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How To Prepare A Delicious Yaki Udon (The Easy Way)

There’s nothing quite like a thick and tasty stir fry mixed with a few veggies and a handful of extra ingredients to make for a delicious mid-week meal, especially since they can be made so easily and in no time at all.

How To Prepare A Delicious Yaki Udon (The Easy Way)

The only issue is that because a stir-fry is a mixture of so many ingredients coming together to create a new and unique flavor, this does mean that the ingredients need to be just right otherwise you could end up throwing the flavor off or having a rather unpleasant bowl of food that could have been so much more. 

That’s why following a delicious stir-fry recipe is always a great idea for trying out new foods and flavors, and you really can’t get much more delicious than the Japanese Yaki Udon stir-fry which is as delicious as it is nutritious. 

What Is A Yaki Udon Stir Fry?

Yaki Udon is a traditional Japanese stir-fry dish that is known for having a fairly thick texture while still being incredibly smooth and creamy that gives you that melt-in-the-mouth sensation with each and every bite. 

While some recipes can mix and match a few of the ingredients, the standard Yaki Udon stir fry recipe will often use a mixture of thick and chewy Udon noodles, mushrooms and vegetables to add a good amount of crunchiness to the meal, along with either Udon sauce or simply dark soy sauce to add just a hint of saltiness to the overall flavor. 

It is made from an assortment of vegetables, proteins and of course, the delightful Udon noodles which are very thick and chewy, while also being incredibly sweet in their flavor.

Udon noodles can often be mistaken for Yakisoba which are much thinner noodles and have a far saltier and more sweet-and-sour taste to them than Udon noodles. 

How Healthy Is A Yaki Udon Stir Fry?

Because it doesn’t go overboard on ingredients that are full of fat and instead only uses what it needs to for the dish to achieve its maximum flavor, Yaki Udon is known to be a very healthy dish that is actually extremely nutritious due to what is mixed in with the Udon noodles. 

The noodles mixed with either pork, chicken or seafood can ramp the protein levels up to 33 grams in the average bowl with the total carbs averaging around 47 grams due to the thick and chewy noodles. 

On top of all this, an average Yaki Udon stir fry only contains around 400 calories which is very low when compared to many other stir fry recipes that use the same amount of ingredients.

While this delightful stir fry recipe is therefore healthy already, if you want to go the extra mile, there’s no harm in adding even more veggies, just make sure not to add anything with a very prominent taste that could end up overpowering the fairly mild and savory flavor of the noodles.

A few chopped tomatoes for example or even some sliced kiwi are great examples of ingredients that boost the meal’s nutritional value while also helping to add to the sweetness of the dish. 

The Flavor And Taste Of Yaki Udon

As briefly mentioned earlier, the first thing you will immediately notice when tucking into a bowl of Yaki Udon is the thick and bouncy texture of the noodles since rather than being a smaller addition to the overall recipe, they are actually the main ingredient that will fill up most of the dish. 

While the sauces you add to the dish can greatly alter the overall flavor, on their own Udon noodles are known for having a savory and sweet taste that is mild in terms of its heat level. 

Because they are so thick, Udon noodles will also absorb any juices and flavors they come into contact with, which is why many people will say that adding sauce is a must when it comes to preparing a Yaki Udon so that you can enhance the flavor of the final product as much as possible depending on you and your guest’s preferences at the time. 

While stir fry sauce or regular soy sauce is the most common go-to option for many people, Udon sauce is also a sweet and richly flavored option that can be made from a mixture of sesame oil, mirin, sugar, oyster sauce and dark soy sauce, giving you an excellent amount of choice.

It should also be noted that Yaki Udon tastes incredibly light and refreshing, not only because it doesn’t go overboard with ingredients, but also because the method of cooking for a short time on a high heat allows the veggies and the noodles to remain fresh while also enhancing their natural flavors. 

How To Prepare The Udon Noodles

Before you start gathering the other ingredients to prepare a delicious Yaki Udon stir fry, you first need to make sure that you know how to properly prepare the main ingredient, the Udon noodles. 

While you can buy them in pre-cooked packets, the best way to prepare Udon noodles is by freezing them since this will allow their texture to become as chewy as possible when it’s time to cook them rather than being a little too soft and bland in their texture.

It will also mean the noodles are able to absorb the other flavors of the dish much easier. 

Once the noodles have been frozen for at least a few hours or a day or two, it’s time to boil them for between 2 – 4 minutes.

This won’t take much time as they have already been pre-cooked so cooking them for too long can end up making them too soft. 

The noodles will also separate on their own as you boil them so you won’t need to pry them apart yourself, and as soon as you notice that each of the strands has separated with none remaining clumped together, remove them from the pan and set them aside with a drizzle of oil to make sure they stay separated while you prepare the other ingredients.

Ingredients For Making A Yaki Udon Stir Fry

Part of the beauty of making a Yaki Udon and a major reason it is such a popular variation of the classic stir fry recipe is how you only need a handful of ingredients to actually prepare it, and many of these ingredients can actually be switched out depending on what kind of taste you want at the time. 

Here are the main ingredients you will need to prepare a delicious and satisfying Yaki Udon stir fry:

  • ½ Pack of Udon Noodles: Frozen will produce the best results, however, you can also use dried or fresh Udon noodles. 
  • 10 Shiitake Mushrooms: Gives the entire dish a very earthy flavor while also adding a little extra chewiness to the meal as a whole. 
  • 2 Tbsp Sesame Oil: Sesame oil is incredibly useful for keeping the noodles soft and slippery so that they don’t end up sticking together.
  • ¼ Head White Cabbage: Cabbage not only helps to pack out the dish, but its crunchy texture also compliments the softness and tenderness of the noodles incredibly well.
  • 1 Onion: Make sure the onion is thickly sliced so that you can get as much flavor and crunchiness from each bite as possible. 
  • 4 Spring Onions: Sauteed spring onions or scallions are one vegetable you need to include in a Yuki Udon meal to add just a hint of spiciness and extra flavor to the dish.
  • Optional Meat or Seafood: While it’s not essential, if you did want to add in any additional seafood or meat to boost the protein levels of the dish then you are definitely free to do so. Some popular protein examples include chicken, ground beef and shrimp.
  • Udon Sauce: While you can use any sweet sauce on a Yaki Udon, the most delicious is Udon sauce which is made from a combination of sesame oil, dark soy sauce, mirin, sugar, rice wine vinegar and sugar. All you need to do is add these ingredients into the mixture later on in the recipe and they will form a delightful and savory Udon sauce.

How To Make Yaki Udon

Once you have all the ingredients ready, it’s time to start making some delicious Yaki Udon, and since it’s a stir fry recipe, that means it can be whipped up in no time at all. 

Step 1) Start Boiling The Noodles

Start by taking the frozen noodles and boiling them for between 2 to 4 minutes. If you notice that the temperature starts to drop as they cook or that there are fewer bubbles than usual, this is completely normal and is only because the noodles have already been cold.

If your Udon noodles are dry, then they will also take between 2 and 4 minutes to boil, however, dried noodles on the other hand will take longer with them usually being ready between 6 and 7 minutes instead.

Step 2) Test If The Noodles Are Ready

Since Udon noodles need to be tender without having a hard core, an easy way to test if they have been boiled for long enough is by plucking a strand from the pot, plunging it in some cold water and the biting to see if there is any hardness, especially near the center. 

If not and if the surface tastes slippery but not mushy, then the noodles will have been cooked thoroughly enough.

To make the perfect Yaki Udon recipe, you preferably want the noodles to have the perfect balance of still remaining chewy to bite into without tasting too soft or mushy. 

Step 3) Remove Noodles

Once they’re done, drain the noodles and leave them in the colander so that they are ready to be used later on when the extra ingredients are added. 

Step 4) Saute The Onions And Cabbage

Start heating up your single tablespoon of oil in a large pan and saute the onions and cabbage first for around 5 minutes since they will take the longest out of all the ingredients.

You can easily tell if the onions are nearly cooked by prodding to see how soft they have become and if they start giving off a sweet and caramel-like aroma. 

Step 5) Add Extra Ingredients

After 5 minutes it’s time to start adding in some of the extra ingredients, starting with the mushrooms and spring onions.

You will only need to heat both these ingredients up for no longer than 2 extra minutes since they will soften very quickly, and if you do have any additional veggies that you would like to add in, now is the time to do it. 

Step 6) Add The Noodles

Once your tasty ingredients have been thoroughly heated up, it’s time to add the thick and chewy Udon noodles to the mix.

If your noodles have turned a little cold after being left out for too long, then it can be a good idea to give them a few minutes to heat up first, however, if they are still warm enough then you can add them in and move onto the next step straight away. 

It can also never hurt to add in any remaining sesame oil you may have along with the noodles just so that you can be fully sure that none of the individual strands start sticking to each other when the dish is finally ready to serve. 

Step 7) Apply Your Sauce

Once all the ingredients are piping hot and have been mixed together, it’s time to add in the ingredients for your sauce to make the dish as creamy and delicious as it can possibly be.

You will only need to take an extra minute or two to mix the sauce ingredients until it turns nice and creamy and starts to become absorbed by the thick noodles. 

Step 8) Sprinkle With Extra Garnishes

Once the dish is piping hot and the sauce has started easing into the other ingredients, sprinkle over any extra garnishes you may have to add just a little more flavor whether it’s some spicy chili flakes or just a few leftover spring onions, the choice is entirely up to you and how you want the dish to taste. 

How To Serve Yaki Udon

Because of how easy it is to make along with the incredible amount of nutritional value it offers, Yaki Udon is most commonly eaten as a solo meal and a great recipe to whip up in the afternoon or evening to break up the day. 

While the mixture of ingredients is more than enough on its own, a traditional serving that can often be seen alongside Yaki Udon is fried tofu which adds a nice amount of crunchiness to an otherwise fairly soft dish.

On top of this, there’s also nothing quite like dipping fried tofu into the creamy mixture of sauces and ingredients of Yaki Udon and letting it soak up all the flavors for you to enjoy. 

If you’re intending to whip up a Yaki Udon in the summer or spring and want it to be as light and refreshing as possible, you can also serve it with a few extra veggies on the side to turn it into an appetizing dinner option that won’t leave you feeling bogged down for the rest of the day. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Yaki Udon Spicy?

Unless you add some chili flakes or garnish the recipe with any extra ingredients to purposefully make it a bit spicer on the tastebuds, Yaki Udon will only ever be mild in its heat level and that’s only because of the small amount of spice provided by the spring onions. 

The noodles themselves are considered extremely weak in their spiciness and the Yaki Udon sauce only makes the entire dish more savory due to the inclusion of soy sauce and mirin, so if you’re not a lover of spice, the Yaki Udon will be the perfect dish for you. 

Are Udon Noodles Vegan?

The good news is that because they are made from just wheat flour and water, Udon noodles are vegan-friendly since they are one of the very few types of noodles that don’t actually contain any egg.

With that being said, if you are ever ordering a Yaki Udon in a restaurant, it’s always a worthwhile idea to double-check with the staff to make sure there are no extra ingredients that may not be vegan friendly. 


Whether you’re looking for a switch up from the regular stir fry recipe or you just want a filling and satisfying meal that you can enjoy anywhere and at any time, you really can’t go wrong with a mouth-watering Yaki Udon stir fry, especially since they are so easy to make. 

While this is the traditional recipe when it comes to making Yaki Udon, feel free to add any extra vegetables, meat, fish or spices to customize this dish the way that you would like it.

Justin Roberts