You can cook cup noodles in the original packaging in a microwave, but it is not recommended and not completely safe because the container the noodles comes in may leak chemicals into your food. The better option is to microwave the noodles after transferring them to a microwave-safe bowl.
Some cup noodles even have microwave instructions, making you think it is a-okay to pop them in the microwave, but experts strongly advise against doing this.
In this article, you’ll learn the hazards of microwaving cup noodles and we’ll explore some other cooking methods that work better!
What Happens if You Microwave Cup Noodles?
When you microwave cup noodles, the radiation from the microwave heats the water in the cup, saturating the noodles, so they are soft and chewy. The problem with microwaving cup noodles isn’t because of the food but the styrofoam container that the noodles come in.
When you microwave cup noodles in their original container, the styrofoam can break and leak, making a massive mess and letting your soup spill out everywhere. This situation often results in a disappointing lunch spent cleaning up the spilled broth.
But this isn’t the only risk of microwaving a cup of noodles.
The styrofoam cup they come in is chock full of harmful chemicals that can lead to cancer when we consume them. Most people know about the risks of using a microwave in general, but the consequences are much worse when you throw styrofoam into the mix.
Most risks involved with using your microwave are not as serious or accurate as people believe, but styrofoam is a problem.
What Happens When You Microwave Cup Noodles Without Water?
You’ll ruin your cup of noodles if you don’t add liquid. If microwaved enough, the noodles will burn and take on a bitter taste making the soup very unpleasant.
We’re not quite sure why you want to microwave noodles sans water, but we recommend against it.
You also run the risk of melting the styrofoam, contaminating your noodles, and ruining the dish.
Why Do Noodles Explode in the Microwave?
Cup noodles should never “explode” in the microwave, but you may see some concerning sparks. The reason for these sparks is the presence of minerals like magnesium and iron, which are technically metals.
Metals explode when exposed to radiation, so this is the reason you may see or hear sparks when microwaving your noodles.
What Are the Alternatives to Microwaving Ramen Noodles?
There are a few different alternatives to microwaving your noodles. You can cook them in a pot or fill the cup with boiling water. Both of these methods are much safer than microwaving noodles.
Guide to Microwaving Cup Noodles
If you plan to use a microwave for your cup noodles, toss the styrofoam and use one of these two methods to enjoy your soup safely.
- Empty the cup or packet into a microwave-safe bowl, so this means no metal, and we recommend avoiding plastic that can break down as well. Glass bowls and ceramic bowls are the best choices.
- Fill the bowl with warm or lukewarm water until the noodles are completely covered. You can add more water if you like having extra broth. Or you can use less water for a bowl that won’t be as soupy. If you desire, this is the best time to add any spices, like chili flakes or pepper.
- Now place the bowl in the microwave. Do not center the bowl in the microwave as this causes the water to heat up unevenly and may not cook the noodles properly.
- Turn your microwave on high for five to eight minutes stirring every three minutes. Once the noodles are soft and the broth is steaming, it should be ready to eat!
- Fill a microwave-safe bowl, either glass or ceramic, with two cups of water. Tap water is fine.
- Place the bowl of water into your microwave and heat the water for three or four minutes. You can’t overheat the water, so it’s okay to let it run a bit longer.
- Once the water is hot, empty your cup or package of noodles into the water. Put the bowl back in the microwave and cook the noodles for five minutes.
- Once the noodles are soft and hot, add your seasoning packet to the bowl and stir everything thoroughly. And enjoy your soup!
Other Cooking Methods
If you’re not a fan of using microwaves or don’t have one, you can still enjoy your yummy cup of noodles with these different cooking methods. There should be no difference in the final result, no matter which method you use.
Like other soups and pasta, you can cook cup noodles on the stove. You can either boil water in a saucepot and then toss the noodles in for a few minutes, or put the water and noodles in the pot all at once.
Both methods are effective, but if you’re serious about your noodles, we recommend boiling the water first so they don’t get too soggy.
Using an electric or stovetop kettle, boil water. Once the water is bubbling and hot enough to steep tea, pour it into the noodles. You can keep them in their original styrofoam cup, or transfer them to a different bowl. You should pour water and then cover the noodles, so the water stops just above the noodles.
Cover the cup of noodles with a towel or piece of foil for four or five minutes until the noodles are soft. And then enjoy your soup!
Have more questions about cup noodles? Check out the frequently asked questions below.
Will any wattage of microwave heat the noodles?
Yes, any microwaves will heat your noodles. But the higher the wattage, the better and faster your soup will cook.
What is in cup noodles?
Most cup noodles feature a few veggies like peas, corn, and carrots. They will mostly consist of noodles and then come with a separate seasoning pack, or the seasoning will be at the bottom of the cup.
Are cup noodles vegetarian?
They can be vegetarian, but many feature shrimp, chicken, or beef flavoring.
Are cup noodles spicy?
No, most cup noodles are not spicy at all. There are some flavors you can buy that have some heat, or you can always add your own hot sauce or chili flakes.
What does a cup of noodles taste like?
The best answer is salt. The soups are very salty due to MSG, which is a common flavoring. You’ll also get flavors of soy sauce, garlic, and onion.