A simple solution for busy weeknights and lazy weekends, stir fry noodles are super easy to make and are ready in hardly a few minutes.
There is no single recipe to follow and you can play around with the ingredients using your choice of vegetables, protein, sauces, garnishes, as well as noodles.
So, what are the best noodles for stir fry? The best noodles for stir fry are any kind of thick, long noodles that can withstand lots of tossing in the pan. You may use standard egg noodles or branch out to soba noodles, rice noodles, Japanese udon noodles, and even spaghetti.
Read on to find out more about the different types of noodles you can use in a stir fry and our top picks of the 7 best ones:
What Are Stir Fry Noodles?
Stir-frying is a Chinese cooking technique that involves cooking food in a wok over high heat. It requires you to constantly toss the ingredients to make them crispy without burning them.
It is a particularly popular method for vegetables, noodles, and lean meats such as chicken, especially if they are cut into small uniform pieces.
Although stir-frying is a cooking method, it is the name of a dish in several non-Asian countries. Some popular stir fry dishes include beef stir fry, chicken stir fry, and vegetable stir fry.
The 7 Best Noodles For Stir Fry
It can’t be stirred fried noodles without the noodles, right? While you can use any noodle for stir fry, it is best to opt for thicker and longer noodles that are easy to work with.
If you are a beginner, standard egg noodles are a great option, preferably the fresh variety, as they are easy to handle. Once you are more comfortable and get the hang of it, you may try other options as well.
Here are 7 of the best noodles for stir fry:
1. Egg Noodles
Egg noodles are eaten in cultures all around the world and are made by rolling wheat flour and eggs into a flat sheet, which is then cut into ribbon shapes and cooked in boiling water.
Sometimes whole eggs are added to the dough, sometimes just yolks, and sometimes whole eggs with additional yolks.
There are several varieties of egg noodles, the most common ones being Youmian, Lokshen, Kesme, and Spaetzle.
Youmian are egg noodles used in Chinese cooking for soups and stir-fries. Look for lo-mein style Chinese egg noodles for the best results. These Egg Noodles by Wel Pac are a good option.
You may even make them fresh at home using just a handful of ingredients and a straightforward cooking technique.
2. Soba Noodles
Soba noodles are a type of thin Japanese noodle made primarily from buckwheat flour and a smaller portion of wheat flour.
With a nutty flavor and dense, slightly chewy texture, they are most commonly used in soups, salads, and stir-fries. They are also often served chilled with a soy-based dipping sauce called tsuyu.
Rolled into a flat sheet which is then folded and cut into thin strands, soba noodles have a thickness similar to spaghetti. They can either be cooked immediately or dried and cooked later.
In Japan, there are several varieties of soba noodles based on the ratio of buckwheat flour. The most common ones include Juwari Soba, Hachi Wari Soba, and Instant Soba.
Juwari Soba are made with 100% buckwheat flour and can be hard to prepare due to their grainy texture. Although a bit more expensive, they are low-carb and naturally gluten-free.
Hachi Wari Soba contain 80% buckwheat flour and 20% wheat flour, giving them a much smoother al-dente texture. Instant Soba contains more wheat flour than buckwheat, making them more durable and less expensive.
King Soba Buckwheat Noodles have a terrific taste and texture and are a great option for preparing stir fry noodles.
3. Rice Noodles
First made in China, rice noodles are essentially made with two ingredients: rice flour and water. Similar to rice, these noodles don’t have much flavor but they pair wonderfully well with broths, sauces, and stir-fries.
They will often take on the dish’s flavor and absorb the sauces and spices used in the recipe. Cooked properly, rice noodles will have a delicate and light texture.
You can also find thick, flat, and wide rice noodles that will take on a soft, chewy texture when cooked.
Rice noodles come in a variety of types and sizes, and what you choose depends on the dish you are using them for.
Some of the most popular varieties include flat rice noodles, thick rice noodles, thin noodles, Asian vermicelli noodles, rice sticks, and rice noodle rolls.
Thai Kitchen’s Gluten-Free Stir Fry Rice Noodles are specifically crafted for stir-fries and are incredibly easy to prepare.
4. Japanese Udon Noodles
Udon are thick noodles originating from Japan and can range in size, shape, ingredients, and uses. Often thick and round in shape, udon noodles can also be flat and ribbon-like.
They are slippery and chewy noodles most commonly used in soups and udon stir fry and come in several varieties.
The majority of udon noodles are made from wheat flour and have a neutral taste, with a few varieties using potato starch and adding carrot for an orange tint.
Their thickness varies depending on the variety, offering different levels of chewiness and a slightly translucent appearance due to the presence of potato starch.
Yaki udon is a popular Japanese udon stir fry dish made using udon noodles and an assortment of vegetables and protein. Stir-fried in a savory sauce made with soy sauce and mirin, it can also be made using frozen udon noodles.
5. Somen Noodles
Somen noodles are thin Japanese noodles that are similar in style to vermicelli and are made using wheat flour.
They have a mild flavor with a hint of saltiness and a delicate, springy, chewy texture. They are served in a variety of ways including soups, salads, and stir-fries and can also be eaten chilled with a soy-based dipping sauce.
Traditional somen noodles are made by combining wheat flour with salted water to form a dough, which is then rolled out and cut into long ropes.
These strands are brushed with vegetable oil and then looped around long bamboo sticks to stretch them to reach about 12 feet or more in length for gluten development.
They are then dried and cut down to size, with the final product not thicker than 1.3 millimeters, which is a standout characteristic that defines somen noodles.
6. Shirataki Noodles
Shirataki noodles are Japanese noodles made from a part of a plant called Amorphophallus konjac, more commonly known as konjac plant, konjac yam, or elephant yam.
The noodles have a slippery surface and gelatinous texture and come in a bag of liquid to prevent them from drying out.
They do not need to be cooked and can be added straight to your stir-fries and other recipes. All you have to do is drain the liquid, rinse the noodles, and add them to the dish.
To make them softer and less rubbery, you may boil them for 2-3 minutes or microwave them for a minute.
You can also find the dry, uncooked variety that needs to be prepared according to the instructions on the packet.
Shirataki noodles don’t have much flavor on their own and can easily take on the flavor of the ingredients that they are prepared with.
You can try the Shirataki Konjac Angel Hair Pasta by Yuho, which is not only vegan but also a low-calorie, low-carb, gluten-free, fat-free, and keto-friendly option.
It may come as a surprise to many but yes, you can use spaghetti to make stir fry noodles. In addition to spaghetti, you can also use other types of long pasta such as fettuccine and linguine.
A staple in Italian cuisine, spaghetti is a long, thin, cylindrical pasta made with milled wheat and water. Italian spaghetti is typically made using durum wheat semolina.
Cooked in a large pot of salted, boiling water, either al dente (fully cooked but still firm to the bite) or to a softer consistency, spaghetti can be used in a variety of dishes.
Other than making spaghetti and meatballs, this popular type of pasta can be used to make baked spaghetti, spaghetti alla carbonara, creamy mushroom pasta, and stir fry noodles.
Spaghetti is easily available in all parts of the world and there are several options to choose from.
If you can’t get your hands on any of the noodles listed above, don’t worry since spaghetti is extremely accessible and makes an amazing addition to stir fry!
You can use the Barilla Blue Box Spaghetti Pasta, which is one of the most popular brands of pasta in the country.
What Do You Need For Stir Fry Noodles?
To make stir fry noodles, you need a few essential ingredients and you need to make sure you prepare them beforehand so that the cooking process is much smoother.
Here are all the things you need to make stir fry noodles:
Since stir-frying is done on a high flame, you need to use an oil with a high smoke point such as peanut oil, avocado oil, or canola/vegetable oil.
As discussed above, there are several varieties of noodles to choose from, each with a different taste and texture.
Which one you choose depends on your preference and the availability of the noodles at the time of cooking.
When it comes to the vegetables, you can use just about anything you like. Some common vegetables include carrots, cabbage, mushrooms, bok choy, broccoli, bell peppers, and snap peas.
Make sure you finely chop them so that they cook quickly, particularly hard vegetables such as carrots and broccoli. Prep in advance and have all the vegetables chopped and ready before you start cooking.
The quantity of vegetables depends on your preference and you can go as heavy or light on them as you wish.
For a stir fry heavy on vegetables, use around 6 cups of vegetables for 6 ounces of noodles. For a balanced one, bump the quantity of noodles to 8 ounces.
The sauce is another essential part of stir fry noodles since it gives the dish flavor. You can use any sauce you want for this and adjust the spiciness and saltiness according to your taste.
Some common ingredients for making stir fry sauce include ginger and garlic, hoisin, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sriracha, and green onions.
This is an optional ingredient and can be omitted if you are making only vegetable stir fry noodles. However, if you wish to add protein to your dish, you can use any vegetarian or non-vegetarian options of your choice.
Boneless and skinless chicken breasts are the most common option.
For beef stir fry noodles, you may use sirloin steak, for pork stir fry noodles you may opt for pork tenderloin, and for a vegetarian option you may swap the meat with sautéed tofu cubes. For extra protein, you may add 1-2 eggs as well.
How To Make The Best Stir Fry Noodles
Making stir fry noodles is incredibly easy and a great option for busy weeknights as well as cozy weekends at home.
Stir-frying is done on a high flame, which is why it is very important that you work quickly or you risk burning the ingredients.
The trick is to prepare all the ingredients beforehand and keep them nearby on your workstation so that they are easily accessible during the cooking process.
Here are step-by-step instructions for making stir fry noodles:
- Marinate the protein of your choice and prepare the sauce on the side.
- Boil the noodles until they are about 1-2 minutes from done. Refer to the instructions on the package.
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium flame and cook the marinated protein until fully cooked through. Transfer to a plate.
- In the same skillet, add more oil and cook the vegetables until they begin to brown and soften but are still fairly crisp.
- Add half of the prepared sauce and sauté until it becomes fragrant.
- Add the noodles and cook them using tongs for about 30 seconds. Make sure to coat them in the sauce mixture.
- Add the chicken and remaining sauce and continue to stir fry and toss the noodles until they become tender.
- Remove from heat, garnish, and serve.
Tips For Making The Best Stir Fry Noodles
- Prepare all your ingredients and keep them near the stove.
- Do not fully cook the noodles as they will finish cooking in the skillet with the sauce and other ingredients.
- Keep the pan hot since that is what gives stir fry recipes their optimal texture: crisp yet tender vegetables, juicy protein, and tender noodles.
- Avoid overloading the skillet and keep stirring constantly. Cook in batches if you have a smaller skillet.
- If the meat and vegetables are starting to stick to the pan, add a splash of water to loosen them up. You may also use chicken stock or vegetable broth for extra flavor.
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