Best Authentic Japanese Udon Noodle Recipes • Just One Cookbook

From savory stir-fried yaki udon to soulful beef udon to boldly flavored curry udon, you’ll find the best authentic udon noodle recipes all in one place. Each of these recipes is easy to follow, cozy, and amazingly delicious!

Bouncy, chewy, and slippery, udon noodles are one of the most popular noodles in Japanese cuisine. You’ll love them because they are comforting, filling, and easy to prepare. They are also endlessly versatile and can be enjoyed hot in noodle soups and in stir-fries, or served cold with a dipping sauce. Best of all, udon noodles cook swiftly, making them an ideal choice for a quick yet satisfying meal.

Quick Facts about Udon

  1. Udon noodles are white in color as they are made with wheat flour and are most distinctly known for their smooth yet springy character.
  2. They have the ability to take on all the flavors of whatever you’re cooking it with—be it hot savory broth, curry sauce, black pepper seasoning, kimchi, creamy carbonara sauce, or in a refreshing chilled tsuyu sauce.
  3. The typical udon is much thicker than soba noodles, but you can find different styles with varying thicknesses of udon in Japan.
  4. Here in the US, you can find udon available in refrigerated, dried, or frozen. For the best option, we recommend the frozen package called “Sanuki Udon.” You can purchase it in the freezer section of Japanese or Asian grocery stores. Online Asian markets such as Weee! also offer frozen packages of Sanuki udon that are delivered straight to your house.

Wish to learn more about Udon Noodles? Read this article.

How to Cook Udon Noodles

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the udon noodles to cook according to the package instructions. For frozen Sanuki udon, it should cook within 2-3 minutes. Once the noodles are cooked, drain well and rinse the starch under cold running water.

Our Best Japanese Udon Noodle Recipes

Ready for some of the best noodle dishes you could ever make? Here is the list of authentic Japanese udon noodle recipes that are popular among our readers.

1. Beef Udon

Beef udon noodle soup in a donburi bowl.

Savory broth, seasoned tender sliced beef, caramelized scallion, and chewy smooth noodles—that’s all you really need for a well-composed bowl of noodle soup. This beef udon is our staple year-round and we know it will be yours too!

“This is our favorite JOC recipe! We eat this at least once a week especially now that our supermarket now sells frozen udon. This is also what we eat when we feel a little sick.” – Amy

2. Yaki Udon(Stir-Fried Udon Noodles)

A white round plate containing Yaki Udon (Japanese Stir-Fried Udon Noodles) garnished with red pickled ginger.

Synonymous with Japanese summertime festival food, yaki udon has to be one of the most popular Japanese stir-fried udon noodles. In this yaki udon recipe, you’ll learn how to make it the authentic way, with your choice of protein and vegetables. You can choose to make the sauce 3 ways: soy sauce base, mentsuyu base, or Worcestershire sauce base. Ready in 25 minutes and incredibly delicious! Vegetarian and vegan adaptable.

“It’s a 10/10 from me. I just happened to have some chicken, cabbage, and udon noodles to use up, and it all came together in this delicious, satisfying dish. So glad I had leftovers.” — Jess

3. Curry Udon

Curry udon in a Japanese bowl.

Fragrant curry soup paired with chewy udon makes an unexpected but satisfying combo! The dish is usually served with cooked onions, thinly sliced meat, and topped with chopped scallions. The recipe features thin sliced pork as it cooks in seconds, but feel free to swap with your choice of protein.

“Tried this recipe today and actually used leftover turkey as my protein. Yesterday I smoked a whole turkey and used your miso glaze recipe. Today I turned it into the soul. It was so good!” — Nick

4. Vegetarian Udon

A white bowl containing Vegetarian Udon Noodle Soup topped with bok choy, fried tofu, minced mushroom, and crispy eggplant.

We love this udon soup for many reasons: it’s soul-soothing, make-ahead friendly, and adaptable. Don’t skip the minced mushroom as it gives a lot of flavors, but feel free to keep the rest minimal. If you happened to have some leftover grilled tofu and veggies such as bok choy or broccoli, this is the perfect weeknight meal to make the next day.

“THIS WAS SO GOOD!! Amazing simple broth and perfect for colder weather. I made way too many veggies to everything else ratio, but that’s never a bad thing.” — Richard T

5. Mentaiko Udon

A white plate containing Mentaiko Udon topped with shredded nori and shiso leaves.

Coated in a buttery spicy cod roe mixture and accented with fresh herbs and shredded nori, mentaiko udon is a truly special Japanese dish. It’s worth looking for mentaiko in Japanese or Korean supermarkets just to make this udon recipe. Once you gather that, the entire dish takes only 15 minutes to make.

“This was very easy and satisfying to say the least! It tasted almost exactly like my favorite udon places, but mentaiko has been in shortage here so I had to improvise and added salmon instead.
I’d recommend it if you love mentaiko and creamy udon, it is a great recipe.”
— Aura

A dark bowl containing Kitsune Udon Noodle Soup.

Kitsune udon, literally fox udon, is a classic Japanese soup made of udon noodles served with seasoned fried tofu pouches (inari age), fish cake, and scallions. The soup broth is so soothing that it makes an ideal noodle dish to enjoy all year round. You can serve it hot or cold too.

“Such an simple, yet comforting dish. What I appreciate most is that the recipe provides shortcuts and alternatives if you don’t have the time or ideal ingredients.” — Monica Vu

7. Udon Noodle Soup (Kake Udon)

A Japanese bowl containing fresh homemade udon noodles in clear soy based dashi broth.

Kake udon is all about simplicity. Enjoy this hot noodle soup as is for a vegan-adaptable meal, or top it with tempura, fish cake, tofu, or vegetables for a more substantial lunch or dinner.

“5 stars! I made this with your homemade udon noodle recipe and enjoyed with some simmered daikon. I feel so comforted!” — Toni

8. Cold Tanuki Udon

A white bowl containing chilled udon noodles, tenkasu, julienned cucumber, boiled egg, wakame seaweed, and grated onion, along with savory noodle soup.

This refreshing chilled udon dish is designed to keep you slurping and cooling you down at the same time. First, cook the udon and run it under cold water before you dress it with an umami-rich broth. Now it’s ready for the toppings: cucumber, tomatoes, wakame seaweed, tenkasu (tempura scraps), and a soft-boiled egg.

“Just tried making it! Super yummy!!” — Karen

9. Nabeyaki Udon

A donabe claypot containing Nabeyaki Udon, which is made of udon noodles, kamaboko fish cake, fried tofu, egg cooked in a dashi broth and topped with shrimp tempura.

Nabeyaki udon—traditionally served in an individual Japanese clay pot—is a Japanese wintertime staple. Believe it or not, it is really simple to make at home. The key is to start with a good dashi soup broth. Once you have that ready, you just need to add udon and other ingredients in a pot to cook! Don’t have a claypot at home? You can just use a heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven.

“This recipe tasted exactly like what we’d have at a Japanese restaurant. The broth was superb – full of umami and so comforting on a cold day. I was thrilled that I could make it at home!” — C Tan

10. Cold Curry Udon

A white bowl containing cold curry udon with sliced pork, boiled egg, and fresh vegetables.

This summertime udon amplifies the beauty of contrasting textures and flavors in a plate! Here, we have chilled udon soaked in curry soup and topped with myriad of in-season produce and quick-cooked proteins. Besides sliced pork, you can use cooked shrimp and other seafood to make variations.

“I made this curry with the Just One Cookbook roux recipe and fresh tomato and cucumber from the garden. I didn’t expect the fresh produce would taste so nice in the curry compared to the Indian curry, in which everything is cooked. Since I’m a vegetarian, I modified the recipe by excluding animal protein (I only used eggs). It still tasted good.” — Kristi 

11. Miso Nikomi Udon

A donabe containing udon noodles, chicken, fish cakes, deep fried tofu, mushrooms, and leeks in a hearty miso broth.

Miso nikomi udon is a popular regional dish hailed from Nagoya, featuring udon noodles, chicken, shiitake mushroom, fried tofu pouch, fish cake, leafy greens, and a miso-flavored dashi broth. When it’s cold outside, this noodle soup will warm you inside out. 

“Tried this recipe a few times. My kids love this dish 🙂 Contains all the things they like, except the leek.” — June

12. Udon Noodle Salad with Miso Dressing

This is one that is going to brighten your day. All you need is to whisk together a no-fuss miso dressing (good for many recipes), then drizzle it over a plate of chilled udon and some colorful vegetables, and voilà, you’ve made yourself some amazing summer noodle salad.

“I had a small piece of ginger to use up and this was the perfect recipe for that!! This dressing is delicious!!” — Kim

More Popular Japanese Noodle Recipes You’ll Enjoy

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