Pork Rib Soup with Noodles

By Lee Jackson ↣ Published on: April 15, 2022

Last Updated: May 22nd, 20232 Comments on Pork Rib Soup with Noodles

This pork rib soup features juicy and tender pork spare ribs, bathed in the most umami, fragrant pork broth. Soba noodles continue the journey into Japan and add a wonderful nutty flavour and soft texture. Humble, heady and heavenly.

A bowl of pork rib soup with soba noodles

This Pan Asian pork rib soup recipe takes influence from both China and Japan. The umami greatness of a slow cooked Chinese Spare Rib Soup is one of life's great treats. Juicy, soft pork slips effortlessly from the bone and the pork bone broth is surprisingly fragrant and flavouful.

I've been making spare rib soup for many years, it's a no fuss soup that takes care of itself and never fails to warm every inch of the soul. Normally I'd either eat as a straightforward soup, maybe adding some potato or turnip near the end to add texture and sustenance, but more recently I've included noodles to make it a noodle soup option.

There are SO MANY types of noodles to choose from and I've included many in this pork rib soup recipe in the past; from egg noodles (spaghetti), rice noodles, wonton noodles and even cellophane (glass) noodles. But it's a recent addition of Japanese soba noodle that has become my favourite.

I'm not usually one to mix cuisines, but I love soba noodles so much and just wanted both together - just to see - and I wasn't disappointed!

What are soba noodles?

If you're unfamiliar, soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour and have a distinctive brown appearance. They have a lovely nutty and earthy flavour with a soft texture. They're eaten across Japan as a cold preparation with dipping sauces or in hot soups, making them perfectly at home in this delicious pork rib soup.

Why it works

  • The healing goodness of the pork bone broth combined with the meltingly soft meat is something else! And to add to the happiness are the soft soba noodles with their nutty flavour with a little bite.
  • It'll warm you and fill you in equal measure.

Stuff you'll need

This soup is a great soup to pop on the stove and forget about - it slowly comes together, filling the house with super umami flavours. A slow braise ensures all the flavours get the time they need to come together into one harmonious bowl of goodness.

There are not that many ingredients in this soup but they deliver big on flavour. There's a full recipe below, but here are the key flavours.

  • Pork spare ribs - (get the meatiest ones you can find) The pork will be slide-off-the-bone-tender, and those bones are key to creating the flavour for the broth too. Learn more about pork spare ribs.
  • Aromatics - Additional layers of flavour are courtesy of scallions (spring onions), garlic, ginger, carrot, celery and star anise.
  • Umami - comes from the use of salty dark and light soy sauce and for a little counter balance, a drizzle of sour rice vinegar.
  • Soba noodles - As I already mentioned, soba have become my favourite, but this dish works with all types of Asian noodles, so feel free to substitute for your favourite.
A bowl of pork rib soup with soba noodles

Step by Step

This pork rib soup with noodles is no fuss, just let it create the flavours over time. That's all this soup needs to be honest. Patience is a virtue.

  1. Brown the ribs - this will give a little depth to the soup.
  2. Quick blanch the ribs - Boiling the ribs rapidly for 3-4 minutes brings out the impurities on the meat and bones and the 'scum' rises to the top. We drain this water, rinse the ribs and then fill up the pan with water again. This ensures you get a nicer, clearer broth!
  3. Slow cook everything - now it's just a case of cooking everything together for 2 1/2 hours. The heat is very low, so that the soup is 'just' simmering. This will create a cleaner broth and superior appearance.
  4. Cook the noodles - Cook the soba for around 7 minutes in a big pan of water then drain and arrange in bowls. If you're cooking another type of noodle, follow the same step of cooking them separately.
  5. Ladle over the soup along with a few ribs. Scatter over a few scallions and hunker down for your warming, fulfilling bowl of flavour.

Pro Tips to make your life easier

  • Pre cook your noodles and they'll keep in the fridge for as much as a couple of days. Don't worry too much it the soba noodles stick together, when you pour over the broth, they should separate out. You can also add 1tsp oil to the drained noodles to avoid sticking.
  • The soup (without noodles) will stay fresh for a good week in the fridge. Just heat it until steaming hot and then pour over cooked noodles.
  • Always cook the noodles separately from the soup. If you cook them in the broth, you'll release starch and it'll will become cloudy.
A bowl of pork rib soup with soba noodles

Serving and storing suggestions

This pork rib soup is a one pot dish, so I don't really serve anything alongside. Occasionally, I like to spice the soup up a little, so serve either chilli flakes or fresh and hot Thai chillies, which I'll very finely slice. You can also take a Chinese chilli garlic paste and stir a little into the soup to spice it up.

  • Add other vegetables - This soup is great with chunks of turnip or a waxy potato variety like Kipfler/Fingerling.
  • Other meats - follow the same recipe using beef ribs, oxtail or bone-in beef cuts.
  • Other noodles - This soup will work with many types of noodles. Egg noodle, rice noodles, cellophane noodles, potato noodles, ramen noodles and udon noodles.
  • Garnishes - I like either fresh cilantro or mint, some spring onion or very finely sliced red onion and sometimes some finely sliced radishes.

Ready to get cooking?

As you can see, this is a fantastic, versatile recipe that makes the most of a humble pork rib. You'll extract all the flavour it can give to create a most wonderful flavourful soup that will fill you for hours. So, get your rib game on and make this amazing noodle soup! Hope you enjoy!

Any Questions? (FAQ)

Have a question about my pork rib soup recipe or about soba noodles?, let me know in the comments.

Are pork ribs good for bone broth?

Absolutely yes! Most animal bones will create excellent flavour to a broth and pork is no exception. You'll also get all the wonderful soft meat in addition.

How do you blanch pork ribs for soup?

Bring a large pan of water to a rolling boil. Add your pork bones (raw or pre-browned by frying or roasting) and cook for 2-3 minutes. Particles (scum) will rice to the top, so drain away all the water and rinse the pork before using for cooking.

Why is pork broth not popular?

It is! Think about Tonkotsu ramen or Chinese pork rib soup - they are eaten by millions of people. It's time to rethink and reintroduce pork bones to your soup making decisions!

More of my best soup recipes

If you liked this recipe for Pork ribs soup with noodles, you need to check out more of my favourite soup recipes in the cook, eat, world!

A bowl of pork rib soup with soba noodles

Pork Rib Soup with Noodles

Rate this recipe

4.60 from 5 votes
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Recipe by Lee
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Chinese, Japanese
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time2 hours 40 minutes
Servings (adjustable) 4
Calories (per serving) | 1070



  • In a large dutch oven or deep pan, heat the oil until hot and then fry the spare ribs for 2-3 minutes per side until browned. Remove from the pan.
  • Clean the pan and fill with about 1 litre of water. Bring to a boil and then drop in the ribs. Cook over a rolling boil for 3-4 minutes to draw out the impurities, then drain the water and rinse the spare ribs.
  • Wipe clean the pan and add another 2 litres of water. Return the ribs to the pan and add the spring onion, celery, ginger, garlic carrot, soy sauces, peppercorns, star anise and vinegar. 
  • Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to very low. Cover the pan and cook for 2 1/2 hours, barely simmering. Season with salt to your liking and remove from the heat. Fish out the ginger and star anise.
  • Cook as many soba noodles as you need for about 7 minutes and then drain. Arrange the noodles in a deep bowl and ladle over some of the soup broth with the vegetables. Add a few spare ribs too then top with a sprinkling of slices scallions.
  • Serve hot.


Substitutes and tips

  • Try beef short ribs for a delicious alternative to pork. Cook in exactly the same way.
  • Instead of soba noodles (which aren't traditional anyway) use glass noodles, rice noodles or just plain egg noodles.
  • Leave out the noodles completely if you like and instead, add a couple of chunky potatoes or turnip pieces about 30 minutes from cooking is complete for a hearty meaty soup.
  • Browning the ribs is an important step - it helps with flavour and colour, so be sure to get a good sear on the meat.

Storing and Preserving

  • This soup doesn't keep so well once the noodles are added, so eat right away if you can.
  • The soup itself (without noodles) can be refrigerated for 3-4 days or frozen for 3-4 months. Reheat until piping hot and poured over cooked noodles.


Calories: 1070kcal (54%) | Carbohydrates: 82g (27%) | Protein: 56g (112%) | Fat: 59g (91%) | Saturated Fat: 19g (119%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Monounsaturated Fat: 22g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 200mg (67%) | Sodium: 3214mg (140%) | Potassium: 1143mg (33%) | Fiber: 2g (8%) | Sugar: 3g (3%) | Vitamin A: 5399IU (108%) | Vitamin C: 7mg (8%) | Calcium: 122mg (12%) | Iron: 6mg (33%)
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