Chicken Udon Soup with Bok Choy

DinnerQuick and EasyHealthyChicken Soup

Give basic chicken noodle soup a twist with thick, chewy udon noodles and shredded gochujang chicken. Put it all together in a bold broth layered with ginger, toasted sesame oil, and soy sauce and you have a delicious dinner ready in 30 minutes—start to finish.

Photography Credit: Sally Vargas

Chicken noodle soup is a classic recipe, but who wants to eat the same thing all the time? Take a break from your regular chicken noodle soup and try this one loaded with Asian flavors and ingredients like sesame oil, chewy udon noodles, ginger, and bok choy. Add in spicy shredded chicken and this dinner is sure to make the weekly rotation.

I used a box of store-bought stock, a little garlic, and a generous amount of ginger. (Secret’s out, oops.) You can also make your own stock. Shredded cooked chicken flavored with the sweet and spicy fermented chili paste, gochujang, put this soup over the top and also made the bowls of soup look pretty and appealing.

Even with the short-cuts, when I brought this to a friend’s house for dinner, everyone marveled at how flavorful the broth was.

Gochujang Chicken and Udon Noodle Soup in a white bowl with a spoon.

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What Are Udon Noodles?

You can really sink your teeth into thick Japanese udon noodles. They are about the size of a fettuccini noodle, made from wheat, and can often be purchased fresh from Asian grocery stores. If you buy them fresh, just cook them in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes.

Dried noodles should be available at large grocery stores in the Asian food section, but if not, you can order them online.

Cook them in abundant boiling water as you would Italian pasta. They take about the same amount of time to cook as linguini, which you could substitute for the udon in a pinch, although I urge you to seek out udon noodles for a real treat.


Gochujang is a sweet and spicy Korean chili paste. Its color resembles tomato paste, and it is similar to Sriracha in taste, but with less garlic and not as much heat.

It’s widely available at most grocery stores, but you can also find it online. If you’ve never tried it let this be the time to do so. It’s delicious! We also use it in our Air Fryer Chicken Wings.


This is an ideal soup for using up leftover cooked chicken or rotisserie chicken. Shred the chicken and then reheat it in a skillet with the sauce to add a flavor boost.

Two whilte bowls filled wtih Gochujang Chicken and Udon Noodle Soup on a brown placemat. One bowl has a spoon in it.


Leftovers of this soup will keep in the fridge for two to three days, though the noodles will start to become mushy as they absorb more of the broth.

If you know you’ll have leftovers, prepare the soup and the noodles separately, store them in separate containers, and combine them in the bowl when reheating.

This soup isn’t great for freezing because of the tender greens and the noodles. Plus, it’s so quick to make you can whip it up faster than it would take to thaw.


Chicken Udon Soup with Bok Choy Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings


  • 4 ounces dried udon noodles
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 4 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chili paste)
  • 4 scallions, finely sliced
  • 4 to 5 (5 ounces) baby bok choy, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 2 large handfuls (about 2 ounces) baby spinach leaves

For garnish:

  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves


1 Cook the noodles: In a large pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add the udon noodles and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until tender. Drain in a colander, and rinse under cool running water to remove surface starch. Add the sesame oil and toss. Set aside.

Udon noodles cooking in a silver soup pot. Cooked udon noodles draining in a colander.

2 Make the broth: In the same pot you used to cook the noodles, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic, and sauté, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

Add the broth, soy sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Taste and add more salt, if you like. Turn off the heat and start the chicken.

Chicken broth simmering in a soup pot.

3 Warm the chicken in the gochujang: In a small skillet over medium heat, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the shredded chicken meat and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until hot.

Add the gochujang to the skillet. Cook and stir for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the sauce evaporates and the chicken starts to brown.

Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the soup broth to release the brown bits on the bottom of the pan and stir in the scallions. Remove from heat.

Cooked chicken in a silver frying pan. Gochujang seasoned chicken in a frying pan with sliced scallions for an Asian noodle soup.

4 Finish the soup: Return the broth to a simmer and add the bok choy. Cook for 2 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Stir in the spinach and noodles and cook for a minute or two, until the spinach wilts and the noodles are hot.

Udon noodles, spinach and fresh herbs in a soup pot.

5 Serve the soup: Divide the soup among four bowls. Top each bowl with the chicken. Sprinkle with cilantro, and serve.

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Sally Vargas

Sally Pasley Vargas is a freelance writer and the author of three cookbooks (Food for Friends, The Tao of Cooking, Ten Speed Press, and The Cranberry Cookbook). She currently writes the column The Confident Cook for The Boston Globe along with seasonal recipes for the Wednesday Food Section.

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2 Comments / Reviews

No ImageChicken Udon Soup with Bok Choy

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Karyn

    Great recipe! Thank you!


  2. Donna Live

    I will try today. I tasted this on a cruise, specially made for their Asian guest by request. I loved it.

Spicy Gochujang Chicken and Udon Noodle Soup in a white bowl with a spoon and fresh herbs.Chicken Udon Soup with Bok Choy