Asian Recipes/ Dinner/ Japanese/ Lunch/ Recipes/ Snack

Yakisoba – Japanese Stir Fried Noodles

24/11/2020 (Last Updated: 09/12/2020)

Stir fried to perfection in just one pan, Yakisoba noodles are the easiest Japanese street food to make. Ready in 25 minutes and loaded with pork and veggies smothered in a homemade yakisoba sauce for the most authentic flavour.

Bowl of yakisoba noodles with pork and carrot.

Why We Love This

Dinner that’s on the table in less than 30 minutes is a winner for us. We love being able to mix and match different vegetables and protein, to give each rendition a unique twist.

Yakisoba is the perfect one pot batch recipe. Cook it for dinner and you’ll have plenty left over for packed lunches the next day, or freeze ahead for when you need it most.

Top down of yakisoba noodles in a white bowl.

What is Yakisoba? 

Yakisoba is usually made with long, thin noodles known as mushi chukamen (蒸し中華麺). The noodles are stir fried with sliced onion, carrot, cabbage, bean sprouts, and a slathering of yakisoba sauce. It’s a popular street food snack in Japan. You’ll often come across it sizzling away on piping hot teppans (Japanese hot plates) at street festivals or dished up at baseball stadiums and restaurants.

While this dish looks somewhat similar to Chinese Chow Mein or Lo Mein, the difference lies in the seasonings used.  Chinese versions often call for lots of soy sauce, but this Japanese recipe features a thick, sweet and salty sauce that draws on flavours of Worcestershire sauce and oyster sauce, which can easily be made at home.

Where We Learnt This Recipe

Sarah first learnt this while living in Japan back in 2010, and it’s been a staple in our household ever since. At home, we tend to cook both the traditional pork, onion and carrot combo, but will often also make it with chicken, capsicum and broccoli too.

In Japan, we’ll always order a serve of yakisoba alongside a couple of okonomiyaki. It’s quite popular in Japan to have both together when you go to an okonomiyaki restaurant. There’s even a Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki than can have yakisoba noodles or even udon noodles in it!

What You’ll Need

A few key ingredients are needed to make this dish SHINE, as well as tasty pork and vegetables.

  • Yakisoba noodles – Known as mushi chakumen, these are wheat based noodles. They’re pre-steamed then packaged, so you can put them straight in the pan without needing to cook them.
  • Yakisoba sauce – Similar to a slightly sweet and sour BBQ-like sauce. You can either buy the sauce from most supermarkets these days, get it online or simply make it at home. We’ll usually make our own sauce, or if we’re buying it, we love Otafuku brand.
  • Pork – Thin slices of pork work best here. If you can find hot pot style thinly sliced pork, like in Shabu Shabu, this is best. Otherwise, we’ll buy pork loin and semi-freeze it then slice it ourselves as thin as possible.
Bowl of stir fried Japanese noodles with chopsticks.

How to Make Yakisoba Noodles Similar to Mushi Chukamen with Ramen Noodles or Spaghetti at Home:

If you can’t find yakisoba noodles at your local grocery store or Asian supermarket, never fear! Here’s two ways to make similar style noodles at home with ramen noodles and plain old spaghetti!

Yakisoba with Ramen Noodles

The main difference between ramen and yakisoba noodles, is the ramen noodles are packaged raw and the yakisoba noodles (mushi chukamen) are steamed first then packaged. To achieve a similar result, you’ll need to steam the ramen.

  1. Bring a steamer to the boil, and add in the raw ramen noodles. Arrange them in a wreath / doughnut shape with a hole in the middle to let extra steam get up and around the pot.
  2. Place the lid on the steamer, and steam for twice as long (2x) than specified on the packet for boiling time.
  3. Once steamed, you can either:
    Steam Only: Throw the noodles straight into the yakisoba pan and continue as per the recipe. OR
    Steam & Boil: Pour the noodles into the steamer water and boil for an extra 3-5 minutes. Then strain, run under cold water then add to your yakisoba pan and continue as per the recipe.
  4. If you’re not cooking with the noodles straight away, add 1-2 teaspoons of vegetable oil to keep and toss together to prevent them from sticking, then store in an airtight container in the fridge and use within 1-2 days.

You should also be able to do this with thin yellow Chinese noodles for lo mein or similar.

Yakisoba with Spaghetti

Using spaghetti for yakisoba is a little left of field, but if you need your noodle fix, this is a great way to get around it.

  1. Boil 400 g / 14 oz of spaghetti in a large pot with around 4 litres of water.
  2. Add 1/4 cup of baking soda, and cook for the time specified on the packet.
  3. Strain and run under cold water in a colander, then add directly into yakisoba as per the recipe.

How to make Japanese Stir Fried Noodles:

  1. First up, heat that oil in a large wok or frying pan. We’re adding a little vegetable oil and a dash of sesame oil for extra flavour. Next, throw in the onions and stir fry for a few minutes until your mouth starts watering, then add the carrots and cabbage and give it a good stir. The thinly sliced pork comes next – stir fry until golden brown and full of deliciousness.
  2. Now throw in those fresh yakisoba noodles and stir fry for a few minutes, using your spatula to toss and separate the strands. Once noodles they start to turn a little crispy, add half the yakisoba sauce and stir quickly to cover everything in flavour awesome-sauce.
  3. Add remaining sauce and continue to stir fry until all ingredients are cooked and you can resist no longer.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Leftover vegetables – Sliced red capsicum/bell pepper or zucchini pair nicely with the flavours in yakisoba sauce, as do healthy green veggies like broccoli, snow peas, and bok choy. You could even try adding in baby corn, bean sprouts or water chestnuts for extra texture. 
  • Optional toppings – Why not dust your freshly grilled yakisoba noodles with aonori (green nori flakes), katsuoboshi (finely sliced bonito flakes) or benishōuga (red pickled ginger).
  • Leftover yakisoba – Creating your very own omu-soba (omelette wrapped around yakisoba) or yakisoba-pan (yakisoba in a fresh bread roll).
  • Leftover noodles – Make it into tantanmen ramen the next day!

FAQs

Can you freeze yakisoba?

Yes! It’s best to freeze it in small portions so you can reheat the perfect amount of noodles for your next lunch or dinner. 

What is yakisoba sauce made of?

Yakisoba sauce is a simple combination of 8 ingredients, including soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, tomato sauce, sugar and ginger. The sauce can easily be made at home in 5 minutes.

Variations & Substitutes

  • Chicken Yakisoba – We love using chicken for our yakisoba, with capsicum / red peppers and broccoli!
  • Vegetarian – Use tofu as your protein for a vegetarian version. 
  • Meal Ideas – Serve with an entree of Quick & Easy Takoyaki and bowl of Miso Soup.
  • Yaki Udon – Try swapping out the noodles for homemade Udon Noodles for a different texture.
Close up of Japanese stir fried noodles in a bowl with chopsticks.

Easy Japanese favourites to cook up next:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and star rating below!

Bowl of stir fried Japanese noodles.

Yakisoba – Japanese Stir Fried Noodles

Stir fried to perfection in just one pan, Yakisoba noodles are the easiest Japanese street food to make. Ready in 25 minutes and loaded with pork and veggies smothered in a homemade yakisoba sauce for the most authentic flavour.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Snack
Cuisine: Japanese
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 858kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $10-$15

Ingredients

  • 500 g yakisoba noodles sub with cooked ramen or thin chow mein / Chinese yellow noodles
  • 300 g pork loin thinly sliced
  • 1 onion thickly sliced
  • 1 carrot finely sliced
  • 100 g cabbage thickly sliced
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ cup yakisoba sauce

Optional garnish:

Instructions

  • First up, heat the vegetable oil and sesame oil in a large wok or frying pan.
  • Add in the onions and stir fry for a few minutes until your mouth starts watering, then add the carrots and cabbage and give it a good stir. The thinly sliced pork comes next – stir fry until golden brown and full of deliciousness.
  • Now throw in the fresh ramen noodles and stir fry for a few minutes, using your spatula to toss and separate the strands. Once noodles start to become crispy, add half the yakisoba sauce and stir quickly to cover everything in flavour awesome-sauce.
  • Add remaining yakisoba sauce and continue to stir fry until ingredients are cooked and you can resist no longer.
  • Serve piping hot and delicious!

Video

Recipe Notes

  • Yakisoba noodles – Known as mushi chakumen, these are wheat based noodles. They’re pre-steamed then packaged, so you can put them straight in the pan without needing to cook them.
  • Yakisoba sauce – Similar to a slightly sweet and sour BBQ-like sauce. You can either buy the sauce from most supermarkets these days, get it online or simply make it at home. We’ll usually make our own sauce, or if we’re buying it, we love Otafuku brand.
  • Pork – Thin slices of pork work best here. If you can find hot pot style thinly sliced pork, like in Shabu Shabu, this is best. Otherwise, we’ll buy pork loin and semi-freeze it then slice it ourselves as thin as possible.
  • Leftover vegetables – Sliced red capsicum/bell pepper or zucchini pair nicely with the flavours in yakisoba sauce, as do healthy green veggies like broccoli, snow peas, and bok choy. You could even try adding in baby corn, bean sprouts or water chestnuts for extra texture. 
  • Optional toppings – Why not dust your freshly grilled yakisoba noodles with aonori (green nori flakes), katsuoboshi (finely sliced bonito flakes) or benishōuga (red pickled ginger).
  • Leftover yakisoba – Creating your very own omu-soba (omelette wrapped around yakisoba) or yakisoba-pan (yakisoba in a fresh bread roll).
  • Chicken Yakisoba – We love using chicken for our yakisoba, with capsicum / red peppers and broccoli!
  • Vegetarian – Use tofu as your protein for a vegetarian version. 
  • Meal Ideas – Serve with an entree of Quick & Easy Takoyaki and bowl of Miso Soup.
  • Yaki Udon – Try swapping out the noodles for homemade Udon Noodles for a different texture.

Nutrition

Calories: 858kcal | Carbohydrates: 114g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 4272mg | Potassium: 672mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 2580IU | Vitamin C: 9.7mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 5.7mg
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks
Yakisoba – Japanese Stir Fried Noodles

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    Doug Ahmann
    15/01/2021 at 10:01 am

    Is it just me, or do you find that the strength of the Worcestershire sauce sort of cooks off when you add it to the dish? When I taste the sauce straight up, I find it not very appealing. Mainly because of the strong Worcestershire sauce taste. But when cooked in the recipe it’s really good!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      15/01/2021 at 4:11 pm

      Hey Doug, we were just talking about this with someone yesterday in relation to takoyaki and okonomiyaki sauces. They all have a strong Worcestershire base flavour, it’s also worth noting Japanese-style Worcestershire is lighter and sweeter than it’s Western counterpart. You’re right though, once mixed with the noodles or combined with Kewpie mayonnaise in other Japanese dishes, it mellows out so it doesn’t overthrow the other flavours. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the final result!

  • Reply
    Jude Susia
    13/11/2020 at 4:21 pm

    I know you listed the ingredients, but not the measurements. I’d love to make yakisoba for my family because I learned to love it, but the proportions of the sauce ingredients can make or break a sauce. I want to be sure I get it right!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      16/11/2020 at 9:17 am

      Hi Jude, great question. We recommend starting with half a cup of sauce. Pop in 1/4 of a cup first, to coat everything, then the remaining 1/4 cup to get it really saucy. From there have a taste, and if it’s not enough for your liking, add in a couple extra tablespoons at a time to get it just right. 🙂

  • Reply
    Eric
    30/04/2020 at 2:28 pm

    You didn’t mention what step to add the cabbage! I’m guessing after the carrots though, but should note anyway! 🙂

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      30/04/2020 at 2:28 pm

      Oooooops! Thanks Eric, yep you’re 100% correct and I’ve fixed the recipe now. Thanks so much for lettings us know! 😀

  • Reply
    Ali Randall
    30/04/2020 at 2:28 pm

    Hangover or not those noodles look fantastic. I’ve always wanted to know how to make my own bowl and now I know. And I don’t have to go to Japan either. Bonus

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      30/04/2020 at 2:28 pm

      That’s what we love about cooking – you can travel anywhere from your very own kitchen! Enjoy your Japanese adventures Ali! 🙂

  • Reply
    Sara | Belly Rumbles
    30/04/2020 at 2:28 pm

    Noodles and dumplings are my go to hangover easer, not quite a cure, but do make you feel like you can function again! Your Yakisoba noodles look delicious, will have to try this for a mid week meal for the family.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      30/04/2020 at 2:28 pm

      Is there anything noodles can’t do? Haha thanks Sara, hope you enjoy!

  • Reply
    Lisa | Garlic & Zest
    30/04/2020 at 2:28 pm

    Yes! Yes! Yes! I want this right now! Beautiful photos, but I mean, I just want to reach into the screen!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      30/04/2020 at 2:28 pm

      Oh if only Lisa. Can you imagine what life would be like if we could do that??? 😀

  • Reply
    Luci {Luci's Morsels}
    30/04/2020 at 2:28 pm

    I love eating yakisoba noodles when my husband and I go out, but I’ve never made them at home before! Thanks for this easy to follow recipe and inspiring me to try it myself!

    Luci’s Morsels | fashion. food. frivolity.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      30/04/2020 at 2:28 pm

      Glad we could help Luci! They’re so delicious aren’t they? Literally can’t stop until we’ve picked the plate clean with our chopsticks haha. 😛

  • Reply
    Platter Talk
    30/04/2020 at 2:28 pm

    Mmmm. This sounds like a really good Asian noodle recipe. I think that it would be really good with stir fry shrimp!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      30/04/2020 at 2:28 pm

      Oooh yes, definitely! I think next time we’ll do it with pork and shrimp/prawn! 🙂

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