Is eating dry, uncooked ramen bad for you? Here’s the good news

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  August 26, 2021

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Everyone knows ramen is delicious. Hot, savory, full of noodles and salty goodness. Sometimes, though, it isn’t an appropriate time for a big bowl of soup.

Is eating dry, uncooked ramen bad for you? Here's the good news

So is eating dry ramen bad for you?

No! It is perfectly safe to eat the crispy ramen brick all on its own.

Why is dry ramen safe to eat?

While a lot of times the idea of eating “raw” food has a major ick factor, dry ramen is an exception. You may wonder, how is uncooked pasta safe?

Well, in the case of regular pasta, while the danger isn’t very high, there is a slight potential for salmonella poisoning. This is because regular dry pasta is made with raw eggs.

Ramen, on the other hand, is prepared differently. It is pre-cooked!

So any dangers of raw ingredients are completely nullified. Ramen appears like raw pasta because it is dry and crispy, but in reality, it is a fully cooked food product dehydrated for packaging and preservation.

How is dry ramen made?

Can you eat dry ramen?

Instant ramen noodles aren’t totally different from regular dry pasta. The ingredients are wheat flour, water, salt, and an uncommon ingredient called kansui.

Kansui is alkaline water used in noodle preparation that helps create the wonderful elasticity and chewiness that makes ramen so easy to crave. Well, that and the salt.

At this step, the pasta is still raw. It’s what happens next that makes the ramen completely consumable in its dry form.

After a quick steaming, one of two methods can be used to cook and dehydrate the noodles for packaging. The first and most popular is deep frying ramen.

Yes, you read that correctly. Deep-fried pasta. Two of the most scrumptious food forms, together at last. No wonder ramen is so good!

Deep frying gives the noodles their trademark crispiness while also making the noodles more porous, allowing them to be rehydrated very quickly.

The second, newer method of ramen dehydration is blow-drying. Unlike deep frying, the blow-drying method adds no extra calories and makes for a more diet-conscious food.

The ramen is blow-dried for up to an hour, completely cooking and drying out the ramen.

Also read: Where Are Ramen Noodles Made? (What you might not know)

Why eat dry ramen?

A steaming bowl of ramen instant noodles is one of life’s little miracles. It is fast, easy to prepare, cheap, and utterly mouthwatering.

But what if you just don’t have the time to prepare a bowl of soup? Or what if you are thinking about that salty ramen goodness, but at the same time want a crispy snack?

All of these are great reasons to try dry ramen.

The ramen brick itself can be eaten plain. While it will be nice and crunchy, it will also be very plain and boring.

A common way to enjoy dry ramen is to crush the noodles up in the bag, open it, and sprinkle in the seasoning pack. Then, pinch the bag shut and shake. Voila! Salty, crispy, portable ramen.

Another fun way to enjoy dry ramen is using it as a topping on your favorite foods. Crushed-up ramen pieces make a great addition to veggie dishes, giving them some fun texture.

An unexpected twist on green bean casserole could be steamed green beans tossed with the ramen seasoning and topped with dry ramen. Yum!

Ramen is also gaining popularity as a salad topping. Instead of stale, hard croutons, why not use ramen for the perfect salad accompaniment? Use with or without the seasoning packet, it’s all up to you!

Is there a downside to eating dry ramen?

While dry ramen is safe to eat and can even be tasty, it still suffers from the same downfalls as its soup counterpart. Ramen is notoriously high in sodium, nutrient deficient, and not very filling.

This is true for a lot of snack foods. Enjoy ramen in any form, but do so in moderation. Happy snacking!

Read next: Can vegetarians and vegans eat ramen noodles? (These brands yes)

Ever had trouble finding Japanese recipes that were easy to make?

We now have "cooking Japanese with ease", our full recipe book and video course with step-by-step tutorials on your favorite recipes.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.