14 Alternative Uses For Ramen Seasoning Packets

Instant Ramen is a gift from the culinary gods. When times are tough, you can always count on it to keep you fed, and with a little creativity, it's easy to put your own spin on it. Ask any parents with a large family or starving college student and they'll agree. In the "Cheap and Tasty Eats" debate, nothing beats ye olde faithful instant ramen. According to Statista, the demand for instant noodles around the world is so massive that in 2021, it amounted to 118 billion servings. That's oodles of noodles.

It was created in 1958 by Momofuku Ando, in response to a food shortage that Japan faced following World War II. He discovered that by flash-frying noodles in chicken soup, you could dehydrate and cook them later. When boiled, the noodles softened and the chicken soup flavor was released in all its glory. On that day, history was made. Well, at least that's the truncated tale.

Back then, they used special broth recipes rather than savory seasoning packets. Those would arrive later, which, while tasty, didn't include the healthiest ingredients. According to Healthline, just one package of ramen contains 1,760 milligrams of sodium. Not to fret, unless you're scarfing down instant ramen for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you don't have much to worry about. Seasoning packets can also be used for all sorts of delicious things besides ramen. Here are some alternative ways to put those leftover packets to use.

Spruce up salad with top ramen dressing

The world of instant ramen is vast. There are endless styles and flavors from which to choose, which means seasoning packets come in all sorts of savory blends. From beef to lime chili shrimp, a little zest here and a little zing there can be added to any recipe. Unused seasoning packets are great flavor boosters for salad dressing. In fact, with only a few additional ingredients, it's easy to whip together a simple top ramen salad dressing. All that is required are two soy sauce-flavored seasoning packets, olive oil, white vinegar, sugar, and black pepper. There are two easy steps — combine the ingredients, whisk thoroughly, and enjoy.

Use this same idea with other seasoning packet flavors as well. It works for pre-packaged salads and freshly made ones. Imagine chicken flavor dressing drizzled over a crunchy ramen noodle salad. Chili flavor dressing could take crunchy bok choy salad from tasty to tantalizing real quick.

Make sour cream dips doubly delicious

Dips are used to shake up flavorful possibilities, but what happens when they are infused with instant ramen seasoning packets? It's like the difference between a sparkler and a stick of dynamite. For a doubly delicious explosion, add discarded packets to sour cream. When the savory taste and texture of instant ramen-infused dip and tortilla chips hits the tongue, it's snack heaven. This idea came from David Chang, the celebrity chef behind the famous Momofuku brand, and a reliable source for all things umami-fied.

This flavor is especially great with sour cream, but feel free to let the culinary imagination roam — any flavor has the potential to make a crave-worthy dip. Serve it next time friends are over, or during quality time with the fam. Along with sour cream, this easy hack works with Greek yogurt too. Try instant ramen dip and take snacking to the next level.

Sprinkle it atop popcorn

Speaking of snacks, popcorn is the perfect landing zone to deploy a sprinkling of instant ramen seasoning. It's time to make some space in the seasoning cabinet and put those leftover packets to use. Like noodles, popcorn is essentially a blank canvas just waiting to be made into a delicious work of art. The best part is that there are several ways to enjoy it. For buttery popcorn lovers, cook the seasoning packet and the butter in a pan first. Pour it over the popcorn, seal the bag or container, then vigorously shake until the butter blends thoroughly.

Use this quick hack on homemade or microwavable popcorn. A Reddit post that received some four thousand votes concluded that the Tom Yum Shrimp made by MAMA brand noodles is the best seasoning packet popcorn topper. It is made with Southeast Asian ingredients like kaffir lime leaf, lemongrass, chili paste, and artificial shrimp flavor, and has a sour and spicy taste.

Get instant satisfaction with David Chang's 'Ramlet'

When deliciousness is the goal, people come up with all sorts of clever and inventive ways to achieve it. Celebrity chef David Chang knows a thing or two about bringing out the delicious potential in foods. As owner of the Momofuku brand, he's been filling bellies with noodles since 2004. Aside from doubly delicious dip, another crave-tastic way Chang uses ramen seasoning is to make what he calls the 'Ramlet.' As the name implies, it's an omelet seasoned with instant ramen packets.

The Ramlet is composed of a single seasoning packet and five eggs — that's literally all that is needed to experience this flavor bomb. Oh, and a little butter. In a video shared on YouTube, Chang demonstrates how to make it, masterfully moving through each step. The prestige moment comes at the end when he creates a pocket down the finished omelet, fills it with scrambled eggs, and sprinkles it with white pepper.

Use it in steaming soups, stews, and stocks

Instant ramen seasoning packets are made for ramen dishes, so naturally, they complement soups, stews, and stocks. Pairing flavors with proteins is the blueprint, bringing things like old-fashioned beef stew to the present with beef flavored ramen seasoning. When the chilly season starts to roll in, keep a few packets of chicken flavor for some easy chicken noodle soup. There's no shortage of ways to stew up a flavorful frenzy in the kitchen. Soups are great for those with busy schedules — make a large pot with a few pinches of ramen seasoning, then enjoy throughout the week.

Savory stocks are easy to make with ramen seasoning, too. Add a couple packets to boiling water and let it simmer until it infuses. It's a great base to cook rice in, and can even be used to deglaze pans. The only limitation is the imagination.

Add a flavorful flare to rice

After cooking rice in ramen seasoning-infused stock, turn up its flavor by sprinkling with an additional packet. Rice is the perfect food to experiment with an endless variety of seasoning blends. Whether solo or in stir fries, ramen seasoning is the secret ingredient rice sometimes requires. It saves time in the kitchen too, because there's no need to debate which combination will work best; instead, just open and pour.

One no-brainer recipe worth trying it with is this easy fried rice. Only 10 minutes are needed and it's not just good, it's healthy. Speaking of healthy ramen packet-ready recipes, this classic vegetable stir fry is a reliable way to end a long work day. For those on a serious budget, who can't afford to fancify their food, instant ramen seasoning packets are one of the best ways to add more flavor to rice.

Substitute bbq rubs with ramen packets

When there's fresh lemonade in the pitcher and sun rays fill the air, it must be barbecue season. According to the Smithsonian Magazine, Spanish explorers helped spread barbecue throughout America after learning the technique from Native Americans. The first introduction was in 1540 and took place at a feast in present-day Tupelo, Mississippi. There, Spanish explorers witnessed the Chickasaw tribe cook pork over an open flame. The Spanish would refer to it as barbacoa (or barbecue). Over the years it's developed into an art form comprised of many different styles from different regions.

From seasoning blends to BBQ rubs and sauces, there are many methods to coaxing out the flavorful possibilities in meat. Ramen seasoning packets are an unlikely, yet surprisingly effective, way to season food for the grill. Try using it as a BBQ rub for succulent pork belly. Nongshim's Shin Ramyun makes a seasoning that includes garlic powder, mushroom extract, red chile pepper, onion, soybean paste, and other flavor boosters — it's perfect for grilled proteins. 

Make burgers more mouthwatering

On the topic of barbecue, another great idea is to try some instant ramen seasoning in burgers. Whether beef, turkey, or any other type of protein, it's hard to go wrong with ramen seasoning. For those who like it hot, Samyang's Spicy Hot Chicken offers a fiery blend that'll add an extra kick to every bite. For sweeter souls, Momofuku's Soy & Scallion packet is a harmonious balance of salty and savory, with an extra touch of sweetness. Another way to bring some Asian flare and flavor to burgers is with the ramen burger.

A hamburger cooked with ramen seasoning and topped with cooked ramen noodles, the ramen burger is a delightful excursion that begins hungrily and ends full and satisfied. Feeling really adventurous? Try swapping the burger buns for ramen; the end result is crunchy, tasty, and totally worth getting grease all over the place.

Step up the french fry game

Barbecue, burgers, omelets and more, instant ramen packets can be used for pretty much anything. Try them on french fries for another delicious revelation. 

Possibly the greatest snack ever invented, fries are culinary chameleons that become whatever they are seasoned with. While a simple sprinkle of salt is typically all that is required, a liberal dosage of seasoning also turns out to never be a bad thing. Ramen packets are pre-blended, and always fry-ready.

McDonald's Hong Kong even offered ramen noodle powder for a limited time, some years ago. It was a collaboration with Nisson, one of the most recognizable instant ramen brands. There were two flavor options: Black garlic pork broth and sesame oil. Although Mickey D's no longer offers the ramen noodle powder anywhere, that doesn't mean it can't be replicated; experiment with all sorts of ramen noodle powders, and find a way to similarly elevate the french fry game.

Blend it into fried chicken seasoning mix

While there's always plenty of debates over the best way to fry chicken, one thing's for sure, it's the seasoning blend makes all the difference. Under or over-seasoning chicken is easy to do, so it's crucial to find the ideal balance; with experience, fried chicken then becomes one of the tastiest and simplest things to make. 

Speaking of ideal seasoning blends, ramen-breaded fried chicken is definitely worth trying. For a crispy and delicious experience, trade the panko, crushed crackers, and cornflakes for ramen noodles.

First, choose the seasoning flavor and mash up two packages of instant ramen until they're a breadcrumb consistency. Add the seasoning packets to a bowl with buttermilk (which gives it more fluff and crunch) and then roll it in the mashed noodles for additional texture. After the chicken has finished frying, top it off with another sprinkle of ramen seasoning just for good measure.

Jazz up savory roasted potatoes

French fries aren't the only potato dish that can benefit from the flavor-boosting capabilities of instant ramen seasoning; it also tastes really good on roasted potatoes. Rather than whipping out a go-to combination of herbs and spices, try jazzing things up with chicken flavor seasoning. The blend is made with garlic, onion, chive, chicken fat, soy sauce, shiitake mushroom, celery seed, and turmeric. The taste of chicken flavor-infused roasted potatoes is dazzling, and works really well on some lemony roasted potatoes.

There can be lots of delicious potential to be had when experimenting with different packet flavors and looking for that perfect flavor fit. Roast potatoes with the seasoning or add it after, similarly experimenting. Even if something like parmesan-crusted potatoes and tahini labneh don't sound particularly appetizing, trying it with chicken flavor seasoning can make it a winner. Go wild with ramen seasoning packets; a favorite dish might be just around the corner.

Take gravy to tasty new heights

Much like how ramen powder can be ideal in dips and sauces, they can be every bit as tasty in gravy. Make a gravy worth calling home about by combining ramen packets with old-fashioned ingredients, working until the perfect concentration of flavor has been achieved. It supercharges the richness of gravy, resulting in a full-bodied punch poured over tender steak.

Whether a fancy dinner party or a holiday dinner, gravy deserves a seat at the table — or at the very least, a placemat. According to the specialty chemical products manufacturer MikeM, instant ramen packets generally include flavoring agents like disodium succinate (WSA), monosodium glutamate (MSG), and disodium 5′-ribonucleotides. Packets can be powerful when combined with a blend of herbs and spices. While there are some concerns with the overconsumption of monosodium glutamate (MSG), don't worry, according to Healthline, it's fine in moderation.

Gravy is composed of an array of ingredients like stock, seasoning, and sometimes milk, cream, or wine. With ramen packets, further customize that gravy to the occasion.

Spice up mayo-free coleslaw

One of the most refreshing foods to enjoy on a hot summer day, coleslaw can be hard to beat. But ramen powder dressing is a great alternative to over-flavored mayo-based dressings, loaded with empty calories. With precisely measured ramen packets, there's no need to worry about picking and choosing which herbs to blend. On top of that, there are endless flavors that will yield a brighter, yet equally delicious, mayo-free coleslaw dressing. To whisk together a simple salad vinaigrette just grab oil, vinegar, a dash of sugar, and then set aside a few minutes to enjoy vibrant, refreshing coleslaw.

In addition to coleslaw, ramen powder packets can be used on veggies as well. All these re-appropriated flavor packets are bound to result in lots of leftover ramen. Try a homemade blend of seasoning. It's a win-win situation — crispy coleslaw gets elevated, and instant ramen gets personalized.

Store in empty salt shakers for later use

After you've tried elevating your burger mixes, enhancing your barbecue rubs, and entertaining guests with your skillful use of instant ramen seasoning, you can prevent packets from piling up by storing the seasoning in empty salt shakers. Let's face it, top ramen is pretty cheap, which makes it easy to stockpile packets. Seasoning cabinets are already prone to disorganization, especially for those who often cook at home. Adding a scattered stack of ramen packets will only contribute to the mess, and besides, it's a great opportunity to reduce waste.

It's normal to discard empty salt shakers rather than reuse them, and ramen packets have no other place to go but the trash. Combining the packets of the same flavor into one container is a great way to reuse salt shakers. That way, you're only throwing away the empty packets. Cooking isn't only about eating tasty food, it's about the process. Proper storage reduces waste and streamlines the process; it saves money, and time, and can even improve the taste of food. Just remember to store all the containers with instant ramen away from direct sunlight. Exposure will shorten the shelf life. Who knows? Ramen seasoning could just prove to be the essential spice missing from your pantry.