This easy 15-minute recipe for garlic noodles is chewy, savory, and packs a punch of garlic for the tastiest takeout style dinner at home.Jump to Recipe
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When we think of comfort food dinners, a takeout container of savory noodles often comes to mind. This quick and easy garlic noodles recipe comes together in 15 minutes for a delicious takeout style meal at home. Full of rich and savory flavors, this dish is one of our favorite weeknight treats when we’re craving something comforting!
What Are Garlic Noodles?
Garlic noodles are a savory, garlicky Asian fusion recipe typically made with Chinese egg noodles or spaghetti. Believed to have been inspired by Italian spaghetti aglio e olio, garlic noodles are a perfect mashup of Asian and Western flavors – which makes them a popular dish in the United States.
Our version of home cooked garlic noodles was inspired by our own love of fusion recipes. After having eaten our fair share of garlic noodles at local restaurants, we combined all of our favorite flavors and textures into one incredible recipe that’s easy to make at home!
Garlic noodles are one of the most savory comfort food dinners you could dream of. This dish is full of umami flavors, perfect for indulging in on a Friday night while you’re curled up on the couch.
Easy Garlic Noodles Recipe Ingredients
Like we mentioned earlier, garlic noodles are a classic Asian fusion dish. Fusion is all about combining ingredients and techniques from different cultures, so we put our own spin on homemade garlic noodles with Japanese udon.
Udon are thick, chewy Japanese noodles made with wheat flour – and they soak up sauces so well that they’re the perfect choice for this garlic noodles recipe! Their chewy texture makes them feel more indulgent and comforting than the Chinese lo mein or spaghetti typically used for garlic noodles. For the best results, we recommend using the vacuum sealed, already cooked udon – it’s super thick and provides ample surface area for the fresh garlic to stick to.
You can use Chinese lo mein for similar results, however we wouldn’t recommend making these garlic noodles with spaghetti. We’ve tested this recipe over and over again with all different kinds of noodles, and the prepackaged udon was a clear winner. These noodles soak up the sauce much better than any other kind of noodle, resulting in a thick and chewy, juicy, and super savory bowl of goodness!
In addition to udon, you’ll obviously need garlic to make this noodle dish! You’ll want to skip the jarred minced garlic for this recipe. Using a fresh head of garlic is absolutely necessary for the best results. These are garlic noodles, so you want to taste the garlic – and freshly minced garlic provides the most potent flavor. It also sticks to the noodles much better than the jarred stuff when you stir fry everything together, so you get a nice even distribution of flavor throughout. (We made this with jarred minced garlic once and about half of the garlic ended up at the bottom of the wok instead of on the noodles, just to give you an idea).
Finally, some butter and a savory Asian sauce ties everything together for a perfectly sticky, chewy dish of homemade garlic noodles. Here’s what you’ll need to make the sauce:
- Soy sauce
- Brown sugar
- Sesame oil
- Rice vinegar
- Chili oil
- Oyster sauce
- Powdered ginger
Then you’ll finish things off with salt, white pepper, and sliced scallions for an extra pop of flavor before serving. The result is a savory, garlic-forward noodle dish with some fresh flavor from the scallions to brighten it up.
Note: If you want to make garlic noodles with no oyster sauce, you can simply omit the ingredient from this recipe. It will change the dish slightly, as the sweet and tangy flavor helps balance the garlic a bit. We’ve made this recipe with and without oyster sauce, and it’s delicious either way!
How To Make Garlic Noodles At Home
It’s so easy to make garlic noodles at home, you can cook this one-pan recipe in about 15 minutes! All you need is a wok or a large nonstick frying pan (if you don’t have a wok).
Here’s how to make Asian fusion garlic noodles:
- Prep: Mince the fresh garlic and slice the scallions. Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Unpack the udon noodles. Preheat a wok over medium-high heat.
- Char the garlic: Melt butter in the wok, swirling it around to keep it from burning (this will be quick, about 30 to 60 seconds). Then add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant, another minute or two longer.
- Stir fry the noodles: Pour the sauce into the wok and stir to incorporate the garlic. Then add the udon, loosening the noodles as you stir them into the sauce. Stir fry until the noodles are steaming, tender, and have soaked up the sauce, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Season and serve: Season the noodles with salt and pepper and stir in the sliced scallions. Serve immediately.
Once you’ve prepped the garlic, scallions, and sauce this dish comes together very quickly. That’s why it’s important to have all of your ingredients prepared ahead of time! Additionally, cooking with a wok can be challenging, so make sure you can give it your full attention. Here are some tips for successfully cooking garlic noodles with a wok:
- Use a burner that’s properly sized for the bottom diameter of the pan. A wok flares out to a much wider diameter at the top, so if you use an oversized burner the pan will get too hot and you’ll risk burning the garlic. Applying heat to just the bottom surface of the wok gives you greater control over the heat level during cooking, so you can easily adjust as needed if your pan is too hot or too cold.
- Use your senses to tell when things are going well (or going wrong)! We learned this from Roy Choi’s MasterClass on Intuitive Cooking, and it’s especially helpful when working with tricky cookware. For example, sizzling is a good indicator that something is cooking, but it’s also a warning sign for overcooking or burning. When you add the garlic to the wok, you should hear a slow build towards sizzling. If you hear a loud sizzle the second the garlic hits the pan, it’s too hot – simply lower the heat and stir the garlic around so it doesn’t burn.
- Finally, quality cookware makes a huge difference in how your final dish turns out! If you don’t own a wok but love to make stir fry dishes, we recommend investing in a high quality carbon steel wok like this one (we love ours!). It’s easy to clean and season, and it will last you a long time if you take care of it well.
Why You’ll Love This Garlic Noodles Recipe
Whether you’ve had a long day at the office or a busy night at home, this easy recipe for Asian fusion garlic noodles will provide all the savory, comforting flavors you need without a ton of effort. Try the recipe below and let us know if it’ll be your new go-to comfort food dinner in the comments! We hope you love it as much as we do 🙂
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- 3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbsp light brown sugar
- 1½ tsp sesame oil
- 1½ tsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp chili oil
- ½ tsp oyster sauce
- ½ tsp powdered ginger
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 head garlic minced, about 4 tbsp
- 14 oz Japanese udon vacuum sealed
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch white pepper
- 2 scallions sliced thin
- First, prepare the sauce. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, rice vinegar, chili oil, oyster sauce, and powdered ginger. Whisk thoroughly until fully combined.
- Preheat a wok over medium-high heat, then add the butter, swirling it around to help it melt.
- Once the butter is fully melted, add minced garlic to the wok and cook until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes, moving it around to prevent sticking. If you hear a lot of sizzling right away, you may have to lower the heat so the garlic doesn't burn.
- Pour the sauce into the wok and stir or swirl to incorporate the minced garlic and butter evenly with the sauce. Then add the udon and stir fry until steaming and noodles are warmed through, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Season with a pinch of salt and white pepper, tossing the noodles to combine. Then stir in sliced scallions and remove from heat. Serve immediately.