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 the first step towards a good bowl of tonkotsu ramen
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’ve replicated the Momofuku pork belly. Got a lesson in their kitchen for that. For real. The rest of the tonkotsu ramen recipe is here.
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. Or you just love ramen as much as I do. 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 bones of the matter
I like pork neck bones for tonkotsu broth. It’s not make or break though. You just want bones with a bit of meat on them. Adds flavour.
And you probably don’t want to pay a fortune for them. At least I don’t. Anything that fits that description will work.
I go to my local Asian grocer. Buy neck bones. They always have them. I know they work. And they are cheap. Perfect.
Clean bones is the key to a good tonkotsu ramen broth
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?
A rolling boil makes a magical broth
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. Just make sure you keep adding water to keep the bones submerged.
Don’t use a slow cooker for this. Won’t work. People have tried. They have failed. Read the comments below…
To cover or not to cover?
You can find videos on youtube of Japanese ramen joints making their broth. Huge pots of stock boiling away. They don’t cover their pots. But they have staff in the kitchen full time.
You can try it uncovered if you are planning to hang out in the kitchen all day. Your call. I don’t though. A loosely covered lid keeps some of the evaporation in check.
You still need to pay attention though. You are maintaining a rolling boil for 12 hours. Covered or not it can boil dry. And that’s a whole world of hurt nobody needs.
No more secrets
This ramen broth is delicious. This part is nailed. Nothing to it really. Just need to follow the recipe. No secrets here. Not anymore. The tonkotsu ramen turned out pretty amazing too.
This is base. The foundation to a great bowl of ramen. You can make just about any tonkotsu style ramen with it. Next step is the tare. That’s what pushes it in different directions. Shio. Shoyu. Miso. Your choice.
Tonkotsu ramen broth. Not the quickest way to make something great. But so totally worth it.
tonkotsu ramen broth at home
- 6 lbs pork bones with a little meat on them. Pork neck bones work well.
- 4 oz white mushrooms sliced
- 1 onion peeled and halved
- Place the pork bones in a large stock pot and cover with cold water.
- Bring to a rolling boil over medium high heat. At this point a huge mess of scum will form.
- Remove from heat. Dump the water and carefully rinse all the bones under cold running water.
- Return the bones to the stock pot. Cover the bones with cold water and bring to a rolling boil.
- Add the mushroom and onion and maintain a rolling boil for 12 hours, replenishing the water along the way. You want to keep the bones under water the whole time. It’s best to cover the pot for this or you’ll be adding water every 30 minutes.
- After 12 hours, remove the stock from the heat and cool slightly. Remove the bones with a slotted spoon and strain the stock.
- The stock will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days or can be frozen at this point.
- The broth is flavoured by the tare of your choice. There are two good one’s in the tonkotsu ramen recipe.
205 thoughts on “tonkotsu ramen broth at home”
i am roasting a whole pig on a spit for a party on Saturday and was looking for something to do with the bones, do you think this recipe would work with the cooked bones
I think it would work with a roasted pig although I’ve never tried. Where I have concerns is the smoke. If smoke makes it to the bones then I don’t think the smoke would be a great flavour in the broth. It would be a terrible shame to waste all those bones though. Maybe a nice rich pork stock for a big pot of gumbo or some of the best pinto beans the world has ever seen instead?
there was no smoke even in the skin so i made as much broth as would fit in my stock pot. it is amazing and well worth the effort. thank you.
Excellent to hear! Delighted you enjoyed it.
Do you strain the broth through a cheese cloth or just a sieve when it’s all done?
I have a chinois but any fine mesh strainer will work.
Any chance you can post a picture of the pork neck bones you are using for this recipe? It would be a great reference. Thanks!
I don’t have any handy but if you google pork neck bones and click on images lots of examples pop up. I get mine from Asian grocers that have a butcher counter.
If I cannot find pork neck bones, what would be a good substitute??
Can you get trotters? Maybe a mix of trotters and ribs? That would be quite expensive though I imagine. I get my neck bones at an Asian grocer. I’ve never seen them at a mainstream grocery store…
I have a huge chunk of pork with lots of meat on it still…is it okay to boil the meat off and then continue boiling the bone? Thanks in advance!
Not sure I understand the question. Are you asking if you should boil the pork with the bone and then eat the pork and keep boiling the bone? If so, yes. But cooking pork at a rolling boil isn’t going to make very nice pork for eating.
I raise my own animals for food and this will be my first foray into pork (tonkatsu)broth. I’m breaking down a carcass today for sausage and am wondering if all of the bones would be suitable or would you steer clear of any? With chicken and beef, I always roast the bones first; any thoughts there? Thanks! I’m excited to try this😊
I expect all the bones should be fine. In this case I would advise against roasting the bones though. While I love stocks made from roasted bones this isn’t the place.
Can you boil it in 2 days vs all 12 hrs in one day?
Haven’t tried that but I think, so long as you refrigerate between boils that it will work out…
If you have a dog. The water from the first boil is like heaven for them
I bet my dog would love it!
I think I did something wrong. I made the broth yesterday and it looked beautiful when it was finished. A nice golden broth. I am making my ramen on Saturday so I put the broth in the fridge. I took it out this morning to remove what I thought was a layer of fat on top and found that the broth is one big bowl of jello. Any thoughts on what went wrong?
Nothing went wrong. That’s perfect. Just heat it up and go!
That’s exactly how it should be, once you heat it back up it will be fine
It’s from the collagen in the bones, the gelling is natural when it cools. Just reheating again and it will liquefy.
Just a quick question, could I make the broth in a slow cooker?
Tonkotsu broth requires a 12 hour rolling boil to make the magic happen. A slow cooker just isn’t an option I’m afraid.
Pressure cooker will cut the time tremendously, I have made both Tonkotsu and Tori paitan this way. Came out perfect!!
Actually yes it would be fine to use a slow cooker.
I have a question about the amount of water needed.
What I’m understanding is basically a pot big enough for the bones and Keep the water level covering the bones , so keep topping it topped with water right up until the 12 hour mark?
Dose that mean aprox 8 cups will cover the bones?
You need to use whatever water you need to cover the bones. In my pot with my bones I wind up with about 8 cups at the end. The important thing is to keep the bones covered throughout the process. You can always reduce the broth down to 8 cups total volume at the end.
I just finished making this. Tasted it… And it’s not so flavorful? Tastes like dry overcooked meat? I think I got the wrong kind of pork neck bones. I don’t have an Asian market in my town but I have lots of carnicerias so I got the neck bones from one of them. They were mostly meat to be honest and I was worried about the lack of bone and amount of meat. But I tried anyway. Could I get a description of the flavor I’m supposed to achieve? It’s milky white maybe a hint of yellow and it looks like I want to drink it but in reality it doesn’t really have any flavor? Should it be so yummy that I want to ladle it out and replace my morning coffee with it? Or no? I’m assuming that I didn’t get good ingredients. Thanks! I enjoyed the journey and will continue.
I’m sorry to hear that. It’s always difficult when I’m not in the kitchen to see what you did.
The broth should be rich and have great mouthfeel. The mouthfeel comes from the collagen. It should taste like pork. And once you add the tare it should taste like really good ramen broth.
It should not taste like dry overcooked meat. Maybe next time cut a bunch of the meat away and make great stew. Save the bones for broth. When you have enough bones saved up try again?
As far as my morning coffee goes I am a coffee addict so I would save my ramen broth for after I’ve had a couple jolts.
For flavour you need to add tare, which is the flavour for tonkotsu ramen broth. This bone soup provides the base for tonkotsu ramen, like when you use chicken broth to made chicken noodle soup and the broth before soup is kinda bland.
I’m done one day of a two day boil. I’m boiling trotters and chicken thighs with roasted onions and leeks, two king oyster mushrooms, and a handful of puffballs I found in my garden. It’s a beautiful off-white color. After 7 hours, I’m just noticing the rich flavor. Seven more hours to go.
Little bit of magic in the making!
Thanks for posting this recipe. I like the simplicity of your instructions, I think this is a great method for newcomers and experienced ramen veterans alike. I want to point out a couple things that might catch the newbies off-guard.
I agree with your covering suggestion, however you really need to pay attention to temperature after covering. I ended up reducing my burner to med-low because thats all it needed to maintain a nice boil. Then, when topping off the water level, you have to babysit for a few minutes to get it back up to boiling, re-cover, and adjust the temp until you hit that sweet spot of boiling but not boiling over.
Second, I noticed a greenish scum form after 1 hour of boiling. I’ve done tonkotsu before and that was a first for me. I think it might have been the mushrooms? (even though I cleaned them well, they still have that layer of bio-film). I removed with my small strainer, maybe something worth mentioning.
Again, thanks for this recipe! Final product turned out great and I loved your bacon-miso tare.
Thank you for the tips. Very kind of you to share! I personally have never seen the greenish scum forming but good advice to remove it if anyone else sees this happening.
Thank you so much. This is a labor of love and when me and my family sat around the table and ate, it felt like love. The first time I made it on the slow cooker option with the instant pot I boiled it first skimmed it and rinsed bones off and put it in slow cooker/instant pot but today I’m going to put it in the pressure cooker after the rinse and see how that works.
You are very welcome. Delighted to hear you enjoyed it!
Hi I’m about to test this small batch at my restaurant, any easy way to convert this recipe to lets say about 80-100 orders? tysm, this is an amazing recipe but I’m struggling at converting recipes and making them the same at a larger scale.
I’ve never tried it as I am not running a commercial kitchen but I would think a really large pot, a really powerful burner and then just use the slider in the recipe card to scale the quantities. The trick will be getting the bones clean (lots of work) and maintaining a rolling boil (lots of burner power).
Can’t tell if your trolling or this is a honest question. Simple math is your answer. If you own a restaurant but can’t manage that I think you may want to rethink your profession. If you can make a “small batch” I’d hope you can manage making a larger one but here’s some help.
6 lbs pork bones with a little meat on them. Pork neck bones work well.
4 oz white mushrooms sliced
1 onion peeled and halved
6 lbs x 100 = 600 lbs pork bone
4 oz x 100 = 400 oz white much
1 x 100 = 100 onions
6 x 80 = 480
4 x 80 = 320
1 x 80 = 18020
Instead of using white/button mushrooms, could I use dried shiitake mushrooms for extra umami flavour? If so, how much would you suggest? I typically use these when I make bone broth, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t work here, unless the flavour becomes less ‘clean’? Interested to hear your thoughts and eager to make this recipe soon.
I haven’t tried it with dried mushrooms but I also can’t see any reason it wouldn’t be great.
Once my broth is cooled and refrigerated, a nice layer of fat rests atop the congealed goodness. Should I be removing that layer before making my ramen? The few times I’ve made this broth, I have just left the fat, but I’m wanting to know how it’s traditionally done.
I would spoon it off and reserve it then portion out the fat in each serving. That way you can control exactly how much fat goes into each bowl.
Just made this today and turned out perfectly. I couldn’t find many pork bones so I used 700g neck and 2.1KG pigs trotters in the end. I tried making this a year ago from a different recipe but it didn’t turn out that well. This time though was awesome and just like the ramen I used to have in Japan. Well worth waking up at 5:30am to make it!
Thanks for sharing.
Awesome to hear! It’s an epic cooking experience but it is so worth it I think.
I’ve been experimenting with Tonkotsu for a few years. I always use half trotters half bones for best results. also, charring garlic is a ++
Absolutely delicious! I used a spicy miso tare and it was sooo good; however, my broth only yielded about 4.5 cups. My bones were covered with water the entire 12 hours. Is there a trick I should be doing to make sure I get 8 cups? Marking the pot? It is a lot of work, so I would like to make sure that next time I get 8 cups. I will say the gelatinous texture told me I did it right though…ha!
Thanks for sharing!
I’d guess you got double concentrated ramen broth so I bet it was amazing! You can dilute whatever you wind up with water to a total of 8 cups.
What an amazing ramen!! I can tell this is definitely a labor of love, but so, so worth it. It looks better than the ramen you can get in most restaurants around here!
This sounds delicious! Do I have to use 6 lbs of pork bones? Can I use less? Also can I cook it in the slow cooker?
You can make less although I wouldn’t because it’s a fair bit of work. You cannot do this is a slow cooker. You need a rolling boil to make this work.
It will not work in a slow cooker. It really has to be at a rolling boil the whole time.
This was so delicious. I tried it and substituted a few ingredients but it turned out so great. Thanks for the great recipe!
You are very welcome! Delighted you enjoyed it!
I made the recipe, following the directions. It was delicious! Thank you for sharing amazing recipe.
Super happy to hear you enjoyed it@
Hi! This recipe looks amazing, so simple compared to many others I have found online! Definitely going to try it this weekend. I was wondering if it would also be good if I added some other meet (that I have been seeing in other recipes), i.e. chicken feet, pig trotters, chicken backs…? Or would that not work well with this recipe?
Pork trotters would be tasty but it might make the broth too rich. Some chicken bones would work though. That’s not uncommon in a tonkotsu broth.
I’ve made this recipe twice and both times it turned out amazing. So much flavour and very straight forward and easy to make. The colour of the broth after 12-16 hours is something to write home about
Loved it. Can’t wait to make more of your recipes.
I’m so glad you liked it. I’m a huge fan of tonkotsu ramen and it’s not easy to get a good bowl where I live. Hope you find more recipes you enjoy!
That’s on my list next.
Uh, real question about timing.
I would like to have this go overnight but how the heck can this be done safely???
Thinking of starting on the stove, blanch, then transfer to slow cooker/ pressure cooker overnight then back to stovetop in am.
7:30 pm start time, aiming for dinner 5 pm tomorrow. So would be about 10 hours on stovetop in am too..?!
I’ve never tried that. Pressure cooker might work. Might go too fast. I don’t know. Sorry. As brave as I am I would never let my stove (or stand-alone pressure cooker) run hard overnight.
I would start it in the evening. Stay up late. Put it in the fridge overnight and set my alarm to get up early to put it on again.
My Tonkotsu broth didn’t have ramen noodles. Yup, I tried another version. I added vermicelli instead and the dish was still delicious. There’s no doubt that the broth is the heart and soul of noodle soup. Thanks Romain!
You are very, very welcome!!!
In middle of making this now, one tip to add in (or maybe I missed it)…make sure to stir the pot every 30 or 40 minutes in the second half of the boil, otherwise your bones will burn and stick to pan like mine! Still gonna finish but pretty sure it won’t taste great, I can smell the char. I used neck bones, but also my power burner so maybe there is a thing as too high heat here
Wow. I don’t understand how you got char in a pot of boiling water. The instructions do say to keep the water obove the level of the bones throughout. You must have one serious power burner. That’s not something I’ve ever seen or even thought possible.
Certainly though, if it happened to you then it could happen to someone else so this is a good tip. Better safe than sorry.
I am very sorry to hear your bones burned. I’m pretty sure you are right. If you can smell the char it isn’t going to be good.
I think I know what is happening. When I was doing the boil and blanch, the pork was sticking to the bottom of my pan and about to burn as well. I think that it has to do with an electric stove because this has happened to me before even with a roiling boil. I rotated the pan 90 degrees and stirred every 30 minutes and that seemed to do the trick
Hi, my husband and I just did this in our instant pot and came out delicious very rich and creamy. I know that you can’t have a rolling boil in an instant pot, but it dissolved almost everything. We have done it on the stove too and the flavor is the same. Thanks for the delicious recipe.
You are very welcome! Did you use the pressure cooker setting on your Instant Pot?
More details, please? What setting did you use? How long? Thanks!!
Hello, I’m trying this on Saturday along with your ramen recipe. I made the mistake of not buying enough pork bones. I realized my package is only 3.15lbs. But, I have 1lb of pork Neck and 1 lb of pork skin that I had set aside to make soup dumplings. So that gets me up to 4.15lbs of bone, is the skin useless or can I put some in there and just fill up the water a bit more? Thank you.
I have never tried using skin but suspect it would just add an awful lot of fat and not much flavour…
This is awesome ? I’ve made tonkotsu ramen once before following the No Recipes recipe, and I made the mistake of trying to do it all in one day. It turned out well but I got discouraged after that attempt because of all the work, but reading this makes me wanna make it again! And keep ready-made ingredients in the fridge for future use ?
You go! And the best part is, if you freeze it, you can have ramen any time you want!
I have a question😁.
What if i use pork leg?
Is that will change the flavor?
I have never tried so I really cannot say.
This looks awesome, I’m going to try and adapt it for my slow cooker
I’m a bit concerned by that. The whole recipe relies on a long, rolling boil. Can you achieve that in a slow cooker? I don’t have one so I don’t know too much about them…
Update: it was sooooo good! Making it again tonight. Thanks so much for the post!
Awesome to hear! I love tonkotsu ramen!
Love the broth! Every single drop of it. Thanks for this magical recipe! My family loved them. One question though, have little broth left from the last batch, could this be refrigerated for 4-5 days? Will it still be good? Thanks again!
Glad you liked it! It’s real work but it’s so worth it.
I don’t know if I would push it 5 days. It would be such a shame if it went off. But it freezes well. Why not just pop it in the freezer to be safe?
Or it eat up tomorrow:-)
Can i use beef bones?
I have never heard of anyone using beef bones. My instinct says no but I’ve never tried it so cannot say with certainty.
I have made this, following the instructions pretty well – but I had mainly pork trotters. I was not super wowed by the results. I suspect it might be the bones used, but the broth was brownish and quite gloopy (too much collagen?), although the flavor was good. Too rich to my taste. Maybe I should have diluted the end result a bit? Anyhow, I might try it again subbing half to pork for chicken bones. I’d like to achieve the milky, pale yellow broth I love so much from a ramen shop.
Sorry it didn’t work out for you but it’s not surprising. Pork trotters are extremely rich and not what I would ever think of when I read “bones with some meat” as specified in the recipe. I will add a note to make sure nobody else makes this mistake. If you do try again, try pork neck bones if you can get them.
Pork trotters is what’s used for some variants of tonkotsu ramen but they scrub the life out of them to reduce collagen and muck. Better read up on a pork trotters recipe rather than this one as this is using neck/back bones 😉 The tip in this recipe of bringing to boil for 5 mins, cleaning, emptying liquid and then restarting with fresh should help reduce the work of this cleaning part! All the best, happy slurping
After boiling the bones for 5 minutes and then draining them, should I take off all scraps of fat and meat? As in, should the bones be completely bare of anything on them before boiling them for 12 hours?
Leave the scraps on the bone. There’s tons of flavour there. Just boil, rinse and go.
Hi! I just boiled this overnight on the stove and can’t wait to make ramen tonight!
Question: should I skim the fat off the top? I used pork bones, chicken wings and chicken feet, and there appears to be a pretty good fat cap on the pot now.
It depends on your tolerance to fat. I like a little bit personally. I would skim it off and then add a bit back in to each bowl to taste when you serve.
Can the bones have to much meat on them? I think mine had plenty and my stock was very bland/watery, even though I boiled it for 14 hours. It went hard in the fridge so I’m pretty sure I got all the gelatine out of the bones. I got about 4 cups of stock out of it so that should not be the problem.
If it went hard in the fridge it has the gelatin. I am afraid I have no idea why it is watery at this point. It shouldn’t taste like full blown ramen (the tare has a lot to do with it) but it should have flavour.
Hi! My boyfriend can not have mushrooms, is there a chemistry cooking magic thing that requires them, or can I skip it? (He can have enoki, but that doesn’t seem like what the recipe is looking for.) Thanks! (And I am really excited about trying this…)
Mushrooms add a bit of umami but I think you can leave them out and it will still be good. Have fun!
Hoping I have done this correctly! It’s 12 hrs up now and it’s very white/milky but the taste to me is like watery pork. Hard to explain it. I’m not sure what I was expecting I guess, as I have never done this before. Hoping it all comes together once I add my tare. I’m so invested right not! Ha!
It shouldn’t taste watery. Maybe you could reduce the liquid a bit (evaporation) until it starts to taste more strongly of pork? The colour sounds right.
I’ve made this broth once before with your chashu pork belly recipe and we are in love. We have been craving ramen so I’m making it again. I am a huge garlic fan so I am going to add a couple cloves of garlic to it and see how that turns out. I am also making homemade ramen noodles and excited to see the results. Thank you for sharing a delicious recipe.
Awesome. You could maybe add the garlic flavour to the tare rather than the broth? That way you could adjust the amount of garlic on a per bowl rather than per batch of broth basis. Just a thought. I’m sure it will be fantastic either way.
Love this recipe; seems easy enough.
Have you ever used a pressure cooker (InstaPot) to cook this?
Great to hear. Thank you.
I’ve never tried a pressure cooker so I don’t know exactly how it would turn out. Please do let everyone know how it turns out if you try it.
I have a pretty good ramen book that talks about a pressure cooker. It’ll reduce your cooking time to 7 hours total including prep time, instead of 12+. Boil and rinse the bones as normal, chilling in the fridge for at least 3 hours to ‘set’ things up. Place in the pressure cooker, cover with two inches of water (distilled or filtered if you have metallic tasting tap water), lock the lid and cook on high for two hours along with the onions and mushrooms. After 2 hours remove the lid from the pressure cooker (after carefully releasing the pressure of course) and either transfer to a stockpot and boil for another 2 hours, or bring to a boil right in the stockpot. You want a full boil now, for at least two hours, or until the bones have given up almost all of their connective tissue and marrow. Strain and chill as normal. Good luck!!
When topping up the water, do you use cold or ore-boiled water?
I typically don’t let it get to far before I top it up so I find it doesn’t matter that much. If you need to add a fair bit at once hot/boiling is better.
Trying this on a whim and wasn’t smart about what bones I bought. Only snagged a measly 2lb spare rib pork with bone in. Obviously this isn’t going to be enough and I have had to add water every 30mins or so to keep them covered.
It’s been about 6 hrs at this point and the broth is slightly flavored so hoping another 6 will really kick it up. Though I’m expecting to be left with just enough for 1 person which is fine, that’s my fault.
Here’s hoping it works even with less bone available! Will update you to see how it turns out!
Good luck! I think if you concentrate it enough it will still be tasty. Just shoot for a single portion at the end as you have said.
It came out exactly as you said. Few things I did that I should not have:
1) Tried to make my own tare because I didn’t have access to everything needed. Ended up adding too much fat content and it became too heavy.
2) ~8hrs added a chicken stock cube cause it still wasn’t as flavorful as I wanted it. I dunno what it is about that 10-12hr mark but something magical happens.
All in all a great recipe, just as advice to others, get the biggest tallest pot you can so you can boil it down instead of having to add. Dont worry about adding water. It will not “water it down” there’s just too much flavor to actually do that.
I came across your site looking for a tonkotsu broth recipe (which I am currently cooking) but you have so many great recipes! This is a general comment… one thing I really LOVE about your site is the slider functionality on serving size to alter the ingredient quantities relative to number of servings. Brilliant! But I am in Australia, and used to metric measurements, not pounds and ounces, so I need to go to another site to get the conversions. Have you thought of trying to add a similar functionality to enable that conversion within your site? That would be super helpful, thanks!
Thank you very much for saying. I am delighted that you found me.
I haven’t seen metric/imperial converter but now that you mention it I really should look harder as it is something that many would love to see I am sure.
FWIW I am in Canada and switch back and forth. I use 500g to the pound as a rough estimate (454 when it really matters). Cups where it doesn’t need to be super precise I use 250ml (237ml actual) – 4 cups to the litre give or take and 30ml to the ounce (28 actual). Until I find a good converter I hope this helps…
Can this broth be pressure canned?
I’m sorry. I have no experience pressure canning this broth. I simply freeze it and pull it out as required.
Check the USDA Master Food Preservers’ office or the Ball Canning site.
It takes about an hour and half under pressure. But it will be shelf stable done properly. Good luck.
So having bought supermarket dried ramen noodles, is there any way to resurrect them? Worth trying to alkalise them with some baking soda?
Instant ramen noodles you mean? Be a shame to waste all the work that goes into this broth. Better off to try baking soda with spaghettini.
When you say pork bones, can you buy bone-in pork meat (like ribs, for instance) and just remove the meat? Do you leave the meat and fat on?
This one comes up enough that I’ve updated the post. I like pork neck bones for tonkotsu ramen broth. They are cheap and they have a bit of meat on them. I get them at Asian grocers.
Ribs would be a very expensive way to make pork stock. Likely too fatty as well. And deboned ribs would take a lot of ribs I would think. You’d be eating rib meat for a long time:-)
So what I went with just now was pork neck (3 packs), pork tail (1 pack) and pork trotted (1 pack).
I put them in the stock as is. My question was really more if I needed to removed excess meat and fat and use literally only bones, but it appears if you are using pork necks (and don’t state that as a step) that you just throw them in as is with meat and fat.
Hopefully I have this correct!
You do. Never occurred to me that anyone would try to pick all the good stuff from the bones. I’ve updated the recipe. You have a great mix of bones. You’re going to get a fine product!
Any suggestion on what to do with the pork neck bones afterward?
They should be completely tasteless at the end of cooking. If there is meat attached and it still tastes of something you could whip up a little stew or stir fry but really it should taste of nothing after 12 hours…
Also, mine made like 16 cups of broth, did I add too much water?
Maybe a little. 8-10 cups is about right but there are error bars on this recipe. If it tastes delicious you know you’re good.
Is there a way to save it? I only saved about 1/3 of the bones. Should I just put those in and boil until it reduces a bit?
I would think you could just reduce it without the bones. If you’ve extracted all the flavour from the bones it’s just a matter of concentrating it a bit.
I’m wanting to make a duck broth.
Would you alter anything in the recipe if using duck bones?
I’ve never tried that but it sounds good! Poultry tends to take less time to extract flavour so maybe check after 4-6 hours to see what you think?
What type of onion should I use? Assuming white, but want to be accurate.
Cooking onions. With the brown skin.
This is probably a silly question-but can bones from already cooked pork be used to make the broth? I am assuming this is the case with the chicken..
Not a silly question at all. I’ve never tried it but I would think it would be very close. I do make my chicken stock from cooked chicken bones all the time.
Thank you for the recipe, I’ve been looking for a nice slow broth to cook. Im not going for hard authenticity but good flavor & collagen, nor do I always have access to pork; do you think this could work with other bones (lamb, ox tail, etc) as well?
Are you looking to make a tonkotsu style broth but with ox tail? I’ve never tried the hard rolling boil with beef. I typically go for a long, slow simmer to make a clear broth when I do ox tail – and then use it for pho.
I don’t have a 12 hour segment of time to do this. I’m going to try boiling for 6 hours, cooling, refrigerating overnight, and then bringing to a boil the next day for an additional 6 hours. Your thoughts?
If you have the room to refrigerate I don’t see any reason this wouldn’t work. I’ve never tried it so I can’t guarantee results.
Could you use pork rib bones for this?
Sure. Any pork bones should get you there. As long as you aren’t using rib bones pulled from your smoker that is. But it would take a lot of rib bones I would think…
I have a small carcass leftover from a whole pig roast that I wanted to use to make stock. Do you think this would work to make the tonkotsu broth?
If so, there’s still some residual meat and skin on the bone. Can I leave the meat and skin scraps on the bone or should I try to remove as much as possible?
Did the pig roast impart a smoke flavour? If not, then I would just follow the instructions to clean up the bones and go. Leave the meat on for more flavour. If there is smoke though you may get a different taste. Not sure if it would be good or bad but it would be different for sure.
I made this recipe on a rainy Sunday yesterday and it was PHENOMINAL. I have been craving good ramen for months… I used to travel out to San Francisco for work and got spoiled by all the great ramen out there. However, back home we don’t have anything even moderately decent. I followed the broth recipe exactly, for the ramen recipe I only used 1 lb of pork belly and halved the Ramen recipe. I also only let the ramen broth boil for 11 hours instead of 12, because it was nearing midnight and I was HUNGRY! Will definitely be making again and again
Nothing beats a good bowl of tonkotsu ramen. Great to hear. Thanks!
Can I use the pork bones that have bone marrow inside?
I am so keen to make this recipe and broth, great for food prep and my boyfriend’s birthday is just around the corner so finding this post could not have come at a better time! I’m wondering if I double the recipe, obviously I will need more water, but would the time needed to bring the stock down to the right consistency / flavour increase or would around 12 hours still be right? Just want to make sure I start early enough in the day 🙂
I’m glad you found it too! I’ve never tried such a big batch but I think it would just be a bigger pot, enough water to cover all the bones and the same amount of time. As always watch it closely so the water level stays up.
Super simple to follow. I’m making it today for my boyfriend with soup bones my dad gave me from his farm. I’m also throwing in a knob of Ginger and a few cloves garlic. Excited to see how this turns out
Hope he loves it!
I’m actually in the middle of making this tonkotsu broth. I started yesterday at 8pm and stopped at 1am because I had to sleep and go to work. I’m planning to start it at a rolling boil again when I come home (to try to achieve 12 hours in total in seperate times). Will that affect anything?
I think that will be fine. You don’t want to do it too many times though (break it up too much) because every time the stock goes through the 140F-40F range bacteria flourishes…
So after just a couple of hours rolling boil all of the aromatics were cooked to death. The only things recognizable were the mushrooms and a couple of the tougher onion and leek outside parts. The flavor and texture came out great as well. Tasted a mushroom and there was zero flavor left in it, so I think adding the veg later in the process worked, but probably very little difference vs adding at the start. It was a total pain to strain this stuff though. I think it was mostly the pulpy, former pork, but it instantly clogged every sieve-like thing in my kitchen. Any tips or tricks you’ve found for straining the end product?? Also, do you cool and skim the fat cap, or just stir it in?? There’s kind of a lot of fat here, so if stirred in, I know it’ll taste good, but fear it’ll skim up in the bowl as it cools and not be as picture perfect as what you’ve shown above. Thanks again for a great recipe and your feedback!
Did you ever get a response? I’m curious as well….
Sorry – I missed that question. I guess it depends on how much and what meat/collagen is on the bones. When I have something that’s going to be messy to strain I get a big, big bowl. I use the lid of the pot set slightly ajar to catch as much stuff as I can and strain the contents of the pot into the bowl. Then I clean out the pot and strain what’s in the bowl back into the pot.
When making traditional stock, I’ve always added the onions and other vegetables a couple hours from the end of the boil. Thought being that the vegetables would disintegrate and leave a lot of undesiereable dissolved solids in the stock. Also, I’ve read that onions particularly can impart a burned or bitter flavor if over cooked / over boiled. Given that clarity isn’t an issue here, how do you think about this issue and whether or not boiling the vegetables for the full 12+ hours is necessary, useful, and beneficial or detrimental??
Interesting. When I make concentrated chicken stock I add the onions at the beginning. I cut the onions in half and leave the skin on (I find the skin imparts a bit of extra depth of colour). I’m probably pushing it as hard as I anyone. Not only am I leaving the onion in for the entire cooking time but I am concentrating the flavours down from a full and large pot of stock to a few cups of intense chicken flavour. If the onion was imparting an off flavour that would make it more pronounced.
I have never detected a burnt or bitter flavour in the end product and I am pretty sensitive to those two flavours. As far as clarity goes I am always going for flavour over everything else so if my stock is slightly cloudy I can still sleep at night.
For the tonkotsu broth all classic technique gets thrown out the window anyway. I put the aromatics in early and they get pretty much cooked to death. I haven’t experimented with adding them in later so I really can’t speak to the effects of adding them in at different times along the way. Is it necessary? I don’t know. Is it beneficial or useful? I know it works and I like it. Is it detrimental? I would say no. I would further qualify that by saying I would never knowingly publish a recipe where I thought something was detrimental to the end product.
Thanks so much for the response. I appreciate your thoughts and feedback on the matter. Just added all the vegetables to a pot of pork bones that’s been rolling all night. Used onion, mushroom, but also ginger, leek, scallion and garlic. Figure a couple more hours, then I’ll strain it. Hoping for the best. Cheers and thanks again.
Would this technique work with a mix of pork and chicken, or just chicken bones/carcass alone?
Classic tonkotsu ramen broth can include some chicken for an extra little bit of complexity so yes to the mix. I have never tried doing it with chicken alone so I have no idea what would come out the other end. If you do try, I’d love to hear how it turns out.
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…
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?
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?
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…
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.
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!
Hi, do I need to add the pork fat? Because I have read that some recipe add them? Is that necessary?
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.
Hi ! I would like to know what kind of mushrooms I have to use to make this broth. Thank you !
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.
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?
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…
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?
I’ve never found another way. Just let it rip. A rolling boil. It works…
Rolling boil = simmering ??
A rolling boil is just that. The surface is rolling. Way higher than simmer.
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!
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…
You can make this using a slow cooker. The difference is that you do most of the work in the cooker for an extended time (between 15-20 hours). Then you transfer everything into the stove pot and roiling boil for about 1-2 hours to get the creamy texture. When I do this for broths and beef tea I always get a rich flavour, creamy texture, and it refrigerates to a jelly (so I know I’ve done it right!)
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.
I am going to try this in a pressure cooker today. I”ll let you know how it turns out.
Looking forward to hearing the results!
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!
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:-)
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.
Harmons has pork bones.
YES. so now teach me the rest!!! (noodles, etc!!)
Hillary – it’s coming soon!
When? Please….. I eat breathe and sleep ramen.
I’ve finished this one off with the tonkotsu ramen recipe. I also have the Momofuku pork belly recipe as well as an easier miso ramen with chashu pork. If you want something a bit different I have recipes for curry ramen and a Korean spicy ramen.
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!
Flavouring sauces is a thought that hadn’t occurred to me. Thanks for the idea!