James’ new favorite weeknight meal. How to make Yaki Udon Step-by-Step. Flavorful, filling & faster than delivery.
Hey y’all, it’s James here from Food And Meal. As many of you know, I’m passionate about cooking and sharing delicious Japanese recipes. Lately I’ve been experimenting more with Asian cuisine, and I have to tell you – I’m hooked!
One dish in particular that has captured my heart is yaki udon. In case you’re not familiar, Stir fried udon is a Japanese stir fry made with thick, chewy udon noodles, meat and veggies, all coated in the most incredible sweet and savory sauce. The second I took my first bite, I was transported. Those springy noodles, the umami-rich sauce, the satisfying crunch of the vegetables…let’s just say this recipe is going on regular rotation at my house from here on out!
I love that japanese stir fried comes together in just 20 minutes. It’s my new favorite weeknight meal when I’m crunched for time but still want something filling and flavorful. And you can customize it by switching up the protein or veggies based on what you have on hand. Total crowd pleaser!
The best part is, this how to make yaki udon guide is easy to cook at home. I’ll walk you through step-by-step so even novice cooks can nail it. Fair warning though, once you try homemade yaki udon, you may never want to order takeout again. It’s that good.
So come along for the ride as I share my adventures cooking noodle dish for the first time! I’ll cover everything from how to cook udon noodles properly to putting together the sweet & savory sauce that makes this dish sing. Let’s do this!
How to make Yaki Udon Noodles
Yaki udon is a popular Japanese stir-fry dish. It consists of white udon noodles stirred with soy-based sauce, meat, vegetables, and other ingredients. It is similar to yakisoba, a Korean-influenced dish, which uses ramen-style wheat noodles. But unlike ramen, yaki combines a variety of flavors and textures.
- 2 packages udon noodles
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ pound pork belly cut into bite-sized pieces NOTE: You may substitute other meats, seafood or vegetables of choice
- 1 small onion sliced
- 1 cup cabbage cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 medium carrot julienned
- 2 shiitake mushrooms destemmed and sliced
- 2 green onions 2 inches of the tips set aside, the rest cut into 2-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons mentsuyu sauce or leftover sukiyaki sauce
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons bonito flakes or katsuobushi
- Prepare the noodles according to the packaging instructions. Frozen noodles should be boiled to loosen them, then rinsed and drained.
- Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan over medium heat, and saute the pork until browned.
- Add the onion and cook until translucent (about 2-5 minutes). Add the cabbage, carrots, shiitake, and green onion. Cook until the vegetables are wilted.
- Add the noodles, mentsuyu, soy sauce, and black pepper, and mix well.
- Adjust the flavor with more seasonings, as needed.
- Transfer to a serving dish and top with bonito flakes and chopped green onion.
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This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the Spoonacular Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
Alternative Method: Yaki Udon in a Wok
- 8 oz (225g) udon noodles
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 lb (225g) boneless chicken breast, sliced into thin strips
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup sliced bell peppers (red, green, or both)
- 1/2 cup sliced carrots
- 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- Green onions, chopped, for garnish
- Cook the Udon Noodles:
- Boil the udon noodles according to the package instructions. Drain and rinse them under cold water. Toss them with a bit of oil to prevent sticking and set aside.
- Prepare the Sauce:
- In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, mirin, and red pepper flakes (if using). Set the sauce aside.
- Stir-Fry Chicken:
- Heat the vegetable oil in a wok over high heat. Add the chicken strips and stir-fry until they are no longer pink, about 2-3 minutes. Remove the chicken from the wok and set it aside.
- Vegetable Stir-Fry:
- In the same wok, add a bit more oil if needed. Stir in the minced garlic, bell peppers, carrots, and mushrooms. Stir-fry for about 4-5 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
- Combine and Stir:
- Add the cooked udon noodles, cooked chicken, and the sauce to the wok. Stir everything together and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until everything is heated through.
- Garnish and Serve:
- Garnish your Yaki Udon with chopped green onions and serve hot.
Tips for making Yaki Udon
Some serving suggestions that would pair well with yaki udon include:
- Gyoza dumplings – The pan-fried potstickers are a nice contrast in texture to the soft noodles. Pork, chicken or vegetable-filled dumplings are all classic options.
- Karaage – These are Japanese style fried chicken pieces that are crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. The crunch pairs perfectly with saucy noodles.
- Tempura vegetables – Lightly battered and fried vegetables like carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes or green beans make a colorful and tasty side.
- Miso soup – The salty, savory broth and soft tofu nicely balance out the sweetness of the yaki udon.
- Small mixed green salad – A simple salad with a light dressing adds some freshness and vegetables to complement the rich noodles.
- Onigiri – Japanese rice balls wrapped in nori seaweed make for great handheld finger food alongside the noodles. Fillings like salmon, tuna or pork are classic.
- Edamame – The popular boiled and salted soybeans make for a protein-packed, nutty and crunchy snack alongside the noodles.
I tried to suggest a variety of dishes that would offer different flavors, textures and ingredients to accompany yaki udon noodles for a well-rounded and delicious Japanese-inspired meal. Let me know if you need any additional serving suggestion ideas!
- High Heat: When stir-frying in a wok, ensure the heat is high. The key to achieving the perfect Yaki Udon is a quick, high-heat cook.
- Prep Ahead: Have all your ingredients ready before you start stir-frying. This includes sliced chicken, chopped vegetables, and the sauce mixture.
- Don’t Overcook: Be cautious not to overcook the udon noodles. They should be cooked until just tender, as they will continue to cook in the wok.
- Overcrowding the Wok: Overcrowding the wok can lead to steaming instead of stir-frying. Cook in batches if needed to avoid this.
- Soggy Noodles: Overcooking the udon noodles can make them soggy. Follow the package instructions for cooking time, but often, a quick boil is sufficient.
- Neglecting the Sauce: Ensure you evenly coat the noodles and ingredients with the sauce mixture. Neglecting the sauce can result in uneven flavor distribution.