Delicious Ways to Upgrade a Bowl of Ramen—Even If It's Instant

Go ahead, use these brilliant methods to jazz up your dehydrated noodles.

There are lots of reasons you might be eating ramen tonight. Maybe the food budget's tight this week. Perhaps you didn't have time to stop at the supermarket, so you're making do with what's in your pantry. Maybe you're in college, so that's just what you eat.

Whatever the reason, here are several easy tips to upgrade a bowl of ramen. These tips will apply whether you're trying a recipe from scratch or looking for things to add to packaged ramen. Follow even one suggestion, and we guarantee you'll make your ramen better.

Add Miso Paste

Ginger Meatball Ramen Recipe
Caitlin Bensel

Flavor packet? Fine. But miso paste is perfection. Next time you make ramen, skip the sodium-filled spice packet and use a spoonful of miso paste to flavor your broth instead. Many homemade ramen recipes with have miso as a key ingredient.

Miso will add a heavy hit of (salty, savory, seriously addictive) umami flavor to your ramen, plus it's a natural source of gut-healthy probiotics. Look for miso paste at Japanese grocery stores, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and most mainstream supermarkets.

Stir Fry the Noodles or Protein

This crispy tofu and rice noodle soup is proof that tofu recipes can be as flavorful as meat-based ones—if not more so.
Caitlin Bensel

Once your noodles have finished cooking, toss them into a wok or oiled pan and sauté them for a few minutes. Also, lightly fry your veggies and protein before returning them to the broth. This method is so simple–yet so effective in upgrading ramen with unexpected textures and flavors.

Include Extra Sauce—and Spice

Peanut Butter Ramen Recipe
Antonis Achilleos

If you're a condiment hoarder, now is your time to shine. A swirl of the following flavors work wonders:

  • Soy sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Sriracha,
  • Lime juice
  • Chili flakes

Some less conventional additives include:

  • Peanut butter (don't knock it until you've tried it)
  • Fish sauce
  • Ponzu
  • Harissa
  • Bacon fat
  • Curry

If you're adding something salty like soy sauce, consider cutting back on the spice packet to avoid over-seasoning your dish.

Put an Egg on It

Miso-Mushroom Ramen With Jammy Eggs
Antonis Achilleos

You really can't go wrong here.

If you plan ahead, you can cook your eggs in the same pot as your ramen. For hard-boiled, place raw eggs in a pot with cold water, bring them to a boil, then add your noodles. The eggs should be cooked perfectly by the time your noodles have softened (fish them out sooner for soft-boiled).

You can also poach eggs in your ramen as it cooks, or beat an egg in a separate bowl before swirling it into the broth for egg drop ramen soup.

Pack the Bowl With Protein and Veggies

Pork Ramen Soup
José Picayo

Adding extra meat and vegetables to packaged ramen broth is the easiest way to make ramen more filling and nutritious. Some common veggie toppers include:

  • Baby spinach
  • Snap peas
  • Shitake mushrooms
  • Sautéed shallots
  • A handful of cabbage
  • Leftover frozen peas
  • Carrots

As far as protein, here are some great options:

  • Shredded pork or chicken
  • Ground turkey
  • Stir-fried tofu
  • Jerky
  • Spam
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