Yaki Udon is a wok-fried Japanese udon noodle dish with a lightly sweet soy-based sauce, meat, and vegetables. Perfect for weeknight dinners, Beef Yaki Udon has a variety of vegetables, ginger, garlic, and just a touch of spice.
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Why You'll Love This Dish
There are two major reasons to love this dish: it's incredibly flavorful, and it's very quick to make.
This sauce is used in two ways: as a marinade for the beef and as a stir-fry sauce added to the wok or pan near the end of the cooking time. If using a pan, be sure to use stainless steel, not non-stick or cast iron.
Beef is a favorite protein in our household, but we eat it pretty sparingly.
You can try lots of other options, including chicken, ground pork, shrimp, or tofu!
Once you have prepped your vegetables and marinated the beef, the dish comes together incredibly quickly. You can easily do your prep work in advance and have dinner on the table in under 15 minutes.
What You'll Need
- Beef I used pre-cut stir-fry strips in this dish to make prep time quick and easy. You can also cut sirloin, tri-tip, ribeye, top loin (strip), or tenderloin into strips yourself at home.
- Udon Noodles Fresh udon noodles can be found in many grocery stores in the refrigerated fresh noodle section. If you are feeling ambitious, these fresh udon noodles have turned out well for me on numerous occasions.
- Fresh Vegetables If you don't have the vegetables I recommend on hand, try adding some others. Celery, cabbage, edamame, and bell peppers are all great options!
- Scallions These are also known as green onions.
- Fresh Ginger If you can't find fresh, try this jarred version.
- Fresh Garlic Same with the garlic - jarred versions are available.
- Soy Sauce I personally prefer a low sodium soy sauce. Regular soy sauce will also work well here.
- Vegetable Oil or another neutral oil such as grapeseed or avocado oil. I would avoid olive oil or other oils with low smoke points (the point at which an oil burns) because of the high heat required for this dish.
- Brown Sugar Cane sugar will work here as well.
- Mirin A sweet rice wine used often in Japanese cooking
- Sake A dry sherry will work here, too, if you can't find sake.
- Rice Wine Vinegar Be sure to select an unseasoned rice wine vinegar as the seasoned rice vinegar includes sugar and salt that will change the balance of flavors.
HOW TO MAKE Beef Yaki Udon
Step One Make the marinade and reserve half in a separate container. Place the beef in the remaining marinade, and put in the fridge for 30 minutes to a few hours.
Step Three Remove from the fridge, discard marinade, and pat dry. Cook the beef in a wok or skillet on high heat.
Step Four Remove the beef and add the onion. Add the broccoli, zucchini, and jalapeño. Then add the mushrooms and scallions. Add the noodles and remaining marinade.
Step Five Add the beef back in and serve.
Yaki Udon is a wok-fried Japanese udon noodle dish with a lightly sweet, soy-based sauce, meat, and vegetables.
Yaki udon sauce contains soy, sugar, ginger, and garlic, and combined with other optional ingredients, such as mirin, rice vinegar, and sake.
Yaki udon is savory and sweet. The vegetables maintain freshness because they are cooked for a short time on high heat. Flavors include soy, ginger, and garlic.
- Shrimp - I have made this dish with great success using defrosted raw shrimp out of the shell.
- Chicken - Chicken works well here - either sliced chicken thighs or sliced chicken breast.
- Pork - I recommend trying ground pork here as pork chops can become dry. Reduce the marinating time to 15 minutes. Ground pork has fat evenly distributed throughout the product and will stand up better to high heat.
- Vegetarian/Vegan - Try making this dish with no meat. You can either marinate some tofu or include edamame for protein.
- Different Vegetables - Some veggies that would work well include bell pepper, celery, cabbage, edamame, or eggplant.
How to Store
Fridge Every component of this dish should last for 3-4 days in the fridge: the beef, the marinade, the noodles, and the vegetables.
Reheating To reheat, I recommend putting everything back into a wok or large frying pan on high heat with a little bit of oil.
Freezing You can freeze leftovers. You can freeze for two months. Reheat by placing in the fridge overnight to thaw and then heat in a pan as above.
How to Pair
Yaki udon can be served as a standalone meal. Below are some drink ideas to serve with this dish:
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Beef Yaki Udon
- 2 packets fresh udon noodles about 16 ounces
- 1 pound beef stir-fry strips or sliced sirloin, tri-tip, ribeye, top loin (strip), or tenderloin
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil such a vegetable, grapeseed or avocado oil
- ½ large onion yellow, sweet or red
- 2 carrots peeled, cut on the bias
- 1 zucchini cut on the bias
- 8 ounces mushrooms sliced
- 1 small head broccoli chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 jalapeño sliced thin, on the bias
- 4 scallions sliced thick, on the bias, plus more for garnish
- Finely mince or grate the garlic and ginger on a microplane. Add the remaining marinade ingredients to a bowl and mix with the garlic and ginger.
- Pour half over the beef in a non-reactive container or gallon resealable plastic bag. Cover or seal and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour. Place the reserved marinade in the fridge as well.
- Slice the vegetables and group by their cook times.
- Group 1: Onion.
- Group 2: Carrot, zucchini, broccoli, and jalapeño.
- Group 3: Mushrooms and scallions.
- Place a wok or large stainless steel pan on high heat until hot.
- Remove the beef from the marinade and pay dry. Discard the marinade.
- Add the oil. When just shimmering, add the beef and cook until medium rare, or 145°F. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add the onion and stir-fry until slightly softened.
- Add the carrot, zucchini, broccoli, and jalapeño. Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and scallions. Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.
- Add noodles and the remaining sauce and stir-fry for 3 more minutes, add the beef back in, stir to coat, garnish with scallions, and serve immediately in bowls or on plates.
- Feel free to use different vegetables you have on hand in place of or in addition to the vegetables listed here. Try bell peppers, celery, eggplant, cabbage or edamame.
- All components of this dish can be stored for 3-4 days in the fridge.
- You can freeze the leftovers of this dish for 2 months, defrost in the refrigerator overnight and heat in a pan or wok with a bit of oil when ready to eat.
- You can use other proteins in this dish such as shrimp, chicken or tofu. You can also omit protein entirely.
- If you cannot find fresh udon noodles, you can use dried udon noodles. Cook according to package directions.
- If the ingredients stick while cooking, feel free to add a tiny bit of oil.
- If you omit the jalapeño and still want a bit of heat, some sriracha or sambal oelek would be an excellent addition.