11 Brilliant Ways to Harness the Power of Instant Ramen

Hurtling towards the chomping jaws of dinner time without an escape plan? Ramen to the rescue! Let your noodle-slurping skills extend to quick-prep ramen-based mains like chili, mac and cheese, fried rice, and a mad-genius pizza hack you’ll wish you’d thought of first.

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Ramen Noodle Salad

We’ve all heard the legend: Two underdogs from the grocery store shortcut aisle unite to create potluck magic—and become heroes in the process. That’s the rags-to-riches tale of crushed ramen noodles and a common bag of coleslaw mix, made remarkable with a sprinkling of sunflower seeds, oil, and cider vinegar. Get the recipe >>


Ramen Egg Foo Yung

Consider this eggy pancake an edible canvas, waiting to be festooned with all manner of savory baubles like baby shrimp, crisp water chestnuts, and scallions. Constructing the patty around a base of buttered ramen noodles adds instant heft and encourages a crackly brown crust—the mark of a true foo master. Get the recipe >>

Cheesy Ramen

For the days when you’re still puttering around in your bathrobe at 5pm, take comfort in this low-brow prince of a dish. No need to run out for ingredients incognito to cover your unwashed hair, this snack requires only two items: ramen noodles and a slice of American cheese. Slapped hastily into a bowl, the two tangle into a hot and cheesy dream that’s for you and you alone. Get the recipe >>

Spicy Noodle Soup

Slow-simmered chili sounds dandy, but on busy nights—ain’t nobody got time for that. Time to trigger the emergency instant ramen sequence. Shower those noods with a confetti cloud of black beans, corn, salsa, and chili powder and watch dinner take shape inside a steamy bath of veggie broth. Get the recipe >>


Ramen Fried “Rice”

Otherwise known as fried rice on the fast track. Don’t have a spare hour to watch a pot of rice creep along in stovetop slow motion? Enlist lightning-fast ramen noodles to speed the soy-sauced load of roast pork, garlic, peas, and green onions to the dinner table in record time. Get the recipe >>

Uncommon Ramen BBQ Chicken Pizza Bake

Is there any comfort food that ramen can’t mimic? Jury’s still out, but you might find yourself trading your standard slice for this ramen-crusted go-getter. Eggs, milk and parmesan cheese corral the noodles into a chewy round that’s begging to be draped in ribbons of barbecue sauce and red onion, cinched with a chicken cumberbund and bedazzled with mandarin oranges. Get the recipe >>

Spicy Sriracha Ramen

Sriracha madness rages on—there’s no use fighting this endless heat wave. Join the spice-addled legions by dousing your noodles in the fiery chili sauce, grated ginger and soy sauce and stir-frying the lot with an egg. Feeling frisky? Fuel the fire with a red pepper flake garnish. Get the recipe >>


Ramen Noodle Peanut Bread

Buckle up, all you lackluster loaves. In the duel for doughy supremacy, plain white bread won’t stand a chance against this nutty stunner dotted with ramen noodles and salted peanuts. Those crunchy shards complement the tender cottage cheese crumb that’s laced with nutmeg. Serve it warm with a smug victory dance on the side. Get the recipe >>

Confetti Rolls

Ever wish you could wrap your mouth around a rainbow? You might want to get that dream analyzed by a professional — but in the meantime, you can come close to achieving your goal with these colorful scrolls. The ingredient list reads like a treasure map leading to jewel-like vegetables; carrot, red pepper, purple cabbage, and spinach, plus you’ll want to dig for golden nuggets of shredded chicken and ramen noodles. Get the recipe >>

Budget Pasta Salad

If dorm room walls could talk, they would be telling you to make this pasta salad with your ever faithful care package of ramen from Mom. Cloak those noodles in a racy mix of Italian dressing, then go full Animal House and load ’em up with flavor boosters like pepperoni, parmesan, mozzarella, and green onions. Get the recipe >>


Cinnamon Snack Mix

Snack attack! If the secret love between ramen noodles and cinnamon graham cracker bears is wrong, trust me, you don’t want to be right. And if tossing those lovers in butter with honey graham cereal and raisins is criminal, then you’re headed straight to the big house. At least you’ll have handful after handful of honey-slicked morsels to keep you company. Get the recipe >>

About AMarsteller at Food.com

My motto is "eat it to believe it." If I'm not faceplanting into a food or beverage, I'm writing about said food or beverage for various digital publications. Need to find me? Try the nearest old-timey soda fountain.