Spruced Up Instant Ramen And Fixings Recipe

Who among us doesn't have at least one trusty pack of instant ramen noodles in the cupboard? If your college days were anything like ours, you probably once lived off of a whole cabinet full of them (and have since sworn off ever buying them again). Fortunately, those cheap instant noodles can be dressed up with a few simple ingredients for a fancy, healthy version of that same quick and easy meal. Forget the flavor packet — just grab some soy sauce and mushrooms and make your own delicious broth.

There are a million ways to make ramen, and below developer Michelle McGlinn shares her favorite super-quick recipe for an umami-packed miso ramen, along with ingredient swaps and suggestions for even more toppings. Making your own instant ramen broth will transform the instant noodle for you, and you'll never look at a seasoning packet the same way again. Restaurant-style ramen in less than 20 minutes? Sign us up.

Grab the right ingredients to spruce up your ramen

Of course, the very first ingredient you'll need is instant ramen. You can use the classic, cheap, individual Maruchan ramen packets, or you can buy packs of plain noodles from local Asian groceries. Either option is sold with the noodles in a dehydrated puck or brick and are cooked very quickly in boiling water. Aside from noodles, you'll also need eggs, which you prep a few days in advance to save time (and if prepping ahead, you can marinate them). The broth is made first from the white part of a few scallions, garlic, ginger, and mushrooms. You can use any mushrooms you like, but our favorite for ramen is shiitake.

You'll also need mirin, a Japanese rice wine. If you don't have mirin, you can use saké, or in a pinch, chicken or vegetable broth. Stir in some miso: This is a soybean paste easily found in square containers in the refrigerated section of Asian grocery stores. In this recipe we use the salty, flavorful red miso, but feel free to swap with delicate white miso. Pair with soy sauce and either vegetable or chicken broth to make the ramen base.

To finish topping this ramen, you'll just need the green part of the chopped scallion, baby bok choy, and sesame seeds. If you can't find bok choy of any kind, swap out for spinach or kale, and feel free to use either white or black sesame.

Cook the eggs to jammy perfection

Every good bowl of ramen needs a runny, jammy soft-boiled egg. In restaurants the eggs will be boiled, peeled, and marinated in a soy sauce and dashi mixture for several days. You can do this ahead of time, but you can also just boil the eggs and enjoy plain for a similarly delicious topping. Pop the eggs gently into boiling water and cover, cooking for exactly 6 minutes. (Set a timer for 5 minutes, 50 seconds to be really precise with it.) Immediately put the eggs into an ice bath to stop them from cooking in their own residual heat, and let them cool down completely before peeling. Do all of this first so the eggs can rest while you make the broth.

Start with the aromatics

You can actually make this broth in a wok, but any deep pot will do. Start off by warming a thin layer of oil in a wok, saucepan, or Dutch oven and adding the finely chopped aromatics. Don't use the full scallion here, you'll only need that strong and pungent white part so far. Save the delicate green half for topping. Stir the scallion, garlic, and ginger around until fragrant, and don't let them burn.

Build the umami

Next, add the mushrooms. You may need a little more oil to get the mushrooms going, but don't be too generous or the pot will become too oily. Cook the mushrooms until they soften and shrink a bit, then deglaze with the cooking wine. The mushrooms will start to look glossy as they cook in the wine. As this happens, add in the miso and soy sauce and combine well. If needed, turn the heat down to avoid scorching.

Pour in the broth and cook the greens

If you are making a vegetarian ramen, pour in vegetable broth, but otherwise pour in chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, drop in the washed bok choy (we love baby bok choy for a quick recipe like this) and cook until the leaves are bright green and the thick base is soft. This only takes about 2 minutes, so don't go too far.

Pour over noodles and add toppings

It may be tempting to save a pot and cook the noodles in the broth, but we urge you to cook them separately for best results. Cooking the ramen noodles directly in the broth will cause the noodles to become gummy. Cook them in boiling water and drain, then evenly distribute the noodles into bowls. Pour the prepared broth over the noodles.

Peel your previously boiled eggs by lightly tapping on the shell all the way around and using a spoon to gently slide the shell off. Slice in half and place in the bowl with the brothy noodles. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the eggs and mushrooms. If the bok choy didn't already make it into the bowl, add the veggie on top with a sprinkling of the sliced green scallion pieces.

Ramen topping options are endless, and from here you can add chili crisp or oil (especially delicious on jammy eggs), cooked corn, sheets of nori, fish cakes, bean sprouts, or julienned carrots. If you have a little more time, try adding crispy tofu, chicken katsu, or even spam. Serve with warm saké and crispy fried chicken (also known as karaage) for a full, delicious, belly-warming meal.

Spruced Up Instant Ramen and Fixings Recipe
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Who knew you could elevate an instant ramen packet to such great heights? Follow this recipe to learn how to do it.  
Prep Time
Cook Time
close up of bowl of ramen
Total time: 20 minutes
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ramen noodle rounds, cooked to al dente
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped, divided
  • 1-inch ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • ¼ cup mirin or saké
  • 2 tablespoons red miso
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 4 baby bok choy
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, for topping
Optional Ingredients
  • Chili crisp or chili oil, for topping
  1. Bring a pot of water to boil over medium heat. Carefully add eggs to the boiling water and cover. While eggs are boiling, prepare a large bowl of ice water. Cook for 6 minutes, then immediately remove eggs and place into prepared ice bath. Let cool completely.
  2. To make the ramen broth, heat a thin layer of oil in a wok, stock pot, or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the whites of the scallions, ginger, and garlic and cook gently until softened, about 3 minutes. Do not allow to burn.
  3. Add sliced mushrooms and continue to cook until soft and dark, about 3-4 minutes longer.
  4. Add mirin to the pot and scrape any browning bits from the bottom. Simmer gently until mushrooms are deeply browned and glossy.
  5. Add the miso and soy sauce and combine completely. The vegetables should be a deep brown color.
  6. Pour in the broth and stir well to incorporate. Bring to a simmer, then add the baby bok choy. Simmer until bok choy is softened and bright green in color, about 4-5 minutes.
  7. Once bok choy is softened, remove from the heat. Divide the cooked noodles into two bowls and ladle broth evenly over noodles, adding the mushrooms and bok choy to the top of each bowl.
  8. Gently crack the egg shells and peel away. Slice in half and add to each bowl of ramen.
  9. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and the reserved green slices of the scallions to serve.
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