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How to Spruce up Ramen? 25 Ways to Upgrade Instant Ramen: Hacks and Ramen Fixings

Cooking instant ramen is such an easy and simple task.

Prepare boiling water, put noodles in the pot, wait 3 minutes, and mix a soup packet.

I am sure you've done this thousands of times.

Well, any problems?


One day when I was a student, there was a special sale for instant noodles at a supermarket.

It was very cheap so I bought many packs.

Quick cheap dinner fix? Your wallet will thank you!

But since then, I had to eat chicken flavour instant noodles every single day, 3 meals per day, since they were about to expire.

I got so bored of the same flavor.

But good news:

After a while, I found many ways to spruce up these instant noodles.

But wait.

Many people think: “why would you spend so much time on a meal that is supposed to take no longer than 3 minutes to make?”

So today, I will introduce a few easy and simple ways to spruce up your instant noodles.

In this article, I will be introducing how to make instant noodles better and in many different and interesting ways.

Keep reading and you will find out…

1. The reasons why you would want to customize instant noodles. 

There might be many reasons behind why you would want to customise your instant noodles.

Reason #1: You bought the wrong flavor

Oops, you grabbed the wrong flavor, but you don’t feel like going back to the grocery store to return it.

Or you thought you would like them, but it turns out you hate the flavor.

Spruce up your ramen noodles and change its taste!.

Reason #2: Maybe 5 packs are too many

Yes, it is a good deal, but it might be too much if you live by yourself.

When you are bored of the flavor, it is the perfect time to try a new way to enjoy your instant ramen.

Reason #3: You are bored of ready-made ramen

Maybe you have tried all the options in the supermarket.

But you haven't found your ideal ramen flavor.

Then why don't you make your own favourite one?

There are many options to tweak your instant noodles.

Reason #4: You are adventurous and creative

If you feel you like you want to try new flavors that you have never tasted, everything in your kitchen can be your material.

Reason #5: Easy and convenient to cook

Instant noodles are very simple and easy to cook.

That means you can have your ideal flavor with a small amount of effort just by adding some spices.

Reason #6: You want to be healthy

You love eating instant noodles but people say instant noodles aren't healthy.


You can make your instant noodles healthier by adding some toppings and following some tips.

2. Will your customized instant ramen taste good?

Yes, I’m sure you will find it very yummy because...

You used your creativity and it is extremely satisfying.

According to "Psychological Science" which is published in 2013 by Harvard University and Minnesota University,

If you make certain actions to your food before eating it, you will get more satisfaction from the meal.

Even only squeezing a lemon by yourself into a glass of water will make your lemon water taste somewhat different from the lemon water that somebody else made for you.

Adding salt by yourself is enough to make the food taste better.

3. Purposes of Changing Instant Noodles’ Taste

There are many ways to customize your instant ramen. 

Replicating the taste of a professional ramen shop, adding other Asian or Western flavors,  or creating a completely new taste.

Take a look... 

You want to make your instant noodles like a professional ramen shop

Miso Paste

Miso is fermented soybean.

It looks like peanut butter, but it tastes really different.

It is more close to vegemite.

If you like miso ramen, putting miso paste into your instant noodles will be the perfect condiment for you.

Putting 2 to 3 tablespoons of miso makes your instant ramen taste like the ramen at a professional ramen shop.

Miso makes your ramen thicker and richer taste and adds savoury flavor.

There are also many other benefits of eating miso ramen...

1. Miso is a fermented food, so it improves intestinal health and helps your immune system.

2. The salt content in miso doesn't raise your blood pressure as much as other salty food would.

3. Miso ramen is often topped with many different types of vegetables. You can take in a lot of vegetables compared to other kinds of ramen.

Miso is pretty good for overall health as well as exceptionally delicious! I make miso soup almost everyday since it is healthy and my wife likes having it with dinner!

In Japan, it is common to eat miso ramen in the winter because it warms up your body.


Adding miso paste into your instant noodles will create a warm family dinner.

Do you want to know where to find miso paste?

You can find miso in health food stores or Asian grocery stores.

Soy Sauce

If you want to add some saltiness into your instant noodles, soy sauce is a good option.

It is easy to add into your ramen, and

Soy sauce adds some nice and rich flavor and nice brown color into your ramen.

If you like shoyu ramen, you should try this condiment.

Did you know?

Shoyu means soy sauce in Japanese.

It will go especially well with seafood flavor or chicken flavor instant ramen.

Sesame Seeds

It adds a nice aroma and a little bit of sweet taste to your ramen.

It won’t change your ramen drastically, but these sesame seeds will bring a little something extra into your ramen.

Little popping texture will be a nice accent to your ramen noodles. 

Sesame is a common topping for shio ramen.

Black Pepper

Pepper adds a bit of a spicy kick to your ramen. It can be an accent to the ramen when used in moderation. 

When you feel the taste of the soup is a little too simple, give it a try!


When used in moderation, vinegar can bring some fresh flavor to your ramen.

When you feel your ramen is too oily, you should use vinegar.

You will feel like it is less oily when you use it.

Do you know why?

Because vinegar separates oil particles from each other.

It breaks the ties of oil, so your mouth doesn't feel oiliness as much as before.

Your ramen gets a milder taste when you use vinegar.


Yuzugosho is paste that is made from chili peppers, yuzu peel, and salt. 

Yuzu is a citrus fruit.

It has a salty and spicy taste, but the spiciness is a little different from the one of chili peppers.

Citrus flavor from yuzu is very appetizing and tastes really good. 

People use this condiment for Japanese-style hot pot, soup, sashimi, tempura, tofu, and yakitori (grilled chicken skewers).

People also use yuzugosho in their ramen. This citrusy taste pairs well with shio or shoyu ramen.

Ajitama egg

Debatably, one of the top 2 most popular ramen toppings of all time, is the marinated ramen egg.


The ramen egg is famous and well-loved for its firm and seasoned egg whites, coupled with a soft and succulent egg yolk.

This is the first place to work on in order to improve your ramen bowl.

Because it is easy to make, and adds so much satisfaction.

The ajitama egg will significantly enhance the taste of your ramen.

If you want to make a bowl of ramen similar to that at a ramen restaurant, you must put ajitama in it.

Ajitama egg recipe:


Chashu is one of the most popular toppings for ramen.

Chashu is juicy, savoury, tender, and so yummy!

Usually, it is the only meat protein on ramen so that chashu is very valuable.

It is like a strawberry on a strawberry cake.

Some people save their chashu for the end - saving the best for last.

And some people find saving chashu for the end is shabby, as you should enjoy it together with the meal.

People have their own philosophy towards chashu.

What about you?

For people who can’t have pork due to health or religious reasons,

There are some great alternatives available in Japan: beef chashu, chicken chashu, duck chashu, and tofu chashu.

Chashumen is used to refer to a ramen that contains a lot of chashu.

Chashu recipe:

Other Japanese Style Condiments and Toppings

Sesame oil

Sesame oil adds the sweet sesame flavor into your instant ramen.

Your ramen will have a rich and smooth taste.

You can use sesame oil as a condiment, or you can fry vegetables using sesame oil and put them into your noodles as a topping.

So the vegetables will have a really nice aroma. 


Wasabi is not a common ramen condiment.

However, some people are addicted to this spicy taste.

There are potato chips and instant noodles that are wasabi flavored in Japan.

If you are bored of the regular instant noodle flavor, it is worth trying.

You can get a wasabi tube at almost any Asian supermarkets.

Do you think using wasabi on noodles is weird? Actually no!

Wasabi has been a common condiment on soba and udon noodles for a long time!

But don’t use too much wasabi! It will be too spicy!


Ponzu makes everything great. 

The sour taste of ponzu is very refreshing and it makes your food very appetizing.

I recommend making ramen salad using ponzu because ponzu goes well with vegetables.

Ramen salad is cold ramen with a lot of vegetables.

Ramen Salad recipe:

Japanese Curry Powder

Ramen and curry combined...

Curry ramen is a dream food because ramen and curry are the most popular meal for kids in Japan.

These are like Godzilla and King Kong.

If you put Japanese curry powder or curry roux into your ramen soup,

The soup turns really thick and it goes very well with your instant noodles.

I recommend putting diced potatoes, onions, and carrots into the soup.

Now I don’t know if I should call it ramen or curry.

By the way, I have reviewed Nissin Cup Noodles Curry before.

Click here to check it out:

Worcester Sauce

I recommend using Worcester sauce with your instant noodles when you make yakisoba.

Worcester sauce is made of vegetables, fruit, salt, sugar, vinegar, and some spices.

Since it has a nice salty sweet flavor, it is perfect to make fried noodles out of it.

When you pan fry this sauce and noodles, it makes a great savory flavor. 

Thai flavor

Fish sauce

Fish sauce itself has a strong distinctive flavor, but when it is mixed with soup, the flavor gets mild and enhances your ramen.

Umami from the original soup and umami from this fish sauce go very well together.

So it makes your ramen very well-balanced. 

Sriracha sauce

In America, sriracha sauce is very popular.

People use this sauce for hot dogs, pizzas, other meat dishes, and fish dishes.

It is made of peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt.

And it’s less spicy than tabasco, and it doesn’t have a distinct flavor like other Asian spices.

So sriracha sauce should go well with your ramen when you want some hot taste.


This distinct flavor and fresh taste will change your ramen into a Southeastern flavor.

I recommend using coriander with spicy soup.

Thai curry paste

Have you eaten Thai curry?

Because ramen noodles go well with curry, there are many Thai curry flavored instant noodles in Asia.

You cannot find the flavor where you live?

Then you should use Thai curry paste into your instant noodles.

There are green, red, or yellow Thai curry paste out there.

Making Thai curry takes a lot of time, but if you use this paste, you can save time and it is really easy. 

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk goes well with curry or other spicy tastes.

It makes your ramen soup thick and rich.

If you use coconut milk with Thai curry paste, you can reproduce the taste of coconut curry.

Some sweetness of coconut milk and spicy taste creates an authentic Southeast Asian flavor.

You will feel like you are eating at a Thai restaurant.

Chinese Flavor

Oyster sauce

Oyster sauce makes your ramen soup mild and rich.

Because the flavor of oyster sauce makes your ramen soup more complicated.

I recommend using one tablespoon of this sauce when you make shoyu ramen to upgrade the soup.

Chili Bean Sauce

Chili bean sauce goes well with miso ramen.

If you want to try a different taste of miso ramen, you should try putting chili bean sauce.

You will get a spicy umami miso ramen! 

Tunisian Flavor


Harissa is another choice to make your ramen noodles spicy.

Flavor from spice and olive goes well with noodles.

Korean flavor


If you want to add a little Korean flavor to your instant noodles, you should use gochujang.

It is a spicy condiment but It is a fermented food, so it has sweetness too.


This unique, spicy, salty, sour, and juicy taste can be an accent to your ramen.

Western flavor


Well, cheese makes everything good!

And almost everyone has cheese at home.

American cheese, gouda cheese, Parmesan, etc..

You can melt the cheese into the soup or entangle cheese with your ramen noodles and eat it together.

Cheese makes your ramen soup mild and creamy, and creates a nice flavor.

Pesto sauce

Adding pesto sauce to your instant noodles will be a good idea if you like to add a little Italian flavor to your ramen.

You can buy pesto sauce at a supermarket if you grow basil, you can use a food processor to make this sauce.

You can make pesto sauce ramen easily. Use less of the soup packet and add in some pesto sauce into your ramen soup. 

Chicken Bouillon Cube

If you like chicken soup and it is your comfort food, putting a chicken broth cube into your ramen is a good idea.

Because ramen is another comfort food for a lot of people.

The chicken broth cube adds some umami and saltiness into your ramen.

But don't forget to use less of the soup packet than usual since it will be too salty if you use the whole packet.

Corn Soup

You can turn your instant ramen into some kind of Western food.

If you cook corn soup with your instant noodles.

This sweet and thick soup will make your ramen really unique.


If you want to eat tomato soup ramen, you should try putting some ketchup in your instant ramen.

Other condiments

  • Salad Dressing
  • Mayonnaise
  • Dried Seaweed
  • Furikake
  • Peanut Butter
  • Butter
  • Chili Sauce
  • Frank's red hot
  • Use Your Own Broth

Related links



If ramen or any other types of Japanese style noodles and soup is comfort food for you, you might be thinking that you need ramen bowls.

Ramen bowls are perfect for a large bowl of ramen.

They are big enough to pile on the fixings, they are durable, and best of all, they look beautiful.

Share a bowl of warm, hearty home cooked ramen with your family, friends and loved ones for your ramen night.

Or when you order take out, transfer the noodles from those awful looking containers.

You and your family will be so excited and can’t wait until your next ramen night to use these bowls!

About the Author

Kei is a self-proclaimed ramen lover, blog writer and founder of "Apex S.K. Japanese tableware".

"I am from Ibaraki, Japan.

Ramen is great! It can bring you a sense of happiness and satisfaction that no other food can. I have been eating ramen for 30 years.

If there is no ramen, my life would be miserable.

Ten years ago, I worked as an office worker. The job was really stressful - excessive working hours, low wages, unpaid overtime work, and constantly being yelled at by my boss.

I was new and alone, no girlfriend, no friends, and felt very lonely.

My only oasis was the ramen shop near the office. For me, the ramen chef there was literally an angel. I saw a halo on his head. (No joke)

Tonkotsu shoyu ramen was my all-time favorite. He made ramen with broth chock-full of umami flavor, nice chewy handmade noodles, and tender chashu.

My greatest dream is connect people with ramen through my blog. I want to share a lot of interesting and funny stories and ramen trivia with you.

Knowing more about ramen can help you appreciate your ramen and make it taste extra delicious."



  • Kei

    Hi Kristin,
    Thanks for leaving us a comment!
    Hope you like them!

  • Kristin

    Thank you for the tips! They sound really tasty, I will definitely be trying these out!

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