The Ramen Topping You Should Never Skip

Good professional or homemade ramen is defined as much by the quality and style of broth than toppings. The same cannot be said for instant ramen, that quick and cheap staple of young adults and harried parents. Serious Eats says there is nothing wrong with simple instant ramen in broth, but the flavor packaging leaves a lot to be desired and screams out for punchy upgrades. Thankfully you probably already have some of the best toppings and condiments for ramen, whether homemade or instant, already in your kitchen.

Ramen upgrades and hacks are ubiquitous because the cheap blank slate that is instant ramen works with a whole host of additions. Ramen broth will get a big flavor boost from almost any Asian condiment you have on hand, whether it's Korean gochujang, miso, or Thai curry paste. You can make it more filling by adding an egg, some pork tenderloin, or greens like bok choy (via Homemade on a Weeknight). The variations are endless and entirely up to your taste and discretion, even some meaty ingredients you might not usually think of trying that many ramen lovers swear by. One common topping you likely have in your fridge was made for ramen, no matter what other additions you opt for.

Scallions are an essential ramen topping

If you're a regular at any ramen shop, you've probably noticed that after the broth and noodles, you'll always see a healthy scattering of scallions or green onions. Their bright flavor is considered a perfect match for ramen's comforting savoriness, with Serious Eats noting that even instant ramen flavoring packets usually have some dried scallion. Don't let those dried ones stop you from having the fresh stuff on hand because the more powerful hit of fresh scallions or green onions pushes ramen up a notch.

Scallion's perfect marriage with ramen is a good reminder that they really are a kitchen essential beyond their permanent presence as a garnish in East Asian cooking. Southern Living will remind you that they work just as well as chives with your scrambled eggs, and there is rarely a soup or salad that scallions won't elevate. Just make sure you know how to keep your scallions fresh so you can have them at hand whenever you need them, and they will stay a true ramen hack that's as easy and accessible as the packaged noodles.