What Are Shirataki Noodles, Plus, Why They’re So Awesome
By: Emma Rose
- Shirataki noodles (aka miracle noodles) are a Bulletproof and keto-friendly low-carb pasta alternative.
- As their popularity grows, these noodles are becoming easier to find. You can usually buy shirataki noodles at your local grocery store, Whole Foods, and even Amazon or Walmart.
- Shirataki noodles are about 97% water, and 3% fiber, so virtually carb- and calorie-free.
- These noodles are easy to prep, and take on the flavors of whatever ingredients you choose to combine.
Just because you’re gluten-free, keto, or grain-free doesn’t mean pasta is off the table. Meet shirataki noodles, the zero-calorie, low-carb noodle that’s about to change your life.
Also called ito konnyaku or konjac yam noodles, shirataki noodles have been popular in Asian cuisine for centuries, and are exploding on the health food scene as a keto-friendly pasta alternative. With nearly zero calories or carbs, these clear, flavorless miracle noodles let you enjoy pasta without the starchy carbs, sugar spikes, weight gain and bloat that come with eating traditional grains.
Shirataki noodles are keto-approved, vegan, and naturally gluten-free. Read on to learn more about shirataki noodles, including their nutrition profile and benefits, how to cook them, and where to buy them.
What are shirataki noodles?
Shirataki noodles are made from the Japanese konjac yam (also known as devil’s tongue or elephant yam). These translucent, gelatinous noodles consist almost entirely of water and glucomannan fiber (a viscous, soluble dietary fiber), meaning they are practically calorie- and carb-free.
Unlike other low-carb pasta options, like spaghetti squash or zoodles (what the cool kids call spiralized zucchini), shirataki noodles take just a few minutes to prep, straight out of the bag. Shirataki noodles are chewy, and feel incredibly similar to rice noodles. They soak up whatever flavors you cook them with, making these miracle noodles an excellent base for a variety of keto pastas.
How to cook shirataki noodles
While zoodling your veggies can make for delicious, nutrient-dense pastas, some days you just want the ease of tossing some noodles in a pan, ready to go. Shirataki noodles are about as easy as it gets.
You will likely notice an odd or fishy odor when you first open your package of shirataki noodles. Fear not, the noodles themselves are tasteless, and some quick but essential prep work will take care of the odor:
- The noodles come packaged in water, so first drain and rinse them thoroughly with clean water in a colander.
- Start some water at a low boil, and toss the rinsed noodles in for just 2-3 minutes. Rinsing and boiling the noodles will take care of the fish smell and improve their consistency.
- After that, dry roast the noodles in a pan with no oil for about a minute to heat off the extra water and give them more of a traditional pasta mouth-feel.
- Toss them with the sauce and toppings of your choice. They’ll take on the flavor of whatever you mix them with. Tah-dah! They’re ready to go.
Shirataki noodle nutrition facts and benefits
Traditional shirataki noodles are made entirely from water, and fiber from the konjac yam (plus a little lime to help the fiber stay solid). This fiber is called glucomannan, and is a soluble fiber that can help boost your digestion and curb hunger. Glucomannan is available as a health supplement, and studies back its potent ability to curb hunger hormones, fuel good gut bacteria as a prebiotic, and keep you regular. The glucomannan fiber in shirataki noodles can also support weight loss and boost your cardiovascular health, by improving cholesterol and blood sugar.
Calories in shirataki noodles: Because shirataki noodles contain only fiber and water, they are essentially calorie-free, making them an excellent choice for most weight loss diets. Depending on the brand, nutrition labels list between 10 to 20 calories per 100-gram serving (roughly 3 to 4 ounces). However this also means that shirataki noodles are pretty much nutrient-free as well (in fact, they’re about 97% water). Without any of the micronutrients or phytochemicals found naturally in whole konjac, or other plant-based pastas, the nutrition content of shirataki noodle pastas depends mainly on your toppings, so be sure to supplement your dish with healthy fats, pastured meat, and plenty of veggies.
Carbs in shirataki noodles: A 3-ounce serving of shirataki noodles contains just 2 grams of total carbohydrates. Because these carbohydrates are actually fiber, which your body can’t digest, that means shirataki noodles have 0 net carbs per serving.
Heads up: As shirataki noodles gain popularity with western consumers, some brands are starting to add tofu to the noodles to create a more traditional grain-based pasta texture. Tofu is a processed form of soybeans, and soy is not Bulletproof.
Where can I buy shirataki noodles?
While buying shirataki noodles used to mean shopping online or having an Asian grocery store nearby, their growing popularity means they are cropping up in grocery stores across the country. You can buy shirataki noodles at Walmart, Whole Foods, and in many regional supermarket chains. Just don’t look for them in the pasta aisle. Because shirataki noodles are sealed in water, and you’ll find them packaged in small, clear bags often in the refrigerated sections, next to the tofu.
If the shirataki craze hasn’t quite made it to your local stores, you can also buy the noodles online through Amazon or Thrive, or directly through the noodle brands’ websites. One popular shirataki noodle brand Miracle Noodle even has a store locator on their website, to help you find noodles near you. Keep an eye out for brands like Miracle Noodle, Thrive Market Wonder Noodles, Skinny Noodles, NOoodles and Konjac Foods, and remember to check for unwanted tofu or soy additives.
For easy, delicious ideas on how to prepare them, check out our list of keto-friendly shirataki noodle recipes, then hit the store to buy shirataki noodles. Let us know which brand you try, how you cooked them, and what you thought in the comments!