[No Compromise on Ingredients!] How to Make Authentic Tonkotsu Soup

Hi! I’m Komugi.

I’m enjoying making Ramen at home!

Have you ever tried Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen of IPPUDO, which in one of the top Tonkotsu Ramen restaurants ? You can make authentic soup like Tonkotsu Ramen soup of IPPUDO if you prepare water and pork bones. It takes time, but not so complicated. This time, I prepare all ingredients without using any substitutes, and show you how to make real Tonkotsu soup. Some of the ingredients might be hard to come by, but please try asking a butcher shop staffer and get them. The next time, I will introduce how to make soup with ingredients you might easily get, so please look forward to it.

Let’s get stared.



・Pork head bone 2 pieces (about 3 kg)

・Pork shin and thigh bone 3pieces(about 1.5 kg)

・Water 6-8 L(just enogh to cover the bones)

You do not have to buy so many kinds of things. It’s surprisingly simple. As you guess, the point is pork head bones! You might not be able to buy them in the supermarket, so I suggest that you place an order with the meat market.

At the meat market you might be reccomended pork bones with meat, which are often used for Chinese dishes. However what you need for this recipe is pork head bone without meat (with brain). Please be careful for that point.

The reason is as followrs. When you eat the soup of IPPUDO, you can feel peculiar rich flavor.That is due to pork brain. I think it can’t be possible to make such thick soup only with shin and thigh bones.

Although it is essential to use pork brain, it would be too peculiar if you used only pork head (with brain) to make soup. Therefore you should use shin and thigh bones as well to make it milder.

So the ratio of head and shin&thigh is head:shin=2:1

The ratio above is best for me to make peculiar but tasty and beloved soup. Some people add pork back fat to enhence emulsification of the soup, but I don’t do that because I think oil from shin and thigh bones plays that role sufficiently.

I choose shin and thigh bones without completely picking meat off. It is great that all factors including marrow, brain, meat, cartilage melt into soup to be palatable. It is impossible to achieve this only with bones alone. Meat and marrow are also conducive to your soup.


Aluminum Stock Pot 15L Diameter 27cm

You need a stock pot of at least this size for the ingredients. I use a 15 L sized stock pot on the stove in my house.

If you don’t have such a big pot, you can ajust the volume of ingredients. I think it’s OK to decrease the volume, if you keep the percentage of pork head, shin and thigh bones.

Homemade “Enma” Bar

This is made of a rolling pin and a wooden spatula. I screwed them togather myself. It is called “enma” (King of Hell) bar in Japan. I couldn’t find any retailers dealing with “enma” bar in my neighborhood, so I made it myself.

It is useful to scrape the bottom of the pot, and break pork bones while you simmer the soup.The size of “enma” bar is like this, compared with the stock pot.

It reaches the bottom of the pot.

Hammer Cement Blocks (2 pieces)

They are used to break pork bones.


1. Boil and Wash Ingredients

Fill the stock pot with water, and boil it.

Put pork head bones into that boiled water and simmer it for about 10 minutes respectively. And then wash them.

Do the same thing for pork shin and thigh bones, too.

After that, put all ingredients on the sink, and wash out them with water to remove impurities.

Clean the stock pot, too. Throw away the boiled water, and wash the pot.

2. Break Pork Bones

Break boiled pork head, shin and thigh bones with a hammer. There is a nack to do it, and you’ll get it as you try. I felt hesitant to put the picture, so I use an illustration to show it to you.

There is a vertical line between the eyebrows. Hit there with a hammer. If you successfully have your hammer stuck in the pork head, please get it out. And keep hitting untile the pork head breaks in half.

Like this, pork brain becomes exposed. That’s what we want.

The next, let me explain how to break shin and thigh bones. Put cement blocks as illustrated. I cover the blocks with a plastic sheet for a hygiene reason. I grip the bone using cloth because bone is slipping. Do it as if you were a Karate master.

Don’t hit it with the level surface of the hammer, but hit with the edge of the hammer. Or I sometimes use the sharp side of the hammer. An expert can break up the bone with a single hit. Bone marrow becomes exposed ideally with wide surfaces when you break the bone with a hammer. Please be careful not to get injured.

3. Put Prok Bones in Stock Pot and Drain Blood from Them

Certain amount of blood still remains in the pork bones, so I drain blood from them here. Put the pork bones into the stock pot filled with water, and leave them for 2 hours.

4. Throw out Water and Fill Pot with Water Again

Throw out the turbid water. Please be careful not to throw out pork brain and bone marrow.

Fill the pot with clean “unheated” water again. Put the ingredients into the pot , and then start to heat it. Be careful not to put ingredients into boiling water from the begining when you make Ramen soup.

5. Start to Heat it, and Skim off Foam

Put ingredients into water and boil them over high heat in full swing. Skim the foam from the top of the soup diligently until no darkish foam appears.

6. Simmer, and Simmer

Even after the color of form becomes whitish, continue to simmer the soup over medium heat.

You need to continue to simmer the soup over medium heat to emulsify it. It does’t have to be boiled over high heat. Enjoy the sound of soup, blub-blub-blub.

Sir the soup with your “enma” bar from time to time, and see how things are going.

Please be careful not to turn over the pot while siring the soup. I use my oven glove to fix the pot to prevent an undesirable accident.

Add water to maitain the water level as the soup evaporates.

Simmer the soup until everything including bones, bone marrow, brain, eyeballs becomes crushed or partly melt and bold. The color of the soup is initially clear. Then, it turns into whitish cloudy, and then brownish cloudy at last.

It takes at least 7 hours from the start. Just for your information, I’ve heard that Ramen professionals take more than 10 hours to simmer their soup.

【Tips!】Make Full Use of “Enma” Bar

When cooking whitish couldy soup, you need to continue to simmer the soup over relatively high heat, so some meat apart form bones in the final stage tends to get scorched and stuck to the bottom of the pot. And then your “nema” bar helps you a lot. Please scrape the bottom of the pot with your “enma” bar to prevent the meat from sticking to it.

And also, your “enma” bar is indispensable to break bones, whick have got weaker due to heating, and expose marrow to extract essence from all the ingredients.

7. Completion in about 7 hours after Start to Simmer

Filter the soup with a strainer. You can see almost all meat, gristle, marrow and others are apart form the bones.

You can make 1 L soup with 1 kg ingredients standardly. You can basically make 4.5 L soup by following this recipe. (=15 bowls of Ramen)

【Tips!】Refrigerate the Soup and Remove Lard.

Put the soup in the Refrigerator for a while. The soup with plenty of collagen becomes like jelly as it cools. Remove lard (which was separated from pork shin and thigh bones) form the soup. The reason to remove lard here is to control the quantity of oil (thick or light). You can use the lard for Ramen later, so please keep it.

8. Freeze the soup for Storage

4.5 L soup is rarely used at once. I put the soup into some containers and stock them in the freezer. When I cook Ramen, I unfreeze only what I need for that single occasion.


That’s all from me about how to make authentic pork bone soup. It takes a lot of time and efforts, but every process is simple. I hope you will be successful in this.

I am going to post a recipe of Tonkotsu Ramen using this soup. I believe you like that article, too.

See you !

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