Tiktok Pasta: Baked Feta Pasta

Tiktok Pasta: Baked Feta Pasta

Posted February 15, 2021 by Stephanie
baked feta pasta recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

The tiktok pasta everyone is talking about: baked feta pasta has it all, big bold flavors, creamy comfort, and carbs!

Baked feta pasta is taking the TikTok world by storm and it’s obvious why: it’s creamy, tomato-y, and SO damn delicious. It’s probably the simplest pasta dish you’ll make this month and the reward is so high for an incredibly low effort.

baked feta pasta | www.iamafoodblog.com

What is this tiktok pasta trend?

It’s super simple: cherry tomatoes are tossed with olive oil and placed in a baking dish with a block of feta. Everything gets baked up until the tomatoes burst, releasing their sweet and jammy flavors. The feta gets melty and oozy. You mix it all up into a quick sauce, toss in minced garlic, basil, crushed red pepper, and pasta. Boom, dinner is done!

baked feta pasta | www.iamafoodblog.com

This tiktok pasta is actually awesome

Sometimes the best kind of cooking is the kind that takes no time at all so you can spend more time with loved ones enjoying the food. I love that the prep time for this dish is so low and the actual hands on time is super low. If you can stir, you can make this dish.

The predominate flavors of this pasta are feta and tomatoes, it’s practically a two ingredient pasta. If you’re not a huge feta fan, you can definitely use another cheese – baked brie, fresh mozzarella, cream cheese, or ricotta would be AMAZING.

What is baked feta pasta?

Baked feta pasta is a pasta dish that’s currently going viral on TikTok right now because it’s incredibly easy to make, tasty, and it looks good. It’s based off of a Greek appetizer, baked feta. The first mention of mixing baked feta with pasta was popularized by Finnish blogger Jenni Häyrinen. She called it uunifetapasta or baked feta pasta. Apparently feta pasta is incredibly popular in Finland because a couple of other bloggers also blogged about it as well. Now it’s so viral that I heard that it’s difficult to find feta!

baked feta | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to make baked feta pasta

  1. Toss: In a baking dish, toss cherry tomatoes with olive oil. Place a block of feta in the middle and drizzle some oil on top.
  2. Bake: Bake the tomatoes and feta in the oven until the tomatoes burst and the cheese is melty.
  3. Cook: While the feta is in the oven, cook the pasta.
  4. Stir: When the tomatoes and feta are done, stir in some minced garlic, some crushed red pepper flakes, and the pasta, loosening with some pasta water if needed. Finish with fresh basil.
  5. Eat: That’s it! Scoop it up an enjoy a bowl of pure cheesy carby comfort.

3 ingredient baked feta pasta | www.iamafoodblog.com

Baked feta ingredients

  • cherry tomatoes – the sweeter the better! There are so many types of mini tomatoes these days, from strawberry to grape to on the vine to heirloom. I used one package of classic cherry tomatoes and one package of cherry tomatoes on the vine.
  • feta – you’ll want to get a nice higher quality Greek feta since it’s the main flavor of the dish. Grab a block of feta, the kind that comes in a brine, not the crumbles. If you want a milder, creamier feta, try French feta, it’s less tart than Greek.
  • olive oil – most of the recipes I’ve seen call from anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 cup of olive oil. I went with 1/3 cup, you want enough to coat the tomatoes and feta while having a bit of oil pool at the bottom of your baking dish so the tomatoes are essentially doing a tomato confit type thing. Too little olive oil and your tomatoes will end up drying out.
  • pasta – you can use any shape you like, we went with casarecce.
  • garlic – a couple cloves of minced garlic are mixed in and the residual heat of the tomatoes mellows the sharpness out while still giving you a huge hit of garlicky goodness.
  • basil – fresh basil and tomatoes are perfect pairing. Slice some up to stir in and keep some extra leaves whole to garnish with!

baked feta pasta | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to choose the best feta

Choose a feta that is made from sheep’s milk! Feta made from cow’s milk or goat milk is more crumby. If you want a smooth and creamy feta, sheep’s milk feta is the way to go. Also, younger fetas are more milky and creamy and aged fetas tend to be more complex and intense.

Greek feta vs French feta

If you’re not a huge fan of feta but you want to try this pasta, try using French feta. Greek feta tends to be saltier, more crumbly, and tangy which can lead to your sauce being grainy. If you’re Greek feta fan, go for feta that has more sheep’s milk rather than goat. French feta is made with only sheep’s milk and is mild and creamy compared to Greek feta. Bulgarian feta is very similar to French feta: it’s made with 100% sheep’s milk and is not aged as long so it’s a lot creamier and not as tangy.

baked feta | www.iamafoodblog.com

Adding protein

If you’re looking to add some protein to your Tiktok baked feta pasta, it’s super easy, barely an inconvenience. Since the pasta bakes at 400°F for 30 minutes, you can add just about any protein to the baking dish and it’ll crisp up and cook in the oven while the tomatoes are roasting.


For a twist, add cubes of pancetta, they’ll crisp up into little nuggets of rich, porky deliciousness.


You can add chicken to the pan, raw and cubed before you roast the feta and tomatoes. They’ll cook up while the tomatoes are roasting. If you have leftover chicken in the fridge, you can also just stir it into the sauce when you stirring in the pasta.


If you’re vegetarian, pressed tofu cubed up will add some extra lean protein. Some of the cubes with stay intact and some of them will stir into the sauce making it extra creamy.

Help, my baked feta pasta is too tart!

It’s winter right now and there’s no escaping the fact that the cherry tomatoes out there aren’t the sweetest. Because this feta pasta doesn’t really have much sugar in it, the sauce can end up pretty tart or tangy depending on your tomatoes. The easy fix is adding a bit of sugar but if you don’t want to do that, the best thing to do is add some thinly sliced onions to the baking dish when you’re roasting the feta and tomatoes. The onions will caramelize in the oil and add a jammy sweetness.

baked feta | www.iamafoodblog.com

Tiktok pasta FAQ

What if I don’t like feta?

If you don’t like feta, try using French feta which has a bit of a milder flavor or even a different kind of cheese. This pasta recipe will also work with brie, ricotta, fresh mozzarella, or even cream cheese.

Do I have to use cherry tomatoes for feta baked pasta?

If you don’t have cherry tomatoes, literally any tomato will work, you want about 1 lb. If you use larger tomatoes, quarter them before baking.

What kind of pasta should I use for feta baked pasta?

Any kind at all! I ended up using casarecce which is a cute pasta that’s shaped like an “S.” You can use penne, rotini, macaroni, rigatoni, or even long pastas like spaghetti or fettuccine.

What kind of baking dish should I use?

It’s better to use a baking dish that’s not too large – a medium baking dish will help keep all the tomatoes close together and in the olive oil so they don’t dry out too much. We want the tomatoes jammy and soft, not oven dried.

feta and tomatoes | www.iamafoodblog.com

I don’t like raw garlic, does the garlic need to be raw?

When you add the raw garlic to the hot tomatoes, the residual heat of the tomatoes and feta will gently warm up the garlic and take off the raw edge while leaving a huge hit of garlicky flavor. If you really don’t want to use raw garlic, you can add it to the pan before you roast the tomatoes, but make sure they are covered in oil so they don’t get burnt.

Recipes similar to this Tiktok pasta

Did you enjoy making super delicious and easy pasta with under 5 ingredients? You can try these other ones too:

That’s it! I hope you give this pasta a try. It’s all my cheesy, carb-y, garlicky, tomato dreams in a bowl.
xoxo steph

baked feta pasta | www.iamafoodblog.com

baked feta pasta recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Baked feta pasta

This baked feta pasta has it all, big bold flavors, creamy comfort, and carbs!
4.65 from 14 votes
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time45 mins


  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes or any other tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup olive oil the good stuff
  • 8 oz feta cheese 1 block
  • 9 oz pasta of choice
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • fresh basil chopped, to finish


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a baking dish, toss the tomatoes with the olive oil and place the feta in the middle, turning it to coat it in oil. Season everything with salt and pepper and bake for 30 minutes.
    feta and tomatoes | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • After 30 minutes, turn the heat up to 450°F and roast until the feta is golden brown 10-15 minutes.
    baked feta | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • While the feta is baking, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Save 1-2 cups of the pasta water, then drain well.
    casarecce pasta | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • When the feta and tomatoes are done, remove from the oven and immediately add the garlic and crushed red pepper, if using. Stir everything together until the tomatoes and feta combine into a creamy sauce.
    3 ingredient baked feta pasta | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Stir in the drained pasta until well coated and creamy, adding in a bit of pasta water to loosen if too thick. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir in some chopped basil and finish with crushed red pepper. Enjoy!
    baked feta pasta | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Notes

    This version inspired by Grilled Cheese Social.

    Serves 2 hungry eaters generously with leftovers, or 3 for lunch.

    Estimated nutrition is for 3 servings (3oz pasta per person).

Turkey Wontons in Turkey Mapo Sauce

When you want turkey but don’t want to roast a whole bird, make these ground turkey wonton in mapo turkey sauce and satisfy that turkey craving, because turkey!

turkey wontons in turkey mapo sauce | www.iamafoodblog.com

It’s almost Thanksgiving and that means…TURKEY! I love a good classic roast turkey, especially spatchcocked or sheet-panned, but I also love turkey as turkey. Seriously, these turkey wontons are one of the best things you can do with ground turkey.

Turkey is one one of those proteins people don’t use much of but when I see it at the store, it calls to me. Our grocery store sells ground turkey thighs on the regular and the other day we picked up a package with the express intention to make these turkey wontons in turkey mapo sauce.

turkey wontons in turkey mapo sauce | www.iamafoodblog.com

These turkey wontons are the best thing for ground turkey ever.

Wonton are awesome because they are incredibly versatile little dumplings. You can put almost anything you want in those delicious slippery skins (I always go with store bought wonton skins for ease) and this time around I just used my usual wonton recipe, swapping out the pork for turkey. Green onions, ginger, soy, Shaoxing wine, and sesame oil give the filling some extra flavor.

And to boost the flavor even more I made mapo sauce: simply the meaty, spicy saucy part of mapo minus the tofu, minus the pork too, and with even more ground turkey. The result was tender little wontons in a ultra red turkey sauce that hugged the wontons in deliciousness.

What are turkey wontons?

Turkey wontons are the same wonton you know and love – a little meat filled dumpling wrapped in wonton skin – but made with turkey. I love playing around with different fillings in wonton and turkey (especially ground thighs) is perfect because it’s juicy and just a bit different from your regular pork and shrimp filling. Plus, I love making turkey things around Thanksgiving because, turkey!

turkey wontons in turkey mapo sauce | www.iamafoodblog.com

Turkey wonton ingredients

We’re going with some pretty standard wonton ingredients, but with turkey: ground turkey (I prefer thighs), scallions, ginger, soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, toasted sesame oil, cornstarch, and white pepper.

  • Shaoxing wine: This is what will add extra oomph and flavor to your wontons. It adds a lightly sweet, nutty, earthy, and complex flavor. It’s worth it to get a bottle if you make a lot of Chinese food, read more about Shaoxing wine here.
  • Toasted sesame oil: Use this on EVERYTHING to add instant flavor. It’s toasty, nutty, and so good. Don’t sleep on this. We love Kadoya, which comes in that iconic yellow topped bottle.
  • White pepper: One of those things that if you don’t have it, don’t sweat it, but it’s used a lot in Chinese cooking to add a brighter and sharper peppery flavor with earthy, floral heat.

how to wrap wontons | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to make turkey wontons

  1. Mix up the filling. The key to a good wonton filling is a little bit of cornstarch to bind everything together so you get a tender juicy wonton. Mix all the filling ingredients together until they form a paste. It might look a little on the loose/wet side, this is what you want!
  2. Shape the wonton. You can do this any way you want: fancy or easy. The easiest way is to just put some filling in the middle of the wrapper and pull all the edges up and gently squish into a pouch shape. Otherwise, you can put some filling in the middle, fold the wrapper in half, then bring the opposite bottom edges together, wet, and pinch to seal.
  3. Cook. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and when it’s rapidly bubbling, gently add the wonton, stirring to stop them from sticking to the bottom. The wonton will sink down at first and then start to float as when they’re cooked through. Take one and cut it open to make sure, then scoop them all out.

turkey wontons | www.iamafoodblog.com

Korean Fried Chicken

Make crispy crunchy Korean fried chicken in an air fryer with this easy double air fry technique.

korean fried chicken recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

You’re 30 minutes away from the crispiest, crunchiest, tastiest chicken wings ever. Korean fried chicken, if you’ve never tried it, is an extra crunchy double fried chicken tossed in a sweet and spicy sauce. It’s like the best hot wings ever.

Our love of KFC*

*In this post, KFC = Korean fried chicken

Years and years ago in NYC, Steph and I discovered new-to-us Korean fried chicken and it was unlike anything we’d ever had before. Crispy, crunchy, spicy, sticky, and sweet; it was like a whole other level of chicken. We loved it so much we went on a quest to try every version in the city, from then-glossy chain BonChon to some strange third floor lounge in the fashion district overlooking a discount ticket seller where we were the only customers (spoiler, it was the best of 6-8 that we tried).

momofuku fried chicken feast | www.iamafoodblog.com

Korean fried chicken was so big in those days that David Chang did an east-v-west chicken feast; one whole Korean fried chicken vs one whole Old Bay southern buttermilk fried chicken, for an insane amount of money at the original Momofuku. You had to wake up at 8am on a certain day to get the reservation. We went to that too. (pictured above – for this post I asked everyone who was at that dinner what they remembered thinking and over a decade later, they all still shared the same verdict: David Chang should stick to southern buttermilk fried chicken, but the Asian sauces were really good).

These days KFC is everywhere, provided you live in a large city with decent Korean restaurants. It’s a classic Korean beer/late night snack food. But nothing really beats making it at home, fresh and hot.

korean fried chicken | www.iamafoodblog.com

What is Korean fried chicken?

Korean fried chicken is classically double fried extra crispy wings and drummettes that are then coated in a sticky, sweet, and spicy sauce. It’s like buffalo wings amped up with the power of gochujang.

Air fryer Korean fried chicken

We’ve always loved the idea of making Korean fried chicken at home, but even with as much as we cook, deep frying is never fun, so we’ve never done it. Steph suggested using the air fryer, which I thought was a genius idea, and I developed this double air fry technique that produced a pretty darn crispy chicken that I think rivals the best of the best deep fried versions while being way healthier.

air fried chicken wings | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to make Korean fried chicken

The secret of Korean fried chicken is the double frying. Double frying in the air fryer works just as well as it does with deep frying, but way easier. The secret is to coat your chicken after the first fry using a spray/mist of oil. It’s not totally necessary, but it really helps. To make Korean fried chicken in an air fryer:

  1. Coat the chicken. I coated the chicken first with oil to help with heat transfer, then salt and pepper, then corn or potato starch, which is what Asian-style chicken is classically made with for a lighter, crispier outer shell.
  2. Air fry the chicken. 400ºF for 15 minutes. There’s no need to preheat the air fryer.
  3. Make the sauce. While the chicken is air frying, make the sauce by combining all the sauce ingredients, then heating it up to a very slight boil (or even just microwaving it for a minute).
  4. Flip the chicken. When 15 minutes is up, flip the chicken and continue air frying for another 5 minutes. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes.
  5. Double fry and sauce. After the chicken has cooled, spray it with oil again, then air fry it for the final time at 400ºF for 5 minutes. Remove and toss in sauce, then enjoy immediately.

tossing korean fried chicken | www.iamafoodblog.com

Korean fried chicken sauce

The magical sauce that goes on Korean fried chicken is a mixture of honey, brown sugar, gochujang, and ketchup. Really: ketchup is a very important ingredient if you want to keep things authentic. It’s important to note that this is just one possible sauce – there are other sauces for Korean fried chicken out there, but this one (in America, at least) is the iconic one.

korean fried chicken sauce | www.iamafoodblog.com

What is gochujang?

Gochujang is very slightly spicy fermented Korean paste that goes great in everything. We also use it for our sweet and spicy gochujang honey roast chicken and potatoesour 10 minute spicy beef weeknight stir fry udon, and our kimchi stew with mochi egg recipe.. Traditionally it comes in tubs, but these days you can find it in much more convenient squeeze bottles in the Asian aisle of literally any grocery store.

gochujang | www.iamafoodblog.com

What if I don’t have spray oil?

Spray oil is really good, cheap, and irreplaceable in the kitchen – especially if you have an air fryer. It’s not worse for you than any other kind of oil, as long as you know when to use it and its limitations. We like a nice high smoke point propellant free oil, but you can use any oil you want (except olive because of its low smoke point) and you can even make your own.

double fried korean fried chicken | www.iamafoodblog.com

How deep fry Korean fried chicken

If you don’t have an air fryer (you should really consider getting one as they are great and cheap these days) you can easily do it the classic way: deep fry the chicken until golden brown, then remove and let cool a bit before dropping it back in for a few more minutes. Then toss in sauce, as usual.

Will this sauce work with any kind of fried chicken?

Yes! If you are feeling lazy, you can just make the sauce and toss it in grocery store or chain fried chicken. It won’t be as good or quite the same, but still pretty awesome.

korean fried chicken | www.iamafoodblog.com

How does it compare to delivery

Korean fried chicken is available as a delivery item in most major cities these days. While this might seem like more work than just ordering delivery, right after I made this chicken, we went out and tried a local version – hot and fresh – to compare and contrast. The homemade KFC was both tastier and crispier. There’s no comparison at all; this recipe is way better, and way healthier too.

I hope you get some properly good KFC in your life asap. Hot and fresh.


  • Coat the chicken with the oil, then season with salt and pepper. Toss with corn starch.
    coating chicken for air frying | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Spray the air fryer basket with oil or use a paper towel to wipe a thin coat of oil onto it. Arrange the chicken in a single layer and air fry the chicken at 400ºF for 15 minutes.
    air fried chicken wings | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • While the chicken is air frying, combine the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until it comes to a brief boil. Remove from heat and set aside.
    korean fried chicken sauce | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • When the 15 minutes is up, flip the chicken and air fry another 5 minutes, then transfer the chicken onto a plate or rack to cool for 5 minutes.
    korean fried chicken first fry | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • After the chicken has cooled, spray the chicken with a very light coating of oil (optional), place the chicken back in the air fryer and fry another 5 minutes at 400ºF.
    double fried korean fried chicken | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Toss in the sauce, making sure to get every nook and cranny. Enjoy immediately with wedges of lime and slices of green onion.
    korean fried chicken | www.iamafoodblog.com


Gochujang is available at all supermarkets in the Asian aisle or online via Amazon.




Thai Basil Chicken

This quick and easy Thai classic is a just-the-right-spiciness stir fry that’s an incredible taste payoff for minimal work.

Thai Basil Chicken Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

If you’re looking for a super flavorful quick and easy dinner, this Thai basil chicken stir fry is for you

I LOVE Thai basil chicken. It gets my heart rate going not only because it’s perfectly spicy but also because it’s delicious. This is a super easy stir fry that is an incredible taste payoff for minimal prep. Goodbye delivery and hello home cooked meal!

Thai Basil Chicken Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

What is Thai basil chicken?

Thai basil chicken is a super popular Thai stir-fry dish that’s eaten both at home, in restaurants, and from street food stalls. The main ingredients are chicken, Thai basil, garlic, Thai chilis, and sauce. Sometimes it’s served up with a crispy fried egg. It’s one of our go-tos when we’re craving Thai food.

thai basil chicken recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

What You Need to Make Thai Basil Chicken

Sugar, oil, garlic, chicken thighs – you can sub chicken breast too but chicken thighs are juicier and more flavorful.

Oyster Sauce
Oyster sauce is a thick and flavorful brown sauce that can be found in the Asian aisle of any grocery store. If you see the Lee Kum Kee bottle with the two people in boats, go for that one. It’s the premium oyster sauce which lists oysters as its first ingredient, unlike the one with the red panda label which has oysters listed further down the list.

Dark Soy Sauce
You need both soy sauce and dark soy sauce for this dish – regular soy sauce adds salt and umami soy flavor; the dark adds a hint of caramel and color. If you don’t have dark soy sauce at home, you can skip out on it – your stir fry just won’t be as dark and glossy brown – but you should also give it a try. You can buy dark soy sauce easily online, and it will take your Asian/Chinese food to the next level. Once you buy a bottle, you can also use it for: Soy Sauce Chow Mein Zha Jiang Mian, and Taiwanese 3 Cup Chicken.

Thai Chilies
Thai red chilies are very, very spicy. Frying them mellows out the spice a little, but if you’re not a spice fiend, seed your chillies (use gloves!) or decrease the amount.

Thai Basil
The correct kind of basil to use for pad krapow gai is Thai holy basil which is incredibly difficult to buy outside of Thailand so the best sub you can use is regular Thai basil. Thai basil has a very slight licorice/fennel flavor to it that is super distinct. They sell Thai basil at most Asian grocery stores but if you can’t find it, you can sub regular sweet basil instead.

thai basil chicken recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Ground chicken vs chicken thighs vs chicken breasts

You’ll see Thai basil chicken made with ground chicken or cut up pieces of chicken thighs or breasts. In Thailand, the meat is cut up quite small, which is why you see minced/ground chicken as the most used protein for Thai basil chicken in North America. I’ve made it with both and it’s really about what you prefer.

If you don’t want to break out your knife to chop your chicken, using ground chicken is perfectly acceptable (note from Mike: not just acceptable, pretty much standard everywhere including Thailand). And if you like your chopped chicken in larger or smaller pieces, that’s alright too! I tend to like my chicken pieces on the heartier side and Mike likes ground chicken so we make it both ways.

ground chicken thai basil chicken | www.iamafoodblog.com

What to eat it with

This recipe makes just enough sauce to coat the chicken plus a little extra for spooning on to your fluffy white rice. It’s a pretty flavorful (and by that I mean salty) so don’t be tempted to up the sauce amounts, it will be enough!

Speaking of sauce, this is meant to be eaten with fluffy white rice! The sauce and chicken go perfectly with the blank canvas rice provides. Of course if you want you can have it over your grain of choice or even noodles. Add some cucumbers for a bit of freshness and crunch or a crispy fried egg for some extra savory goodness.

Like all stir-fries, once you get going, it goes fast, so be sure to have all your ingredients prepped and sauces measured out before you even turn on the heat.

Is it spicy?

Yes, traditionally it is, but it doesn’t have to be. If you aren’t a spice head, feel free to decrease the chili amount, de-seed the chilis, or leave them out entirely.

How to Make Thai Basil Chicken Stir Fry

1. Prep all of the ingredients: make the sauce by mixing together oyster sauce, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and sugar in a small bowl. Mince the garlic (a garlic press is your friend!), chop the chilies, wash and dry the basil, and cut your chicken pieces up into even chunks.

Thai Basil Chicken Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

2. Fry the aromatics: heat up some oil a wok or frying pan then very briefly lightly fry the garlic and chilis.

Thai Basil Chicken Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

3. Fry the chicken: add the chicken and cook, stirring until golden and cooked.

Thai Basil Chicken Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

4. Sauce: stir in the sauce and reduce.

Thai Basil Chicken Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

5. Basil: take the pan off the heat and mix in the basil. Enjoy!

Thai Basil Chicken Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Faster than getting your delivery order, am I right?!
chicken and rice forever,
xoxo steph

Thai Basil Chicken Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com


  • In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of water with the oyster sauce, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and sugar.
    Thai Basil Chicken Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan over medium high heat. When hot and shimmery, add the garlic and chili, stirring, for about 10-30 seconds – you don’t want them to burn or brown.
    Thai Basil Chicken Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Add in the chicken and cook, tossing, until golden brown and cooked through.
    Thai Basil Chicken Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Add the sauce and cook until the sauce reduces slightly and coats the chicken.
    Thai Basil Chicken Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the basil.
    Thai Basil Chicken Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Enjoy immediately with fluffy white rice and a crispy egg, if desired.
    Thai Basil Chicken Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com


Estimated nutrition does not include rice or egg.


Foolproof Spatchcock Turkey

Want a beautiful roast turkey in under two hours? Spatchcock turkey is the answer – flattening out the bird gives you juicy meat and crispy skin, every time.

spatchcock turkey recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

You should make a turkey this year, even if you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, and you should definitely, 100% make a spatchcock turkey, because it will be the easiest, fastest, prettiest turkey you will ever make.

Turkey is one of those meats that I love, kind of like a very intense chicken. Yes, they’re big and you will end up with a lot of leftovers, but I think it’s worth it, and how many times a year can you get a big fresh turkey?

What is spatchcock turkey?

Spatchcocking is a fancy way of saying removing the backbone and flattening the bird before you roast it. It’s superior to roasting a bird whole because it makes for even cooking, since the thighs aren’t covered by the legs and the delicate white meat isn’t exposed right up top. It also makes for crispier skin, better presentation, and lets you use the backbone and other bits to make gravy and stock right away.

spatchcock turkey thanksgiving dinner | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to spatchcock a turkey

  1. Prep. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. It might be best to work in a large clean deep sink or in a large roasting pan. Flip the turkey so that it’s breast side down.
  2. Remove the backbone. Hold the turkey firmly and use a pair of kitchen shears (you definitely need kitchen shears) to cut alongside the backbone, starting where the tail meets the thigh. Cut all the way up until the turkey is split up to the neck. Push the turkey open slightly and then repeat on the other side, carefully cutting alongside the other side of the backbone. This side may be a bit trickier, so go slow.
  3. Trim. Trim off any excess fat or skin you might see. I took off the tail and the hood of fat near the neck. You can use the trimmings to make the best turkey gravy ever.
  4. Flip and flatten. Flip the turkey over so that the breast is facing up and push down on the ridge breast bone, hard. You should hear a couple of cracks and the turkey should be flatter. Tuck the wing tips behind the breast so they don’t burn.
  5. Season. Place the turkey on your prepared rack and baking sheet and rub with 1 tablespoon of oil. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

How long to cook a spatchcock turkey

  • 11-12lb turkey: about 75 mins
  • 12-14lb turkey: about 1 hour 25 mins
  • 14-16lb turkey: about 1 hour 35 mins
  • 16-18lb turkey: about 1 hour 50 mins
  • 18-20lb turkey: about 2 hours

Oven accuracy varies so you should always use a meat thermometer, especially with a high stakes thing like turkey, especially as the bird gets bigger. They aren’t expensive and will save you from microwaving pink meat or eating cardboard turkey. We like this one. Once you have one, just get your breast meat to 150ºF and your thigh meat to 165ºF.

Spatchcock Turkey | www.iamafoodblog.com

Birria Tacos Recipe

Updated May 24, 2020 by Mike
Birria Tacos Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Because Steph still has RSI, I’ve been making all our dinners while we chat and watch youtube each night, and in our house that always means taco nights. While my go-to tacos are al pastorcarnitascarne adovada, and carne asada, Steph asked to mix things up a bit with something a little more modern, and suggested birria tacos. It was so good and so simple I think this just jumped to the top of my list for all of our future taco nights.

What are Birria Tacos?

Birria tacos, if you haven’t heard of them yet all over social media and the internet, is traditionally an addictive sweet, sour, slightly spicy, and utterly savory Mexican beef stew that’s slow cooked until the beef is tender and fall-apart juicy and delicious. Someone had the bright idea to stuff this beefy goodness into a taco shell, and then dip the whole mess into the stew and fry it up. They blew up after that, and the rest is history. But unlike most fad foods, Birria tacos are so good you’ll be making them every week.

Birria Tacos Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

The best birria tacos are dipped in the stew and then fried to crispy gloriousness

It’s really in dipping the tortilla into the stew and frying it to a crisp that the magic happens, so don’t skip this step. Tacos are good but very few people who don’t live in the southwest know that tacos only become truly transcendent once you cook the tortilla in fat. Traditionally they do this in butter or lard, but here we use the fat from the top of the stew to give it that extra kick. Once you bite into a crisp fried taco shell, you’ll never go back.

Birria Tacos Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Instant Pot vs Slow cooker vs Stovetop

You can make this stew any way you like, but I prefer it in the instant pot because it’s so much faster, and keeps more of the flavor locked inside the dish. Those yummy smells that fill up your house when you slow cook for hours? Those are flavor particles, and that means that’s flavor that’s not in your soup. But, regardless of how you make this, it’ll come out absolutely delicious, so pick whatever method is best for you.

Birria Tacos Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Birria Ingredients

  • The best cut of beef for birria tacos. For the ultimate birria tacos, use a good beef shank. This is non-negotiable. You can, and should, mix up another cut as well for texture and variety. I prefer meat that’s a little on the lean side for tacos, so I mixed it up with a cheap roast like cab sirloin, but if Steph had her way, she would use short ribs. But, since she’s not cooking, we ended up with a cab sirloin.
  • Dried Guajillo Peppers. These sun dried peppers add an authentic touch of mexican flavor to any stew and you can usually find them in the Mexican aisle of your local grocery store (if you live in America). They are like a mild-medium pepper and don’t add any heat, so you don’t have to worry at all. If you can’t find them, sub any dried mexican/southwestern peppers you can find, such as ancho, new mexico, california, or pasilla. If you really can’t find them, you can skip them, but they’re worth looking for!
  • Chipotle peppers in adobo. These come in a little can and they are salty-sweet-spicy delicious. They form the base of many mexican stews and marinades and you can find them pretty much everywhere in the world, they’re that good. We usually keep 3-4 cans around just for tacos al pastor.
  • Mexican oregano. This version of oregano is always cheaper and almost always fresher and better than the spice aisle stuff, so if you’re already in the Mexican aisle, be sure to pick up a bag, usually only 99 cents or so.

Birria Tacos Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to make Birria Stew

Making Birria stew is easy and quick:

  1. Soak the peppers. Bring a pot of water to a boil and then take it off the heat, soak the dried peppers while you do the next steps.
  2. Season the meat. While you wait for the peppers to soak, cube up the roast and season the meat with salt and pepper
  3. Make the marinade. Throw together everything left except the cloves, bay leaves, and cinnamon into a blender. Remove the peppers from the now warm water and let them get cool enough to handle. Hold them by the tip over the sink and cut the tops off with scissors. The seeds will just fall right out. Then drop them into the blender too. Blend it all up into a smooth paste.
  4. Marinate the beef overnight. Two hours is good enough too, but longer is always better when it comes to stews.
  5. Make the stew. Saute the onions. Onions are the base of all flavor, so make sure they are extra delicious – transparent and golden. Take your time. Then add the meats, cover with chicken stock, and add the last few spices. That’s all there is to it!

Birria Tacos Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to make Birria Tacos

Once you have the stew, making the tacos is super easy:

  1. Shred your meats. Fry them up too, if you like. I skipped this step and it was ok, but if you like your meat extra crispy and hot, here’s where you would do that.
  2. Warm up your tortillas. This makes them pliable and soft. We use a tortilla warmer, but you can just wrap them up in damp paper towels and microwave for 30 seconds.
  3. Dip and fill. Dip your tortillas in the soup, the fat is near the surface so you don’t need to dip too far, but make sure they get coverage. Then top half of the tortilla with beef, onions, cilantro (optional), and cheese (optional).
  4. Fold and fry. Fry your tacos in a non stick skillet over medium heat until they crisp up, 2-3 minutes per side. Serve with a side of the stew to use as a dip.

Birria Tacos Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

What to serve with Birria Tacos?

These birria tacos are good enough to eat dozens on their own. If you wanted to do a side though, you can serve them up with homemade tortilla chipsmexican rice, and you even have all the ingredients necessary to make a birria tortilla soup.

  • Add marinade ingredients to the blender. When the peppers are done soaking, hold them by the tip over the sink and use scissors to cut the stem off and allow the seeds to fall out, then add to blender. Blend the marinade into a smooth paste. Marinate the meats for a minimum of two hours or up to overnight.
    Birria Tacos Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Set your Instant Pot on saute high or use a skillet over medium heat. Add 1-2 tbsp oil, then saute the onions until golden and translucent (6-8 minutes).
    Saute your onions in an Instant Pot | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Add the meats, marinade, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, and cloves to the pot. Cover with chicken broth, then set to high pressure for 45 minutes. If using a slow cooker or stovetop, set to low heat for 4-6 hours.
    Birria Tacos Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • When the instant pot is finished, allow a natural release, then remove the meat. Shred, set aside, and discard the bones.
    Birria Tacos Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Warm up some tortillas, then dip the tortillas in the stew. Build your tacos, top with any optional toppings, then fry over medium heat on a nonstick skillet. Enjoy immediately, preferably with a margarita or cold Mexican beer.
    Birria Tacos Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and then remove from heat. Soak your dried guajillo peppers for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cube your cab sirloin, then season both the steak and the shank with salt and pepper. Set aside.
    Birria Tacos Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com


    If you can’t find dried guajillo peppers, sub any dried mexican/southwestern peppers you can find, such as ancho, new mexico, california, or pasilla.

Paella: The Ultimate One Pot Rice

Paella even has its own emoji 🥘 – it NEEDS to be made and eaten

paella recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Paella has bits of everything I love: rice, seafood, and most importantly socarrat: crispy crunchy toasted rice bits.

Have you ever been obsessed with a dish even though you’ve never eaten it? For me, that dish was paella. It was one of those food bucket list items – I don’t remember how or why I became so obsessed with having paella from its birthplace of Valencia, but I’m pretty sure it has something to do with the fact that paella is so pretty and such an iconic dish. It’s so iconic that people around the world think of it as the quintessential Spanish dish, even though it’s actually more Valencian. I mean, Valencia is in Spain, so it’s all good to me.

paella | www.iamafoodblog.com

A couple of years ago Mike and I went to Valencia and the first thing we ate was paella! We literally got off the train and went to a paella restaurant. On the way there, there were a bunch of Valencian orange trees that had some pretty tempting looking oranges but apparently the orange trees that line the streets of Valencia are not the same sweet ones that they use for juice. Anyway, the paella in Spain was as good as I imagined. So good that all of our meals in Valencia were either paella or Spanish churros dipped in chocolate.

The paella was all things good: juicy seasoned meats, tender-crisp beans, and the best part, saffron scented rice with crispy toasty rice bits. It was a dream come true.

paella recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

What is paella?

Paella, pronounced pay-EH-yah! is a rice dish made in a shallow, wide pan over an open fire. Paella means “frying pan” in Valencian. Traditionally, paella includes short grain rice, green beans, rabbit, chicken, and saffron, but nowadays there are a huge number of variations, from seafood to vegetarian. I made a mixta paella here, which is essentially a mixed paella that has meat, seafood, and vegetables.

paella | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to make paella

  1. Soak the saffron. This will release both color and aroma. Pop some saffron into a small bowl with hot water and set aside.
  2. Sear the proteins. Heat up some olive oil in your paella pan over medium high heat and give your proteins a quick sear: the chicken goes in skin side down and the chorizo gets browned. Shrimp gets a quick toss in before being removed so it doesn’t over cook.
  3. Sweat the aromatics. Add the onions, garlic, tomatoes, and paprika and cook, stirring, until soft and fragrant.
  4. Add the liquids. Carefully add chicken stock and the saffron water and bring everything to a boil. Flip the chicken skin side up so it’s pretty.
  5. Add the rice. Time to sprinkle in the rice! Try to add it in a thin, even layer and use a spoon to spread it out if you need to. Let everything come to a simmer and cook, uncovered until the rice absorbs almost all the liquid.
  6. Add the seafood. Nestle in the clams and add the shrimp back on top.
  7. Cook on low until the clams open up and the rice is al denote.
  8. Socarrat time! Turn the heat up to high for 1-2 minutes to create a crispy toasty crunchy rice crust.
  9. Rest and enjoy. Cover the paella with some foil and let rest for 5 minutes before enjoying.

cooking paella | www.iamafoodblog.com

Paella Ingredients


Because paella is truly all about the rice, the rice is the most important ingredient. Bomba rice, from Spain, is the best choice. It absorbs 3 times as much liquid than regular rice giving it 3 times as much flavor when all the liquid is absorbed. Plus cooked right, it stays firm and al dente. You can usually find bomba rice at Whole Foods or online.

bomba rice | www.iamafoodblog.com

Smoked Spanish Paprika

Smoked paprika comes in sweet and bittersweet, go for sweet smoked Spanish paprika. It adds smokiness, aroma, and color.


There’s a lot of controversy about what kind of protein goes into paella. If you’re not super concerned about authenticity you can customize your paella and put anything you want it. If you’re going with chorizo try to get a Spanish chorizo, which is dried and cured. But if you only have Mexican chorizo available, I think that’s okay too. Purists say that chorizo will overwhelm the other flavors, but we’ve had multiple paella in Valencia with (and without) chorizo, so it’s a personal choice. Other proteins you can use include chicken, pork, seafood, or really, anything you can dream of.


Most paella has vegetables in it, especially the paella we had while we were in Valencia. Usually it’s some sort of green bean, a variety that isn’t so common here in North America. You can sub in other green beans, add peppers, asparagus, artichokes, peas, olives, beans, chickpeas, really, it’s like the proteins, go wild!


A nicely seasoned stock as this is what’s going to add flavor to the insides of your bomba rice. That being said, if you’re salt adverse, I would do low sodium stock and then season afterwards. If you have the time, make a homemade seafood/shellfish or chicken stock, which makes it even easier to control the seasoning and flavor.


Saffron is what gives paella its gorgeous golden hue. The orange-red threads are earthy, floral, and add a distinct flavor. Saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world. You only need about 1/2 teaspoon but it definitely adds to the overall flavor, so don’t skip out on it. Look for saffron threads that are deep red-orange and evenly colored. Saffron is sold in most large grocery stores and specialty food stores.

saffron | www.iamafoodblog.com

Paella pan

If you want the all important toasty rice bits, or socarrat, you’re going to need a paella pan. The width of a paella pan helps with rice distribution, ensuring that the rice cooks in a thin layer. A pan that feeds two is generally about 10-12 inches and a pan that serves eight is about 18 inches. The most popular pan sizes are 14 and 16 inches, which feed 4-6. Which size pan you get depends on how many people you plan to feed.

The wider the pan, the more people it feeds. They even have pans that are 4 feet wide! Years ago, around Christmas, Mike and I were in London and we saw two giant paella pans at Covent Garden. The saffron deliciousness wafting through the chilly air was so tempting so we decided to join the huge queue for a taste. I’m sure Hola Paella (now closed forever) wasn’t the most authentic paella in London, but it attracted a lot of attention and was a perfect snack to warm us up on a cold day.

paella pan | www.iamafoodblog.com

What if I don’t have a paella pan?

If you’re wondering, can I use a cast iron skillet to make paella, the answer is yes! As long as you’re using the right rice, you can definitely use a cast iron skillet. Cast iron skillets are somewhat wide and conduct heat well, making them great for making paella. Use the biggest and widest cast iron pan you have so you can spread your rice out.

What rice should I use?

Paella should be made with Bomba or Calasparra rice, medium grain rices grown in Spain. Spanish rice is chubby and round, ideal for absorbing large amounts of liquid while still staying somewhat firm. You want your rice kernels stay separate and not creamy or mushy.

The rice really is the best part of a paella. I can eat loads and loads of that smoky, saffron flavoured rice and I have. I made a giant pan for Mike, myself and a good friend thinking there would definitely be leftovers (I used a pan that serves 6-8), but the three of us polished it off in one sitting. We totally fell into simultaneous food comas afterwards, but it was worth it. The best part was that there was more than enough socarrat to go around.

bomba rice | www.iamafoodblog.com

What is socarrat?

Socarrat is the essential layer of crispy crunchy toasted rice at the bottom of the pan when you cook your paella just right. Most people consider it the best parts. It’s caramelized and toasty and nutty and has all the flavors of paella concentrated.

I hope you guys give this recipe a try. I mean, paella even has its own emoji 🥘 – it NEEDS to be eaten.
smoky saffron rice and crispy bits forever,
xoxo steph

paella | www.iamafoodblog.com


  • Stir the saffron into 1⁄4 cup hot water in a small bowl and let bloom for 15 minutes.
    saffron | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • In a 16″–18″ paella pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and the chicken, skin side down. Add the the shrimp and cook, flipping occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes, then transfer the shrimp to a plate, leaving the meats to sear in the pan.
    cooking paella | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Add the onions, garlic, tomatoes, and paprika and cook, stirring often, until the onions soften, about 6 minutes. Add the saffron and 4 cups of chicken stock. Flip the chicken so it’s skin side up and bring everything to a boil over high heat.
    making paella | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Sprinkle in the rice, distributing evenly, then add the peppers on top. Cook, uncovered, without stirring, until rice has absorbed most of the liquid, about 12-15 minutes. If the pan is larger than the burner, rotate it every two minutes to evenly distribute the heat. Once the stock is low enough, add the remaining 2 cups chicken stock.
    making paella | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Reduce heat to low, and top with the cooked shrimp. Nestle in the clams, hinge side down. Continue to cook, without covering or stirring, until the clams opened and the rice absorbs the liquid and is al dente, 5–10 minutes more. Turn heat to high for 1-2 minutes to create the socarrat. Remove pan from heat, cover with aluminum foil, and let sit for 5 minutes before enjoying.
    paella recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com


Paella is totally customizable so feel free to make this dish vegetarian, all seafood, or all meats.

You also can grate the tomatoes on the largest holes of a box grater. Be careful and discard the skin afterwards.

Tiktok Tortilla Wrap Hack

Tiktok wrap hack | www.iamafoodblog.com

Have you guys seen the tiktok tortilla (aka the tiktok wrap hack) that’s floating around the internets?! I think it’s the most genius way to fold a tortilla wrap ever.

Mike showed me an Instagram reel of someone wrap hacking and afterwards I spent way too long doing a deep dive and watching mesmerizing videos of people wrap hacking all the things. Have you ever thought of putting chicken nuggets in a wrap? Or noodles?! I saw that!

crunchwrap supreme wrap hack | www.iamafoodblog.com

TikTok wrap hack?

After a little bit of sleuthing, I found out on BuzzFeed that the first person to do the wrap hack was @ellcarter1 on TikTok. The wrap hack is now mega trending and there have been hundreds of wrap hacks popping up!

Anyway, if you haven’t seen it, the wrap hack is basically the smartest way to make a wrap. You make a cut from the middle of the tortilla down to one edge, fill the different quadrants with fillings, then fold it all up into a neat triangle that can be eaten as is or grilled. I don’t know about you, but sometimes, when I make wraps they burst or split. Because this wrap isn’t rolled, there isn’t any chance of that. All your fillings stay inside the wrap and it’s super easy and neat to eat.

What is the TikTok wrap hack?

The wrap hack is a super simple way to wrap up tortilla wraps! Instead of rolling all the fillings up, the tortilla is folded into quarters, making a compact, triangle shaped wrap.

tiktok tortilla wrap hack | www.iamafoodblog.com

Tiktok tortilla: Crunchwrap supreme edition

I especially love that you can infinitely customize the wrap hack! Anything goes. Think: pizza, breakfast, healthy vegetables, sweet stuff. The sky is the limit. For my very first wrap hack I made a crunchwrap supreme: super savory juicy seasoned ground beef, melty cheese, crisp lettuce with fresh tomatoes, sour cream, and crunchy tortillas chips, all wrapped up and grilled up to perfection. SO GOOD. Here’s how to do it!

fried crunchwrap supreme | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to wrap hack

  1. Lay your tortilla out on a cutting board. Take a knife and make a cut from the middle of the tortilla down to the edge.
  2. Imagine the tortilla being divided up into four quadrants or quarters. Place a different ingredient into each quadrant.
  3. Fold the wrap up, starting from the bottom left quarter, folding it up over the top left, then folding it over to the top right, then folding it down to the bottom right.
  4. Enjoy as is or grill in a panini press or pan.

folding tiktok wrap hack | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to make a wrap hack crunchwrap supreme

  1. Prep the ingredients: cook off the ground beef with some taco seasoning, shred the lettuce, and chop the tomatoes.
  2. Cut the tortilla: Lay your tortilla out on a cutting board. Take a knife and make a cut from the middle of the tortilla down to the edge.
  3. Make the wrap: Place the lettuce and tomatoes in one quarter, the sour cream and tortilla chips in another quarter, shredded cheese and beef in another quarter, and just cheese in the last quarter.
  4. Fold the wrap: Fold the wrap up, starting from the bottom left quarter, folding it up over the top left, then folding it over to the top right, then folding it down to the bottom right.
  5. Grill the wrap: Grill your wrap in a panini press or place it in a pan and cook over medium heat, flipping once.
  6. Enjoy eating your homemade wrap hack crunch wrap supreme!

crunchwrap supreme | www.iamafoodblog.com

TikTok tortilla: sushi edition

Finally, if you’re loving the TikTok tortilla hack but want to do DIY sushi, try it out with nori! It’s been floating around lately and it’s way easier than rolling sushi at home. Even though seaweed sheets/nori are squares and not round, it essentially works the same way. All you need is a large sheet of nori, some sushi rice, toppings, and a sauce of your choice.

tiktok tortilla: sushi version | www.iamafoodblog.com

We went with salmon, avocado, cucumber, sriracha and mayo for a spicy salmon roll feel. To make it, cut halfway through the nori sheet to the center, add your toppings to the different quadrants, fold and enjoy. Feel free to add on some furikake (rice seasoning) or toasted sesame seeds.

I can’t wait to wrap hack ALL the things. What’s on your wrap hack wish list?!

spicy salmon tiktok wrap hack sushi version | www.iamafoodblog.com


  • Make the taco beef: Brown the beef in a frying pan over medium high heat until browned and cooked through. Drain off any excess fat, if needed. Add the spices and stir in. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
    taco beef | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Make the wrap: Lay the tortilla down on a cutting board. Take a knife and cut a line from the center of the tortilla to the bottom edge.
    cutting tiktok wrap hack | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Starting at the bottom left quarter, add shredded lettuce and tomato. To the top left quarter, spread on some sour cream and top with tortilla chips. On the top right quarter, sprinkle on some cheese and add some ground beef. Finally, on the last quarter, sprinkle on some more cheese.
    crunchwrap supreme | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Starting with the bottom left corner and fold it up over the top left.
    folding tiktok wrap hack | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Then fold it over to the top right.
    folding tiktok wrap hack | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Finally, fold it down to the bottom right.
    folding tiktok wrap hack | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Grill in a pan over medium heat until the tortilla is crispy and the cheese melts, flipping once, about 3-4 minutes per side. Enjoy!
    crunchwrap supreme wrap hack | www.iamafoodblog.com

Yaki Udon

Yaki udon, with its thick and chewy noodles, super savory sauce, crisp vegetables, and slices of seared pork is my idea of pure comfort food. It’s super easy to put together and I can’t imagine a better one pan meal.

I LOVE yaki udon. It reminds me of long lazy nights, huge piles of noodles steaming on a flat top grill, and the sounds of happy people chatting and enjoying festival food in Japan.

What is yaki udon?

Yaki udon, literally translated, is fried udon. Thick and chewy udon noodles are fried with pork, cabbage, onions, and carrots, in a slightly sweet, super savory soy and mirin based sauce. It’s usually topped off with seaweed and bonito flakes that gently dance in the heat of the noodles.

It’s almost just the same as yakisoba, but with udon noodles. Yaki udon is super popular at Japanese festivals, at izakaya (Japanese pubs), and just about anytime.

How to make yaki udon

You’re just 5 minutes away from pure noodle satisfaction.

  1. Soak. The easiest way to defrost frozen udon noodles is to give them a quick soak in some warm water. Use your hands or a pair of chopsticks to loosen them up, then drain.
  2. Fry the pork. Add a touch of oil to a pan and cook the pork slices, flipping as needed, until golden and cooked through.
  3. Cook the vegetables. Stir fry the vegetables until slightly soft.
  4. Add the noodles. Fry the drained noodles, along with soy sauce, mirin, and dashi, tossing until the noodles are glossy and coated with sauce.
  5. Enjoy! Top off with some bonito flakes and nori and enjoy!

    Ingredient notes

    • Udon noodles – my all time favorite kind of udon noodles are the frozen ones! They’re called sanuki udon and essentially, they’re fresh udon noodles that are cooked, then flash frozen. Read more about frozen udon below.
    • Dashi powder – dashi is a super savory, clear, umami rich stock made from seaweed and dried fish. You can make it from scratch or, there are amazing dashi packs and instant dashi powder/granules, kind of how there is chicken stock powder or bouillon. More on that below too.
    • Mirin – mirin is Japanese sweet rice wine and a key ingredient in Japanese cooking. Compared to sake, it has a lower alcohol content and higher sugar content that occurs naturally from fermentation. It’s used as a seasoning and glazing agent. They sell mirin in the Asian aisle, at Asian grocery stores, and online. If you don’t have mirin, you can sub the same amount of sugar.
    • Katsuobushi – this is an optional ingredient but it will make your yaki udon super umami forward and authentic! Katsuobushi are dried, thinly shaved bonito flakes that they put on top of yakisoba, yaki udon, and takoyaki. They’re those little pale whisps that look like they’re dancing when the food is hot. You can find katsuobushi at Asian grocery stores and online.

    Frozen Udon is the Best Udon

    Frozen udon is the best: it’s practically instant and takes on all the flavors of whatever you’re cooking it with. We always have a pack (or five) of frozen udon bricks in the freezer. Of course, you could use those instant udon packs, that come shrink-wrapped, but if you want udon on another level, head to your local Asian grocery store, take a peek in the freezer and do yourself a favor and buy the frozen udon.

    Frozen udon is sold in bricks, with usually 5 bricks in a package. They’re super easy to prepare: just thaw and go. And best of all, most of the frozen udon that’s sold in North America is actually imported from Japan. We often see brands sold here that are the same as what we buy at the grocery store in Tokyo. They taste infinitely better than the shelf-stable cryovac udon.

  6. Dashi powder

    Dashi powder is the quickest way to add dashi flavor to any dish. Essentially, it’s a flavor booster. You can buy dashi powder in the Asian grocery store or online. It adds a bunch of flavor and umami. If you don’t have any on hand, you can substitute it with chicken stock powder, but if you do, your udon may end up saltier than if you use dashi.

    How to customize yaki udon

    Yaki udon is a super customizable noodle dish. Make it your own!