How to Make Easy, Cheap Ramen That Doesn't Suck

For a couple of bucks you can turn a peasant dish into a (slightly) elegant meal.


If you find yourself dependent on instant ramen noodles for sustenance, chances are life isn’t going well for you. Or you’re in college. Either way, you’re broke and have few options. Don’t worry! It gets better! So long as you can spice up that ramen. Ever read the ingredients on those things? High fat, high salt, no more nutrients than a handful of soggy Doritos.

And to top off all that bullshit, those noodle blocks are kind of gross anyway. We’re not sorry, because that can actually be fixed. Here’s a quick, dirty guide to making a fine soup gourmet out of a $0.39-cent bag of poverty chow.

Step 1: Add some damn vegetables.

We’ve just gone over how awful instant ramen is for your health. As a middle finger to Death’s early strut towards your MSG-flavored corpse, throw in as many vegetables as you can into the pot while the ramen boils. I recommend spinach, chopped carrots, onions, and green or red peppers. You can throw in some corn too, but if you’re like me and eat ramen with chopsticks (hell yes) then don’t bother.

Step 2: Add some meat, or fish.

I can’t stress enough over how this is NOT about making your meal healthy, but about going out in a blaze of glory. Add a little tender meat to the dish because man was never meant to survive on synthesized noodle strings alone.

Chopped chicken or steak chunks work well. Strips of salmon do too depending on your preference. Stick to one kind of meat, however. Ramen is an onslaught of flavor, and sticking to one kind of meat won’t overpower your thirty minutes of mealtime lethargy.

Step 3: Cook with spices.

If you’ve got some seasonings lying around, take advantage. Ground black pepper and garlic powder are my go-tos, but you should experiment. It’ll be the only happiness and creativity you get in this dreary life.

But avoid more salt. That shitty powder that flavors the noodles is loaded with that stuff already.

Step 4: Fry an egg.

You should be prepared to do the dishes after this, by the way. If that’s cool, get out a pan and fry an egg. Scrambled, over-easy, sunny side, who gives a shit. Just do it. I prefer sunny side.

Cook it until it’s ready then carefully drop that into the pot when the ramen is finished. By now your broke ass ramen dish is looking a little more authentic. It’s not, but no one else is eating this so fuck it.

Step 5: Drink water or tea.

You’ve got some hella good sodium in a bowl by now, so wash it down with tea or water. Avoid juices and especially soda. You should avoid soda all the time, and water and tea make nice palette cleansers. You don’t want that ramen taste for the rest of the night, do you?

Step 6: Watch that thing you’ve been meaning to watch on Netflix.

You’ve successfully made a decent(ish) meal out of instant ramen. Way to go. Celebrate your victory against mediocrity by watching that thing you’ve been meaning to watch. Maybe Narcos. Just not The Ramen Girl. Life is too short.

Related Tags