tonkotsu ramen broth at home

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.

Make this tonkotsu broth if you want 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. 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 ultimate tonkotsu pork ramen broth at home.

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?

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

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.

Tonkotsu ramen broth close-up from above.

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.

The ultimate tonkotsu ramen broth at home.
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4.72 from 122 votes

tonkotsu ramen broth at home

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
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours 30 minutes
Servings 8 cups
Calories 8kcal
Author romain | glebekitchen


  • 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.


Serving: 4servings | Calories: 8kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 65mg | Vitamin C: 1.3mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.1mg

239 thoughts on “tonkotsu ramen broth at home”

    • It’s impossible to say. It depends on the shape of the bones and the dimensions of the pot. You want enough water to cover the bones – however much that is for you in your kitchen the day you make the broth is the right number.

  1. SO excited to have found this recipe. I loooove making broths, but CANNOT simmer. Everything ends up boiling unless I’m turning the stove on and off for hours. Now you are telling me I can make my favourite broth WITH IT BOILING?!!

  2. 5 stars
    I have the boiling process done but am not sure about the ingredients for the tare. I found the mirin no problem and think I found the right shriro miso but can’t find sake. Do you mean the alchol? Or is it a cooking sake? Is “Kikkoman instant shiro miso soybean paste soup white” ok? The people at the store are NOT helpful!

    • Sorry to take so long to get back to you. I was travelling. When I say sake I mean the regular Japanese sake so perhaps a liquor store might be a better place to look for it?

    • As far as I’m aware, cooking sake is the same thing as regular drinking sake, just the same way cooking wine or cooking chocolate is the same thing as the regular version, except it is generally somewhat of a lower quality (and therefore price) and is intended for cooking purposes and not regular consumption.

  3. did i miss something here? at one point do i add the tare and how much??? this recipe looks so good and am going to make it this week!!

  4. thanks for the post. I’ve always wanted to do this.

    Assuming I use the quantities and amounts called for in the recipe above. Roughly how much broth are we talking about making? I see “8 servings”? what how much is a serving

    Would love to try this but 12 hours im hoping to produce enough to feed the family and maybe freeze for another couple of meals.

    Thank you in advance

    • The recipe makes around 8 cups of broth. I typically use about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of broth in a ramen bowl so 4 servings. I have a 7 quart dutch oven I use to make this broth so I always double the recipe. If you have a big enough pot I’d suggest you try that because once you get a taste for good ramen broth you will want it again and again. At least I do…

  5. 5 stars
    I’m rating in the 11th hour, based on mainly how freaking cool this has been to make! But it smells heavenly and I have tasted at a few intervals and it’s totally on point so far. Other than having to slap my husband’s hand (more than once) for turning the heat down, it’s been a true experience. I make stock at minimum once a month, and in November (it was Thanksgiving last week) much more often than that, so keeping his mits off my stove top knobs was an understandable struggle for him. I’m going all in on the Ramen, but didn’t catch the sous vide time on the pork belly. But no worries. We’ll have Ramen Wednesday instead of tomorrow. Exploring new cuisine and stretching outside comfort boundaries is my absolute passion, so thank you! Just one question about finding the best Ramen Noodles for this. We have a decent sized Aisian Market, a few, actually, but they seem to only carry dried, in packages, with that (gross) “seasoning” packet. How do you know what noodle to trust with this liquid treasure you literally raised yourself from infancy?

    • Hopefully you are just looking in the wrong section in the store. Around here we can get real but dried ramen noodles at most Asian markets. They are usually found (around here) in with the dried noodles near the rice noodles or in a Japanese dedicated section if the shop has one.

      I can’t post a picture in comments but they are sold in packages with little 100g bundles wrapped in a little sash inside the package.

      If you want faster pork I got a lesson from the Momofuku LV on how to make Momofuku pork belly the way they do –

    • I can’t tell you that. It depends on how big your pot is/structure of the bones. You need enough water to keep everything just covered with liquid.

  6. I’m totally new to all of this and so excited to make Ramen this weekend! Just bought everything I need at the local Asian market (except Ramen noodles, which surprisingly they didn’t have lol so I bought fresh Shanghai noodles instead). My question is this: how much water am I putting in when I make the stock? I know I have to keep the bones covered but after all is said and done how many cups of broth will I have/how full should I be keeping the stock pot?

    • I can’t tell you how much water to put in because I don’t know how big your pot is, nor do I know the dimensions. You need to keep enough water in the pot to keep the bones covered. As things progress the bones will tend to “compress” into the bottom of the pot and you should wind up with about 8 cups of broth.

  7. I was only able to find pig legs. Basically, the trotters all the way to the hock. But all of it is covered in skin. Am I supposed to remove the skin after the 5-minute blanching?

  8. Making this for the first time. I am about 11 hours in and there seems to be a thick layer of fat on top. I’ve had it at a rolling boil the whole time. Should I remove the fat and if so how?

    It might be because I should beef bones (all I had) hopefully that won’t make a huge difference?

    • I have never tried this with beef but I’m guessing there was a lot of marrow? Stop cooking it, let the fat float/settle to the top and spoon it off as best you can. I’ve seen crazy amounts of fat collect when I make pho broth so don’t be surprised how much you get.

    • If you are using pork bones, that fat can be saved as lard. It’s not the clean white lard you’d use for pie crust, but it can be a good skillet shortening or better yet, use it to make carnitas. I refrigerate the whole broth batch and remove the hardened lard layer, reheat and strain after. Heat the lard and strain through cheese cloth into glass jars and freeze until carnitas day.

    • I’m excited for you to try this!

      I don’t actually know how big my giant pot is (I’ve had it for many, many years) but it looks about double my dutch oven so that would be 12 quarts…

  9. 5 stars
    If only the ancient alchemists had known it only takes some pork bones, mushrooms, onion and 12 hours to make gold in a pot 😉

  10. 5 stars
    Just curious for the 2lbs of pork bones, does it mean actually 2 lions of bones w as little meat as possible or is it the bones from 2 lbs of pork but trimmed? I neck bones around us come pretty meaty so I wasn’t sure if I should buy 6 lbs and trim them if just trim 2 lbs? I did the latter yesterday and it turned out good, just curious on accuracy! Thank you.

    • I use pork neck bones from my Asian grocer as I get them. I do not trim them. There’s some meat on them but I wouldn’t call them crazy meaty. If you think yours are extra meaty maybe toss in an extra pound total. More flavour is never a bad thing.

      If it turned out for you though I’d say you did just exactly right.

  11. 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?

    • 5 stars
      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.

    • 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.

    • 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…

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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?

  15. 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?

    Thank you!!

    • 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Hi there,

    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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

    • This works great in a steam jacket kettle, although these rarely have lids so you need to improvise with foil and watch for condensate landing outside the kettle. I can do broths with as much as 60lbs of bones. It’s a little hard to be precise about measurements, but you will find that it’s the process that matters most, meaning replenish water to keep things covered, follow the timing, and things will turn out. (BTW, wild boar bones work great. Find a hunter and trade broth for bones.)

  21. 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.

  22. 5 stars
    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.

  23. 5 stars
    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.

    • 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 ++

  24. 5 stars
    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.

  25. 5 stars
    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!

    • 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.

  26. 5 stars
    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.

  27. 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!

  28. 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.

  29. 5 stars
    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!

  30. 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

  31. 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.

  32. 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…

  33. 5 stars
    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 ?

    • 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…

  34. 5 stars
    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:-)

    • I have never heard of anyone using beef bones. My instinct says no but I’ve never tried it so cannot say with certainty.

  35. 3 stars
    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

  36. 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?

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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!

  40. 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.

  41. 5 stars
    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.

    • 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!!

    • 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.

  42. 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.

    • 5 stars
      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.

  43. 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…

    • 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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!

    • 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…

    • 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’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?

  46. 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.

  47. Hi Romain,

    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?

    Thank you

    • 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.

  48. 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.

    • 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…

  49. 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.

  50. 5 stars
    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

  51. 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 🙂

    Cheers, Mon

    • 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.

  52. 5 stars
    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

  53. 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…

  54. 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!

    • 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.

  55. 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.

    • 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.

  56. 5 stars
    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…

  57. 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?

  58. 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…

  59. 5 stars
    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.

  60. 5 stars
    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!

    • 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.

    • 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.

  61. 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…

  62. 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?

    • 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!

  63. 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!)

  64. 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.

  65. 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!

  66. 5 stars
    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:-)

  67. 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.

  68. 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!

4.72 from 122 votes (93 ratings without comment)

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