Easy Ramen Recipes That Are Way Better Than the Packaged Kind
Surprisingly, you can find quite a few delicious recipes designed to be cooked entirely in the microwave. Instant ramen noodles are not one of them, though. These meals have been a college staple because they’re an inexpensive way to fill your belly. But they usually taste of nothing more than salt and some seasonings you can’t quite identify.
True ramen is a different story. The combination of a slowly simmered broth, noodles, and savory toppings is so delicious, people are willing to stand in lines for hours in order to get great restaurant renditions. Because no one has time for such cookery at home, opt for these sped-up versions. They might not be authentic, but they sure are satisfying.
1. Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast Ramen
This breakfast bowl from Shared Appetite clearly breaks from tradition with a base that’s halfway between a cheese sauce and a standard ramen broth. Although it might sound sort of strange, think of it as an iconic American breakfast sandwich that took a trip to a different continent. Serve this at your next brunch for satisfied guests and heaps of praise.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ yellow onion, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, grated
- 1 (1-inch) piece peeled, fresh ginger, grated
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups vegetable stock
- 1½ cups whole milk
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded American cheese
- Kosher salt
- 2 packages instant ramen, flavor packets discarded
- 6 slices thick-cut bacon, cooked and chopped
- 2 soft-boiled eggs, cut in half
- 4 scallions, sliced
Directions: Melt butter in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Once melted add onion, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for 1 minute longer. Add flour then stir for about 1 minute. While whisking constantly, stream in vegetable stock, then milk. Continue to cook, stirring often, until sauce begins to thicken, about 20 minutes.
In the meantime, cook noodles according to package directions.
Divide broth and noodles between two bowls. Top each portion with bacon, eggs, and sliced scallions. Serve at once.
2. Beef and Broccoli Ramen
Stir-fries might be the most delicious way to get dinner on the table super fast. The only downside is you can easily find yourself in a rut, which is why we love this beef ramen from Every Day with Rachael Ray. It’s just as speedy as the standard, but it’s different enough to keep your taste buds from getting bored.
- 4 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoons plus 1½ teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
- 3 teaspoons finely grated ginger
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced, greens and whites separated
- 1 (1-pound) top sirloin steak
- 4 cups beef broth
- 4 (2.1-ounce) packages dried ramen noodles, spice packets discarded
- 1 (8-ounce) head broccoli, cut into florets
- 1 large red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 (7-ounce) jar baby corn, drained
Directions: Whisk 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon ginger, and white parts of scallions in a large bowl to combine. Add steak, and let marinate. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil.
In a separate pot, combine broth, remaining soy sauce, and remaining ginger. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and let simmer. Heat remaining oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Remove steak from marinade, letting scallions and excess marinade drip back into bowl. Cook steak to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium rare. Transfer to a plate. Pour excess marinade into skillet and let reduce slightly, then transfer to soup pot.
Add noodles to a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover with a plate, and let stand.
Add broccoli to soup pot, and let simmer for 3 minutes. Add peppers and corn. Continue to cook until vegetables are just tender, about 2 minutes longer. Slice steak against grain.
Divide noodles among bowls with tongs. Top with vegetables, broth, and steak. Serve garnished with scallion greens.
3. 20-Minute Sriracha Shrimp Ramen
If you’re a sriracha fan (and who isn’t?), this spicy shrimp ramen from Baker by Nature is calling your name. It’s brimming with noodles, veggies, and shrimp, making this dish a complete meal. Better yet, it’ll only take you 20 minutes.
While this recipe is delicious as written, you can reinforce the shrimp flavor even more by using seafood stock. You can also bump up the flavor of chicken stock by purchasing shell-on shrimp. Peel them yourself, add the shells to a pot with the broth, bring it to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer for as long as time allows. Strain out the shells, and use the stock as directed.
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
- ½ pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons sriracha
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 small red bell pepper, diced
- 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon celery salt
- 1½ tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 3 packages ramen noodles
- 1 cup baby spinach, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Directions: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and season with basil, salt, and pepper. Cook until just pink and firm, about 1 minute per side. Using a slotted spoon, remove to a cutting board.
Heat remaining oil in same pot and reduce heat to medium. Add onion, bell pepper, and sriracha. Cook, stirring, for 4 minutes, or until softened. Add ginger and garlic. Continue to cook, stirring, for about 1 minute.
Add stock and water. Increase heat to high, bring to a boil, then add tomato paste, garlic powder, onion powder, celery salt, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. Stir to combine, then reduce heat to medium. Let simmer for 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut shrimp into bite-size pieces.
Add noodles to broth and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add shrimp, spinach, and lemon juice. Mix to combine, then adjust seasoning. Serve at once.
4. Barbecue Chicken Ramen
This barbecue ramen from The Seasoned Mom is clearly another soup that throws authenticity out the window. Trust us, you won’t care once you taste it. This recipe is also a phenomenal way to use up leftover barbecue. Try it with brisket, pulled pork, or even rib meat you’ve removed from the bones.
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 small red bell pepper, finely diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can petite-diced tomatoes, drained of liquid
- 2 cups diced, cooked chicken
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup barbecue sauce
- 2 (3-ounce) packages ramen noodles, seasoning packets discarded
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Sliced green onions
Directions: In a large, heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute longer. Add corn, tomatoes, chicken, broth, and barbecue sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce to medium-low heat, and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
Add noodles to soup and let sit for 3 to 5 minutes, or until noodles are tender. Serve at once with desired toppings.
5. Pork Ramen Soup
As delicious as noodle soups are, they can feel a bit heavy. Real Simple gets around the problem by topping its pork ramen with plenty of fresh garnishes. The combination of shredded carrot, cilantro leaves, and sliced radishes adds a dose of freshness that’s almost like a salad right on top of the soup.
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 2 (4-ounce, ½-inch-thick) boneless pork chops
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 8 scallions, sliced, whites and greens separated
- 1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 (3-ounce) packages ramen noodles, seasoning packets discarded
- 1 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 large carrot, grated
- 2 radishes, halved and thinly sliced
- ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
Directions: Heat oil in a Dutch oven or other heavy pot set over medium-high heat. Season pork with ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Cook until browned and cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Let rest for at least 5 minutes.
Add scallion whites and ginger to same pot and cook, stirring, until softened, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add noodles and boil, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in soy sauce. Serve topped with pork, carrot, radishes, cilantro, and scallion greens.
6. Easy Vegetarian Ramen
When you’re in need of a meatless meal that still satisfies, this hearty ramen from A Couple Cooks is a complete winner. It gets plenty of substance from the noodles, mushrooms, and eggs. When supper has this much flavor, you won’t miss the animal protein. You can even make this dish vegan by swapping in some seared tofu for the eggs.
- 4 eggs
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 quart vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
- 4 cups baby greens
- 3 sweet peppers, thinly sliced
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 16 ounces ramen noodles, fresh if possible
- 4 radishes, thinly sliced
- Garlic-chili sauce
Directions: Fill a medium pot with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook eggs by gently lowering into the water with a large soup spoon. Simmer for about 7 minutes, then remove to a bowl filled with ice water. Let cool completely, then carefully peel, being careful not to break yolks. Reserve cooking water.
Meanwhile, heat oils in a pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in vegetable broth and bring to a simmer. Add soy sauce and mirin. Add mushrooms and let cook for 5 minutes. Add peppers, green onions, and greens, then cook for 1 minute longer.
Reheat water used for eggs and cook noodles until just tender.
Serve noodles in bowls topped with broth, vegetables, and eggs. Garnish with radishes and garlic-chili sauce. Serve.
7. Miso and Shiitake Ramen
You’ll need ingredients, including tofu, choy sum (a leafy vegetable similar to Chinese broccoli), two kinds of mushrooms, and fresh ramen, to make this dish from Blue Apron. The mushrooms (both enoki and shiitake) provide umami flavor, along with the miso paste. If you can’t find choy sum at your supermarket, look for it at an Asian grocery.
- 6 ounces choy sum
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 scallions
- 1 package firm tofu
- 2 ounces shiitake mushrooms
- 1 ounce enoki mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons vegetable demi-glace
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon miso paste
- ¼ cup hoisin sauce
- 12 ounces fresh ramen noodles
Directions: Wash and dry the fresh produce. Roughly chop the green leaves of the choy sum, then thinly slice the stems. Peel and mince the garlic. Thinly slice the scallion and separate the white bottoms and green tops. Drain the tofu and pat dry with paper towels, then cut into ½-inch cubes. Remove and discard the shiitake mushrooms stems, then thinly slice the caps. Remove and discard the root end of the enoki mushrooms.
In a medium pot, heat a couple teaspoons of oil on medium until hot. Add the garlic, choy sum stems, and the whites parts of the scallion. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until slightly softened and fragrant. Stir in the vegetable demi-glace, 4 cups of water, shiitake mushrooms, miso, and soy sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce to the heat medium-low. Simmer the broth for 6 to 8 minutes as you cook the tofu.
While the broth is simmering, in a large pan (preferably nonstick), heat a couple teaspoons of oil on high until hot. Add the tofu and cook 4 to 5 minutes, or until golden browned on all sides, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat.
With the pan still on the burner, but with the heat off, pour the hoisin sauce over the tofu and toss to thoroughly coat. Set aside while you finish the soup.
Add the fresh ramen noodles and choy sum leaves to the broth. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook 2 to 4 minutes, or until the noodles are al dente, stirring occasionally.
Divide the noodle soup and vegetables between 2 bowls and top with glazed tofu. Garnish with the green parts of the scallions and serve.
8. Kimchi Miso Ramen
Bored to death with blah sandwiches for lunch? Give your midday break a little more flavor with this easy ramen recipe from Bon Appétit. It’s made with wholesome ingredients, such as spicy kimchi, chicken, and mushrooms. Best of all, you can cook it in your office microwave. Now you really have no excuse for Cup Noodles.
- 3 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons miso
- 2 tablespoons kimchi juice
- 2 tablespoons spicy black bean paste
- 3 ounces uncooked ramen noodles, shredded cooked chicken, kimchi, and sliced mushrooms
- Sliced scallions, chopped mint, toasted sesame seeds (for serving)
Directions: Whisk stock, miso, kimchi juice, and black bean paste in a small saucepan or medium microwave-safe container. Bring to a boil over high heat or in a microwave oven on high.
Place ramen, chicken, kimchi, and mushrooms in a medium bowl. Pour broth over, and let sit 5 minutes, stirring once to loosen noodles. Top with scallions, mint, and sesame seeds.
9. Quick Pork Ramen
You can get all the flavor of homemade ramen in a fraction of the time with this quick, easy pork ramen recipe from Epicurious. Rich chicken stock plus fresh veggies, including baby bok choy, carrots, and zucchini, make for a filling and healthy homemade soup, which also features ground pork. The recipe serves 4.
- 1 ounce dried mushrooms (preferably shiitake or porcini)
- Kosher salt
- 16 ounces fresh or 10 ounces dried ramen noodles
- 2 small heads baby bok choy, quartered lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, plus more
- 1 pound ground pork
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced, divided
- 3 tablespoons white or yellow miso paste
- 6 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sriracha, plus more for serving
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 medium zucchini
- 4 large soft-boiled eggs (optional)
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped basil
Directions: Place mushrooms in a medium bowl, and cover with hot water. Let sit until ready to use.
Pour 10 cups hot water into a medium pot. Season generously with salt, cover, and bring to a boil. Cook noodles according to package directions, adding bok choy during the last minute of cooking. Drain noodles and bok choy; rinse with cold water.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot over high. Add pork, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper, and cook, stirring and breaking up meat slightly, 3 minutes. Add half of the scallions and cook, stirring occasionally, until pork is just cooked through, about 3 minutes more. Add miso and cook, stirring, until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth, soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons sriracha.
Drain and slice mushrooms; add to pot. Cover and bring to a low boil. Uncover pot, reduce heat to medium, and simmer 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
Meanwhile, using a mandolin or the large holes on a box grater, coarsely grate carrot and zucchini until you have 1½ cups each. Divide noodles, bok choy, carrot, and zucchini among bowls. Top evenly with soup, eggs, if using, basil, and remaining scallions. Serve with additional sesame oil and sriracha for drizzling alongside.
10. Thai Peanut Soup
The ingredient list for this Thai peanut soup is long, but don’t let that discourage you from trying this easy-to-prepare dish from Soup Addict. With ingredients, such as red bell pepper and shiitake mushrooms, this is a hearty vegetarian meal that’s ready in just over 30 minutes. It makes 4 to 5 servings.
- 2 tablespoons coconut or peanut oil
- 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, sliced
- 1 cup diced sweet potatoes (peeled)
- 1 small red bell pepper sliced or red chili pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon red curry paste
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk, well-shaken
- Juice from 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil (optional)
- 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
- 3 (3-ounce) packages ramen noodles, flavor packets discarded
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- ½ cup chopped peanuts
Directions: Add 1 tablespoon oil to a 4- or 5-quart Dutch oven or stock pot. Turn heat to medium and warm oil until it shimmers. Add the mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and peppers to the pot and stir. Cover and let cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until the sweet potato is soft and the mushrooms have released some of their liquid.
Move the vegetables to the side of the pan and add 1 more tablespoon of oil. Add the ginger, garlic, curry paste, and smoked paprika and stir until a fragrant paste forms, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Adjust heat to medium-high. Pour in the vegetable stock and the coconut milk. Stir. Add the lime juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, and sesame oil. When the soup starts to come to a boil, turn heat to medium-low.
Add the peanut butter to a heat-proof bowl. Add two ladles of soup to the bowl. Whisk until peanut butter is combined with the soup, then return mixture to the stock pot or Dutch oven. Add the ramen to the pan, cooking for 3 minutes. Turn heat to low.
Add half the green onions and half the cilantro to the soup. Stir. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the remaining green onions and cilantro, plus the chopped peanuts.
11. Gingery Ramen with Eggs
Next time you feel a cold coming on, whip up a bowl of this gingery ramen noodle soup, which also features baby bok choy and soft-boiled eggs. Your meal will be ready in just 30 minutes. The recipe is from Chatelaine.
- 900 milliliters low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 4 eggs
- 4 baby bok choy, cut in half lengthwise
- 3 (85-gram) packages ramen noodles, seasoning packets discarded
- 1 green onion, thinly sliced
- Black sesame seeds
- Sriracha, optional
Directions: Combine broth with garlic, soy, and ginger in a large saucepan. Boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Discard garlic.
Cover eggs with water in a medium saucepan, and boil over medium-high for 4 minutes. Transfer eggs into a bowl of cold water. Add bok choy to boiling water, and cook until bright green, about 1 minute. Transfer bok choy to a plate. Add noodles to water. Stir until noodles are soft, 2 to 4 minutes. Drain and rinse well with cold water.
Peel eggs and cut in half. Divide noodles among 4 bowls. Pour in chicken broth. Top with eggs, bok choy, green onion, and sesame seeds. Drizzle with sriracha.
12. Slow Cooker Pork Ramen
Making true homemade ramen is time-consuming and labor-intensive. This slow cooker version of pork ramen from Chowhound produces similar results but with considerably less effort. The recipe takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour to prepare and 8 hours to cook, but you can save time if you skip the step of browning the meat.
- 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 3 equal pieces
- Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons canola oil (if including the optional browning step)
- 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 leek, halved lengthwise and coarsely chopped (white and green parts)
- ¼ pound cremini or button mushrooms, brushed clean and coarsely chopped
- Low-sodium soy sauce, for seasoning
- Sesame and/or chili oil, for seasoning
- 1½ pounds fresh ramen noodles
- 8 large eggs (optional)
- About 4 green onions, finely chopped (white and pale green parts)
Directions: Season the pork with salt.
Put a flameproof slow cooker insert on the stove top over medium-high heat, then add the oil and warm until hot. (Or, use a frying pan). Working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding, add the pork pieces and sear them on the first side without moving them until well browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the pieces and sear on the second side until well browned, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the insert and return the insert to medium-high heat. Add the yellow onion and sear, without stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, ginger, and 1 cup of the broth and deglaze the insert, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the insert bottom, then let simmer for 1 minute. (Both this step and the one above are optional.)
If you have included the browning step, transfer the insert to the slow cooker, add the leek, mushrooms, and the remaining 7 cups of broth, and stir to combine. If you are starting here, combine the pork, yellow onion, garlic, ginger, leek, mushrooms, and broth in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on the low-heat setting for 8 hours. The pork should be very tender and the broth should be fragrant.
Transfer the pork to a cutting board. Using 2 forks, break the pork into bite-size chunks, removing and discarding any large pieces of fat. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard the solids. Using a large spoon, skim off and discard any fat from the surface of the broth. Return the pork and broth to the slow cooker and season to taste with soy sauce and sesame and/or chile oil. Cover and cook on the low-heat setting for about 30 minutes to warm through.
Cook the ramen noodles according to the package directions. If you want to top each bowl of ramen with an egg, put the eggs into boiling water and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the eggs from the water, let cool until they can be handled, and peel them.
Divide the noodles evenly among individual bowls. Ladle the broth and pork over the noodles, dividing them evenly, then sprinkle with the green onions. If desired, top each bowl with a halved soft-boiled egg and serve right away.
13. Korean Seafood Ramen
A mix of seafood, including clams, shrimp, and squid, provides the protein in this super-easy, six-ingredient seafood ramen recipe from Seonkyoung Longest. For the best results, use instant Korean ramen noodles, such as Shin ramen. Because the seafood cooks quickly, you only need five minutes to prepare this dish. It makes 4 servings.
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 2 bags of instant Korean ramen noodles
- 1 pound mixed seafood, such as shrimp, clams, calamari, squid, and mussels
- 2 eggs, optional
Directions: Add the oil to a large pot and heat over medium. Add the green onion and the garlic and saute for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant.
Add four cups of water to the pan. Increase heat to high. Add the seasoning packets and bring to a boil. Add the noodles, cook for about 1 minutes, and then add the seafood. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, until noodles and seafood are both fully cooked. (If using eggs, add them when there is about 1 minute of cooking time left.) Serve with kimchi.
Christine Skopec also contributed to this post.