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If you’re a ramen fan, you know that it requires the right size and shape bowl. Bowls designed for serving side dishes, cereal, or appetizer portions of soup or salad are far too small to hold all the noodles, toppings, and broth for a serving of ramen, while mixing bowls or salad bowls are too large. If you serve noodle soup in a bowl that’s too shallow, it will get cold quickly, while a bowl with sharply angled walls or a wide, flat base makes it difficult to fish out all the last tasty bits with your chopsticks. A good ramen bowl also needs to be large enough to have some empty space on top even when filled, so you avoid splashing and spilling broth everywhere as you eat.
Of course, large serving bowls are not just for ramen. They’re also perfect for serving other Asian noodle soups, like, udon, pho, or Thai-style boat noodles, rice-bowl dishes like donburi, hearty meal-sized salads, smoothie bowls, popcorn, noodle salads, or any other noodle dish. Traditionally, noodle bowls have been made of ceramic, but these days they’re available in many different shapes and materials.
Read on for the best ramen bowl picks in each category.
Best Overall: Villeroy & Boch Soup Passion Asia Bowl
Coordinating pieces available
Built-in chopstick/spoon rests
A bit heavy
Only available in white
This noodle bowl, from a venerable German ceramics manufacturer, is made from creamy white vitrified porcelain, fired at a very high temperature to make it stronger and more resistant to chipping and breakage. The bowl holds a little over 47 fluid ounces or nearly 6 cups, so it’s perfect for restaurant-sized portions of noodle soup. Its top edge features two indentations, which can be used for either resting a pair of chopsticks horizontally across the bowl or for propping up chopsticks and a soup spoon to prevent them from slipping down into the broth.
The Soup Passion Asia Bowl is part of a range that includes optional, coordinating accessories like matching porcelain chopsticks or soup spoons, a serving tray that can hold both the bowl and some toppings, a lid that keeps steaming soups hot but also has indentations for holding garnishes and dipping sauces, and a stone base designed to keep soups warm.
Best Budget: AQUIVER Ceramic Ramen Bowls, Set of 2
Dishwasher-, microwave-, and oven-safe
Choice of pattern color
Only sold as a set of 2
If you’re looking for an adequately sized, but affordable, ramen bowl, this gently priced set of two durable ceramic bowls might be just right. They comfortably hold 40 fluid ounces and are safe for use in a dishwasher, microwave, and even an oven. The pair of bowls features a lead-free glaze and is available with a hand-painted pattern in three bright colors: red, yellow, or blue. The raised rim on the bottom of the bowl helps prevent slipping and also helps protect a table surface from heat.
Most Stylish: Royal Doulton Bowls of Plenty Noodle Bowls, Set of 4
Microwave- and dishwasher-safe
Stackable/easy to store
Matching dishware is available
Only available as a set of 4
Smaller capacity than some other picks
This set of four noodle bowls, from an established English ceramics maker, has a stylish, contemporary aesthetic. They’re made from porcelain, with a hand-dipped, semi-translucent salt glaze in four different neutral, coordinating colors. At 8 inches in diameter, they hold about 35.5 fluid ounces, sufficient for a small serving of ramen. They’re easy to stack and store and are both microwave- and dishwasher-safe. Part of the Bowls of Plenty collection, matching pieces like plates and mugs are also available.
Best Melamine: Melange Marche Japanese-Style Melamine Noodle Bowl
Shouldn’t be used with acidic foods
Melamine is a type of plastic that’s harder and more durable than other plastics, and it’s often used to make Asian restaurant tableware. Its advantages are that it’s lightweight, affordable, and sturdy. Its biggest drawback, though, is that it’s not microwave-safe and should not be used with highly acidic foods (for example, dishes containing tomatoes, vinegar, or lots of chili peppers).
Another appealing characteristic of melamine is that it looks more like ceramic than other plastics, and this attractive option from Japan features a textured, matte outer surface and traditional Japanese blue-and-white wave design on the interior. At first glance, it looks like porcelain, but it’s shatterproof and chip-resistant. It has a generous, 47-fluid-ounce capacity—enough for a large portion of ramen with broth and toppings—and is also available in an extra-large size that holds 74 fluid ounces, or 9¼ cups.
Best Eco-Friendly: Ozeri Earth 6-Piece Ramen Bowl Set
Practical handles that double as spoon/chopstick rests
Only sold as a set of 2
For a more environmentally friendly option than plastic, this ramen bowl set is made only from plant-based materials and is biodegradable and BPA-free. It’s lightweight and durable, heat-resistant, and even dishwasher-safe, but it’s not recommended for use in a microwave. The set is available in either a red-and-black or beige-and-black color scheme, and each set includes two noodle bowls with matching soup spoons and chopsticks.
The bowls have cleverly designed handles, which make them easy to carry even when they’re full of steaming hot liquid and also double as holders/rests for the spoon and chopsticks, so you can set your utensils down while eating without getting soup all over the tabletop. The bowls hold 33.5 fluid ounces or a small serving of ramen noodles.
Best Glass: SDFB Retro Wave Pattern Glass Ramen Bowl
Textured pattern gives it a non-slip grip
Great for cold noodle dishes/noodle salads
Not dishwasher- or microwave-safe
Can’t be used with boiling liquids or hot soups
Susceptible to thermal shock
It’s rare to see a ramen bowl made of glass, so this refined crystal bowl, embossed with a traditional Japanese Seigaiha wave pattern, would make a stylish conversation piece at your dinner table. The textured pattern makes it easier to hold without slipping out of your hands, and the rim is edged in gold, further enhancing the sophisticated look. The glass is not tempered, however, meaning it can’t be subjected to extreme temperature changes (also known as “thermal shock”) without the risk of shattering or explosion. It also can’t be used in a dishwasher or microwave and boiling liquids can’t be poured directly into it.
Best Metal: Qualizon Double-Layer Stainless Steel Ramen Bowl
Keeps foods hot or cold
Even rarer than a glass ramen bowl is a metal ramen bowl. This unusual, modern-looking bowl is made of sturdy stainless steel and features double-wall construction that acts as insulation. It keeps your soup steaming hot while remaining cooler to the touch on the outside. The ridged outer wall also gives it a firm grip, so you can carry it to the table without it slipping out of your hands. At about 8.7 inches in diameter, it has a generous capacity of 45 fluid ounces, enough for a restaurant-size serving of ramen noodles. Because it’s made of metal, though, it can’t be used in a microwave for reheating.
Best Handmade: Larrabee Ceramics Handmade Noodle Bowl with Chopsticks
Built-in chopstick rests
Comes with chopsticks
These high-fired clay noodle bowls, handmade by Bruce Larrabee in Utah, have a rustic, earthy look and are cleverly designed with notches and holes to hold chopsticks off the table. The bowls come with a pair of plastic chopsticks and each handcrafted piece, available with either a red or brown glaze, is unique. The only caveat is that they are somewhat smaller than our other picks. Though their capacity is not specified, other bowls with similar dimensions (about 7 inches in diameter by 4 inches tall) are advertised as holding 9 fluid ounces, or about 1 cup, so these bowls would be best suited for smaller portions.
Best Set: Arjust Ceramic Ramen Bowl Set
Packaging makes for a great gift
Bowls are microwave- and dishwasher-safe
Only available as 2-bowl set
Recipes are provided as e-book, not a hard copy
This complete set would make a terrific present for a couple of ramen lovers. It includes two textured black ceramic bowls with a 35-ounce capacity, matching ceramic soup spoons and spoon/chopstick rests, hardwood chopsticks, two ceramic cups for tea or sake, and two cloth bags, printed with a traditional Japanese pattern, that can be used for storing the utensils. It all comes packaged in a silk-lined gift box.
Best Large: Crate & Barrel Kai 11-Inch Noodle Bowl with Chopsticks
Comes with chopsticks
Has handles/chopstick rests
Dishwasher- and microwave-safe
This design-forward noodle bowl has a sleek, contemporary look and minimalist angles, but the design is practical as well as stylish. The bowl has two round, cut-out holes that function as handles, so you can carry a bowl of boiling-hot soup without burning your fingers, but also as holders/rests for the bamboo chopsticks that come with the bowl. The bowl is both microwave- and dishwasher-safe and is generously sized, at 11 inches in diameter and nearly 10 inches tall, big enough for super-sized helpings of noodles and broth.
Matching pieces are also available in the same range, including a smaller noodle bowl and a porcelain soup spoon.
Our overall pick for the best ramen/noodle soup bowl is the Villeroy & Boch Soup Passion Asia Bowl (view at Amazon), a durable porcelain bowl with notches in the rim for resting chopsticks or a soup spoon. It’s dishwasher- and microwave-safe and is part of a line of coordinating pieces. For a budget option, the AQUIVER Large Ceramic Ramen Bowls (view at Amazon) set includes two generously sized noodle bowls for less than half the price.
What to Look for in a Ramen Bowl
Noodle bowls come in many different shapes and sizes, but in general, look for deeper bowls with rounded or gently sloping sides. Bowls that are too shallow might not hold enough broth to cover your noodles and will let the soup cool off quickly. Walls that are too steep or sharply angled might make it difficult to reach the bottom of the bowl with a pair of chopsticks.
A bowl that’s sufficient for a single small portion of noodle soup (such as a package of instant ramen) should be able to comfortably hold at least 35 fluid ounces (about 4 1/4 cups or 1 liter). Unfortunately, many sellers don’t specify capacity, especially in online listings, but generally, a bowl that’s about 7.5 inches wide and 3 inches high should be large enough.
For bigger servings or noodle soups that will have lots of broth and be loaded with plenty of toppings, look for a bowl with a capacity of at least 44 fluid ounces (5 1/2 cups or 1,250 milliliters). This is the average size of bowls used in ramen restaurants. It should be at least 8 inches in diameter and about 3 1/2 to 4 inches tall.
For extra-large servings, look for bowls that can hold at least 57 to 60 fluid ounces—these will usually start at about 9 inches in diameter.
Traditional noodle bowls were usually made of some type of ceramic (porcelain, stoneware, or bone china), and most options still are. Ceramic bowls have the advantage of being elegant and stain resistant and help to keep soups piping hot, but on the downside, some are prone to chipping, cracking, or breakage. Plus, they can be quite expensive or heavy, and not all are dishwasher safe. When buying ceramic bowls, make sure they have a lead-free glaze.
Plastic bowls are a more affordable and lighter option, but they’re less durable and tend to retain stains and odors. Melamine is a much harder, sturdier, and stain-resistant type of plastic, but it can’t be used to heat food in a microwave and so might be better suited for salads and other cold dishes than hot soups.
These days many noodle bowls have clever features like a built-in chopstick rest or come with accessories like a lid, spoon, or matching chopsticks. Whether or not these add-ons are important depends mostly on your personal preferences, but since these included pieces are not always of the highest quality, sometimes it might be better to buy the other parts separately.
What is a ramen bowl called?
The general Japanese term for a ramen bowl is ramen bachi. Among the many types of Japanese soup bowls that vary in size and shape, menbachi is a deep and wide bowl especially suitable for ramen.
What is in a typical ramen bowl?
In addition to the clear seasoned broth, such as miso, the dish includes lots of toppings: chopped green onions, soft- or hard-boiled egg, bean sprouts, wood ear mushrooms, pickled bamboo shoots, seaweed, boiled spinach, garlic, and more.
What bowl is ramen served in?
Ramen is served in a traditional ramen bowl with chopsticks and a spoon. A ramen bowl should hold at least 34 ounces or more to fit the broth, which makes up about half, plus the noodles and toppings.
What is the red stuff in ramen?
Benishoga are strips of red pickled ginger. The ginger is cut into matchsticks and pickled in salt and vinegar or a brine, usually a byproduct from pickled plums. The vibrant red color comes from the red shiso leaves (perilla) that are added to the pickling liquid.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
This article was written by Danette St. Onge, a food writer and former features editor at Cook’s Illustrated magazine (part of America’s Test Kitchen). Raised on noodle soups from a young age, she’s eaten countless servings of ramen, pho, and Thai noodles and is always on the lookout for a better bowl to hold them. Even though several international moves have reduced her dishware to a bare minimum, two noodle bowls follow her wherever she goes.