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How To Cook & Like Shirataki Noodles

I've been getting e-mails asking about shirataki noodles and why I never use this zero-carb ingredient in my recipes. The reason was simple: I didn't like them... at all. The first time I tried shirataki noodles was a few years ago and I have to admit it was not the most pleasant experience. All I could remember was this terrible smell and rubbery texture. Low-carb or not, I thought it wasn't worth the effort and money.

That has all changed after I read this article by Low Carb Dietitian. I realised that I didn't really know how to use shirataki noodles. The golden rule is:

"Tip: Rinse them really well and pan-fry them without oil or other liquid in order to remove as much water as possible. The less water that remains, the better the texture will be."

I'll get back to how to prepare shirataki noodles later in this post.

What Are Shirataki Noodles?

Shirataki noodles (aka miracle noodles, aka konjak noodles, aka konnyaku noodles) is an ingredient popular in Asian cuisine. It's made from konjak plant which is ground and them shaped into noodles, fettuccini or even rice. Shirataki noodles are almost zero calorie and zero carb. They are 97% water, 3% fibre and traces of protein, fat and calcium. There are 4 kcal and ~ 1 gram of net carbs per 100 g / 3.5 oz of shirataki noodles. If you find that the packaging says "zero" calories or "zero carbs", etc. it's because the FDA allowed products with less than 5 calories / less than 1 gram of carbs, protein and fat to be labeled as zero.

Benefits & Side Effects

Benefits

This study shows that the soluble fibre called glucomannan found in shirataki noodles may help you lose weight and improve health. Below are the main benefits of glucomannan:

  • Soluble fiber is very low in calories and lowers the energy-to-weight ratio of the food that is consumed.
  • It has shown to promote satiety via several mechanisms. Including shirataki noodles will keep you fuller for longer!
  • It slows down digestion which again induces satiety.
  • It inhibits carbohydrate absorption and improves glycemic parameters (lowering blood glucose levels and inhibiting insulin spikes).
  • It reduces fat and protein absorption (only beneficial for excessive calorie consumption).

Side Effects

The same study shows that there are few potential side effects of glucomannan.

  • It may cause minor gastrointestinal complaints, such as bloating, gas, and mild diarrhea. If it does, reduce the serving size.
  • It may reduce the bioavailability of oral medications. You should avoid eating shirataki noodles with your medication and supplements. The medication should be taken 1 hour before or 4 hours after your meal containing glucomannan.
  • There have been some incidents of esophagus, throat or intestine blockage by using glucomannan tablets which absorb large amounts of water. Note that the tablets are not the same as shirataki noodles which already contain water and don't pose this risk.
  • Since there are no nutrients, do not overuse products containing glucomannan. The vast majority of your diet should be focused on real food (eggs, meat, non-starchy vegetables, raw dairy, avocados, berries, nuts, etc).

Types of Products

You can find all sorts of products using glucomannan: noodles, fettuccini, penne or even rice. My favourite ones are noodles and rice simply because the texture is better and gets easily mixed with other ingredients, minimising the rubbery sensation. I use Zero Noodles and Miracle Noodles, both of which offer a wide variety of products to choose from. Another product that is worth trying is Glucomannan powder which can be used as thickener in smoothies or instead of xanthan gum. Avoid product called Barenaked noodles - apart from konjak flour, it also contains soy bean flour.

How to Cook Shirataki Noodles

So what are the common mistakes when using shirataki noodles? Back to the beginning when I mentioned my initial failure when using them, I thought that washing them well will be enough to get rid of their natural but not very pleasant smell. As I realised, that's not enough. To get the best results, you'll need to cook and pan-fry them.

If you really want to enjoy shirataki noodles, don't have high expectations - they won't taste like real pasta. The best way is to use them in a stir-fry rather than "regular" pasta meals. The trick is to use them in relatively small amounts and mix them with other ingredients like vegetables, meat and cheese. This and the cooking method explained below will help improve the texture. Adding spices, herbs, garlic, ginger and other ingredients will boost their flavour and make them taste delicious!

Here is how to achieve best results:

  1. Drain the noodles - discard all the water. Place the noodles in a large sieve and wash well under running water.
  2. Transfer into a pot with boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes. This step is important for removing the unpleasant odour.
  3. Drain the noodles and place on a hot pan without any grease or liquids. Fry over a medium-high heat for about 10 minutes. There will be a lot of steam and that's what you want to achieve - remove as much water as possible without drying them out. If they become too dry, they will significantly reduce in size. Using tongs, you'll need to turn the noodles to avoid that. This step is important for their texture.
  4. When done, place in a bowl and have it ready for a stir-fry. Try in my Easy Paleo Pad Thai or Prawn & Noodle Stir-Fry!

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Please, note that I do not offer personalised advice. For personalised advice you can contact one of our experts.

Comments (41)

Just ordered the Smart Noodle shirataki noodles. As described, the smell was off putting. But I probably would not have noticed if I didn't put my beak into the pack to smell them. I followed the directions on preparing them. Quick and easy. During the pan cooking stage, I added a quick shake of spicy seasoning, then in the bowl before eating them, I mixed in some black bean salsa.
The verdict... it's quite good. The consistency of the noodles are fine. And the ability of the noodles to acquire and hold the flavors of added ingredients is a bonus, as they have no discernible flavor of their own. I can't wait to mix in some tuna on my next pack. The possibilities seem endless if one is brave enough.

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I mostly use them in stir-fries but also tried them in ramen soups and pasta meals. I agree, they are neutral and can hold sauces really well!

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I follow these directions and put 1/4 cup salsa and it's very good and satisfying with a very low calorie count.

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Excellent information about shirataki noodles.I had a great experience with Miracle Noodle shirataki products and i loved it!

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Great info!  Thank you--going to try it!  
Gigi

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I love these noodles. I have made them numerous times. I have added spices into the pot when boiling (salt, garlic, spicy, etc...) to flavor the noodles. My favorite way to eat them is with shrimp and broccoli, with butter and garlic. I have not tried the rice yet, but that is on my list.

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That's a great way to add flavour!

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I was always very loyal to Miracle Noodles but have found the Vitacost brand of shirataki fettuccine to be far superior in terms of cut and texture (not to mention price!). The strands are far thicker than angel hair but not so broad as other brands, which means they wrap around the fork more easily and hold a sauce better.
For some reason, they don't seem as "slippery" either and the volume of noodles seems greater, since they are cut thinner. I will continue to buy these exclusively going forward.

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After I do the triple rinsing....I put them in the sauce either my preferred spaghetti sauce or Alfredo...if they don't spend time soaking in the sauce they are too rubbery...

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I began a low carb/high fat lifestyle about 6 months ago and found the "Miracle Noodle" brand pretty early ... I simply rinse for about 30 seconds under running cold water which takes care of most of the "fishy" smell.  I then generally put them in boiling water for a minute or two; it takes a little while to come back to a boil but I begin counting as soon as they go in the boiling water.  I find them a great substitute for pasta ... they're more tender than al dente pasta but, in my opinion, are very similar in texture to pasta cooked past the al dente stage.  I've used them for all sorts of pasta dishes with meat sauce, carbonara, etc., and I'm looking forward to trying your pad thai dish (always one of my favorites).  Have tried fettucini, angel hair, and rice shapes and just received a spinach fettucine Amazon order today.  The rice shape is okay but I think I prefer cauliflower rice.  Thanks for all your delicious recipes and information.  Great site!

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I agree, I also prefer cauliflower rice. I haven't tried the other shapes but I'm planning to Smile Thank you!

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I bought these from an online diet place, and they are in an already made up marinara sauce. They were very good, and tasted quite like maybe a slightly overcooked spaghetti noodle? I would love to replicate that, but maybe not so tender, and cheaper, because they charge a lot for the prepared stuff. I added in a little ground beef and some parmesan, and, it was pretty tasty. Also, if I made my own, I would get more of the noodle, and not so much of the marinara sauce. Any ideas on how they might have made these noodles so pasta like? I love the idea of the fiber content along with everything else.

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Hi Linda, shirataki noodles are pure konjak root so I'd think that that's how the texture is. I haven't tried the flavoured ones but the ones I get from Amazon are quite inexpensive, especially when you buy them in bulk.

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I found these noodles at our wal-mart  in the vegetables section

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I didn't know what to expect from these noodles, given all the fuss about the smell, the texture, etc., etc., etc. I rinsed them as directed on the package, boiled them for two minutes, drained them and had already thrown them in my soup when I read on this site how to dry them out before using. All I can say is, "Good grief! Hasn't anyone eaten Asian food before?"  I think they're wonderful. I wouldn't have noticed the smell at all except for all the carrying on about it, and I think the texture is perfect: not "rubbery" at all, not mushy as I expected, but just slightly al dente. They are probably the best noodles I've ever added to soup.  I'm looking forward to trying them with peanut sauce. Thanks for your blog.

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Glad you like them Bonnie! Smile

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Fed them to my allergic gluten=free 12 year old. He started itching & had a belly button bad pain the next morning. Any one else had a reaction to these noodles? they were gluten free & from vitac_st & he liked them.

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I'm sorry to hear that Shannon. I haven't experienced that and haven't heard of such reaction. You may want to ask in our group instead: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Ketodietplan

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Yes I use them all the time and love them. I also agree they are better as a noodle replacement rather than pasta replacement. My primary use is noodles for soup or stir fried noodles

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Yes, totally agree, they are best in soups and in stir-fried meals.

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Excellent advice.  I tried this and it worked very well.  Thank you!

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Glad you liked it! Smile

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I just purchased Kelp Noodles as I was looking at the Shirataki noodles at Whole Foods here in California.  Zero net carb and 6 calories per serving.  Loaded with minerals.  Crunchy taste.  No odor.  The only prep is rinsing.  Have you tried them?  Opinions?  Website is http://kelpnoodles.com/
I really enjoy reading your recipes and hope to try some soon for my spouse, who is interested in a Keto diet.  She lost a lot of weight on Adkins once in the past, but found it very limited.  You have many interesting recipes that could keep her on it much longer!

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Hi Dotty, thank you! Kelp noodles is and ingredient I haven't tried myself yet but once I do, I'll post a recipe / guide on my blog. They are keto-friendly and people seem to like them Smile

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Cooked them for the first time last night following the instructions. They smelled weird alright! I got the ones that look like tubes and are fatter than the ones on this post. But I made a curry sauce and they were great! What a find! Eat the leftovers today for lunch and were even better. Thanks Martina!

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Glad you liked them Cristina! Smile

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Do they keep after being cooked. I'm sure I won't finish a pack and would like to have leftovers next day but no sure the quality after a day. Do I freeze or refrigerate?

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Yes, you can keep them in the fridge for several days.

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Nope. Frown  Even after using this method to prepare them I cannot bring myself to eat them.  I guess I am just too texture sensitive.  I am envious of those who can enjoy them.

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Hi Gina, try to "hide" them in recipes like this and only use a small amount: ketodietapp.com/.../prawn-and-noodle-stir-fry. I'll soon post a recipe for Paleo Pad Thai - I can't personally tell the difference Smile

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Gina Jester,
I don't like them either, by themselves.  After heating to dry them out, I chop them up small (like rice), then add them to soups, stews, etc.  I've served them to several "high" carb friends and not a single one has ever had an adverse reaction!  But if I let them smell it first, most won't even try it.  If you prepare them correctly, and incorporate them into spicy dishes (in small pieces) then they could become a welcome addition to your low carb options!

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I am glad you mentioned Shirataki Noodles! Actually, a lot of people confuse shirataki "noodles" (which are no noodles at all) with ito konnyaku "noodles"..... . I guess it gets lost in translation... wrote a little article about it and featured a Japanese recipe as well.
misskay.tv/.../

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Interesting! So it looks like the difference may be just in the thickness (konnyaku being thicker than shirataki)? I thought these two were the same Smile

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Those are shirataki noodles. Shirataki come in many different shapes and thicknesses. Different brands may call them slightly different names but they are the same product. For example there are companies that call them "Yam noodles" even though there is no Yam in it. That's because the Kojac plant is called Yambean in some parts of Asia. The names Konnyaku & Shirataki are both used in Japan.
Here's a quote from the Konjac site: "Referred to as Moyu or Juruo in China, and Konnyaku or Shirataki Noodles in Japan".
Scrolling down your product page notes it as well: Produktbeschreibungen, Shirataki Nudeln. So I hope you're not paying more, thinking you're getting a different product...it's just a different brand.

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Thank you for the clarification! Smile

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i use Organic Konjac.   Fettuccini, Rice, etc etc.  Iv not noticed any Odour but always strain the amount I use.  Our packets are 250g = 2 servings.  I stopped using them on this programme as they are so filling but after reading your notes they will be pan fried with butter in future before taste is added.   It's a quick meal if you are adding cream and Thai green curry with protein / veg.    

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Yes, they are really filling! I think they work best in Asian-style dishes Smile

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I've read about nuking them also, instead of frying. Glad to know someone with Japanese influence does this; it seems less hassle.

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I've used Shirataki noodles for many years, long before they became popular in LCHF/Keto circles. I actually first had them when I lived in Japan as a child. I didn't start cooking them myself till the '90s when I discovered the konjacfoods.com site where I bought them by mixed cases. I actually just microwave them, after rinsing & draining. I have a strainer that's microwave safe so I put the strainer in a bowl, put the noodles in the strainer then nuke it for 2 mins. Pour off the resulting liquid from the bowl, fluff the noodles & do it again for another 2 mins. If there's still a lot of liquid I'll do it again but that hardly ever happens. Then I either stir in some butter, seasonings & cheese (a favorite for me) & put it back in the microwave for another minute or if I'm using the noodles in a stir fry, soup or a casserole, I set them aside till ready to add.
So for me it's a simple formula:
rinse/drain/nuke/drain/fluff/nuke/drain/use
I find that this method produces an almost starchy-like texture not the same as regular pasta but reminiscent enough to suit me. The best part is I cook & eat it in the same bowl LOL ...unless I make more for company! Yes I have served these to company, usually as a Chinese lo mein dinner and never had any weird faces just empty plates!
I've been enjoying your tweets & recipes.
I only have a stupid phone so I don't have your app!

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Thanks so much for sharing and your kind words! Great tips! We have actually been working on a universal app + have plans for more devices and even desktop PC so you and everyone will eventually be able to use the app Smile

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I'm so glad that I read your comment Granny, it is so much easier than the other way! I just did it and it wasn't bad. I think I needed to stir-fry the noodles a little bit more, though.

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