How many calories are in a tonkotsu ramen?

Ramen is a popular Japanese noodle soup dish that has gained popularity worldwide. Tonkotsu ramen is a specific type of ramen that is made with a pork bone broth, giving it a rich, creamy, and hearty flavor. But with its noodle, broth, meat, and topping ingredients, many people wonder just how many calories are in a bowl of tonkotsu ramen.

What is Tonkotsu Ramen?

Tonkotsu ramen gets its name from its broth, which is made by simmering pork bones for many hours to extract the collagen, fat, and nutrients. This gives the broth a cloudy, white, creamy consistency unlike other lighter ramen broths. Tonkotsu broth is valued for its rich, hearty, and comforting flavor.

Authentic tonkotsu ramen usually contains the following basic components:

  • Tonkotsu broth – thick, creamy, pork bone broth
  • Ramen noodles – wheat noodles, typically straight and thin
  • Pork belly – sliced braised or roasted pork belly chashu
  • Aroma oil – flavored oil added to the broth
  • Toppings – sliced green onions, dried bamboo shoots, boiled egg, etc.

Additional toppings can include black garlic oil, sesame seeds, butter, bean sprouts, and more. The rich broth paired with thin noodles and savory toppings makes tonkotsu ramen a hearty, comforting, and delicious noodle soup.

Calories in Tonkotsu Ramen Components

To determine how many calories are in a bowl of tonkotsu ramen, we need to look at the calorie content of each component:

Tonkotsu Broth

The tonkotsu broth is the foundation of the dish. Pork bones are simmered for many hours to extract the fat, collagen, marrow, and nutrients to create the creamy broth. A 1 cup serving of pork broth contains:

  • 71 calories
  • 4.5 g fat
  • 0 g carbs
  • 6 g protein

However, tonkotsu broth is richer than plain pork broth due to the emulsified fat and collagen, so a cup likely contains 100-150 calories.


Ramen noodles are typically made from wheat flour, water, salt, and kansui (alkaline mineral water). A standard ramen serving contains around 200g of noodles. 200g of plain wheat noodles contains:

  • 220 calories
  • 0.4 g fat
  • 46 g carbs
  • 8 g protein

Pork Belly Chashu

Sliced, braised, or roasted pork belly chashu is a key component adding flavor and texture. A 100g serving of pork belly contains:

  • 420 calories
  • 45 g fat
  • 0 g carbs
  • 15 g protein

So a typical 50g portion of pork belly would add 210 calories.

Aroma Oil

Aroma oils are added to tonkotsu ramen to enhance flavor. These are typically made from garlic, chili, or sesame oil. One tablespoon of sesame oil contains:

  • 120 calories
  • 14 g fat
  • 0 g net carbs
  • 0 g protein

So a typical teaspoon of aroma oil adds around 40 calories.

Vegetable Toppings

Typical vegetable toppings include sliced scallions, spinach, nori, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts and more. These provide nutrients but are low in calories. We can estimate around 30 calories total for 1/2 cup of assorted vegetable toppings.


A soft boiled egg is often added to tonkotsu ramen. One large egg contains:

  • 78 calories
  • 5 g fat
  • 0.6 g carbs
  • 6 g protein

Total Calories in Tonkotsu Ramen

Adding up the average calorie counts for each component, we can estimate the total calories in a bowl of tonkotsu ramen:

Component Calories
Tonkotsu Broth (1 cup) 100
Noodles (200g) 220
Pork Belly Chashu (50g) 210
Aroma Oil (1 tsp) 40
Vegetable Toppings (1/2 cup) 30
Egg (1 large) 78
Total Calories 678

So in total, a typical bowl of tonkotsu ramen contains around 678 calories. However, this can vary depending on the portion sizes, ingredients, and recipes used.

Ways to Reduce Calories in Tonkotsu Ramen

While tonkotsu ramen is a high calorie dish, there are some ways you can tweak it to reduce the calories if you want a lighter meal:

  • Use reduced sodium broth – Tonkotsu broth is high in fat from pork bones. Opting for a low sodium broth cuts some fat.
  • Reduce noodle portion – Cut back on noodles to reduce carbs/calories.
  • Choose leaner protein – Chicken or shrimp instead of fatty pork belly.
  • Load up on veggies – Fill up on negative calorie toppings like bean sprouts.
  • Skip the egg yolk – Egg white only removes fat/cholesterol.
  • Easy on aroma oils – They add lots of flavor but also calories.
  • Request low-cal dressing – e.g. vinegar, mustard, chili sauce.
  • Drink water – Hydrate with water instead of high-cal beverages.

With some simple substitutions and reductions, you can shave off a couple hundred calories from a tonkotsu ramen. But keep in mind, altering it too much affects the signature creamy, rich broth.

Health Impact of Tonkotsu Ramen Calories

At around 678 calories per serving, tonkotsu ramen is considered a high calorie food. For the average person eating 2,000 calories per day, one tonkotsu ramen meal would provide 34% of your total daily calorie needs.

The calories in tonkotsu ramen come mainly from fat (35% of calories) and carbohydrates (55% of calories). While high in calories, it does provide some nutritional benefits:

  • Protein – Tonkotsu broth and pork provide protein for muscle repair.
  • Collagen – Bone broth is high in collagen, beneficial for skin, hair, nails, and joints.
  • Sodium – Can help replenish sodium lost if you exercise heavily and sweat.
  • Iron – Pork and egg provide heme iron to prevent anemia.

However, the high calorie, fat, sodium, and cholesterol content of tonkotsu ramen should be minimized if eating it regularly. Potential downsides for your health include:

  • Weight gain – At 678 calories in one meal, consuming tonkotsu ramen frequently could lead to obesity.
  • High blood pressure – The broth is very high in sodium, which can negatively impact blood pressure.
  • High cholesterol – Pork belly and egg yolk contain high amounts of dietary cholesterol.
  • GI issues – Heavy, fatty broth may cause indigestion, bloating, and diarrhea in some.

To balance out the nutritional pros and cons, tonkotsu ramen is often viewed as more of an occasional indulgence or comfort food rather than an everyday meal. Moderating portion sizes and frequency is important.

Comparing Tonkotsu Ramen Calories to Other Foods

At around 678 calories per serving, a bowl of tonkotsu ramen is very high in calories compared to many other common meals and dishes. Here is how it compares calorie-wise to some other foods:

Food Calories
Tonkotsu ramen (1 bowl) 678
Burger and fries 600-800
Chicken sandwich 530
Bowl of pasta 500-700
Pizza slice 280
Salmon filet 206
Chicken Caesar salad 490
Bowl of oatmeal 150

As you can see, a tonkotsu ramen is on par or even higher in calories than many burgers, sandwiches, pasta dishes, and pizzas. Choosing lighter options like salads, fish, rice/grains, or oatmeal more often can help offset and balance out the occasional indulgent tonkotsu ramen meal.

Tips for Enjoying Tonkotsu Ramen While Managing Calories

Here are some tips to keep in mind so you can still enjoy delicious tonkotsu ramen while managing your overall calorie intake and health:

  • Share a tonkotsu ramen as an appetizer – Many ramen portions are huge so splitting can cut calories in half.
  • Pair with salad or veggies – Add a side of salad, steamed veggies, or miso soup for nutrients.
  • Savor it slowly – Eat it slowly to savor all the flavors, which may help you feel satisfied with less.
  • Balance your daily calories – If having a big ramen meal, opt for lighter calories for other meals/snacks.
  • Stay hydrated – Drink water before and during your meal to avoid overeating.
  • Practice portion control – Only eat until satisfied, not overly full.
  • Limit frequency – Enjoy tonkotsu ramen as an occasional treat, not a daily meal.

By implementing some of these tips, you can still enjoy an indulgent bowl of tonkotsu ramen without going overboard on calories or negatively impacting your health if eaten too often.

The Bottom Line

Tonkotsu ramen is a high calorie dish, with an average bowl containing around 678 calories. These calories come from the broth, noodles, pork belly, egg, oils, and toppings. While tasty, consuming frequent heavy bowls of tonkotsu ramen can lead to weight gain and other health issues. Moderating portion sizes, frequency, and pairing it with lighter foods can allow you to enjoy this delicious ramen while maintaining balanced nutrition and calories.

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