Soba noodles are probably one of the most famous types of noodles to ever exist. It is a staple in Japanese cuisine but it is loved and appreciated everywhere around the world.
In Japan, it is possible to find this fantastic food in different and variegated settings. It is possible to consume as a meal-to-go at a fast-food restaurant or it can be served as a prestigious and elegant meal in a luxury restaurant.
Soba noodles are incredibly easy to find in any supermarket or local corner shop, but they can be easily replaced by other types of noodles. Therefore, if you ever need a soba noodle substitute as you are getting ready to assemble your meal, look no further.
Here is the extensive and comprehensive list of soba noodle replacements you need to better understand how to cook and experiment with this ingredient in the kitchen.
The best substitutes for soba noodles
Soba noodles are incredibly popular noodles made out of buckwheat flour and water. They have their signature brownish color and they represent the ideal type of noodles to eat in soups or soaked in broth.
It is an extremely versatile food that can be eaten both hot and cold. On top of that, it does not require fancy or highly complicated recipes to enjoy them.
They are also enjoyed worldwide not only for their fantastic and delicious taste but also for how quick and easy it is to cook them.
It takes between five to eight minutes to cook them properly, and it is one of the easiest ways to have a wholesome, hot meal in just a matter of minutes.
There are plenty of alternatives to soba noodles that will taste just like the real deal. On top of that, some alternatives will take the same amount of time to cook, or sometimes even less.
These soba noodles alternatives go from incredibly easy-to-find food to something you can make at home with minimum effort!
1. Ramen noodles
Ramen noodles seem like one of the most obvious soba noodle alternatives out there. Using them in the kitchen has its pros and cons, though.
They are incredibly cheap and can come both dried or fresh (although dried is the most common type). Ramen noodles often come in packets along with pre-packaged seasoning and sauces.
All it takes is to boil your ramen for four to five minutes, and you are done. If you are feeling extra lazy, it is also possible to prepare them in the microwave, so there is even less dishwashing to do afterward!
After following the instructions on the back of the packet, your ramen is ready to be enjoyed piping hot in their delicate, seasoned broth. This meal can make for a great soba noodles replacement when you do not have them on hand.
Ramen noodles are made out of wheat flour so they are a little more elastic than soba noodles, and they have that signature yellow shade typical of ramen.
Aside from these minor differences, they are as easy, quick, and delicious to cook as soba noodles and they are perfect to have in broth, stews, stir-fries, and more.
2. Udon noodles
Udon noodles are another fantastic staple of Japanese cuisine and another excellent substitute for soba noodles.
They are chewier and thicker in consistency than soba noodles and have a white-ish color. Plus, udon noodles are the perfect match for stir-fries and soups, just like soba noodles.
Like ramen, udon noodles come as both dried and fresh. Dried udon noodles are delicious and super tasty, but fresh udon noodles rise to a whole new level of tastiness.
The peculiarity of this food is not possessing a pungent taste. They are relatively mild in taste. This specific trait makes it the ideal noodle for stronger, more intense dishes.
Just like soba noodles, udon noodles are quite easy to find, either in any Asian supermarket (or any big supermarket in your area) or a small corner shop.
3. Rice noodles
A staple in Asian cuisine and fantastic yakisoba noodles substitute is rice noodles. It is the appropriate option to pair with stir-fries, pad thai, and noodles pho.
They are made out of rice flour and water. This mix of ingredients provides to them their signature, see-through look, and incredibly light texture.
Different from udon noodles, rice noodles have quite a tangy taste, so they might give a different tang to your recipes if you employ them as a substitute for yakisoba noodles.
They come in dried, fresh, and frozen form, and all of them represent a tremendous alternative to use in your noodle dishes. Adding on their positive aspects, they are also naturally gluten-free, so they are perfect for those who want to avoid gluten in their diet.
If you utilize them as a substitute for soba noodles, it is best if you pick the rice noodles that have a cylindrical shape rather than the flat ones. This choice might be the best one because they will give a more authentic, similar texture to your dish than the flat ones.
4. Somen noodles
Somen noodles are probably one of the closest soba noodle replacements there are on the market.
They are made out of wheat flour, and they are incredibly thin, but that does not stop them from making a hearty and wholesome meal, especially during those cold, winter nights.
The cooking process is the same as the other alternatives already listed. And they pair fantastically with vegetables, and more incredibly so when they are paired with scallions and ginger.
Somen noodles are also not so difficult to find if you know where to look. They are available at all major supermarkets, corner shops, and Asian markets around the world.
5. Kelp noodles
They might not be as popular as other kinds of noodles, but kelp noodles are a little gem and a remarkable substitute for yakisoba noodles.
Kelp noodles assume their name from their main ingredient which is, in fact, kelp. For those who might not be familiar with it, kelp is a type of seaweed. As they come from this alga, kelp noodles are naturally gluten-free (but do not forget to always double-check the label!).
They are a healthier and carb-free option for those who are following a specific type of diet or simply for those who prefer to consume gluten-free products.
But that aside, these noodles do not tend to have a powerful flavor to them, so they make the perfect match for stronger and more flavorful dishes.
6. Whole wheat spaghetti
Strangely enough, whole-wheat spaghetti will work wonders as a yakisoba noodles substitute.
This specific kind of spaghetti bears a brownish color, similar to one of the soba noodles. So at a first look, it looks like the perfect alternative to soba noodles.
Whole-wheat spaghetti is similar in thickness and the consistency is also pretty much the same, therefore it makes them a fantastic choice when you are out of soba noodles.
An advantage to using whole-wheat spaghetti is that they can be found pretty much everywhere around the world, from your small, local market to big chains.
7. Korean buckwheat noodles
Korean buckwheat noodles represent another excellent alternative to soba noodles. They are also gluten-free as buckwheat typically does not contain any gluten in it.
Therefore, here is another tremendous option for those who are looking for a gluten-free alternative to cook their favorite noodle dish.
Korean buckwheat noodles are fundamentally the Korean counterpart to Japanese soba, so they were born to be the perfect soba noodle substitute. It is sensational if enjoyed cold or hot in a broth with various vegetables.
8. Zucchini noodles
If you are looking for a lighter and more refreshing alternative, zucchini noodles might be your answer.
This is a great soba noodles alternative if you are trying to cut carbs or if you want to implement some extra veggies in your diet.
They come as pre-packaged, or you can make your own if you happen to have a spiralizer at home. The process is remarkably simple: just put your zucchini into the spiralizer and it will do the job for you.
Zucchini noodles can be cooked in recipes just like soba noodles, but pay attention to the cooking time, as they might take a shorter time to be done.
9. Butternut squash noodles
The same concept applies here: butternut squash noodles are an excellent alternative for those who are trying to cut out carbs, those who are looking for a gluten-free option, and those who simply want to eat more veggies.
These veggie-based noodles are relatively easy to prepare at home. Get a butternut squash, cut it in half and set it in a preheated oven with a sprinkle of olive oil on top.
Once they are ready, take two forks and start ripping the softened squash apart, until it looks like thin, mushy spaghetti.
Simply add them to your recipe, and the job is done! Your butternut squash spaghetti is ready to be eaten as a fantastic yakisoba noodle substitute.
10. Beet noodles
Another vegan and gluten-free friendly alternative are beet noodles. They do not come pre-packaged (yet), but it is so easy to make them at home.
Just stick your beets in the spiralizer, and you are good to go! Simply add them to your recipe, keeping an eye on the beet noodles as they cook as it might take a shorter time to cook than soba noodles.
That’s it. If you made a little too much, you can always store them for next time. Just place them in an airtight container and place them in the fridge for up to five days.
They maintain a prolonged life if you put them in the freezer: in fact, frozen beet noodles can stay up to three months.
11. Cellophane noodles
Cellophane noodles, also known as bean thread, are transparent noodles. They are made from starch that comes from mung beans and water. This type of noodles usually has no taste, so they go perfectly with more flavorful recipes like stews and stir-fries.
Bean threads are thinner than soba noodles and see-through, but they work as a brilliant substitute for soba noodles in most recipes.
On top of that, this one represents a perfect, gluten-free alternative to your homemade and home-cooked recipes.
12. Quinoa spaghetti
Quinoa pasta, and in particular quinoa spaghetti, not only is a great soba noodle substitute but is also a fantastic gluten-free pasta alternative.
Cooking this variety of spaghetti is pretty straightforward, and it is the same as cooking regular pasta or noodles.
13. Homemade soba noodles
If you prefer making your own soba noodles at home, then this is the place for you. It is easier than you think, and it is a swift process too:
- Take some buckwheat flour, hot water, and spelt flour.
- Combine them well together to form a soft, smooth ball of dough.
- Start kneading the mixture with your hands.
- If it gets a little too sticky, sprinkle some flour on the dough so it stops sticking to your hands or the surface below.
- If you want to make a gluten-free alternative at home, swap the spelt flour with a gluten-free option of your choice, like oat flour for example.
- Once the dough is smooth and it is not sticky anymore, flatten it and cut it into noodles. Make sure to keep them separate as you cut them.
When you are ready to go, cook them as you normally do with any type of noodles and that is it. You enjoy a wonderful, hearty, homemade dish with minimum effort.
How to choose a soba noodles substitute
As you can see, there are plenty of choices when it comes to picking the perfect soba noodle substitute. It all depends on what you prefer and what you want to give to your dish. Eventually, it all comes down to three big categories:
- Regular Alternative: regular does not mean boring! If you need a soba noodle substitute, you can go for the safe but delicious choices like ramen or udon. Another option can be somen noodles and even spaghetti if used in their whole-wheat version. If you want to experiment with your options, you can also make homemade soba noodles from scratch.
- Gluten-free Option: if you want to avoid alternatives that contain gluten, there is plenty to choose from. Rice noodles, cellophane noodles, and Korean buckwheat noodles are all known and fantastic alternatives. But if you feel open to more options, you can also try kelp noodles.
- Veggie Option: who said noodles can only be made out of wheat? It can be veggies too, and these fantastic options are the proof. Zucchini noodles, butternut squash noodles, beet noodles, as long as you have a spiralizer at home, you are sorted for an amazing and nutritious meal!