Noodles are a staple food found all around the world. They can be dressed up, dressed down and are endlessly versatile. They can be warm and comforting or light and refreshing. And, who doesn’t like eating noodles? The best part about these bowls is that when making them for the family, they are easy to customize for everyone’s palate. Here are a few of our favorite bowls to get you started.
All the flavors of potstickers in a warm bowl of noodles? Sign us up! Kristin at Iowa Girl Eats shares her recipe that is loved by toddlers and adults alike. This yummy meal is packed with veggies and uses a smart shortcut: bagged coleslaw mix. The best part? It’s ready to eat in just 30 minutes.
Kids love teriyaki sauce, and for good reason: it’s sweet and sticky. Damn Delicious spends a little extra time making homemade sauce (worth every minute, in our opinion) but saves on time with store-bought refrigerated yakisoba noodles. The whole dish comes together in less than 30 minutes, and your kids will love these brown sugar-and-honey sweetened noodles.
Try this recipe for an easy-to-cook vegetarian noodle bowl (you can easily add meat too, if your child prefers). Your kids can help chop the veggies and mix the fresh sauce while you take the lead when it’s time for the high heat stir fry. Head to Mom Junction for details and the full recipe.
There are two types of pancit noodles in Filipino cuisine: bihon (thick) and canton (thin). This bowl, from The April Blake, features thin noodles, which are super easy to slurp down. This rainbow-colored, veggie-packed dish is a great one for kids. If you can’t find calamansi juice, you can swap it out with lemon or lime juice (or a combination).
Pinch of Yum makes an easy, creamy sesame sauce that’s prepared by shaking it in a jar. The “fork-twirly” factor is high with just enough sauce to stick to the noodles and your fork, but doesn’t drown your noodle. You can mix and match your favorite protein: Keep it vegetarian with tofu or add cooked chicken.
Pat from Pickles and Tea used to eat these Indonesian-style noodles as a kid, just like American kids might eat spaghetti. Comforting, savory and simple to make, we think your little ones will love this dish as much as she did. Skip the hot sauce topping for the kids, but add a splash or two for the grown-ups.
Made with gluten-free rice noodles, this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen is so easy even a kid can make it. In fact, it’s a great idea to have your kid become your sous chef and get involved in the prep. Depending on their age and skill level, they can help mix the sauce, cut the cucumbers, soak the noodles or even stir-fry the pork.
Made with tofu, chicken or shrimp, this dish from the Feasting at Home blog is naturally gluten-free (use tamari sauce instead of soy) and can easily be made vegan. A traditional takeout favorite, this noodle bowl is streamlined so that you don’t need any fancy ingredients and don’t need to spend hours at the stovetop. You can make your work even faster by grabbing time-saving ingredients like leftover rotisserie chicken, minced garlic and ginger paste in a tube.
Ready in just under 30 minutes, this recipe for beef and broccoli noodle bowls from The View from Great Island is quick and healthy. Stir-frying the beef and veggies hot and quick means they retain all of their great flavor as well as their nutrition. You can even prep everything the day or night before, so all you have to do is throw everything in the wok when it’s dinner time!
Rich caramelized onions and roasted tomatoes give an Italian twist to Robin Asbell’s comforting noodle bowl. While summer tomatoes might be a thing for a different season, tiny grape tomatoes still pack a punch of flavor, especially when their sugars are concentrated by roasting in the oven. And, there is a surprise! Crunchy, salty pistachios are sprinkled on top instead of regular old cheese.
Sometimes simple is best, and nothing is more approachable than pasta with garlic and olive oil. Suzy at The Mediterranean Dish shows us how to put together this easy, traditional Italian noodle bowl, with plenty of grated Parmesan cheese for extra flavor. Make sure to keep a bit of the pasta water to create the sauce, and omit the chili pepper flakes at the end if you don’t want a touch of heat.
12. Fast chicken pho
Sarh at The Woks of Life knows that sometimes dinner needs to be on the table, STAT. This recipe skimps on time, but not flavor. Instead of traditional beef, this bowl features chicken and store-bought stock (with a few items to quickly add some amazing flavor). Cheaper, healthier and quicker than takeout, this might become your new favorite recipe.
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Editor’s note: This article was originally published in January 2022, and updated in January 2024.