We get it. You’re busy. Between classes, work and living your life, who has time to make an elaborate dinner every night? Certainly not you—and that’s exactly why ramen noodles are the perfect item to stock your kitchen with. And it doesn’t hurt that they’re super affordable too.
Ramen noodles get a lot of flak for being a cheap college dorm room dinner. But with a little extra effort, you can turn this simple staple into a delicious dish. There are plenty of quick, easy ways to create ramen noodle recipes, which makes it a perfect option for a busy student's schedule.
But these aren't typical college student ramen noodle recipes, because we're not the typical college.
With everything from simple ramen hacks to recipes that downright transform this pantry staple, keep reading for fifty wildly inventive and impressively creative takes on the humble ramen noodle.
50 ramen noodle recipes to meet your every craving
Your to-do list is a mile long. You have a sink full of dishes, a midterm paper to write and you’re probably due for a shower. It’s practically killing you to get up off the couch and you have a million things to do, but you’re hungry and looking for a quick fix. These recipes are for you:
1. Fire-breathing spicy ramen
A little enhancement on a pack of ramen can transform it into an entirely new flavor profile. Mix in whatever you have on hand to achieve your level of spiciness: Hot sauce, red pepper flakes, curry powder, white pepper—it’s all fair game!
2. Ramen au naturale
Did you know that you can eat ramen uncooked? Break apart a pack for a crunchy snack. If you place the block of ramen noodles into a closed bag, pour some of the seasoning powder in for a burst of flavor, or try dipping the crunchy noodles in salsas, chip dips and dressings. It really doesn’t get any easier than this.
3. Crunchy ramen noodle sandwich
You’ll enjoy munching away on this simple, tasty melding of two worlds: Deli meat, your choice of cheese and any type of instant ramen. Simple sandwiches are always a go-to for easy meals, but this one gives your tried and true standby a ramen-inspired twist. It can also save the day if you’re running low on bread.
4. The world’s easiest mac and cheese
This one’s so simple you’ll be surprised you didn’t think of it first! Two slices of melty American cheese are all you need to add to your pack of ramen for a delicious and fast bowl of mac and cheese.
5. The world’s easiest “spaghetti”
Prepare a pack of ramen without the flavoring packet and pour some of your favorite premade pasta sauce (marinara, alfredo, etc.) on top. Voila—you have yourself a plateful of ramen spaghetti in three minutes—though you may need a little more time if you plan on adding meatballs.
6. Cheddar broccoli ramen
This simple recipe combines two pantry staples into one easy and delicious pairing. Simply replace the ramen flavoring with two packets of Rice-a-Roni cheddar broccoli powder mix and enjoy the unexpectedly delicious flavor medley. Throw in some steamed broccoli to pack in more nutritional punch.
7. Creamy ramen noodles
Diverge from the typical ramen recipe by preparing the noodles with milk and butter. You’ll end up with a creamy, flavorful sauce to transform the dish in a simple way.
8. Lemon garlic ramen
A little lemon garlic seasoning can transform a typical ramen dish into a much more delicious one. Simply boil the ramen noodles with the seasoning and add garlic and green onion if available.
9. Ramen stracciatella
Crack an egg into your ramen as it boils to add texture to your dish and an added dose of protein. Does it get any easier than that?
10. Poached egg ramen
This one is as delicious as it is similar to the ramen stracciatella above. Instead of mixing an egg into your noodles, crack the egg into a ladle and submerge it in the water to poach it. This recipe is simple, tasty and you only need one pot to make it!
11. A Pad Thai ramen twist
If you have a jar of peanut butter sitting around (and let’s be honest—even the barest of cupboards often do) you can make yourself a Pad Thai inspired bowl of ramen. All you need is a spoonful of peanut butter to transform your ramen packet.
12. Hawaiian-themed ramen
This recipe will leave you dreaming of white sand beaches and turquoise waters—and it’s super easy. By just adding pineapple to a packet of pork flavored ramen you can get a tasty dish reminiscent of Hawaiian ham.
13. The easiest vegetarian ramen curry
Curry powder, cumin and red pepper flakes pack a punch in this quick and deliciously simple recipe that will wake up your taste buds.
14. Cheesy tuna ramen
Get your protein fix with this tried and true ramen recipe favorite. Simply add a packet of tuna and American cheese to cooked and drained ramen noodles of any flavor.
15. Fried ramen trail mix
Brown a pack of ramen on the stovetop and mix with handfuls of nuts, seeds and dried fruits. It’s simple, tasty and the perfect snack to take with you on the go.
16. Ramen tomato soup
Eaten separately, they’re just okay, but together these two pantry staples mix up into a delicious dinner. Simply combine a drained pack of ramen noodles with a can of condensed tomato soup.
17. Ham and cheese ramen
Slice up some deli ham you have sitting in the fridge and throw a cup of shredded cheese in with your ramen for a melty, delicious dinner in less than five minutes.
18. Chili ramen
Whip up the easiest of ramen-chili infusions by simply making ramen noodles according to the package directions, draining the noodles and adding a can of chili. It’s the perfect marriage of two comfort foods.
You’re not crazy pinched for time but hey—who wants to spend all night making dinner, anyway? These ramen recipes are a step above the bare minimum and are as appetizing as they are easy.
19. Protein power ramen
This simple ramen recipe packs in an astounding amount of protein for how easy it is. Line the bottom of a soup bowl with spinach and crack an egg into the hot ramen broth. Watch the egg cook before your eyes and add hot sauce to flavor.
20. Ramen noodle carbonara
If you’re stocked with bacon and eggs, plus a few simple seasonings, this deceptively delicious but simple dish will be yours to enjoy before you know it.
21. Breakfast ramen scramble
Yes, this versatile food can even be eaten in breakfast dishes. For the perfect twist on scrambled eggs, this recipe calls for bacon, eggs and cheese—plus whatever seasoning your heart desires.
22. Breakfast burrito of ramen
For those with busy mornings, a breakfast burrito with a ramen base is the perfect solution. Simply by cooking a package of ramen with an egg, adding cheese and wrapping in a tortilla can make for a fast and filling start to your day. Just remember to drain your noodles well—tortilla integrity is key.
23. Parmesan garlic ramen
Yum! Butter, garlic, parsley and parmesan are all you need to transform a packet of instant ramen noodles into an indulgent dish.
24. Chili cheese dog ramen
Cooked hot dogs, a can of chili and shredded cheese are all you need to transform a packet of ramen into an unexpectedly delicious and easy dinner.
25. Simple ramen stir fry
Ramen, your favorite vegetables and eggs are all you need to make this simple and filling stir fry. Meats can be added for protein and the entire dish is customizable to your favorite foods.
26. Ramen grilled cheese
No bread? No problem. Try this delish twist on the classic grilled cheese sandwich. In lieu of bread, fry up some ramen noodles for a crunchy twist. Adding bacon and Sriracha can round out the flavor profile.
27. Spam and broccoli ramen
Get a serving of vegetables and protein with this ramen recipe. Simply chop up broccoli and Spam and add to your ramen noodles as they boil. Add some sauce if you’re looking to add more flavor.
28. Tex-Mex ramen
Get big Tex-Mex flavor in this simple dish. All you need is a pack of beef flavored ramen, chili powder and ground beef. You can also top the dish with sour cream, shredded cheese, lettuce, avocado or whatever other taco toppings you prefer.
29. Creamy chicken and mushroom ramen
You’re one can of soup, one pack of ramen and some shredded chicken away from a delicious dinner with this recipe. All you have to do is add cooked ramen noodles and chicken to cream of mushroom soup.
30. Jailbreak ramen
This recipe is so good, even former convicts can’t help indulging in their old favorite from behind bars. All you need is a pack of ramen, potato chips and your choice of protein. Add some hot sauce for a little kick.
31. The ultimate chocolate lover's dream dessert ramen
Anyone with a sweet tooth knows that they’ll do just about anything for a chocolate fixing! The next time one strikes, all you will need for this rich and chocolatey dessert is brown sugar, vanilla, whipped cream and a pack of ramen noodles.
32. Ramen Jell-O dessert
Fry up a pack of ramen noodles and combine them with a Jell-O mix. The only difficult part is waiting for the Jell-O to set before you devour the entire bowl!
33. Chocolate ramen cakes
Fried ramen noodles give an unexpected but complimentary crunch to this simple dessert recipe. All you need are dessert cupcakes, maraschino cherries, chocolate sauce and a banana to make this optimal ramen dessert.
34. Ramen marshmallow treats
You don’t need rice cereal to make tasty marshmallow treats. Simply substitute them for crushed, uncooked ramen for a twist on the classic dessert.
Well la-de-da! Is it spring break? Because you’ve got a bit more time on your hands and you’re feeling more adventurous than taking on your run-of-the-mill ramen noodle recipe. You’re ready to get your hands dirty in the kitchen and appreciate the finer things in life: ramen style. Lucky for you, these recipes are as delectable as they are Instagram-worthy.
35. Ramen chicken noodle soup
Step up your standard sick food fare with this delicious chicken noodle soup ramen recipe packed with vegetables, protein and seasonings. It’s the perfect dinner for a cold night.
36. Caesar ramen chicken
Shredded chicken, bacon crumbles, croutons and Caesar salad dressing have never tasted so good together. Just add the ingredients to your cooked ramen and you have a delicious twist on the classic salad.
37. Sweet and salty ramen kettle corn
Treat yourself with a ramen-inspired twist on the classic state fair favorite: Kettle corn. This recipe will satisfy both your salty and sweet cravings.
When life gets hectic and your schedule is packed, bring this portable ramen recipe on-the-go with you to eat ramen wherever you want. Just pack your cooked noodles into a mason jar, along with vegetables and seasoning to taste.
39. Chili-cheese frittata
Your ramen noodle pack will take on an international flare with this tasty recipe. When baked with a few simple vegetables, they transform into a deliciously crispy and cheesy dish.
40. Savory ramen pancakes
Whether this serves as your afternoon snack or an enticing appetizer, these little ramen scallion pancakes will dish up plenty of flavor in a crunchy, easy-to-fry dish.
41. Chicken parmesan ramen
Crispy breaded chicken rests on a bed of ramen noodles and marinara sauce in this enticing recipe. You’ll need chicken, bread crumbs, cheese and spaghetti sauce to transform your pack of ramen.
42. Crunchy mandarin orange salad
Uncooked ramen noodles added to a salad is an easy way to amp up a healthy dish with an unexpected crunch. You’ll love the juxtaposition of flavors with the sweet mandarin oranges.
43. Emerald pesto ramen
This delicious pesto ramen dish will leave you seeing green. If you have a few simple seasonings on hand and access to a food processor, this dish will wow your taste buds.
44. Ramen-infused coleslaw
Give this summer standby a deliciously crunchy twist that will hold up in the heat and serve as the ultimate side dish to any picnic, grill-out or family gathering.
45. Chicken lo mein ramen
Make your favorite Chinese food right at home with this easy ramen recipe. Simply add the noodles to chopped onions, green peppers, carrots, soy sauce and chopped chicken.
46. Ramen pizza
Worlds collide in a tasty way when you use ramen as your pizza crust. Just add sauce, cheese and whatever pizza toppings your heart desires.
47. Shrimp and veggie ramen lo mein
Take your ramen to the next step by tossing frozen veggies and shrimp into the mix. Soy sauce, garlic powder and ginger will trick your taste buds in this simple and delicious dinner.
48. Green pepper and chicken ramen
Give your ramen pack an upgrade in this sophisticated take on the classic dish. Fry up chicken, tofu and a green pepper, scramble an egg and add the ingredients to your bowl of ramen. Top with baby bok choy.
49. Ramen burgers
Indulge in a decadent dinner that’s as visually interesting as it is delicious. Cook your ramen, then fry it into flat patties. Pile on hamburger and whatever toppings you prefer for a dish that’s sure to make your friends drool with envy.
50. Ramen burrito
Ramen noodles update the beloved burrito in this quirky recipe. Rather than using rice, burritos are filled with fried ramen noodles, plus whatever burrito fillings you like. Add avocado, beans, corn, shredded meat, cheese and whatever spices you want to customize this dish.
It’s time to get cooking!
The beauty of ramen is that it’s as versatile as it is cheap and easy to make. With a little imagination, this kitchen staple can transform from a dorm room dish to a full-blown family dinner. Above all, ramen noodle recipes are quick for busy people like you.
Now that you’ve learned how to whip up affordable and easy meals for yourself, learn how else you can maximize your time and cover your bases when you’ve got a lot on your plate. Check out our article, 12 Tips to Balance Working Full-Time & Going to College, to learn how to hack your busy schedule and achieve a balance between academia and the working world.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published in August 2009. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2017.