Peanut Chicken Zucchini Noodles

This flavorful peanut chicken zucchini noodles dish is a healthier and wholesome dinner that has lean protein, plenty of vegetables, and a delectable savory peanut sauce. Feel free to switch up the vegetables and meat, or skip the meat and replace with more vegetables or tofu. Readers have raved about this recipe for years and it’s a team favorite, too.

One reader, Sam, says: This is absolutely amazing!! We’ve made it so many times, it’s a biweekly meal for us! I add more chicken because we just love it for lunches too! Thank you!”

peanut chicken zucchini noodles on a white serving tray with a fork

peanut chicken zucchini noodles

This peanut chicken zucchini noodles dish works on so many levels because it’s:

  • simple and light
  • fresh-tasting and flavorful
  • ready in 40 minutes
  • pretty healthy
  • super versatile – you can change up the vegetables and protein!

We’re replacing regular noodles with zucchini noodles, but TRUST ME when I say you won’t even miss regular pasta. The zucchini noodles soak up every bit of the savory peanut sauce.


Tell Me About Peanut Chicken Zucchini Noodles

  • Texture: Tender vegetables, shredded chicken, and zucchini noodles are coated in a rich, indulgent sauce. The garnishes – sesame seeds, cilantro, peanuts, chopped green onion – add more flavor, of course, and crunchy textures.
  • Flavor: The peanut sauce is easily the star of the show. As you can imagine from the ingredients used, it has a massive and sophisticated flavor that’s all at once sweet, savory, and lightly spicy.
  • Ease: You’ll need to prep your veggies, spiral the zucchini, and make the sauce, but they’re all easy tasks.

2 images of spiralized zucchini and veggies in a skillet

Choosing the Right Ingredients

Don’t stray from the ingredients listed because each one serves a purpose to round out the flavors in this dish.

  • Zucchini. Some stores sell zucchini noodles in the produce section, but you could also do this yourself at home with a spiralizer. If you’re not into zucchini noodles, you can use regular pasta (cook it first) or cut the zucchini into thin strips. See the recipe notes.
  • Vegetables. You can use any vegetables, really, but I like using shredded carrots, cabbage, and sliced pepper. Make sure you thinly slice whichever vegetables you use.
  • Sesame oil. Sesame oil is essential to this dish because of its unmistakable flavor – it cannot be skipped! You’ll also need a little in the peanut sauce, too.
  • Chicken. I usually boil skinless boneless chicken breasts for 12-15 minutes or until cooked through, and then shred it. But you could also use up leftover chicken or buy a rotisserie chicken and shred the meat – whatever makes it easy for you. You could also use cooked beef, shrimp, salmon, tofu, or whatever your heart or diet desires.

2 images of peanut sauce in a glass bowl and diced fresh ginger

Easy Peanut Sauce

The peanut sauce is made from only a few ingredients: peanut butter, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, fresh ginger, rice vinegar, and a little Sriracha for a kick. This recipe is a very loose adaptation of Vietnamese peanut dipping sauce and Chinese peanut sauce – the main difference is that my version features honey. Many readers end up making this peanut chicken zucchini noodles meal more than once, so my advice is to keep your pantry stocked with the sauce ingredients!

  • Use Rice Vinegar. Sweet and delicate rice vinegar is a KEY signature flavor of this dish. Avoid using white wine or white vinegar, which are much too harsh. If you must, you can use cider vinegar, which is milder, but your sauce will not taste the same. Again, rice vinegar is best.

You’ll just need to whisk all of the ingredients together on the stove for about 5 minutes, or until the peanut butter has melted down and the flavors thoroughly combine. I usually do this as the vegetables cook to save some time.

peanut chicken zucchini noodles in a pink skillet

zoomed in image of peanut chicken zucchini noodles

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peanut chicken zucchini noodles on a white serving tray with a fork

Peanut Chicken Zucchini Noodles

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: Thai

Description

Mixing up weeknight dinners with this wildly flavorful peanut chicken and veggies dish. The sauce is inspired by two delicious Asian peanut sauces: Vietnamese peanut dipping sauce and Chinese peanut sauce. Keep in mind that it’s a very loose adaption as neither usually contain honey.


Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil (you’ll need more for the peanut sauce below)
  • 2 teaspoons minced or chopped garlic
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup thinly sliced cabbage (I use red)
  • 1 large bell pepper, thinly sliced (I use red)
  • 3 large zucchini, spiralized into noodles*
  • 2 large chicken breasts, cooked & shredded (about 23 cups)*
  • Optional Toppings: 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds, handful of chopped cilantro, 1/2 cup peanuts, 1 Tablespoon chopped green onion

Peanut Sauce

  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce (I use reduced sodium)
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar*
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 12 teaspoons Sriracha or any hot chile sauce

Instructions

  1. Heat 2 Tablespoons of sesame oil and the garlic in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots, cabbage, and pepper slices. Cook for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are a little tender. (I usually begin the peanut sauce, step 2, during this time.) Once tender, add the zucchini noodles and shredded chicken to the skillet. Cook and stir for about 3 minutes until the zucchini is a little softer and chicken is warm. Turn off the stove and remove from heat. Set aside. (*If your skillet isn’t quite big enough, you can do this step in batches.)
  2. Combine all of the peanut sauce ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk constantly until the peanut butter has melted and everything is combined. I usually use 2 teaspoons of Sriracha, but use the amount of heat you like.
  3. Once the sauce is heated through, pour over chicken/vegetables. Toss everything around until combined. Place on a serving dish (or not!) and top with sesame seeds, cilantro, peanuts, and green onion. Serve immediately.
  4. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for a few days. Reheat to your liking.

Notes

  1. Zucchini: Some stores sell zucchini noodles in the produce section, but you could also do this yourself at home with a spiralizer.
  2. Chicken: I simply boil chicken until cooked through– about 12-15 minutes, then shred it. If you have leftover shredded, chicken from another recipe, use that. Or buy a rotisserie chicken from the store and shred the meat.
  3. Rice Vinegar: Rice vinegar is best for this sauce. Do not use white wine or white vinegar– they’re too harsh. Apple cider vinegar works as a substitute.
  4. Substitutions: See Choosing the Right Ingredients and Easy Peanut Sauce sections above for explanations of possible substitutions.

Keywords: peanut chicken zucchini noodles, thai chicken zoodles

overhead image of peanut chicken zucchini noodles on a white serving tray

106 Comments

  1. This is a family favorite. To add some crunch and reduce cooking time I skip cooking the zucchini. Makes for a great fresh and cold dish on a hot day.

  2. Delicious!! Definitely a keeper!!

  3. This was so good my husband even loved it! What is the nutritional information on it?

    1. I’m so glad you both enjoyed it, Amy! I’m unsure of the nutritional info, but there are many great online calculators like this one: https://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp

  4. Hi! Is there any adaptation to this to avoid the honey? Another sweetener?

    1. Hi Brittany! You can try another liquid sweetener you enjoy or even brown sugar.

  5. I have made this at least 20 times. We love it. I have gotten lazy with the zoodles and I just chop the zucchini.

  6. Delicious recipe! I didn’t have enough zucchini so I added some rice noodles I had on hand. Thanks for sharing!

  7. This is one of my all time favorite recipes. I tried it for the first time two months ago, and I have made it too many times to count since! Love it! Thank you.

  8. Miranda Keeffe says:

    First it’s a lovely base. Personally spirlize the carrot makes a differecw and make zucchini a different thickness grade. Second not peanut butter but almond or less sugar content butter. Add hot chilli oil for your taste. Season and cook the chicken then the veg. Remove, add the champagne to deglaze with the almond butter sauce. A champagne almond reduction is sweet and savoury. It’s so good.

  9. Jan Gavaletz says:

    LOVED this! Just 2 of us, but we emptied the pan – so much for leftovers! Forgot to but zucchini but had fresh green beans as a sub. Sauce is spectacular. This will be a regular for sure. As always, thanks for a great meal!

    1. Have you ever tried freezing it?

  10. I made this too! I was worried that the peanut butter sauce would taste too strongly of peanut butter but it was so well balanced! I added a touch more soy and rice vinegar than the recipe called for- don’t skip out of topping with fresh peanuts and cilantro- makes a huge difference. Overall, DELICIOUS recipe. Definitely a new staple!

  11. I would like to make this tonight and I have all ingredients except for fresh ginger. Is ground ginger ok to use and if so, how much?
    Thanks for the recipe. The reviews make it sound fantastic so I’m excited 🙂

    1. Hi Patti, In a pinch you can use 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger. Enjoy!

  12. One word…WOW!!! I’m not a huge zoodles fan but I had leftover zoodles and zucchini from my CSA share I had to use so I thought I’d give this a go. I had zero issues with this being watery…the sauce was so so thick that any liquid in the dish was evened out with the sauce. We’re gluten free and low carb in my house so I switched the soy sauce for liquid aminos and the honey for harmless honey (by pyure I believe) and this was beyond amazing. I thought we had peanuts but we didn’t…I can only image how much the crunch would elevate this dish even further. My fiancé added extra sriracha on top of his and we both LOVED it. Another tip…if you have an instant pot, just throw your chicken in there with a cup of chicken broth for 12 minutes (quick release)…quickest and easiest shredded chicken out there! Thanks so much for this recipe…I’ll definitely be making it again and again!

  13. This is absolutely amazing!! We’ve made it so many times, it’s a biweekly meal for us! I add more chicken because we just love it for lunches too! Thank you!

  14. Jenny Sladicka says:

    This was absolutely amazing! Thank you so much for the recipe. The sauce was the bomb! I doubled the sauce, added broccoli and spinach. Didn’t have any cabbage so we left that out this time but will try it the next time. Also, my family loves pasta so I added about 1/2 a pound of linguine at the end and stirred it all together. YUM! The whole family loved it! Thank you!!

  15. I always salt my zoodles first. I put them on a baking tray lined with a tea towel, sprinkle a teaspoon of salt, toss a bit, then let sit for a while. Sometimes I do this early in the day.
    The zoodles then have given off a lot of water.
    I usually cut down on any other salt in a recipe but the salt usually drains off into the towel.
    A delicious dish!! A keeper for sure.

  16. Nicole Link says:

    I made this recipe and it was absolutely delicious! Leftovers the next day were just as good. Both my husband and I really enjoyed this!

  17. Really delicious. I Substituted basil for cilantro and sliced almondS for the peanuts.

  18. If I don’t use one of those “zoodle” thingy’s……. How else can I get these to work in this recipe.

    1. You can slice zucchini into thin noodle shaped pieces– sort of like matchstick style carrots, but longer.

    2. I use a potato peeler and it works well for noodles, they don’t spiral but same effect

    3. Beverly Jones says:

      I just bought them already “zoodled” at Trader Joe’s 🙂

  19. Ahhh-mazing! I have made this three times in two weeks for myself. Followed the directions exactly and this sauce is a GAME CHANGER. 10/10.

  20. Loved this recipe! My husband told me it needs to be on our regular dinner rotation! Looking forward to my lunch leftovers!

  21. Delicious! I made zoodles for me and linguine noodles for my husband. He gave it a thumbs up. Thank you!

  22. Can tamari sauce be used instead of soy sauce? Can the hot chili sauce be left out?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Katie, those changes should work just fine. Enjoy!

  23. Leslie Lord says:

    Do you think this would work well using ground turkey as the meat?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Leslie! I think the texture of shredded chicken would work best here, but don’t see why cooked ground turkey wouldn’t work. Let us know if you give it a try and here’s all our recipes that use ground turkey if you’re interested.

  24. Leslie Lord says:

    I just had a lot of turkey, so was trying to get through it. But, we made as is, with chicken, and it was So good!! I used a bit less honey (my husband is trying to eat very healthy right now), and it still worked well. Can’t wait to start making this a few times a month now!!

  25. It’s amazing. My fiancé and I are picky eaters, but we couldn’t get enough of this. Thanks for the recipe!

  26. Does anyone have the nutritional info for this? KCal, fat, protein etc?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kelly! We don’t usually include nutrition information as it can vary between different brands of the same ingredients. Plus, many recipes have ingredient substitutions or optional ingredients listed. However, there are many handy online calculators where you can plug in and customize your exact ingredients/brands. Readers have found this one especially helpful: https://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp

  27. Could you give an estimate of the weight or number of cups of zucchini that should be used in this? I harvested a huge 2.4 pound zucchini today, so I’m pretty sure that “3 large zucchini” doesn’t really mean 3 that are this large!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Evelyn, you’ll want about 6 heaping cups of zucchini noodles. They really cook down!

  28. Hi. Gonna make this tonight. For the sauce, do I use natural peanut butter or the salt and sugar “normal” peanut butter? I’m guessing natural?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Matthew, either will work, as long as it’s not chunky. If using natural, be sure to give it a good stir before using. Hope you enjoy it!

  29. Sharyl Winebar says:

    This recipe looks awesome and I can’t wait to try it! Could you please print the nutrition info for us?

    Thanks,
    Sharyl

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