What’s The Best Way To Cook Ramen Noodles?

At Mike’s Mighty Good, we like to think we make the highest quality, most delicious ramen around that actually makes you feel good and healthy. But even the best ramen packet is just the beginning of a good ramen bowl. To craft a truly impressive meal, you need more than the best ingredients. You need to right cooking technique.

Now, you might think that making ramen is simple, and it is, when done correctly. But just because something is simple doesn’t mean there’s no way to mess it up. As we’re about to demonstrate, there are some definite rules to preparing ramen noodles.

A lot of this comes down to technique. Are you using the right temperature water? Are you cooking your noodles for long enough? And of course, are you using the right recipes? Here, we’ll discuss everything you need to know to create the perfect bowl of ramen – every time. Let’s get started!

Cooking ramen noodles

First Boil the Water… Then Add the Noodles

Let’s get down to brass tacks; warm water, even hot water, is not the same as boiling water. If you want your noodles to cook correctly, you need to wait until your water comes to a full boil.

A lot of people add their noodles as soon as they see bubbles forming in the bottom of the pot. However, when those first bubbles form, the water isn’t actually boiling. Bubbles will start to form at temperatures as low as 176°F. That’s a far cry from a rolling boil, where temperatures are at a full 212°F.

What happens when you cook the noodles in warm water is that the outer layers of the noodle absorb water too quickly. By the time the inside of the noodles are cooked, the outsides will be soggy and soft. And who would do that to poor, defenseless noodles?

When you add your noodles to water that’s already boiling, they cook more evenly. The inside heats up rapidly, and keeps pace with the outer portion of the noodle. The result is a noodle that’s perfectly chewy, both inside and out.

The same principle is true when you’re preparing a noodle cup. Wait until the water comes to a full boil, then add it to the cup, then cover the cup as well as possible to keep the water piping hot.

Then again, some people prefer a noodle that’s closer to raw. In this case, it’s still wise to use fully boiling water. Just remove your noodles from the water sooner than you normally would.

Use the Right Boiling Time

Now that your water is boiling, it’s time to prepare your noodles. How exactly you go about that will depend on two things. First, are you preparing a packet of noodles, or are you making a cup? Second, are you boiling your water on the stovetop, or cooking in the microwave?

Different noodle manufacturers have different instructions for cooking their noodles. Here’s how to get the perfect bowl of Mike’s Mighty Good.

Making a Mike’s Mighty Good Pillow Pack

To prepare Mike’s Mighty Good pillow pack on the stovetop, first bring your water to a boil as we discussed. Use 1 ¾ cups if you want to end up with the perfect broth. Boil the noodles for three minutes, along with any ingredients you want to boil. Take it off the heat, stir in any seasonings and other ingredients you want to add, and you’re ready to eat it.

pillow pack sampler

Preparing a pillow pack in the microwave is a little bit different. Instead of boiling the water first, instead break your ramen brick in half and set it in a microwave-safe bowl. Pour 1 ½ cups of water over the noodles, and make sure they’re as covered as possible. Feel free to add any other ingredients you want to cook.

Next, put your microwave on high, and run it until the water boils. This normally takes about 4 minutes, but can vary considerably depending on your model of microwave. Let the water boil, but stop the microwave before it boils over. At that point, you’re ready to add your seasonings.

Making a Mike’s Mighty Good Ramen Cup

Making a Mike’s Mighty Good ramen cup on the stovetop works a lot the same way as making a pillow pack. Boil 1 ¼-cup of water, then remove the seasoning packet and dump the noodles into the water, along with any extra ingredients. Let it boil for around three minutes, and remove it from the heat. Stir in your flavoring, and it’s done.

That said, most people buy a cup of ramen – as opposed to a pillow pack – because they value the convenience. To do that, open the top and remove the flavor packet, as well as any oil or sauce packets. Pour in 1 ¼-cup of water, and microwave for around a minute and a half. As with the pillow pack, you want the water to boil, but not boil over. As you make more cups, you’ll get a sense for how long that takes on your microwave.

When the water has boiled, remove the cup from the microwave. Then, cover the top with a plate or other stiff object, and let it stand for six minutes. This will get the noodles to the perfect chewy texture we all love.

Ramen cup

Don’t Forget to Stir the Noodles

If you’re cooking your noodles on the stovetop, it’s important to stir them periodically. This is because some of the noodles will be prone to clumping up while they heat. Instead of loose, chopstick-worthy noodles, you can end up with a doughy mess. By stirring the noodles, you keep them moving around in the water.

Stirring the noodles also ensures that they cook evenly. When noodles get clumped up, the ones in the middle don’t cook as fast as the ones on the outside, which can ruin your recipe.

Stirring isn’t necessary when you’re making a cup of noodles, or putting your pillow pack in the microwave. The noodles are arranged in such a way that they won’t clump up under those conditions.

Add Some Toppings!

When you get right down to it, noodles and broth are just noodles and broth. No matter how good they are and how well they’re prepared, they’re more of a snack than a full meal. If you want something that really sticks to your ribs, you’ll want to add some veggies, protein, and other ingredients to your dish.

To begin with, choose a protein. Egg, chicken, beef, tofu, and even shrimp are all excellent choices. Egg is particularly versatile. It can be poached, hard boiled, or soft boiled to leave a creamy, yolky center. Here's how to make the perfect soft-boiled ramen egg. Or, you can drip it into piping hot broth to create something similar to egg drop soup.

As for vegetables, the sky is the limit. Many people like to add green veggies like cabbage, bok choy, and broccoli. These don’t just add flavor and vitamins, but they also add a crunchy texture. Carrots are also great for their crunch, as well as their savory overtones. Scallions, onions, and green onions can all be used to provide some bite.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to add some spices. You ramen already came with a flavor back, but there’s so much more you can do. Hot sauces like sriracha are a particularly popular choice.

Ramen toppings

Use Steamed, Organic Noodles From Mike’s Mighty Good

Even the best chef is only as good as their ingredients. If you want the best bowl of ramen, start with fresh, organic noodles from Mike’s Mighty Good. Our noodles are steamed, not fried, so there’s no oily flavor, just the bouncy, chewy texture you crave from an authentic bowl of ramen.

These noodles are far superior to most commercial brands, and will make you feel like you’re seated at a ramen bar. But the best foods take time – you’ll notice that our steamed noodles take slightly longer to cook than their flash-fried counterparts.

"Mike's Mighty Good has permanently changed my lunch game. Never knew an 'instant soup' could be so good."

Charles W. "Chuck" Bryant of the Stuff You Should Know Podcast