Yaki Udon. Bouncy chewy udon noodles stir fried in a delicious sweet savory sauce with vegetables and your choice of protein. This Japanese stir-fried noodle dish comes together quickly in just 15 minutes with simple ingredients in one pan!
What is Yaki Udon (焼きうどん)?
Yaki Udon noodles is a Japanese stir-fried dish sold at Izakaya’s (Japanese pubs), Japanese restaurants or at Japanese convenience stores. Furthermore, it has become very popular on social media thanks how quick and simple it is to make. Basically it's made of fresh udon noodles stir fried in a sweet, tangy, and savory sauce with umami flavor along with mushrooms, carrots, cabbage, onions, green onions, and your choice of protein.
These stir-fried udon noodles serve well as one of those easy dinners or lunch ideas. It's one of my favourite noodle dishes thanks to the flavors of the sauce! The chewy texture of the thick noodles combined with the crisp vegetables and protein will satisfy your tastebuds! You can make this dish with pork as suggested, chicken, shrimp, or beef and swap out the vegetables for ones you enjoy! A great way to use up any leftover ingredients that may be sitting in the fridge.
Please scroll down to below full recipe card for exact measurements.
Note: The Asian grocery store is likely to carry these ingredients. You may find some at your select grocery store or online, like on Amazon.
- Udon Noodles: Since this is the main ingredient, I highly recommend frozen udon noodles or fresh noodles over the shelf stable kind as the frozen or fresh ones have a chewier texture.
- You may substitute with dry udon noodles but please follow package instructions for the cooking time. We'll also be simply soaking the frozen udon noodles in boiling hot water for 30-45 seconds or until loosened for chewy noodles. If you're using fresh noodles, please follow package directions to prepare them and I would suggest rinsing them under cold water.
- You can locate frozen udon noodles at the Asian market in the freezer section.
- If you can't find udon noodles, any thick wheat noodles will work or you can substitute with soba noodles, ramen noodles, or egg noodles.
- Protein: I've suggested to use pork belly in this recipe but substitute with any protein of your choice. Other substitutes can include scrambled eggs, chicken thighs, chicken breast, pork loin, steak, ground meat like ground beef, ground pork, ground chicken or turkey, shrimp, or tofu.
- Cabbage: green cabbage or napa cabbage work for this recipe. You can also substitute with bok choy, yu choy or choy sum, gai lan, snap peas, or snow peas.
- Mushrooms: this recipe calls for button mushrooms, but you can substitute with shiitake mushrooms, cremini mushrooms, enoki mushrooms or seafood mushrooms.
- Carrots: this root vegetable gives our dish some color. You can substitute with bell pepper.
- Onion: an important aromatic in our Japanese udon noodles
- Green onions: another key aromatic ingredient to elevate these Japanese noodles.
- Garlic cloves: to add a little bit of color to our bowl of yaki udon.
- Neutral oil: like avocado oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil or canola oil. Avoid olive oil, coconut oil or any heavy scented oils.
Stir Fry Sauce:
- Dark soy sauce: this is different from regular soy sauce. It's much thicker in texture and darker in color. If you don't have dark soy sauce, substitute with the regular kind.
- Regular soy sauce: aka all-purpose soy sauce. This is different from dark soy sauce as it's not as dark or thick in color. You may also substitute with low sodium soy sauce or light soy sauce. If you’re gluten-free, substitute with tamari sauce, coconut aminos or a gluten-free soy sauce of your choice.
- Oyster sauce: this ingredient is a thick sauce that offers a savory umami flavor. Do not confuse it with hoisin sauce. Hoisin sauce looks similar but is a sweet barbecue-like sauce. It's a key ingredient to our savoury sauce! You can find this at most Asian markets. Substitute? Use vegetarian stir fry sauce if you're not a fan of oysters.
- Mirin: this is a popular sweet rice cooking wine used in Japanese cooking. It's quite essential to the yaki udon sauce; however, if you don't have it, omit, and add a bit more sugar.
- Rice vinegar: aka rice wine vinegar. This makes the sauce a bit tangy. If you don't have this, substitute with Worcestershire sauce.
- White granulated sugar: or substitute with brown sugar or honey.
- Optional garnishes: a drizzle of sesame oil, sesame seeds, bonito flakes or a sprinkle of dashi powder.
How to Make Yaki Udon
In a small bowl, combine sauce ingredients as listed above. Set aside.
Soak Udon Noodles
In a large bowl, soak udon noodles in hot boiling water for 30-60 seconds or until loosened.
Strain Udon Noodles
Fry Pork Belly
In a large skillet or large wok, heat vegetable oil or any neutral oil over medium-high heat.
Then fry pork belly until golden brown and most of the fat has rendered out, about 2-3 minutes. Remove pork belly from frying pan and set aside.
Stir Fry Aromatics
Reduce to medium heat. Stir fry garlic and onions until translucent, about 30 seconds.
Stir Fry Veggies
Add cabbage, mushrooms, and carrots and fry until softened, a few minutes. Feel free to add ¼ cup water to the pan to help cook the veggies. Allow the water to fully evaporate before moving onto next step.
Add Noodles, Sauce & Pork Belly
Toss in noodles, sauce, and pork belly. Mix until noodles are coated in sauce.
Finally garnish with green onions and enjoy!
Storage & Reheating
If you have leftover yaki udon, store the noodles in an airtight container and it will last up to 4 days in the fridge. To reheat, you can microwave for 1-2 minutes or reheat in a frying pan over medium heat with a little oil.
FAQ & Substitutions
Where can I find udon noodles?
Most Asian markets will sell them. I recommend going for the frozen kind in the freezer section as they're chewier in texture.
Can I use another protein for this dish?
Yes, feel free to use any of the suggested proteins for this stir fry:
- scrambled eggs
- chicken thighs
- chicken breast
- pork loin
- ground meat like ground beef, ground pork, ground chicken
Is there a substitute for mirin?
For this recipe, I would suggest omitting the mirin and adding more sugar to taste. Mirin is a popular sweet rice cooking wine where you can't taste much of the alcohol when it's used in stir fries.
Can I substitute with other vegetables?
Yes! Feel free to substitute with any of the following ideas:
- bok choy
- gai lan
- yu choy or choy sum
- bell peppers
- snap peas
- snow peas
Any substitutes for oyster sauce?
Yes, substitute with vegetarian stir fry sauce.
Other Udon recipes you may enjoy!
- Black Pepper Beef Udon
- Creamy Mushroom Black Garlic Udon
- Mushroom Udon Stir Fry
- Garlic Shrimp Udon Noodles
- Curry Udon Noodle Stir Fry
- Creamy Rose Bacon Udon
- Udon Carbonara
Easy 15-min. Yaki Udon Noodles
- 1 lb udon frozen kind recommended
- ½ lb pork belly sliced or sub with chicken, shrimp, pork or steak
- 1 cup cabbage thinly sliced
- ¾ cup mushrooms sliced
- ½ cup carrots julienned
- ½ onion julienned
- 1 green onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or any neutral oil
- In a small bowl, combine sauce ingredients as listed above. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, soak udon noodles in hot boiling water for 30-60 seconds or until loosened. Strain immediately.
- In a large skillet or large wok, heat vegetable oil or any neutral oil over medium-high heat.
- Fry pork belly until golden brown and most of the fat has rendered out, about 2-3 minutes. Remove pork belly from frying pan and set aside.
- Reduce to medium heat. Stir fry garlic and onions until translucent, about 30 seconds. Add cabbage, mushrooms, and carrots and fry until softened, a few minutes. Feel free to add ¼ cup of water to help cook the veggies and allow the water to fully evaporate before moving onto the next step.
- Toss in noodles, sauce, and pork belly. Mix until noodles are coated in sauce. Remove off heat.
- Garnish with green onions and enjoy!
Suggested Equipment & Products
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