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Black Pepper Stir Fried Udon

17 reviews / 4.8 average
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So what happened was:

I fell into a bit of a takeout habit. On a whim, I added the veggie udon to our order from our sushi place (treat yourself) and a love story was born. I found myself unable to stop thinking about the thick (and I mean really, really thick) chewy udon noodles, slicked in an umami-rich sauce and speckled aggressively with freshly ground black pepper, stir-fried with a nice medley of veggies for color and, like, health, I guess? and I realized I needed to figure out how to make this at home.

Well, not MAKE them make them. This is the SOS series, as you may remember. More of like, put some pre-cooked things in a pan and “make them.”

Which actually works perfectly because I learned that a lot of grocery stores sell PRE-COOKED UDON NOODLES that are just vacuum-packed, waiting to be taken to your house and added straight to a sizzling skillet. And I also learned that the sauce used for yaki udon (stir fried udon) is actually relatively simple – just 4 main ingredients.

Our Ingredient List For This Stir Fried Udon Is Simple

Here is what we are working with for our short and friendly ingredient list:

  • udon noodles
  • a bag of stir fry vegetables
  • dark soy sauce
  • oyster sauce
  • rice vinegar
  • garlic

This is assuming you already have oil and brown sugar and black pepper. Just you wait. YUMMM.

Black Pepper Stir Fried Udon in a bowl

Okay. If I’m speaking honestly, I was very skeptical of the taste and texture of pre-cooked noodles in a plastic package. I really was.

Pre-SOS-times, I may have even just said no thanks, that’s gross, I don’t want to eat noodles that are just vacuum-packed in plastic and somehow shelf-stable? But I’m happy to report what many of you probably already know which is that they are, in fact, so totally delicious.

There Are Lots Of Options When It Comes To Udon Noodles

We tried several varieties of udon noodles in our testing for this recipe. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Refrigerated (fresh) udon: we were able to find these at a mainstream grocery store, near the tofu in the refrigerated / produce section. Technically, these are soup packages so they come with a flavor package that we discarded. The noodles were totally thick and chewy. Would definitely recommend.
  • Pre-packaged shelf-stable udon*: we were able to find these at a mainstream grocery store too, near the dry packages of ramen, and also bought some on Amazon. Technically these are soup packages so they come with a flavor package that we discarded. The ones we bought on Amazon* were excellent. But the ones at the grocery store were not very good. It was the only batch we had that tasted “off”, like maybe the noodles were old and not very fresh anymore. (This would make sense given that I don’t think this is a popular item at our grocery store and probably had been hanging around for quite a while, whereas the Amazon variety probably ships out more frequently and therefore is fresher. Just my hypothesis.) The noodles were thick and chewy and I would definitely recommend if you can find them from a place where you know they are relatively fresh.
  • Dry udon*: we bought these noodles* on Amazon. They come in little stick-like bundles, like dry ramen. They were not as round and chewy as the other udon noodles – they have more of a semi-thick flat shape. But they were definitely still very yummy and really carb-licious. While the texture isn’t the same as the classic udon (or at least what I think of as classic udon), the flavor was REALLY GOOD. I felt like because they were boiled fresh right before eating, they were like little sponges to absorb more of the sauce. I found these to be very sticky, almost like pad thai noodles, so if you use these, you might want to give them a rinse before adding to the stir fry pan. Overall would definitely recommend!
Fork twirl of black pepper stir fried udon

Okay, last thing: I think this would be incomplete if I didn’t tell you that my favorite thing about this whole recipe is that when you let the noodles rest in the pan for a few minutes as you cook them, they get a little bit caramelized and browned on the outside and the contrast of that pan-fried goodness with the thick, chewy, slippery noodles is just texturally so wonderful.

I mean… look at it.

Do you want to live in this pan of noodles with me? Check yes or no.

Scoop of black pepper stir fried udon

Black Pepper Stir Fried Udon: FAQs

Will regular soy sauce work instead of dark soy sauce?

If you can’t find dark soy sauce, regular soy sauce will still taste great (we tested and can confirm). However, dark soy sauce is more concentrated and really does make a difference for how much the flavor saturates into the noodles. We ended up finding some dark soy sauce at an Indian / Asian grocery store near us! But Amazon sells it*, too.

I have a little bit of extra sauce. Can I save it for another round of this recipe?

I often find that I have a little extra sauce, too. No problem, it can be saved in the fridge for a half-batch or full-batch later on!

Can I add meat to this dish?

You can definitely add a protein if you want! I love veggie noodle stir fries, but true yaki udon (the Japanese name for this dish) usually includes meat of some kind. I would think chicken or shrimp would be great. I also made a version of this with tofu kind of scrambled into a ground-meat-like consistency that was really yummy.

Where can I find oyster sauce?

You can find it at most bigger / chain grocery stores down the sauce aisle (usually by the soy sauce) or a local Asian grocery store likely sells it as well. If you can’t find it, hoisin sauce would probably be the best sub.


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Source notes: Yaki Udon is the Japanese name for this recipe – although I don’t claim this to be anything other than myself taking a stab at a homemade version of the noodles I’ve fallen in love with from the strip mall sushi-and-noodle place we love here in little old Roseville, Minnesota (Kyoto Sushi for those who are local). They LOAD UP on the black pepper in their udon stir fry and I love it so much. Yaki Udon is, according to Wikipedia, often served in Japan at pubs as a late-night snack, which is so fun and makes me love it all the more. I’ve eaten and appreciated udon but never actually made it before now, so I used Jamie’s 5-star yaki udon recipe from Drive Me Hungry as a sauce springboard, which was just as awesome as I expected. I upped the amounts just slightly because, well, too much of a good thing is sometimes… a good thing.

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Black Pepper Stir Fried Udon


  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 23 servings 1x

Description

This Black Pepper Stir Fried Udon is the perfect SOS dinner! Saucy udon noodles, dark soy sauce, stir fry veggies, fresh garlic, and lots of freshly ground black pepper. So easy! 


Ingredients

Scale

Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce (see FAQs if using regular soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar

Udon Stir Fry:

  • a little bit of neutral oil
  • 2 cups of stir fry veggies (I use about half of a bag of a frozen stir fry veggie blend)
  • two 7-ounce packages of udon noodles (the cooked, fat, squishy ones – see FAQs)

Finishing Touches:

  • 12 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • a ton of freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Sauce: Shake up all the sauce ingredients in a jar. 
  2. Noodles: Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add a swish of oil. Add the noodles and enough sauce to coat. Stir-fry until nice and yummy. (They’ll get kind of caramelized if you leave them undisturbed for a minute or two – so good.)
  3. Veggies: Add the veggies and pour a little more sauce over everything (it’s okay if you don’t use all of it -it’ll keep in the fridge for a second batch later). Toss it around for 2-3 minutes until the veggies are fork-tender and everything is looking browned and sticky and pan-fried to perfection.
  4. Finish: Remove from heat and stir in some freshly grated garlic and A TON of freshly ground black pepper. (I mean, yes, pull some out for the kids first so it’s not too spicy, but then PEPPER THAT UP.) The smell of the fresh garlic hitting the pan. The steamy noodle pulls. This is the moment you’ve been waiting for.

Notes

If you have extra udon noodles and/or want to make this more than once, double or triple your sauce for later! It makes this the fastest meal of all time.

There is sugar in the sauce which can burn so don’t leave your noodles sitting undisturbed in the hot pan for too long or your caramelization will turn to burning.

  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Asian-Inspired

Keywords: udon noodles, black pepper udon, stir fry

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Recipe rating

58 Comments

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Great question, Ron! I didn’t even know vegetarian oyster sauce existed, but we think it’s definitely worth a shot!

    2. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Lauren

      Looks amazing! Do you add frozen veggies directly to the mix, or cook them according to package directions first?

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Krista @ Pinch of Yum

        We add them directly in step 3! No need to cook them beforehand. Enjoy!

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Feebee

    That looks so delicious! But I’ve just gone on a hunt for GF udon noodles and drawn a blank. What noodles could I substitute? So many are much thinner and won’t carry that sauce.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      T

      My mainstream grocery store carries edamame noodles which are about 1/4 inch wide and flat, and about half the length of typical linguine noodles. I’m not sure if they’d hold up well in a stirfry situation, but I think they’re awesome. Also if you’re GF, be aware that soy sauce and oyster sauce typically contain gluten.

    2. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Great question! We haven’t tested this, but gluten free lo mein noodles might work!

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Za

    I made this as soon as I saw it posted, since I had all the ingredients needed (except for oyster sauce, which I subbed with hoisin). This really hit the spot for a craving for takeout. Super quick and easy. I ate it so fast, we didn’t get to take a pic! Will definitely be making it again.






  3. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Isabella R Ingraffia

    Just made it Today!! Was so delicious. We doubled the vegetables and added tofu for protein!






    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Tofu is a wonderful addition to this recipe! So glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Alice

    Have you ever tried frozen udon? They come in bricks at Asian grocery stores (checkout Dong Yang in twin cities). Makes any udon dish 10x better! Thanks for the recipe!!

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Rachel

    If adding meat to this recipe, at what stage would you suggest cooking? Before the noodles and then set aside and added back in with the veggies? Something like shrimp would cook faster than chicken, so does it just depend on the protein?
    Excellent recipe, thanks so much for highlighting this dish!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Great question! We’d suggest cooking the meat before the noodles, and then adding it back in once the veggies have cooked. Cook time will depend on the type of protein you’re using! Enjoy!

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Lexica

    I made a variation on this (using eggplant and orange bell peppers) and loved it. Will definitely be keeping this in the household recipe rotation. Thank you!

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Krista Chichester

    This is exactly like the Japanese Pan Noodles at Noodles & Co. which my son loves and I have been trying to replicate for years! Thank you, thank you! We love this recipe! We also add steak to make it more filling.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      So glad to hear it, Krista! Those Japanese Pan Noodles are one of my faves too!

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Margie Klein Ronkin

    This looks delicious. Are you sure that the nutritional info is correct per serving and not for the full recipe? I got the exact ingredients linked in this post, and the noodles say they are 260 cals/7 oz. So two of those plus some stir fry veggies and soy sauces just seem unlikely to amount to a total of over 2000 cals.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Hi Margie! The per serving calorie total is 359, so the entire recipe would be 1077 calories. Let us know if you have additional questions!

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Jocelyn

    My family loved this! I added extra veggies and some baked tofu, which allowed me to use all the sauce. Thanks so much.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Great idea to add extra veggies to this dish! So glad it was a hit with your family, Jocelyn!

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Hilary

    Made this last night in under 20 minutes and it was a success. I ordered the noodles from the Amazon link and agree they were so good despite being precooked (not my typical thing either). I tripled the noodles and quadrupled the veggies in the recipe to feed our family of 5. A winner!






    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Under 20 minutes! That’s what we like to hear! So glad you and your family enjoyed it, Hilary!

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Emily W

    Such a winner! I definitely didn’t have extra sauce…but maybe because I added chicken. I wish I would have checked the servings before I made it though – not enough for my family of 5, but that was my bad for not looking closer. Next time I will double!

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Megan

    Delicious! My husband was super skeptical but I promised he would like these noods. And guess what? I was right! 😉 It came together in a flash and it was a great way to use up a few random veggies. I used a giant pan and shoved my noodles off to one side to caramelize while some cod filets cooked on the other side.






  13. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Jenny

    This was great- a nice change from the normal udon stir fry sauce I make. I used regular soy sauce. My husband wouldn’t eat it if he knew there was oyster sauce in it but I snuck it in and he had no idea! He loved all the black pepper.






  14. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Natalie

    The first time I made this, my husband told me it was the best thing I’d ever made (and he’s a big fan of my cooking). Made it again two weeks later – same section. I added ground chicken – DELICIOUS.






  15. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Susan

    Made this last night and paired it with air fried pepper lime shrimp. Prep was quick, and easy; didn’t heat the house up and very few dishes! that checks all the summer cooking boxes in this house.
    The sauce was good but needs to be adjusted for my families taste; less oyster sauce more sugar and soy (hoisin or teriyaki sauce flavoring). This will be on the menu rotation for an easy don’t heat the house up summer meal.






    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try and reporting back! So glad you enjoyed it!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Hi Wendy! Scroll up on this page and find the grey box titled “BLACK PEPPER STIR FRIED UDON: FAQS.”

  16. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Margo

    Made this tonight for dinner – so quick, easy, and delicious! We are adding this to our usual rotation. Thank you!