Learn about Japanese comfort food - Udon Noodles! These chewy noodles are sure to please your taste buds. Explore what they are and their delicious recipes!
Udon noodles have been a staple of Japanese cuisine for centuries. Their unique chewy texture is part of what makes them so special!
Dig in and discover all about these comforting noodles! You'll learn the varieties, how to use them, and the delicious dishes you can make!
- This recipe is for you if:
- You love Japanese udon noodles.
- You want to know about udon noodles.
- You are looking for udon noodle recipes.
Let's get started!
What is Udon?
Udon noodles, the classic Japanese noodle made with wheat flour, are a staple of Japanese cuisine. These thick and white noodles have a chewy texture and can be enjoyed both hot and cold.
They are a popular quick lunch menu for the on-the-go. You can easily find the noodle stands that serve udon noodle soups (as well as soba noodles) at train stations across the country.
Are Udon Noodles Gluten-free?
No, they are not. While udon noodles are generally made from wheat flour, you can find gluten-free versions made from rice flour. With a chewy, smooth texture, they can be used in any dish, just like regular udon.
How To Make Udon Noodles
Udon noodles are made of wheat flour, potato starch, and salt. Rather than using bread or cake flour, all-purpose flour is selected to give udon its signature bouncy bite.
To make udon noodles from scratch, mix the ingredients and gradually add water to form a dough. Knead the udon dough until smooth, roll it out into a thin sheet using a rolling pin, and slice it into thick, long noodles.
How To Cook Udon Noodles
How to cook udon noodles are super easy! Just follow the instructions below and use the cooked noodles in a variety of dishes, such as stir-fried udon noodles or hot udon noodle soup.
- Add udon noodles to boiling water: To cook udon noodles, bring a large pot of water to a boil on medium-high heat. Add the noodles and cook according to package directions.
- Drain and rinse: Drain the noodles and rinse them with cold water. Rinsing helps to cool them down quickly, making them easier to handle and preventing them from becoming mushy.
Udon Noodle Varieties
Udon noodles come in various shapes and sizes, from round to flat or extra-thick. Also, you can find dried, frozen, or fresh udon noodles at a store.
3 Types of Udon Noodles
Let's go through the type of noodles you can buy at a store.
- Frozen udon noodles - are super easy to use as you can thaw in the microwave or quickly boil them before using them. The chewy texture is the best for any udon dish. Plus, the shelf life is long.
- Pre-cooked udon noodles- are also a quick and easy option. They are already boiled, so you can add them to a pan and cook. You can find them in a refrigerated array.
- Dry udon noodles - take six minutes to boil (according to the package instructions) and are generally thinner than others.
I hope you can find udon noodles easily at your local Asian market or Japanese supermarket. Frozen is my go-to as they are thick, chewy, and quick to cook.
Mentsuyu (Udon Soup)
Mentsuyu is a noodle soup stock and the essential flavor for various udon noodle dishes. You can use it as noodle soup for hot dishes and a dipping sauce for cold dishes, and tweak the taste to either strong flavor or mild, depending on your liking.
How to make it is simple, like making kombu dashi (kelp), adding katsuobushi (bonito flakes), soy sauce, and mirin. You can buy store-bought mentsuyu and dilute it with water according to the bottle directions when using.
Click below on how to make homemade Mentsuyu!
Udon vs. Soba
Soba and udon noodles - two classic noodles of Japanese cuisine, but with totally different personalities. The soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour, and wheat flour, thin like long pasta, and have a dark gray color, while udon noodles are made from only wheat flour, thick and white.
For gluten-free options, pick pure buckwheat noodles called Jyuwari soba. They are 100% made from buckwheat flour and have an earthy flavor.
By the way, ramen is also a famous noodle in Japan. They are made from wheat flour, salt, and baking soda and are thin, curly, and yellow. The soup is rich and fatty, made of chicken carcass and oil, and commonly adds flavor with ginger and garlic.
Where to Buy Japanese Ingredients
If you live in the US, you can find Japanese ingredients in the list below.
- Japanese market: Mitsuwa Marketplace, Marukai
- Asian market
- Whole Foods Market
- Health food stores
- Online stores: Instacart, Walmart, Amazon
Popular Udon Noodle Dishes
Here you will find eight popular udon noodle dishes! If you go to Japanese udon restaurants, you will most likely see them on their menu. Let's dive in!
There are many variations of cozy udon broth; however, the most basic and traditional dish is called Kake udon. Boil udon noodles, pour the flavorful hot broth, and add minimum toppings. Common toppings are green onions, fish cakes, grated ginger, or tempura flakes.
Click below on how to make the Kake udon!
Kake Udon Variations
Japanese restaurants offer a wide range of udon noodle soups on their menu - each variety has its unique name by toppings. Some of the most popular ones include:
- Tsukimi udon - Raw or half-boiled egg on top
- Kitsune udon - Seasoned aburaage (thin deep-fried tofu) on top
- Chikara udon - Mochi (rice cake) on top
- Tempura udon - Shrimp tempura on top
- Chikuwaten udon - Tempura of chikuwa (a type of fish cake) on top
- Kakiage udon - Kakiage (a type of tempura) on top
Zaru udon is a simple Japanese cold udon noodle dish. Rince boiled udon noodles with cold water, place them on a bamboo strainer, and serve with a separate bowl of dipping sauce. It's a perfect dish for summer!
If you are a fan of Japanese curry, you will love this curry udon! Mix in the curry and make the udon soup spicier and richer. The chewy noodles are perfectly blended into the flavorful soup!
Click below on how to make the Curry udon!
Yaki udon is stir-fried udon noodles and a popular quick meal. Stir fry vegetables and meat or fish, add boiled udon noodles, and season with a savory sauce. This easy noodle dish is the perfect way to fulfill your cravings immediately!
Click below on how to make the Yaki udon noodles!
Miso Nikomi Udon
Miso nikomi udon is a classic noodle dish for winter. It's made by simmering the noodles and ingredients in an aromatic miso-based soup using a donabe pot – crafted from special clay.
Kamaage udon is similar to zaru udon but without rinsing the noodles. Freshly boiled noodles are placed in a bowl with hot cooking water and served with a dipping dashi sauce. You can enjoy the firm and chewy texture of the noodles.
Bukkake udon is another simple udon dish. Boil udon noodles, pour udon soup, and top with various ingredients. It's similar to Kake udon, but the soup is more intense and served both hot and cold.
8 Easy Japanese Udon Recipes
Satisfy those udon cravings! You will love these flavorful Japanese udon noodle recipes. From hot soups to refreshing cold dishes, there are many ways to enjoy these chewy noodles!
No. While udon noodles are generally made from wheat flour, you can find gluten-free versions made from rice flour. With a chewy, smooth texture, they can be used in any dish, just like regular udon.
Udon noodles are made of wheat flour, potato starch, and salt. Rather than using bread or cake flour, all-purpose is selected to give udon its signature bouncy bite.
Udon noodles have a smooth and chewy texture, and the flavor is neutral, which pairs well with any soup and sauce.
They are different noodles. Ramen noodles are made from wheat flour, salt, and baking soda and are thin, curly, and yellow. The big difference is rich and fatty soup. Ramen soup is made of chicken carcass, uses oil, and adds flavor with ginger and garlic.
Thanks For Stopping By
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog♡ If you've tried this recipe (or any other recipe on the blog), please give it a star rating below!
Also, feel free to leave comments if you have any questions. I love hearing from you!
Chef JA Cooks is a Japanese food blog that shares simple and healthy Japanese home cooking recipes, including vegan and vegetarian. From traditional Japanese recipes to modern recipes with step-by-step instructions.
More Japanese Noodle Recipes You Might Like
- Kake soba (Soba noodle soup)
- Yaki udon
- Cold Udon Noodles with Vegetables
- Natto udon noodles
- Soba Noodle Salad