8 simple hacks to upgrade your instant ramen

RamenDominik SchwindLevel up boring ramen with a few simple add-ons.

While instant ramen is cheap, efficient, and delicious, sometimes the little flavoring packets just don’t cut it.

With just a few simple ingredients, a $1 meal can easily turn into a gourmet dish. Inexpensive items you already have lying around your kitchen, like eggs or limes, can instantly elevate your meal, while adding unconventional ingredients like yogurt and five spice can turn your noodles into a wealth of international cuisines, such as Vietnamese pho or Indian tikka masala.

Whether it’s stove top or cup ramen, the below combinations will turn your noodles into more exciting and well-rounded meals.

Miso ramen

Flickr/Kars Alfrink

Miso paste + scallions + soft boiled egg

Turn your ramen into a Japanese classic. The Japanese soybean paste will slightly thicken the broth and add an umami taste. Scallions add a subtle oniony fresh flavour, while the runny egg adds creaminess and protein. Add canned corn (and nori seaweed if you have it) for an extra high-end approach.

Ham + pineapple + fried egg

For a more Polynesian-inspired flavour, use this trio that’s sweet, salty, and savoury all at the same time.

Tofu + kimchi + gochujang

This flavour combination is a favourite among Koreans. Gochujang, or red pepper paste, becomes a great base for the broth and adds an extra kick of spice. The sliced kimchi and tofu then cooks in the hot broth, turning the soup into a creamy, more filling ramen.

Canned corn + butter

In almost every type of high-end ramen, some sort of fat component is incorporated into the broth. Mimic this by topping your ramen with a pat of butter, then add canned corn for extra texture.

American cheese + egg + bacon

While cheese and ramen might seem seem like a crazy idea, many swear by this combo. The cheese adds texture, making the broth rich and creamy. As a breakfast version of ramen, add an egg into the boiling broth and whisk it, then crumble bacon on top.

Roast beef + five spice + hoisin + basil + lime

Beef-flavored instant ramen can transform into pretty incredible makeshift Vietnamese pho. Add roast beef, a sprinkling of five spice, a splash of hoisin sauce, and basil and lime to taste. For additional meaty flavour, substitute water with low-sodium beef broth.

Beef ramen


Coconut milk + green curry paste + assorted vegetables + cilantro

Substitute half of your boiling water with coconut milk, then add a spoonful of green curry paste. Any kind of sliced vegetable will work in this Thai-inspired ramen, but shiitake and peppers are ideal. Squeeze in some lime juice to taste.

Curry powder + tomato sauce + grilled chicken + yogurt + cilantro

Take a trip to India with this rendition of tikka masala. The curry powder, tomato sauce, and yogurt combine to make a thick and creamy broth. Grilled chicken makes the meal more filling, while the cilantro adds freshness.

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