Making tonkotsu ramen at home is truly a labour of love. This isn’t some 15 minute miracle insta-ramen recipe. This isn’t even some one day recipe.

Making authentic tonkotsu ramen takes time. It takes effort. You have to be a bit crazy to go there. But it’s so good. It’s totally worth it.

Bowlful of tonkotsu ramen with Momofuku pork belly from above.

There are restaurants in Japan that do nothing but make tonkotsu ramen. Just big wonderful pots of the most amazing broth. Perfect noodles. Silky eggs and unbelievable pork. I’ve had it. And I love it.

This recipe may not quite hit the level of Japanese ramen making. People have devoted their whole lives to mastering the art. But it’s pretty damn good. And it’s way cheaper than a plane ticket to Narita.

There are five major ingredients

Tonkotsu ramen has five major ingredients. Broth. Noodles. Pork. Egg. Tare. Each is important and each takes some doing.

Tonkotsu broth is the heart and soul of any tonkotsu ramen. It’s not difficult but it takes time – 12 to 18 hours. Mostly unattended but you can’t rush this. You can make lots and freeze it though. Two bowls or twenty. Doesn’t matter at all as long as you have a big enough pot.

Bowl of bacon tare with uncooked noodles and spoon from above.

The noodles are key

The noodles are the backbone. Noodles were where I struggled the most. The fresh ramen I can get in town sucks. Like really sucks.

Ramen noodles are different. They are alkalinated. That’s a fancy way of saying you put baking soda in the dough. Asian stores sell dried Japanese ramen. Look for sodium carbonate or potassium carbonate in the ingredient list.

If you can’t find any, another trick is to boil spaghettini or capellini in 8 cups of water with 2 Tbsp of baking soda. That works too.

Please don’t use packaged dry instant ramen noodles. Those are completely different. I like them in an I like KFC sort of way (as in I eat it once every few years and then wonder why I did that) but for this they are so wrong…

The pork is called chashu. It’s marinated pork belly and it’s magic stuff. I do mine sous vide for 11 hours at 170F. Conventionally cooked chashu recipes are all over the internet.

Chopsticks holding a big scoopful of noodles above the bowl.

The eggs and the seasoning

Tonkotsu ramen is usually served with medium boiled eggs. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as medium boiled egg until I discovered ramen. Medium boiled is about a 7 minute egg. The whites are firm. The yolk are just barely set.  Just so good.

The tare is the flavour base. This is where you take your ramen in your direction. It can be as simple as salt or as complicated as bacon infused sweet soy miso tare. Up to you.

Pull these 5 elements together and you have wonder in a bowl. If you don’t understand why you’re reading this and think I’m crazy google the best ramen joint in your town.

Go taste for yourself. Then judge me. It may seem daunting but it’s a few manageable steps. Totally doable if you want it bad enough.

This is adapted from several recipes from the internet. The soy bacon tare is a based on David Chang’s Momofuku Tare 2.0. The chashu pork marinade is from Serious Eats. The tonkotsu ramen broth is the best of a bunch of recipes on the net.

Tonkotsu ramen. It’s real work. But it is so worth it.

Spoonful of tonkotsu ramen broth above the bowl.

Update: Since I wrote this post I learned how to make Momofuku pork belly. If you’re interested I actually got a lesson in the kitchen at Momofuku Las Vegas. So I’m pretty sure it’s the real deal.

I still love the sous vide chashu pork belly and make it regularly. But the Momofuku pork belly is really good too. And you don’t need a sous vide to make it. 

I’ve taken new pictures since this was first published. The new pictures have the Momofuku pork belly in them. So if you make chashu pork don’t be alarmed if it looks different. It is different. I cannot decide which one I like better. 

Medium boiled eggs in a bowl of ramen broth
Tonkotsu ramen with egg, pork belly, enoki mushroom and green onion garnish
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4.84 from 18 votes

tonkotsu ramen

Tonkotsu ramen is an excellent introduction to Japanese noodle soups. Deeply flavoured tonkotsu pork broth, ramen noodles and chashu pork belly come together to create comfort in a bowl.
Course Main
Cuisine Japanese
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours 30 minutes
Servings 4 bowls
Calories 1262kcal
Author romain | glebekitchen


Tonkotsu ramen

  • 8 cups tonkotsu pork broth – recipe link below
  • 12 oz good quality dried ramen noodles
  • 4 large or extra large eggs
  • 2-3 oz enoki or other mushrooms
  • thinly sliced green onions

Chashu pork belly

  • 2 lb pork belly – rolled and tied
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup sake
  • 1/2 cup mirin – sweet Japanese wine
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2-3 cloves garlic – left whole
  • 2 green onions – coarsely chopped

Soy bacon tare

  • 2 slices bacon – use good quality bacon here
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp mirin
  • 2 Tbsp sake
  • 4 Tbsp shiro miso

Miso Tare

  • 1/2 cup shiro miso
  • 1/4 cup sake
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • pinch shichimi togarashi (optional)
  • 1-2 tsp kosher salt – depending on how salty you like your ramen.


Chashu pork belly

  • Combine the soy, sake, mirin, sugar, garlic and green onions in a ziploc bag large enough to hold the pork belly. Stick a straw in the bag and seal the ziploc bag up against it (so the straw is the only opening). Suck as much of the air out as you can and seal.
  • Sous vide the pork for 10-11 hours at 170F.
  • Remove pork from the ziploc bag. Discard the bag and marinade.
  • Let the chashu pork belly cool completely.
  • Slice across the chashu pork (so you get bacon like slices) – into 8-12 slices about 1/8 to 3/16 inches thick. Reserve. You won’t need all the pork for 4 servings.

Soy bacon tare

  • Combine all the ingredients in a small sauce pan. Simmer at the lowest setting for about an hour. Top up with a bit of chicken stock if needed.
  • Remove the bacon.

Miso tare

  • Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and simmer at the lowest setting for about 5 minutes.

Medium boiled eggs

  • Bring enough water to cover the eggs to a boil. If you have a way to prick the eggshell do it. Boil large eggs for 6 minutes 30 seconds. If using extra large eggs boil them for 7 minutes 30 seconds. You may have to adjust your times slightly depending on the exact size of your eggs but this should get you pretty close.
  • Submerge the eggs in cold or ice water to chill. This stops the egg yolks from continuing to set up. Peel. Cut in half right before you serve your tonkotsu ramen.

Assemble the tonkotsu ramen

  • Boil the ramen noodles in plenty of water as directed by the packaging. If there’s no translation on the packaging usually its 4 minutes. You don’t need to salt the water.
  • Cook the mushrooms along side the noodles – you just want them softened.
  • Gently fry the chashu pork in a non-stick skillet until lightly browned.
  • Place 1/4 of whichever tare you are using in the bottom of four bowls.
  • Ladle in about 1/2 cup of the tonkotsu broth into each of the bowls and stir to mix.
  • Add the noodles. Pour in another 1 1/2 cups of the tonkotsu broth per bowl.
  • Top with the egg, mushrooms, pork and green onions.


I’ve provided 2 different tare recipes. Use one or the other or come up with your own.
If you use the miso tare, you can salt your broth directly. That is easier than guessing how salty you want your tare.
If you aren’t up for making chashu pork you can substitute roasted pork shoulder. It would be an awesome use of leftover pork roast…
The recipe for tonkotsu ramen broth can be found here.


Serving: 4servings | Calories: 1262kcal | Carbohydrates: 108g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 71g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Cholesterol: 252mg | Sodium: 2803mg | Potassium: 623mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 310IU | Vitamin C: 1.9mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 3.6mg
Authentic tonkotsu ramen. Tonkotsu ramen broth. Chashu pork. Medium boiled egg. Delicious.

73 thoughts on “tonkotsu ramen at home

  1. Like you said, this looks like it would be worth all the work! I used to have so many amazing Ramen choices in New York, and I haven’t found a spot locally yet. Now I can enjoy those deep, comforting flavors at home.

    • It is a lot of work but you can make big batches of tonkotsu broth at once and then freeze it for a quick ramen fix. Just substitute something else for the pork belly and it’s a weeknight dinner.

  2. I’ve never agreed with a statement more. Chashu is DEFINITELY magic stuff! I can’t believe you made a ramen that looks this good and is so authentic at home. I love a good bowl of ramen, but have never dared to make it at home, for fear of messing up this perfect dish. Now, I don’t have to be scared anymore because of your awesome step-by-step instructions. I’m definitely going to try this out!

    • It’s an epic recipe but I think it’s worth it. And it’s a starting point. You can take it a few different ways with the tare and toppings so you can make a big batch of tonkotsu and not get bored!

  3. I absolutely LOVE a good bowl of ramen! Whenever we go to a “big city,”I always have to find the best ramen joint in town.:) However, I have never been brave enough to make it at home (besides you know, the packaged stuff, haha!). These instructions are wonderful! It may be a time consuming process, but for a good quality ramen at home, I’d say it is absolutely worth it. Can’t wait to try it!

  4. Wow! I was intrigued by the photo and then even more impressed with the process! I’m a pretty lazy cook but this would be perfect to make for my daughter for her birthday or something, she loves ramen! Definitely pinning for September;) Thank you!

  5. Love love love me some ramen! And I always feel like the medium boiled egg is the key ingredient. The meat is always hard for me –
    I always end up just doing chicken, but the pork in this recipe definitely kicks it up to the real deal! Thanks for making it so easy!

  6. This looks really good and well worth a try. I had some great Ramen when I worked in NYC a few years ago and some good Ramen in Manchester but other than that I stick with a quick recipe at home but I’ve always wanted to turn it up a notch and I think this could well do it. Many thanks

    • It’s a crazy amount of work making the broth and the pork takes some doing as well but it is as good as a most ramen joints serve. Good luck!

  7. Reading your thought stream is a delight. I enjoy your banter and share much of your humor. I am preparing your tonkostu recipe as I type, yet I am doing it in a pressure cooker to remove some of the time. I know I have to replenish liquid and move things around and such, and hopefully by 6pm tonight I will have given it 14 hours worth of cooking.
    I enjoy your blog.

    • So glad you like the blog (and my sometimes strange sense of humour:-) I never thought of cooking tonkotsu ramen broth in a pressure cooker. I’d be very interested in hearing how that goes.

  8. Hello! I tried this today, and I love how straightforward and simple the instructions were. I bought a mixed bag of pork bones and boiled them for just slightly more than 12 hours. Unfortunately in the last hour, the bones seemed to have really broken down and got a bit messy in the broth. After straining I only got 4+ cups of broth… would you say it’s because there was too much meat on the bones? I did try to strain as much as I could out.
    Also, how do we know that we’ve made good broth? Thx!

    • Glad you liked the recipe Marilyn. I would imagine winding up with 4 cups would be simply because you needed to add a bit more water as it boiled or the bones were packed in tightly so there wasn’t as much room between them for the water. In any case, winding up with 4 cups is easily fixed. Just dilute it with some water to get to 8 cups or so. To test the broth take a small ladle full, add a bit of salt and taste. If you have good depth of flavour you know you’ve made a good broth. In this case, though, I can’t imagine you didn’t. All that extra meat adds flavour.

  9. I love how you rigged the sous vide! I’ve wanted to do it but didn’t want to invest in an expensive machine. My pork belly is simmering away in its plastic bag as I write this. I’m checking the temperature of the water and hope it’s hot enough. If not, I’ll transfer to a Dutch oven. My bones are simmering away, too.

    I lived in Japan for a year and loved the ramen I had there. I searched for a good recipe and picked yours. Here’s hoping for a good result for my first attempt!

    • I am a huge ramen fan and hunt it every time I go to Japan. I’d say this recipe will get you to near Japanese levels for the broth, pork and eggs etc. The noodles though. Really I have not found anything that comes close to fresh handmade Japanese noodles. I use the dried ones from Japan (thin). Someday I’m going to try to figure out how they do it…

  10. Hey! I just had the joy of trying this recipe last week, and I wondered if I could post one of your photos, with a link to your site, on my blog? I like to recommend good recipes every week.

    Let me know if this is ok! I would not share your recipe, just direct my viewers to your page with your picture and website link. 🙂

    Thanks for the great recipe!

  11. I tried this recipe last night and it worked out great! I chose to roast the pork instead of sous vide it to save time. This recipe deserves to be shared! I hope you don’t mind if I post a photo on my Instagram, diy_bucket_list and tag you in it.

    • I’m so glad it worked out for you. It’s a bit of an epic recipe but the results are worth it I think. Please do post on Instagram and thank you!

  12. I use a topping that comes from Ivan ramen: black garlic oil. It’s super easy to do and VERY tasty (and lasts ages). I make it and put it into a squeeze bottle. I usually leave the chili paste out, honestly, so it’s just the oil. It’s really good.

    Burnt garlic oil This is an incredible condiment and is great on anything!
    1 C canola oil
    1 C sesame oil
    3 T Sambal chili paste
    100 g whole peeled garlic cloves

    • I have never tried that. I really couldn’t say if it would work. Maybe freeze some leftovers and just taste it the next day?

    • I am assuming you mean under pressure? I really have no idea. If I had to guess I would guess probably not but I do not know. For sure it wouldn’t work in slow cooker mode.

  13. WOW! Made this last night and it was AMAZING! If we wanted to make a spicy version of this ramen bowl, how would you suggest we do that? What peppers? When and where would you add them? Thanks in advance and this recipe was absolutely amazing.

    • Glad you liked it. I would be a little worried about overpowering the broth with spice but if I were going to do it I would add some chili sauce (or gochujang) to the tare.

    • I use pork neck bones because that’s what they have at my Asian grocery but I expect any bones with a bit of meat on them would do. A mix of different bones isn’t a bad idea.

  14. It is just me, so I am looking to make this and freeze each component. How is the pork when it is frozen and defrosted in individual servings? Can I put the broth in with the Tare and freeze (like in individual mason jars)? I am currently making the tonkotsu broth 🙂

    • I do freeze the broth in portions so I know that works. I have never tried to freeze the pork or the tare though. I imagine the tare would be fine. If you cryovac (foodsaver) the pork would think it would be OK but I don’t know this for a fact I am afraid.

  15. I’m a little confused. Aren’t technically sake and Mirin the same thing? The bottle of mirin that I have says sweetened sake on it. Do you specifically meant the alcohol sake?

  16. Hi there. Awesome recipe and pictures. Do you have an e-mail where I can contact you? I have a question regarding the pictures.

  17. With all the self-isolation and staying at home, I think now is the perfect time to give this a try. What’s your preferred method for heating up the broth when it’s time to serve? I figure I’ll make the broth and sous vide the chashu the day before and refrigerate, and cook the noodles and tare the day of. Chashu pork will be pan fried to brown it and warm it up, but what to do with the broth? Bring it back to a quick boil on the stove before serving?

  18. Spicy question!

    I made this. Absolutely phenomenal. I spent my birthday by myself being quarantined, so 12 hour broth was a great option. I used your bacon tare recipe, and also made the momofuku pork you provided and just wow. In your opinion since I have full trust in you, what would you do/use to make this spicy? I put spice in the tare? Would love a response from you instead of googling

    • Happy birthday! So glad you liked everything. Would have been doubly sad if you had been disappointed.

      If I ever decide to take any of my precious tonkotsu stock and spice it up I will make this –

      Swap out the chicken for some leftover momofuku pork belly and I think I would be in heaven.

  19. I was in Naha, Okinawa in November 2019 where friends & I discovered the ramen restaurants there. Oh man, I am hooked. Thank you for the recipes. I am cooking the broth right now and my kitchen smells just like the ramen joints I remember.

  20. Hello Romain!

    After trying out your excellent Indian curries, i’ll be making tonkotsu broth from your blog this week-end. My butcher gave me mostly trotters and jawbones, from happy pigs. First timer, so hopefully it’ll turn out good.
    I have a question regarding tare – I was going to braisé my chashu with sake, soy, green onion and mirin, a different method than your oven shashu. Can I simply use my strained braisé chashu liquid for tare (with additional shiro miso)?
    Keep up with the great recipes!

    • Hello Lauren!

      So glad you like the curries.

      I don’t know what your broth will taste like in the end so it’s hard for me to say whether it will work. You may want to defat it a bit and then try concentrating it down to intensify the flavour. Remember that it gets diluted by the tonkotsu broth. Maybe try a bit of your tare in a bit of broth, see how that works and refine as needed. Better that you try it out ahead of time I think.

      Ultimately, it will be about the salt – you want the salt to be in balance in the final broth. You will need to feel your way along a bit but I’m guessing you will wind up with a great bowl of ramen.

  21. Hello Romain
    I want to ask a few questions. When you fry the chasiu, did you slice it first then fry?
    For the soy bacon tare, what kind of bacon did you use? is it okay to use streaky bacon?
    And for sake, i use cooking sake. Will it make the taste different rather than using alcohol sake?

    • Haha. Your questions made me google two things. Yes, the chashu is sliced, then fried. I knew that:-)

      I use streaky bacon. That’s just called bacon in Canada despite what the world thinks. Had to google streaky bacon.

      I didn’t even know cooking sake existed. Seems it has a lot of salt in it. That will change the salt balance of the tare so be careful. This one is tricky. You can’t just taste the tare for salt as it is what seasons the broth. If you use going to use cooking sake I’d add a little less tare and creep up on it. It would be a horrible shame to overseason after going through all this work.

      Or, if you can, just use regular sake and keep the bottle to cook. That’s what I do.

  22. Very excited to try this, going to start early tomorrow morning. My only question is about the pork belly, I saw in another comment you said it was already sliced. The pieces I have are about regular bacon sized except for thickness. They’re about 10 inches long? 1.5 – 2 inches wide, and 2 inches thick. I have 3 of them. Is that about right? Or do you have a whole slab that you later cut down? Wish you had pictures!

  23. Hey, thank you for putting this up. We made it for birthday (today) and it totally worked. We did 2 separate batches simultaneously, one following your recipe, the other the exact same but w beef bones. I’ve had a bowl of the pork broth w momofuku pork belly and a tahini/ginger tare I threw together and its great, better than anything I can get locally for sure.

    I’m not sure how the beef batch will be. its milky but I don’t think it has the same amount of dissolved gelatin so probably won’t be as flavorful. Also made your miso tare which I will eat in the next bowl. Anyway thanks again

  24. Bro this was the most legit Ramen I’ve had in ages. 3day cook for me but oh so worth it. Devoured in 3 mins!! Thanks for the inspiration and detailed instructions

  25. Roast the pork right before tasting will be so perfect. Thank you much!
    In spite of having not enough ingredients but it came out so well I think. I and my wife usually follow the recipe on internet and follow. You are one of favorite one she loves.

  26. I have a question about the water ratio, mainly because Im trying to be super lazy / go do other things. If I have a giant soup pot and can fill it well above the bones, can I add extra water so I dont have to check it as often? Would this somehow dilute the ultimate product or increase the cook time?

    • I’ve never tried it but so long as you can maintain a rolling boil with your giant soup pot and reduce it appropriately at the end it should work…

  27. I jUst made it two days ago, it as realy good! I’m so impressed with your recipe 🙂 I made it last Tuesday and heated it up tonight, the soup and chasu pork taste so much better!! I can’t fine sake here in Melbourne, so I only used chinese cooking wine instead, it turned out awesome 🙂 🙂

  28. I love this recipe very much. I followed your recipe, then I had a great meal. Thank you very much. This dish is both nutritious and delicious. I will make this for parties.

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