Easy Ramen

Hot, comforting, satisfying Ramen brimming with flavor is easy tbo make at home and SO versatile!

You will LOVE how quick and easy this Ramen is to make at home – and it can be made with whatever you have on hand!  This Shoyu Ramen recipe comes together quickly with tender, juicy pork (or chicken), vibrant vegetables, and rich, fragrant broth without simmering bones for days!  This shortcut Ramen Soup is still a flavor bomb from its aromatic base of ginger, garlic and green onions along with plenty of umami and chili paste so it’s savory, rich and fragrant with just the right amount of kick plus it’s much healthier than those college-days Ramen packets! 

top view of showing how to eat ramen by picking up ramen noodles with chopsticks

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RAMEN RECIPE

Ramen Noodle houses are springing up everywhere and we are lucky enough to have a Harumama Noodles & Buns right in Carlsbad – even if there is always a wait.  But the wait is well worth it because making authentic Ramen is an art.  For example, making Tonkotsu Ramen requires a minimum of 8 hours of simmering the pork bones in water to create the complex broth – and that’s why authentic Ramen is that good.

For today’s Ramen recipe, however, I wanted to create a soup that would be quick and easy but still unabashedly flavorful; one that would satisfy your Ramen cravings during this crazy time and one that was easily adaptable with what you have on hand.  The resulting Ramen recipe will satisfying your umami cravings every time!  

For this winning recipe, we’ll be using the same dried ramen noodles you know and love, but ditching the sodium, msg-filled packet in exchange for our own fresh explosions of flavor.  Our shortcut semi-homemade Ramen, will still have you enthusiastically slurping at home – guilt free.   

In summary, here’s while you’ll love this Ramen recipe:

  • Versatile. Use pork, chicken, ground pork, even shrimp!  You can also add whatever veggies you have on hand.  If you don’t have Ramen noodles, you can use rice vermicelli, udon, etc.
  • Shortcut.  We start with store-bought broth but infuse it with flavor from ginger, garlic, and green onions so you don’t have to simmer your soup for hours, instead, less than 10 minutes. I’ve also included how to make the broth 100% pantry friendly with just powders!
  • Tender pork.  The pork is “marinated” just while you prep the rest of your ingredients which translates into melt-in-your mouth buttery, tender, flavorful pork.
  • Toppings!  Half of the fun of Ramen is the toppings! Again, go simple and use just what you have on hand or go all out.  I like to stick with vibrant, easily accessible, carrots, zucchini and soft-boiled eggs – yum!

WHAT IS RAMEN?

Ramen (ラーメン) is a noodle soup (no need to say “Ramen Soup” as that is implied) that originated in Japan by way of Chinese noodles.  A bowl of ramen is known for its a rich, flavorful broth swaddling tender meat, noodles and veggies, all topped with a Ramen egg and often seaweed. 

Authentic Ramen is always made with:

  • ramen noodles  
  • a meat or fish-based broth that is simmered for hours
  • tare, which is a simple sauce that adds saltiness to the soup

THE NOODLES:

To be considered Ramen, ramen noodles have to be used.  But what exactly are ramen noodles?  Ramen noodles are wheat-based alkaline noodles made with flour, wheat and most importantly kansui (かん水).  This key ingredient is a salty, alkaline liquid that gives the noodles their signature chewy, springy texture.

There are many types of noodles that fit this criterion with varying shapes, colors, lengths, thicknesses, etc. – they don’t all look like the wavy dried packets we’re most familiar with.  They can vary from thin and straight to thick and wavy, but the one thing they all have in common is kansui – which means they’ve earn the coveted classification as chewy ramen noodles.

THE BROTH & TARE:

Ramen broth is much like any meat broth that simmers water with bones and aromatics to make the base.  What sets it apart from plain stock is the flavoring known as tare. Tare is a simple a mixture of intensely flavorful liquids or pastes that are added to the broth.  The Ramen is named for the tare that is used. There are many different ‘tare’ but all of them are based on the three common flavorings – soy, salt and mirin – that are packed with umami in order to add flavor to the soup.  The three most common types of ramen based on tare include:

  • Shoyu (醤油, Soy Sauce) Ramen:  the tare used to make Shoyu Ramen is soy sauce (shoyu) most often mixed with mirin.  It is the type of Ramen I am sharing with you today as it is easily accessible, delicious and the most common.  When a menu doesn’t specify the type of Ramen, it is usually Shoyu Ramen.  It is typically made from chicken broth but contains other meats in the actual soup such as pork, beef, fish, etc. 
  • Shio (塩, Salt) Ramen:  the tare used to make Shio Ramen is salt-based and one of the most delicate broths.
  • Miso (味噌, Soybean Paste) Ramen:  the tare used to make Miso Ramen is miso (soybean paste).  It is one of my favorite ramens with its deeply umami, complex, rich broth.

Where did Ramen Come From?

Although we all think Japan when we hear Ramen, ramen noodles are actually a Chinese invention that flourished in Japan.  In the 1930s, Ramen gained extreme popularity as Chinese immigrants to Japan began cooking in soba shops.  They began blending their noodles with Japanese broths and ramen shops and noodle carts multiplied.

Post-World War II, many Japanese noodle makers left the country and ramen was introduced to America.  Ramen was further popularized in the 70’s as instant ramen such as Oodles of Noodles, Cup of Ramen, was marketed as healthy food to busy families.  Today, ramen is too often known for its dried mass-produced packets instead of authentic, slurp-worthy ramen but ramen shops have gained momentum the last few years with no sign of stopping.

showing how to make ramen recipe by adding bok choy and green onions to soup

WHAT INGREDIENTS FOR RAMEN RECIPE?

This Ramen broth is made with very simply ingredients.  Equal parts soy sauce and Japanese rice wine or mirin are considered the tare which are further elevated by dynamic aromatics.  You will need: 

THE BROTH

  • Chicken broth: is the common broth base for Shoyu Ramen even when it includes meats such as pork.  Please use low sodium broth so we can add soy sauce without the broth becoming too salty.
  • Soy sauce:  the addition of soy sauce is what makes this Shoyu Ramen.  Use low sodium soy sauce so your broth isn’t too salty.  You can add more or less to taste.
  • Oyster sauce:  adds that extra punch of flavor that will elevate your ramen recipe to new heights instead of using all soy sauce.  Oyster sauce is a thick, brown sauce with a balance between sweet and salty with an earthy undertone, due to the oyster extracts.  You can find oyster sauce in the Asian aisle of any supermarket for only a few dollars or on Amazon.  Please use QUALITY hoisin sauce such as Lee Kum Kee or Kikkoman.  You truly can taste the difference and will be sorely disappointed with less quality brands.
  • Japanese rice wineenhances the flavor and balance the salty soy. You can use mirin or Japanese cooking rice wine interchangeably in this recipe but I always use Japanese cooking rice wine (like “Aji-Mirin”) as it’s easy to find and less expensive than mirin. In fact, cooking rice wine should become a pantry staple if you do much Asian cooking.  I use it in almost all of my Asian Recipes from my Beef Bulgogi, to Mongolian Chicken to Sesame Noodles and on and on.  Rice wine is NOT rice vinegar- DO NOT switch them out.  Rice wine adds a sweetness and depth of flavor; rice vinegar, on the other hand, will add an acidic flavor.
  • Chili sauce:  you may use any Asian Chili sauce such as sambal oelek, but I highly recommend GochujangGochujang is a Korean red chili paste and my FAVORITE chili paste because it is SO flavorful.  It is not just spicy, but is a complex dance of savory, slightly sweet and spicy.  If you use any chili paste other than Gochujang, you will want to start with less and add more to taste.

Where Can I Buy Rice Wine? 

I use “Kikkoman Aji-Mirin: Sweet Cooking Rice Seasoning” which is commonly found in the Asian section of most grocery stores or you can Amazon it. It is not technically mirin but it works great.  I highly suggest you google image before you head off to the grocery store so you know exactly what you are looking for or you can purchase it on Amazon.

What can I substitute for Rice Wine? 

The best substitute for rice wine is pale dry sherry.  If you’re looking for a non-alcoholic substitution, the best substitute is white grape juice mixed with some lemon juice. 

WHERE CAN I BUY GOCHUJANG?

Gochujang is increasingly easy to find at your local grocery store or there is always Amazon (here).  I use Annie Chun’s Gochujang Sauce. It is located in the Asian section of my grocery store.  I do recommend looking to see what Annie Chun’s Gochujang Sauce looks like so you can easily spot it at the grocery store.

In addition to this Ramen recipe, I also use gochujang in my Korean Chicken, Korean TacosKorean MeatballsKorean Spicy NoodlesKorean Beef Bulgogi and Korean Beef  Bowls, so you will have plenty of scrumptious opportunities to use it up! It is also delicious on cooked veggies or any other place you use chili sauce.

THE ADD-INS

  • Pork:  pork tenderloin emerges buttery tender and flavorful in this soup. It is mixed with a simple “marinade” of cornstarch, soy sauce and sesame oil that rests while you prep the rest of your ingredients.
  • Aromatics: ginger and garlic are essential in Asian cuisine and infuse the entire Ramen with flavor. 
  • Green onions: we will use all of the green onions – both the white parts and green parts and add them to the soup at different times to maximize their flavor, so just separate them once chopped.  I consider the “white parts” up to where they are noticeably green and beautiful for garnish.
  • Mushrooms:  shiitake mushrooms add a delicious umami flavor and meaty texture.  You may also use baby bella/cremini mushrooms but shitake are optimal.  You may also use 1 oz. dried shitake or oyster mushroom and rehydrate per package directions before adding to the soup.
  • Bok choy:  you will need 3-4 heads baby bok choy; we will use the bottom and top parts at different times (like the green onions).  The bottoms will be thinly sliced and added to the soup earlier as they are thicker and take longer to cook – more like celery, and the tops will be coarsely chopped and added at the end – much like spinach. 

Can I use chicken?

Absolutely!  You can swap the pork tenderloin for one pound of chicken thighs.  Sear the chicken thighs on each side just until golden, then add back to the soup with the broth.  Simmer the chicken for 12-15 minutes or until tender enough to shred; shred then add to the soup along with the green parts of the bok choy. 

Can I use ground pork?

Yes!  Ground pork makes a tasty alternative to chicken and a less expensive option to pork tenderloin.  Brown the pork in the soup pot, transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon, then use the drippings to sauté the aromatics.

Can I use dried arbomatics?

Yes! I totally understand if you don’t want to go to the grocery store or if you can’t get your hands-on fresh ingredients at this crazy time – or any time!  You may substitute the fresh ingredients with powders – ground ginger, garlic powder and onion powder.  The typical rule of thumb is 3:1, so one part dried to three parts fresh. I’ve included the exact amounts in the recipe notes.

Do I have to add mushrooms?

If you aren’t a mushroom fan, you can just skip them, although they do add dimension to the broth.

What can I use in place of bok choy? 

I love bok choy because you get both the heartier, crunchier bottoms and the leafier green tops in one. That being said, you may substitute with spinach but you’ll be missing out on some of the fresh crunch.  

Can I make vegetarian Ramen?

Yes!  Swap the chicken broth for vegetable or mushroom stock and omit the pork. 

THE NOODLES

As previously discussed, Ramen noodles are alkaline treated noodles which come in many varieties.  Here’s just a snapshot of your options:

  • Instant/dried ramen noodles:  these are what many people think of when they hear “ramen.”  They are super easy to find at your local grocery store. When using instant ramen noodles, discard the seasoning packet and only use the noodles.  You can also find dried ramen in the Asian section of many grocery stores or at most Asian markets without the seasoning packet.  I prefer NongShim Shin Ramyun ramen packets or Samyang ramen packets. They are thicker and heartier which means they stay nice and firm for longer.
  • Fresh noodles:  fresh noodles might not be the most convenient option during this lockdown but they are worth making a note of for later.  Fresh noodles are more common in major cities where ramen noodle producers work nearby, but they can still be found in other areas.  Fresh ramen will be located in the refrigerated section and should be used within a few days.
  • Other options:  If you don’t have access to Ramen noodles, you can make this soup with other Asian noodles – it just won’t technically be “Ramen”😉.  Other options include rice vermicelli, soba, udon or somen.  These noodles are usually sold dried.  Cook according to package directions before adding to the soup.  
showing how to make ramen recipe by adding zucchini and carrots to soup

Can I make Ramen gluten free?

To make this Ramen recipe gluten free, use tamari instead of soy sauce. Use gluten free Ramen noodles such as Lotus Foods Organic Brown Rice Ramen.   I haven’t personally tried these noodles, but I’ve heard they are excellent. If you can’t locate gluten free Ramen, then try rice vermicelli.  Rice vermicelli is usually gluten free, but not always, so just make sure you check the ingredients for wheat starch or wheat flour.

What toppings for Ramen?

Ramen can be super simple or you can go crazy with all sorts of fancy toppings.  Since we focused on making this best Ramen recipe possible with pork, mushrooms, bok choy, and green onions (negi) in the broth, I chose to keep the toppings simple with thinly sliced carrots, zucchini and a soft-boiled egg. 

But the beauty of making your own Ramen is you can do whatever you want!  I’ve included some optional toppings below that are commonly served with ramen – some of the names might sound exotic because they are Japanese but most of the toppings themselves are familiar:

  • Ajitsuke Tamago (味付け玉子):  are soft boiled, marinated eggs and the most popular topping for Ramen – for good reason. The egg yolk can be cooked to your liking from super runny to custard-like to even firm hard-boiled.  I’ve kept the eggs in this Ramen recipe simple by just boiling them but you can also look up a recipe to marinate them with soy sauce and mirin overnight up to 4 days.   Either marinated or plain, soft boiled eggs are a must in my book!  If you don’t want to boil eggs, you can also just fry eggs over easy, and serve it on top of the Ramen.
  • Menma (メンマ麺麻): is one of the most common toppings for Ramen.  They are preserved, sometimes pickled, bamboo shoots with a salty flavor and subtle sweetness.  They are typically seasoned with sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar and salt.   You can menma at Asian grocery stores, sometimes in the Asian section of your grocery store or online.  
  • Negi (ネギ, ねぎ): is a Welsh onion that is considered part of the scallion family. It’s longer and thicker than the green onion and has a larger amount of white stem; the closest in taste is the green onion.  Since we are already adding green onions directly to the soup, negi aren’t necessary as a topping but feel free to add more if you like.
  • Moyashi ((もやし):  are bean sprouts and add a delightful crunch.  Add them to the Ramen just before serving with the carrots and zucchini. 
  • Nori (dried seaweed):  various types of seaweed are also commonly added to Ramen, most commonly nori or kim.  Nori are dried thin, paper-like sheets that can be cut into strips or squares and added to the soups or crumbled on top for added crunch. You can also purchase nori flakes. Good quality nori has plenty of umami with a natural sweetness without a fishy smell. You can purchase nor on Amazon or in Asian markets.
  • Greens:  fresh greens are a nice fresh contrast to the savory broth which wilt almost instantly upon contact.  Baby bok choy is my personal favorite (which is why I’ve included here) but you can also use Chinese spinach, baby spinach, gai lan (Chinese broccoli), or yu choy (a leafy vegetable similar to baby spinach with subtle bitter and peppery notes).
  • Fish cakes/seafood: fish cakes can be found pre-cooked and frozen at Asian grocery stores.  Simply defrost and thinly slice before adding to the soup. Similarly, kamaboko (蒲鉾:かまぼこ) comes pre-sliced.  You can also add any cooked seafood to the Ramen such as salmon, halibut, shrimp, etc.
  • Corn:  is more common with Miso or Shio Ramen but is also delicious with this Shoyu Ramen, especially when paired with butter!
  • Butter!  Although it doesn’t come second nature to add butter to Ramen, it tastes amazing.  Add a thick pat of butter to your individual bowls for extra depth and creaminess.
  • Veggies:  In addition to greens and corn, feel free to add other vegetables to your Ramen.  I like thinly sliced zucchini and carrots but you also add anything with a nice crunch – just make sure they are thinly sliced or cut small because they are not actually cooking in the soup.  Try adding broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, radishes, mini corn, peas, snow peas, etc.
  • Sesame oil:  a drizzle of toasted sesame oil adds a subtle, sublime nuttiness.
  • Sesame seeds: also add pops of nuttiness with the added benefit of texture.   
  • Shichimi Togarashi  (七味唐辛子) is a Japanese condiment that is as popular in Japan as salt and pepper is in the US.   It includes chilies, orange peel, nori (seaweed), ginger, sesame seeds and more.  It packs both heat and brightness and elevates everything it graces!  You may be able to find togarashi in the Asian section of your grocery store (MCormick has a good one), otherwise it is available on Amazon or Asian markets.
  • Chili sauce:  Gochujang is my favorite Asian chili saue as previously discussed, even though it is Korean and not Japanese.  You can certainly use sriracha, sambal oelek or even red pepper flakes instead.  A little heat will awaken all of the flavors.

HOW TO MAKE RAMEN

There are two parts to making this Ramen recipe:  1) The Prep and 2) The Cooking.  The cooking just takes minutes, so it is important all of the prep is done ahead of time, which includes marinating the pork while you prep the toppings.

THE PREP

Step 1 – Marinate Pork.  In order to tenderize the pork, protect it from overcooking and infuse it with flavor through and through, we first toss it with: 

  • soy sauce:  the salt in the soy sauce helps break down the proteins for a more tender texture.
  • cornstarch: acts as a binder and helps the soy sauce and sesame oil cling to the meat and protects the pork from overcooking.
  • sesame oil:  adds flavor and helps deliver the soy sauce to the inner channels of the protein. Let the pork marinate at room temperature while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
showing how to make ramen by marinating thinly sliced pork in a glass bowl

Step 2- Make Eggs.  I consider eggs a quintessential element of Ramen, but they are optional.   To make, fill a medium saucepan with water (just enough to cover eggs) and bring to a boil. Gently lower the eggs into the water and adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for 6-7 minutes for soft-boiled or 9-10 minutes for medium-boiled.  Remove the eggs to an ice bath until ready to use, then peel and slice in half.

Step 3 – Prep Toppings.  While the eggs are simmering, use a mandolin or the large holes on a box grater to coarsely grate the carrots and zucchini; set aside.   Prepare/chop all remaining ingredients.  

THE COOKING

Step 4 – Cook pork.  Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat.  Once hot, add pork, breaking up any clumps and let cook without stirring until pork begins to brown, about 1 minute.  Stir the pork and continue to cook until cooked through, about 1 minute.  Transfer pork to a plate and set aside; don’t drain pot.

showing how to make ramen recipe by cooking pork in a large Dutch oven

Step 5 – Sauté Aromatics.  Add one additional tablespoon oil to the pot and heat over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and scallion WHITES and cook until lightly browned and softened, 3-4 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and sauté for 1 minute.

showing how to make ramen by sauteeing garlic, ginger and green onions

Step 6 – Simmer Soup.  Add soy sauce, rice wine, oyster sauce, chili paste, and bok choy WHITE PARTS ONLY. Bring soup to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes. 

Step 7 – Cook Ramen.  Meanwhile, cook Ramen separately according to package directions, taking care not to overcook.  Drain and rinse in cool water to stop cooking. 

Step 8 – Combine.  Add pork back to soup along with bok choy GREENS, scallion GREENS and cook until bok choy is wilted, about 1 minute. 

Step 9 – Toppings!  Divide soup between bowls and top with eggs, carrot, zucchini and any other desired toppings.  Serve with sesame seeds and additional sesame oil and/or chili paste if desired.  

Can I cook Ramen noodles in the soup?

Technically, yes you can cook the ramen noodles directly in the broth but I don’t recommend it.  I know it it’s tempting to cook them with the soup, and I am all about eliminating steps, but I promise cooking the noodles separately makes a world of difference.  

If you cook the ramen noodles directly in the soup, the starches release into the stock which dilute the flavor and make it heavier.  You also consume this extra starch unnecessarily. 

More importantly, however, the noodles suck up a ton of liquid and don’t stop until they’re consumed.  This results in water-logged, gummy noodles and a soup with hardly any broth. 

Instead, it is best to cook the ramen noodles separately just until al dente, then divide the desired number of noodles among individual bowls, then pour the soup over them.  This promotes the ideal texture and bonus, everyone can choose the quantity of noodles.

showing how to make ramen recipe by topping with sesame seeds, Ramen eggs, bok choy

CAN I MAKE RAMEN RECIPE AHEAD OF TIME?

Ramen Soup is best served fresh so I don’t recommend assembling the entire soup ahead of time but you can prep the ingredients in advance so it can come together quickly.

  • Pork:  can be marinated and cooked in advance.  Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for later.
  • Vegetables and Aromatics: chop the mushrooms, grate the ginger, mince the garlic, chop the green onions, chop the bok choy, slice the carrots and zucchini.  Group in separate airtight containers according to when the ingredients are added to the soup.
  • Broth: alternatively, you can partially make the broth up to five days in advance and store into an airtight container in the refrigerator – hold the pork, bok choy and green part of the onions and add when reheating.
  • Eggs:  can be boiled and refrigerated for up to 3 days ahead of time.
  • Noodles: cook the ramen noodles in boiling water until al dente, drain and toss in a bit of sesame oil to prevent them from sticking together.  When ready to serve, don’ warm first; just make sure the broth is boiling hot before you pour it over the noodles in individual bowls.

TIPS AND TRICKS FOR BEST RAMEN RECIPE

  • Pantry friendly Ramen. You can keep this Ramen recipe as simple as just using broth, soy sauce, rice wine, powders and noodles.
  • Freeze pork.  It is much easier to slice pork (or any protein) if it is partially frozen.  Place it in the freezer for about 30 minutes prior to slicing. 
  • Marinate pork. This might seem like one extra step but is definitely worth it. It tenderizes the pork, protects it from overcooking and infuse it with flavor.
  • Prep ingredients before you start cooking. While the pork is marinating, take the time to chop all your ingredients including the toppings.
  • Make it vegetarian.  If you are a vegetarian, simply omit the pork and swap the chicken broth for mushroom or vegetable stock.  If you are vegan, omit the classic soft-boiled egg.
  • Make it gluten free.  Use tamari instead of soy sauce. Use gluten free Ramen noodles such as Lotus Foods Organic Brown Rice Ramen.  
  • Swap protein. You can use any protein you wish in this Ramen recipe such as chicken thighs or ground pork.  Ramen is also an excellent way to use leftover protein – just add it to the broth and warm through.  It is also yummy with rotisserie chicken.
  • Customize toppings.  You can use whatever you have on hand but I recommend something crunchy (zucchini, carrots), so something creamy (soft boiled egg) and something spicy (favorite chili sauce).
  • Cook ramen separately.  This seemingly extra step prevents the noodles from overcooking, becoming gummy or soaking up too much broth, especially in leftovers.
  • Discard packets.  Use only the ramen noodles and discard any flavor packets that accompany the noodles.
  • Use less chili paste.  If you use sriracha or another Asian chili paste rather than Gochujang, take care you add less because they are spicier than Gochujang.

HOW DO I STORE RAMEN RECIPE?

Store the soup/broth separately from the noodles.   Drizzle the Ramen noodles with sesame oil, toss to coat, then store in an airtight container.  Soup should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  Store any topping in separate airtight containers.

CAN YOU REHEAT RAMEN?

Yes!  You can reheat Ramen, but only reheat the broth and not the noodles. Take care to reheat the broth until boiling hot and then pour over the cold noodles; the noodles will warm right up once enveloped in piping hot broth.  

  • Stove: bring soup to a boil, stirring occasionally until heated through. Pour over Ramen noodles in individual bowls. Top with desired toppings.
  • Microwave: transfer individual servings to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 60 seconds, stir, then warm at 35-second intervals, as needed, until piping hot. Pour over Ramen noodles in individual bowls. Top with desired toppings.
showing how to eat ramen by garnishing with sesame seeds and gochujang

CAN I FREEZE RAMEN SOUP?

I don’t recommend freezing Ramen Noodles, but you may freeze the broth without the bok choy or mushrooms in a freezer safe container or individual serving-size containers for up to three months. 

IS RAMEN HEALTHY?

Ramen is very low in calories and with a nice boost of protein.  If you want to add more nutrients, use brown rice ramen and add additional vegetables. Here are some health perks of Ramen:

  • Pork tenderloin is certified by the American Heart Association’s as an extra-lean, heart-healthy protein. A 3-ounce portion of pork tenderloin, for example, contains less than 3 grams of fat and 120 calories. Pork tenderloin also is also an excellent source of thiamin, vitamin B6, phosphorous and niacin.
  • Shiitake mushrooms boast the most fiber of all mushroom varieties (at 2g per serving), are a good source of riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, potassium, and are one of the richest vegetable sources of selenium, which may protect against cancer and heart disease.  Research suggests that eating shiitake mushrooms daily lowers inflammatory markers and improves immune system function.
  • Chicken broth has long been rumored to help with the common cold but there is actual science behind it!  Chicken broth prevents the movement of white blood cells or neutrophils that are responsible for inflammation – symptoms which include congestion, mucus build-up and coughing.

WHAT TO SERVE WITH RAMEN?

Ramen is easily a meal-in-one full of protein and veggies, but you can also serve it with a fresh, crunchy salad such as  Crunchy Asian Salad, Chinese Salad, or Asian Pineapple Salad.

You can also transform this Ramen recipe into a feast by serving it with appetizers! We love it with any of the following Asian appetizers (yes, they aren’t all Japanese):

LOOKING FOR MORE ASIAN SOUP RECIPES?

HELPFUL TOOLS TO MAKE Ramen Recipe

  • Dutch oven:  I use my Dutch oven ALL the time!  They are ideal for soups with their superior  heat distribution and retention for even cooking.  I have both a more expensive Le Creuset (keep in mind the price varies by color) and a less expensive Cuisinart (not sold on Amazon) which both work excellent. This less expensive AmazonBasics also has excellent reviews.
  • Mandoline: saves you tons of time prepping and delivers precision slices!  You can quickly, thinly slice apples, zucchini, potatoes, etc. or julienne all sorts of vegetables including French Fries!
  • Quality Knives: a chef’s knife will be your most used kitchen tool by far!  Quality knives make prep time much quicker and are important for safety as well.  If you’re concerned about moola, please remember that your best chef knives, depending on how hard you use them and how well you take care of them, can easily last 25 years or more. I love my Wusthof but there are hundreds of less expensive knives with great reviews such as this one.
  • Garlic press:  I use this every single day!   It is the ultimate garlic press- it is easy-to-use, easy-to-clean and minces garlic with one squeeze.  Unlike other presses, this garlic press has beveled holes that finely cut the clove rather than bruising it, bringing out the best flavor.
  • Zester/microplaner: cooking is made 100X easier when you have the right tools for the job! This zester is razor-sharp and makes grating everything a snap from ginger, lemons, limes, Parmesan, nutmeg and chocolate.  
showing how to eat shoyu ramen by by picking up ramen noodles with chopsticks

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Shoyu Ramen

You will LOVE how quick and easy this Ramen is to make at home – and it can be made with whatever you have on hand! This Shoyu Ramen recipe comes together quickly with tender, juicy pork (or chicken), vibrant vegetables, and rich, fragrant broth without simmering bones for days! This shortcut Ramen Soup is still a flavor bomb from its aromatic base of ginger, garlic and green onions along with plenty of umami and chili paste so it’s savory, rich and fragrant with just the right amount of kick plus it’s much healthier than those college-days Ramen packets!
Servings: 6 servings
Total Time: 40 mins
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins

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Ingredients

PORK

SOUP

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable or other neutral oil divided
  • 4 green onions, white and green parts separated, both parts sliced on the bias into 1-inch lengths*
  • 4-6 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 8 oz. shitake mushrooms wiped clean, stemmed and sliced (optional)
  • 8 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce (may sub soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons Japanese rice wine
  • 1-2 tablespoons Gochujang (Korean chili paste) use less if using Asian chili paste
  • 3 baby bok choy white parts thinly sliced on the diagonal; green leaves coarsely chopped
  • 2 packages instant ramen noodles only!

FOR SERVING

Instructions

PREP – Pork & Toppings

  • Whisk 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon cornstarch and 1 teaspoon sesame oil together in a large bowl or freezer bag. Add sliced pork and toss to evenly coat; set aside.
  • Fill a medium saucepan with water (just enough to cover eggs) and bring to a boil. Gently lower the eggs into the water and adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for 6-7 minutes for soft-boiled or 9-10 minutes for medium-boiled. Remove the eggs to an ice bath until ready to use, then peel and slice in half.
  • While the eggs are simmering, use a mandolin or the large holes on a box grater to coarsely grate the carrots and zucchini; set aside. Prepare/chop all remaining ingredients.

MAKE SOUP

  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add pork, breaking up any clumps and let cook without stirring until pork begins to brown, about 1 minute. Stir the pork and continue to cook until cooked through, about 1 minute. Transfer pork to a plate and set aside; don’t drain pot.
  • Add one additional tablespoon oil to the pot and heat over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and green onion WHITES and cook until lightly browned and softened, 3-4 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
  • Add chicken broth, soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice wine, chili paste, and bok choy WHITE PARTS ONLY. Bring soup to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook ramen separately according to package directions. Drain, rinse in cold water, then toss with a drizzle of sesame oil.
  • Add pork back to soup along with bok choy GREENS, green onion GREENS and cook until bok choy is wilted, about 1 minute.
  • Divide ramen between bowls and top with broth, eggs, carrots, and zucchini. Serve with sesame seeds and additional sesame oil and/or chili paste if desired.

Notes

*Each bulb with 2-3 stalks sticking out represents one  green onion

PANTRY FRIENDLY RAMEN

You can keep this Ramen recipe extremely simple and pantry friendly by replacing the fresh aromatics with powders and only adding Ramen noodles if you like. To use all powders, you’ll need:
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder 
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

TIPS AND TRICKS 

  • Make it vegetarian:  omit the pork and swap the chicken broth for mushroom or vegetable stock.  If you are vegan, omit the classic soft-boiled egg.
  • Make it gluten free:  use tamari instead of soy sauce. Use gluten free Ramen noodles such as Lotus Foods Organic Brown Rice Ramen.  
  • Shiitake Mushrooms:  you may substittute cremini/baby bella although shiitake  are more flavorful. 
  • Rice wine:  I use “Kikkoman Aji-Mirin: Sweet Cooking Rice Seasoning” which is commonly found in the Asian section of most grocery stores or you can Amazon it. I highly suggest you google image before you head off to the grocery store so you know exactly what you are looking for.  Do NOT substitute with rice vinegar -it is not the same. 
  • Rice wine substitute:   the best substitute for rice wine is pale dry sherry.  If you’re looking for a non-alcoholic substitution, the best substitute is white grape juice mixed with some lemon juice.
  • Gochujang: is increasingly easy to find at your local grocery store or there is always Amazon (here).  I use Annie Chun’s Gochujang Sauce. It is located in the Asian section of my grocery store or you can use your favorite chili paste.
  • Use less chili paste:  if you use sriracha or another Asian chili paste rather than Gochujang, take care you add less because they are spicier than Gochujang.
  • Chicken substitute: you can swap the pork tenderloin for one pound of chicken thighs.  Sear the chicken thighs on each side just until golden, then add back to the soup with the broth.  Simmer the chicken for 12-15 minutes or until tender enough to shred; shred then add to the soup along with the green parts of the bok choy.  You can also use rotisserie chicken and add at the end to warm through. 
  • Ground pork substitute:  brown the pork in the soup pot, transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon, then use the drippings to sauté the aromatics.
  • Freeze pork: it is much easier to slice pork (or any protein) if it is partially frozen.  Place it in the freezer for about 30 minutes prior to slicing. 
  • Marinate pork:  this might seem like one extra step but is definitely worth it. It tenderizes the pork, protects it from overcooking and infuse it with flavor.
  • Cook ramen separately!  This seemingly extra step prevents the noodles from overcooking, becoming gummy or soaking up too much broth, especially in leftovers.
  • Customize toppings:  use whatever you have on hand but I recommend something crunchy (zucchini, carrots), so something creamy (soft boiled egg) and something spicy (favorite chili sauce).
  • Discard packets.  Use only the ramen noodles and discard any flavor packets that accompany the noodles.

PREP AHEAD

Ramen Soup is best served fresh so I don’t recommend assembling the entire soup ahead of time but you can prep the ingredients in advance so it can come together quickly.
  • Pork:  can be marinated and cooked in advance.  Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for later.
  • Vegetables and Aromatics: chop the mushrooms, grate the ginger, mince the garlic, chop the green onions, chop the bok choy, slice the carrots and zucchini.  Group in separate airtight containers according to when the ingredients are added to the soup.
  • Broth: alternatively, you can partially make the broth up to five days in advance and store into an airtight container in the refrigerator – hold the pork, bok choy and green part of the onions and add when reheating.
  • Eggs:  can be boiled and refrigerated for up to 3 days ahead of time.
  • Noodles: cook the ramen noodles in boiling water until al dente, drain and toss in a bit of sesame oil to prevent them from sticking together.  When ready to serve, don’ warm first; just make sure the broth is boiling hot before you pour it over the noodles in individual bowls.

STORAGE

Store the broth, noodles and toppings separately.   Drizzle the Ramen noodles with sesame oil, toss to coat, then store in an airtight container.  Soup should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 

HOW TO REHEAT

You can reheat Ramen, but only reheat the broth and not the noodles. Take care to reheat the broth until boiling hot and then pour over the cold noodles; the noodles will warm right up once enveloped in piping hot broth.  
  • Stove: bring soup to a boil, stirring occasionally until heated through. Pour over Ramen noodles in individual bowls. Top with desired toppings.
  • Microwave: transfer individual servings to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 60 seconds, stir, then warm at 35-second intervals, as needed, until piping hot. Pour over Ramen noodles in individual bowls. Top with desired toppings.

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10 Comments

  1. Nikalette says

    This was absolutely AMAZING!!!!!! I have not had a real legit ramen before and have been wanting to try one for so long but didn’t have a clue where to start. This recipe popped up a couple days ago on my Pinterest and I just HAD to give it a whirl 1. Because it looked so dang good and 2. Because literally EVERYTHING I have made from you has always came out SOOOOOO good. The only things I did different was add more garlic and did the eggs in my instant pot. There were so many different levels of flavor! Definitely a keeper, thank you!!!

    • Jen says

      Thank you Nikalette for being the first to try/comment on this new ramen recipe and make my day! I’m thrilled you loved it so much! Thank you also for your kind words, I love hearing you’re enjoying my recipes! xo

  2. Carla says

    Oh Jen,

    Let me tell you. I made ramen before with the recipe of a fancy Spanish chef. Nobody liked it.
    But I made yours and oh my goodness!!!!!!!!!!!. It is absolutely amazing. I used pork butt, because that is all I had. But it came out soooo tender and delicious. I am going to make the pork alone as a dish, maybe with some bok choy, and other veggies.
    I did not have Mirin, I used Moscato instead, oops, but it worked! Added some extra sriracha for extra heat.
    Thank you for sharing such a delicious dish!!!!
    Every one of your recipes is so good!

    • Jen says

      Yesss! I’m so happy this Ramen recipe was such a hit Carla, thank you! I’m so pleased you’re enjoying my recipes!

  3. Salesha says

    This turned out amazing!! Thank you for the great recipe!

    • Jen says

      You’re so welcome, I’m so pleased you loved it! Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  4. Liza Smith says

    Hi Jen,
    We are big fans of yours and have tried and loved MANY of your recipes! We’re going to mess around with a chicken version of this recipe and are wondering what the gorgeous red peppers in the picture are. They don’t seem to be in the recipe, and we like spicy peppers, so we’re wondering.

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Liz, I love hearing you’re enjoying my recipes! They are red fresno peppers. Good luck!

  5. Lisa S. says

    We had been dying to make a good homemade ramen and this recipe did not disappoint. WOW! So good and will be in our rotation of regular dishes.

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Lisa, I’m so pleased this recipe is a new family favorite!

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