How to Make Authentic Chinese Dry Noodles: A Step-by-Step Guide

by Ella

Chinese dry noodles, also known as “gan mian” in Mandarin, are a staple in Chinese cuisine and a favorite worldwide. These versatile, quick-cooking noodles can be enjoyed in a wide range of dishes, from stir-fries to soups. While store-bought dry noodles are convenient, making your own from scratch allows you to customize the flavor, texture, and thickness to suit your preferences. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of creating authentic Chinese dry noodles in your own kitchen.


  • 1 large mixing bowl
  • 1 Rolling Pin
  • 1 Knife or pasta machine
  • 1 Drying rack or floured surface


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water


  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose flour and salt. Stir the mixture with a fork or a pair of chopsticks to evenly distribute the salt.
  • Gradually add the water to the flour while stirring. Use your fingers to mix the water into the flour until it starts to come together.
  • Once most of the flour is incorporated, use your hands to knead the dough. Continue kneading until you have a smooth and elastic dough. If the dough is too dry, add a little more water; if it's too sticky, add a sprinkle of flour.
  • Cover the dough with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let it rest for about 30 minutes. This resting period allows the gluten in the dough to relax, making it easier to roll out later.
  • After the resting period, divide the dough into small, manageable portions. Keep the portions you're not working with covered to prevent them from drying out.
  • On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to flatten one portion of the dough into a rectangular shape. Aim for a thickness of about 1/8 inch (3 mm).
  • If you have a pasta machine, you can use it to roll out the dough more evenly. Start on the widest setting and pass the dough through the machine. Fold the dough into thirds and pass it through again. Repeat this process several times until the dough is smooth and even.
  • Gradually decrease the width setting on the pasta machine, passing the dough through each setting once, until you achieve your desired thickness. Alternatively, if you don't have a pasta machine, use a rolling pin to manually achieve the desired thickness.
  • Once the dough is rolled to the desired thickness, fold it into thirds and use a sharp knife to cut it into thin strips. The width of the strips can vary depending on your preference, but for traditional Chinese dry noodles, aim for thin strips of about 1/4 inch (6 mm) in width.
  • Unfold the cut noodles and arrange them in a single layer on a floured surface or a drying rack. Allow them to air dry for about 30 minutes before cooking or store them in an airtight container for future use.
  • To cook the Chinese dry noodles, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add a pinch of salt to the water for flavor.
  • Gently drop the dried noodles into the boiling water and stir them to prevent sticking. Cook the noodles until they are al dente, which means they should be firm to the bite but not too soft.
  • The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the noodles, but it typically takes around 2 to 5 minutes. Taste a noodle to check for doneness.
  • Once the noodles are cooked, drain them in a colander and rinse them with cold water to stop the cooking process and prevent them from sticking together.

Choosing the Right Flour

The foundation of excellent Chinese dry noodles is choosing the right flour. Traditional dry noodles are made from wheat flour, which comes in different varieties. The two primary types are:


A. All-Purpose Flour: This type of flour, often labeled as “plain flour,” is a good choice for making dry noodles. It produces noodles with a balanced texture that is not too soft or too firm.


B. High-Gluten Flour: Also known as “bread flour” or “strong flour,” this type of flour contains more protein, resulting in a chewier and more elastic noodle. High-gluten flour is suitable for those who prefer a denser and chewier texture.


Cooking and Serving Chinese Dry Noodles

Chinese dry noodles are incredibly versatile and can be prepared in various ways to suit different dishes and flavors. Here are some popular cooking methods and serving suggestions:


A. Stir-Frying Noodles:

Step 1: Heat a wok or a large frying pan over high heat and add some cooking oil.

Step 2: Once the oil is hot, add your choice of vegetables, protein (such as sliced chicken, shrimp, or tofu), and seasonings. Stir-fry until the ingredients are cooked and fragrant.

Step 3: Add the dry noodles to the wok and toss them with the ingredients to coat them evenly with the flavors.

Step 4: Drizzle in some soy sauce, oyster sauce, or your preferred stir-fry sauce to add moisture and enhance the taste.

Step 5: Continue stir-frying until the noodles are heated through and coated with the sauce.

Step 6: Serve the stir-fried noodles hot, garnished with chopped scallions or sesame seeds.

B. Noodle Soup:

Step 1: Boil a pot of flavorful soup broth (chicken, beef, or vegetable) and add your choice of vegetables, meat, and seasonings.

Step 2: Parboil the dry noodles in a separate pot of boiling water until they are almost cooked but still slightly firm.

Step 3: Drain the parboiled noodles and transfer them to the soup pot.

llow the noodles to finish cooking in the soup, absorbing the flavors of the broth.

Step 4: Serve the noodle soup piping hot, garnished with fresh herbs, a sprinkle of pepper, and a dash of sesame oil.

C. Cold Noodle Salad:

Step 1: Cook the dry noodles according to the package instructions until they are al dente.

Step 2: Rinse the cooked noodles under cold water to cool them down and prevent further cooking.

Step 3: Toss the cold noodles with a mixture of sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and a touch of sugar for a refreshing dressing.

Step 4: Add shredded carrots, cucumbers, bean sprouts, and any other vegetables you enjoy.

Step 5: Optionally, top the salad with sliced boiled eggs, shredded chicken, or grilled tofu for added protein.

Step 6: Chill the cold noodle salad in the refrigerator before serving it as a light and satisfying meal.

Storing and Reheating Dry Noodles

A. Storage: If you have made a large batch of dry noodles, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. Avoid exposing them to moisture or humid environments, as this may cause them to spoil or become sticky.

B. Freezing: For longer-term storage, freeze the uncooked dry noodles on a baking sheet in a single layer before transferring them to a freezer-safe bag or container. They can be frozen for up to three months.

C. Reheating: To reheat dry noodles, simply cook them in boiling water for a few minutes until they are heated through. Avoid overcooking, as this can result in soggy noodles.

Flavor Variations and Regional Specialties

Chinese dry noodles come in a wide array of flavors and regional specialties. Here are some popular variations to explore:

A. Sichuan Dan Dan Noodles: These spicy and flavorful noodles are typically served with a peppery, sesame-based sauce, minced pork, and crushed peanuts for added texture.

B. Cantonese Wonton Noodles: A classic Cantonese favorite, these dry noodles are accompanied by wontons filled with shrimp or pork and served in a clear, savory broth.

C. Shanghai Yang Chun Noodles: Hailing from Shanghai, these dry noodles are cooked with a rich, flavorful broth and topped with tender braised pork, bok choy, and preserved vegetables.

D. Beijing Zha Jiang Mian: A beloved Beijing dish, these dry noodles are typically served with a savory, umami-rich sauce made from soybean paste and ground pork, garnished with julienned cucumbers and bean sprouts.

E. Chongqing Xiao Mian: Known for their spiciness, these dry noodles from Chongqing are usually accompanied by a fiery, numbing hot pot sauce made with Sichuan peppercorns and chili oil.


Making Chinese dry noodles from scratch is a rewarding experience that allows you to savor the authentic flavors and textures of this beloved staple. With the right choice of flour, proper kneading, and precise shaping, you can create delicious, chewy noodles that pair beautifully with a wide range of dishes. Whether you enjoy them in a stir-fry, a noodle soup, or a cold salad, Chinese dry noodles are versatile enough to cater to all tastes and preferences. So, gather your ingredients, roll up your sleeves, and embark on a culinary journey to create your own perfect batch of Chinese dry noodles.



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