Soba Chicken Noodle Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing

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This Asian-inspired noodle salad is everything you want a summertime meal to be: flavorful, light, and totally satisfying.

Plate of soba chicken noodle salad with ginger peanut dressing.

Photo by Johnny Miller (Clarkson Potter, 2021)

Years ago, I wrote a salad column for the popular food site, Serious Eats. Among my contributions, the most popular was this Asian-inspired noodle salad. It marries chicken and veggies with a punchy dressing flavored with soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and peanut butter. The salad is perfect summer fare: full of fresh flavors, light on the palate, and totally satisfying. For the chicken, I’ve provided cooking instructions, but if you’re looking for a shortcut, this recipe is perfect for using up leftover chicken or a store-bought rotisserie. If you opt for the latter, you’ll need 2 cups of cooked, shredded chicken.

A heads-up about the dressing: it might seem a bit sharp and salty on its own, but that’s intentional. The noodles absorb a lot of flavor, so it’s important to over-season the dressing slightly. While you can prepare the dressing ahead of time, I’d suggest cooking and tossing the noodles just before serving to keep them from becoming soggy.

Soba noodles, similar in appearance to spaghetti, are made from buckwheat and hail from Japan (indeed, “soba” translates to “buckwheat” in Japanese). They are available at Asian markets and most grocery stores. However, if you can’t find them, spaghetti makes an excellent substitute.

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Soba Chicken Noodle Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing

This Asian-inspired noodle salad is everything you want a summertime meal to be: flavorful, light, and totally satisfying.

Servings: 4


For the Chicken

  • 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Salad

  • 10 ounces soba noodles (or spaghetti)
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup chopped salted peanuts
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

For the Dressing

  • 6 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon Asian/toasted sesame oil
  • 1½ tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 2 small garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


  1. Cook the chicken: Preheat the oven to 350°F and set a rack in the middle position. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the chicken breasts on the prepared pan. Rub the skin with the vegetable oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
  2. Begin the salad: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the noodles according to the package instructions, stirring occasionally so they don't stick. Drain and rinse well under cold water.
  3. Make the dressing: Meanwhile, in a small food processor or blender, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, peanut oil, sesame oil, peanut butter, garlic, ginger, and sugar; blend until smooth.
  4. Finish the salad: Remove the skin from the chicken breasts and shred the meat into bite-sized pieces. In a large bowl, toss the shredded chicken with the noodles, bell pepper, scallions, peanuts, cilantro, sesame seeds, and dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve immediately.
  5. Note: If you'd like to use leftover chicken or a store-bought rotisserie, you'll need 2 cups of cooked, shredded meat.
  6. Note: Check out easy guidance on how to peel, grate, and chop fresh ginger here.

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 708
  • Fat: 36g
  • Saturated fat: 6g
  • Carbohydrates: 67g
  • Sugar: 7g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 37g
  • Sodium: 2099mg
  • Cholesterol: 56mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  • Hi Jenn, can rice noodles sub in for wheat noodles? If so, would the wider noodles like Pad Thai work best or would the smaller ramen noodles hold up as well? I can’t tolerate gluten. ~Marianne

    • — Marianne on May 19, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Marianne, wheat noodles would be fine to use here and I’d go with the pad thai-sized noodles. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on May 20, 2024
      • Reply
  • My husband and I LOVE this recipe. I used the recipe from your cookbook which didn’t require baking any chicken–so I subbed rotisserie chicken. I cut the recipe in half; but used
    1 1/2 cups cubed chicken. We couldn’t find soba noodles in our grocery store; so we subbed Udon noodles. Everything was SO good and we will be making it again.

    • — Kathy on February 3, 2024
    • Reply
  • Thank so much for sending this recipe…It is the one which I seemed to have lost!..Many good comments from the ‘diners’ the first time so will definitely make again…much appreciated! Mary

    • — Mary on September 8, 2023
    • Reply
  • WOW! This is great! I ate it standing up at the counter because it’s that good! Definitely a much easier, no cook dressing recipe. Thanks Jen 👍🏽

    • — Marianne on August 27, 2023
    • Reply
  • Question: I’m one of those people who think cilantro tastes like soap. Can I substitute something else in this dish, or is it okay to just leave it out?
    Thanks in advance.

    • — Dottie on August 22, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Dottie, you can just omit. The salad will still be delish!

      • — Jenn on August 23, 2023
      • Reply
  • Thanks, Jenn, a great combination of flavors. I can always count on your recipes to turn out well! 💝

    • — Yolanda on August 22, 2023
    • Reply
  • I’m making this today, Jenn. How is it to be served……warm, room temperature, cold? I’m thinking of bringing it to a beach picnic.

    • — Yolanda on August 22, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Yolanda, I typically eat it room temperature, but I think any of the three would work. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 22, 2023
      • Reply
      • It was wonderful, thank you! Just like all your recipes! 💝

        • — Yolanda on August 23, 2023
        • Reply
        • 💗

          • — Jenn on August 23, 2023
          • Reply
  • Tasty. I added some broccoli and radishes. Also added more peanut butter. I’ll make again with more veggies (celery).

    • — Chris on August 17, 2023
    • Reply
  • No comment, just a question. Can this salad be made a day ahead and serve it chilled or at room temperature?

    • — Diane on August 17, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Diane, I think this is best on the day it’s made, but I have munched on it over a few day period before.

      • — Jenn on August 18, 2023
      • Reply
  • This salad was delicious. My DH says “you can make this anytime”. I added celery, spinach.

    • — Karen Dyck on August 17, 2023
    • Reply
  • What is the best way to reduce the sodium in this recipe? Using low sodium soy sauce still gives a whopping amount. Would you suggest using fewer TBSP’s than the stated amount, or perhaps going with the dressing on your asian slaw recipe instead? Just curious. Recent health diagnosis has me cutting out salt…but this salad looks so amazing, I was hoping to find a way to make it workable for me. Thanks.

    • — Lois on August 17, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Lois, I don’t see a lot of ways to cut back on the sodium here without significantly changed the flavor of the dressing. If you want to use the dressing from the Asian slaw, I think it will nicely. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on August 17, 2023
      • Reply
  • I love this recipe!!

    • — Patricia McGowan on August 17, 2023
    • Reply
  • Is there variety of noodles that could be used that won’t get soggy if you wanted to make this recipe in advance?

    • — Aimee on August 17, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Aimee, It will hold up for a few hours, but for best results I’d wait to toss the noodles with the dressing until before serving.

      • — Jenn on August 17, 2023
      • Reply
  • This was so good and easy enough for a busy weeknight! I kept the chicken on the side because I don’t eat meat, and it worked out perfectly.

    • — Debbie on July 13, 2023
    • Reply
  • Made the dressing only subbing in canola for peanut as I didn’t have that on hand and it was perfect for our tastes. I made the lotus brand gluten free brown rice and millet noodles, used leftover chicken, and did additional vegetables (carrot/cucumber). Complete winner in this household! Thank you, Jenn!

    • — Erika on July 12, 2023
    • Reply
  • I found that 6 T of soy is too much as in too much salt and acid. I added more peanut oil and peanut butter to cut the salt and acidity of the dressing. I also added some coconut milk.

    • — Constance on July 3, 2023
    • Reply
  • Oh, that’s awesome. I added a bunch of shredded broccoli and carrots to bulk it out, but gosh that’s good!

    • — Karin on May 23, 2023
    • Reply
  • I would like to make this tomorrow – but am out of peanut butter — I have plenty of Tahini – would that be a good substitute?

    Thank you – made your Chipotle Salad Dressing the other day – it is delicious.

    thank you.

    • — CherieDe on April 9, 2023
    • Reply
    • Glad you liked the salad dressing! Unfortunately, I don’t think tahini would be a good substitute for the peanut butter — sorry!

      • — Jenn on April 11, 2023
      • Reply
  • I have made this many times and love it. I am thinking about trying it with sautéed shrimp instead of chicken and wonder if you or any of your readers have made it that way? Thanks for all your great recipes.

    • — Cathy on February 26, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Cathy, I haven’t tried it that way but it should be delicious.

      • — Jenn on February 27, 2023
      • Reply
  • Delicious! In this terrible heat, we have eaten this two nights in a row. The only change I made was using thighs instead of breasts. The dressing is so good.

    • — Jo on July 24, 2022
    • Reply
  • I’m making this for the second time tonight-and will keep on making it! It’s a great recipe.

    • — Nancy Mueller on July 11, 2022
    • Reply
  • There are better recipes out there…keep searching. Sometimes I think when a website has a following they “love” everything that the site posts. Not so in this case. I was disappointed very much. Although you gotta try her rice crispy/marshmallow/golden graham bars…soooo good.

    • You know you could be more pleasant by not saying something derogative. Just move on and say nothing – nobody wants to listen to ugliness.

      • — Anonymous on August 17, 2023
      • Reply
      • My thoughts exactly – some people are just rude.

        • — Mary on August 19, 2023
        • Reply
  • First let me say I LOVE all your recipes!! I have yet to find one I haven’t loved. You are always the first place I check when I’m looking for a recipe. I want to make this recipe in advance and separately prep each component/ingredient. Your recipe says to make the soba right before but I don’t have time for that every day before work. Do you think if I cook the soba in advance and toss them in EVOO do you think they’ll still get soggy or they’ll be okay? Thanks!!

    P.s.- can’t wait to get your new cookbook!! It’s on my Christmas wish list!!

    • Hi Kat, So glad you like the recipes! 💗
      Yes, I think you can get away with preparing the soba ahead as you described.

  • This is yet another amazing recipe ! I will make again and again.

    • — Kimberly Maxey
    • Reply
  • Absolutely Terrific! My husband loved it and was surprised because he typically doesn’t love the peanut dressing salads as much as I do. Very fresh tasting, great at room temperature. Forgot to add sesame seeds so guess I’ll have to make it again soon. Think I’ll add some seedless cucumber next time. Thank you, Jenn, for another fabulous yet easy recipe.

    • Do you think this would work as a hot entree? Shred cooked chicken, mix chicken, noodles and dressing when warm?

      • — Mona Lemanski on January 12, 2023
      • Reply
      • Sure, Mona, it would be perfectly fine to serve this warm. I’d love to hear what you think of it!

        • — Jenn on January 12, 2023
        • Reply
  • Awesome flavor! I added 1tsp of sugar to balance the sauce out. My 7y/o and 43y/o loved it.

  • Oooh, looks delicious and I can’t wait to try! Can I use Lotus Foods brand Millet and Brown Rice ramen noodles? Thanks.

    • — Cynthia Garofalo
    • Reply
    • Hi Cynthia, I’m not familiar with them, but I think they should work. Hope you enjoy!

    • I love those noodles and keep a big bag in my pantry, did you use them in this recipe? How did it turn out? Please let me know! Thanks

      • — Marianne on May 19, 2024
      • Reply
  • I have made about 50 of your recipes and they are all good. On this one, one comment: 10 oz of soba noodles is at least twice what you need, unless its really a pasta dish. I have a 9.5 oz package, split it and STILL had too much soba! The dressing is spectacular anyway, so we had the extra the next night as a side dish

    • — Irwin Goverman
    • Reply
    • And we added more vegetables too — some left over arugula and broiled asparagus!

      • — Irwin Goverman
      • Reply
  • I have boneless chicken tenderloins and time…how would you cook the tenderloins for the best flavor? For example, oven is easiest but I could marinate first or even poach in infused water. Thank you and Love your recipes!

    • Hi Lisa, I’d use this recipe for really tender chicken. The salted water will add flavor, but feel free to add other seasoning to the water if you’d like.

  • Quick, simple, delicious. Used the thinner spagehettini pasta – all I had in cupboard, left overs from a rotisserie chicken and added endamame. Whipped up the dressing earlier in the day. Came together in minutes. Sometimes I hold back on the dressng but I used it all in this receipe. Very flavourful and fresh. I was only serving 3 people and we scoffed the lot!! Another Jen winner that will be revisted throughout the summer:) Thank you!

  • This was quite delicious. The red bell pepper is surprisingly good in this. I used leftover roasted pork shredded. I’m a big fan of your recipes Jenn.

  • This is really good I made it for a meatless dinner with spaghetti noodles. Makes enough for leftovers.
    Will be making again. Can I use grape seed or avocado oil instead of peanut oil?
    Thanks for the recipe!

    • Glad you liked it! The dressing will have a slightly different flavor, but it’s fine to use grapeseed or avocado oil.

  • For the past several months, Jenn’s blog has become my go-to for planning our weekly menus. Her recipes turn out perfectly every time! I’ve made this several times using spaghetti and adding shredded carrots – a super fresh tasting summer salad. I’ve also used rotisserie chicken at the grocers and that really cuts down on the time to prepare. Another winner from Jenn!

  • Delicious!

  • Great recipe. It’s nice how you can add more vegetables like snow peas and shredded carrots based on your taste.

  • Loved this recipe! I added edamame, as suggested by another commenter, and it was great!

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