Kimchi Cheese Udon is a delicious saucy noodle dish made from udon tossed with caramelized onions, cabbage kimchi, green onions, and cheddar cheese! The cheese is the secret ingredient, giving the noodles that silky texture and an extra hint of flavor. Who knew kimchi and cheddar cheese would make an amazing pairing? An immensely satisfying, quick and easy lunch or dinner.
Why This Recipe Works
This noodle dish is real onolicious.
It combines udon noodles with a super flavorful sauce that is made from caramelized onions (just saute them for about 8 minutes), lots of kimchi, green onions, and shredded cheddar cheese.
Mixing cheddar cheese into an Asian noodle dish might sound strange. But it's not.
Cheese shows up in many Korean dishes from corn cheese (one of my favorite side dishes at Korean bbq) to budae jigae (also referred to as Korean army stew). The cheese so essential to this dish that I'd rather have no budae jigae than budae jigae without cheese.
Cheese also just happens to go well with noodles. One of my high school classmates introduced me to concept of slipping a pat of butter and bunch of shredded cheddar cheese into a bowl of instant ramen. She made this for snack when we were studying at her house one afternoon. That was nearly two decades ago. And wow, I've never looked at instant ramen the same again.
I came across one-pot udon noodles with kimchi and cheese by Hetty McKinnon the other day and ran to the market for ingredients. An hour later we had lunch on the table, and it was so good. I made it again for lunch the next day. I'm still craving more.
Our adapted version is simple to make, not to mention flexible and forgiving (just don't skip the cheese). The ingredients are accessible. This recipe is easy to adjust for a big group or a solo meal. Most importantly, it's delicious.
Here are the ingredients you'll need:
- Frozen udon noodles - You can find this at all Japanese markets (along with some Chinese and Korean markets).
- Napa cabbage kimchi
- Green onions
- Shredded cheddar cheese - You don't need any fancy cheese, just straight up shredded cheddar cheese in a bag.
- Salt and black pepper
Now let's get cooking!
Step by Step Directions
Here's how to make it:
Soften the udon noodles.
Place the frozen udon noodles in a big bowl. Pour boiling water over the noodles. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Once 5 minutes are up, scoop out a cup of the noodle soaking water and set aside (we'll use this water to help make the "sauce" for the dish). Drain the noodles and set aside.
Caramelize the onions.
In a saucepan, saute the thinly sliced onions until the onions are golden, soft, and caramelized. Season with salt.
Add kimchi and green onion whites.
Add the kimchi and white parts of the green onions. Saute until the kimchi starts to caramelize.
Add the drained udon, followed by the udon soaking water, and then the shredded cheddar cheese.
Stir and toss the noodles to mix everything with the onion-kimchi sauce.
Add half of the green onion greens, and black pepper. Toss to mix and melt the cheese.
Cook till saucy.
Keep cooking until the cheese is melted and mixed into the sauce and the noodles are evenly coated with the sauce.
You may have to cook a few minutes longer for most of the liquid to soak into the udon. The goal is to make a dish that is silky and saucy (not soupy or brothy).
Eat and enjoy.
Portion the noodles and sauce into individual bowls. Top with the rest of the green onions. Eat hot and enjoy!
FAQs and Tips
Leftovers can keep for up to 2 days but this is not a dish that tastes nearly as good when reheated.
It's best to make exactly how much you plan to eat and eat immediately. Portion-wise, I budget 1 pack of udon noodles per person.
Oh yes! I love serving the noodles with a tofu side dish! A few great tofu dishes we always make: Hot Sesame Oil Tofu, Avocado Tofu, or Pan Fried Tofu (With Garlic Soy Sauce).
For vegetables, consider Korean Bean Sprouts, Bean Sprouts Stir Fry, or Stir Fried Lettuce.
If you want meat on the side, try our recipes for Meat Jun or Octopus Hot Dogs.
I love it super cheesy so I actually sprinkle more shredded cheddar cheese on my bowl right before eating hahah. The cheese gets semi-melty from the heat of the noodles and ahh so good.
We love onions so sometimes I'll even use two onions for this recipe.
You can add thinly sliced pork to the dish. Add it after you caramelize the onions and before adding the kimchi.
You can also use different types of kimchi. I like it best with the classic napa cabbage kimchi but we've also made it with everything cucumber kimchi, green onion, and radish kimchi. Depending on the type of kimchi you use, you don't have to cook it for as long.
This recipe is easy to cut in half (perfect for solo lunches), or double for bigger groups.
Kimchi Cheese Udon Recipe
See below and enjoy ^_^
- Place the frozen udon noodles in a big bowl (or pot). Pour boiling water over the noodles, making sure there's enough water to cover all the noodles. Let sit for 5 minutes.
- Once the 5 minutes are up, scoop out a cup of the udon soaking water and set aside. Drain the noodles and set aside.
- In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add a little oil and saute the thinly sliced onions for 7-8 minutes. Saute until the onions are golden, soft, and caramelized. Season with a little salt.
- Add the chopped cabbage kimchi and the white parts of the green onions. Saute for 3 minutes until the kimchi starts to caramelize.
- Then add the drained udon, followed by the udon soaking water, and then the shredded cheddar cheese. Stir and toss! You want the udon to mix with the onion-kimchi sauce.
- Add half of the green onion greens, and a little black pepper. Toss to mix and melt the cheese.
- Keep cooking until the cheese is melted and mixed into the sauce. Make sure the noodles are evenly coated with the sauce. The goal is a dish that has a silky sauce (not soupy or brothy).
- Portion into individual bowls. Top with the remaining half of the green parts of the green onions. Eat hot and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from One-pot udon noodles with kimchi and cheese by Hetty McKinnon.