Udon Stir Fry
This yaki udon recipe features stir fried udon noodles and vegetables in a simple but delicious sauce for a quick, healthy meal.
This recipe is inspired by Japanese yaki udon and it features stir fried udon with cabbage, green onion, carrot and mushrooms in a simple soy-based sauce.
The thick, chewy udon noodles are perfect for quick cooking and soaking up all the yummy sweet and savory sauce.
It’s packed with addictive umami flavour, super easy to make and easily customizable with any vegetables you have on hand. You can also add your choice of protein such as tofu or tempeh.
Try this quick stir fry any night of the week. It’s sure to be a family favorite!
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- Quick & Easy! Have this easy noodle dish on the table in about 20 minutes.
- Vegetarian and vegan.
- Add any protein you like to the recipe.
- Great for cleaning out the fridge and using up leftover ingredients.
- Packed with umami flavour, plenty of veggies and delicious, chewy udon noodles.
What is yaki udon?
Yaki udon is a Japanese dish featuring udon noodles stir fried with meat, vegetables and soy sauce-based sauce.
Yaki means “grill or fry” in Japanese and udon is a type of noodle made from wheat flour and are thick and a little chewy.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Complete list of ingredients with amounts and full instructions is located in the printable recipe card below. This section covers ingredient and substitution considerations.
- Dark Soy Sauce: The combination of dark and regular soy sauce will give you the best flavour and colour in the final dish. If you don’t have dark soy sauce, you can use 1 tbsp soy sauce with 1/2 tsp molasses and 1/8 tsp sugar. You can also use dark soy sauce in this drunken noodle recipe.
- Soy Sauce: You can use soy sauce or reduced-sodium soy sauce.
- Vegetarian Oyster Sauce: There are a number of brands that make vegetarian oyster sauce. Look for Naked and Saucy, Lee Kum Kee or Wan Ja Shan brands. You can also use vegetarian oyster sauce in this drunken noodle recipe. If you’re not vegan or vegetarian, regular oyster sauce works.
- Mirin: You can find mirin in well-stocked grocery stores or an Asian market. It’s a sweet rice wine used in Japanese cooking and adds amazing flavour to sauces, dressings and marinades. If you don’t have any on hand, try to find some to stock your pantry. You can also use mirin in this teriyaki chickpea bowl recipe.
- Maple Syrup: You can use any variety of maple syrup (dark, amber, light) for the sweetness in the sauce. A suitable substitute is agave syrup.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic is best here!
- Udon Noodles: I recommend frozen udon noodles. They have a nice, chewy texture and are fairly easy to find. If you can’t find frozen udon noodles, try fresh udon or if needed, shelf-stable packaged udon noodles.
- Carrot: For stir fries, I like to take the time to cut the carrot into matchsticks. They cook quickly and evenly this way. If you don’t have carrot on hand, totally fine. You can leave it out or try a different veggie like broccoli, snow peas, baby corn or snap peas.
- Cabbage: Use green cabbage. No cabbage? No problem! Just leave it out or swap it for something like bok choy or broccoli.
- Mushroom: Shiitake mushrooms are recommended but white or crimini mushrooms also work. If you don’t like mushrooms or don’t have any on hand, you can leave them out.
- Green Onion: The amount doesn’t have to be exact but you want about half of the bunch you’d buy at the grocery store or about 6-7 green onions. Reserve some for topping!
- Oil: You’ll need a bit of oil to stir fry the recipes though you could use water for an oil-free recipe. You can use a neutral oil like avocado or olive oil or for flavour, sesame oil is suitable.
How to Make Udon Stir Fry
Step 1: Prepare the Noodles.
If you’re using frozen or packaged pre-cooked udon noodles, soak them in hot water for about 1 minute, using a pair of chopsticks to gently separate the noodles. Once separated, drain and rinse under cold water and set aside.
Step 2: Prepare the Sauce.
Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a small dish.
Quick Tip: Make sure you measure the sauce ingredients accurately rather than eyeballing so you get the right balance of sweet and sour.
Step 3: Stir fry the Vegetables.
Heat 1 tbsp oil of choice in a large wok or frying pan. When the pan is hot add the carrot, cabbage and mushroom and stir fry for 5-6 minutes until they’re just tender.
Step 4: Add the Noodles & Sauce.
Add the green onion, noodles and sauce and cook for 1-2 minutes, tossing everything together until the noodles are coated in sauce.
Quick Tip: I like to mix it up (tongs work best!) then let it sit in an even layer for 1-2 minutes without stirring so the noodles crisp and brown on the bottom.
Serve your udon noodles right away topped with green onion and sesame seeds. If you’d like some heat, sprinkle with chili flakes or add a drizzle of Sriracha.
- Tip #1: Tongs are super handy for tossing the noodles with the vegetables and sauce. If you don’t have any in your kitchen, you can purchase an inexpensive pair of tongs and use them time and time again for noodles, pasta and more!
- Tip #2: Use a large pan or wok to stir fry. Stir fries work best with a large surface area, so use the largest pan you have to make this recipe.
- Tip #3: Let the noodles sit in the pan for 1-2 minutes at the end so they get a little crispy on the bottom.
- Tip #4: Be prepared. The recipe goes really quick once you start so make sure you have the ingredients prepared and sauce mixed before you start cooking.
- Tip #5: After you break the noodles apart in hot water, rinse well under cold water to remove starch and prevent them from sticking together.
What udon noodles to buy?
- Frozen Udon Noodles: These are my preferred choice for this stir fry and other udon noodle recipes. You can find them in the frozen foods section of well-stocked grocery stores or Asian grocery stores. They’re pre-cooked, so prepare them according to the pacakage or simply soak in hot water for a few minutes to defrost and separate the noodles before using in the recipe.
- Shelf-Stable (Packaged) Udon Noodles: These are commonly found in well-stocked grocery stores. They’re pre-cooked and can be added directly to soups, stir fries and other dishes. Though cooked, I’d suggest soaking them in hot water briefly to gently separate the noodles.
- Fresh udon noodles: If you have access to an Asian grocer, try the refrigerator section for fresh udon noodles. These are a great choice for recipes too!
- Dry udon noodles: These can sometimes be found in the Asian noodle section of grocery stores or Asian grocers with other dry noodles like rice stick, lo mein, ramen, etc. These will need to be cooked separately before using in the recipe.
Udon noodles are made from wheat flour. You can purchase udon noodles dried, frozen, fresh or pre-cooked and packaged.
You can buy vegetarian oyster sauce in well-stocked grocery stores, Asian grocery stores or online. Some brands that offer a vegetarian (vegan) oyster sauce are Naked and Saucy, Lee Kum Kee or Wan Ja Shan brands.
Udon noodles themselves can definitely be included as part of a healthy diet. Many people also find them easy to digest.
Udon noodles are primarily carbohydrate with some protein and little fat. They’re made simply from wheat, salt and water, though they do contain a range of essential vitamins and minerals.
If sodium is a concern, you may want to check the sodium content on the noodles you’re using as they can be high in sodium.
Once prepared in dishes like yaki udon, you may want to consider the amount of oil used, along with other ingredients and the serving size to determine if it’s a healthy choice for you.
Vegetables that work well in udon stir fry are cabbage, carrot, mushroom, broccoli, Chinese broccoli, green onion, snow peas, snap peas, bok choy, baby corn and red pepper.
You can also add tofu, tempeh, a meat alternative such as plant-based chicken or another protein of source.
For a super simple udon stir fry, use green onion, udon noodles and sauce.
Udon noodles are made from wheat so they are not gluten-free but there are companies make gluten-free dried udon rice noodles that you can use them in this recipe.
Otherwise, you could use a different type of noodle like egg noodles or rice noodles. It wouldn’t be an udon stir fry but it would still be tasty!
You will also need to substitute tamari for the dark and light soy sauce.
Storing & Reheating
Store: Store leftover yaki udon in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 4 days. I do not recommend freezing this recipe.
Reheating: To reheat leftovers, add them to a pan and stir fry over medium heat or microwave until heated through. If the noodles are stiking together after storing, you can add a 1-2 tbsp water to loosen them up.
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Yaki Udon Sauce
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce (20 g)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce (15 g)
- 3 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce (60 g)
- 1 tbsp mirin (15 g)
- 1 tbsp maple syrup (15 g)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp water
- pinch of chili flakes, optional
Noodles & Veggies
- 500 g udon noodles, frozen are best
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks (125 g)
- 2 cups green cabbage, thinly sliced (180 g)
- 2 cups shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced (110 g)
- 5–7 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp neutral oil, like avocado oil
- sesame seeds, for topping
- green onions, for topping
- chili flakes, for topping
- For the sauce: In a small bowl, mix all sauce ingredients together until combined. Set aside.
- Prepare the Noodles: If using frozen udon noodles, soak them in hot water for 1-2 min, carefully separating the noodles using chopsticks, then drain and rinse well under cold water. Set aside until ready to use. If you’re using shelf-stable packaged noodles, you don’t have to soak them but it’s helpful to gently separate and loosen the noodles.
- Stir Fry the Veggies: In a large pan or wok, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the carrots, cabbage and mushrooms. Cook for 5-6 min, stirring often, until tender.
- Add Noodles: When the veggies are tender, add the green onions (reserve some green onions for topping), udon noodles and prepared sauce. Cook for 1-2 min, tossing everything together until noodles are well coated. For slightly crisped noodles, mix well then let them sit without stirring for 1-2 minutes to brown on the bottom.
- Serve: Serve the yaki udon immediately. Garnish with extra green onions, toasted sesame seeds and chili flakes, if desired.
Store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in a hot pan or the microwave until heated through.
- Serving Size: 1/3 of recipe
- Calories: 382
- Sugar: 14 g
- Fat: 9 g
- Carbohydrates: 66 g
- Fiber: 7 g
- Protein: 12 g
Keywords: udon stir fry, yaki udon