Chicken Yaki Udon is a quick and delicious stir-fry dish that is super flavorful, packed with fresh vegetables, and very easy to make!
If you are a fan of noodle stir-fries, then you are going to love this Chicken Yaki Udon recipe! It is made with chewy udon noodles, nutritious vegetables, delicious chicken, and the most amazing stir fry sauce!
Plus, this udon stir fry can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes. It is an all-time favorite for dinner as you can keep most ingredients in your pantry and use whatever fresh vegetables you have in your refrigerator.
So next time you want to get takeout, try these Yaki Udon noodles instead. You won’t regret it!
What is Yaki Udon?
Yaki Udon is a popular Japanese stir-fry noodle dish that is made with udon noodles, vegetables (like cabbage and carrots), and a delicious stir fry sauce that combines soy sauce, oyster sauce, and mirin.
It is actually very similar to Yakisoba, the main difference being the type of noodle that is used. While Yaki Udon is made with udon noodles, Yakisoba is usually made with Yakisoba noodles which are similar to Chinese-style noodles.
If you have never tried Yaki Udon, then this is your call to make it at home. This dish definitely deserves the love it gets from people across the globe!
The great thing about this recipe is that the ingredients are very easy to find in most grocery stores. Here is what you’ll need:
- Udon noodles: I recommend using either frozen or vacuum-sealed udon noodles that are already pre-cooked. They have the perfect texture and should be easy to find in large grocery stores or your local Asian supermarket.
- Chicken: To make Chicken Yaki Udon, you can use chicken breast or chicken thighs. I used chicken breast, but both work absolutely great!
- Vegetables and aromatics: Garlic, onion, cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, and green onions are the ingredients that are often used for making Yaki Udon. But feel free to adjust the veggies as needed!
- Homemade Yaki Udon sauce: To make the sauce, you’ll need dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, honey, mirin, red chili flakes, and black pepper. I recommend sticking to the recipe for making the sauce as it might taste differently if you skip or change any of the ingredients.
How to cook udon noodles
To make this udon noodle stir-fry, you’ll definitely need to prepare udon noodles. Here is how you cook the different types of udon noodles:
- Frozen udon noodles: You have two options for preparing frozen udon noodles for this stir fry. You can either cook them in a pot of boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Or you can thaw them in a bowl of hot water for around 10 minutes. After they are done, you can drain, rinse, and set them aside. Both methods work fine, but I prefer to cook them very quickly in a pot.
- Vacuum-sealed udon noodles: Vacuum-sealed udon noodles actually don’t need any cooking and can be added to the pan directly. But I prefer and recommend cooking them in a pot of boiling water for around 1 minute so they loosen. Otherwise, they might accidentally break in the pan. After cooking drain, rinse, and set them aside.
- Dry udon noodles: I actually don’t recommend using dry udon noodles as they are usually a lot thinner than regular udon noodles. But if you can’t find one of the other two udon noodle types, then use dry udon noodles and cook them according to the package instructions. After cooking drain, rinse, and set them aside.
No matter which type of noodle you use, always make sure you don’t overcook them! After cooking, they stay in the pan with the other ingredients for 2-3 minutes (until the sauce has caramelized and coated everything), so make sure they are still al dente when you add them.
How to make Chicken Yaki Udon
Preparing Chicken Yaki Udon is super simple! Just follow these steps:
- Mix the sauce: In a small bowl, mix together all stir fry sauce ingredients. Then set the sauce aside.
- Sauté aromatics and chicken: Next, preheat some oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion, and chicken breast pieces. Then sauté until the chicken has some color.
- Add vegetables: Now add the vegetables to the pan and sauté until they start to soften.
- Cook udon noodles: While the vegetables are in the pan, cook the udon noodles. They should be done when the vegetables have softened a little.
- Combine and toss: Now add the udon noodles and the stir fry sauce to the pan. Toss until everything is coated and the sauce has caramelized.
- Garnish and serve: Garnish with sliced green onions and enjoy!
This Chicken Yaki Udon recipe is super simple, but here are some helpful tips so everything turns out perfectly on the first try.
- Prep in advance: Whenever you make a stir fry, always prepare the ingredients in advance and mix the sauce before starting to cook. Since everything happens very quickly once you start, it is much easier to prep in advance.
- Don’t overcook: This applies to the chicken, noodles, and vegetables. As everything stays in the pan, it is important to not overcook the ingredients. Otherwise the chicken might end up dry and the veggies and noodles turn out mushy. The chicken shouldn’t be cooked through when you add the veggies, cook the udon noodles until they loosen (still al dente), and sauté the veggies until they start to soften (then add udon noodles).
- Be patient: When you combine everything, be patient so the noodles can soak up all of the flavors and the sauce has a chance to caramelized. Just toss everything until the noodles are evenly coated and there is no liquid sauce left at the bottom of the pan.
I absolutely love the combination of ingredients in this Chicken Yaki Udon recipe, but you can absolutely adjust it to your taste! Here are some ideas for you.
- Vegetables: If you have any leftover vegetables in your refrigerator, feel free to use them to make Chicken Yaki Udon. And if you don’t like one of the veggies, just substitute them. Other amazing vegetables for these Yaki Udon noodles are red bell peppers, sugar snap peas, or even zucchinis.
- Protein: I love this Chicken Yaki Udon as is, but you can absolutely use other types of protein. Shrimps, beef, and tofu all go super well with this dish!
- Spices: I added a small amount of red chili flakes to add a hint of heat to these Yaki Udon noodles. But feel free to omit or to use other ingredients that add a little spice to the dish. Sriracha, chili garlic sauce, or chile peppers are great alternatives!
Frequently Asked Questions
I recommend sticking to dark soy sauce as it tastes a little different and it gives the Chicken Yaki Udon the deep brown color you might know (and love). But regular soy sauce works, too. So feel free to use it if it makes things easier for you.
Unfortunately, udon noodles are not gluten-free. They are traditionally made with wheat flour which means they contain gluten. But if you want to try this dish, you can use any other type of gluten-free noodles (yes, even spaghetti). This dish will still taste delicious!
If you want this dish to be gluten-free, simply use gluten-free noodles, gluten-free dark soy sauce, and gluten-free oyster sauce (the classic version is made with regular soy sauce).
Yes, you can! Simply use vegetarian oyster sauce (usually made with mushrooms), tofu instead of chicken, and brown sugar instead of honey (if vegan).
You can store Chicken Yaki Udon for 3-4 days in an airtight container in your refrigerator. To reheat it, warm it up in a pan with a little water or pop it into the microwave.
More quick and delicious recipes
I absolutely love meals that are super simple, yet packed with flavor. If you want to try more recipes, then check out the following.
- Teriyaki Shrimp Stir Fry
- Honey Sriracha Salmon
- Thai Chicken Curry
- Ground Beef Stir Fry
- Teriyaki Chicken Bowl
Chicken Yaki Udon
Udon Stir Fry Ingredients
- 4 7-ounce packets cooked udon noodles frozen or vacuum-sealed
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or vegetable oil
- 1 pound chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 yellow onion cut into slices
- 2 cups shredded cabbage
- 2 carrots cut into matchsticks
- 5 mushrooms cut into slices
- 2 green onions cut into slices
Stir Fry Sauce Ingredients
- ¼ cup dark soy sauce
- ¼ cup oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- First, prepare the sauce by mixing all sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Then set the sauce aside.
- Next, preheat oil in a large pan or pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and chicken breast pieces to the pan and sauté everything until the chicken breast has some color.
- Add the cabbage, carrots, and mushrooms to the pan. Sauté for a few minutes.
- Now add the udon noodles to boiling water and cook over medium heat until al dente. The frozen udon noodles take 2-3 minutes, the vacuum-sealed udon noodles take around 1 minute. Then drain, rinse and set aside.
- When the vegetables are tender, add the udon noodles to the pan. Pour the sauce over the stir fry, toss, and sauté until the noodles are evenly coated with the caramelized sauce.
- Garnish with sliced green onions and enjoy!
- Heat level: If you don't like spicy foods or want things to be extra spicy, adjust the amount of red chili flakes you use or omit them. The recipe as is has a hint of spice and should be enjoyable for most people.
- For more tips and ways to modify the recipe check out the post.