Why Can’t You Microwave Cup Noodles?

It might not be the most sophisticated of meals, but I’m as guilty as anyone of tucking into cup noodles in a (hungry) pinch.

They’re easy to prepare, they fill a hole quickly, and they don’t taste too bad – especially after a late night out!

Even this simple meal requires a little care in the kitchen though, so why can’t you microwave cup noodles? What’s the worst that could happen?

In this article, I’ll cover this topic in all the detail you need. I’ve also included some tips for getting round the problem too!

The Problem with Microwaving Cup Noodles

Cup noodles are already a pretty convenient snack, but why can’t you use the microwave as an even zippier time-saving hack?

#1 The Packaging

This is the main problem. Many cup noodles are supplied in packaging that simply isn’t microwave-safe. Most commonly, it’s the styrofoam that causes the problem.

If you expose these sorts of materials to your microwave, you run the risk of releasing unpleasant chemicals into your food.

You might even damage your microwave in the process too! All of a sudden, your cheap and convenient meal has just become an expensive headache.

#2 Uneven Cooking

Less of a problem but still problematic are the risks of the food being heated unevenly.

When you heat food up in a microwave, the energy isn’t always distributed evenly.

The end result is some of your noodles will be horribly overcooked, while other parts will be undercooked – or even completely cold.

#3 Texture & Flavor

You’re already working against the odds with cup noodles, but the contents are designed to be cooked using boiling water.

This hydrates the noodles properly and helps the flavors to develop.

When you heat them in a microwave, you can lose some of the texture and taste, which means a less enjoyable meal overall.

A close up of someone eating cup noodles using a metal fork

Better Ways To Cook Cup Noodles

Boiling water is the recommended method for cooking up cup noodles, and the one you should turn to in the first instance.

Just boil up a kettle of water, then pour it over the cup noodles.

Once the noodles have hydrated for a few minutes, you can add any flavorings you like – including those that cup with the noodles.

This is a simple method and about as quick as a microwave anyway.

If the kettle’s unavailable or even broken, simply heat a pan of water on the stove instead.

What if the microwave’s your only choice though?

In this case, I recommend grabbing a microwave-safe container (emphasis on safe there), adding water, and heating it up to near-boiling in the appliance.

From there, simply pour it over your cup noodles, taking care not to spill any on yourself.

OXO’s flexible microwaveable measuring cup comes highly recommended, or you can browse through all the options over on Amazon:

OXO Good Grips 2-Cup Squeeze & Pour Silicone...
  • Flexible silicone is microwave safe and ideal for melting butter, chocolate and more
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  • Entire Cup made of durable, BPA-free silicone and is dishwasher safe
  • Flat base provides stability in microwave and on countertops

(Heads up! If you click on a product link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. I never recommend a product I wouldn’t use in my own kitchen, and this helps keep the site running. Thank you.)

Wrapping Up

Even with a simple and quick meal like a cup of noodles, you still need to put safety first. You definitely don’t want any chemicals leaching from the materials into your food, after all.

Prepare the water separately – whichever way is available to you – and then simply pour it over the food to hydrate.

Not only will the food be better for you, you also retain the texture and flavorings of the noodles!