Can You Eat Ramen Raw? Separating Facts From Fiction

Can You Eat Ramen Raw? -- Brick of Ramen

Yes, you can eat ramen “raw” — at least the instant kind. If you’ve ever tried ramen, then you might have wondered whether you’re actually allowed to eat that beloved brick of curly noodles before it’s boiled (or at least the broken off pieces lying at the bottom of a package). The good news is that ramen — the shelf-stable kind that’s packaged in a sleeve or foam cup — isn’t actually raw in the first place (more on that below), so it’s 100% safe to eat without the least bit of cooking. 

It might help to think of instant ramen noodles like jerky. It’s completely dehydrated, and doesn’t contain any fresh, organic ingredients (like dairy or vegetables) that might spoil. Of course, if you open the package and make it vulnerable to moisture or the elements, then ramen, just like jerky, might not be too safe to eat after all. So just make sure you’re eating a completely new, unopened serving of instant ramen.

In places like South Korea, ramen is even sold and marketed specifically as a snack, which you’re specifically directed not to boil, but crush. You can remake your own version of a ramen snack by taking your favorite instant ramen (ideally contained in a sleeve), taking out the seasoning packets, then closing the whole thing back up and crushing it into bite-sized pieces. Then, pour the seasoning packet into the ramen, shake the bag up, and get ready to eat an extremely flavorful and crunchy snack. 

To find out more why ramen isn’t raw and what makes it safe to eat before it’s even cooked, read on. 

How Instant Ramen Is Made

Whether you realized it or not, instant ramen actually comes pre-cooked. That’s why it’s so safe to eat ramen raw, in its pre-boiled form. 

For your reference, the process of making ramen has pretty much remained the same since its inception in the 1950s. First, four main ingredients — flour, water, salt, and kansui, a special alkaline water that lends ramen its elasticity, springy form, and yellow color — are mixed and kneaded into a plush dough. Here, a special technology ensures that every particle of ramen hits every particle of water. The dough is then rolled out into thin noodles, and steamed. This concludes its first round of cooking. 

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Next, the noodles are either deep fried or blow dried to remove moisture. Removing moisture is an essential process of the ramen-making process, because instant ramen’s extremely low water content is what renders it such a shelf-stable item. 

Deep frying ramen, believe it or not, eliminates all the moisture from the ramen. Blow dried noodles are also void of moisture and are often the least preferred choice. Once the noodles are dehydrated, they’re finally packaged for shipping. As you can see, the final few steps of making ramen guarantee that ramen is cooked, and stays cooked. Sure, raw instant ramen might be a little crunchy, but rest assured that its utter dryness is what keeps it sterile and almost risk-free. 

Can you eat ramen raw? - Bowl of ramen

How Fresh Ramen Noodles Are Made

If you’ve ever tried handmade ramen noodles (most likely at a ramen restaurant), then you know just how much chewier, and springier they can taste. The main difference between how instant ramen and fresh ramen is prepared is that the latter isn’t dehydrated and retains its squishy, doughy texture. Of course, some recipes for DIY ramen noodles also have some variations in their actual mixture: Some are made with baking soda and vital wheat gluten in lieu of kansui; others, just flour, baking soda, and warm water. 

The absence of this last dehydration step is crucial to understanding why fresh ramen noodles might be tastier, but are less safe to eat raw — fresh, doughy ramen noodles are raw and uncooked. The dough is mixed and kneaded, shaped into long noodles, but that’s it. They’re not steamed, nor are they deep fried or air dried. They’re consequently not as safe to consume before boiling.

Can you eat ramen raw?

Can You Eat Fresh Ramen Noodles raw?

Short answer: Yes, you can eat fresh ramen noodles raw, but it comes with some risks. Take this rough comparison: Many healthy experts consider raw cookie dough or cake dough as unsafe to eat, but lots of people do it anyway since the risk seems manageable (even with its inclusion of eggs!). But unlike these sweeter mixtures, fresh ramen noodles taste pretty awful as they lack all the savory flavor they might get from the broth or other toppings added to your bowl of ramen. Also, unlike “raw” instant ramen noodles, they lack the satisfying crunchy texture and intense flavor they might get from the seasoning powder added to it.

In conclusion, you can definitely eat fresh ramen noodles raw if you’re willing to take a risk, but we always recommend boiling noodles for both safety and flavor reasons. It only takes some hot water, anyway.

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Try Immi Ramen!

For the best ramen eating experience, remember to try low-carb, plant-based immi noodles! You can cook them up in a jiff in a pot of boiling water or microwave, and they’ll give you the satisfying flavor bomb and chewy texture that’ll satisfy any craving.