Made with spaghetti, garlic, and a variety of Asian seasonings, this quick and easy recipe for Asian garlic noodles comes together in 20 minutes or less. Pair this side dish with crispy salt and pepper shrimp or my Vietnamese caramelized salmon for the perfect weeknight dinner!

Asian garlic noodles on a large blue plate with a head of garlic and parmesan cheese next to it.

Asian garlic noodles is one of the best representations of Vietnamese American cuisine, and one that I didn’t taste until I moved to San Francisco. It is a buttery, rich noodle dish that is made with pasta noodles, Asian seasonings, and Parmesan cheese, which doesn’t sound like it should work but it does! It is a perfect, quick and easy noodle recipe that goes with a variety of proteins. If you’re looking for easy 30 minute meal ideas for weeknights, this is definitely one of them! I will go into all the ins and outs of how to make this dish and what to eat it with in this blog post.

A close up of Asian garlic noodles.

Where did Asian garlic noodles originate?

Like I mentioned, this is a Vietnamese American dish meaning it was invented in the US. In fact, it was invented in San Francisco by Chef Helene An at her restaurant Thanh Long. She is often called the mother of Asian fusion cuisine, and this dish is her ultimate masterpiece. Chef An came up with the idea for this dish when she saw how much people liked spaghetti and Parmesan. She didn’t know how to make traditional pasta recipes like cacio e pepe, so she came up with her own.

What are garlic noodles made of?

I personally love how these Vietnamese noodles celebrate the melting pot that is the US. This dish utilizes ingredients from Italy, Vietnam, and the US to create something truly delicious. Spaghetti noodles are tossed in a sauce made from oyster sauce, soy sauce, garlic, and other Asian ingredients before getting topped with green onions. It is then served with a variety of proteins. Traditionally, Chef An serves garlic noodles with her roasted Dungeness crab. I wanted to mention that is my interpretation of her dish. She actually doesn’t share her recipe with anyone and cooks this dish at her restaurant in a secret kitchen. Only close family members and high ranking staff members know the actual recipe.

Ingredients for garlic noodles displayed.

Ingredients, Substitutions & Adjustments

Garlic Noodles

  • Spaghetti noodles – I used thin spaghetti noodles for my version of this recipe. I also tested this recipe with linguine, and it works! You should be able to use any kind of thin pasta noodles for this recipe.
  • Parmesan cheese – Adds some salty and umami flavors to this dish. I used grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, but any kind of parmesan cheese will be okay for this recipe.
  • Green onions – Adds some freshness and extra flavor to the dish.

Garlic Sauce

  • Unsalted butter – Adds a nuttiness and richness to this dish. The butter is an important component to this dish, so I would not substitute it with other fats like coconut oil, olive oil, or neutral oil.
  • Garlic – I used 10 cloves of garlic for this dish, but use as many or as little as you like. It all depends on how garlic-y you want the dish.
  • Oyster sauce, fish sauce and soy sauce – These sauces add salty and umami flavors to the garlic noodles. If you don’t have oyster sauce, substitute with more soy sauce.
  • Sesame oil – This is an optional ingredient but I highly recommend adding it to add more flavor to the dish.
  • Light brown sugar – Vietnamese dishes are all about balance, so adding some brown sugar brings some sweetness to the dish. Substitute with either granulated sugar or dark brown sugar. Dark brown sugar will make the sauce sweeter.
Pasta water in a white bowl.

How to make Asian garlic noodles

First prepare your pasta. Boil water and add the spaghetti noodles to the boiling water. Cook until noodles are cooked through. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water before draining the noodles. Set aside. Next, make your garlic sauce! In a large saute pan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds until shiny. Add the fish sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, and light brown sugar. Cook for 15-30 seconds until the sugar is melted and the sauce starts to bubble. Lastly, add the green onions and cook for 15 seconds. Turn off the heat. Add the cooked spaghetti noodles, Parmesan cheese, and 2 tablespoons of pasta water. Mix until the spaghetti is evenly coated with the sauce. Serve with your protein of choice and a squeeze of lemon (optional)!

A close up of garlic noodles with a spoon on a plate.

What do you serve garlic noodles with?

You can serve garlic noodles with a variety of different proteins. Like I mentioned above, Chef An serves hers with roasted crab. I also personally like it with seafood since the noodles are rich and seafood is lighter than chicken or beef. I have had it with shrimp, lobster, and crab. Some recipes you can serve it with are my salt and pepper shrimp and my Vietnamese caramelized salmon. As a bonus tip, one way to balance the richness of the recipe is to squeeze some lemon over the top right before eating.

Which pasta noodles are the best for garlic noodles?

Traditionally, garlic noodles are made with spaghetti, but I tested this recipe with linguine and it also works. Any kind of thin pasta noodles should work.

Chopsticks holding up some noodles.

Did you make this dish?

If you made this dish, I would love to see!

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Chopsticks holding up some noodles.

Get the Recipe:
Quick Asian Garlic Noodles with Garlic-Butter Sauce

This simple garlic noodles recipe comes together in less than 20 minutes! It is made with spaghetti, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and of course garlic!
5 from 3 ratings

Ingredients
  

Garlic Noodles

Garlic Sauce

Equipment

Instructions
 

  • Boil water and add the spaghetti to the boiling water. Cook until noodles are cooked through. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water before draining the noodles. Set aside.
  • In a large saute pan, melt the butter over medium high heat.
  • Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds until shiny.
  • Next, add the fish sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, and light brown sugar. Cook for 15-30 seconds until the sugar is melted and the sauce starts to bubble.
  • Lastly, add the green onions and cook for 15 seconds. Turn off the heat.
  • Add the cooked spaghetti noodles, Parmesan cheese, and 2 tablespoons of pasta water. Add more pasta water if you want a more water-y sauce. Mix until the spaghetti is evenly coated with the sauce.
  • Serve with your protein of choice and a squeeze of lemon (optional)!

Notes

  1. What can you serve garlic noodles with? – You can serve garlic noodles with a variety of different proteins. Like I mentioned above, Chef An served hers with roasted crab. I also personally like it with seafood since the noodles are rich and seafood is lighter than chicken or beef. I have had it with shrimp, lobster, and crab. Some recipes you can serve it with are my salt and pepper shrimp and my Vietnamese caramelized salmon. As a bonus tip, one way to balance the richness of the recipe is to squeeze some lemon over the top right before eating.
  2. What kind of pasta can I use for garlic noodles? – Traditionally, garlic noodles are made with spaghetti, but I tested this recipe with linguine and it also works. Any kind of thin pasta noodles should work.
Calories: 449kcal, Carbohydrates: 69g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.5g, Cholesterol: 31mg, Sodium: 756mg, Potassium: 260mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 391IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 58mg, Iron: 1mg
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