Picture this: It’s the middle of the night, and all you need right at this very moment is a hot, steaming cup of noodles. You don’t have a kettle or a stove, but you do have a microwave.
Eureka moment! You can just fill your cup noodles with cold water and nuke it in the microwave, right?
Technically, yes, you may succeed in cooking up your cup noodles in the microwave. But in doing so, you could be releasing toxic substances in your late-night snack.
So, to answer the question: can you microwave cup noodles? The short answer is ‘no.’ And we’re here to tell you why.
Keep on reading to find out why you shouldn’t microwave cup noodles, and what you should do instead when you don’t have access to a kettle or stove.
- Can You Microwave Cup Noodles?
- How Do You Cook Cup Noodles With Only a Microwave?
- Are There Cup Noodles That Are Microwave-Safe?
Can You Microwave Cup Noodles?
Yes, you can microwave cup noodles. But that doesn’t mean you should.
Most cup noodle brands use polystyrene, polyethylene, or paper cups. When you cook your cup noodles in the microwave, you are superheating these materials and are likely causing them to release harmful substances in your food.
Polystyrene, in particular, contains styrene, which has been connected to cancer. Polyethylene (plastic) can release BPAs and phthalates into your food, which can increase your risk of infertility, thyroid disease, cancers, metabolic dysfunction, and other serious diseases. (*)
Paper cups are lined with plastic, which means that putting them in the microwave can also put you at risk for the diseases mentioned above.
More than that, these materials that cup noodle packaging is made of are often not labeled as microwave-safe. Aside from releasing harmful chemicals into your food, the heat can also cause your cup to melt, leak, or even burst.
As you can probably guess, your cup noodles will contain boiling hot water by the time you’re done nuking them in the microwave. If the cup becomes damaged in the process, you could end up with a nasty burn once you take them out.
All that said, what other options do you have other than microwaving the cup itself? Here’s what we found:
How Do You Cook Cup Noodles With Only a Microwave?
A microwave can function as both a stove and a kettle, which is the reason why many people choose to have a microwave over a stove and a kettle if they can only have one.
So, how do you cook your cup noodles with only a microwave–but without the health or safety risks?
We have two options for you.
1. Use a microwave-safe container
The first one is to boil the water separately in the microwave using a microwave-safe container, such as a ceramic bowl or even a mug.
After the water is heated up sufficiently, carefully take the container out of the microwave and pour it on top of your cup noodles (make sure to stop pouring at the indicated line). Add the seasonings, and wait for 1-3 minutes or as indicated on the instructions.
2. Cook your cup noodles in a separate container.
The second option is to cook your cup noodles in a separate container.
Find a bowl, mug, or any microwave-safe container, then transfer your noodles into it.
Pour the appropriate amount of water on top of your noodles, then cook them for 1-2 minutes or use the ‘Boil’ option on your microwave, if you have one. After it’s done, take out the container and pour in your seasonings.
Pro tip: We recommend putting a paper towel on top of your noodles to prevent the water from splattering inside your microwave.
Doing all of these extra steps may seem like defeating the purpose of convenience that cup noodles provide, but they’re the only way to avoid toxic chemicals from leaching into your food.
However, there are some cup noodle brands that use microwave-safe packaging to make their products more convenient. Let’s find out if there is any truth to this:
Are There Cup Noodles That Are Microwave-Safe?
Yes! There are cup noodle brands that use microwave-safe packaging. However, the only one we know of today is Nissin, which launched its first microwavable cup noodles back in 2015. (*)
If you aren’t sure if your cup noodles can be microwaved, simply check the label on the packaging. It should clearly state whether or not it is safe to microwave.
1. Are Cup Noodles Bad For You?
Cup noodles, or any kind of instant noodles, for that matter, are typically rich in calories, sodium, fat, and preservatives.
On average, a single serving of cup noodles contains 300 to 500 calories and around 860 mg of sodium. For an average man that requires 2,000 calories and 2,500 mg of sodium, a single serving of cup noodles easily contributes a large portion to those dietary requirements.
Eating too much sodium can increase your risk of hypertension and heart disease. Consuming too many calories, on the other hand, can increase your risk of unhealthy weight gain.
Cup noodles are also high in saturated fat and preservatives, which are linked to heart disease, stroke, weakened heart tissues, and other cardiovascular problems.
2. How Can You Make Cup Noodles Healthier?
Clearly, cup noodles are not good for you, but sometimes, you just can’t avoid them. After all, they are inexpensive, extremely convenient, and best of all–tasty!
Luckily, you can make your cup noodles a tad bit healthier by adding vegetables, putting only half of the seasonings, and incorporating protein like an egg or cooked meat. Granted, this is not going to make them super healthy, but it can make a significant difference in your diet.
3. What Are Cup Noodles Made Of?
Cup noodles are typically made of wheat flour noodles, vegetable oil, salt, concentrated stock, salt, and dried vegetables. Some noodle brands use flour enriched with niacin, iron, thiamine, and other micronutrients.
Can you microwave cup noodles? Technically, yes. But doing so can leach harmful chemicals into your food or at the very least–ruin the packaging of your noodles.
So, the next time you find yourself with some cup noodles and only a microwave, follow our simple tips above on how to cook your cup noodles in the microwave without nuking the cup itself.
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