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How to Make Any Stir-Fried Noodles in 6 Steps

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Here at Food52, we love recipes -- but do we always use them? Of course not. Because once you realize you don't always need a recipe, you'll make your favorite dishes a lot more often.

Today: Tom Hirschfeld teaches us how to make stir-fried noodles with whatever's in the fridge -- and not a takeout box in sight.

Stir Fry Noodles

There are two things I get hung up on when it comes to making Asian food at home -- woks and procuring hard-to-find ingredients.

But I look at it this way: I make Italian pasta at home, so I know I can make any noodle at home.

There are a few technical issues that are really the key to stir-fry success. I need to get my pan hot enough, generally impossible to do with a wok because of the BTUs of American stoves and the thinness of the wok metal, but a non-stick skillet will do what I need it to do perfectly.

The other misstep is when I try to cram too many ingredients into the wrong-sized pan -- this is my most common stir-fry failure because I get anxious or cocky. Easily solvable, with a little thing called patience.

How to Make Any Stir-Fried Noodles in 6 Steps

1. Stir-fries cook quickly so act like a scout and be prepared. Cut all vegetables small enough that they'll cook fast and line up all ingredients next to the stove in the order they'll go into the pan. (Always dilute soy sauce in ratio of 1 part soy to 1 part water -- when it hits the hot pan it will reduce, gaining back its strength.)

Stir Fry Noodles


2. Choose your noodle. I find all noodles are good noodles as long as they are long. Cook them to al dente and cool them -- I like to steep rice noodles instead of boiling them, which only takes about 10 minutes.

Stir Fry Noodles

3. Cook the protein first, adding half the diluted soy after the protein has caramelized. Remove the protein to a plate, wipe out the pan and reheat it. 


4. Sear the vegetables till tender. Be sure to add the vegetables that take the longest to cook to the pan first. Carrots first, ginger and garlic last.

Stir Fry Noodles


5. Combine everything in the pan and toss just till it's warmed through, adding the remaining diluted soy sauce last.

Stir Fry Noodles


6. Add the garnish -- here, chives and scallions -- which in Asian food isn't optional. It is an actual ingredient that needs to be added for flavor.

Stir Fry Noodles

Still want a recipe? Here are a few for inspiration:

Shredded Pork and Chinese Celery Lo Mein
Spicy Grilled Chicken Salad with Noodles
Thai Curry Noodles with Shrimp

We're looking for contributors! Email [email protected] and tell us the dish you could make in your sleep, without a recipe.

Photos by James Ransom


Tags: stir fry, Asian cuisine, not recipes, easy, fast, healthy, gluten free, tom hirschfeld, special diets, how-to & diy

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Comments (13)


over 1 year ago MichaelM6

I am writing a research paper and collecting information on this topic. Your post is one of the better that I have read. Thank you for putting this information into one location.
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over 1 year ago Chad Pranke

"Be sure to add the garlic and ginger first so that their flavor combines with the oil used to cook the rest of the vegetables."



over 1 year ago BrianMS

Your article shows you have a lot of background in this topic. Can you direct me to other articles about this? I will recommend this article to my friends as well. Thanks
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over 1 year ago BridgetP8

I like the way you described the topic with such clarity. This is something I have been thinking about for a long time and you really captured the essence of the subject.
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over 1 year ago Julian

Thai curry noodles?
Do you have a Thai name for them?
I live in Thailand and it's a new one on me.


over 1 year ago Jeff DiPasquale

What veggies do you use. Carrots. ginger( is that fresh ginger root chopped or something) and garlic. You mention chives and scallions but is that all. Seems like more than that in the picture. I want to do this right. Thanks for the help. I haven't really made stir fry before so I'm excited to try. Thanks for the recipe.


about 2 years ago I_Fortuna

I kid you not, I just made this the other night. I piled in ground pork, mashed garbanzos with miso and also tofu as well as the veggies. I use a potato peeler or grater for my carrots which looks like what you did here. Not mapo tofu by any means but delicious and hubby loved it. Oh, yeah, I use chili infused sesame oil and a little olive oil to stir fry in. I put in the harder to cook veggies first and then put the thinner ones in toward the end so they don't overcook. Thanks for posting this recipe!


over 2 years ago Vstarr71

These are very helpful tips! Thank you! I have always tried to cram too much in the pan and I end up with a sticky mess:/ can hardly wait to try this out!


over 2 years ago Amanda Li

Amanda is a developer at Food52.

chives are usually optional, in my experience. but since you're using pork in this stir fry, the chives will def go well.


over 2 years ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

Excellent job Tom. Good tip on steeping rice noodles.


over 2 years ago thirschfeld

Thanks! For me steeping is the only way to go.


over 2 years ago healthierkitchen

Great tip on diluting the soy sauce!


over 2 years ago thirschfeld