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.
More udon recipes you might also like …
This looks delish! Do you use dark, light or sweet soy sauce? I only have sweet and light soy sauces on hand but would love to make this x
Hi Firah, I use sodium-reduced dark soy sauce. I think light would work fine.
Absolutely wonderful! Doubling the recipe went well. I used the dry noodles. For the veggies I used broccoli, red pepper, green beans, zucchini and sesame garlic fake chicken along with the carrots & onion. I can’t explain how fast this dish went! Thank you!
So glad you enjoyed it! Sound great :)
Followed your recipe for the sauce, doubled it for a second serving but only 1 teaspoon Sambal Oelek. Used onion, broccoli florets, mushrooms & red pepper. Yummy udon noodle dish!!
So glad you enjoyed it, Irene :)
I have never cooked Udon noodles before so I was looking for something simple and quick for lunch. It was a hit! My boys loved it. Great recipe :)
So glad you all enjoyed it, Jessica!
Made this last night, I had no idea what I was going to make and came across this recipe – perfect! Even my 2 year old ate it all up :) (I did reduce the Sambal Oelek …)
So glad you all enjoyed it :) It’s one of my favourites for those nights I have no idea what I’m going to make for dinner!
Amazing! Added red and green cabbage sliced thin, and sliced mushrooms with the spinach. Oh, I also used yakisoba noodles because I couldn’t find udon… (I know, weird!) and with the cilantro, I topped off with chopped green onion and chopped snow peas. Everyone loved it!
Sounds delicious, Kandace! I love yakisoba noodles,too :)
Hi Jennifer…I just made this recipe tonight and used some pork in it. I also got my udon noodles at Loblaws (presidents choice) and it was absolutely delicious! I only used 1 tsp. of the sambal oelek and found it to be the just the right amount of heat. (made my nose run anyways..lol) Anyways…thank you very much for this great recipe! I will be making it again and also found it to be “company worthy” as well.
So glad you enjoyed it Colleen and pork is a great addition! I agree about it being company worthy :)
Udon noodles? Are they just back east? I don’t ever recall seeing them in the store. Here I see steam fried noodles or fried noodles. Or suggestions to use vermicelli or spaghetti noodles instead. Where would I look for them?
Would love to try some of these recipes, but don’t know what I could substitute for these noodles. Thanks for your help, and the recipes.
Hi Pat, I’m in Canada and they are quite easily available here. They are soft and packaged in individual serving vacuum packed packages. Because they are soft, they can go straight into the stir fry, without pre-boiling. That said, you can substitute any dried noodle by boiling it first before adding to the stir fry. It obviously will make this dish more work. FYI, I found the type of noodles I’m talking about on amazon.com, if you might like to order some. I love them and they are a great item to have in your pantry for dishes like this! Here’s the link on amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Amoy-Straight-Udon-Thick-Noodles/dp/B00Y2I35QC/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1452460989&sr=8-9&keywords=amoy+straight+to+wok
Thank You , I will look them up on Amazon. I too live in Canada, in Kitchener, British Columbia. I have to travel to Creston , B.C. to the nearest stores. We have an Extra Foods and an Overwaitea. I will check to see if I can find them at either of these stores ( I’ll ask the people who stock the shelves, they seem to know more than anyone where to find things.).
Thanks again for the quick reply.
If you have access to any of the Loblaws affiliated stores, look for the President’s Choice brand soft udon noodles. They are in with the Asian noodles/sauces at my store.
About to make this for dinner. LOVE your website! I’m going to make two of your other recipes later on this week. From another Muskoka resident :)
Hi Zoe! Wasn’t it just a perfect Thanksgiving weekend in Muskoka?!! Hope you enjoyed the udon. It’s one of my favourite quick dinners :)
It was a great sunny and warm weekend! the udon was so so good, will definitely make it again! I made the chicken, artichoke and sundried toms tonight! another winner :)
Thank you so much! That is very helpful for this recipe and many others!
Thanks Michelle :)
I love this recipe! However I never know which type of onion to use . Can you tell me if I am supposed to use red, white, or yellow onions?
Hi Michelle, When it comes to recipes, I always assume “onion” means yellow cooking onions and I use that assumption when I write recipes, as well. These are really the standard for onions. I rarely use white onions, unless specified in a recipe. Red onion is most often used in recipes where the onion is uncooked, as it is milder and adds great colour to salads etc. If you only want to buy one type of onion, keep an ample supply of yellow cooking onions of various sizes around. You can’t go wrong with that :)
I made these for dinner last night and they were delicious! Followed exactly then added chicken and red peppers to it as well. The sauce is so good! Can’t wait to eat the leftovers for lunch today! Thanks!
Glad you enjoyed it, Kate. One of my favourite quick and easy dishes and so customizable :)
I cooked these today and they were incredible! I played around with the veggies and made a bit more sauce to accommodate more veggies. SUPERB! Thanks for sharing :)
So glad you enjoyed it, Rojo :)
This is one of my family’s favorite meals! I’m making it again tonight!!
So glad you are all enjoying it, Katie! We had it this week, as well. This time I added broccoli and peanuts. It’s a bit different every time I make it, depending on what’s in my fridge that needs using up :)
Oh Jennifer, this stir fry looks mouthwatering! I also have a package of fat udon noodles in my pantry. Monday night is sorted!
Thanks Julia :) Enjoy!
This is by far the best foodie website ever!
Thanks so much, Cheryl :)
Nothing is more comforting than a big bowl of noodles. This looks so good, Jennifer! I’ve got several feet of snow to shovel out. Wish someone was making me this so I could come in the house to a warm bowl of stir fry!
Thanks Liz. I’ve been following your storm on the news. Sounds like you need a spicy bowl to warm you up! Stay warm :)
Thanks so much, Liren :)
I am a huge fan of sambal, so I love the sauce you’ve drizzled over these lovely udon! Delicious!
I’m all about a quick and tasty stir fry on a busy weeknight, this is a must make!
I’m sure you’d enjoy it, Laura!
Yes! I need to cook with udon more often. I love any noodle, but they have that great udon chew! This sounds so yummy (and meatless)! I need more quick meals in my arsenal like this…. 15 minutes is about all I’ve got so a lot of dinners lately have just been protein shakes! AHK!
Yes … the great udon chew! :) You will be amazed at how quickly this comes together, Sophie!
Thanks Jessica. I love my noodles super saucy :)
These noodles look incredible – love how saucy and deliciou they look. Love the easy dinner ideas too – I always need more of those!
Oh my. My boyfriend is the biggest stir-fry fan I know. Udon are his go-to noodles. And spicy? Well, duh! He would just love this. As do I!
Thanks Sarah. I’m such a fan of udon noodles, too and love these spice in this one :)
I’m a big fan of udon too! But I’ve never made it at home. Love, love, love this!
Thanks Katrina. You’ll love how quick and easy it is, too!
Hello. I just cooked and served your recipe and it was delicious!! I added chicken and colored peppers. This is definitely a noodle recipe to keep!!
So glad you enjoyed it and yes, it’s great for adding whatever you have around to use up :)