Chicken yaki udon is a delicious stir-fry dish that's packed with flavor and surprisingly easy to make. With chewy udon noodles, juicy chicken, fresh vegetables, and a delicious, savory sauce with garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and mirin, you'll love every bite!
Why You'll Love Japanese Stir-Fried Noodles
Bored of the same stir-fry recipes? These stir-fried udon noodles are incredibly flavorful and easy to make.
To make yaki udon at home even easier, I recommend pre-cooked udon noodles.
Once you've chopped your veggies and marinated the chicken, yaki udon is a quick meal. You can easily do your prep work in advance and have dinner on the table in under 15 minutes!
You can also make this for meal prep or serve leftovers as work lunches.
With vegetables and chicken, udon noodles, and a delicious sweet and savory sauce, this is a complete meal that'll keep you full and happy!
What You'll Need
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- Neutral Oil like vegetable oil, grapeseed oil, or avocado oil
- Chicken I used chicken breast here, but you could use chicken thighs as well. Just be sure to cut the chicken into bite-sized strips.
- Udon Noodles I like to use pre-cooked fresh udon noodles, which can be found in many grocery stores in the refrigerated fresh noodle section. You can also use dry udon noodles or frozen udon noodles.
- Fresh Vegetables: zucchini, carrots, onion, jalapeños, mushrooms, and broccoli. You can also swap for a few other vegetables, like cabbage, edamame, bell peppers, or celery.
- Scallions These are also known as green onions.
Yaki Udon Sauce/Marinade
- Fresh Ginger If you can't find fresh, try this jarred version rather than dried ginger.
- Fresh Garlic Same with jarred versions of garlic. Definitely choose these over garlic powder.
- 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 used for this dish.
- Brown Sugar Cane sugar is another option that will work.
- Mirin This is a sweet rice wine used often in Japanese cooking.
- Sake A dry sherry will work here, too.
- 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 Chicken Yaki Udon Noodles
Step One Make the marinade/stir-fry sauce and reserve half in a separate container.
Step Two Add the chicken pieces to the remaining marinade, and put in the fridge for 30 minutes to a few hours.
Step Three Remove the from the fridge, discard marinade, and pat the chicken dry. Cut into bite-sized slices. Cook the chicken in a wok or skillet on high heat.
Step Four Remove the chicken and add the onion. Cook for a few minutes.
Step Five Add the broccoli, zucchini, and jalapeño, and cook for a few more. Then add the mushrooms and scallions and continue stir-frying for just a few more minutes.
Step Six Add the udon noodles and the remaining marinade. Cook for 3 more minutes.
Step Seven Add the chicken back in and stir to ensure the vegetables, meat, and noodles are evenly coated.
Step Eight Serve!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Yaki Udon is made with wok-fried Japanese udon noodles and a lightly sweet, soy-based sauce, meat or another protein (like seafood or tofu), and vegetables.
The difference between yaki udon yakisoba is the type of noodle used. They are both stir-fried noodle dishes, but yaki udon uses thick udon noodles made with wheat flour and yakisoba uses soba noodles, which are thinner, nuttier, and made with buckwheat flour.
Udon is a particular type of Japanese wheat noodles, whereas yaki udon is a stir-fry dish made with udon noodles, vegetables, and a protein in a soy-based sauce.
Yaki udon is a popular Japanese dish that's savory and sweet. The vegetables maintain freshness and have a tender-crisp texture because they are cooked for a short time on high heat. Flavors include soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and mirin.
Ground Chicken You can use ground chicken here in place of chicken breast or thigh. It will require less marinating and cook time overall.
Different Types of Noodles I like using the thick udon noodles for their bouncy, chewy flavor, but feel free to use other noodles as well, like ramen, soba, or rice noodles.
If you're feeling ambitious, these fresh udon noodles are the best udon noodles I've tried and they always turn out well for me.
Sweeter Add some oyster sauce to your marinade for a sweeter dish.
How to Store
Fridge This dish can be stored for 3-4 days in the fridge.
Freezer You can freeze the leftovers of this dish for 2 months
Reheating From the fridge, heat in a pan or wok with a bit of oil when ready to eat. From the freezer, defrost in the refrigerator overnight, then follow the directions above.
- If you're using a pan instead of a wok, use stainless steel, not non-stick. The coating on non-stick pans is only designed for low heat, and it will degrade quickly if used on high heat as this recipe calls for.
- You can use all sorts of different proteins instead of chicken. Try beef, shrimp, tofu, or have the dish with just vegetables!
- If using frozen udon noodles, be sure to defrost before you begin cooking. With dried, be sure to cook the udon noodles before getting started.
How to Serve
This chicken yaki udon recipe can definitely be served as a standalone meal.
For an appetizer, try these dumplings!
If you're looking for a refreshing drink to have alongside, try this Cucumber Lemon Ginger Water with Jalapeño.
Looking for more delicious chicken recipes? Try this Honey Sriracha Grilled Chicken!
More Noodle Dishes to Try
Chicken Yaki Udon
- 2 packets fresh udon noodles about 16 ounces
- 1 pound chicken breast cut into bite-sized strips
- 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
- Mince or grate the garlic and ginger and add to a bowl. Add the remaining marinade ingredients and mix well to combine.
- Pour half over the chicken in a resealable plastic bag or another nonreactive container, like a bowl or pie plate. Seal the bag or cover the bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour. Place the container of reserved marinade in the fridge.
- Slice the vegetables and group them in the following groups:
- Group 1: Onion
- Group 2: Carrot, zucchini, broccoli, and jalapeño
- Group 3: Mushrooms and scallions
- Place a wok or large stainless steel pan over high heat until hot.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and pay dry. Discard the marinade from the dish.
- Add the oil to the wok or pan. When shimmering, add the chicken and cook for a few minutes until cooked through, 165°F. Remove the chicken from the wok or pan and set aside.
- Add the onion to the wok or pan and stir-fry until 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. Then, add the chicken back to the work or pan, stir to coat everything evenly, garnish with more scallions, and serve immediately.
- You can different vegetables you have on hand in place of or in addition to the vegetables listed here. Try bell peppers, celery, or cabbage.
- You can use other proteins in this dish such as shrimp, pork, or beef. You can also make it vegetarian with tofu or just vegetables.
- If you cannot find fresh udon noodles, you can use dried udon noodles. Cook according to package directions.
- If anything starts to stick while cooking, add a bit more oil.
- Fridge This dish can be stored for 3-4 days in the fridge.
- Freezer You can freeze the leftovers of this dish for 2 months
- Reheating From the fridge, heat in a pan or wok with a bit of oil when ready to eat. From the freezer, defrost in the refrigerator overnight, then follow the directions above.