This easy yaki udon or stir fried udon noodle is a great recipe to have for a quick meal. It takes only 15 minutes to make and is easily customizable so that you can use up what you have in the fridge. Pair it with garlic bok choy for some extra veggies or our air fryer chicken katsu to complete the meal!
Yaki udon is a Japanese stir fried udon noodle dish with your choice of protein and veggies and stir fried in a savory, tangy brown sauce that requires only 4 ingredients. It's a great back pocket recipe for when you want a quick and easy lunch or dinner or when you want to use up all the leftover veggies in your fridge!
Please scroll down to the recipe card for the ingredient quantities!
- Udon noodles - We usually use frozen udon noodles that you can at most Asian markets in the freezer aisles. These udon noodles are already pre-cooked and only needs to be reheated in hot water. If you prefer, you could use dry udon noodles instead. Just note that the texture will be a little different.
- Protein - Feel free to use any protein of your choice, whether ground meat, thinly sliced meat, or even tofu. If you prefer, you could also just use more vegetables instead of adding a protein.
- Vegetables and green onion - We usually just use whatever vegetables we have on hand to make yaki udon, which usually are carrots, mushrooms, onions, and sometimes bell pepper or broccoli. So please feel free to use what you prefer or use this chance to clean out your fridge!
- Salt - Just a pinch to season the vegetables.
- Oil - Just a little cooking oil for stir frying. Any neutral oil will do.
- Soy sauce, oyster sauce, Worcestershire sauce - These three sauces are the base for our yaki udon sauce. They all give the yaki udon it's brown color, salty flavor, and tanginess. Oyster sauce gives the dish an additional bit of umami.
- Sugar - Sugar helps to balance out the salty, tanginess from the other sauces. Regular granulated sugar is perfect, but if you prefer, you can use an alternative sweetener. If using raw sugar, you may need to heat the sauce briefly to help dissolve the granules.
- Dark soy sauce - Dark soy sauce is an optional ingredient. It's to give the yaki udon a dark color. Feel free to omit if you prefer.
How to make yaki udon
Please scroll down to the recipe card for the full recipe and instructions!
1. Prepare sauce. Mix together the ingredients for the yaki udon sauce and set aside until needed.
2. Prepare udon noodles. Bring a pot of water to a boil, then take it off the heat. Place the frozen udon noodle in the water for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the noodles are soft and bouncy. Stir the noodles occasionally. Drain well when ready.
🌟Pro tip: You can also prepare the udon in a heatproof bowl and just pour boiling hot water over it to let soak. Also, if you are preparing the udon noodles a little earlier, rinse the noodles with cold water to prevent the noodles from sticking together.
3. Stir fry protein. Add the protein to a pan over medium high heat with a couple tablespoon of oil. Stir fry until the meat is about 90 percent cooked. If using ground meat, make sure to break it up. For sliced meat, you can sear on both sides.
4. Add vegetables and udon noodles. To the protein, add the vegetables and stir fry for a few minutes until the veggies starts to soften. Then, add the drained udon noodles and green onions. Stir fry briefly to combine.
🌟 Pro tip: Instead of adding all the vegetables at one time, add and cook the vegetables according to hardiness. For example, mushrooms and bell pepper could be added after the carrots. This way, the vegetables can maintain their texture and not become mush.
5. Add sauce. Pour the sauce into the pan and toss and stir fry for a couple of minutes until the sauce thickens, looks glossy, and coats everything evenly. Enjoy while hot!
- Feel free to swap out proteins and vegetables to your preference. Yaki udon is a great clean-out-the-fridge dish that's flexible and can be easily customized. So feel free to swap or use the protein and vegetables you have on hand.
- Don't over cook the udon noodles. If using frozen udon, there's no need to boil the noodles. The udon noodles are already pre-cooked, so all that's needed is to soak it in boiling hot water for a few minutes.
- Drain the udon noodles well. Make sure the udon noodles are drained well before using! This way the sauce won't become diluted and watery.
Storage and reheating
Store leftover yaki udon in an airtight container, in the fridge, once it is completely cooled. It will be good for up to 4 days.
To reheat, you can sauté the leftover yaki udon in a pan over medium heat until everything is heated through. Add a small amount of water to the pan if needed. You can also microwave the udon until hot. Just make sure to cover it with a lid.
Yaki udon and yaki soba are both Japanese stir fried noodles dishes. The two dishes are very similar. The major difference is that yaki udon, as the name suggests, uses thick udon noodles, which are chewier and bouncier. Yaki soba on the other hand uses thin Chinese style wheat noodles instead.
If you prefer, you can use this vegetables stir fry sauce instead of the oyster sauce. It won't have the funk that oyster sauce has, so the flavor will be a little different. But, it'll still taste good!
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Yaki Udon (Stir Fried Udon Noodles)
For the dish:
- 1 slab udon noodles frozen
- 4 ounces protein of your choice ground or thinly sliced (we usually use ground beef)
- 3 cups vegetables of your choice cut into bite size (we like to use onions, mushrooms, carrots, bell peppers)
- 1 stalk green onion cut into 2 inch pieces
- Kosher salt a generous pinch or as needed for cooking
- Oil as needed for cooking (any neutral oil)
For the sauce:
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce light sodium
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce (optional for a darker color)
- For the sauce:In a small bowl prepare the sauce by mixing together the soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, Worcestershire, and dark soy sauce. Set aside until needed.
- For the udon noodles:Bring a pot of water to a boil, then take it off the heat. Place the frozen slab of udon noodles into the hot water and let it soak for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until the noodles are completely thawed and bouncy. Stir occasionally.*You can also do the same in a heatproof bowl and pour boiling water over the noodles.*
- Once the udon noodles are ready, drain well and set aside. If the noodles are prepared ahead of time, rinse with cold water to prevent the noodles from sticking together.
- Stir fry:Into a saute pan over medium high heat, add a couple tablespoons of oil. Once the oil is hot, add your protein and cook until 90 percent cooked. For ground meat, make sure to break it up. For thinly sliced meat, you can sear it on both sides.
- Add the mixed vegetables and season lightly with some salt. Stir fry for a couple of minutes until the vegetables start to soften, then add the udon noodles and green onions. Stir fry briefly to combine.
- Give the prepared sauce a stir and pour into the pan. Toss and stir fry for a couple of minutes until the sauce thickens a little, looks glossy, and everything is evenly coated with sauce.
- Transfer to a plate and enjoy the yaki udon while hot.
- Udon noodles - We used frozen udon noodles, which are already precooked and only need to be heated in hot water until thawed and bouncy. You could also use dry udon noodles instead. If so, please follow the noodle's package instruction.
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