The Best Instant Yakisoba is Yaki-so Delicious

The best yakisoba combines springy wheat noodles with a flavorful sauce that’s tangy, sweet, and a little bit spicy. And I’ll be honest: Since we’re talking about the best instant yakisoba, I’m not looking for a miracle here. Still, even if fresh meat and veggies aren’t involved, the noodles alone should be so tasty, you’re tempted to ditch those slippery chopsticks and go straight in for a forkful. 

If it wouldn’t dramatically shorten my lifespan, I would happily eat instant noodles every day. I’m not picky about the kind—ramen, yakisoba, udon, chow mein; you name it, I’ll eat it. That said, I don’t like to be lied to. If the package says yakisoba on it, I’m expecting, at the very least, a stir fried noodle dish that resembles authentic yakisoba. That means wheat-based noodles and a sauce that mixes ingredients like Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce, ketchup, soy sauce, and sugar. (If you want a full refresher on what exactly yakisoba is and how it differs from other Japanese noodles, we’ve got you covered.) 

But here’s the deal: Yummy yakisoba is actually pretty hard to find in popular grocery stores! You’d think, given all the love instant ramen gets here in the U.S., more brands would be expanding their stir fried noodle repertoire and trying to “wok” the yakisoba walk. But as a society, we’re clearly not there yet—and that’s okay. I’ll wait. I’ll bide my time with Buldak ramen and, in the interim, bring you a list of the best yakisoba noodles out there right now, according to my very detailed taste test. Luckily, these top five yakisobas aren’t yaki-so-bad! And a couple are even yaki-so-good. Let’s get it into it.

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Best Yakisoba Noodles for Ramen Lovers: Maruchan Yakisoba Spicy Chicken Flavor

Best for Ramen Lovers

Maruchan Yakisoba Spicy Chicken Flavor

If you enjoy Maruchan’s spicy chicken ramen, well, you’re in luck. Because that’s pretty much what this is—an elevated, soup-less Maruchan cup noodle disguised as yakisoba stir fry. Though they’re thicker than Maruchan’s ramen noodles, these “yakisoba” noodles are definitely on the thin side. All that said, when you make this, you will definitely eat it. The addictive, salty, savory sauce has a creamy texture and a flavor that keeps you coming back for more. The biggest con here is that it packs a lot of heat, perhaps too much for some palates. Proceed with caution! This might be too intense for sensitive stomachs. But if you like your food spicy, this is the best yakisoba to buy.

Credit: Merc / Instacart

Rating:

6.5/10

Sporks

Best Sweet Yakisoba: Annie Chun's Japanese Style Yakisoba Noodle Bowl

Best Sweet Yakisoba

Annie Chun’s Japanese Style Yakisoba Noodle Bowl

Annie Chun’s yakisoba bowl has the thickest noodles of the bunch. I would argue these are closer to udon noodles in size, but I also don’t care—the noodles themselves are chewy, delicate, springy, and have a handmade quality that really makes them standout. The sauce definitely leans sweeter than most—in fact, it’s a touch too sweet if you’re sensitive to that. But if you prefer noodle bowls heavy on the sugar, consider these the best yakisoba noodles for you. (Also, heads up: The directions tell you to ignore the water line inside the microwavable bowl, which is kinda fun. We love mixed signals in our packaging here at Sporked. It adds to the experience!) 

Credit: Merc / Instacart

Rating:

7/10

Sporks

Best Elevated Yakisoba: Benihana The Japanese Steakhouse Yakisoba Chicken Frozen Meal

Best Elevated

Benihana The Japanese Steakhouse Yakisoba Chicken Frozen Meal

Unsurprisingly, the quality of ingredients in Benihana’s frozen chicken yakisoba meal set it apart from the rest of what we tried in our best yakisoba taste test. The chicken is super tender, flavorful, and moist—not easy to accomplish in a microwave meal. The colorful veggies (including zucchini, red bell peppers, carrots, and onions) are plentiful and taste very fresh; they even have a slight char that makes it look and taste like they were stir-fried on the stove. Benihana makes a steak yakisoba that we liked, too. The meat has a tender, short rib-like quality, and if right now you’re thinking, well, that all sounds pretty great—what’s the catch? There’s no catch, but—in a way, both frozen meals taste a lot like reheated leftovers from an overpriced Asian-fusion restaurant. We found ourselves picking at these frozen meals, exploring all they had to offer, not devouring them. While there isn’t anything inherently wrong with that, it’s not ultimately what we’re looking for from the best instant yakisoba bowls. Nevertheless, these are pretty great!

Credit: Merc / Instacart

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

Best Yakisoba Sauce: Maruchan Yakisoba Teriyaki Beef Flavor

Best Yakisoba Sauce

Maruchan Yakisoba Teriyaki Beef Flavor

Yes, we’re back to Maruchan—the soup-less instant ramen disguised as stir-fried yakisoba. I know, I’m sorry, I’m a fraud. But hear me out: Unlike other, sweeter instant noodle flavors that I’ve disparaged in the past, the teriyaki sauce in this bowl is quite nice, with a balanced sweetness that really makes it akin to a traditional yakisoba sauce. It’s unique and unlike any other Maruchan ramen flavors we’ve tried. Yes, the noodles are too thin for anyone looking for authentic yakisoba noodles, but I simply can’t fault the yumminess. It’s the best Maruchan yakisoba flavor, hands down…and, yes, one of the best yakisoba bowls you can buy at major grocery stores.

Credit: Merc / Instacart

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

Best of the Best Yakisoba: Ajinomoto Yakisoba with Vegetables

Best of the Best

Ajinomoto Yakisoba with Vegetables

Listen to me: Costco really turned this taste test around. Not to sound negative, but I was really beginning to wonder if we could find a simple, quick, budget-friendly instant yakisoba brand to rival ramen’s chokehold on the instant noodle game. But Ajinomoto accomplishes just that, and more. Thick, springy, wheat-based yakisoba noodles? Check. Tangy, slightly sweet yakisoba sauce? Check. Plentiful, diverse veggies? Check. Amazing value? Check. One package of Ajinomoto Yakisoba noodles includes six portions of the best instant yakisoba we’ve tasted thus far. I’m thrilled this exists—and honestly, not to @ other brands, but good instant yakisoba isn’t hard to make, guys. Or Ajinomoto just makes it look easy, because, damn. This is exactly what we were looking for from the best yakisoba noodles!

Credit: Merc / Costco

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks


About the Author

Ariana Losch

Ariana Losch is a Sporked contributor, webcomic writer, java junkie, and bad TV enthusiast. She only ever feels at peace laying out on a beach like a kebab, roasting in the sun; sadly, she can never move back to Florida, her home state, because there simply isn’t enough good Mediterranean food. You can find her overstaying her welcome at just about every LA coffee shop, working on a screenplay and avoiding all eye contact. (She is embarrassed to be there, please leave her alone.)

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