Do you love to add crispy rice noodles on top of your dishes? Are you curious about how to make them crunchy without all the excessive oil?
If you check most recipes for crispy rice noodles, you may only find the deep-frying method included. This method became an issue when I swore off fried food, so I experimented with a few ways to make crispy rice noodles without frying them.
You can turn rice noodles crisp without deep-frying in oil by baking, air-frying, or toasting in salt or sand. In my opinion, the best method is to bake them. All you have to do is boil the noodles, coat them in oil and cornflour, and bake at 437 degrees Fahrenheit.
Three Methods to Make Crispy Rice Noodles Without Frying
Many Asian dishes come with fried rice noodles. However, if you are trying to avoid heavily-fried stuff, I have a few alternatives. These alternative methods provide near-similar results and are also much healthier.
Note: I have used flat rice or Pad Thai noodles for crunchy noodles in these examples. You can follow the same steps for thread-like rice vermicelli.
Method 1: Bake it in Oven
Baking is my go-to option as it is the best alternative to frying rice noodles. Many people have access to an oven, and this method is straightforward.
When you bake the rice noodles in the oven, you don’t need a lot of oil to make them crispy. The result is also perfect!
Here are the steps to follow:
1. Soak the rice noodles in water for 10 minutes until they’re slightly tender or al dente. If you are using rice vermicelli, five minutes is enough.
2. Next, boil the noodles for five minutes or until they are soft. While cooking the noodles, preheat your oven to 437 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Drain the rice noodles using a sieve.
4. Then, cover a baking tray with parchment paper. I brush mine lightly with oil to prevent the noodles from sticking.
5. Spread the rice noodles evenly on the baking tray.
6. Dab gently on the noodles with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
7. Pour one tablespoon of vegetable oil onto rice noodles and spread it well. Sprinkle salt as per your taste on the rice noodles.
8. Sprinkle ½ tablespoon of cornflour on top of the rice noodles. Cornflour can make your rice noodles extra crispy, so don’t forget this step.
9. Place the baking tray inside the oven and let the noodles bake. Turn the noodles after 10 minutes to bake the other side too.
10. It will take your rice noodles 35 to 40 minutes to turn crisp with brown edges.
Once your rice noodles have reached their desired crispiness, remove them from the oven and enjoy them in your dish!
Method 2: Use an Air Fryer
Air-frying makes use of convection heat instead of oil to fry food items. Hence, it is technically not “frying” since you just need to use one to two tablespoons of oil.
The most significant advantage of an air fryer is that it cooks much faster than an oven. Now, let’s take a look at the steps:
- Soak the rice noodles in water for at least 20 minutes or until it is al dente.
- Then, transfer the noodles to a cooking pot and boil them for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Once boiled, drain the noodles in a sieve and rinse them with cold water.
- Place the noodles in a bowl and mix in one tablespoon of oil.
- Take out the air fryer basket and place an aluminum foil in it. Poke some holes in the foil for air circulation.
- Next, place the rice noodles in one single layer in the basket. No overlapping!
- Air-fry the noodles between 375 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit (around medium-high setting).
- Take out the rice noodles after 10 minutes and flip them to ensure even frying.
- The rice noodles take about 20 to 25 minutes to crisp in the air fryer.
Method 3: Use Salt or Sand
Sand or salt-frying is a traditional method of getting crispy rice noodles without frying them.
Many countries in Asia, like China and India, use salt or sand to roast food items, including noodles. Interestingly, the heat from the sand or salt transfers to the food items and turns them crunchy.
I have only tried this crisping method once for rice noodles, and I don’t recommend it. The process gets messy and also alters the taste of the noodles.
If you don’t have an oven or air-fryer or just want to give this method a try, here is what you can do:
- Soak the noodles for 10 minutes and boil them for five minutes.
- Drain and rinse the noodles under cold water and let them dry.
- Fill a non-stick wok with sand or salt, and leave one centimeter of space from the rim.
- Heat the wok on a high flame and stir it occasionally to distribute the heat.
- Once the sand or salt is hot, place the dried rice noodles inside the wok and let them roast.
- Turn the rice noodles around occasionally to cook the other side.
- Once the noodles look crispy and golden, take them out of the wok.
There is no specific cooking time for this method. It relies on how quickly the sand or salt gets hot, and the noodles finish once they achieve ideal crispness.
Check out this YouTube video to see how people use sand for roasting!
Where to Use Crispy Rice Noodles?
I love to eat crispy rice noodles straight from the oven, as is! However, you can also use them to add a subtle crunch to the Asian dishes mentioned below.
Most Asian restaurants serve rice noodles in soups such as hot and sour soup and wonton soup. After all, the soup’s liquid texture goes well with the crunchy noodles’ texture.
2. Fried Rice
Despite the name, fried rice is not as crispy as other fried items. Therefore, you can add more crispiness to it by sprinkling some fried rice noodles on top.
3. American Chow Mein
Fried rice noodles are one of the base ingredients for American Chow Mein. You can stir-fry them with vegetables and sauces to turn a topping into a whole meal.
I love adding crispy rice noodles on top of my salads. Trust me, they make the salads much more appetizing when I have my God-awful dieting days.
You can easily make your rice noodles crisp without dousing it in many cups of oil!
The only disadvantage is that frying rice noodles only takes 10 minutes, whereas the healthier methods take 30 to 45 minutes. However, it is still worth spending the extra time as you will eliminate the health risks of deep-frying.
How to fry rice noodles?
Frying rice noodles is possible with three simple steps. First, fill the wok or pan with vegetable oil and heat it at medium-high heat for two to three minutes. Add a thin strand of rice noodles. If it puffs up immediately, deep-fry the rest of the noodles for a few seconds, flipping them once. Once done, drain them on paper towels.
Are rice noodles healthy?
Rice noodles are great for calorie-deficit and low-carbohydrate diets. They are also suitable for people with gluten allergies as they are gluten-free. Yet, it does contain less protein and fiber than wheat-based noodles.