How To Elevate Your Classic Crunchy Ramen Snack Mix

For some, instant ramen holds a nostalgic place in their heart. For others, it's one of their go-to meals because it's cheap, tasty, and easy to make. And with so many flavors to choose from, like chicken, shrimp, and beef, it's no wonder why 95 billion packages of this salty stuff is consumed annually, per Delighted Cooking.

But why follow the package's directions to a T when you can embark on the path labeled "ramen hacks?" As Parade explains, you can transform instant ramen into a version of cacio e pepe or add ingredients like kimchi, cheese, and pork belly. There's even the viral Kylie Jenner ramen hack where she uses garlic powder, butter, and eggs for an upgraded bowl of noodles (via Insider).

But today, we're going to ditch the pot, water, and utensils for a ramen mix that's salty, crunchy, and perfect for snacking. And we're not talking about simply sprinkling the seasoning packet over crushed, dried noodles and calling that a "snack mix," because there's a way to level this admittedly lazy snack up using a few common kitchen staples.

Raid the pantry

What's sitting around in your pantry that hasn't been used in a while? Perhaps some peanuts, shrimp chips, pretzels, or maybe even some spicy wasabi peas. Throw them all into your ramen snack mix! Think of this like creating your own custom trail mix: Basically any ingredient is fair game — they don't have to be savory. You can incorporate honey, cinnamon, dried cranberries, and white chocolate chips for a sweetened twist on ramen noodles (via Southern Plate).

Don't forget about the seasonings either — and that goes for the included seasoning packet and/or whatever is in your pantry. Try a combination of curry powder, salt, and cayenne pepper per Martha Stewart for a spicy kick, or take note from Serious Eats and heat some butter with the seasoning packet and some Worcestershire sauce. (Or if that sounds like too much work, Hy-Vee says you can just pour some melted butter over the dried ramen noodles and sprinkle some of the seasonings from the packet on top).

But elevating your next batch of ramen snack mix involves more than just adding random pantry snacks for textural contrast. Before you opt for and "everything but the kitchen sink" route, decide on which flavor direction you want your ramen snack mix to go in. Whether it's spicy, sweet, or ultra-crunchy (or a combo of these "themes"), it's important to take a look at your pantry and combine ingredients that mesh well together.