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the best tonkotsu ramen soup recipe

How to make the best tonkotsu ramen from scratch

This recipe is the best tonkotsu ramen recipe you've ever tried. The broth is super creamy, rich, tasty, and made 100% from pork bones.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 6 hrs
Total Time 7 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 4 people


Ramen sauce

  • 1 lb mussels fresh or frozen
  • 3 c water
  • c usukuchi shoyu or light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp koikuchi shoyu or regular soy sauce
  • ¼ c sweet mirin or light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce or salt
  • 2 tbsp cooking sake or Chinese cooking wine/vodka
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 pieces kombu
  • 2 tbsp white miso or sake kasu

Ramen stock

  • 1 lb pork bones
  • 1 lb pork fat


  • 1 lb pork belly skin on
  • 6 c water
  • 1 c cooking sake
  • ¼ c koikuchi shoyu
  • 3 tbsp sweet mirin
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Menma (seasoned bamboo shoot)

  • 1 piece bamboo shoot uncut, unseasoned
  • 2 c water
  • ½ c usukuchi shoyu
  • ¼ c light brown sugar
  • 1 pc kombu

Namuru (spicy seasoned bean sprouts)

  • 0.5 lb bean sprouts
  • 4 c water
  • 3 tbsp usukuchi shoyu
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ichimi togarashi as needed

Other toppings

  • wood ear fungus
  • green onion
  • white sesame seeds toasted
  • ajitstuke tamago seasoned soft boiled egg
  • dried seaweed


For ramen sauce

  • In a medium pot, combine water and mussels, bring to boil then simmer until the liquid reduce by half.
  • Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Discard the mussels.
  • Return the liquid to the pot. Add the rest of the ingredients (except miso). Bring to boil again then reduce the heat to simmer.
  • Then add miso and cook until it dissolves completely.
  • Turn off the heat, remove the pot off the stove. Set it aside for later use.
  • The ramen sauce is supposed to be salty than regular taste because it is used to season and adjust salty level of tonkotsu ramen.

For ramen stock

  • Add pork bone into a large stocking pot and enough water to submerge them completely.
  • Bring to boil then simmer the pot for at least an hour. Skin any impurity that is floating to the surface.
  • After an hour, take out about 90% of the stock and set aside for later use.
  • Then add pork fat and enough water to submerge everything completely, bring to boil again.
  • Keep the pot boiling hard at all time on medium high heat to create such milky and cream texture for the soup.
  • Cook the mixture for 2 hours. During the process, when the water reduces and no longer cover pork bones and fat, add more water immediately. Approximately 30 to 40 minutes between every cycle.
  • After 2 hours has passed, continue cooking the stock for at least an hour. But this time, instead of adding fresh water to the pot, using 90% of stock was set aside to add to the pot.
  • Repeat the process of adding more water when it is reduced below the bones. Approximately 20 to 30 minutes between each cycle.
  • When you can no longer get the soup milkier and creamier, turn off the heat. Strain the stock and set aside.

For chasu

  • Pat dry pork belly then lay it skin side down on a clean cutting board. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  • Neatly roll the meat into a roll then secure it tightly with cooking twine or butcher strings.
  • In a medium cooking pot, add cooking sake and enough water to submerge roll of pork belly completely.
  • Bring to boil then reduce the heat to medium-high and simmer until the liquid reduce more than half, approximately 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Skim and discard any impurity floating to the surface.
  • Add mirin, brown sugar, and 2 soy sauce to the pot. Bring the pot back to boil until sugar dissolved completely.
  • Remember to turn the heat occasionally so it can cook evenly in the sauce.
  • You can partially cover the pot to speed up the process. Keep simmer the pot until the sauce reduce rapidly and start bubbling on the surface.
  • When the sauce becomes caramelized and the pork belly looks shiny dark brown, the chasu is done.
  • Turn off the heat. Take the pork belly out and cool down to room temperature before slicing into thin slices. Preserve the sauce for later use.

For menma

  • Combine all ingredients in a pot, bring to boil then simmer for at least 45 minutes to an hour.
  • When the bamboo shoots are tender, take them out of the liquid. Let them cool down at room temperature, cut into pieces, then set aside for later use. Serve cold.

For namuru

  • Cook bean sprouts in boiling water for 2-3 minutes.
  • Take them out and blanch in ice cold water immediately.
  • Drain then add soy sauce, sesame oil, and chili pepper powder to season. Serve cold.


  • Quickly sear chasu in a cooking pan with a small amount of caramelized sauce before serving.
  • In a serving bowl, add about ¼ c ramen sauce.
  • Followed by a desired amount of ramen noodles. Give a few stir to coat the noodle with the sauce completely.
  • Add 1.5c of ramen stock in the bowl.
  • Add chasu on top together with other desired topping. Enjoy!