December 8, 2022


Cooking Is My World

Dragon Noodles – Chelsea’s Messy Apron

Dragon Noodles combine saucy lo mein noodles, succulent ground pork, crunchy cashews, and crisp broccoli. This easy, 20-minute stir-fry is sure to become a family favorite — it’s perfectly spicy with a subtle sweetness.

Love saucy noodle dishes that are simple to make? Give our Pork Ramen Stir Fry, Udon Stir Fry, or Chicken Chow Mein a try next!

Overhead image of Dragon Noodles

These Dragon Noodles are part of our Back-To-School Lifesavers — a series of recipes that are intended to have little (or no) veggie chopping, minimal prep time, around 10 ingredients or less (not including pantry staples), and use kid-friendly ingredients. Click here to see all the recipes in the series! 

Dragon Noodles Recipe

Don’t worry — no dragons were harmed in the making of this saucy noodle stir-fry! Instead, dragon noodles get their name from being extra spicy — so hot that you feel like you’re breathing fire after each bite. These noodles are intended for those who love spicy foods!

And as a self-proclaimed spice lover, this meal’s spicy sweetness and saucy noodles with the deeply savory pork have reached near addiction levels at my home.

But, hold up. How is this a kid-friendly meal?! The spice is very easily customized and adjustable to fit picky palates. So don’t worry, if there aren’t spice lovers in your home, they can still join in on this Dragon Noodle fan club!

Ingredient shot-- image of all the ingredients used in this dish


Shortcut Ideas

Here are the main shortcuts we use in these Dragon Noodles:

  • Pre-chopped broccoli. Most grocery stores sell chopped broccoli in the produce section. Alternatively, frozen chopped broccoli can be used.
  • Quick garlic and ginger. We use refrigerated garlic paste and refrigerated minced garlic in the sauce. See “quick tip” below.
  • Noodles that cook quickly! Lo mein noodles boil fast. The particular brand I use is done in 6 minutes — score! We also save time by boiling the broccoli with the noodles — no need for a separate pot here.
  • Dry roasted and lightly salted cashews. These nuts deliver more flavor without any extra effort on your part. Using salted cashews also adds a nice finishing “seasoning” to the dish.


Another quick option for garlic and ginger in this Dragon Noodles recipe is to use Dorot® cubes. This brand sells frozen cubes of crushed garlic and crushed ginger that you can keep handy in the freezer and pop into these (and other) recipes when needed. (Check if your local store carries them; they’re typically found with frozen veggies in the grocery store.)

Process shots of the Dragon Noodles-- images of the sauce being mixed together and then the pork being browned

Dragon Noodles Sauce Ingredients

Beyond the garlic and ginger mentioned above, there are three other ingredients in the sauce. We’ll break down each below:

  • Soy sauce: We like using regular soy sauce (not lite/low-sodium) in this recipe. Lite soy sauce doesn’t offer enough seasoning (saltiness).
  • Brown sugar: We add quite a bit of sugar to help offset the spice of the noodles. If you’re worried about this dish being too sweet, I’d recommend starting with less. You can always add more if you’re craving the sweetness.
  • Chili garlic sauce: Here’s where we get all the spice and a lot of flavor! We’ll share how to scale this ingredient to control spiciness below.


What’s the difference between sambal oelek, Sriracha, hot sauce, and chili sauce/paste? Chili garlic sauce is like sambal oelek with a few additions (like vinegar, garlic, sugar, and other seasonings). It’s similar to Sriracha, but a bit chunkier, spicier, and less sweet. Read up more on the differences here.

Process shots-- images of the sauce and cashews being cooked together and then green onions being added

How To Make Dragon Noodles

This recipe comes together so quickly! Here are our top tips for ensuring a quick preparation:

  1. Assemble all the ingredients — prep goes quickly! 
  2. Let the pork really brown before stirring and crumbling. This chance to sear will imbue a much better flavor. (Color = flavor!)
  3. For a great authentic flavor, sesame oil really delivers. If you can find toasted sesame oil, that’s even better! This oil is typically found with Asian ingredients, not near the other oils in the grocery store.

Process shots of Dragon Noodles-- images of the noodles and broccoli being boiled and it being added to the skillet

Scaling the Spice

As this Dragon Noodles recipe is written, we add 2 tablespoons of chili-garlic paste with 1/4 cup brown sugar. This is the perfect amount for my kiddos, who, admittedly, can handle a bit of spice. This ratio gives a kick without being overpowering.

For spice lovers: Scale up the amount by 1-2 tablespoons or slightly reduce the sugar.

For spice haters: Reduce the amount by 1 tablespoon. Note that if you do reduce the amount of chili sauce added, you might also want to reduce the sugar. The sugar balances the spice so if you don’t add a lot of the chili garlic sauce, you might not want as much sugar. Also be aware that by reducing one or both of these ingredients, you will be missing out on some flavor.


  • Dragon Noodles Ramen: Replace the lo mein with two packets (6 ounces) of ramen noodles (discard or save seasoning packets for a different recipe).
  • Vegan Dragon Noodles: Replace the ground pork with tofu (crumble and cook it).
  • Shrimp Dragon Noodles: Replace the ground pork with shrimp instead! Cook the shrimp according to directions in this Lemon Garlic Shrimp recipe. Once shrimp is cooked, remove from skillet and toss back in at the end with the noodles and broccoli.

Up close overhead image of the Dragon Noodles ready to be enjoyed

More Tasty Noodle Recipes

Dragon Noodles

Dragon Noodles combine saucy lo mein noodles, succulent ground pork, crunchy cashews, and crisp broccoli! This easy, 20-minute stir-fry is sure to become a family favorite — it’s perfectly spicy with a subtle sweetness.

Dragon Noodles

Dragon Noodles combine saucy lo mein noodles, succulent ground pork, crunchy cashews, and crisp broccoli! This easy, 20-minute stir-fry is sure to become a family favorite — it’s perfectly spicy with a subtle sweetness.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Quick ginger and garlic: Keep things quick and use refrigerated minced garlic and refrigerated ginger paste.
Note 2: Chili-garlic sauce: Imperative for flavor and spice! This sauce is typically found near soy sauce and Sriracha in the grocery store. This sauce is responsible for the spice in this dish. Start with less if you’re not a fan of too much spice and scale up or add extra to individual plates if you love spice.
Note 3: Broccoli: To keep things quick, get chopped broccoli in the produce section of the grocery store. We sometimes find these florets to be too big so you may need to chop them down a little so the pieces aren’t too big in the dish. 12 ounces is about 5 cups coarsely chopped broccoli!

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 643kcal | Carbohydrates: 76.2g | Protein: 25.2g | Fat: 27.3g | Cholesterol: 54.5mg | Sodium: 1695.4mg | Fiber: 5.1g | Sugar: 23g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.