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Beef Yakisoba is a quick stir fry of soba noodles, thinly sliced beef, and veggies in a savory Yakisoba Sauce.
Yakisoba is a classic Japanese street food recipe. It’s a delicious stir-fried noodle dish full of meat and piles of veggies. The work “yaki” means fried or grilled and “soba” refers to noodles.
This stir-fried noodle dish is a one skillet Japanese dish and it is always a hit. The noodles are stir-fried with thin sliced beef, cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, onions, and scallions and then tossed in a savory-sweet yakisoba sauce made of Japanese-style Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and other ingredients.
You can add other ingredients if you like. Try adding even more vegetables like bean sprouts, pea pods, red cabbage, bell pepper, or broccoli.
Yakisoba is often cooked on a griddle, but is also great cooked in a wok or large skillet.
What ingredients do you need?
Yakisoba is one of those dishes that is easily adapted to the ingredients you have on hand. This is how I make my beef yakisoba, but you can substitute other meats (chicken, pork), seafood (shrimp), or tofu. The vegetables, too, can be switched up based on what’s in your fridge.
- Cooking oil
- Thinly sliced beef
- Fresh or dried yakisoba, chuka soba, or ramen noodles
- Green onions
- Shiitake mushrooms
- Soy sauce
- Worcestershire sauce (preferably Japanese style)
- Oyster sauce
- Hoisin sauce
- Chile paste
- Black sesame seeds and white sesame seeds (optional garnish)
What are yakisoba noodles?
Yakisoba noodles are different from the buckwheat noodle called soba noodles. Like ramen noodles, yakisoba noodles are wheat noodles containing kansui (an alkalinizing agent), which gives them their springy texture and yellow hue.
Yakisoba noodles are usually steamed before packaging, so they don’t take long to cook.
Look for noodles with the label yakisoba (usually fresh or frozen) or chuka soba (which are often available dried). You can also use fresh or dried ramen noodles (NOT instant).
If you can’t find any of these options, you can substitute chow mein noodles or even, in a pinch, spaghetti noodles, though the texture won’t be the same.
What is Japanese Worcestershire sauce?
Like the classic British Worcestershire sauce, Japanese Worcestershire sauce is of vegetables (tomatoes, carrots, and onions), fruit juice (prune, apple, and lemon), and broth along with vinegar, sugar, salt, and spices. Japanese Worcestershire sauce is sweeter than the British version.
I like the Bulldog Japanese Worcestershire sauce. You can find it in Japanese markets, Asian supermarkets, or online. If you can’t find it, you can substitute a British-style Worcestershire sauce, like Lee & Perrins.
You can find oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, and chile paste also in Japanese or Asian markets or online. If you like, you can also add a splash of sesame oil along with the cooking oil.
What kind of beef do you use?
You can choose from a number of different cuts of beef for this dish. Just make sure it is a tender, flavorful cut. You can use flank steak, flatiron steak, ribeye, or top sirloin.
Japanese markets often sell very thinly sliced beef for use in sukiyaki and that works very well for this dish, too. The pre-sliced steak is more expensive, but it saves time on prep, so sometimes it is worth it!
If you are slicing the beef yourself, you want to slice it as thin as you can. To make this easier, freeze the meat for 20 to 30 minutes before slicing. That will firm up the meat and make it easier to cut.
Instead of beef, try making Shrimp Yakisoba. If you want to substitute a different meat, you can use thinly sliced chicken breast, pork belly, or even ground pork.
How do you make it?
Making yakisoba is really easy! You just cook the noodles and then saute all the other ingredients in a skillet. Add the noodles to the skillet along with a quick sauce and toss to mix everything together. Here’s the step-by-step:
- Cook the noodles al dente according to the package directions and drain in a colander.
- Whisk together the sauce ingredients.
- Heat some oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat and saute the beef until it browns on the outside, just a few minutes.
- If needed, add more oil to the skillet and saute the onions and carrots.
- Add the mushrooms and cook until they soften.
- Next, add the cabbage and green onions along with the browned beef and the noodles to the skillet. Cook just long enough to heat everything through and wilt the cabbage.
- Add the sauce and cook, tossing to coat the noodles well with the sauce and mix everything together.
- Serve immediately.
What do you serve with it?
Because Beef Yakisoba is a full meal in a skillet, including noodles, meat, and veggies, you don’t really need to add a lot of sides. I like to serve a nice Japanese Cucumber Salad or a quick Cucumber Kimchi alongside for some freshness and crunch.
More Asian Noodle Dishes you’ll love
If you love Asian noodle dishes, you’ll want to try my Chinese Singapore Noodles, Pad Thai with Tofu, Burmese Garlic Noodles, Chinese Sesame Noodles, Thai Noodles with Peanut Sauce, Filipino Pancit Bihon, and Chinese Vegetarian Dan Dan Noodles. And of course, don’t miss my Spicy Miso Ramen!
more japanese recipes you’ll love
If you love Japanese food as much as I do, try my Spicy Miso Ramen or Chicken Karaage. For sides and snacks, don’t miss my Onigiri, Yaki Onigiri, Soy Sauce Eggs, Stir-Fried Lotus Root, or Chawanmushi.
For breakfast or brunch, try Japanese Souffle Pancakes with a nice cold Matcha Milk Tea!
By the way, I wrote two whole books about ramen! Check them out here: Ramen Obsession and Ramen for Beginners. For lots of authentic Japanese recipes, check out Japanesecooking101.com!
For the noodles
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil divided
- ¾ pound thinly sliced beef
- 8 ounces dried yakisoba or chuka soba noodles or 16 ounces fresh or frozen yakisoba noodles
- 1 carrot peeled and cut into matchsticks
- ¼ green cabbage thinly sliced
- ½ onion diced
- 4 green onions sliced
- 6 shiitake mushrooms stemmed and sliced
- Black and white sesame seeds optional garnish
- Red pickled ginger optional garnish
For the sauce
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoons hoisin
- 2 teaspoons chile paste
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Cook the noodles al dente in a pot of boiling water—about 2 minutes for dried chuka soba noodles or 1 minute for fresh noodles. Drain in a colander and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking. Leave in a colander in the sink to drain while you continue with the recipe.
- In a bowl whisk together the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, chile paste, and sugar.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook, stirring frequently, until browned, 1 ½ to 4 minutes (this will depend on how thick the strips are.) transfer the meat to a plate or bowl.
- Add another tablespoon of oil to the skillet along with the onion and carrot. Cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms to the skillet, along with the remaining tablespoon of oil, if needed. Cook, stirring frequently, for another 2 to 3 minutes, until the mushrooms soften.
- Add the cabbage and green onions along with the browned beef and the noodles. Cook, stirring to mix well, for about 2 minutes until everything is warmed through and the cabbage is beginning to wilt.
- Add the sauce and cook, tossing to coat the noodles well with the sauce and mix everything together, for about 2 more minutes.
- Serve hot, garnished with sesame seeds, scallions, and/or pickled ginger, if desired.