Yes! You can be enjoying this Spicy Udon Stir Fry in just 15 minutes! Endlessly customizable. Add any vegetables or protein you like. Proving that delicious doesn’t need to be time consuming!
Why you’ll love this quick and easy udon noodles recipe!
If you have udon noodles in your pantry or freezer, you will always have a quick and easy dinner at the ready with this versatile recipe. And this udon stir fry is ready in just about 15 minutes from start to finish.
This stir fry is a great base recipe, that can be easily changed up depending on what you have around or to use up odds and ends in the fridge. Feel free to add in a protein like chicken, shrimp or pork, if you’d like a meatier meal. Extra vegetables, such as mushrooms, bell peppers, bean sprouts, shredded cabbage or just about anything else you have around would also be a great addition.
Different Types of Udon Noodles
Frozen Udon Noodles (My Favourite) – frozen udon noodles are always my first choice for udon. They are always ready to go and I find they have better flavour and texture than the shelf-stable version. Ideally, they should be cooked in a large pot of boiling water for about 1 minute, but I rising under cold water first, then soaking in very hot water for 10 minutes or so works just as well, without the need to boil water and dirty another pot.
Shelf-Stable Udon Noodles – these are the udon noodles usually sold in smaller, vacuum-packed packages and found on the shelf, usually in the Asian section of the grocery story. They are wonderfully convenient. I like to soak these in hot water to loosen them up a bit, before adding to the stir fry, though it’s not absolutely necessary, as they can go right from the package to the pot.
Semi-dried udon noodles – should be cooked in a large pot of boiling water for about 8 minutes.
Dried udon noodles – need to cook in a large pot of boiling water for about 10 minutes. Test for doneness by removing noodle from pot, running it under cold water, then biting. Udon shouldn’t be hard in the middle.
How to Make this Spicy Udon Stir Fry: Step-by-Step
Step 1: Gather your ingredients and mix up your sauce.
Step 2: Heat oil in your wok over medium-high heat and set your noodles to soak, if you like. Then add the carrots and onions and stir in the hot wok until softened.
Step 3: Add the noodles and stir fry a bit to remove any water on them. Add the sauce and toss to coat. Finally, add the spinach and stir fry until the spinach is wilted. Spoon into bowls, garnish and serve!
Ingredient and Cook’s Notes
- For the sauce, the Sambal Oelek is responsible for the spicy part of this stir-fry. If you’re not familiar with it, look for it in the Asian sauce section of your grocery. It’s fairly easy to find these days. Any spicy Asian-style sauce (Asian Chili Garlic Sauce/Sriracha etc.) will work though. If you’re not wanting it too spicy, start with 1 tsp. of the Sambal Oelek and work your way up, as needed. Sambal Oelek packs a punch, so a little goes a long way.
- I like to soak shelf-stable or frozen udon in water a bit ahead, so I can separate them before adding them to the wok. It’s not necessary, but it does make it easier to stir fry them without breaking them. Alternately, you can add shelf-stable udon noodles directly from the package to the wok.
- If you want to try this using dried udon, you’ll obviously need to cook them before adding to the wok. You may also need to increase the sauce ingredients, as I suspect dried noodles might soak up a bit more that the fresh ones. Truth be told though, I am not a fan of dried udon and don’t think they’re nearly worth the extra work of having to boil them.
- For the carrots, I suggest spiralized carrots, as they cook up quickly in a stir fry. You can either use store-bought spiralized carrots or spiralize your own at home (I have one of these simple handheld spiralizers (affiliate link) that works great!). Simply chop the spiralized carrots into bite-sized pieces to prepare. Store-bought, spiralized carrots tend to be a little thicker, so allow a bit more cooking time at the start to get them tender, before adding the onions. Alternately, I would suggest just grating some carrot on a box grater to add to the stir fry. Match-sticking them is an option, but it’s time consuming. Bottom line, just keep the carrots small and thin or they won’t cook up well in a quick stir fry. This recipe will serve 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side dish. To serve more, simply double the recipe!
Change up the vegetables! Pretty much any vegetable or green will work in the stir fry. The only consideration is how long it will take to cook in the pan. Be sure whatever you add is tender-crisp in the pan before you proceed with adding the noodles and sauce.
Add a protein! Chicken is a great addition to this dish, either cooked chicken or cook a bit of chicken in the wok before starting the stir fry (remove to a plate, then add back in towards the end, to warm).
Get the Recipe: 15 Minute Spicy Udon Stir Fry
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil, or other neutral cooking oil
- 1/2 medium onion, sliced or diced
- 1 medium carrot, spiralized and chopped or grated
- 1 cup green onion, sliced diagonally (green part only)
- 3 cups baby spinach
- 14 oz soft vacuum-packed udon noodles, or see Notes for other types of udon you can use(400g)
- 1-2 tsp Sambal Oelek, or Asian Chili Garlic Sauce/Sriracha, to taste
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
- Sesame seeds
- Additional sliced green onion
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley or cilantro
- Prepare your vegetables and set aside. Mix up the sauce by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside. If you like, you can fill a large bowl with hot tap water and add udon noodles to the bowl to soak, so they can be separated before adding to the wok This isn't necessary though, as you can add fresh udon noodles directly from the package to the wok. I just find it easier to stir fry them having them separate before the go in to the wok.
- In a large frying pan or wok, heat oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Add carrots and cook, stirring for a minute or so. Add onions and cook, stirring, until onions are soft and carrots are tender. Add green onion and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or so.
- If soaking udon noodles, gently stir to loosen udon noodles and separate, then drain. Add drained noodles (or unsoaked noodles)to the wok and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or so. (Stir fry a little longer is soaked, to cook off any extra water before adding the sauce). Add sauce and cook for another 30 second, stirring to combine well. Scatter baby spinach over top and cook, stirring constantly, until spinach is wilted.
- Remove stir fry to a bowl or plate and garnish with sesame seeds, additional sliced green onion and parsley/cilantro.
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Can you discard the sugar? My husband and I like savory not sweet udon noodles?
Hi Cynthia, the sugar doesn’t make the sauce sweet. It just balances the flavours of the salty soy sauce and the acidic vinegar. You can certainly reduce the sugar, to taste, but I suspect you’ll want to use at least some of it.
Amazingly delicious! So much flavor.
So glad you enjoyed it, Dave! Thanks so much :)
I used this recipe for a cooking competition and it was a winner! My judges (teachers) said it was the best thing they had ever tasted and even asked for the recipe. I then made it for myself and it was SO GOOD😍. 11/10 recommend.
I’m so glad to hear, Emily! Thanks so much :)
Perfect for week nights. My 9 yr and 3yr approved it. Definitely a keeper. I added carrots, red and green king sweetie, cucumber and baby spinach. Will play around with the veggies and meat. Thanks for the great recipe. From NZ.
So glad you are enjoying it, Sam and always a win with the kids approve :) Thanks so much!
Loved this receipe! Added yellow and red Bell peppers instead of spinach, still came out very tasty 😋
So glad you enjoyed it, Ritianne :) Thanks so much!
Thanks for a great recipe Jennifer – we probably make this once a week. Tonight was chicken, broccoli, green onion, red pepper and peanuts. Easy to switch up and customize – always delicious. Thanks again :-)
So glad you are enjoying it, Nick :) And yes, I love how it can be different every time I make it! Thanks so much.
The sauce is amazing, and you can add any vegetables, so great way to clean out the fridge. If hot outside you can grill veggies on BBQ and add to noodle for a quick comforting meal! A definite favorite in this house, and feels like something I would order out for. This really keeps me on track in terms of healthy choices as I can up the veggies while still enjoying udon noodles. Love this as a great comforting and easy meal!!!!
So glad you are enjoying it, Kristine and yes, it’s a great fridge cleaner :)
So so good! My favorite stir fry sauce ever – perfect blend of spicy with umami and sweetness. Made it with broccoli and chicken. Thanks for sharing!
So glad you enjoyed it, Bethany :) Thanks so much!
Another winner! Just the right amount of spice! Everyone loved it!
So glad to hear, Rachel :) Thanks so much!
I’ve been making this recipe for years and fall more in love with it every time. I am making it again tonight and I’m going to add some broccoli and zucchini and pan fried tofu to ✨spice it up✨ a little bit. Thank you for sharing this recipe!
So glad to hear, Abigail :) It’s one of my favourites. Thanks!
Very tasty. Added mushrooms & red pepper. Used bok choy instead of spinach. Served with oven baked tofu. Next time will use chicken. Love the udon noodles being mixed right in! (took longer than 15 min, otherwise would have given 5 stars)
Glad you enjoyed it, Laura. Obviously I have no way of knowing how long this dish will take in someone else’s kitchen. I can only time it in my own, and it takes me 15 minutes :) Thanks!
Made this tonight and it was unreal. We made it with chow mein noodles because I forgot to buy udon. 100% will make again.
So glad you enjoyed it, Sarah :) Thanks so much!
Came home exhausted. This was quicker and easier (and better) than ordering a pizza. We “cheated” and used Costco frozen stir fry veg and it was awesome! Also, used a dark mushrooms soy sauce great taste but not as pretty as yours ;)
So glad to hear, Lore :) Thanks so much!
Fab. I added broccoli.
Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks :)
I have tried 3 other stir fry udon noodles recipes recently and none were good. This one is good and so easy! Thank you for sharing :)
So glad to hear, Marina :) Thanks so much!
This was so delicious, I’m gonna keep this recipe. Thanks for sharing ^_^
So glad you enjoyed it, Melissa! Thanks :)
so good! love it
Glad to hear! Thanks :)
Quick. Easy. Delicious. On-trend. A definite keeper.
So glad to hear, Oriana :) Thanks so much!
Thank you for posting this recipe! I appreciate your opening it up to personal preference. I used kale, mushrooms, onion and carrot. Did not have green onions unfortunately. We added crispy fried tofu for protein. It was so good. Looking forward to making again with the green onions and properly measuring the sauce ingredients 😆.
Thanks again for a great base recipe.
Glad you enjoyed it, Cindy :) Thanks!
My son made this for me and it was delicious! He even cooked this when my friends came around. It tastes and looks authentic. We make this regularly now. Thanks for the recipe.
So glad to hear Adeline! Thanks so much :)
I love Spicy Pork Udon. I just love it. I’ve added this to my rotation and I’ve also passed this recipe on. Thanks so much for posting it.
So glad to hear, Brigitte :) Thanks!
Awesome recipe, Such a tasty flavourful dish! It has become a weekly dish for us
So glad to hear! It’s in regular rotation here, as well :) Thanks!
I whipped this up for dinner this evening and oh my goodness! It was absolutely stunning and so quick to make.
I added brocolli and courgette/zucchini as we had it in the fridge. The sauce had an authentic Asian taste that you only wished you could replicate.
Definitely adding this to our dinner rotation!!! Thank you
So glad you enjoyed it, Crystal :) Thanks so much!