Yaki Udon is Japanese stir-fried udon noodles made with your choice of protein and vegetables seasoned with a savory sauce. Ready in 25 mins, and incredibly delicious!
One of the most popular recipe categories on Just One Cookbook is quick and easy meals. Within this category, Yaki Udon (焼きうどん) has been one of readers’ favorite dishes.
What’s Yaki Udon?
Yaki Udon (焼きうどん) is Japanese stir-fried udon noodles with meat and vegetables.
It’s very similar to another Japanese stir-fried noodle dish called Yakisoba (焼きそば) as they use almost the same ingredients except for the type of the noodles.
Here is the difference between Yaki Udon and Yakisoba:
- Yaki Udon – Yaki udon always uses udon noodles. Udon noodles are thick and chewy white noodles made with wheat flour and water. Udon noodles are very versatile – in hot noodle soup like Kitsune Udon and Nabeyaki Udon, in cold noodle dishes like Tanuki Udon, and lastly, in stir-fried dishes like Yaki Udon.
- Yakisoba – Yakisoba uses chukamen (中華麺), yellowish Chinese style noodles made with wheat flour and kansui (alkaline solution). These same noodles are used for Ramen and Yakisoba.
Watch How To Make Yaki Udon (Stir-Fried Udon Noodles)
Delicious Japanese stir-fried udon noodles with cabbage, onion, pork, shiitake mushrooms, flavored with a savory sauce.
What You Need to Make Yaki Udon
The best part about this dish is that you can pretty much use any protein and vegetables from your refrigerator to make this dish.
- Protein: For more traditional Yaki Udon (or Yakisoba), pork is typically used. I usually like to use thinly sliced pork belly for more flavors. However, it’s up to you if you prefer to use chicken, beef, or seafood such as shrimp and squid. With firm tofu cubes (or tofu puffs), you can easily make it vegan and vegetarian.
- Vegetables: Use scraps of vegetables that you have in your fridge. Got mushrooms, too? Add them in!
- Udon Noodles: I recommend using frozen udon noodles (the one package says “Sanuki Udon”) because they are chewy and delicious. The elastic texture of those frozen noodles is great for stir-fried noodles. However, I recommend avoiding most refrigerated udon noodles found in the Asian or American supermarkets because they break very easily and taste floury/doughy. Refrigerated udon noodles found in Japan have a good texture, but I haven’t seen them here in the US yet. Another option is dried udon noodles. These noodles are usually flat and the texture is less chewy, but the good news is that they won’t break into pieces like refrigerated udon noodles.
Perfect Weeknight Meal
Yaki Udon is a quick and easy home cooking dish to make for your family or for yourself, with typical ingredients you probably already have in the fridge.
Here is my last tip before you go: Always have frozen or dried udon packages in your kitchen, then you can make this dish instead of getting takeout or eating out. My daughter absolutely loves udon noodles so I always keep some in my freezer for a quick meal.
Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.
- 2 servings udon noodles (180 g dry udon noodles; 500 g frozen/boiled udon noodles)
- ½ onion
- 2-3 leaves cabbage
- 1 carrot
- 2 shiitake mushrooms
- 2 green onions/scallions
- ½ lb sliced pork belly (or your choice of meat, seafood, or extra vegetables/mushrooms)
- 1 Tbsp neutral-flavored oil (vegetable, rice bran, canola, etc)
- freshly ground black pepper
- 3 Tbsp mentsuyu/tsuyu (noodle soup base) (Mentsuyu I use is 3-times concentrated. If you use non-concentrated Mentsuyu, you might need to add more to achieve the same flavor. You could skip Mentsuyu and increase the soy sauce to a total of 2-3 Tbsp (gradually increase, please), but the final dish will taste slightly different. Here's my homemade mentsuyu recipe.)
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) (or 1 small package of katsuobushi)
- 1 Tbsp pickled red ginger (beni shoga or kizami beni shoga) (optional)
- Gather all the ingredients. I like using frozen Sanuki udon noodles, which require blanching in boiling water for just 1 minute before using. If you use dried udon noodles, boil them according to the package instruction.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook udon noodles.
- Slice onion and cut cabbage into 1” (2.5 cm) square pieces. Julienne the carrot into 2” (5 cm) long strips.
- Discard the tough shiitake stems and slice the mushroom tops. Thinly slice the top 2” (5 cm) green part of scallions and set aside (for garnish). Cut the rest of the scallion into 2” (5 cm) pieces.
- Cut the pork belly slices into 1” (2.5 cm) pieces.
- In a frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook until almost cooked through. Then add onion and cook until translucent and soft.
- Add cabbage and carrots and stir fry until coated with oil. Then add shiitake mushrooms and scallion. Stir fry until vegetables are lightly wilted.
- Add udon noodles and using tongs, combine well with all the ingredients.
- Add freshly ground black pepper, 3 Tbsp mentsuyu, and 1 tsp soy sauce and mix all together. Please adjust the amount of mentsuyu to your liking.
- Serve on a plate and sprinkle bonito flakes and green onions on top. Garnish with red pickled ginger on the side if you like.
- You can keep the leftover in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days and in the freezer for a month.
Other Popular Noodle Dishes:
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2011.