Mastering the Art of Boiling Udon Noodles

Udon noodles, those thick, chewy, and satisfying Japanese noodles, have a special place in the hearts of noodle lovers worldwide. While they may seem simple, boiling udon noodles to perfection is an art form that requires attention to detail and a few key techniques. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through the steps to achieve the ideal texture and flavor every time.

Understanding Udon Noodles

Before we dive into the boiling process, let’s explore the different types of udon noodles you might encounter:

  • Fresh Udon: These noodles are typically found in the refrigerated section of Asian grocery stores or supermarkets. They have a chewier texture and cook faster than their dried counterparts.

  • Dried Udon: These shelf-stable noodles are readily available in the dried pasta aisle. They take longer to cook but offer a longer shelf life.

  • Semidried Udon: As the name suggests, these noodles fall somewhere between fresh and dried, offering a balance of texture and convenience.

No matter which variety you choose, the key to perfect udon noodles lies in the boiling process.

Boiling Udon Noodles: Step-by-Step


  • Udon noodles (fresh, dried, or semidried)
  • Water
  • Salt (optional)


  1. Bring Water to a Rolling Boil:

    • Fill a large pot with water, ensuring there’s enough room for the noodles to move freely as they cook.
    • Bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat.
  2. Add Noodles and Stir:

    • Once the water is boiling vigorously, carefully add the udon noodles to the pot.
    • Use a pair of chopsticks or a long-handled fork to gently separate the noodles and prevent them from sticking together.
  3. Set the Timer:

    • If cooking semidried udon, boil for 8 to 9 minutes before testing for doneness.
    • If cooking dried udon, boil for 10 to 12 minutes before testing.
  4. Test for Doneness:

    • Using chopsticks or tongs, carefully remove a noodle from the pot.
    • Rinse it under cold water to stop the cooking process.
    • Take a bite and assess the texture.
    • The noodle should be tender with no hard core, and the outer surface should be slippery but not overly soft.
  5. Adjust Cooking Time (if needed):

    • If the noodle is still too firm, return it to the boiling water and continue cooking for another minute or two before testing again.
    • Be careful not to overcook the noodles, as they can become mushy and lose their desired texture.
  6. Drain and Rinse:

    • Once the noodles are cooked to your liking, carefully drain them in a colander or strainer.
    • Rinse the noodles under cold running water to remove any excess starch and stop the cooking process.
  7. Season (optional):

    • If desired, you can toss the cooked and rinsed udon noodles with a bit of sesame oil, soy sauce, or other seasonings of your choice.
  8. Serve and Enjoy:

    • Udon noodles can be served hot or cold, depending on your preference and the dish you’re preparing.
    • Hot udon noodles are often served in a flavorful broth with various toppings, such as tempura, vegetables, or meat.
    • Cold udon noodles can be enjoyed as a refreshing salad or with a dipping sauce.

Tips and Tricks

  • Use a Large Pot: Udon noodles expand as they cook, so using a large pot with plenty of water will prevent them from sticking together and clumping.

  • Salt the Water (optional): Adding a pinch of salt to the boiling water can enhance the flavor of the noodles.

  • Taste as You Go: Don’t be afraid to taste the noodles periodically during the cooking process. This will help you achieve the perfect texture.

  • Rinse Under Cold Water: Rinsing the cooked noodles under cold water not only stops the cooking process but also removes excess starch, preventing the noodles from becoming gummy or sticky.

  • Add Flavor: Experiment with different broths, sauces, and toppings to create unique and flavorful udon noodle dishes.

With these simple steps and tips, you’ll be able to boil udon noodles to perfection every time. Whether you’re serving them in a hot broth or enjoying them as a refreshing cold salad, perfectly cooked udon noodles will elevate your Japanese noodle game to new heights.

How to boil UdonāœæJapanese Food Recipes TV


How long do you boil udon noodles for?

Once the water is boiling, add the udon noodles to the pot. If you’re using fresh udon noodles, they will only need to cook for 2-3 minutes. Dried udon noodles will take around 8-10 minutes.

How to cook udon noodles in water?

Method. Cook the noodles in boiling salted water, stirring occasionally until they float to the surface, about 3 minutes, continue to cook for an additional 2 minutes once floating at the top, but careful not to overcook since they will get slightly rubbery.

Do you salt the water for udon noodles?

How to Cook Udon Noodles. Bring a large pot of water to boil. You don’t need to salt the water because they already contain a lot of salt. Be sure you use a lot of water to dilute the starch on the surface of the Udon.

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