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How to Microwave Cup Noodles

Cup Noodles: best known as the staple food of many college students’ diets. They’re quick and easy to make, with little to no clean up, making them the perfect, standalone meal for those who wish to whip something up that won’t consume too much of their time. Plus, they are delicious! 

A timeless, flavorful favourite that has survived through the generations, being just as popular now as they were when they were first introduced in the 1970s.

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However, there has been a major controversy throughout the years, concerning how an instant cup of noodles should be cooked.

No matter which brand of noodles you choose, there should be a recipe on the packaging, and in that recipe it will state that you should pour boiling water onto the dry noodles, allowing them to brew over a couple of minutes.

Despite this, some will argue that the best way to cook this delicacy is through another method: by using a microwave oven. 

Most brands will warn their customers that it is not recommended to cook cup noodles in a microwave, due to its packaging not being microwave safe, but this isn’t enough to stop everyone… and, if you’re reading this article right now, it looks like it’s not stopping you, either.

So, while you’re here, we might as well help you out, even if we don’t recommend this method ourselves.

Here’s how you can cook Cup Noodles in a microwave (even if you really shouldn’t).

NOTE: If your chosen brand of cup noodles is made of a packaging that includes a lid made out of foil, you should never place it in a microwave. Aluminium should never be placed inside a microwave, no matter the situation.

This will cause your microwave to malfunction and possibly explode, and this could result in serious injury. 

1. Adding Water

The first step to cooking a cup of noodles is to add a cup of cold water into the pot, covering the dry noodles.

There should be a line drawn around the inner perimeter of the packaging, instructing how much water you should add: however, you should probably add a little extra as some water will evaporate in the microwave. 

2. Cooking Time

Place the cup of noodles inside the microwave, setting the time for around two to three minutes. Shut the microwave door and allow the noodles to cook, keeping an eye on them as they do.

You should probably take it out of the microwave after half of the cooking time to stir the contents a little, making sure every noodle is fully saturated: if not, you will be left with a crunchy texture, as not every noodle will be cooked.

3. Leave to Rest

Once the time is up, remove the packaging from the microwave and place it on an empty counter. Make sure to be careful while handling the cup, as the water should still be boiling at this point.

Next, you should give the ingredients another stir, and then replace the lid over the opening for two to three minutes: this will contain the steam inside the cup, and will allow the ingredients to continue to cook for the remaining time. 

4. Ready to Eat!

Remove the lid, and your meal should be ready for consumption. If the noodles are still hard, give another stir and replace the lid for as long as it takes to soften the remaining noodles.

If you like, you can add extra ingredients for a more flavorful experience, such as eggs, vegetables and cheese.


Please continue reading this article to fully ensure that you do not put yourself at risk of harm while cooking Cup Noodles or any other brand of instant noodles in a cup. 

Why You SHOULDN’T Follow The Previous Instructions

As we mentioned before, you should definitely avoid the previous instructions, and should not cook a cup of noodles in the microwave (unless the product is stated to be microwave safe). 

The reason for this is simple: most brands of instant noodles come in a packaging that is made out of Styrofoam, and the rest are made from plastic.

Styrofoam packaging, if heated in a microwave, can leak a substance called styrene, a suspected carcinogen that can, if consumed, increase the risk of getting cancer.

Is this really a risk you want to take when you can cook your Cup Noodles other simple ways, ones that are probably less time consuming than cooking them in the microwave? It’s just not worth the risk.

Styrofoam can also warp and break due to the heat a microwave provides, meaning the packaging could become damaged while being cooked, causing the contents to leak everywhere.

The same goes for if you are heating a cup of noodles made from plastic: the likelihood is that the packaging will melt in the cooking process, and you will be left with no food to eat and a mess to clean up. 

So, say you’re in a position that you still want to cook your noodles in the microwave: is there any possible way that you can do it safely?

Well, technically, the answer is ‘yes’.

So, keep reading to find out how to safely cook a cup of noodles in the microwave, without the risk of melting your contents or getting cancer… which, I think we can all agree, is the option we would rather use.

How to SAFELY Microwave Cup Noodles?

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1. Transfer the Contents into Another Cup

For this method, you will need a microwavable cup that is large enough to contain the ingredients. Empty these contents into this cup, and then pour a cup of cold water over the dry noodles.

Again, add a little extra water if you think it is needed, but not too much: an overload of water will lead to soggy, mushy noodles.

2. Cover the Contents Before Cooking

You will need something to cover the noodles while they are cooking to prevent boiling water from spilling inside your microwave, creating an unnecessary mess for you to clean up afterwards.

Use a microwave-safe tupperware lid or a small plate to balance on top of the cup, making sure that it is secure enough that it won’t fall off during the cooking process.

Once you’ve done this, place the cup in the microwave and heat for two to three minutes. Take the cup out after half the cooking time to stir slightly, ensuring every noodle is soaked, before placing it back in the microwave for the remaining time.

3. Leave to Rest

Once again, when the time is up, remove the cup from the microwave and place it on an empty counter. Be careful handling the cup, as the water may still be boiling at this point, and you don’t want to burn yourself.

Next, give the ingredients another stir, and then replace the tupperware lid, or whatever you have used during the cooking process, back over the opening for another two to three minutes.

4. Ready to Eat!

If the noodles are still hard, give another stir and replace the lid for as long as it takes to soften the remaining noodles. After this, add your chosen extra ingredients: eggs, vegetables, cheese, etc: honestly, these extras will change the way you eat your instant noodles! 

Once this is done, your noodles are ready, and you can safely consume your ready meal, free of any unnecessary harmful toxins. 

So, Overall…

Now that you are aware of the risks and dangers of heating a Styrofoam or plastic cup in the microwave, or anything that isn’t microwave friendly, and that we have given you a safer set of instructions to follow, you should be ready to make your own cup of instant noodles.

However, it is recommended that you just simply follow the instructions written on the package. There are good reasons that the chosen brand has displayed these instructions for you to follow, and that is mainly for your own safety. 

It is also so that you can cook your noodles to the best standard, and enjoy the meal in the exact way that it should be created.

Honestly, your best option is to simply boil water beforehand, and apply it to the dry noodles: it will taste much better due to every noodle cooking equally, so you won’t be left with a gross, crunchy texture. 

It won’t even take much longer to prepare! The longest part of the process is waiting for the water to boil: once that part is over, you apply the water to the noodles, reapply the lid over the opening to contain the steam so that the noodles can cook faster, and your meal should be ready to consume within less than five minutes later.

In our honest opinion, it is much easier and more efficient to just follow the instructions that have already been given.

What this article boils down to (pardon the pun) essentially, is that it is your own decision what you decide to do. 

You are presumably an adult, and you are entitled to do what you want to do, and if that includes microwaving instant noodles, we can’t stop you.

However, we seriously want you to consider the dangers that go along with following that method, and recommend that you think long and hard about your health before making any decisions.

Use this information wisely, and just think: is it worth risking your life just so you can eat those instant noodles a minute or two sooner? Yes, they taste great, but they will taste so much better knowing that they won’t cause any harmful effects to your body.*

*At least, as long as you eat them in moderation: Cup Noodles are fairly high in calories, and low in nutritional value. Eat them as a snack or a treat, but you should avoid eating them every day if you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Jess Smith