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How to Microwave Cup Noodles

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Cup Noodles is a brand familiar to many households, especially college students and young adults. Not only is it tasty and satisfying, but it is an easy-to-make food.

Taking virtually no effort to prepare, there is no surprise that it has become a staple food item in apartments and dorm rooms worldwide.

Despite the convenience of the packaging, a frequently asked question is whether or not cup noodles can be cooked in the microwave.

Can you microwave Cup Noodles? No, you should not microwave Cup Noodles, the containers are not microwave-safe as clearly indicated on the label. Instead, boil water in a microwave safe cup, pour the hot water into the cup noodles to reach the indicated fill line, cover the cup with a lid, and wait 3 minutes to cook the noodles.

Now that we have covered the manufactures recommendation, we should take a deeper look into the reasoning why you should not microwave your Cup Noodles. This article will provide helpful tips for preparing the delicious snack, with a few cup noodle recipe ideas for you to try!

Cup Noodles Basics

Nissin, Cup Noodles were first introduced in 1958, and the snack food market has forever changed the way we eat. Unlike the original ramen noodles, cup noodles come in a disposable cup that hot water is added to for a ready to eat meal.

After over 50 years, Cup Noodles claims overwhelming success as it is one of the most widely consumed products in the world. The profound success is owed to the convenience provided in the servile packaging.

Anyone that has been to a traditional noodle house knows that handmade noodles and rich broth take a lot of effort. 

For instance, bone broth takes about 8 hours to fully extract the deep flavors and gelatin from the marrow. Furthermore, making noodles from scratch is a labor intensive task from dough to rolling and cutting.

When Cup Noodles entered the market, the innovation was seen as revolutionary. By reducing the lengthy process of preparing broth and noodles to a matter of minutes, the steaming bowl of noodles has become more convenient and accessible than ever before.

Are you supposed to microwave cup noodles?

You are not supposed to microwave the styrofoam cup that the noodles come in. 

Styrofoam is used to package hot food in a disposable container, however the material is not suitable for cooking in. When heated, the materials melts, warps and potentially releases harmful chemicals into your food.

Boil water in a microwave safe cup, then transfer the hot water to the Cup Noodles. Cover with a lid and the noodles will be cooked and ready to eat in 3 minutes.

Can you microwave styrofoam cup noodles?

No, you should not microwave styrofoam cup noodles as the onetime use, disposable container is not designed to be used for cooking.

Styrofoam cups are made from an expanded polystyrene, or plastic with a recycling number 6 denoted on the bottom of the container. 

Only type 5 plastic is considered to be microwave safe as it can withstand the heat temperatures generated in a microwave, however even that is questionable for many people. 

What happens if you microwave cup noodles? Worst case scenario, the styrofoam cup softens, distorts and contaminates your food with potentially hazardous chemicals. 

Chemical cross contaminations can be extremely dangerous, either way that is a risk that you should not take. 

Instead of microwaving the Cup Noodles, it is safest to heat water in a microwave safe cup and then transfer the water to the styrofoam cup.

Why Can’t You Microwave Cup Noodles?

After further analysis, you will notice that the cooking directions on the cup noodle packaging do not mention anything about microwaving at any point. In fact, there is an explicit warning to not microwave the Cup Noodles.

There are two reasons why we don’t recommend microwaving Cup Noodles. As introduced above, both reasons have a lot to do with the materials the cup is made of and how it reacts to heating in a microwave.

Basically, you are superheating the liquid inside the cup. The noodle cup is not designed to take on an extreme source of continuous heating.

The results of direct heating on the styrofoam cup are unpredictable. Nonetheless, by going against the manufacturer’s recommendations you may be unknowingly leaching harmful chemicals into your food.

Additionally, heating can cause the material to soften and weaken the structural integrity of the cup. If the cup warps or distorts, then it is at risk of spilling the noodles. 

If you cause any inadvertent damage to the noodle cup, then it is prone to breakage or leaks that can be dangerous when holding scorching hot noodle broth.

Remember, styrofoam is capable of holding hot liquids, and not design for cooking applications. Cooking requires heat levels above the threshold that the cup can withstand.

Thereby, microwaving is not considered safe for the cup itself. The chemicals in the cup can release into you noodles, and cause a harmful reaction.

A quick glance at the instructions on the side of the packaging will give you the manufacture’s recommendations. As stated by the manufacturer, the directions are clear to not microwave cup noodles and to pour boiling water directly into the container instead.

How bad is it to microwave cup noodles?

It is not safe to microwave cup noodles. The styrofoam cup that contains the noodles is not designed for microwaving. 

The potential hazards are twofold, including the breaking, leaking or deterioration of the cup, which could lead to unsafe chemical release into the noodles.

Can microwaving cup noodles cause cancer? This is not out of the question. The fact that styrofoam is a manufactured material created with chemical compounds, means that it is not a natural food that you should be ingesting. 

By choice, this is not a risk that should be taken. Heed to the precautions and follow the recommendations to add hot water instead of microwaving the cup noodles.

Can you cook cup noodles in the microwave?

Do not cook the cup noodles in the microwave. Heat water in a microwave safe container and then add the hot water to the cup noodles.

How long do you cook cup noodles in the microwave? After hot water is added to the cup noodles, close the lid and allow the noodles to cook for 3 minutes.

The noodles will absorb some of the water and cook with the carryover heat. If you open the lid too early, then the noodles will be crunchy and not fully cooked.

How to microwave cup noodles

Best Way to Microwave Cup Noodles

As discussed above, do not cook Cup Noodles in the microwave. The best way to cook the noodles is by adding boiling water to the cup.

Making Cup Noodles in the microwave properly is quick and easy, follow the directions below: 

  • Add a cup of water to a microwave safe cup and nuke for 2 minutes or until it is boiling hot.
  • Open the lid half way so that the flappy opening is still attached to the top of the cup.
  • Transfer the hot water to the cup noodles until the water reaches the fill line inside the container. If you go beyond that amount, the flavor will taste diluted and watered down.
  • Close the lid flap and weigh it down with a fork or another utensil to secure the lid closed. Remember, heat loss occurs when the lid is open, therefore it is important to keep the lid closed so the noodles remain hot.
  • Wait at least 3 minutes for the noodles to cook, then stir the noodles and enjoy the soup.

Following these directions is the best way to make cup of noodles in the microwave. It is important to note that the cup is not meant to be heated in the microwave. 

Boil the water in a separate microwave safe container, and then transfer the hot liquid to the noodle cup. Once the hot water has been added and the lid is secured, the cook time for the noodles is 3 minutes. 

If the lid is removed to early, the noodles will be crunchy and not fully cooked. When the noodles are left to cook for longer than 5 minutes, they will become soggy, limp and waterlogged. 

To fancy up your cup noodles, microwave an egg and add it on top for some extra protein. Otherwise, eat your noodles out of the original container and enjoy the simple treat.

John Blanchard

Friday 2nd of December 2022

I've been searching around and found this: I looked at 2 of the sources in this article and I can't really see why they are wrong. Microwaves don't cause leeching of chemicals.

karthik M S

Wednesday 9th of March 2022

You say it is cearly indicated in label that it is not microwave safe. Can you tell me what you are referring to. I do not see any message like that? If possible post an image


Tuesday 15th of March 2022

The container has a do not microwave symbol with label. Here is a picture.