What Are Shirataki Noodles? Plus, Why They’re So Awesome

By: Emma Rose
May 29, 2020

What Are Shirataki Noodles? Plus, Why They’re So Awesome

  • 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, or even Amazon or Walmart.
  • Shirataki noodles are about 97% water and 3% fiber, so they’re 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 Japanese cuisine for centuries. They are exploding on the health food scene as a keto-friendly pasta alternative, and with good reason: they contain nearly zero carbs and satisfy cravings without the usual spike and crash.

Shirataki noodles are keto-approved, vegan, and naturally gluten-free. Read on to learn more about these “miracle” noodles, including nutrition, benefits, and where to buy them.

What are shirataki noodles?

Shirataki noodles on plateShirataki 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). This means 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 them an excellent base for a variety of keto pasta dishes.

How to cook shirataki noodles

Noodle dish with vegetablesWhile zoodling your veggies can make for delicious, nutrient-dense pasta, 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 noodles. Fear not, the noodles themselves are tasteless, and some quick but essential prep work will take care of the odor:

  1. The noodles come packaged in water, so first drain and rinse them thoroughly with clean water in a colander.
  2. 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 fishy smell and improve their consistency.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Related: Low-Carb Shrimp Pad Thai with Shirataki Noodles

Shirataki nutrition facts and benefits

Konjac yamTraditional 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, 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.[1][2]

The glucomannan fiber in shirataki noodles can also support weight management and boost your cardiovascular health by improving cholesterol and blood sugar.[3][4]

Calories in “miracle” noodles

Because shirataki noodles contain only fiber and water, they are essentially calorie-free, making them an excellent choice for most weight management diets, not just keto.

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 pasta, the nutrition content of shirataki pasta depends mainly on your toppings, so be sure to supplement your dish with healthy fats, quality meat and plenty of veggies.

What about carbs?

A 3-ounce serving of shirataki noodles contains just 2 grams of total carbohydrates.[5] Because these carbohydrates are actually fiber, which your body can’t digest, that means shirataki has 0 net carbs per serving.

Heads up for the Bulletproof Diet: As shirataki noodles gain popularity, 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.

Related: How to Calculate Net Carbs on Keto — and Why They Matter

Where can I buy shirataki noodles?

Woman walking into Whole FoodsWhile 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 these low-carb 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, 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 its 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 additives.

For easy, delicious ideas on how to prepare these versatile noodles, check out our list of keto-friendly shirataki noodle recipes, then hit the store to enjoy “pasta” again.

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