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I sometimes buy rice noodles from an Asian grocery, especially since certain sizes (like sheets) are hard to find in dried form, and the finished texture is different. However, I generally find that unless the rice noodles are very fresh (as in made within 24 hours) the tend to stick together as if glued, and tear instead of separating.

I've tried soaking them both in warm water and in cold water to help separate them, but inevitably end up with a bunch of torn noodle bits instead of the nice spongy rice noodles I wanted. Given that selling week-old fresh rice noodles is common across Asian groceries, there must be some way to separate them. What is it?

Update: I'm talking about noodles like this:

package of noodle sheets

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  • Have you tried boiling water?
    – Summer
    Jul 20, 2018 at 2:25
  • There are MANY times of rice noodle do you have a picture or name.
    – Jade So
    Jul 20, 2018 at 2:40
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    For fresh wheat pasta, I just gently pull apart the noodles. You have to go quite slowly, and it's a bit time consuming, but it's worth if for when I've had fresh noodles in the fridge for too long. I have no idea if that'll work for rice noodles or not
    – Joe
    Jul 20, 2018 at 15:43
  • @bruglesco I have not, is there some reason that would work?
    – FuzzyChef
    Jul 20, 2018 at 20:26
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    @FuzzyChef It might soften them up and help them separate. Ive gotten wheat noodles to separate that way. Never tried with rice noodles.
    – Summer
    Jul 20, 2018 at 20:47

7 Answers 7

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I have been hacking at this for a while and when buying the whole un-ribboned sheets I have found the following process to work well:

I place the entire batch of rice noodles on a microwavable plate and cover with plastic wrap. Place in microwave and cook on defrost (power level 3 for my microwave) I do this 2-3 times before flipping the first time, and then alternate as needed. I am touching the edges with my fingers to check for softness. I like 1 inch+ wide noodles as the become soft I cut them, lay them on their edges and separate. This is about 140F degrees. At 147F degrees I found them too plastic and the tor while separating.

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I think those are chow fun noodles, cut them to the desired size if not already cut, soak it in cool water for about 7-15 mins then hand unroll them. That how I was taught anyways.

The packaging looks tight too so possibly cut the sides off too, should help it stop from clumping and allow the water to penetrate and separate them.

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  • I tried soaking them in cold water for over 1/2 hour and they did not separate. Didn't try trimming off the sides, though.
    – FuzzyChef
    Jul 23, 2018 at 16:35
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The only way to deal with these is to microwave them. Nuke them for several minutes at a time and they will start to fall apart.

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    Several minutes? Wouldn't that cook them?
    – FuzzyChef
    Oct 14, 2019 at 16:01
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Soak them in a large bowl of hot to boiling water for a few minutes (no more than 5 Minutes or they will cook). They should have separated on their own. Simply drain and cook.

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  • Thanks for your contribution, Gillian! The original question stated that soaking in warm or cold water did not separate the noodles.
    – LSchoon
    Jul 15, 2020 at 9:11
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Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, then drop the noodles for 30secs, just stir it, the noodles will separate. Then rinse in cold bath or with running tap water. Lastly drizzle oil in it to prevent sticking, mix well and you can leave it while cooking the veggies/meat.

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Boiling in water did separate them ok, but they turned out over cooked in my dish. I think the microwave technique works better. I put them between 2 plates. If you don’t get them hot enough they break, so put them in for longer.

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I have always found adding a bit of cooking oil to the water keeps my spaghetti from becoming one monolithic gelatinous mass. I have not tried on noodles but in theory it should work.

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