How Long to Cook Somen Noodles: A Quick and Delicious Summer Treat

Summer is the season for light, refreshing meals that can help beat the heat. One dish that perfectly fits this description is somen noodles, a Japanese staple. Somen are thin, delicate noodles made from wheat flour, and they’re a popular choice for hot weather thanks to their quick cooking time and versatility. But how long do you actually need to cook somen noodles? Let’s dive into the details.

What Are Somen Noodles?

Somen noodles are a type of Japanese wheat noodle that originated in the Nagano Prefecture. They’re incredibly thin, with a diameter of around 1 mm, and are typically served chilled with a dipping sauce called tsuyu. Somen noodles are made by stretching wheat dough with vegetable oil until it forms thin strands, which are then air-dried.

The thinness of somen noodles is what sets them apart from other Japanese noodles like udon or soba. Their delicate texture and ability to absorb flavors make them a perfect canvas for a variety of ingredients and dipping sauces.

The Quick Cooking Time

One of the most appealing aspects of somen noodles is their incredibly short cooking time. According to Just One Cookbook, a popular Japanese cooking blog, somen noodles only require one to two minutes of cooking time.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the cooking process:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Add the somen noodle bundles to the boiling water.
  3. Stir the noodles gently with chopsticks to prevent them from sticking together.
  4. Cook for one to two minutes, or according to the package instructions.
  5. Once cooked, immediately drain the noodles in a colander.
  6. Rinse the noodles under cold running water to remove excess starch and oil.

It’s essential to work quickly when cooking somen noodles, as their thin structure means they can overcook easily. Keeping an eye on the noodles and following the package instructions is crucial for achieving the perfect texture.

Serving Suggestions

The beauty of somen noodles lies in their versatility. They can be served in a variety of ways, making them a perfect canvas for showcasing your culinary creativity.

Cold Somen Noodles

One of the most popular ways to enjoy somen noodles is chilled, with a dipping sauce called tsuyu. This dashi-based sauce is typically made with soy sauce, mirin, and bonito flakes, creating a perfect balance of savory and umami flavors.

To serve cold somen noodles, rinse the cooked noodles under cold water and arrange them in a bowl or on a plate. Provide individual bowls of tsuyu sauce and garnishes like grated ginger, sliced scallions, and shredded nori seaweed for diners to customize their dishes.

Hot Somen Noodle Soup

While somen noodles are often associated with summer dishes, they can also be enjoyed in hot soups during the cooler months. A popular dish is nyumen, which features somen noodles in a hot dashi broth, often with toppings like sliced pork, mushrooms, and spinach.

Stir-Fried Somen Noodles

For a heartier meal, consider stir-frying somen noodles with a variety of vegetables and proteins. The noodles’ delicate texture pairs beautifully with the bold flavors of soy sauce, garlic, and ginger, creating a satisfying and flavorful dish.

Tips for Perfect Somen Noodles

To ensure your somen noodles turn out perfectly every time, keep these tips in mind:

  • Use a large pot with plenty of water to prevent overcrowding and sticking.
  • Stir the noodles gently with chopsticks to separate the strands.
  • Slightly undercook the noodles to maintain their springy texture.
  • Rinse the cooked noodles under cold water to remove excess starch and oil.
  • Serve the noodles chilled or at room temperature for optimal texture.


Somen noodles are a delightful summer staple that can be prepared in no time. With their quick cooking time of just one to two minutes, you can enjoy a refreshing and flavorful meal without spending hours in the kitchen. Whether you prefer them chilled with a dipping sauce, in a hot broth, or stir-fried with your favorite ingredients, somen noodles are a versatile and delicious choice for any occasion.

So, the next time you’re looking for a light and satisfying meal during the warm summer months, reach for a bundle of somen noodles and let their delicate texture and ability to absorb flavors transport you to the heart of Japanese cuisine.

How to Make JAPANESE Somen NOODLES 5 Ways


Do you have to rinse somen noodles?

Rinsing somen noodles removes excess oil So, to avoid this issue, you should always make sure to rinse somen after boiling. To rinse the noodles, simply put them in a colander, place them under running water, and use both of your hands to carefully wash them, per Tokyo Central.

How do you keep somen noodles from sticking?

To prevent somen noodles from sticking together while cooking, it is important to rinse them thoroughly with cold water before and after cooking. Additionally, adding a small amount of oil to the boiling water can help to prevent sticking.

How long does cooked somen noodles last?

When it comes to cooked somen noodles, the timeframe in which they should be consumed is much shorter. After cooking, any leftovers should be refrigerated and are best consumed within two days to ensure both safety and quality.

Are somen noodles healthy?

Udon, ramen, yakisoba and somen noodle are all made from white flour and can be made with bleached refined flour which doesn’t have many nutrients and high GI – a recipe for overweight and disease!

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