How to Transform Instant Ramen Into Delicious, Hearty Meals

What in the world would we do without instant ramen? It's fast, easy and cheap, making it one of our go-to feel-good foods when we're lazy but don't want to spend all of our cash ordering out.

Of course, ramen out of a packet isn't exactly the most nourishing (or filling) meal in the cupboard, but that doesn't mean it can't be with a little help. Here are some of our favorite simple additions to help transform your basic instant ramen into a delicious and hearty meal.


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Add an Egg

Not only are eggs packed with protein, but they add extra substance and lots of flavor to any kind of ramen. Best of all, you can also prepare them in a number of delicious ways depending on your preference.

Maybe you'll want to hard or soft boil an egg in the water as you cook your ramen. In that case, remove the egg when it's cooked to your liking, run it under cold water to cool, and then peel and slice it before adding to your finished soup. You can also add raw egg directly into the hot soup, seasoning and whisking it first to get a scrambled texture, or throwing the whole thing in to poach an egg along with your broth, resulting in something like an egg drop soup. If you prefer them fried, you can even use a separate pan to make sunny side up eggs, topping your completed bowl of ramen. With so many possibilities, you're sure to find one that you love.


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Go With Protein

If you're often left feeling a bit hungry even after you've finished your ramen, you may want to add a protein such as tofu cubes, or cooked beef, chicken, pork or shrimp. Leftover meats from other meals can be an awesome addition to ramen, since they don't require any cooking, but if you're comfortable with cooking up some raw meats from scratch, they can be extra delicious add-ons. Tofu is great because it can be thrown in without cooking, or fried up for extra texture and flavor. The choice is entirely up to you.


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Kick It Up

If you have aspirations to become a great chef, you'll want to familiarize yourself with aromatics including garlic, ginger and onions of all varieties. In order to reveal their incredible flavor, mince them finely before heating them up in a pan with hot oil, and taking them off the heat when they start giving off their signature savory scent. Then, mix them into your ramen to pack every bite with their delightful aroma. If you're using green onions, chop it into rounds, cooking the white bits near the root with your aromatics and topping the dish with the green slices toward the top.


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Go Green

Most instant ramen is absolutely packed with salt, so if you want to make your bowl a bit healthier, only use part of the included flavor packet and supplement the rest with flavorful veggies. They taste great and will make you feel better about your meal. We love vegetables like spinach, bell pepper, mushrooms, carrots and bok choy in our ramen. Try sautéing them in a pan with a bit of oil, topped with salt and pepper, until cooked to your liking, then mix them right into your ramen.


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Use Your Own Flavors

If the sodium content under the nutritional facts on the back of the ramen packet gives you pause, substitute your own tasty flavorings, instead. Maybe your parents have some bouillon or stock lying around that'll allow you to make a slightly healthier broth, or you'd like to mix things up with miso soup mix. Perhaps you're going for a different flavor profile entirely, and you want to experiment with mixing your own flavors. Sriracha, chili oil, ponzu and soy sauce are great places to start, but feel free to introduce your faves. You might even want to try a dry ramen, draining off the water and adding whatever ingredients you like to make a custom, one-of-a-kind dish you'll crave again and again.


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Making ramen all the time? Click HERE for cute Instagram captions for all of your ramen posts.