Stir Fry Noodles
The next time cooking dinner feels like a drag, make these Stir Fry Noodles. Whole grain noodles tossed with a heap of vegetables (whichever ones you have around) and your protein of choice (we used chicken) in a shortcut stir fry sauce, what we have here is a Class-A Weeknight Wonder.
This noodle stir fry recipe uses anything, and the taste is everything.
It’s ready in 30 minutes (fewer if you chop your vegetables in advance), and its flavor bests any noodles you’ll eat out of a takeout carton.
If your experiences with Asian food growing up were anything like mine (mall food courts and the takeout section of our Kansas grocery store), to you stir fry noodles might mean noodles cooked in oil (usually a lot of oil), with a sugary sauce and very few vegetables.
By origin, stir frying is a Chinese cooking technique and has spread throughout Asia (and all the way to our Kansas grocery store). In stir fry recipes, ingredients are added to a hot pan with a small amount of oil, then tossed until crisp-tender.
Within the category of noodle stir fries, you’ll find further distinctions. Two popular choices include chow mein (noodles par-cooked, then finished in the pan) and lo mein (noodles that are cooked all the way through, then added to the pan with the sauce; lo mein is also usually saucier).
Today’s noodle stir fry recipe is a bit of a “both and.” The noodles finish cooking in the pan (like chow mein), but they are also saucy (like lo mein). They keep the spirit of more authentic noodle stir fry recipes (there’s very little oil), but offer the takeout satisfaction of the stir fries I grew up loving as a kid (gotta have that sauce!).
Just about every aspect of this twist on Chinese stir fry noodles is adaptable. This is a catch-all recipe, and it wants you to succeed.
Which Noodles to Use for Stir Fry
Let’s start with the recipe’s namesake: the noodles. We have options here.
For this recipe, I recommend any kind of thicker, longer noodles that will hold up to lots of tossing in the pan. I also like to use whole grain options where possible to enhance the recipe’s nutritional benefits.
- Soba Noodles. Noodles made from buckwheat flour, giving them a hint of earthy flavor.
- Japanese Udon Noodles. Thick, chewy wheat noodles that have a neutral taste, making them perfect for stir fries.
- Egg Noodles. You can make this a chicken stir fry with egg noodles. Look for Chinese egg noodles (lo mein-style noodles).
- Spaghetti, Linguine, or Fettuccine. YES, you can make use spaghetti to make a noodle stir fry. This is what we use 95% of the time. Other long, Italian-style noodles like fettuccine and linguine work also.
- Rice Noodles. This variety of noodles cooks quickly and has a delightfully soft texture. That said, they tend to break down pretty easily, so if you decide to use them, I’d wait to toss them in until the very end, just before serving.
Selecting the Vegetables
You can use just about any vegetables in your fridge for these stir fry noodles: bok choy, mushrooms, broccoli, bell peppers, snap peas, a head of cabbage that’s looking suspect—just go for it.
- Cut Veggies Small. Make sure to cut your vegetables on the smaller side, so they cook quickly. This is especially important for harder veggies like broccoli and carrots to ensure they cook in about the same amount of time as everything else.
- Prep in Advance. Have all your vegetables chopped and ready before you start cooking, because stir fries move quickly.
I prefer my vegetable noodle stir fry (and stir fries in general) heavy on the veg, so I add a full 6 cups. One of my biggest gripes with noodle stir fries in restaurants (both the sit-down kind and the mall takeout variety) is that they are 97% noodles, with a few scant veggies here and there. Not this vegetable noodle stir fry!
Ben commented that he would have preferred more noodles, but I thought the recipe was just right.
- For a veggie-heavy stir fry: use 6 cups of vegetables and 6 ounces of noodles.
- For a balanced (but still veggie-forward) stir fry: keep the 6 cups of veggies, but bump it up to 8 ounces of noodles.
Stir Fry Noodles Sauce
The basis for the noodle stir fry sauce is inspired by the one I use in my other clean-out-the-fridge BFF: Homemade Fried Rice.
The stir fry sauce as written isn’t overly spicy, but if you want to ensure these are 100% kid-friendly stir fry noodles, you can leave out the Sriracha entirely, then add it to individual servings.
- Hoisin. A true stir fry secret weapon! There’s SO much flavor packed into one little jar, and it basically does the work for you.
- Soy Sauce. Another stir fry staple that helps create our addictive sauce. I recommend using low-sodium soy sauce to keep it from being too salty.
- Garlic + Ginger. A must for stir fry sauces.
- Rice Wine Vinegar. Easy to find and a worthy addition to your pantry. This stir fry regular brings balance.
- Sriracha. Gives the sauce a little kick. If you prefer a less spicy stir fry, you can omit it.
- Green Onions. Some are added to the sauce, and the rest are scattered on top of the finished dish for a bit a freshness.
Pick Your Protein
I opted for chicken stir fry noodles, using boneless, skinless chicken breast, but just about any protein (vegetarian or non vegetarian) works nicely.
- Beef Noodle Stir Fry. Use sirloin steak, cut against the grain into thin, 1-inch strips.
- Pork Noodle Stir Fry. Use pork tenderloin, cut into thin, 1-inch strips.
- Tofu Noodle Stir Fry. Swap out sautéed tofu cubes. My favorite way to prepare tofu for stir fries is this Crispy Tofu.
- Stir-Fry Noodles with Egg. This stir fry recipe does call for two eggs already (they perform a magic trick and thicken up the sauce even more), but if you’d like to add even more protein, you can stir in extra pieces of scrambled eggs at the end.
How to Cook Stir Fry Noodles
Stir fry recipes like these noodles move FAST. Here are a few tips to make them with success.
- Be sure to have all of your ingredients prepped and near the stove, including having the spices and sauces measured.
- Don’t overcook the noodles. They’ll finish cooking in the skillet with the sauce, keeping them from being overly mushy.
- Keep your pan hot. It’s what gives stir-fried recipes like this one their optimal texture: crisp-tender veg, juicy chicken, and noodles that are tender but not falling apart.
Here are the recipe step-by-steps:
- Toss the chicken and part of the soy sauce together. This helps tenderize and flavor the chicken, even in a short amount of time.
- Stir the stir fry sauce ingredients together.
- Cook the noodles until nearly al dente.
- Cook the chicken (or pork or your protein of choice) in a skillet over medium-high heat.
- Saute the vegetables.
- Pour in half of the stir fry sauce.
- Add the noodles, stirring to coat them in the sauce.
- Add the eggs, sriracha, chicken, and remaining sauce.
- Cook and stir for a couple more minutes, until the eggs are cooked.
- Top with green onions. ENJOY!
- To Make Vegetarian. Omit the chicken, or use tempeh or tofu instead.
- To Make Vegan. Omit the eggs and chicken, or use tofu or tempeh instead.
- To Make Gluten Free. Make sure to use a gluten free soy sauce and hoisin, and use gluten free noodles.
Make-Ahead and Storage Tips
- To Make Ahead. Chop all vegetables up to 1 day in advance, and store them in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator. Prepare the stir fry sauce up to 1 day in advance, storing it in a separate airtight storage container in the refrigerator.
- To Store. Refrigerate leftover stir fry in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat.
- To Freeze. Freeze stir fry in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
More Healthy, Kid-Friendly Stir Fry Recipes
Recommended Tools to Make This Recipe
- Large Skillet. This investment piece will help you make any and all of your favorite stir fries.
- Extra Large Cutting Board. Since this recipe uses a lot of veggies, a large cutting board like this ensures you don’t run out of space.
- Liquid Measuring Cups. Easily mix and measure your stir fry sauce in the same cup.
Stir Fry Noodles
- 1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs - thinly sliced then cut into bite-sized pieces
- 4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce - plus additional to taste, divided
- 3 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 small bunch green onions - thinly sliced (about 1 cup), divided
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or canola oil - divided
- 6 ounces dry long noodles - such as soba (udon) noodles or whole wheat spaghetti or whole wheat linguine noodles
- 6 cups thinly sliced vegetables - such as mushrooms, bok choy, broccoli, red bell pepper, or carrots (I used 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, 1 red bell pepper, and 1 small head broccoli)
- 2 large eggs - lightly beaten
- 1 to 2 teaspoons sriracha or other hot sauce - or to taste
- Place the chicken in a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Let sit while you prep the remaining ingredients.
- In a small bowl or large liquid measuring cup, combine the three-quarters of the green onions, the remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce, hoisin, garlic, ginger, and vinegar. Set near the stove. Reserve the remaining green onions for serving.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook noodles until they are about 1 to 2 minutes from done, according to package instructions. They should be very al dente, still a little too firm to eat, but not excessively hard and chewy. Drain and toss with 1/2 tablespoon of the oil to prevent sticking.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1/2 tablespoon oil. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken. Cook until golden and fully cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove to a plate.
- To the now-empty skillet, add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the vegetables and cook until they begin to brown and soften but are still fairly crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add half the scallion mixture and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the noodles. Cook, using tongs to toss the noodles and coat them with the sauce, for 30 seconds.
- Add the eggs, sriracha, chicken, and remaining scallion mixture.
- Continue to stir fry and toss the noodles, until the eggs are cooked through and the noodles are tender, 1 to 2 minutes longer.
- Remove from heat. Sprinkle with the reserved green onions.
- See blog post above to make this recipe vegetarian, vegan, or GF.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate leftover stir fry in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze stir fry in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
- TO MAKE AHEAD: Chop all vegetables up to 1 day in advance, and store them in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator. Prepare the stir fry sauce up to 1 day in advance, storing it in a separate airtight storage container in the refrigerator.
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