Skip to main content
Cooking Tips

This Method Will Give You Perfect Rice Noodles Every. Single. Time.

Gluey, sticky noodles? Never again.
By Published July 14, 2022

Tender, silky rice noodles are the essential component in a salty-sweet pad thai or craveable drunken noodles. Made from rice flour and water, these noodles are particularly delicate and prone to sticking. 

Cooking methods abound for rice noodles, from simply boiling them as you would pasta to "steeping" them by submerging them in room-temperature water before stir-frying them. Neither of these methods are ideal.

Steeping the rice noodles often results in strands that are still overly firm. They require extensive stir-frying to fully cook, leading to dry and sticky noodles. Boiling the noodles, on the other hand, leads to gummy strands that glue themselves together in the pot, resulting in a soggy, clumpy stir-fry and a whole lot of frustration.

Sign up for the Notes from the Test Kitchen newsletter

Our favorite tips and recipes, enjoyed by 2 million+ subscribers!

The solution? Combine the two methods. Bring water to a boil and then submerge your noodles in the water off heat.

Starting with boiling water speeds up the softening process and allows for temperature control. After steeping, transfer the noodles to a colander and rinse them under running water to remove excess starch. Let them drain well before use. Prepped this way, the noodles remain loose, tender, and separate.

Thin round noodles are ready to eat after soaking, making them a great choice for noodle salads or summer rolls. Thick flat noodles require additional cooking, making them perfect for stir-fries or saucy dishes, as they absorb lots of flavorful sauce.

How to Prepare Tender, Not Gummy, Rice Noodles

Follow the steps below for perfect rice noodles, every time.

  1. Bring water to boil in large saucepan. Remove from heat and add noodles to hot water.
  2. Stir. Let noodles soak until soft and pliable, stirring once more halfway through soaking. Thin round noodles will take only about 5 minutes to be ready, while thick flat noodles will be ready to use after 8 to 15 minutes.
  3. Drain noodles and rinse under cold running water until water runs clear. Drain well and use as directed in your dish.