Maruchan vs Nissin: Where Do They Differ?

As a ramen aficionado, you may have heard of Nissin and Maruchan. But do you know the difference between them? As some of the most popular companies when it comes to Japanese instant noodles, they’re known for their convenience products. 

If not, don’t worry. We’ll explain everything so that you can make an informed decision when it comes to choosing which brand to purchase next time.

The biggest differences between the products of the Maruchan vs Nissin are their origin and reach (America vs Japan), the texture of their broth (creamier vs watery), and their flavor (milder vs richer).

Are Nissin and Maruchan the Same?

Maruchan and Nissin are two different companies. Maruchan is a US-based company that produces instant ramen in the United States, while Nissin is a Japanese company that creates instant ramen and sells mostly in Japan.

The original creator of instant ramen was Momofuku Ando, who founded Nissin Foods in 1948 with the intention of providing affordable food to everyone around the world. 

In 1958 he invented cup noodles (a type of instant noodle), which was an easy way to cook quick meals on-the-go without needing electricity or boiling water at home. Later on, he also developed another type called “Chicken Ramen”–which became wildly popular all over Japan!

Maruchan and Nissin Overview

Nissin and Maruchan are both subsidiaries of Nissin Foods Holdings Co., Ltd. The company was founded in 1950, but it wasn’t until 1958 that they launched their instant ramen brand–Maruchan. They’re headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, while Maruchan is based out of California.


Maruchan is the largest manufacturer of ramen in the United States. While it’s a Japanese company, they developed equally well in the states.  Starting in 1977 they offered instant ramen, yakisoba, and cup noodles. 

You’ll find Maruchan products all over Mexico as well as the states. 

With a wide range of flavors, everyone, including vegetarians, will find something they like with Maruchan. The company is best known for the healthy seasonings that accompany their instant meals. Ask any college student about instant ramen and they’ll mention Maruchan and maybe spice it up with their own ingredients like eggs.

Maruchan sells its products internationally, unlike Nissin which is rarely found outside of Japan other than the Top Ramen line. 

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Nissin is the oldest instant noodle company in Japan and was founded in 1948 by Momofuku Ando (a Taiwanese immigrant). It’s a subsidiary of JFC (Japan Food Company), which has over 600 employees.

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In 1958, Nissin is the company that introduced the concept of instant ramen to the food market. The first instant noodles came in chicken flavor only, but today you can find pork, beef, vegetable, and curry.

Nissin’s most popular products include Cup Noodle, Top Ramen, and Wonton Soup. They also make some other popular brands like Chow Mein noodles, Demae Ramen, and even Tasty Bites Chicken Flavor Snacks!

Nissin gained popularity not only for the noodles made from regular wheat, but the garnish that comes with every meal.

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What’s the Difference Between Nissin and Maruchan?

Nissin is a premium brand and Maruchan is a budget brand. Nissin’s ramen noodles are made in Japan, while Maruchan’s are made in the US. Nissin has been around for 75 years, while Maruchan only came into existence in 1972. However, even though it’s newer than Nissin, Maruchan still sells more than twice as much ramen as its competitor!

The reason why these two brands differ so much comes down to their target audience: Maruchan caters towards Americans who want an affordable meal; whereas Nissin appeals more towards Japanese people looking for something luxurious and high quality (but also more expensive).


Nissin was started in 1948 by Momofuku Ando, who invented instant ramen. They have a few decades on Maruchan when it comes to development of their products and catering to the market. You’ll find their headquarters in Yodogawa-ku, Osaka. The company was originally called Chuko Sosha. 

Momofuku Ando didn’t create the first instant ramen until his Chikin Ramen ten years after founding the company. 

A US division of Nissin Foods opened in 1970. This division launched the names Top Ramen, Instant Noodles, and Cup Noodles. 

Maruchan was started in 1953 in Tokyo originally known as Toyo Kaisha Ltd. They launched their US brand, Maruchan, in 1972. Within five years, they were already manufacturing their ramen noodles locally instead of importing them. 

Maruchan has a much greater reach globally than the Japanese only company, Nissin. Its headquarters are in Toyo Suisan, Tokyo and the American branch has two locations in Irvine, California and Richmond, Virginia. 


Both companies offer a range of tasty meals that can be prepared in a few minutes (usually 1-2 minutes). 

Both companies use the same wheat-based noodles and vary the most when it comes to seasonings. Nissin uses more salt and what some consider poorer ingredients, while Maruchan is known for including much healthier flavoring. Despite that, Nissin is touted as having the best flavor when it comes to instant noodles. 

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While Nissin may have cornered the market in Japan, Maruchan has adapted its products to match the global market. The formula of their products is designed to match the palates of other cultures they serve around the world. 

Instant Noodles

Nissin is known the most for their Top Ramen noodles in chicken, beef, shrimp, soy, chili, hot & spicy beef, and their bowls with vegetables in chicken, beef, soy, and shrimp. Nissin’s unique garnish adds extra sauce and dried red bell peppers, green onions, corn, and carrots to every bowl. 

Maruchan has quite a few more flavors when it comes to instant noodles due to their global market. Maruchan Ramen noodle soups come in the flavors of lime chili shrimp, creamy chicken, picante chicken, roast chicken, shrimp, roast beef, soy sauce, pork, low-sodium chicken and beef, and spicy miso. Their ramen bowls come in five flavors, chicken, hot & spicy chicken, hot & spicy shrimp, spicy miso, and a spicy beef fire bowl. 

Noodle Cups

Incredibly popular with the younger crowds, the easy noodles cups are offered by both companies in a wide variety of flavors. 

Nissin offers cup noodles in the flavors of hot & spicy shrimp, spicy lime shrimp, beef, shrimp, spicy chili chicken, and hearty chicken. Their stir-fry cup noodles are offered in fresh vegetables, teriyaki beef, sweet chili, Korean BBQ, Teriyaki chicken, and hot garlic chicken. These stir-fry options include green beans and cabbage alongside a stir-fry sauce. 

As always, Maruchan offers a considerable variety of flavors to cater to their more global market. Their instant lunch cups come in the flavors of cheddar cheese, lime with shrimp, chicken, lime chili chicken, Hot & spicy beef, chicken, and shrimp, Roast chicken, chili piquin & shrimp, lime chili with shrimp, and other select chicken flavors.

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Other Products

Each company offers other easy meal products outside of their ramen cups as well. 

Nissin has a line of Chow Mein, Roah, and Souper Meals with Hot & Spicy and Hot & Spicy Fire Wok. These meals are accompanied by bok choy, cabbage, and carrots. 

Maruchan offers a line of yakisoba in the flavors of chicken, spicy chicken, teriyaki beef and chicken, cheddar cheese, Korean BBQ, and Spicy Beef Fire Yakisoba. 


One of the biggest differences you’ll find between the two brands has to do with their noodles and broth, and it’s not the flavor. 

Nissin and Maruchan noodles are made from the same wheat and taste the same, but the textures are different. Maruchan’s noodles are a software consistency while Nissin’s are more dense and chewy.

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Maruchan balances these soft noodles with a well balanced, but light and creamy broth that is silky on the tongue. Nissin’s broth is packed with flavor, but is on the more watery side. 

Which is the Better Ramen Brand Between Nissin and Maruchan?

The answer to this question depends on who you ask. Both companies make some really good ramen and both companies could make some really bad ramen. 

If you ask a diehard Maruchan fan, they will tell you that Nissin is way below par and that no one should even consider eating their products. On the other hand, if you ask someone who prefers Nissin over Maruchan (or vice versa), they would probably tell you not only how much better their brand is than the other but also why it tastes so much better than its competitor’s product.

What does this mean? It means there isn’t necessarily one brand that’s “better” than another–it depends on what kind of flavor profile suits your preferences best! So if we were going through all this trouble just so we could come up with some sort of definitive answer as to which brand makes better ramen…well then I guess our work here would be done!

If you prefer a richer flavor and something more satisfying then you might be a fan of Nissin when it comes to instant meals. Nissin is known for more flavor and additions like vegetables and meat pieces. 

If you prefer a creamy texture that’s accompanied by good flavor then Maruchan may be your choice. Maruchan is also a healthier option with less salt (which may be why some say Nissin has a richer flavor). 


Maruchan and Nissin are two of the most popular ramen brands in America. They have been around for decades, and they’re still going strong today. 

Both companies offer a wide range of products that can be found in grocery stores across the country. However, there are some important differences between these two brands that you should consider before making your next purchase!

In the end, it’s personal preference and how you like your ramen.