How many calories are in just the broth of ramen noodles?

Quick Answer

The number of calories in ramen broth alone varies depending on the brand and flavor, but is typically very low, in the range of 5-20 calories per serving. The broth is made mainly of water, salt, and seasoning, which contain minimal calories.

What is Ramen Broth?

Ramen broth, also known as ramen soup base, is the flavored liquid component of ramen noodles. It provides the flavor to the noodles and is an essential part of the ramen eating experience. Broth can come in a variety of flavors like tonkotsu, shoyu, miso, and shio.

The main ingredients in ramen broth are:

  • Water – Provides the bulk of the liquid base
  • Meat and/or fish – Pork, chicken, and dried fish are commonly used to provide a savory, umami flavor
  • Vegetables – Onions, garlic, carrots, mushrooms and more are often used
  • Herbs and spices – Ginger, pepper, sesame oil, garlic, etc for aroma and taste
  • Salt – For seasoning the broth
  • Soy sauce or miso paste – For flavor, saltiness, and color
  • Dashi – A stock made from kombu seaweed and dried bonito flakes

These ingredients are combined and simmered for hours to develop a rich, complex broth full of umami deliciousness. The broth starts with water, which contains 0 calories, and then gains flavor from the other added ingredients.

Calories in Different Ramen Broth Flavors

The number of calories in ramen broth can vary considerably depending on the brand, specific ingredients used, and flavor. Here is the calorie count for the broth of some popular ramen flavors:

Ramen Flavor Calories per Serving
Tonkotsu 10-15 calories
Shoyu 5-10 calories
Shio 5 calories
Miso 10-20 calories
Spicy miso 15-20 calories
Curry 15-25 calories

As you can see, most ramen broths contain minimal calories, as the majority of the liquid is water. Tonkotsu broth tends to be higher in calories because it contains pork bone broth, while salty shio and shoyu broths are on the lower end. Spicy flavored broths get some additional calories from chili oils and pastes.

In general, a serving of ramen broth (about 1 cup) will have 5-20 calories for most flavors. The calories come from the fat and protein in the broth ingredients.

Low Calorie Broth Ingredients

Ramen broth is able to remain low in calories because it starts with water as the main ingredient. Here are some of the common low calorie broth ingredients and why they don’t add many calories:

  • Water – Provides volume without any calories
  • Aromatic vegetables – Onion, carrot, mushrooms add flavor without much calorie density
  • Seaweed and bonito flakes – Used in small quantities for umami flavor
  • Herbs and spices – Garlic, ginger, chili, etc provide intense taste without calories
  • Soy sauce – Only 5 calories per tablespoon, adds salty flavor

The small amounts of ingredients added to the water provide the savory taste but don’t significantly increase the calorie count.

Higher Calorie Broth Ingredients

While ramen broth is mostly low calorie, some ingredients can raise the calorie count more significantly:

  • Meat and bones – Pork, chicken and beef contain protein and fat
  • Oils – Sesame, chili or other oils boost fat content
  • Miso paste – Fermented soybean paste is high in calories
  • Nuts – Cashews or peanuts can be used to make creamy broth

Using more of these calorie-dense ingredients can increase the calories in the broth, especially if using higher-fat meats like pork. Things like miso and nut broths may contain 50-100 calories per serving.

Typical Low Calorie Ramen Broth Nutrition Facts

Here is an example nutritional label for a typical low-calorie ramen broth:

Amount Per Serving
Calories 5
Total Fat 0g
Sodium 500mg
Total Carbs 1g
Protein 1g

As you can see, with only 5 calories per serving, the broth is almost entirely water. There is minimal fat, carbs, sugar and protein. The main nutrient is sodium from the added salt, averaging 500-1000 mg per serving.

This nutritional label is for a typical clear, mild broth made with aromatics, salt and dashi. Broths made with higher fat ingredients would have slightly more calories and fat.

Calorie Difference Between Broth and Noodles

While ramen broth is very low in calories, the noodles are where most of the calories come from in a bowl of ramen. Here is a calorie comparison:

  • 1 cup ramen broth – 5-20 calories
  • 2 oz ramen noodles – 200-300 calories

The wheat flour noodles contain much more calorie density versus the mostly water-based broth. Also, ramen packets contain dried noodles and broth powder, so calories can increase if you add the entire broth powder packet versus just using a portion.

So the broth alone contributes minimal calories – the bulk comes from the carbohydrate-rich noodles. This is why you can make a lower calorie ramen by reducing the amount of noodles.

Tips for Light Broth Ramen

Here are some tips for keeping your ramen light by focusing on the broth:

  • Use a low-sodium broth base like shio or shoyu
  • Avoid fatty, creamy broths like tonkotsu
  • Use plenty of aromatics like mushrooms, scallions, ginger
  • Limit oils and nut-based broths
  • Use less broth powder from packet
  • Add more vegetables
  • Use about half the noodle brick
  • Top with lean protein like chicken breast or shrimp

Focusing on the broth can help reduce the calories while still providing lots of flavorful satisfaction. You can also look for low-calorie broths sold separately from noodles to further control the calories.

Healthiest Ramen Broth Tips

In addition to being low calorie, here are some tips for making your ramen broth as healthy as possible:

  • Use bone broth for minerals like calcium, phosphorus
  • Add seaweed for vitamins and minerals
  • Use whole vegetables and limit broth powders
  • Simmer broth for a long time to extract nutrients
  • Use herbs and spices instead of salt for flavor
  • Include mushrooms which are immune boosting
  • Use miso paste for probiotics
  • Try a fish broth for omega-3 fatty acids

Making your own broth at home can allow you to control the ingredients and optimize the micronutrient content. This makes the broth an even healthier component of your meal.

Convenience of Instant Ramen Broth

Instant ramen broth packets provide a quick, convenient way to enjoy ramen by just adding hot water. Here are some of the advantages:

  • Very fast preparation in just minutes
  • No need for lengthy cooking of broth
  • Packets are portable for easy transportation
  • Broth ingredients are pre-portioned
  • Variety of flavors available
  • Minimal cleanup afterwards

The convenience does come at the cost of less control over the ingredients and higher sodium content. But as a quick lunch or snack, it’s hard to beat the ease of instant ramen broth packets.

Making Your Own Ramen Broth

For the freshest, healthiest broth with all-natural ingredients, making your own ramen broth is ideal. Here is an overview of the process:

  1. Start with water, chicken or vegetable stock for the base
  2. Add aromatics like onion, garlic, ginger, mushrooms
  3. Include vegetables stalks and skins for flavor
  4. Use bones, seafood shells or dried fish for umami
  5. Add spices like peppercorns, coriander, chili flakes
  6. Let simmer for 3-4 hours
  7. Strain the solids out of the broth
  8. Season broth to taste with soy sauce, miso or salt

The long simmering time extracts maximum flavor and nutrition from the ingredients. This homemade approach allows you to control the sodium content and use higher quality ingredients.

Ramen Broth Recipe Ideas

Here are some recipe ideas for making your own tasty and healthy ramen broth:

  • Chicken broth – Made with chicken bones/carcass, onions, garlic, ginger, and mushrooms
  • Beef bone broth – Bones provide collagen, use with onions, carrots, celery
  • Veggie broth – Onion, mushrooms, garlic, cabbage, celery, carrots, radish
  • Tonkotsu – Pork neck bones and aromatics cooked for 10+ hours
  • Seafood broth – Shrimp shells, squid, fish heads
  • Miso broth – White or yellow miso paste added to dashi broth

Experiment with different ingredients to create your own signature broth. Homemade broth lasts 5-7 days refrigerated or can be frozen.

Pre-made Low Calorie Ramen Broth

As an alternative to instant packets or making it yourself, you can buy pre-made fresh ramen broth. Advantages include:

  • Saves time compared to making it yourself
  • No MSG or artificial ingredients
  • Lower in sodium than instant packets
  • High quality ingredients from scratch
  • Variety of flavors available
  • Long shelf life when refrigerated

Look for brands selling ramen broth in tetra pak cartons that focus on fresh, all-natural ingredients. The broth is typically found in the refrigerated section rather than with the dry goods.

Some popular pre-made brands include Ottogi, Yamachan and Kokumaro. This can give you the middle ground between convenience and quality.


Is ramen broth healthy?

Ramen broth can be healthy when focusing on whole ingredients like vegetables, bones, seafood, mushrooms, and avoiding excessive sodium. Homemade broths are healthiest. Instant ramen packets are less healthy due to high sodium and MSG.

Is ramen broth keto?

Yes, plain ramen broth is keto-friendly, with almost no carbs or calories. Avoid broths made with starchy vegetables like potatoes. Stick to broth made with aromatics like onions, mushrooms.

Is ramen broth gluten free?

Most ramen broths are gluten-free as they are made from ingredients like vegetables, bones, fish. The exception would be broths containing soy sauce or miso, which can contain gluten. Check the ingredients to be sure.

Can you drink ramen broth?

Yes, you can drink ramen broth on its own, almost like a soup or tea. It’s flavorful and healthy, while being very low in calories. Avoid overdoing the sodium consumption however.

Is ramen broth dairy free?

Traditional ramen broth is dairy-free, using only ingredients like vegetables, mushrooms, fish, and meat. Some modern broth recipes incorporate dairy like milk, butter or cream. Check ingredients if avoiding dairy.


Ramen broth is the flavorful soul of the ramen noodle experience. While extremely low in calories, averaging just 5-20 per serving, it can provide a savory, comforting base to make a healthy meal. Focus on homemade broths made from scratch using whole ingredients like chicken, vegetables, ginger, and garlic to maximize nutrition. With the right homemade broth as your foundation, you can customize the rest of the bowl for a perfectly delicious low-calorie ramen meal.

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