Experiment With Canned Soups For Customized Ramen

If you've visited a noodle shop that knows its stuff (hello, tonkotsu broth), then there's probably a good chance that the 10-for-a-dollar dried ramen packs aren't cutting it for you anymore. But rest assured, the simple solution is to level up your homemade ramen game from the comfort of your own home with one perhaps unlikely ingredient: a can of soup.

Canned soup instantly adds major bulk to a bowl of ramen, which can be a perfect fit on cold winter days when you're craving a hearty comfort meal. Cream of mushroom, chicken, and onion are all fairly neutral options — both texturally and flavor-wise — so they'll incorporate into your regular go-to ramen recipe without too much adaptation.

You could even try cooking your ramen noodles right in the soup on the stovetop instead of boiling them in water. To do it, replace half the amount of water you would normally use with cream of mushroom soup, then enjoy a thick, creamy broth. Plus, with a can of Campbell's cream of chicken soup ringing in at a couple bucks and a single pack of Maruchan ramen noodles at less than a dollar each, this satisfying and sophisticated meal can be made on a budget.

Get ready to raid your own pantry for upgraded ramen

For ramen-infusion purposes, you can stick with puréed soups or opt for offerings with chunked ingredients. For example, a can of crab and corn chowder could be a great fit for seafood ramen. Puréed carrot ginger cashew soup would make an excellent vegetarian-friendly spiced broth, as would butternut squash soup.

The world of canned veggies is also ripe for the picking to spruce up your ramen. Baby corn, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, and snap peas can all be found in cans. For added texture, stir a can of creamed corn into your ramen and add some thick smoky bacon chunks for an instant chowder.

From there, the world of toppings is your oyster mushroom (pun intended). You could stir a generous spoonful of miso paste into cream of mushroom soup ramen for a kick of umami flavor, and a teaspoon of chili oil would turn up the heat on mild cream of chicken soup ramen. Gochujang, oyster sauce, and fermented bean curd are also ways to add a more depth and savoriness to a potentially mild mix. You could bulk up your soupy ramen even further with tofu, thin-sliced beef, seared pork belly, crumpled tempeh, or spam for bonus canned food points.