12 Fun and Creative Ramen Hacks for a DIY Dinner

Posted: September 21, 2022 11:21 am

Are you tired of everyday ramen noodles? There are a million ways to jazz up your usual bowl, and they range from simple ramen hacks that you can use in a college dorm to elaborate gourmet recipes that can be counted as fine cuisine. Here are just a few ideas for instant ramen to get creative in the kitchen!

1. Cheese and Ramen

Also called “ram and cheese,” this is one of those ramen hacks that can be implemented anywhere and anytime. It can be as simple as melting a slice of cheese on top of your noodles, or it can be a gourmet experience that involves making your own cheese sauce with milk and butter. You can also experiment with different types of cheese: Cheddar has the most distinct flavor, but mozzarella will give you those nice stringy bites, and something like cotija can really amp up the worldliness of your recipe. Another great thing about ram and cheese is that you can customize it with all sorts of meats, veggies, and toppings, so no matter what ingredients you have in the kitchen, you can make it work!

2. Instant Ramen With Poached Egg

Eggs are one of the easiest ways to upgrade ramen noodles, and you can get quite creative with how you add them. Some people, for example, like to whisk in an egg with cheese and butter to give their noodles a creamier texture. Others like to soft-boil an egg in the ajitsuke tamago style that’s traditional in Japanese ramen stalls. If you want something simple, however, just poach an egg in your noodles while they’re cooking. It’s as simple as boiling them to a slight softness and cracking an egg in their center that will poach as they finish cooking. When they’re done, you can use a fork to puncture the egg yolk and spill liquid gold all through your bowl.

3. Sesame Peanut Noodles

Peanut butter is the secret ingredient to many Asian flavors, especially those from Thailand. The good news is that you can make your own ramen peanut sauce with a regular jar of Skippy! Just stir it in with other ingredients like honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and freshly-grated ginger. It will break down into a smooth and creamy paste that you can toss on ramen noodles for a Thai-inspired dinner. To make it even heartier, add protein in the form of chicken, beef, or pork. Throw on some sesame seeds and chopped green onions for style. Another thing to note about this dish is that it isn’t a ramen noodle soup; the noodles get drained, coated with sauce, and heaped on a plate.

4. Bacon Lettuce Tomato Ramen With Mayo Shio Tare Sauce

Many ideas for ramen noodles are based in Asian cuisine, but this recipe goes in the complete opposite direction: It’s a noodle BLT! It combines fresh iceberg lettuce with crispy bacon strips and fried tomato slices for a fun, unusual ramen dish. It also utilizes a shio tare or “salt seasoning” sauce to truly draw out the flavors contained within the noodles; this particular recipe makes its shio tare with mayonnaise, but if you’re watching your fats, it’s easy enough to make substitutions. The salt is the most important thing. This is a savory ramen dish that goes well with a a cold beer.

5. Chicken Yabisoba With Ramen Noodles

Yakisoba is a quick and easy stir-fry dish that can replace constant nights of takeout. The name literally translates to “fried noodles,” and while traditional yakisoba noodles are made from buckwheat flour, it’s easy enough to substitute ramen. The most important thing about this dish is its Asian flavors: You’ll need ginger, sesame oil, and soy sauce atop other ingredients like ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. This unique blend will mimic the taste of yakisoba made fresh and hot from Japanese street vendors! For this particular recipe, you’ll also want chicken breast and a variety of veggies. You can use whatever is in your pantry, but traditional ingredients are onions, carrots, cabbage, and bean sprouts.

6. Kimchi Ramen

Kimchi is one of the best ramen hacks for fans of umami flavors. If you’ve never had this Korean staple before, it can be something of an acquired taste; it’s fermented cabbage with a strong sour-and-spicy flavor and a distinct crunch. It’s the kind of ingredient that takes over any dish it’s in, including ramen noodles. With this kimchi ramen recipe, however, the kimchi is meant to be the star of the show, and the ramen is just a base to showcase it. Other additions can include tofu, shiitake mushrooms, and seaweed strips, but these are entirely optional. The kimchi is what makes the dish. To truly transport yourself to Korea, make sure to get real, authentic kimchi from an Asian market, the kind that was hand-packed by an ahjumma into a messy jar.

7. Taco Ramen Bowls

Go south of the border with a taco ramen bowl. It combines tomatoes, corn, shredded cheese, sour cream, and just a hint of cilantro for an amazingly festive flavor that’ll sing across your taste buds. Another secret of its success is a packet of taco or enchilada seasoning stirred in with the broth. You can add chicken or ground beef if you want more protein, and some crumbled tortilla chips on top of the noodles can add a crunch not like toasted sesame seeds. If you’re looking for unique ramen recipes, it doesn’t get more cross-cultural than Japan and Mexico all mixed together in a single bowl!

8. Marinated Beef and Broccoli Noodles

Let’s face it: Ramen isn’t the healthiest dish around. If you’re trying to fit it into a nutritious diet, you’re going to need to make adjustments. One idea is a beef and broccoli noodle dinner that’ll get you some greens even while you’re slurping on a tasty broth. The sauce is made with garlic, ginger, oyster sauce, and rice vinegar, and the beef gets marinated in it for an extra infusion of flavor. The broccoli is supposed to be stir-fried, but you can bake or roast it if you want to avoid the extra oil. Healthy ramen recipes are all about making adjustments to the usual ways of doing things so that they’re easier on your arteries.

9. TikTok Ramen

You don’t have to watch the Food Network to get fun ideas for instant ramen. TikTok has created a ramen dish that’s left people raving, and not only is it quick and easy, but it’s made with things that you probably already have in your pantry! The more traditional ingredients include butter, garlic, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes, but the unusual ones range from brown sugar to “everything bagel” spice. They might sound like a gamble, but once you taste them, you’ll become a convert. You can also toss an egg into the pan to thicken the noodles and give them a creamy and nourishing feeling. It might come from amateur cooks on social media, but TikTok ramen is definitely a game changer for those looking for unique ramen recipes!

10. Ramen Alfredo

Impress your dinner guests with a dish that’ll look like a million bucks even though it’s made from ramen packets under a dollar! It’s basically a ramen version of fettuccini alfredo, and it’ll serve up warm and delicious forkfuls just like the signature pasta. It requires only four ingredients besides the noodles: butter, milk, Parmesan cheese, and chicken stock. Additives can range from garlic powder to a parsley garnish, but these aren’t necessary. Cook it all in a single pan and dish it up on fancy plates to share a budget-friendly meal that’s actually restaurant quality.

11. Chili and Cheese Ramen

Chili and cheese are an unbeatable combo, and they become even more powerful when you add them to ramen noodles. The zest of the tomatoes will spark right off your tongue as the creaminess of the cheese coats your mouth and sticks to your ribs. If you’re looking for unique ramen recipes, especially in the winter, this is one that can warm you right up! It’s also easy to throw together in a college dorm room or for a quick family dinner: It can be cooked in the microwave, and you can use canned chili, sliced cheese, and other pre-made ingredients. Fresh is best, of course, but in a pinch, this is one of those quick and simple ramen hacks that can transform a snack into a full-fledged meal.

12. Budae Jjigae

Another Korean dish, budae jjigae translates to “army stew” and comes from the rations that American soldiers distributed there in the 1950s. Two of the most common were canned sausages and Spam, and these got thrown into a pot with ramen noodles, vegetables, and sauces to create a uniquely cross-cultural dish. Don’t be put off by the strange combination of ingredients! Budae jjigae is a staple comfort food in Korea, especially when it’s served bubbling hot on a cold winter’s day. You can find it in all kinds of restaurants and street food stalls, and many Korean families have their own homemade variations. For the best, most authentic version of the dish, hit up an Asian grocery store and grab some extras like Korean rice cakes and Korean chili flakes.

These are just a few ideas for instant ramen that can really elevate your dinner plans. Whether you’re thinking sweet, savory, or something in between, don’t be afraid to get creative with your ramen noodles. You never know when you’ll find your new favorite recipe!



Get a daily dose of cooking inspiration! Be the first to see newly added recipes and holiday ideas.