Make Authentic Udon Noodles at Home – Just 4 Steps

by Ella

Udon noodles, a staple of Japanese cuisine, are beloved for their thick, chewy texture and versatility in various dishes. Whether served in a simple broth, stir-fried, or as part of a more complex meal, udon noodles provide a satisfying base for many Japanese recipes. Making udon from scratch may seem daunting, but with the right ingredients, tools, and techniques, you can create these delicious noodles at home. This comprehensive guide will take you through the entire process, from selecting the right flour to preparing the perfect broth and toppings.

The History and Culture of Udon

Origins of Udon Noodles

Udon noodles have a long history in Japan, dating back to the Nara period (710-794 AD). It is believed that udon was introduced to Japan by Buddhist monks who traveled to China. Over the centuries, udon evolved and became a popular dish in Japanese cuisine, with various regional styles and preparations emerging.


Cultural Significance

Udon holds a special place in Japanese culture. It is often enjoyed during family gatherings, festivals, and special occasions. The simplicity and versatility of udon make it a comforting and beloved dish across Japan.


See Also: Perfect Chicken Katsu Sandwich


Ingredients and Tools for Making Udon

Essential Ingredients

To make authentic udon noodles, you will need the following ingredients:


Flour: High-gluten flour (bread flour) is ideal for making udon due to its high protein content, which provides the desired chewy texture.

Water: Soft water is preferred for making udon dough. In areas with hard water, you can use bottled or filtered water.

Salt: Salt not only enhances the flavor of the noodles but also strengthens the dough.

Optional ingredients include:

Tapioca starch or cornstarch: To dust the dough and prevent sticking.

Kansui (alkaline water): This ingredient is sometimes added to enhance the chewiness of the noodles, though it is not essential.

Tools and Equipment

Mixing bowl: For combining the ingredients.

Rolling pin: For flattening the dough.

Knife or dough cutter: For cutting the noodles.

Large pot: For boiling the noodles.

Strainer: For draining the cooked noodles.

Plastic wrap: For resting the dough.

Baking sheet or tray: For laying out the cut noodles.

Step-by-Step Guide to Making Udon Noodles

1. Preparing the Dough


  • 500 grams high-gluten flour
  • 220-250 ml water
  • 10 grams salt

Dissolve the Salt: In a bowl, dissolve the salt in the water. This helps distribute the salt evenly throughout the dough.

Combine Flour and Water: In a large mixing bowl, add the flour. Gradually pour in the saltwater while stirring with your hand or a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together to form a shaggy dough.

Knead the Dough: Transfer the dough onto a clean, lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for about 10-15 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. If the dough is too dry, add a little more water, one tablespoon at a time. If it’s too wet, sprinkle with a bit more flour.

2. Resting the Dough

Wrap the Dough: Form the kneaded dough into a ball and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.

Rest the Dough: Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour. Resting helps relax the gluten, making it easier to roll out the dough.

3. Rolling and Cutting the Dough

Flatten the Dough: Unwrap the dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough into a large rectangle, about 1/4-inch thick.

Fold the Dough: Dust the surface of the dough with a small amount of flour. Fold the dough into thirds, like a letter, to make it easier to cut.

Cut the Noodles: Use a sharp knife or dough cutter to cut the folded dough into strips about 1/4-inch wide. Unfold the strips to reveal long, flat noodles.

4. Cooking the Noodles

Boil Water: Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a rolling boil.

Cook the Noodles: Add the noodles to the boiling water, stirring gently to prevent sticking. Cook for 8-12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the noodles, until they are tender but still chewy.

Drain and Rinse: Drain the cooked noodles in a strainer and rinse under cold running water to remove excess starch and cool the noodles.

Serving Udon Noodles

Udon noodles can be served in various ways, each highlighting their versatility and ability to absorb different flavors.

1. Udon in Broth


  • 1 liter dashi broth
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • Optional: sliced green onions, tempura, kamaboko (fish cake), nori (seaweed), boiled egg

Prepare the Broth: In a pot, combine the dashi broth, soy sauce, and mirin. Bring to a gentle simmer.

Add the Noodles: Place the cooked udon noodles in serving bowls. Pour the hot broth over the noodles.

Garnish and Serve: Garnish with sliced green onions, tempura, kamaboko, nori, or a boiled egg, as desired. Serve immediately.

2. Stir-Fried Udon (Yaki Udon)


  • 2 servings udon noodles
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 100 grams meat or tofu, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Optional: sliced green onions, sesame seeds, pickled ginger

Prepare the Noodles: Cook and drain the udon noodles as described above.

Stir-Fry the Vegetables and Meat: Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, carrot, and meat or tofu. Stir-fry until the vegetables are tender and the meat is cooked through.

Add the Noodles and Sauce: Add the cooked noodles to the pan. In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar. Pour the sauce over the noodles and vegetables, tossing to coat evenly.

Garnish and Serve: Garnish with sliced green onions, sesame seeds, or pickled ginger, if desired. Serve hot.

3. Cold Udon (Zaru Udon)


  • 2 servings udon noodles
  • Dipping sauce: 1/2 cup dashi broth, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup mirin
  • Optional: grated ginger, wasabi, sliced green onions, nori strips

Prepare the Noodles: Cook and drain the udon noodles as described above. Rinse the noodles under cold water until completely cool. Drain well.

Prepare the Dipping Sauce: In a small pot, combine the dashi broth, soy sauce, and mirin. Bring to a gentle simmer, then let it cool to room temperature.

Serve the Noodles and Sauce: Arrange the cold udon noodles on a serving tray. Pour the dipping sauce into small bowls. Serve the noodles with the dipping sauce and optional garnishes such as grated ginger, wasabi, sliced green onions, and nori strips.

Regional Variations of Udon

Udon noodles are enjoyed throughout Japan, with each region offering its unique twist on the classic dish. Here are a few notable regional variations:

Sanuki Udon

Sanuki Udon, originating from Kagawa Prefecture, is known for its firm and chewy texture. The noodles are typically served in a simple, light broth or cold with a dipping sauce. Sanuki Udon is often garnished with green onions, tempura, and grated ginger.

Kansai Udon

Kansai Udon, from the Kansai region, features softer noodles and a light, clear broth made from kombu (kelp) and bonito flakes. The broth has a delicate flavor, highlighting the natural taste of the noodles.

Kitsune Udon

Kitsune Udon, popular in Osaka, includes thick udon noodles served in a hot broth and topped with sweetened deep-fried tofu pockets called “aburaage.” The dish is named “kitsune” (fox) because foxes are believed to love aburaage in Japanese folklore.

Hakata Udon

Hakata Udon, from Fukuoka, is characterized by its soft and tender noodles. The dish is often served in a rich, savory broth with toppings such as fish cakes, tempura, and green onions.

Tips for Perfect Udon Noodles

Choosing the Right Flour

The type of flour you use can significantly impact the texture of your udon noodles. High-gluten flour, or bread flour, is ideal due to its high protein content, which gives the noodles their characteristic chewiness. If you prefer a slightly softer noodle, you can use all-purpose flour.

Kneading and Resting

Proper kneading and resting are crucial for developing the gluten structure that gives udon noodles their texture. Don’t rush the kneading process, and ensure you give the dough ample time to rest.

Cooking Time

The cooking time for udon noodles can vary depending on their thickness. Keep an eye on the noodles as they cook, tasting occasionally to ensure they reach the desired texture. Overcooking can result in mushy noodles, while undercooking can leave them too firm.

Health Benefits of Udon Noodles

Udon noodles can be a part of a balanced diet, offering several health benefits:

High in Carbohydrates

Udon noodles are an excellent source of carbohydrates, providing energy for your daily activities. They are particularly beneficial for athletes and those with active lifestyles.

Low in Fat

Udon noodles are low in fat, making them a suitable option for those looking to maintain a healthy weight or reduce fat intake.

Source of Protein

While not as high in protein as some other foods, udon noodles still contribute to your daily protein intake, especially when made with high-gluten flour.

Versatility for Balanced Meals

Udon noodles can be paired with a variety of ingredients, allowing you to create balanced meals that include vegetables, proteins, and healthy fats. Adding vegetables and lean proteins such as chicken, tofu, or fish can enhance the nutritional value of your udon dishes.

See Also: How to Make Sukiyaki


Making udon noodles from scratch is a rewarding culinary endeavor that allows you to enjoy authentic Japanese flavors in your own home. With the right ingredients, tools, and techniques, you can create delicious, chewy udon noodles that serve as the perfect base for a variety of dishes. Whether you prefer them in a hot broth, stir-fried, or served cold, udon noodles offer endless possibilities for tasty and satisfying meals. Embrace the art of udon making and bring a piece of Japanese culinary tradition to your kitchen.



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