20 Easy Japanese Recipes for Quick Weeknight Dinners

Beef Sukiyaki
Beef Sukiyaki. Photo: smartt

Japanese cooking is often defined by precise preparations and artful presentations, with every aspect of the meal designed to appeal to the senses. Sounds like a time commitment, right? Well, many Japanese meals are actually quick and easy to prepare. In fact, these top-rated Japanese recipes do it all! They feature exciting flavors, textures, and compositions -- everything we love about Japanese food, including major umami -- but they're ready in minutes. You'll love these quick and easy Japanese recipes on even your busiest weeknights. For more, check out our collection of Japanese Recipes.

01 of 21

Authentic Miso Soup

a bowl of miso soup with tofu, sliced mushrooms, and diced scallions on a plate with chopsticks in the background
France C

Many Japanese dinners begin with miso soup -- "One soup, three sides," as the saying goes. This simple, comforting Japanese miso soup is made with kombu, bonito flakes, and miso paste. "Loved it!" raves Buckwheat Queen. "My daughter said it tasted just like the soup at her favorite Japanese restaurant."

02 of 21

Japanese Curry

"Japanese curry recipes are different from Indian or Thai curries," says MMSVA. "They're more of a brown stew, and can be mild or spicy, depending on your tastes. The curry roux, from no heat to very spicy, can be bought at any international grocery store. Serve over white rice or with udon noodles. This recipe is very flexible; it can easily be made for more or less people. It can also be frozen (don't put the potatoes in)."

03 of 21

Japanese Country-Style Miso and Tofu (Hiya Shiru)

This simple Japanese comfort food recipe is ready in less than 20 minutes! "Family Secret Revealed... This authentic Japanese recipe comes from a southern province of Japan, and has been passed down for generations," says chantal. "Our family loves to eat this meal every Sunday for brunch. Healthy comfort food! Try it and you will love it too! Serve over hot white rice."

04 of 21

Japanese Shrimp Fried Rice with Yum Yum Sauce

"This is the best shrimp fried rice I've ever made or had!" says doingdirt. "The yum yum sauce tastes better if made the day before, so the flavors can marry."

05 of 21

Soba Noodle Veggie Bowl

"Also known as 'yasai yakisoba,' this is a healthy and quick dish with stir-fried noodles, vegetables, and a savory sauce," says Diana71. "The recipe can be easily doubled, but this is really best for one person."

06 of 21

Japanese-Style Crispy Fried Pork Bowl (Tonkatsu Donburi)

Crispy deep-fried pork chops are the stars of this savory Japanese-style rice bowl. "Also known as Katsudon," says otaku. "Garnish with sliced green onions."

07 of 21

Miso-Glazed Black Cod

Miso Glazed Black Cod

Broiled black cod with a miso glaze of miso, sake, mirin, and a little brown sugar. Brush a bit of glaze on the cod, allow the fish to sit momentarily to marinate, and then broil. Dinner's ready! "This is my take on the oft requested miso-glazed, black cod, made famous by chef Nobu Matsuhisa," says Chef John. "In addition to a taste and texture to die for, this is one of the easiest fish recipes of all time. A couple minutes to make the sauce, some brushing, a short wait, and you're broiling."

08 of 21

Tonkatsu (Japanese-Style Crispy Fried Pork Cutlets)

Tonkatsu is a popular Japanese-style fried pork cutlet. "Serve plain with Japanese-style barbeque sauce or serve on top of curry, ramen, udon, and more!" says otaku.

09 of 21

Chicken Katsu

Chicken Katsu
Snacking in the Kitchen

"This is my family recipe for Chicken Katsu -- Japanese-style fried chicken," says akuraiiko. "Can also be used to make Tonkatsu, just use pork cutlets instead of chicken. Serve with white rice and tonkatsu sauce."

10 of 21

Beef Sukiyaki

Here's a Japanese hot pot recipe -- a one-pot Japanese meal with vegetables, noodles, and beef, all simmered in a steaming, flavorful broth made with dashi, mirin, and soy sauce. "We have a favorite restaurant that serves beef sukiyaki and this came pretty close!" raves Michelle. "It was excellent."

11 of 21

Yakitori Chicken

Cubes of chicken breast meat are marinated in a soy sauce, sake, and ginger sauce, threaded onto skewers with leeks, and broiled. "An easy, tasty, and fun meal," says dakota kelly.

12 of 21

Nasu Dengaku

Here's a broiled Japanese eggplant recipe with a sweet miso glaze. "These tender eggplants are delicious as an appetizer or a vegetarian main course," says Mochi Puffs. If you cannot find agave nectar, try honey."

13 of 21

Stir-Fried Japanese Ginger Pork

Thin slices of pork are stir-fried with ginger, daikon radish, sake, and mirin. "I love this stir-fry because you can add any veggies you like, including spring onions, savoy, or Chinese cabbage... whatever you have handy," says ZAYO. "If you can't find daikon radishes, use a bunch of small red radishes when in season."

14 of 21

Sesame Seared Tuna

Tuna steaks are coated with sesame seeds and quickly seared and served with wasabi and a dipping sauce of soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, honey, and sesame oil. . "This tuna is served rare, so be sure to use a good quality fresh tuna," says NEWORLEANSGIGLET.

15 of 21

Chicken Yakisoba

Chicken Yakisoba
Photo by Baking Nana.

This traditional Japanese yakisoba noodle dish includes cabbage and chicken in a spicy sauce. "This was a great recipe!" raves mommyluv3. "I used the reduced soy sauce as the other reviews had said. And instead of chopping up those vegetables, I just used a pack of tri-color coleslaw mix. It turned out great!"

16 of 21

Nikujaga (Japanese-style meat and potatoes)

This simple one-pot recipe features sliced beef sirloin cooked with potatoes, onion, and snow peas in a sweet-savory sauce made with prepared dashi soup, sake, a touch of sugar, and soy sauce. "So tasty!" raves nikyma. "I have a Japanese foreign exchange student who's been missing the food from home. He loved this! So did everyone else."

17 of 21

Tofu Hiyayakko

"This is one of the really traditional, easy dishes in Japan," says kyoko. "We often eat this dish with the rice, miso soup, grilled fish and Japanese pickles in the morning."

18 of 21

Sesame Chicken and Soba Noodles

Sesame Chicken and Soba Noodles
Sunny Days Nora

Ready in about 30 minutes! Cubes of chicken breast meat quickly stir-fry in soy sauce and brown sugar. You'll serve your lightly caramelized chicken with soba noodles over mixed salad greens and dressed with an olive oil, rice vinegar, and finely grated ginger vinaigrette. "Wonderful and fairly fast meal," says Katagator.

19 of 21

Omelet for Leftovers (Omurice)

It's breakfast for dinner, with a Japanese twist. This is a great way to use up leftover fried rice. As ZAYO explains: "This recipe is an easy choice when you need to rustle up something for yourself and happen to have leftovers like rice and bacon and vegetables that need to be used up. This recipe is versatile -- use whatever you like."

20 of 21

Sesame Seared Tuna and Sushi Bar Spinach Salad

Sesame Seared Tuna and Sushi Bar Spinach Salad
Sesame Seared Tuna and Sushi Bar Spinach Salad. Chef John

A quick healthy dinner's ready in about 20 minutes! Fast and simple to make, "This recipe is dedicated to the other side of the sushi bar menu, where after you work your way through the nigiri and sushi rolls, you discover things like tuna tataki and cold, Japanese-style spinach salad," says Chef John. This tuna is also great seared, chilled, and served cold.

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