Ramen is a simple dish with an uncanny ability to morph from a humble cupboard staple into a gourmet experience, fitting just as comfortably in the hands of a college student as it does on the menu of a fancy eatery.

Straight-out-of-the-packet ramen has its charm, sure. It’s quick, easy, and comforting in its predictability. But with a sprinkle of creativity and a dash of extra effort, that basic bowl can be transformed into something truly spectacular.

Here are our favorite tweaks to add flavor and personalization turning an inexpensive, quick meal into a grown-up dining experience.

A bowl of ramen with sliced pork, egg, seaweed, and green onions, accompanied by chopsticks and condiments.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.
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Make Use of Condiments

A spoon next to a jar of organic melon white mush.
White Miso Paste. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

Upgrading your instant ramen can be as simple as reaching into your fridge for condiments. A dab of miso paste or a drizzle of chili oil can introduce deep, complex flavors. These additions let you play around and find flavor combos that really hit the spot, turning your ramen bowl into something a lot more exciting. Just don’t go overboard and mix too many things together at once. Stick with one or two and test a bunch out over time to find your favorites.

Add Quick-Cooking Vegetables

A vibrant green salad with kale, spinach, edamame, and a slice of lime served in a black bowl on a rustic wooden table.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Ramen is far from a health food, but you can make it a little healthier with this easy hack. Add a colorful boost from vegetables like spinach, kale, or thinly sliced bell peppers. They not only add a fresh bite but also makes your meal feel more complete. Quick-cooking veggies can be tossed in right as you finish cooking, wilting perfectly into the hot broth.

The Iconic Soft-Boiled Egg

Close-up of a bowl of ramen with soft-boiled egg, shrimp, and garnishes.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Dropping a soft-boiled egg into your ramen is a game changer. The creamy yolk mixes with the broth, making it richer and more flavorful. You can cook the egg right in the pot with your noodles or make it separately for that perfect runny center. Plus, eggs are a cheap protein which fits perfectly with this kind of budget meal.

A Big Squeeze of Fresh Lime Juice

A person squeezing a lime on a citrus juicer with fresh limes and mint leaves on the countertop.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

A squeeze of fresh lime can brighten up your ramen in a way you wouldn’t believe. It cuts through the richness and adds a zing that wakes up all the flavors. Just cut a lime wedge and squeeze it over your bowl right before you dig in.

Garnish with Scallions

Bowl of ramen with a soft-boiled egg, sliced chicken, green onions, and chili flakes.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Chopping up some scallions and sprinkling them on top of your ramen adds a burst of freshness and a bit of crunch. It’s a classic topping for a reason, bringing a slight oniony flavor that complements the broth without overpowering it. Plus, it makes your bowl look pretty professional.

Swap Water for Broth When Cooking

Cooking instant noodles in a pot with a fork stirring through the softening strands.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Instead of just using water to cook your noodles, try broth—chicken, beef, or vegetable. It deepens the flavor of the whole dish, making your ramen taste like you spent hours on it instead of minutes. This one switch can transform a simple snack into a hearty, satisfying meal.

Add Mushrooms

A bowl of ramen with tofu, mushrooms, soft-boiled eggs, and greens, accompanied by side dishes.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Slicing in some mushrooms adds earthiness and a meaty texture to your ramen. They soak up the broth and get super flavorful. You can use fresh mushrooms and sauté them first, or keep it simple with canned mushrooms added straight to the pot. Either way, they’re a great add-on for making your ramen more filling.

Nut Butter

Peanut butter in a bowl on a wooden table.
Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Stirring in a spoonful of peanut or almond butter gives your ramen a creamy, nutty base that’s surprisingly awesome. It thickens the broth slightly and pairs well with spicy or tangy flavors. Try it paired with sriracha, trust us. Just a little bit goes a long way in adding richness and depth to your bowl.


Fresh coriander leaves on a wooden table.
Photo credit: Shutterstock.

If you’re not someone who thinks it tastes like soap, throwing in some freshly chopped cilantro can change the whole vibe of your ramen. It adds a pop of color and a fresh, almost citrusy flavor that’s great for balancing out spicier or more savory broths. It also pairs really well with the lime and scallions if you’re using those too.

A Bit of Fresh Ginger Goes a Long Way

Ginger powder and slices of ginger on a wooden table.
Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Grating some fresh ginger into your ramen can add a warm, spicy kick that’s perfect for cold days. It’s also great for your health. You don’t need much—just grate a little bit into the pot while your noodles cook, and you’ll notice the difference right away.

Add Protein

A bowl of ramen with sliced pork, egg, mushrooms, and chili, served with chopsticks.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Tossing in some cooked chicken, beef, tofu, or even shrimp makes your ramen more of a full meal. It’s a great way to use up leftovers, and adding protein keeps you full longer. Just warm your protein of choice and add it to your bowl for an easy, satisfying upgrade.

15 Outrageously Delicious And Unique Toppings For Your Burger

A classic hamburger with lettuce on a wooden board beside ingredients and pickles.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Burger toppings just leveled up, and your grill is about to become the stage for some truly epic creations. Slathering on these spreads and piling on layers of varying ingredients turns the humble burger into a gourmet experience. These outrageously delicious ideas will impress guests during any cookout and turn each bite into a unique experience. Put the lettuce, tomato and onion aside and think outside the box a bit!

See Them Here: 15 Outrageously Delicious And Unique Toppings For Your Burger

Upgrade Your Eggsperience With 15 New Ways To Eat Eggs

A plate of cheesy zucchini casserole on a white plate.

Tired of the same old egg routine? Eggs are a kitchen workhorse, but sometimes our dishes get stuck on repeat. These 15 recipes crack the code on leveling up your egg game. They go beyond breakfast, spanning savory to sweet for unique and creative ways to enjoy the incredible edible egg.

See them here: Upgrade Your Eggsperience With 15 New Ways To Eat Eggs

10 Best Frozen Veggies To Keep In Your Freezer At All Times For Easy Meals

A freezer full of vegetables.

Keeping the right frozen veggies on hand is like having a secret weapon for easy meal prep. This list is a carefully selected lineup of the best frozen vegetables that promise to turn your everyday cooking into something effortlessly delicious. From the sweet char of fire roasted corn to the versatile goodness of chopped spinach, these freezer staples ensure you’re always ready to whip up something tasty.

See them here: 10 Best Frozen Veggies To Keep In Your Freezer

Select images provided by Depositphotos.

Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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