Zaru Udon (Japanese Cold Udon Noodles)

5 from 4 votes

Zaru Udon is a perfect way to cool off and refresh for any season or as a break from heavy meals. Learn how to make this classic Japanese noodle dish!

Looking for easy udon recipes? Try my Bukkake Udon, Miso Udon Carbonara, or Chilled Natto Udon Bowl!

zaru udon with condiment and dipping sauce.

I’ll walk you through the ingredients and step-by-step instructions. I hope you enjoy it!

Why You Will Love This Recipe 

  • The zaru udon is a refreshing and simple meal that is perfect for warm weather.
  • This noodle dish is great for a quick lunch and dinner.
  • Learn how to serve and eat in an authentic way!

Zaru Udon

Zaru udon is a popular cold udon noodle dish in Japanese cuisine. The udon noodles are on a bamboo strainer (or bamboo draining basket) called zaru, with a dipping sauce on the side and served with various condiments.

Recipe Ingredients

You’ll need the following ingredients to make this Cold Udon Recipe:

Ingredients for zaru udon.
  • Udon noodles: Dried, fresh, or frozen udon noodles are available at grocery stores. I use frozen udon noodles in this recipe.
  • Mentsuyu is a multipurpose noodle soup base with a savory flavor made from dashi broth (Japanese soup stock), mirin, and soy sauce. I use store-bought one in this recipe.
  • Green onions (or scallions, spring onions, and chives) and ginger for the condiments.

How To Make Zaru Udon: STEP BY STEP 

Here are some quick visual instructions! For the video and all the detailed ingredients and instructions, go to the printable recipe card below.

How to make zaru udon.

Step 1

Chop green onions.

How to make zaru udon.

Step 2

Grate ginger.

How to make zaru udon.

Step 3

Cook udon noodles in boiling water.

How to make zaru udon.

Step 4

Make dipping sauce – dilute mentsuyu with water.

zaru udon with condiment and dipping sauce.

Serve the udon noodles on a plate, condiments, and dipping sauce, and enjoy the fresh noodles!

Recipe Tips

  • Mentsuyu – The instructions on the bottle will usually specify how much water to add, as the ratio can vary depending on the product.
  • Udon noodle cooking time – typically takes a couple of minutes to cook frozen udon noodles and around 10 minutes or more for fresh or dried udon noodles. The cooking time can vary depending on the type and brand of udon noodles.

Condiment Variations

Here are the popular condiments for zaru udon:

  • Green onions – add a fresh taste.
  • Grated ginger – adds a zesty and aromatic flavor.
  • Daikon oroshi (Grated Japanese radish) – adds a fresh and slightly tangy flavor.
  • Wasabi – adds a spicy kick to the sauce.
  • Shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven-spice blend) – adds a spicy and slightly smoky flavor.
  • Ponzu (citrus-based sauce) – adds a tart and tangy flavor.
  • Sesame seeds – add a nutty flavor and added texture.

Vegan Adaptable

Mentsuyu is typically made from katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes), which is not suitable for a vegan diet. However, you can substitute it with dried shiitake mushrooms and kombu seaweed to make a vegan-friendly sauce, which can be a good alternative for those following a vegan diet or who prefer plant-based options. Click here to find out more about mentsuyu.

How To Serve Zaru Udon

plates for zaru udonl

When eating at a Japanese restaurant, zaru udon is typically served on a bamboo strainer (zaru), with dipping sauce and condiments on the side. The bamboo strainer drains any excess water from the noodles and prevents them from becoming soggy. It helps to keep the udon noodles firm and chewy, allowing you to enjoy their texture and flavor to the fullest.

Additionally, the strainer adds a traditional touch to the dish’s presentation, making it an attractive and appealing option for serving. (The strainer in the photo is made of plastic, not bamboo.)

How to Eat Zaru Udon

how to dip zaru udon noodles.

To enjoy zaru udon, dip the noodles into the sauce and eat them with chopsticks. Some people like to slurp the noodles for added flavor and to show appreciation for the dish (It’s okay to slurp noodles in Japanese culture).

zaru udon dipping sauce.

People like to add condiments to the dipping sauce to adjust the flavor to their liking. Whether to add them little by little or all at once is a matter of personal preference.

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zaru udon with condiment and dipping sauce.

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zaru udon noodles.

Zaru Udon (Japanese Cold Udon Noodles)

5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Save
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
Author: Juri Austin
Zaru udon is a perfect way to cool off and refresh for any season or as a break from heavy meals. Learn how to make this Japanese classic noodle dish!


  • 1 Medium saucepan 18 cm / 7 inches
  • 1 Strainer


  • 2 packs Udon noodles, about 360g
  • 100 ml Mentsuyu
  • 100 ml Water
  • 1 inch Green onions, 2.5cm, chop
  • 1 tbsp Ginger, grate


  • Prepare condiments: Chop green onions, grate ginger and serve on a small plate.
  • Cook udon noodles: Boil plenty of water (not in the ingredients list) in a medium saucepan, add udon noodles, and cook according to the package instructions. Stir the noodles with chopsticks to separate them while cooking.
  • Drain the noodles: Drain using a strainer and quickly rinse under cold running water to remove the extra starch.
  • Dipping sauce: Combin mentsuyu and water in a measuring jar and pour into a serving bowl.
  • Serve: Place a bamboo strainer on a plate, put drained udon noodles, and serve with dipping sauce and condiments.



  • Udon noodle cooking time – a couple of minutes for frozen ones. 10 minutes or more for fresh and dried ones.
  • For mentsuyu, follow the instruction on the bottle. How much water to add depends on the product.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 252kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 2g
Course: Noodles
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: cold udon noodles, zaru udon
Did You Make this recipe?Please Leave a star rating!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Cold udon noodles remind me summer is on its way! I used to order Zaru Udon at a restaurant near my old home and loved it. Thank you for reminding me of this light and refreshing dish – simple is often the best, isn’t it?