Yaki Udon is a simple one-pan meal loaded with vegetables, mushrooms, and your choice of protein coated in an incredibly flavorful sauce that will have you craving for more. This recipe calls for simple ingredients to make the best stir fried udon noodles in just 15 minutes!
Easy weeknight dinner made in a single pan!
Stir fried udon is, without a doubt, one of my favorite meals to make during the week due to its ease of preparation and scrumptious taste.
The thick, chewy texture of Japanese udon noodles makes them my top choice to use in a quick stir fry, as they are truly the best at soaking up all the flavors of the sauce.
Above all, I always make sure to have packs of udon noodles ready to go in my freezer to use in my emergency meals, as they are so convenient to cook with.
I’ve shared many stir fried udon recipes on my blog including Kimchi Udon, Bulgogi Udon, and Creamy Mushroom Miso Udon, but these Yaki udon noodles are the most classic and popular version of stir-fried udon noodles.
What is Yaki Udon?
Yaki Udon (焼きうどん) is a stir-fried udon noodle dish from Japan that’s made with an assortment of vegetables and meat coated in a delicious sweet and savory sauce.
The name of the dish translates to “fried udon” (“Yaki” meaning fry or grill), which also indicates the type of noodles being used.
A similar rendition of this dish is Yakisoba, which is another well-known Japanese noodle dish that’s made with yakisoba noodles instead of udon.
Yaki udon noodles are incredibly popular in Japan and can be often found at festivals (omatsuri) and Izakayas (Japanese pubs) around the world, with the most popular variations being shrimp or chicken Yaki udon.
Thanks to its ease of preparation, Yaki udon is also enjoyed at home in many Asian households in different variations depending on the available ingredients.
Thanks to its versatile flavors, it’s also the perfect dish to make to clean out your fridge and use up your left-over ingredients to make a delicious stir fried udon.
If you have any kewpie mayo and bonito flakes on hand, I highly recommend adding them as garnishes to add as much umami flavor as possible. It is absolutely delicious!
What do I need to make Yaki Udon?
The best part about this dish is that it requires simple ingredients from your kitchen to put together, in which the assortment of veggies/meat can be easily altered to your preference.
Here is a list of ingredients you will need for this recipe:
- Udon noodles: I prefer using frozen “Sanuki-style” udon noodles for this recipe as they are easily accessible, store for months in the freezer, and the best type of udon to use in a stir fry.
- Frozen udon noodles have a nice chewy texture and are less prone to getting mushy and overcooked during the cooking process.
- Shrimp or chicken: or your choice of protein including thinly sliced beef, pork, bacon, or other types of seafood.
- Some vegetarian options include tofu, mushrooms, or you can simply add other vegetables like bell pepper or bok choy to the mix.
- Onion & garlic: for the aromatics.
- Cabbage, carrot, mushrooms & green onions: to add to the stir fry. Feel free to be creative with this! Stir-fries are a great opportunity to use up leftover vegetables from your fridge.
- Dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, mirin, and brown sugar: for the sauce. You can optionally add some Gochugaru or crushed red pepper to the sauce if you like a hint of spice.
- Kewpie mayo, bonito flakes, toasted sesame seeds, and/or green onions: optional for garnish.
Tips & tricks to make the best Yaki Udon Noodles
Although this Yaki udon recipe is easy to follow, I wanted to share few helpful tips to help your cooking process. Here are some tips to make the best udon stir fry:
Prepare your ingredients in advance including the sauce.
Stir fry dishes come together quickly in a hot pan, and preparing all components in advance will make your process a lot easier!
Quickly thaw your frozen noodles by using hot water.
To thaw your frozen noodles in the easiest way possible, soak them in hot water for about a minute, and use a pair of chopsticks to carefully loosen the noodles.
When the noodles are loose, drain and rinse them under cold water in a colander to retain the texture, and set aside to use in the stir fry.
You can also prepare them in boiling water, but I found that preparing them this way is a lot more convenient and time-efficient.
Use a wok to ease your cooking process.
This is essential cookware to use for any stir-fry dishes, including this Yaki udon recipe.
A wok distributes heat quickly & evenly on the entire surface, and the curvature allows the food to be tossed around without causing a mess.
Using a wok will also help to caramelize the noodles as the high heat creates a delicious charred flavor as the sauce hits the pan.
And there you have it! So long as you follow the right steps, making your own udon stir fry is so easy to do in the comfort of your home.
As mentioned earlier, this stir fry dish is prepared in a single wok or large pan, which makes cleanup a breeze!
Let’s be honest, we could all use less dishes to clean, and simple recipes like this are truly a breath of fresh air.
I hope you enjoy this shrimp or chicken Yaki udon recipe, and please feel free to leave a comment below or message me on Instagram for any questions!
Other easy Dinner recipes you may like:
- Creamy Mushroom Miso Udon
- Melt-In-Your-Mouth Japanese Hamburger Steak
- Oyakodon (Japanese Chicken & Egg Rice Bowl)
- Bulgogi Beef Udon Stir Fry
- Zaru Soba (Cold Soba Noodles)
Watch how to make it:
Easy 15-Minute Yaki Udon (Stir Fried Udon Noodles)
- 2 servings (500g) udon noodles frozen
- 2 tbsp cooking oil divided
- 1/2 lb shrimp or thinly sliced chicken, beef, pork, bacon, tofu, or extra vegetables
- 1/2 medium onion sliced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup cabbage shredded
- 1/4 cup carrot julienned
- 3 mushrooms sliced
- 2 green onions chopped
- kewpie mayo, bonito flakes, toasted sesame seeds, and/or green onions for garnish, optional
- Season shrimp or your choice of protein with salt and pepper. Combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
- To prepare your udon noodles, soak them in hot water for about a minute, and use a pair of chopsticks to carefully loosen the noodles. Rinse with cold water, drain, and set aside.
- Heat oil in a wok or a large pan over medium heat and and the shrimp or your choice of protein. Cook for about 2 minutes or until opaque. Remove and set aside.
- Add oil to the same wok, add onion and garlic, and cook until aromatic. Add cabbage, carrot, and mushrooms, and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the cooked shrimp, udon noodles, and sauce, and toss them together until the noodles are evenly coated. Add green onions and mix to combine. Garnish and enjoy!
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