These Asian Inspired Peanut Butter Noodles are so rich, creamy, savory and spicy; made with creamy peanut butter and all the Asian spices for maximum flavorful comfort food. Veggie-filled and made easy in the Instant Pot. They are perfect for meal prep too.
These Instant Pot peanut butter noodles have been a work in progress for quite some time. I was going for the soft tender squish of noodles, a little spice, a lot of smooth and creamy peanut buttery taste with the crunch of peanuts all in one mouth-full.
After lots of yummy trial and error, I had the flavor and mouth-feel down. These are seriously the best tasting Asian peanut butter noodles you will eat! The perfect mix of smooth and crunchy, sweet and savory – with a little spicy kick.
The next trick was figuring out how to make this dish in the Instant Pot. I really wanted a one-pot meal without cooking the noodles or sautéing the vegetables first. I’ll be honest, this part was frustrating!
I first tried with a narrower smaller noodle; but then the noodles cooked faster than the vegetables did and became mushy. Then once I figured out just the right type of noodle, the trick was to add the correct amount of liquid to bring this recipe to pressure without burning on the bottom. Those who know pressure cookers will understand…
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To make this recipe for peanut butter noodles you will need:
(There is a handy printable recipe card below if you scroll. There you will find exact ingredients with measurements and directions.)
- red bell pepper
- edamame (shelled)
- green onions
- cilantro (for garnish)
For the Sauce:
- vegetable broth
- sesame oil
- lime juice
- rice vinegar
- soy sauce
- liquid agave or other liquid sweetener
- minced garlic
- and the star of the show: PEANUT BUTTER
- thick pasta such as fettuccini, linguini, or thick spaghetti
- and for garnish –
- sesame seeds
- sliced green onions
- You will also need a 6-quart Instant Pot pressure cooker (affiliate link). An 8-quart will work as well. If you use the smaller 4-quart you will need to adjust the ingredients by about 1/3.
Using the right pasta and right measurement
The right pasta
I found that you have to use a pasta that is a little bit thick for this recipe. Too thin and you will end up overcooking the pasta while waiting for the vegetables to cook. This could have been solved by sautéing the veggies first to soften them – but that was one step I did not want to take.
Just use a thick noodle like fettuccini, linguine, or thick spaghetti. And yes, there is a spaghetti pasta called “thick”. Don’t use the regular sized spaghetti. For this recipe today I used fettuccini noodles.
The right measurement
The exact measurement for this recipe is 12 ounces of dry pasta. Which is great if you can get a 12 ounce box of pasta. Sounds easy, right? Not always. I’ve found that sometimes if I’m looking for a particular pasta shape (such as the fettuccini I used today), I can only find the pasta in a 16 ounce box. So… you’ll need to divide the pasta so that you will have exactly 12 ounces.
The first few times I tried this recipe I did try to make it with the whole 16 ounce box – but to use enough liquid to come to pressure I ended up filling the pot too full AND adding in a few extra vegetables to make the recipe veggie filled. This resulted in smooshing down the pasta so it all fit in the pot. Unfortunately, this caused a burn notice. Every Time!
Here is how to divide your pasta:
Start by dividing the 16 ounce pasta into two equal portions. You don’t need a scale to do this. It’s easy enough to take the pasta in two hands and divide mostly evenly. Now you will have two bundles of 8 ounces each. Put one of the bundles down. You now have 8 ounces on the counter and 8 ounces in your hand.
Now divide the 8 ounce portion in your hand into two so that you have two 4 ounce portions. Put one portion down, adding it to the 8 ounces on the counter. Put the remaining 4 ounces back in the box. Congratulations, you now have 12 ounces on your counter!
Making the sauce – and the displacement method
The only trick to the sauce is measuring out your peanut butter. I like to use what is called the displacement method and is a method my mother taught me when measuring a messy semi-solid – like peanut butter. We will be using 3 cups of broth for this recipe. Measure out one cup into a microwaveable liquid measuring container. Now scoop your peanut butter into the broth filled measuring cup until it measures 1 1/3 cups.
Pop it in the microwave for a couple of minutes or until the peanut better has melted. Stir around to mix well and then add to a med/large bowl along with the remaining two cups of broth and the other ingredients that make of the sauce.
Adding the pasta to your Instant Pot
One problem I noticed with making this recipe is that if you just randomly cram the noodles into the bottom of the pot before adding the rest of the ingredients and cooking, they will definitely stick together when cooked. I found it was helpful to lay the noodles in the pot in a criss-cross pattern.
Add the sauce mixture on top. The noodles should be mostly covered. But yes, there will be a few sticking out. That’s okay. Don’t attempt to smoosh them down so that they are fully covered.
Next, gently add in the chopped vegetables on top. Again, be careful to not push down on the noodles.
Remember that you will be setting aside half of the green onions for garnish as well as the cilantro.
Make sure you have read and understand the manufacture’s directions and know how to use your pressure cooker. Since I bought mine, there have been several new models and I do not know how to operate each one. Make sure the vent is in the closed position and set the pot on high pressure. I set the time using the manual button and set it for 8 minutes.
After the Instant Pot comes to pressure it will cook for 8 minutes. After it has counted down to zero, carefully do a quick release. Open the lid and with tongs, gently pick up the noodles and mix them with the sauce and vegetables. You might notice some of the noodles have stuck together. Picking them up with the tongs should help release them. You might need to reach in with a fork and assist.
The sauce will thicken upon standing!
I don’t really like to chop peanuts on a cutting board with a knife. It’s messy and cumbersome. Working in batches, I put peanuts in a plastic baggy and then either roll over them with a rolling pin gently pound with the back of a measuring cup or with something like this muddling stick.
- chopped peanuts
- half of the green onions
- sesame seeds
- add salt and pepper to taste as well as a little extra sriracha if desired.
Now aren’t these Asian inspired peanut noodles beautiful!?!
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Asian Peanut Butter Noodles
- Pressure Cooker
- 1 red bell pepper cut into strips
- 1 cup carrots, sliced 1-2, depending on size
- 1 cup edamame shelled
- 2 bunches green onions, sliced bulbs and stems divided - save half for garnish
- 3 cups vegetable broth divided
- 1/3 cup peanut butter
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 Tablespoons lime juice bottled is fine
- 1/3 cup soy sauce low sodium
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup liquid agave see notes about substitutions
- 1 Tablespoon sriracha
- 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon ginger powder
- 12 ounces thick pasta see notes for suggestions
- 1/2 cup peanuts, crushed for garnish
- fresh cilantro for garnish
- seasame seeds for garnish
- sliced green onions (see above) for garnish
- salt, pepper, more sriracha added for taste
- Slice the bell pepper into strips and the carrot into slices, set aside.
- Slice green onions and divide into two. Set aside. You will be using half for cooking in the Instant Pot. Save half for garnish. Set aside.
- Measure out and set aside edamame. I use frozen. There is no need to thaw ahead of time.
- Chop cilantro into pieces to make you happy. Some people like it a little chunkier - some people like their cilantro fine. Leave off if you are a cilantro hater. Set aside - you will be using this for the garnish.
- You will be using 3 cups total of vegetable broth. Measure out 1 cup into a microwavable 2 cup measuring cup. Add in the peanut butter. Microwave on high for about two minutes or until the peanut butter has melted. Stir together.
- Add to a large mixing bowl the rest of the vegetable broth, sesame oil, lime juice, soy sauce, rice vinegar, agave (or other sweetener of choice), sriracha, minced garlic, and ginger powder. Stir together.
Cooking in the Pressure Cooker
- Break the noodles into thirds and place them in the bottom of the instant pot in a criss-cross pattern.
- Pour the sauce ingredients on top. The noodles should be mostly covered with the liquid.
- Lightly place the vegetables on top. You don't want to cram them on top of the noodles or they are likely to stick together.
- Close the lid of your pressure cooker according to manufacturer's directions. Make sure the vent is also closed.
- Manually set on high pressure to 8 minutes.
- After it has come to pressure and fully counted down to zero. Carefully do a quick release, again following the manufacturer's directions. Open the lid after all of the pressure has been released.
- With tongs, toss around the vegetables and pasta until well combined. The sauce will thicken upon standing.
- Garnish with cilantro, sesame seeds, peanuts and remaining green onions.
- Salt and pepper to taste. Add in more sriracha to taste.