Chicken Udon Soup

February 28, 2022
6 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 3 to 4
Author Notes

Chicken soup of any type is the perfect salve for everything from cold, blustery weather to cheerless spirits. This chicken soup with udon noodles is one I turn to often when I want something warm and comforting without too much effort.

Unlike many traditional chicken soups, this one does not rely on standard mirepoix vegetables. Instead, it leans on a Korean-style method of creating flavorful and umami-rich broth based on konbu kelp (dashima in Korean). Rather than sautéing aromatics in butter, oil, or another fat, the aromatics used here (garlic cloves, scallions, and onion) are simply thrown into the pot along with a chunk of daikon radish (mu in Korean), whole peppercorns, and of course, bone-in chicken. I recommend removing the skin for a clear-tasting stock—but be sure to fry them up for a tasty snack separately from the soup.

We'll cover everything with cold water, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer (while occasionally skimming away scum and foam as it appears) until the chicken and daikon/mu radish are cooked, about 25 to 30 minutes. Both the chicken and mu/radish are removed and left to cool slightly before being handled, while the rest of the aromatics get strained out and discarded. The resulting broth is then seasoned with soy sauce, salt and pepper, while staying warm over low heat. After shredding the chicken (by hand is best), season the chicken with a bit of toasted sesame oil, salt and pepper. Cut the radish into bite-sized pieces.

We are using my favorite frozen udon blocks in this recipe, but fresh Korean-style udon or jjajang noodles are also a great choice. The important tip to note here is to cook the noodles (specifically, we are just reheating the frozen udon blocks until they come apart) just before serving to retain the best noodle texture for the soup. The cooked udon are placed into serving bowls before being topped with ladled broth and the chicken, radish, and scallion garnitures. —Hana Asbrink

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Chicken Udon Soup
  • Broth
  • 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds bone-in chicken thighs and/or legs, skin removed
  • 1 (4-ounce) piece Korean mu or daikon radish, about 3-inch diameter x 1-inch height, peeled
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and halved at the root
  • 1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled (12 to 14 cloves)
  • 2 whole scallions
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 (1/2-inch) piece ginger, unpeeled and sliced into thick planks
  • 1 (4x6-inch) piece dashima konbu kelp, or several smaller pieces adding up
  • Soup Assembly
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 blocks frozen udon noodles (about 8 to 9 ounces each), or about 1 pound fresh Korean udon/jjajang noodles
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to season chicken and to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 2 thinly sliced scallions (both green and white parts), for garnish
  1. Make the broth: In a large pot, add chicken pieces, mu/daikon radish, onion, garlic cloves, the 2 whole scallions, peppercorns, ginger slices, and kombu kelp. Slowly pour in 8 cups (2 quarts) of cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Start skimming any white foam or scum that comes to the top. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover with lid slightly ajar, and cook for around 25 minutes until the chicken and daikon are done; skim off any scum every so often.
  2. 15 minutes into the broth cooking time, bring a separate, medium-size pot filled with water to boil for the udon.
  3. Meanwhile, when the chicken broth is done, remove the chicken pieces and mu/daikon radish and let cool on a cutting board. Strain the rest of the broth into another similarly (or slightly smaller) sized pot. Discard aromatics. Season the chicken broth with soy sauce and salt, adjusting to taste. Keep strained chicken broth hot over a low heat.
  4. Prepare the chicken and mu/daikon radish: Once cool enough to handle, use two forks or your hands to shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Discard the bones. Put the chicken in a bowl or storage container, season with toasted sesame oil, salt, and pepper. Set aside. Cut the radish into bite-sized pieces; set aside.
  5. Cook udon noodles according to package instructions (usually 45 to 60 seconds for frozen udon blocks). They are already cooked, so you are just warming them through and gently releasing them from their caked state with tongs or chopsticks. It’s important not to overcook them. Drain in a colander.
  6. Divide drained udon noodles among soup bowls. Ladle hot broth over the udon. Top each bowl with cut mu/daikon radish pieces and a small handful of shredded seasoned chicken. Garnish with the thinly sliced scallions and freshly cracked black pepper. Serve immediately.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Beth Bardin
    Beth Bardin
  • Portra400
Hana is a food writer/editor based in New York.

2 Reviews

Beth B. February 26, 2023
This is so easy and so good! I've made it several times and it's always a hit. I usually double the ginger but that's just me. I also fry the chicken skin up and use as a topper. It's just as good without the Udon too.
Portra400 March 2, 2022
Made exactly as directed- So easy to put together, delicious aromatic broth & chewy noodles make this dish super comforting!! Definitely will make again :)