My daughter is always making ramen and leaving half of it sitting in the bowl. I know the stuff is cheap, but I still hate to waste it. So, I usually just stick some plastic wrap over it and throw it in the fridge. I noticed that it wasn’t that great when reheated in the microwave, so I tried a few various methods, and this is what I learned.
The best way to reheat ramen to achieve the best flavor and texture is on the stove. Just put it in a pot on medium heat and warm them until it is just beginning to bubble. You can use the microwave as well, but it will often soften the noodles even further. Many will not enjoy the mushy texture.
Whatever you choose to do, do it quickly and don’t bother with ramen that is more than a couple of days old. If they are sitting around in liquid for that long, they will turn gloopy and mushy.
This article will walk you through each reheating method and provide instructions on how to do it right.
How to Reheat Ramen
The perfect method mainly depends on how you stored the noodles, your personal tastes, and what you plan to do with them.
The microwave is okay for a quick reheat while cooking on the stove is better for keeping the quality of the dish or making a new batch from scratch.
Always pay attention to how long you reheat it. While almost everything else likes to be reheated slowly, you have to work quickly with ramen.
If there are other components in the dish (like meat or veggies), reheat those first slowly and then add back the noodles for the last minute or so of cooking to heat through.
Reheating Ramen on the Stove
You’ll have to jump through a few hoops, but using a stove is the only way to get the best flavor and texture.
- Start by picking the right pot or pan. You’re looking for the biggest surface to mass ratio, so think deep frying pan or even a dutch oven. When you’re cooking the noodles, you’ll need as much of even heat distribution as possible. It will take half as much time to reheat the noodles like this than in a taller vessel, which means you end up with a better texture.
- Next, add the sauce or soup first and reheat separately. Remember, we want to cook the noodles for the shortest amount possible, so it’s better to separate them from everything else. You can even cook the soup low and slow, and it won’t impact the noodles at all.
- Once your soup is ready, turn the heat to medium-high and bring the pot to a simmer. Place the noodles in and let them cook for about a minute or two. This time frame should work with one or two portions, but add an extra minute when reheating a larger batch.
If you are building a new dish, it’s pretty much the same principle. Do all of the cooking, then turn up the heat and boil the noodles for a minute or two.
Pros of using a stove
The stove gives you the most control and versatility. You have a clear view of what’s going on and how the noodles are holding up. If you need to perform a quick intervention, you can react quickly and make adjustments as needed.
Plus, you have a choice of either reheating or building a new dish from scratch.
Cons of using a stove
There are not really any cons outside of having some extra cleanup time. Though things can go all kinds of wrong if you choose a pot that is too narrow, stir the noodles too much or leave them in for too long.
Reheating Ramen in the Microwave
A microwave will have your noodles piping hot in less than a minute (on high/1000W). It’s almost insulting trying to explain how to do this since all you have to do is set the timer and press “start.”
But pull the bowl off the center of the glass plate. The way the microwaves bounce around in the oven means that the very middle doesn’t get as much direct contact. Pulling the bowl a little to the side means quicker cooking time, and faster cooking time means better noodle texture.
Pros of using a microwave
- Speed and convenience.
- You can eat from the same dish, so less cleanup afterward.
Some microwaves even come with a ramen program (check your manual), and you can use the same setting for both cooking and reheating noodles.
Cons of using a microwave
- This method is not very suitable for much outside of reheating noodles that have gone just a bit cold. Microwaves are quite useful for cooking things that need to absorb moisture, like oats, rice, and even lentils.
- But this also meant that they will force more moisture into ramen noodles and turn them into gloop.
Reheating Ramen in the Oven
If the other two methods aren’t possible or they are occupied, you can always just use the oven.
When reheating ramen in the oven, it’s better to use a shallow dish. One of the Pyrex casseroles can do the trick. Pick a size where noodles and the broth will stay at about an inch max.
Make sure to preheat the oven. The temperature can be anything between 200and 300 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the type of noodles and how quickly you want the job to be done. You will only need to cook it for about 5 minutes to get it hot enough to eat.
Your mileage may vary depending on how hot your oven cooks.
Pros of using an oven
- The oven produces dry heat, so the noodles are far less likely to turn soggy.
- You can also turn on the grill to brown them and bring out some of the wheat’s nutty flavors.
Cons of using an oven
- If you like to bake, you probably know that it takes time to figure out how to adjust each recipe to the way your oven works. Same story here. You will have to do quite a bit of experimenting to figure out the ideal temperature and settings.
- You don’t have as much control as the previous two methods.
When to Give Up on Reheating Ramen
Reheating might be pointless if the leftovers were not stores properly or it has been too long.
- Keep the noodles in a little bit of liquid in an airtight container. I use the ones that I get when ordering soup from a Chinese restaurant. Even if stored correctly, if it has been more than 48 hours, the ramen will likely be too mushy to eat. Unless you’re into that.
- Or, better yet, dry them in a food dehydrator or on a mesh tray. This will turn them into their original “uncooked” state, which will allow you to ignore everything else below and cook them as usual.
Pro Tip: Don’t bother with instant noodles. You know, the kind that takes only some hot water and a minute to cook. You’re already lucky if they don’t turn soggy while you’re eating. Applying more heat and moisture will turn them into complete mush.
Other Ways to Make Ramen Go an Extra Mile
In Japan, one of the most popular ways to recycle cooked noodles is making Yakisoba. It’s a dish made out of cooked soba noodles, soy sauce, other seasonings, and some veggies. It’s pretty much the same concept of turning leftovers into fried rice.
Though soba and ramen are two different animals, the principle is more or less the same. If your noodles have turned too soggy and there’s a huge chance they will turn into mush if you try to simply reheat them, pull out your wok or a regular skillet and give them a toss with other things that just happen to be in your fridge,
Or crack a few eggs. It takes only a couple of them to create a nice noodle omelet or a frittata. Start it on the stove until the bottom is cooked and finish in the oven until the top is set for a dish that you can serve both hot and cold.
By pure coincidence, my daughter happened to have Ramen for lunch today. She ate it in a giant coffee mug (see the main photo of this article).
And, as usual, she didn’t eat it all. I just warmed it back up in the microwave for 45 seconds and then ate it. It wasn’t too bad, but yeah.. a bit too mushy. I should have taken my own advice and used the oven.
I thought I’d give the microwave one more shot, though. Oh well. 🙂
Thanks for reading!
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