How To Microwave Ramen – Step By Step Guide

You need ramen, and you need it now. The stove just isn’t fast enough. Here’s how to make ramen fast in the microwave.

To cook ramen in the microwave, break the noodles into a microwave-safe bowl and add 1-2 cups of water. Cover with a paper towel and microwave for 1-2 minutes, then stir and microwave for 1-3 more minutes. Cook until the noodles have the right firmness. Wait 3 minutes for it to cool before serving.

Now that your ramen is contentedly cooking away, let’s go into detail about how to do it, and then we can explore some other options you might try next time you want to microwave ramen.

Microwave Noodles

The first thing I do when making ramen is break the noodles before I even open the package. I just put the middle of it against the edge of a counter and bend it until it breaks, making a nice easy split that makes for easy stirring. On the other hand, if you prefer to keep the noodles at their traditional length, you can ignore it whenever I say to break the noodles.

Open the packet and put the noodles into a microwave-safe bowl. Add 1 to 2 cups of water, depending on the amount of broth you want and how long you’re willing to wait: more water means a longer cook time. If the water doesn’t cover the noodles, you will have to stir it more often as it cooks to make sure all of the noodles will become soft enough to eat.

If the bowl is small enough that the contents are close to the top, cover it with a paper towel to prevent starchy bubbles from boiling over the side of the bowl. Alternatively, you might use a deep, microwave-safe container. In that case, the sides will be tall enough to prevent a mess, and you have the option of pouring it out into a different bowl when your ramen is done cooking.

Cook the ramen in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. However, that’s not going to be enough to cook it all the way. Carefully stir or turn over the noodles, then cook them for 1-3 more minutes. The bowl will be hot, so use a hot pad or oven mitt if you need to touch it. Stirring is important because microwaves don’t heat things evenly. Stirring ramen spreads around the hot and cold spots to even it out.

Continue to cook and stir the ramen until the noodles are as tender as you would like them to be. Then, use an oven mitt to take the bowl out of the microwave and let the ramen sit for a few minutes before you eat it. The water will likely still be boiling when you take it out of the microwave, and you need to let it cool down before you eat it or you’ll burn your tongue.

Add the seasoning while you wait for the water to cool. The still-hot water will dissolve the seasonings faster than it will once it’s cooled down.

Steep Noodles in Microwaved Water

If your ramen comes in a Styrofoam or plastic cup rather than a packet, or you just prefer firmer noodles, you may want to heat the water by itself instead of microwaving everything together. No one can really agree on whether it’s safe to microwave Styrofoam, so it’s probably better to cook cups of ramen this way. It may take a bit longer, though.

Pour 1-2 cups of water into a microwave-safe bowl. Use 1 cup if you want less broth. Using less water will make it take less time by having less to boil. If you’re willing to be more patient so that you can have more broth, use 2 cups. You can experiment with the amount of water to see how much broth you would like.

Break the noodles into a separate bowl. You can add the seasonings on top of the noodles now, or you can wait until later.

Microwave the water for at least 2-3 minutes to make it boil. If it’s not bubbling, don’t worry, as microwaves don’t make boiling water bubble the way stovetops do. If you’re really concerned about knowing whether or not it’s boiling, you can use a thermometer to measure it: water boils at 212° F (100° C), so it should be there or higher.

If it’s not hot enough, heat it again at 2-3-minute intervals until it’s ready. When it’s hot enough, take it carefully out of the microwave with a hot pad or oven mitt to avoid burning your fingers.

Pour the boiling water over the noodles and cover the bowl to keep the heat in. Let it sit for 3-5 minutes as the noodles are reconstituted to the firmness you prefer. If you haven’t already added the seasoning, add the packet after the noodles have cooked a bit and you can stir it in.

Adding Vegetables

Now, it’s one thing to eat ramen just the way it says on the package, with boiled noodles and a high-sodium seasoning packet, but if you want to take your ramen to a whole new level, you should try adding stuff to it. Vegetables are a popular ingredient to add to your ramen for some extra variety of flavor and texture, and they’re healthy, too.

A few examples of some vegetables that you can add to your ramen are carrots, peas, and broccoli, but you can realistically add any vegetable you think will taste good with it. You might also try adding onion, garlic, or celery. I have a friend who likes to put cactus in it, so really anything can work as long as you think it’ll taste good.

Once you have an idea of what you would like to add to your ramen, figure out how to prepare it to make it easy to put in your ramen when you’re in a hurry.

Fresh or Frozen

Do you get your vegetables fresh or frozen? Your answer to that question might make a difference as to how long it will take to cook them. You may be able to cook them in the water with the ramen, but you’ll have more control over the result if you cook them separately and add them together afterward.

Fresh vegetables will need enough time in the microwave to cook, but not so much time that they get soggy. If you cook them with the noodles, they’ll take up space and heat, extending the cooking time.

Frozen vegetables need enough time to get hot. If you cook them with the noodles, they’ll act like ice cubes, making the water take more time to boil.

Don’t use canned vegetables if you can avoid them, except maybe corn or beans, if those are the sort of things you want in ramen. If you do use canned vegetables, it will probably add a little less time than fresh vegetables do to prepare them because they’re already cooked and just need to be warmed up.

Preparation

If you want to prepare vegetables ahead of time so that you can easily add them to ramen, you’ll want to slice or dice them to the size you’ll want them. The smaller you cut them, the faster they’ll cook, so I dice most of my vegetables pretty small, though I leave the broccoli in florets.

If you’re doing this in advance, portion out and bag the vegetables. Depending on how long you want to keep them, you may want to freeze some of them. If you end up doing that, keep them in the freezer until you’re ready to use them: vegetables typically freeze well, but they don’t thaw well and should be kept frozen until they are ready to use.

You can cook the vegetables with the noodles or separately. If you want to do it separately, you can cook them on the stove while the noodles are cooking, or you can cook them in the microwave while the noodles are cooling. The latter is probably faster.

Salt

Unless you’re supposed to be on a low-sodium diet, I wouldn’t worry about the amount of salt in your ramen, at least not when you’re adding vegetables.

Vegetables are good when they’re prepared correctly, but they taste better with salt. That doesn’t mean you need to add more salt than the seasoning packet has, though. As someone who likes more salt than others usually do, I find that the packet is usually sufficient to season the vegetables. It’s your ramen, though, so make it how you like it.

Adding Eggs or Meat

For some extra protein, you might try adding eggs or meat to your ramen. But while cracking an egg directly into a boiling pot of ramen is an easy thing to do on the stove, it’s not exactly something you can do when you’ve cooked your ramen in the microwave. Sure, it’s possible to fry an egg in the microwave, but that’s not something you will learn about in this article.

Instead, the best way to add eggs and meat to your microwave-cooked ramen is to use stuff that’s already cooked, such as hard-boiled eggs. Cut the egg into halves or smaller. You can add the egg or meat to the bowl of ramen during the last 30 seconds of cooking. That should be enough to cook it properly depending on your microwave.

You might prefer to use meat that matches the seasoning packet, but that’s not a deal-breaker. Pork should go just as well with chicken-flavored ramen as chicken does. You might have a harder time matching a beef-flavored packet with other meats, though it all depends on your tastes.

If you really want egg-drop-style ramen from the microwave, remove the cooked noodles and crack an egg into the hot water. Stir it around and pierce the yolk in a few spots, then return it to the microwave for about a minute. Piercing the yolk will prevent it from exploding.

Adding Sauces and Seasonings

Maybe you want to get rid of the seasoning in your ramen entirely. Maybe you want to use stock instead of water, or maybe you want to season the broth yourself. You’ve got a world of possibilities when it comes to flavoring your ramen.

Soy sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, and basil are all perfectly valid ways to season your ramen (though maybe not all four of those together). Even lemon or lime juice could change the flavor of your ramen, and some people like to put hot sauce on their noodles.

You might even want to make peanut noodles by flavoring them with peanut butter, soy sauce, brown sugar, and hot sauce.

Find the Right Cooking Time

You may have noticed that I haven’t given you an exact time for any of the microwaving. That’s because the cooking time that your ramen needs is unique to you. It’s based on multiple variables: the power of your microwave, the weight of your bowl, the amount of water you use, and the ingredients you add.

With all those possibilities, there isn’t going to be one right answer that will serve everyone, but that doesn’t stop you from finding the cooking time that works for your ramen. Here’s how you do that.

I’ve given you instructions on how to microwave your ramen, including intervals with which to continue cooking it if it’s not done the first time. With those instructions and a little bit of note-taking, you can find the cooking time that works best for your favorite ramen.

As you cook your ramen, pay attention to how long you’re cooking it and when you stop the microwave to stir so you know how long you need to cook your ramen next time. You’ll also want to take note of how much water you put in and the approximate volume of your added ingredients.

With those notes, you should be able to re-create your perfect ramen every time! And if that bowl wasn’t the right size, you can experiment by changing the cooking time and amount of water until you get what you want.