Instant noodles are a beloved nostalgia. Whether you’re a college student, lazy, or just obsessed with ramen, instant noodles have undoubtedly been a part of your life.
They’re convenient and inexpensive, and nothing quite satisfies our taste buds like ramen noodles.
If you’re ‘nood’ enthusiast, you might’ve come across two instant noodle brands, Maruchan and Nissin.
We’ll discuss the key differences between these two instant noodle brands, so you can choose the best choice to satisfy your cravings.
Differences Between Maruchan and Nissin
Established in 1977, focused on a variety of flavors and prices
Established in 1948 and is the first to sell instant noodles. They also brought the instant cup to the market.
Flavors and Product Lines
Maruchan has a lot more flavors
Nissin has fewer flavors and missing pork flavor
Less salty and true to flavor
More salty, rich, and flavorful; also adds garnishes like vegetables and pork pieces
Creamier and richer soup
Rich in flavor, but more watery
Balance between firm and soft
Distributed worldwide but is more popular in the US
Now that you understand the main differences between the two let’s take a closer look at what separates the two brands.
Maruchan instant noodles are a top contender for the title of best affordable ramen noodles. Established in 1977, Maruchan is a Japanese company with a large global presence in many major countries like the US, Brazil, and Mexico.
Their company is largely focused on flavor and value, so their products are typically the cheapest option on the market. They offer a variety of products like instant noodles, cup noodles, and even fried noodles.
Maruchan has also put out a variety of flavors, including noodles for vegetarians.
Nissin was the first to commercialize instant ramen. Founded in 1948, the company began selling instant noodles in 1958 and has seen incredible growth in numbers.
While there are hundreds of companies selling instant noodles, Nissin continues to be a large global empire. This is a testament to the continued trust of their consumers.
In 1971, the company brought cup noodles into the market, which became an instant hit. Cup noodles are similar to instant noodles, except their quicker and easier to prepare.
Flavors and Product Lines
Maruchan has a wide selection of flavors than Nissin. Both brands have typical flavors like Chicken and Beef. Surprisingly, Nissin doesn’t offer pork.
Maruchan offers a host of additional flavors in their Instant Noodles product line. This includes Picante Chicken, Roast Beef, Lime Chili Shrimp, Hot and Spicy Chicken, Spicy Miso, Spicy Beef, Low-Sodium Beef, and others.
Nissin has some unique flavors in their Instant Noodles lines, such as Top Ramen Bowl with Vegetables and Chicken.
Maruchan and Nissin offer other product lines like Yakisoba and Bowls. Nissin offers various flavors like Hot and Spicy and Hot and Spicy Fire Wok.
Maruchan has a more interesting blend of flavors like Terriyaki Beef, Korean BBQ, Cheddar Cheese, and more.
Overall, Maruchan has a better selection of flavors. If you’re into spicy or want to try other unique flavors, consider Maruchan.
Maruchan and Nissin noodles are both made with white wheat. However, Maruchan noodles are less salty than Nissin.
Maruchan has all the classic flavors, and the taste is exactly as described. The flavors are a smooth blend, giving what’d you expect based on the flavor variety.
Typically, Nissin offers a more powerful seasoning giving a rich and flavorful taste. However, the downside is that some people may feel that their seasoning packets are too salty.
One of the advantages of choosing Nissin is they add the right garnish to complement your meal. For example, you may find pork pieces or mini meatballs.
Maruchan does tend to have the better soup. The broth and soup are far creamier and richer, with plenty of strong flavors.
No matter which Nissin flavor you pick, the soup always comes with hints of vegetables, bringing out a rich flavor. Their broth is thick and silky and carries immense flavor. Nissin certainly knows how to manage the balance of spices, seasoning, and garnish.
It’s hard to find fault with the broth that forms across their product lines. However, Nissin’s brother overall is more watery than Maruchan.
Maruchan’s noodles are neither too soft nor mushy. The layer is tight but isn’t necessarily firm as most ramen brands.
Nissin instant noodles tend to be chewy, making them the perfect texture. The broth and soup seamlessly coat the noddles providing great soakability and adhesion. Finally, the garnishing and toppings add volumes to the flavor, texture, and appearance.
When comparing the two, Nissin edges Maruchan since the chewy texture allows the broth to soak in better.
Top Ramen noodles absorb flavors from garnishes and seasoning more effectively than Maruchan.
While Maruchan seems to be the more popular brand in western countries like America, both are sold worldwide. They produce over 3.6 billion packages of instant noodles per year.
Nissin tends to be more popular in Japan. Although, Nissin does sell in over 80 countries worldwide.
Thus, both are probably easily accessible in your local grocery store, market, convenience store, or gas station.
While it’s hard to penny-pinch when it comes to instant noodles, there is a price difference between the two.
Maruchan ramen is generally cheaper. It may be due to the lower shipping costs since they house more warehouses inside the US and other major countries. Or it could be that the quality and texture of the ramen aren’t quite on the level of Nissin.
On Amazon, you can find a pack of 24 Maruchan Ramen Chicken, three ounces, for less than $7.
A pack of 24 Nissin Top Ramen Chicken Noodle Soup costs less than $14. That’s nearly double the price!
While instant noodles are hardly a costly food option, it’s still worth noting the difference.
Part 3. Which is Better?
Declaring a winner between the two is challenging. Depending on which camp you’re on, you can argue both sides.
Maruchan has a creamier brother with a delicious taste. It’s slightest less salty and offers healthier ingredients. That’s why their flavor isn’t as strong and intense as Nissin Top Ramen.
However, Nissin offers a richer and more satisfying culinary experience. Their chewy noodles soak in the broth and soup better for richer flavors. Depending on the flavor, Nissin may contain pork pieces or vegetables, which only enhance the taste.
If you’re looking for a less expensive option with a wider variety of flavors, go with Maruchan. People who prefer a slightly better culinary experience with bold flavors should consider Nissin.
Further reading: Do Ramen Noodles Go Bad?
FAQs About Maruchan vs. Nissin
Here are commonly asked questions about Maruchan and Top Ramen.
Top Ramen vs. Maruchan vs. Nissin: Any Differences?
While it may look the same, there are certain key differences between Top Ramen and Maruchan. First off, Top Ramen is a branch under Nissin Foods. Therefore, they’re practically the same since they’re made in the same facilities.
Top ramen offers bold flavors due to its high salt content seasoning. Their noodles are chewy, allowing the broth and seasoning to absorb better. Also, their garnish is more diverse and richer in decoration.
Maruchan has more variety of flavors to offer and is slightly cheaper. Additionally, their broth is creamier, giving a fuller taste.
380 per package
380 per package
380 per package
Most Popular Product
Creamy with herbs
Bouncy and chewier
Watery with veggies
Grams per package
Is Maruchan Ramen Discontinued?
At one point, Maruchan had been difficult to find in stores. There have been rumors that Maruchan has been discontinued.
However, that’s not true. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the company experienced a surge in demand and struggled to keep up with production to match it. As a result, many grocery markets and convenience stores had empty shelves when it came to Maruchan noodles.
This was only temporary, and the product is now easily available in most stores.
How to Make Maruchan Ramen Better?
Instant noodles don’t have to be bland. While there’s already seasoning, there are some easy ways to enhance the flavor of the basic bag of noodles and spice packet.
1. Add vegetables: Saute or steam your favorite vegetables and add them to your noodles. You can’t go wrong with some bok choy, sliced mushrooms, and kimchi.
2. Add protein: This turns your snack into a full meal. Roasted teriyaki chicken, shredded pork, and tofu are all delicious options to add to your ramen. Another one of my favorites is adding cooked or hard-boiled eggs. Whisking the egg can create a creamy texture.
3. Try different sauces: There are plenty of popular sauces to add to your bowl of ramen to enhance its flavors. Consider soy sauce, oyster sauce, chili sauce, hoisin sauce, or sesame oil.
4. Throw in some garnish: Garnish your Maruchan with sliced onion, nori sheets, chopped cilantro, or scallions.
5. Use a homemade broth: Instead of the normal boiled water, consider a different type of broth. Cook your own chicken or bone broth before adding the ramen to the pot.
Is Maruchan Bad for You?
Maruchan isn’t that bad for you if you consume them in moderation. While they are high in fat and sodium, they shouldn’t be a problem for people who eat them every now and then.
Of course, speak with a professional, especially for individuals with high blood pressure.
Maruchan does offer healthier options like their 25% less sodium chicken flavor, which only has 1140 mg.
Can You Microwave Nissin Cup Noodles?
Yes, you can microwave Nissin cup noodles. However, it depends on the cup.
Nissin cup noodles in paper cups are designed to be microwaved. Just peel off the lid, fill the water and place it in the microwave for the recommended amount of time.
On the other hand, styrofoam cups aren’t meant to be heated in the microwave. That’s because styrofoam is toxic and can seep into your food.
Further reading: Best Way to Cook Ramen in Microwave
Where Does Maruchan Come From?
Maruchan first started in Tokyo, Japan. However, since 1977, they’ve established plants in Irvine, California, Richmond, Virginia, and Bexar County, Texas.
Maruchan vs. Nissin: Final Thoughts
Your choice ultimately comes down to your taste buds. Some people like Maruchan, while others prefer Nissin.
Maruchan tends to have a better selection of flavors and has a creamier broth. However, Nissin noodles are chewy and have strong seasonings, offering bold and pungent flavors.
Without a doubt, very few brands can compete with Maruchan and Nissin.
Their brand reputation has led them to be the top contenders in the instant noodles industry.
Take these differences into account the next time you make your pick. Combining these noodles with other dishes can allow you to make a delicious meal for yourself and your loved ones.
Whether you’re looking to add instant noodles to your dorm room staple or make quick delicious meals throughout your busy day, you can’t go wrong with either one!