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Cold Sesame Noodle Salad

Cold sesame noodle salad is a delicious and easy Asian side dish recipe, perfect for potlucks, summer picnics, or a light meal on its own.

If you are looking for a delicious cold salad to bring to your potlucks this summer, look no further than this Cold Sesame Noodle Salad. While many of the salads that we are used to enjoying at our backyard BBQs are made with creamy bases like Classic Potato Salad or Macaroni Salad. This Sesame Noodle Salad brings an Asian flavor and a dressing that is not quite as heavy. 

The nutty sesame dressing, hearty whole wheat noodles and veggies make this salad a hit with everyone. There is no meat or dairy either so it’s great for your vegetarian and vegan friends and family! 

Let’s talk about everything you’ll need to make it: 

Sesame Cold Noodle Salad: 

  • NOODLES: I recommend using whole wheat linguine or whole wheat spaghetti in this recipe. It adds a heartier bite to the salad. 
  • CARROTS: For the best flavor and texture, I recommend freshly grating the carrots. 
  • GREEN ONIONS: These add a pop of green color and a subtle onion flavor to the dish. 
  • SOY SAUCE: Soy sauce adds a deep salty, umami flavor to the dressing for this salad. 
  • SESAME OIL: This is where the sesame flavor comes from in the salad. Keep in mind that sesame oil is strong and a little goes a long way. 
  • RICE VINEGAR: Rice vinegar is popular in Asian cooking and has a less acidic delicate flavor than distilled vinegar. You can substitute apple cider vinegar or distilled vinegar if you need to. 
  • GROUND GINGER: Adds warmth and sweetness to the dressing. 
  • GARLIC: Minced fresh garlic adds a subtle garlic flavor to the dressing without being overpowering. 
  • SESAME SEEDS: Add nutty crunch to the salad. 

Step by Step Photos and Instructions: 

  • STEP #1: Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain and run under cool water. This will help stop the cooking process. Let them drain again. 
  • STEP #2: While the noodles are cooking, whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing. 
  • STEP #3: Place the cooked noodles, carrots and green onions in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the top and toss to coat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Toss once more. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to let the flavors meld. Serve. 

Like a lot of cold salads, this one is better the longer it has to sit. So make sure to let it chill for at least an hour. You can also make it a day ahead. 

Cold Sesame Noodle Salad

Storage and Leftovers: 

This salad is great the next day! Just keep it in the refrigerator and use within a few days for freshest flavor. 

If you love the flavors of Asian salads, I know you’ll love these recipes too:

Asian Cabbage Salad with Ponzu Dressing

Asian Chicken Cranberry Salad

Note: This post was originally written in 2018. It was updated in 2023 with new photos, nutrition information and a slightly modified recipe.

Cold Sesame Noodle Salad

Cold sesame noodle salad is a delicious and easy Asian side dish recipe, perfect for potlucks, summer picnics, or a light meal on its own. Easy recipe here!
4.9 from 7 votes
Prep Time 1 hr 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Main Dishes, Side Dishes
Cuisine Asian
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 235 kcal



  • 8 ounces whole wheat linguine or thin spaghetti noodles
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar white vinegar will work as well
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
  • 1 carrot grated
  • 3 green onions diced


  • Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and run under cool water. Let drain again.
  • While noodles are cooking whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, ginger, garlic and sesame seeds in a large bowl.
  • Place cooled noodles into bowl. Add in grated carrots and diced green onion. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Serve.


Note: Nutritional information not guaranteed.


Calories: 235kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 11gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 772mgPotassium: 249mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 2638IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 62mgIron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @lifesambrosia or tag #lifesambrosia!
Keywords: asian noodles, Food, noodles, Recipe, sesame noodles, side dish, spaghetti, sushi side dish, Vegetarian

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating

  • Reply
    May 21, 2023 at 6:15 pm

    4 stars
    I’m very glad Katie asked that question about the type of noodles, as I had the same confusion and also prefer the flat noodles. I assumed it was some type of linguini and just ignored the spaghetti part.
    I would like to know if I can use apple cider vinegar or balsamic instead of rice vinegar? I guess not but there are so many types, I can’t buy them all, and plain just sounds so – boring. Plus my distilled vinegar is really cheap as I just use it for cleaning.
    Haven’t made this yet; was looking for something to match the yummy sesame noodles from the grocery deli. (I think they have bits of red bell pepper or maybe just red pepper in theirs.)
    As to the guy with the baby’s age comment: a) he had a bit to learn about how people discuss babies’ age, but he may have been young: I used to be puzzled by that also. That’s absolutely how it’s done, though, universally. It’s common sense: if someone asked him how old his newborn is, is he going to say “Zero years old” for a year? Ignorance and arrogance are never a good mix.
    Which brings me to b): He also had a few things to learn about kindness. I hope he’s improved. (Hint to Antone, learned from my own mistakes: if something seems so dumb it’s worth mocking? Bite your tongue. Because it’s probably you – not them.)
    All that said, and despite his rudeness, I had the same thoughts: why am I reading about your babies here?
    I know it’s sort of a convention with these online recipes, but it’s somewhat annoying. It’s not Totally irrelevant, but, well, he told it like it was. Whatever, that’s what “jump to recipe” is there for, and I use it: Thank you.

  • Reply
    August 14, 2022 at 10:01 am

    5 stars
    Very Good. Very easy. Not soupy like some noodle salads. Right amount of spice and dressing. I used thin spaghetti noodles and liked the texture. Next time will add shrimp! And something red. Added cilantro also.

    • Reply
      August 25, 2022 at 1:45 pm

      Ohh I love the sound of adding shrimp, Cheryl! Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    July 19, 2022 at 5:20 pm

    5 stars
    I was looking for this recipe! I made it a long time ago–for a potluck–and loved it. I made it a lot. My kids, though, didn’t love it, so it fell out of the rotation. They’re 11 & 8 now, though, so I’m making it for the 4-H potluck tomorrow night. I’m kind of ridiculously excited.

    And to Antone–there’s a GIANT difference developmentally every month as babies and toddlers grow. We parents (I can only deduce you are not one of our number–yet, at least) usually stop counting ages in months between 2 and 3 years. If you don’t want to do the math (21 months is NOT 2 years) that is not the parent’s problem; they have enough on their plate without having to cater to your trollish cringiness.

  • Reply
    May 21, 2022 at 10:04 pm

    5 stars
    Just say your kid is 2 years old, it’s super cringe to say 21 months, you have 2 year old that’s what it is.
    Why the long winded article? All those paragraphs, for a small recipe, do you get paid by the word? You and I both know no one’s going to read any of that lol what kind of person actually reads that. Any way please respond with some ‘kill theme with kindness” type of comment, but please explain why the novel about your life has to he part of the recipe.

    • Reply
      May 23, 2022 at 9:33 am

      First, thank you for the 5-star review! ;) I don’t get paid by the word but the ads that you find spaced throughout the writing on my blog do help me pay for upkeep/groceries/testing etc. And also, man, that 2 year old is now almost 11 so thanks for the reminder that I need to update this post!

  • Reply
    Sarah Gunia
    August 9, 2021 at 7:09 pm

    5 stars
    Thanks for just giving the simple recipe, it leaves room for experimenting. There’s so many variations, this is just the base I needed! I just wanted to throw some stars your way

    • Reply
      August 10, 2021 at 9:34 am

      Thank you Sarah! I really appreciate it :)

  • Reply
    Donna Takash
    July 14, 2021 at 1:20 pm

    5 stars
    I doubled the sauce and used udon noodles. I love this recipe!

    • Reply
      July 14, 2021 at 9:02 pm

      So happy to hear that, Donna! Thank you!

  • Reply
    May 12, 2021 at 4:43 am

    5 stars
    Hi! Excited to make this, but have a question about the noodles. You list thin spaghetti in the ingredients, but your picture is of a flat noodle. What type of noodle is pictured? (I prefer the flat noodle)

    • Reply
      May 14, 2021 at 2:32 pm

      Hi! sorry about the delayed response! You’re right, it does look like I used flat pasta so I went on a hunt at the grocery store today to see what it might have been (since this recipe is pretty old I couldn’t remember) and I’m thinking whole wheat linguine. PS:I bought some so I can remake this recipe. Thank you for the reminder!

  • Reply
    Nami | Just One Cookbook
    August 3, 2013 at 12:30 am

    Yes that’s true about age, and after I turned 31, I don’t remember how old I am (seriously!). And the physically it goes downhill after 35… you don’t want to know! ;) I love this sesame noodle salad!

  • Reply
    August 2, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    I love these! I also add some red pepper flakes for a little kick.

    • Reply
      July 4, 2014 at 1:19 pm

      Or add chili oil. Love it!

  • Reply
    Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch
    August 2, 2013 at 6:20 am

    Great for summer!!! Love this!

  • Reply
    Jackie {Domestic Fits}
    August 1, 2013 at 9:07 am

    Totally perfect for summer, love it.

  • Reply
    Ashley - Baker by Nature
    July 31, 2013 at 10:55 am

    This noodle salad is just perfect for Summer eats! I love it!

  • Reply
    July 31, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Time just flies by, doesn’t it? It’s crazy!

    I love these noodles. My favorite flavors, right here!

  • Des

    Hey! I'm Des!

    Welcome to Life’s Ambrosia where Dinner is served and memories are made. Here you will find over 1000 tried and true recipes for every possible occasion. In the last 10 years, this blog has helped millions of families put dinner on the table and create food memories. Let me help you too.

    Read more »

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