6 ways to make your instant noodles tastier

6 ways to make your instant noodles tastier

Ramen will never be the healthiest thing to eat, but it’s definitely cheap.

Even when you go to a real ramen noodle house where they make their own noodles in-house, a great bowl probably won’t cost you more than $5-7. But most people eat packaged instant ramen from the grocery store because they’re short on cash or too lazy to make anything else to eat. For me? It’s comfort food. I love ramen, and I also love experimenting with different ways to make packaged instant ramen tastier.

Here are my 6 favourite ways to turn a cheap meal into a tastier one:

  1. Add egg. You can add this in a variety of different ways – hardboiled and sliced, soft boiled, fried, poached … but my favourite is the egg-drop method. All you have to do is crack a raw egg into your pot of noodles (or you can lightly beat the egg in a separate small bowl and then pour it into the pot of noodles). Then, swirl and mix the egg, noodles, and broth. As you mix the broth, the egg should start to separate and cook. Delicious!
  2. Frozen vegetables. Almost all of us have a bag of those mixed frozen veggies siting in our freezer. Toss a cup of them into the broth for an instant flavour boost. I like doing this in combination with adding an egg. :)
  3. Bok choy or spinach. I love throwing in either bok choy (Chinese cabbage) or spinach into the broth. The spash of green makes the soup more visually appealing, and adding fresh vegetables to a meal is never a bad thing.
  4. Thinly sliced meat. Think Vietnamese pho soup. You can either throw it into the pot raw (it should be sliced extremely thin – so it cooks in just a few seconds), but it’s probably easier just to chuck any sort of leftover meat like chicken, steak, pork, sausage, and yep, even fish.
  5. Peanut butter. Yeah this may sound weird – I was really skeptical at first. But if you just stir in a tablespoon of smooth peanut butter (make sure you mix it in good, so that it’s completely blended into the broth), all of a sudden your broth tastes like pad thai! Well, it’s pretty close. And the added dollop of peanut butter will keep you full longer.
  6. Stir fry. Have you ever tried to stirfry your instant noodles? It’s pretty tasty and a good way to change it up if you’re not feeling like soup. Try cooking some veggies (add meat if you want) in a pan. Then cook the noodles in a pot until they’re almost done. Drain the water out, and add the noodles to the pan. You can use whatever sauce you want. I like cooking the veggies and meat in half the seasoning package, and then sprinkling the other half on the noodles as I’m just about to cook them in the pan.
Another thing I’ve seen done in ramen noodle houses is to add cheese to the broth. :| I tried it once in downtown Vancouver at Kintaro (see the middle picture below), and while it was interesting, I didn’t like it and ended up removing most of the cheese. Still, it’s worth a mention because it seems to be a really popular thing to do.

What tricks do you have for making instant noodles tastier?

About Krystal Yee

I'm a writer, personal finance blogger, and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I'm a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner's Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I'm not working, you can usually find me running, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.

28 comments

  1. Those all look yummy! I usually add eggs and vegetables such as peas.

  2. I love this because I’ve already done 2, 3 and 5 on a fairly regular basis! I’ve gotten some strange looks for 5. It’s also really tasty if you add some chili sauce with the peanut butter!

  3. Yes, eggs and lots of thinly sliced meat. But my favorite has to be enokitake mushrooms. Om nom nom! (=^_^=)

  4. Peanut butter in ramen actually sounds really good! I put it in my stirfry all the time. It makes everything better :)

  5. Simple one here, sliced green onion and diced garlic. I add to the water while waiting for it to boil so the flavor isn’t as intense.

  6. try rinsing the cooked noodles under cold water before adding the soup base for a better bite (more chew).

  7. Man, now I want ramen! I can’t get my brand in my area. I typically just eat ramen as a soup and sometimes stirfry it.

  8. It’s almost as if you’ve read my mind with the post! I am definitely going to try these. I have been looking for ways to slash the grocery budget. :)

  9. What great ideas I will definitely be trying the peanut butter idea….

  10. The add-on ingredients really do the job marvelously. When is ramen best eaten? Thanks for sharing this info!

    -Judy

  11. Love all these things. But my favorite addition (with other things as well) is a splash of toasted sesame oil at the end.

  12. I just wrote today about not advocating a Raman Noodle lifestyle so I thought your ways of spicing things up was funny thanks for the interesting subject matter

  13. Saute some diced zucchini and onion in butter, make the raman on top! Easy peasy! Will have to try the peanut butter, that sounds good!

  14. This sesame flavored instant noodle is the only one I eat. It’s so good on it’s own. I’ll sometimes add an egg and spinach though. I’ve even heard of adding cheese!

  15. Krystal,

    You should do a guest post on GroceryAlerts!

    Show all the recipes with instant noodles – I have never eaten these but they seem so popular.

  16. I always add an egg and some spinach…ramen is instantly healthier

  17. I haven’t eaten instant noodles for a long time, but I used to buy Top Ramen beef flavor, cook it, pour the seasoning in, drain all the water, and cover it with parmesan cheese. Sounds unappetizing until you try it.

  18. I actually prefer my instant noodles plain – my favourite are Yum Yum shrimp flavoured noodles (not sure if you guys get those). One of my friends, back as a broke student, practically lived off noodles mixed in with tinned tomatoes -_-

  19. Good idea with the egg, but it should be said, don’t add anything with vinegar like pickled jalapenos. It makes the egg curdle. D’oh! :(

  20. Never thought of peanut butter until now! mmmm

  21. Hot sauce and a little vinger is good

  22. I put alot of chilli oil and paste to my noodles with some strips of chicken!

  23. I always add cheese to my noodles

  24. Ouch I know you are frugal, but if you eat this crap you are compromising your health, and no amount of savings justifies that, sorry. Love your blog!

    • It’s my comfort food. :) Some people eat greasy burgers every once in a while. Some people eat kraft dinner, pizza, food loaded with cheese, etc. I like big bowls of noodles. :)

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