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Better-than-Takeout Stir-Fried Udon


You can easily make this vegetarian—omit the pork and sub in 8 oz. shiitake or crimini mushrooms. See the step-by-step instructions here.




tablespoons vegetable oil, divided


cups very coarsely chopped green cabbage (from about ¼ medium head)


7-ounce packages instant udon noodles, flavor packets discarded


teaspoons toasted sesame oil


ounces ground pork


scallions, white and pale-green parts coarsely chopped, dark-green parts thinly sliced


teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger (from a 1-inch knob)


teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

cup mirin

cup soy sauce


tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, plus more for serving


Step 1

Heat 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add cabbage and cook, tossing often, until edges are browned, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, tossing often, until thickest parts of cabbage leaves are tender, about 4 minutes longer. Remove from heat and set skillet aside.

Step 2

Place udon in a large heatproof bowl (or pot if you don’t have one) and cover with 6 cups boiling water. Let sit 1 minute, stirring to break up noodles, then drain in a colander. Transfer noodles back to bowl and toss with sesame oil. Transfer cabbage to bowl with noodles. Wipe out skillet.

Step 3

Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil in same skillet over medium-high and add pork, breaking up and spreading across surface of pan with a spatula or tongs. Cook pork, undisturbed, until underside is brown, about 3 minutes. The pork will never brown if you’re fussing with it the whole time, so when we say “undisturbed,” that means keep your paws off it and let the heat of the pan and the pork do their thing. When pork is browned, break up meat into small bits. Cook, tossing, just until there’s no more pink, about 1 minute. Add chopped scallions (the pale parts), ginger, and red pepper. Continue to cook, tossing often, until scallions are softened and bottom of skillet has started to brown, about 1 minute. Add udon mixture, mirin, and soy sauce and cook, tossing constantly, until noodles are coated in sauce (be sure to scrape bottom of skillet to dissolve any browned bits), about 45 seconds. Remove from heat and fold in 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds and dark-green parts of scallions. Top with more sesame seeds before serving.

Reviews (54)

  • Excellent. I have made this many times. I use bucatini or thick spaghetti instead of udon which are not readily available here.



    • 1/4/2021

  • I just plain love this recipe. Everyone I've served it too asked for the recipe. Or asked me to make it again. Not a change required, though I may try some of the suggestions for using meat substitutes or ground chicken. Try serving it with a Thai style cucumber salad on the side. Just perfect.

    • LESLIE


    • 12/27/2020

  • I think this recipe saved my marriage in the first few weeks of 'quarantine'. It's delicious, easy and comes together so quickly. Near us the udon and cabbage come in quantities double what are needed, and instead of trying to repurpose or let it go to waste, we give the other half of ingredients to friends with the recipe so they can experience the joy of this dish!



    • 12/8/2020

  • I made this for a group dinner and everybody who had it LOVED it!!! Very easy and enjoyable to make - easy to use chicken too.. I added Chia seeds to the mix!!!

    • NORM


    • 12/6/2020

  • I make this at least 1x month ince it was published. So great and easy. I use chopped broccoli instead of cabbage for family preferences. Otherwise exactly as written.

    • ROBMCD


    • 11/23/2020

  • One of my favourite recipes, it’s so easy and truly better than most delivery. I’ve subbed sherry cooking wine when I haven’t been able to find mirin and it was fine! A bag of coleslaw also saves time if you don’t feel like chopping up a cabbage, though it’s cheaper to do that, and you’ll have leftovers for when you want to make it again the next night. Comes together so fast.

    • REGGIE


    • 11/19/2020

  • Fantastic recipe and SO easy esp if you just use a bag of cole slaw so that you don’t have to chop up a partial head of cabbage. I experimented with several types of udon and the frozen kind is best if you have access to an Asian grocery store. Dried udon noodles don’t plump up like the frozen kind. Also, make sure to get the full alcoholic mirin if you can, definitely yummier.

    • GLORIA

    • NEW YORK

    • 11/8/2020

  • It is way better than take out, for my super picky dad that barely likes anything, he loved this. Comes together quick and is very delicious!



    • 8/21/2020

  • Decided to make this for dinner last night and loved it. I made it exactly as the recipe stated and it did not disappoint. This recipe is a keeper. Even dad, who is not a big pork fan loved it. Looking forward to the next time we have this. Thanks so much for the recipe.


    • SYDNEY

    • 8/14/2020

  • Incredible! Added shiitake’s and came out amazing


    • NEW YORK

    • 8/10/2020

  • Amazing. Made the vegetarian version (w/ mushrooms). Came out great. Next time I would add less soy sauce.


    • ISRAEL

    • 6/24/2020

  • Claire, this recipe is absolute amazing! I have made it both exactly as written, and with Beyond Sausage when I don’t feel like eating meat. Both ways are delicious. This instantly has become a classic and often-requested dish in our household. Thank you for all you do, you write amazing recipes!



    • 6/24/2020

  • My wife whipped this up for dinner tonight, swapping in a homemade pork substitute to make it animal free, and it was amazing!! I know it says 4 servings, but given the right set of circumstances, I could probably polish off the whole thing it was so good. We'll definitely make this again.



    • 5/9/2020

  • Love it an instant classic and definitely on the rotation.



    • 4/29/2020

  • I live for this recipe—and I’d maybe die for it?! I use coconut oil to fry the cabbage and I find that imparts a nice nutty flavour to this dish. Be careful with the red pepper flakes, which can sometimes overpower these noodles. I’ve made this recipe with rice noodles for friends who can’t eat udon and they loved it. But the udon is perfect and the dish truly is better than takeout. Pair with ice-cold light beer or a crisply chilled glass of wine. Be happy for yourself you had the good sense to make dinner.



    • 4/24/2020

  • I absolutely love this recipe!!! I normally use ground chicken (but it’s great with the pork too) and use bok choy instead of cabbage. Much better than any takeout I’ve had!

    • ALISON.EPSTEIN7174112

    • NEW YORK

    • 4/18/2020

  • We make this CONSTANTLY. It got to the point where we ate so much of it, got sick of it, switched out udon with ramen, and unlocked a whole new layer of joy. This is such a phenomenal recipe and so easy to make!



    • 4/13/2020

  • We have to have made this at least 25 times since we first tried it. It is the go-to comfort meal that is always reliable. It's incredibly easy and incredibly delicious. I'm pretty sure we've had it multiple times in one week before and plan to again soon.

    • MKMCCABE8026

    • 4/6/2020

  • This dish is fire. We subbed mushrooms for the pork and added chili garlic sauce, broccoli, bok choy and shredded carrots. This will be added to our rotation. It is reminiscent of Yan Can Cook.

    • HABIGJE9792


    • 3/15/2020

  • This is perfectly fine. A bit boring but very easy to make. I had to add way more red pepper to make it taste flavorful.


    • 1/28/2020

  • Absolutely loved this, one of my new favorites!!

    • ANNABEL7


    • 1/23/2020

  • I made this vegetarian and didn’t sub anything for the pork- i suspect this might be why is tasted a bit too salty for me since there was something missing to soak up the soy sauce. I should invest in some low sodium soy sauce, but it’s what was in the cabinet. I also used Cabbage kimchi instead of regular cabbage since it’s what I had on hand- was good fried! I would like to try this again with a meat option (might try for ground turkey) and go with less soy sauce or low sodium soy sauce.



    • 1/16/2020

  • I just made this and. Oh boy it is so delicious !!!! Thank you California 1/9/20

    • STELLAG43


    • 1/10/2020

  • I absolutely love this recipe. I have made it twice now. I only have a few edits, for the cabbage I would just use the whole thing, for the udon noodles I would only use 8oz and instead of chili flakes I used 1 TBS of garlic chili sauce. An absolute knockout weeknight recipe that my boyfriend is obsessed with!

    • DENVER, CO

    • 1/4/2020

  • I use frozen udon and fresh shrimp and whatever vegetables I have lying around. Onions and red peppers are my favorite.


    • 10/26/2019

  • This recipe is absolutely everything it promises. Delicious, easy. It instantly became a part of my regular rotation. Makes excellent leftovers, too.


    • 10/22/2019

  • My girlfriend can't get enough of this recipe. We use the frozen udon from the Asian market, and while we're there we pick up Bulgogi-style thinly-sliced pork belly (holy moly it is so good, and easier to pick up with chopstix). We only use 1/4c each of soy sauce and mirin - the recipe amount made too much sauce that wouldn't thicken. Threw in some leftover shredded carrots and broccoli one time and have never looked back. We probably make this recipe once a week!



    • 8/30/2019

  • Super delish. To make it a bit healthier I used extra cabbage, half the oil, ground chicken instead of pork, and about a third of the mirin and soy sauce. It was excellent.

    • ARHO


    • 7/30/2019

  • Awesome recipe! I followed the recipe with the two exceptions: 16 oz ground turkey and half a head of cabbage. Thank you, chef! This was an easy and fabulous dish!



    • 6/15/2019

  • A hit! Added browned shiitakes, twice the pork, one minced Serrano and the rest as is. Also wonderful for breakfast.

    • GRYZ


    • 6/11/2019

  • This is an amazing recipe. Pork mince is so versatile and it is delicious in this recipe. The flavours here are excellent. I am sharing it with all my friends. I think the only thing is to be wary of your pork mince fat content and alter oil used depending on that. Thanks bon appétit!



    • 5/26/2019

  • A new favorite for sure. Made it exactly as listed the first time, doubled the pork and added some shredded carrots, as well as some brown sugar to the mirin mix for a little added sweetness on subsequent makings. Lots of flavor and just an outstanding recipe to build on if so desired. Thanks for sharing!



    • 5/13/2019

  • Better the next day :-) I made with rice noodles... would be interested how it would cook with ground chicken and some more veggies


    • 5/9/2019

  • Amazingly simple!


    • CANADA

    • 5/7/2019

  • Have made this gem twice now! (once true to recipe, second time, with different vegetables and tofu instead) For someone who craves Chinese takeout daily, this is an amazing alternative and so easy to do! Tastes even better day 2 as cold (or re-heated) office lunch :)



    • 5/5/2019

  • Ive made this recipe multiple times now because thats how much i love it. After the first time I made this I have always made more noodles. Also super tasty for leftovers. Ive added roasted peanuts for a crunch or an fried egg on top .



    • 5/2/2019

  • My husband - a vehement cabbage hater - loved this. 'Nuf said.

    • NYC

    • 4/25/2019

  • I made this tonight and LOVED it! Excellent flavor!


    • UTAH

    • 4/24/2019

  • Replaced the udon noodles with soba and it was amazing!



    • 4/17/2019

  • I made this tonight and it was delicious! I only used 1/2 tsp of red chili flakes and it was enough for me. I thought it could've used more cabbage so next time I will double it. Definitely a keeper!



    • 4/12/2019

  • Great recipe. I would use a bit less soy sauce if you make the vegetarian version. Easy and delicious.

    • TFOLSOI4761


    • 4/10/2019

  • Great flavors, great recipe! I'd say this serves more than 4. I went heavy on the cabbage, and don't regret it. The pork can make this dish feel fatty and a little heavy (even after draining), but if you're looking for some take-out style comfort food, this is it.


    • BOSTON, MA

    • 3/5/2019

  • This is delicious! I love that you can totally add or subsitute as you see fit. I thought it wouldn’t be flavourful enough as there’s nothing that marinades and the pork is just cooked in oil and nothing else but oh baby, it’s a ticket to flavour town.


    • CANADA

    • 2/20/2019

  • Really great base recipe. I made it exactly as written but it needed a little more heat and veggies, IMO. So in the pan I tossed 1/2 a diced jalapeno, 4 more cups of sliced napa cabbage, the rest of the bunch of sliced green onions, and another tablespoon of ginger and a little more mirin (1/8 cup?) to help everything come together. In about 3 minutes it was all ready to toss in the prepared dish and it was absolutely perfect! Served with some cilantro. I used frozen udon and cooked in boiling water for 1 minute. Next time I'll add some thinly sliced red pepper. Thank you for recipe!

    • MD

    • 1/7/2019

  • I think this is a good "starter" recipe, easily adaptable for tweaks/additions. My guy loved it, I thought it could use some additional "umami" and moisture. Next time I will add mushrooms, which will serve both purposes, and some additional veggies. May also add some of our homemade stock to boost the flavor profile a bit. I used light tamari in place of the soy sauce.



    • 10/23/2018

  • I’m sure I will love it...but I am using fresh uncooked udon Can I just stir fry it as I do fresh yakisobi? In soup I had to let the fresh udon simmer for several minutes



    • 6/25/2018

  • So, I bought the pre-cooked udon (Ka-Me) brand, and found they had a sour aftertaste that I thought threw off the rest of the dish. Anyone else have a sour noodle problem?

    • SUMMER-76


    • 6/15/2018

  • Eating the leftovers of this made me the envy of the office... I used normal white cabbage which worked great, but I was very careful to cut it very finely so it would cook properly (Chinese cabbage cooks much faster than white cabbage). It also means this dish is insanely good value, especially compared to a take-away meal! I had left over ground pork which I used to make gyoza :)

    • FME


    • 5/14/2018

  • This is a fantastic recipe. I made it with Chinese broccoli, shiitake, and pork. I also added a whole jalapeno pepper with the ginger, topped it with fried eggs and a drizzle of sweet soy sauce. I can't wait to try it with other veggie combos.


    • LA

    • 4/8/2018

  • I followed the recipe to the T and found it to be way too salty because of the 1/3c of Soy sauce. Next time I make this dish, I'll have to use Lite Soy sauce instead of the regular soy sauce, Napa cabbage instead of regular cabbage and add shallots and garlic.

    • EGAON1

    • AUSTIN, TX

    • 3/8/2018

  • Easy, fun, delicious recipe. I've now made 3 times in 2 months. I use pork, shiitakes, and broccoli. 10/10 would recommend.


    • NEW YORK

    • 12/11/2017

  • This was fantastic! I actually sauteed mushrooms, brussels sprouts and cauliflower in place of the cabbage. I also added a little fish sauce and brown sugar to the sauce. My husband really loved it.


    • 11/29/2017

  • Two packages of fresh udon (7.34 oz. each). So good.



    • 11/18/2017

  • This recipe is the best. I have tried to recreate a number of take-out dishes at home, but they always feel less fun then the restaurant. Not the case here! I didn't use the instant noodles because regular 8.8 oz package of udon only takes 8-10 minutes to cook. Otherwise perfect as written. This should be filed away with the "Keepers" for sure!

    • AFLYNN145741


    • 11/11/2017

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