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There is something magical about a great bowl of Japanese ramen noodle soup. It’s absolutely wonderful. If you’ve never had good ramen go out and get some. Just do it. Today. Noodles. Broth. Pork. Egg. Wow. If the noodles are the backbone, the tonkotsu ramen broth is the heart and soul.

This is a descent into madness. I’m making the tonkotsu ramen broth from scratch. I’m cooking pork belly. I now know the difference between the 7 minute and 7 1/2 minute egg. I’ve figured out how to make spaghettini into the alkalinated noodles. I’m working on replicated the Momofuko tare. You can get the rest of the tonkotsu ramen recipe here.

Make this tonkotsu broth for the best ramen ever.

All this work so I can maybe come close to the $13.00 bowl of ramen at my local ramen joint. Crazy.  Follow me only if you are crazy too. Actually it turns out it’s pretty easy. And it’s delicious. Good living.

Making tonkotsu ramen broth is a real eye opener. If you know how to make classic French meat stocks forget everything you know. This broth is cooked at a roiling boil for 12 hours. A rolling boil. The absolute antithesis of the French technique.

 

The ultimate tonkotsu pork ramen broth at home.

 

There’s a lot of Asian technique here that you don’t see in classic western cooking. Blanching the bones is a big one. And a really good one. Add all the bones to a pot. Bring to a boil. Cook for about 5 minutes. Then dump it all out and rinse the bones.

I’m not a fan of putting flavour down the sink. But in this case it’s genius. Doesn’t make a difference to the end flavour. But it does get rid of all that muck floating on the surface of the stock. Muck that would get boiled into the stock. Muck that would likely ruin the broth. Did I mention this is genius?

But something happens when you cook pork bones at a rolling boil. All the gelatin and fat and goodness comes out of the bones and turns the stock that milky white colour. If nothing else, this experience was absolutely fascinating.

This ramen broth is delicious though. This part is nailed. Nothing to it really. Just need to follow the recipe. No secrets here. Not anymore. The ramen turned out pretty good too.

 

You can make tonkotsu ramen that's as the best ramen joint in town.

5 from 6 votes
The ultimate tonkotsu ramen broth at home.
tonkotsu ramen broth at home
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
12 hrs
Total Time
12 hrs 30 mins
 
Tonkotsu ramen broth is simply pork bones cooked at a rolling boil for 12 hours. The process extracts all the goodness of the pork and turns the broth creamy white.
Course: side
Cuisine: Japanese
Servings: 8 cups
Author: romain | glebekitchen
Ingredients
  • 6 lbs pork bones
  • 4 oz white mushrooms sliced
  • 1 onion peeled and halved
Instructions
  1. Place the pork bones in a large stock pot and cover with cold water.
  2. Bring to a rolling boil over medium high heat. At this point a huge mess of scum will form.
  3. Remove from heat. Dump the water and carefully rinse all the bones under cold running water.
  4. Return the bones to the stock pot. Cover the bones with cold water and bring to a rolling boil.
  5. Add the mushroom and onion and maintain a rolling boil for 12 hours, replenishing the water along the way.
  6. After 12 hours, remove the stock from the heat and cool slightly. Remove the bones with a slotted spoon and strain the stock.
  7. The stock will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days or can be frozen at this point.

40 thoughts on “tonkotsu ramen broth at home

  1. This broth looks so SO flavorful, Romain! I’m all about tonkotsu broth– it has by far the most flavor. This soup makes a beautiful base for a lot of different things from miso soup to ramen to using it to flavor sauces. I must try this!

  2. Where can I buy pork bones from? And is there any bone in particular? I can easily find beef knuckles / beef bones labeled for soup at the grocery store but I’ve never seen pork bones.

    • Pork neck bones work well and are the cheapest. I’ve only seen pork bones rarely at a regular grocery store. Butchers and asian grocery stores are where I get them. I find them to be cheaper at asian grocery stores so that’s probably your best bet.

    • I go to an ethnic grocery store to get my pork bones (they have a lot of meat and run about $1.69 lb.)or if you have a local butcher ask him to save them for you. My local grocery occasionally butchers up pork and saves me the bones.

    • Find an Asian Market in your area. Any Asian market worth a hill of beans and has a meat dept will have this and much more. I find that they often have the freshest fish as well as the move through stock quickly.

  3. I took a class on how to make restaurant style ramen. The broth was weak without flavor, very disappointing. I have tried a couple other recipes but couldn’t achieve the creamy milkiness of the broth. I tried your recipe and it was a huge success! Yes, it takes forever and I cooked it for almost 20 hours. I am so excited and the results are amazing! My kids keep telling me, mom stop sending us pictures! Hahahaha… Thank you for your recipe and now it’s my base for some wonderful ramen 🙂

    ps.. I sent a picture of my broth to the instructor of the cooking class. Sorry charlie but you should try this. There’s a new chef in town. Muahahahaha….

    • Haha. That’s a great comment. Thanks. I’m glad it worked out for you. Taking forever I think is exactly why it works. There are no shortcuts – although somebody had mentioned they were going to try in a pressure cooker. Enjoy your ramen and send Charlie by way for a quick lesson:-)

  4. So how much water exactly does one need to use? I assume the pot should be left uncovered since you mention to replenish the water? Thanks in advance 🙂

    • Thanks for this. I’ve updated the recipe to clarify. You need to add enough water to cover the bones. That depends on the size of your pot. I also added a recommendation to loosely cover your pot. It doesn’t matter much one way or the other. Uncovered is probably best but loosely covered will cut down on how closely you need to monitor it for evaporation.

      • Thanks for the reply! I successfully created the broth after a looong 12hrs of waiting. My question now is: roughly how much broth should boiling 6lbs of pork neck bones produce? I ended up with about 8 cups but it seemed too thick to me so I watered it down to 10. After putting it in the fridge it turned to thick jelly with a nice layer of fat over it. Should it be diluted more?

        • Chris – sounds like you had a good batch of bones. I typically shoot for 8 cups of broth but that really depends on the bones. I would taste it and then decide whether the flavour was too intense. Nothing wrong with it being jelly in the fridge. In fact, if it didn’t I’d think something went wrong. Enjoy!

  5. Is there anyone Who tried with pressure coocker? I feel it an incredibile waste or energy (gas/electricity) let the water boil for 12 hours 🙁

    • I’ve never tried it with a pressure cooker. No idea if it would work. My understanding of making stock is that liquid doesn’t actually boil in a pressure cooker so when making stock you get a clearer stock. Tonkotsu ramen broth colour comes from boiling so the flavour will probably work but my guess is you won’t get the milky coloured broth.

  6. I tried making this yesterday in a slow cooker on high for 12 hours. The broth tasted very bland… basically a step up from water. Does cooking on a stove in a stock pot really make all the difference?

    • Oh no. If you still have the bones toss the whole thing into a pot and onto the stove and start boiling. This is completely different from making classic stock. You want it to boil. It never occurred to me to warn people off using a slow cooker but doing it that way will most certainly disappoint. Please don’t let your experience here put you off trying to make tonkotsu broth at home. It is truly wonderful stuff when done as written above…

  7. Do you add any salt to the bones? I feel like it might be pretty bland without it…
    So excited to make this today!!

    • Erin, the broth is just the first step. When you make the actual ramen you season with one of the tares. Lots of salt in that so no need to add any to the broth. Hope you love it as much as I do!

  8. No wonder my broths are tasteless! I’ve been using a slow cooker thinking it’s the best way to get the collagen out. When I put the cooker on high, it actually simmers. Apparently that’s not enough and you need a rolling boil, right?

  9. I have a couple pig’s feet in the freezer I was hoping to use. Could I toss them into this broth or should I cook them separately so they don’t over cook?
    Thanks!

    • It’s a rolling boil so they will cook faster than you would want for meltingly tender pig’s feet. They would add great flavour to the broth though. If you want to eat the meat I would say probably not the best idea…

    • I use the common white mushroom found in grocery stores everywhere in North America. You can google Agaricus bisporus to get a picture. If you can’t get them, you could substitute shitake or cremini.

    • If you are referring to fatback, I have done it both ways and like it both ways but I like the cleaner taste when you leave it out a bit better. I find the lighter broth with the richness of the chashu pork works nicely. The little flecks of fat look nice, though but it’s pretty rich if you do it that way.

  10. I followed all your instructions, I’m very satisfied with the outcome…. The only thing I’d change next time is…….to not start the 12 hours at 9pm! Lol. Couldn’t get a drop of sleep. Very worth it though. I posted my outcome on my Instagram. I think I left a link on my comment. Cheers! Have a great day!

  11. If you’ve noticed, the recipes that call for additional pork fat (fatback) tend to involve either a shorter cooking time or constantly skimming scum from the broth as it boils. Blanching and washing the pork bones like Romain suggests removes most of the actual unwanted parts of the meat before you begin cooking properly, so that you don’t need to skim off nearly as much and therefore aren’t taking the fat out with them.
    Combined with the long cooking time, this recipe should extract and retain enough fat from the pork without the need to add extra. Not that you can’t add more if you like it extra mouth-meltingly creamy.

  12. Hi, I going to give this a shot real soon but thought I’d ask. After removing the bones and straining, what do i do with the mushrooms? Will they still have form and get caught in the straining and if so is there something I can do with it?

    Thanks
    Justin

    • The mushrooms and onion will get caught in the strainer. If they have any form left I would salt them and eat them warm. I do that with the onions no matter what type of broth I am making…

  13. Hi Romain,

    Are the bones you use split or whole? I ask because I am wondering about the marrow in the bones. I’ve seen people remove it because it darkens the broth, but it seems like a waste of flavor to me. If you use whole bones I’m guessing the marrow stays put without cleaning.

    Would you recommend using or removing the marrow when making tonkotsu?

    • I take the bones as they come to me from the market. I don’t split them and I don’t clean them beyond the initial step. Whatever marrow is in the bones goes into the pot. I’ve never had a problem but I guess it would depend on exactly what bones you use?

  14. Hey, Thanks for all this above. I did one batch, and I want to do another. I was thinking of roasting the pork bones, (after blanching)as well as adding a roasted chicken carcass. Any thoughts?

    • Never tried roasting pork bones for tonkotsu. I do it for my veal and pork stock. It adds a real depth but also an assertiveness that I’m not sure would work for tonkotsu.

      Chicken is used in ramen broth. Ivan Orkin (Ivan Ramen) does it so it has to be good. It would add another flavour dimension to the stock for sure.

      I use my leftover roast chicken carcasses to make concentrated chicken stock to add that taste and mouthfeel bomb to pan sauces so I can never spare any for ramen broth – but maybe I should…

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