Yaki Udon (Japanese Stir Fried Udon Noodles)

Make this Japanese-inspired yaki udon recipe for easy weeknight dinners! Bouncy udon noodles, a variety of stir fried vegetables, and your favorite ground meat are tossed in a homemade stir fry sauce to give you a hassle-free and satisfying meal in only 20 minutes.

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Looking for more slurpable, saucy noodle dishes? Check out my Pork Drunken Noodles, Peanut Noodles with Chicken, and Dan Dan Noodles recipes while you’re here!

This easy Yaki Udon recipe is a weeknight recipe you may kick yourself for missing out on. Like udon soup, this dish makes perfectly thick, chewy, and easy-to-cook udon noodles the star of the show. Tossed in a savory stir fry sauce with ground meat and veggies, it’s a foolproof and satisfying weeknight dish!

The real magic of authentic Japanese yaki udon is its versatility. You’re free to make it with the ground meat of your choice (chicken, beef, and pork all pair well), or you can swap the meat for baked tofu or extra vegetables. Speaking of vegetables, go ahead and swap the 6 simple veggies in the recipe for any of your favorites or what you have on hand. 

As a perfect clean-out-your-fridge meal, stir fried udon is your ticket to a delicious home-cooked Japanese dinner, any way you like it.

Hand grabbing chopsticks full of noodles.

What is yaki udon? 

Yaki udon (pronounced yah-kee oo-don) is a Japanese dish made by tossing thick and chewy udon noodles with stir fried vegetables, meat (usually ground pork), and a savory, umami-rich sauce. It’s said that the yaki udon recipe was created during World War II as a way to make use of available ingredients. Now, it’s a popular Japanese staple that can be made with any meat, protein, or variety of vegetables you like!

Yaki udon vs. yakisoba

Yaki udon and yakisoba are both popular Japanese stir fried noodle dishes. They’re essentially cousins! They do, however, come with slight differences.

Yakisoba is made with thin, wheat-based soba noodles and a Worcestershire-based sweet and tangy sauce. Yaki udon features thick, chewy udon noodles and a more savory, umami-forward soy sauce-based sauce. 

Of course, both dishes are delicious, but if you’re hoping for a heartier stir fried noodle experience, yaki udon is the one to try! 


Ingredients for yaki udon labeled on counter.
  • Stir fry sauce – I dressed up this easy udon recipe with a simple 6-ingredient homemade stir fry sauce. To make it, all you need is dark and low-sodium soy sauce, oyster sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, and sugar. The result is a nuanced and umami-packed sauce that balances every bite of stir fried noodles and veggies.
  • Udon noodles – Big, bouncy Japanese udon noodles add a delightful chewiness to every bite. Pick up fresh, frozen, or shelf-stable udon for this recipe, or swap it for another long, thick noodle, like rice noodles, spaghetti, or bucatini.
  • Avocado oil
  • Ground meat – Make this recipe with ground pork, beef, chicken, or turkey. The choice is yours! For more meats and proteins you can use, scroll to the Variations section below.
  • Yellow onion 
  • Mushrooms – Use white mushrooms, cremini mushrooms, rehydrated shiitake mushrooms, portobello mushrooms, or any kind of mushroom you have on hand.
  • Red bell pepper – I like the sweetness of red bell peppers, but green, yellow, and orange peppers are also delicious.
  • Bok choy – This must-have stir fry ingredient adds a crunchy, slightly bitter contrast alongside the other ingredients. 
  • Green onions 
  • Garlic cloves
  • Garnishes – I highly recommend topping your stir fry with sesame seeds, furikake, or chile oil. Keep scrolling for even more delicious garnish ideas.

Tip: If you can’t find dark soy sauce (aka sweet soy sauce or kecap manis) you can make your own at home.

How to make yaki udon 

To make the sauce, whisk the dark soy sauce, low-sodium soy sauce, oyster sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, and sugar together in a medium bowl.

Next, boil the noodles according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water, then transfer them to a medium bowl and drizzle with oil.

Heat some oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the ground meat and cook until it’s browned and cooked through. Transfer the meat to a bowl. 

Add the onion and mushrooms to the now-empty pan. Cook until they start to soften, then add the peppers and bok choy. Once soft, stir in the green onions, garlic, and cooked meat.

Add the cooked noodles and sauce to the pan and gently toss until everything is coated in the sauce. Taste and adjust the flavors as needed.

Serve the yaki udon in bowls and garnish with scallions, sesame seeds, furikake, or chili oil. Enjoy!

Tips and tricks

  • Take a trip to your local Asian grocery store before making this recipe. There, you’ll find endless varieties of udon noodles, plus the best quality condiments for the sauce.
  • If you can’t find dark soy sauce (aka sweet soy sauce or kecap manis) you can make your own at home.
  • This recipe moves quickly, so I like to slice the veggies and make the sauce before I start cooking. You can even do this a day in advance and keep them in separate containers in the fridge.
  • Taste the sauce before adding it to the pan to make sure the flavors are perfect. If it’s too salty, add a little more sugar or mirin. If it’s too sweet, add another splash of soy sauce or rice vinegar.
  • High heat is the key to crisp-tender veggies and nicely seared meat in stir fry, so make sure your wok or skillet is hot before you start cooking. You’ll know it’s hot when the oil is shimmering and lightly smoking. 
Overhead close up of yaki udon in wok.


Like other noodle stir fries, yaki udon welcomes your customizations! Have fun with this recipe or check out these variation ideas when putting your own spin on it:

  • Swap the protein: Instead of using ground meat, make chicken yaki udon with leftover sliced chicken breasts or thighs, or opt for beef yaki udon with tender beef strips. Even sliced lamb or pork loin will work well! 
  • Use seafood instead: If you’re a bigger fan of seafood, make shrimp yaki udon by adding seared shrimp at the end. Or, consider a medley of fresh shrimp, scallops, squid, and mussels. Remember to sear the fresh seafood in the hot wok until they’re cooked through before tossing it with the cooked noodles and vegetables.
  • Vegan/vegetarian version: Swap meat for tofu, tempeh, or extra vegetables. Substitute the oyster sauce with a mushroom-based sauce or vegan hoisin sauce.
  • Add more vegetables: Mix and match the vegetables in the recipe with even more veggies like snap peas, broccoli, edamame, Napa cabbage, zucchini, baby corn, and spinach. 
  • Customize the sauce: Boost the umami flavor by stirring fish sauce or miso paste into the stir fry sauce. Or, for more heat, add chili oil, Sriracha sauce, or diced fresh chilies. For my ideas, check out these 15+ Tasty Sauces for Udon!

Serving suggestions

First and foremost, don’t skip the garnishes! Small touches, like green onion, sesame seeds, furikake, chili oil, and/or sesame oil sprinkled on top of the stir fry make all the difference in flavor and presentation.

For side dishes, here are some dishes that pair perfectly with yaki udon:

Yaki udon in serving bowl topped with black sesame seeds.


What kind of noodles are best for this stir fry?

Udon noodles are best for this recipe because they’re perfectly chewy and bouncy. Personally, I think fresh udon noodles have the best texture and flavor but frozen udon noodles and dried, shelf-stable udon noodles will also work well but may not be as chewy.

Can’t find udon? No problem. Make this dish with rice noodles, spaghetti, bucatini, or fettuccini noodles instead.

Is yaki udon gluten-free?

No, this dish is not inherently gluten-free because udon noodles and soy sauce contain wheat. The good news is that you can make yaki udon gluten-free by swapping the udon for gluten-free rice or soba noodles and using gluten-free soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos in the sauce instead of soy sauce.

Storing and reheating

Yaki udon is best served fresh out of the wok, as udon noodles tend to become gluey and sticky when reheating. Still, if you have leftovers, feel free to store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.

To reheat, microwave the leftovers for 1 to 2 minutes or warm them in a skillet over medium heat with a drizzle of oil until heated through.

Wine pairings for yaki udon

  • Sake is a no-brainer. Look for Junmai or Honjozo sake, which both have a clean and slightly fruity flavor profile that complements the umami-rich sauce. 
  • Or, if it’s easier for you to find, go with a versatile white wine like Riesling or Pinot Grigio.
Overhead shot of bowl of yaki udon with black chopsticks.

More noodle and stir fry recipes

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Overhead shot of bowl of yaki udon with black chopsticks.

Yaki Udon

Make this Japanese-inspired yaki udon recipe for easy weeknight dinners! Bouncy udon noodles, a variety of stir fried vegetables, and your favorite ground meat are tossed in a homemade stir fry sauce to give you a hassle-free and satisfying meal in only 20 minutes.
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 people


  • 2 Tablespoons dark soy sauce (***)
  • 2 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon mirin
  • 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 7-ounce packages fresh udon noodles (I used Fortune brand in my refrigerated produce section)
  • 1 Tablespoon avocado oil (plus more for drizzling, or vegetable or canola oil)
  • ½ pound ground pork (beef, chicken or turkey)
  • ½ yellow onion (thinly sliced)
  • 4 ounces white or cremini mushrooms (thinly sliced (about 1 cup))
  • ½ red pepper (thinly sliced)
  • 1 medium bok choy (sliced into1-inch pieces)
  • 3 green onions (sliced into1-inch pieces, plus more for serving)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • Sesame seeds (furikake or chile oil, for serving (optional))


  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the dark soy sauce, low-sodium soy sauce, oyster sauce, mirin, rice vinegar and sugar.
  • Bring a medium pot of water to boil over medium-high. Add the udon and cook according to the package directions. Drain, quickly rinse with cold water to stop the cooking, transfer to a medium bowl and drizzle with a little oil to prevent sticking.
  • In a wok or a large pan, heat 1 TBSP oil over medium-high heat. Add the ground meat and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a small bowl, leaving the oil and drippings in the wok.
  • To the now empty wok, add the onion and mushrooms, and cook until just beginning to soften, 2-3 minutes. Add the red pepper and bok choy and cook for about 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the green onions, garlic and cooked meat; cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the noodles and sauce, tossing until the noodles are coated and glossy. Taste and adjust any seasonings, if needed.
  • Enjoy topped with additional sliced scallions and sesame seeds, furikake or chili oil, as desired.


***Dark soy sauce – you can substitute regular soy sauce if you don’t have dark soy sauce but the color will not be as dark.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!


Large Skillet


Calories: 469kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 907mg | Potassium: 940mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 9943IU | Vitamin C: 118mg | Calcium: 255mg | Iron: 3mg

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