Spicy Beef Noodle Soup Recipe (四川紅燒牛肉麵)

by Yi on February 6, 2012 · 58 comments

Post image for Spicy Beef Noodle Soup Recipe (四川紅燒牛肉麵)

It’s amazing how so many Chinese dishes can be reuse and reinvented to create another dish. Case in point: the various Chinese stews were mainly served as a main course until somebody thought it’d be cool to combine the stews and noodles and make them soup noodles with the flavor of stew. I really like that idea!

A few months ago I shared a recipe for a Spicy Beef Stew that’s very common in China especially in Sichuan (Szechuan) province.  The post was well received and I was quickly asked by one of the readers to also share a recipe for beef noodle soup – a very popular one bowl meal that was developed from the mentioned beef stew.

I finally got around to make the spicy beef stew again and of course I did not forget about the reader’s request so here we are the very delicious Spicy Beef Noodle Soup from Yi’s kitchen!!

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup Recipe (四川紅燒牛肉麵)

Wait, before we dive into the recipe part it’s worth to point out this version of spicy beef noodle soup is only one of a handful famous beef noodle soup varieties. I also like the hand-drawn beef noodle soup from Lanzhou and I am big fan of the versions from Taiwan (from what I read there are many different varieties in Taiwan alone!).

Enough said, to make this noodle soup, you’ll definitely need the spicy beef stew (refresh your memory here). If you can make the stew a day in advance so the beef would fully absorb the flavors. The picture shown is a stew made with beef brisket and tendon.

Make the broth ahead of the time. I have boiled this pot of beef bone for about 3 hours. You can certainly substitute the beef stock with other kinds of stock.

I add some personal twist to this traditional Sichuan version by using sour mustard green as a topping.  Sour mustard green is widely used in Taiwanese beef noodles and I think it’s got a brilliant flavor so I conveniently borrowed the idea.

I like to use thinner noodles for my beef noodle soup because they can absorb more flavors from the broth. The best kind of noodle I can find is this freshly made thin noodle called Yang Chun Mian (陽春面). I like my noodles with a chewy bite so I usually cook them until al dente.

Once you have the noodles assembled with broth and toppings you are ready to go. However if you feel like adding a little more kick to the noodles you can add some homemade hot chili oil. The noodles taste just a bit better with some aromatic spicy oil in my option.

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup (四川紅燒牛肉麵)
Recipe Type: Main
Author: Yi
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
Total time: 25 mins
Serves: 1
This Sichuan Spicy Beef Noodle Soup is absolutely delicious and quick to put together.
  • 4 Oz Fresh Wheat Noodles
  • 1 cup Spicy Beef Stew and the liquid
  • Stock
  • Baby Bok Choy
  • Scallion, chopped
  • Cilantro, Chopped
  • Hot Chili Oil
  • Sour Mustard Green Topping (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  1. Make the spicy beef stew in advance by following the recipe here. If you intend to use the beef stew for noodle soup you can omit the radish in the stew. I also find the stew made with beef brisket has better and stronger flavor than beef shank.
  2. Pre-make your stock of choice. For this noodle soup I like to stick to beef stock. However you can certainly use pork, chicken, or even vegetable stock (but why?). Make sure you flavor your stock with salt so it wouldn’t dilute the taste of noodle soup.
  3. To make the sour mustard green topping: coarsely chop the sour mustard green. I finished my homemade sour mustard green so I used the package one bought from Asian supermarket. In high heat, stir fry the mustard green with 1 tbsp of cooking oil for 1 minute. Add 2 dried chilies, 1 clove of minced garlic, 1 tbsp of sugar and fry for 3 more minutes.
  4. Boiling the fresh wheat noodles to al dente or your doneness of choice. Boil the baby bok choy with the noodles. Arrange both noodles in a soup noodle bowl.
  5. Pour about ¾ cups of hot stock onto the noodle. Pour another ¾ cups of hot beef stew broth in to the soup bowl. Mix the noodles with the broth by picking the noodles up and down in chopsticks. Add additional stew liquid if necessary. Add salt to taste if necessary.
  6. Top the noodles with bok choy, beef from the stew, and sour mustard green (optional). Add hot chili oil if desired. Lastly garnish with scallions and cilantro.


Now you go ahead and enjoy this bowl of hearty spicy beef noodle (right away!)

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup Recipe (四川紅燒牛肉麵)

{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Stephan December 20, 2014 at 4:06 am

Hi Yi,

that was so good! Unbelievable! It tasted so original, I never expected to get so authentic Sichuan food in my kitchen. Hard times for my local chinese restaurant…Now I have to do my way trough all your recipe´s ;-).

Thank you for sharing your recipe. Greetings from Germany.


2 Yi December 21, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Hello Stephan,

Thanks for your kind comments and I am happy to hear your validation:)


3 Dominique June 5, 2014 at 5:34 am

Hi Yi

We have just got back from our (first) visit to China and loved the Sichuan food. (I was worried before our trip as I don’t really like Chinese food – but now realise that is just the stuff we get in the UK.) One of my favourite meals was the spicy beef noodle soup, which is how I came across your recipes. Can’t wait to try it this weekend – complete with all our new silk table mats, new chopsticks, bowls, rose flower tea ………. Another recipe I liked was sticky pork and peanuts – I’m hoping to find that recipe in your collection too.


4 Yi June 8, 2014 at 9:13 pm

Hi Dominique, sorry for the late reply. I am so glad that you like the authentic Chinese food you had in China. Please let me know how you like the beef recipe if you get to try it. As for the sticky pork and peanuts dish, do you have any more information (a picture might be helpful). I did post a sweet and sour ribs dish a while ago but not sure if it’s something similar to what you had?


5 Lisa March 2, 2014 at 10:20 am

In the recipe above you mention that you ran out of your homemade sour mustard greens, do you have a recipe for sour mustard greens? Is it fermented?


6 Derek February 28, 2014 at 6:17 pm

omg when are you going to make this for me? It sounds so good


7 Yi February 28, 2014 at 6:38 pm

Is this Derek C!!? Yeah we need to get together sometime soon!


8 Eva January 21, 2014 at 9:17 am

Yi, glad to find your blog!! Do you have a recipe for home made noodles you want to share? I have been looking for one since I just got a pasta maker for Christmas. Thanks and keep up your good work.


9 Yi January 21, 2014 at 7:45 pm

Hi Eva, yes I do! It’s going up in the next few days!!


10 shakeology reviews November 22, 2013 at 5:15 am

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I’ll be coming back to your web site for more soon.


11 Benjamin ROBIN September 11, 2013 at 10:11 am

Hello Yi,

First of all, what an amazing recipe!

I tried it out a few days ago at home and it was a real success!
I’m french and u probably know that french food-lovers are a little bit narrowminded toward foreign food.. So, congratulations!

I decided to add some water chestnuts, sliced in half and fried in a very little bit of sesame oil, it´s so crispy and gives a lovely sweet taste to the soup! Should try!

Anyway, keep going, u r doing great!!



12 carolyn July 14, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Hi Yi

I am so pleased I stumbled upon your website. I am in England and cooking food to give to my new sister in law who is from the Henan province. I tried to make the beef stew and it was lovely but not hot enough. This is because I struggled to get the spicy chilli paste. I asked in my Chinese supermarket and they were unsure so could you please tell me what the ingredients would be in the bottle and then I think I will find it more easily, I have had so many different opinions!

Thanks for all your work, keep it coming! Going to make this recipe tonight!


13 Yi July 16, 2013 at 10:57 pm

Hi Carolyn, I am so happy to hear that you liked the beef stew recipe. With regard to the spicy chilli bean paste, I like to use the bean paste from a place called Pixian, China. You can fine more detail of this type of bean paste here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doubanjiang

I hope this helps!


14 Anonymous July 19, 2013 at 5:08 am

Thank you for replying. I looked up the paste on the internet and now I have ordered some, so that was extremely helpful of you.

I have to say I find the recipes on this website really enticing and they make me enthusiastic to give them a go, so thank you, it is far more tempting than all the Chinese recipe books I have put together!

Hope to see you on the TV soon!!


15 Yi August 18, 2013 at 4:42 pm

hello, thanks for your kind words. I am working on making some youtube videos so please stay tuned!


16 Ryan Lau March 8, 2013 at 12:24 am

Ridiculous!! One of the best meals I’ve had. Would say proportions might have been a little off. Maybe a bit too much meat for the stew and not enough noodles for the noodle soup, but maybe that’s a personal preference. Regardless, amazing recipe. Thank you for this!!!


17 Yi March 8, 2013 at 10:05 pm

hey Ryan, thanks for your kind words. I am glad that you liked the beef noodle soup recipe. You can definitely adjust the amount of beef per serving based on your personal reference. I might have gotten greedy and put too much beef in my bowl :)


18 samdog March 2, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Yi, Thanks so much for sharing this. I’ve been looking for a recipe like this for awhile.

I was in China back in 2009 when we adopted our second daughter, who was living in a foster home in Tianjin. When we got to our hotel, our guide asked if we wanted to grab a quick bite to eat before going to the store to pick up a few supplies. We said “sure,” and she asked if we liked spicy food–we said “absolutely!” Then she took us to this hole-in-wall noodle shop in the basement of a Carrefour. We were served a rather oily, super-spicy beef noodle dish in HUGE bowls. It was one of the most exotic and delicious dishes I’ve ever tasted.

I followed your recipes (starting with home-made beef stock) and was able to come up with a pretty yummy version of the soup I had in Tianjin, so far as I can recall. The only changes I made were toning down the heat a notch and adding a little dark sesame oil at the finish. I’m pretty sure there was sesame oil in the soup I had in China.

Very delicious! And the Sichuan beef stew alone is worth all the effort. Yum!


19 Yi March 2, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Hi Samdog, thank you so much for sharing your beef noodle soup story! I am so glad that you liked the recipe and were able to make the adjustments to suit your preference!

Spicy beef noodle soup is one of my ultimate comfort foods. I think I was five or six when I first had spicy beef noodle soup in my hometown Chongqing. My dad took me to this noodle shop that consisted an outdoor tent, coal burners, boiling pots, and assorted condiments. It was so delicious that I even drank some of the soup/oil. Although I had stomach problem due to the spiciness and amount of oil, I was already hooked by this noodle dish.

I thank you again for your feedback and I would love to hear more of your stories in Tianjian (what else did you try there?) :)


20 cris January 6, 2013 at 8:49 am

Thank you for sharing this recipe…it’s so delicious!!! I was wondering maybe you can also post the recipe for RED MISUA WITH PORK INTESTINE, I want to cook it for my friends.


21 Yi January 7, 2013 at 10:09 pm

i have to secretly admit that pork instinestine is one of my favorite ingredients. Will take some pictures when i make the delicacy again.


22 cris February 9, 2013 at 7:52 am

I will indeed wait for the recipe to be posted. Thank you.


23 Jasmine November 24, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Finally getting around to making this recipe tonight for some friends. Can’t wait to impress them with some yummy beef noodle…it looks amazing!!!


24 Yi November 24, 2012 at 11:38 pm

That’s exciting! Please let me know how it went!


25 Jasmine November 25, 2012 at 10:32 pm

My friends loved it! Thank you for this… I will definitely be making it again in the future. And you were right: lots of work but totally worth the effort :)


26 Yi November 26, 2012 at 11:00 pm

That’s great! I am happy that the dish came out good. I hope you’ll get to try other recipes on this site. See you around!


27 Dewi March 4, 2012 at 11:06 am

Thank you so much! I made it and really happy with the result :) I will try your other recipe for sure.


28 Yi March 5, 2012 at 12:08 am

it’s my pleasure!


29 Fern @ To Food with Love March 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Loving your website! Spicy beef noodle soup is just music to my ears and your version looks as authentic as it can get. Love love sichuan food especially with all the heat from the dried chillies and peppercorns! Can’t wait to try the beef stew, looks so yummy!


30 Yi March 1, 2012 at 10:21 pm

thanks a lot Fern. Yeah this beef noodle soup is one of my favorites. Hope you get to try it!


31 Yves February 23, 2012 at 3:34 am

Your noodles looks delicious as usual!


32 Vivienne February 21, 2012 at 6:05 am

*DROOLS* so amazing Yi! This is a dish I must always have when I go to Taiwan! You’re right, there are so many different varieties there…it’s hard to find a favourite! I haven’t seen any beef noodle soup plated as nice as yours…makes me so hungry! Wish someone could make it for me right now..hahaha.


33 Yi February 22, 2012 at 1:27 am

Thanks Viv. I’ve heard so much about Taiwanese beef noodles but unfortunately the closest ones I’ve had so far are from Taiwanese restaurants in NYC. Can’t wait for a trip to TW soon!!


34 shuhan February 16, 2012 at 6:15 pm

I LOVE beef noodles. I can’t decide if i like the one with the stick sauce or the one in a clear broth or the one in a stew-like sauce, they’re all just delicious to me. this sounds just brilliant!!


35 Brandon February 12, 2012 at 12:38 am

Looks Great Yipeng!


36 Yi February 12, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Hi Brandon, thanks for the shout out!


37 Nami | Just One Cookbook February 10, 2012 at 3:37 am

I’m sending this link to my husband who eats beef noodle soup ALL THE TIME during lunch time (because I don’t cook). He’s crazy about it. Maybe he’ll make it for us! I’m writing my request here so he might read it too. LOL. Thank you so much for the recipe Yi! Your noodle looks EXCELLENT!


38 Yi February 11, 2012 at 12:35 am

Thanks Nami. I hope your husband will cook this soup noodle for the whole family soon :)


39 Cindy February 8, 2012 at 11:44 pm

Just stumbled on your blog. And one of my favorite dishes of all time was the most recent recipe! Love it! looking forward to trying out your recipes!


40 Yi February 9, 2012 at 7:39 am

Hello Cindy, thanks for visiting the site. I would love to hear from you if you get to try this recipe. Thanks!


41 Juliana February 7, 2012 at 4:03 pm

I love this beef noodle soup, very tasty and spicy…one of my favorite noddle soup dish. I never made it myself…your look delicious and very homy.
Hope you are having a wonderful week Yi :)


42 Yi February 8, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Thanks Juliana. You have a great week as well!


43 Amy Tong February 7, 2012 at 4:35 am

Yum! This is one of my favorite noodle soup! I know I can eat this everyday and not get bored. :P Can’t wait to try your recipe.


44 Yi February 8, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Thank you Amy.


45 tigerfish February 6, 2012 at 7:34 pm

The sour mustard definitely balances the entire dish very well – I agree with you.


46 Yi February 6, 2012 at 11:14 pm

yup nowadys sour mustard has become a must in my beef noodle soup.


47 Janet February 6, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Why do you need the extra broth? I thought beef noodle soup was just noodles with beef stew? Or is it due to the stew is too rich by itself? Thank you!


48 Yi February 6, 2012 at 11:12 pm

I used to serve the noodles with just the stew and it was fine. Then I realized that if I wanted the beef to be more flavorful I’d have to use more spices and salt in the stew, causing the stew broth too salty for the noodle. That’s when I got the idea of making an extra rich stew and balance the stew broth with some regular broth.


49 marco December 2, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Yes, I think this is common practice. I didn’t really pay attention while I was living in China, but I saw a video on Youtube where chef Ming Tsai watches a guy do lamian. At one point the noodle guy adds both the tang and the stock separately from different bowls, probably like you said to water out the more flavorful broth you used to braise the meat. Otherwise it will be too nong (salty).


50 Yi December 3, 2012 at 9:53 am

what an observation Marco! I use this technique from time to time just to keep the balance between the soup and the meat. It works pretty well. Thanks for pointing out now I will have to find that video on youtube :)


51 Jeno @ Week Nite Meals February 6, 2012 at 10:34 am

Oh My Goodness! It’s a cold cold day at Houston and I’ve been craving spicy beef noodle soup, yours looks absolutely delicious, the photography is so beautifully done! Too bad there’s no beef in the fridge and I am too cold to go to the store, must make soon though… Thank you for sharing Yi!


52 Yi February 6, 2012 at 10:57 pm

It’s my pleasure Jeno. Hope you get to make some of this soon!


53 LINDSAY February 6, 2012 at 10:21 am

Great shots! The bowl of noodle in the first few pictures really comes to life, I can just taste it!


54 Yi February 6, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Thanks Lindsay.


55 Health Bee February 6, 2012 at 2:43 am

Yum, the beef noodle soup looks so delicious. I think I will substitute the wheat noodle with rice noodle to make this gluten free. Do you recommend the wide rice noodle or the thin kind?


56 Yi February 6, 2012 at 10:47 pm

Hi Health Bee, have you heard of pho? It’s a kind of Vietnamese rice noodle. I think pho would be perfect for this beef noodle soup because it absorbs flavor very well.


57 Health Bee February 7, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Thanks Yi. I will try it out with some pho noodles.


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