Garlic Noodles



Prep time


Cooking time





These garlic noodles are so good, you’ll want to make them all the time! They’re spicy, savory, and so full of delicious flavor.


  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce

  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce

  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 10 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 pinch salt

  • Water

  • 6 ounces spaghetti

  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

  • 1 tablespoon green onion, chopped

  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes


  • Combine soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sesame oil, and cayenne in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • In a skillet, melt the unsalted butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook it for about 30 seconds to one minute until fragrant. Turn off the heat.
  • Pour the sauce into the skillet with the garlic and stir until combined. Set it aside.
  • Add a pinch of salt to a large pot of water and bring it to a boil. Once it’s boiling, add the spaghetti and cook it for about 12 minutes or the desired doneness.
  • Drain the spaghetti, then transfer the noodles to the skillet with the garlic and sauce. Add Parmesan cheese and toss the spaghetti until well-coated.
Garlic Noodles

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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