Spicy Ramen

Spicy Ramen Noodles on your table in less than 25 minutes!

This Spicy Ramen recipe is quick, easy, wonderfully versatile and the flavor is out of this world!  And don’t let the word “spicy” scare you away – you can completely customize the heat simply by using more or less sriracha.  You can also use any protein or vegetables you have on hand for a delectable clean-out-the-fridge or last-minute dinner – because this ramen recipe is all about the SAUCE!  To make these Spicy Ramen Noodles come together even quicker, you can whisk your sauce up in advance and have all your veggies chopped so its virtually 10 minutes to dinner! 

top view of a bowl of spicy ramen recipe with chicken with chopsticks picking up the noodles

spicy RAMEN RECIPE

Did you grow up on ramen?  I have to admit it was a guilty, savory, salty pleasure of mine up through college days but with this Spicy Ramen recipe – guilt no more.  We are going to take the super versatile ramen noodles, discard the seasoning packets and create Spicy Ramen, AKA an ace of a dinner that is healthier, budget friendly, unbelievably easy and SO slurp-worthy.

This Spicy Ramen Noodles recipe is inspired by what Patrick and I eat all the time – stir fried ramen with peanuts!  It’s one of our go-to dinner concoctions that I’ve never actually written down until now.

The noodles are delectably chewy, the sauce is garlicky, gingery, salty, savory and as spicy as you want it, the veggies add healthy pops of texture and flavor and the peanuts add toasted pockets of nutty crunch you will crave in every bite. 

With just a few short minutes, you can create this Spicy Ramen – a new favorite dinner tradition, easy enough for weeknights that tastes even better than your favorite noodle house. The sauce ingredients are a little lengthy, but don’t let that scare you – all you do is whisk them together for the best stir fry sauce EVER which in turn makes the best ramen EVER!

What is Ramen?

Ramen is a Japanese soup actually made with Chinese noodles!  It is hugely popular in America both at restaurants/noodles houses and by way of the dry square ramen noodles with the mystery seasoning packets that have become a way of life for college students. 

For these Spicy Ramen Noodles, we are not going to create ramen soup, but rather stir-fry noodles.  I have ramen soup coming your way, but for today, it’s all about ramen noodles smothered in sauce. 

Of course, you can turn this ramen recipe into ramen soup if you wish simply by adding additional chicken broth.  It won’t taste like traditional miso ramen, but will still be plenty tasty!

up close of instant ramen recipe with ground pork, bell peppers and green onions

Ramen Noodles

For this Spicy Ramen recipe, you can use dried packaged ramen or fresh refrigerated ramen.  Both dried and fresh ramen are made with wheat flour, salt, and water.  Dried ramen noodles are fried and dried before packaged and fresh ramen is treated with an alkaline agent to give the noodles their springy, chewy texture.

Dried Ramen

The dried ramen is easily accessible, so that is what I have listed in the recipe. It also can be stocked in your pantry indefinitely – which means you can make these Spicy Ramen Noodles WHENEVER whereas refrigerated ramen only keeps for a few days.

You will need three 3 oz. dried packets of ramen noodles for this recipe  You can either find them at your local grocery store or at Asian markets.  The grocery store ramen will include a seasoning packet, which you will want to discard.  The seasoning packet is filled with preservatives, sodium, and MSG which we don’t need to make our Spicy Ramen mega flavorful.

Gluten Free Ramen

If you are looking for a gluten free option, you can use Brown Rice and Millet Ramen noodles found at Whole Foods.  They are healthier, vegan and taste great.  If you are looking to make these ramen noodles 100% gluten free, then you will need to use gluten free ingredients for the sauce as well.

Ingredients for spicy Ramen Noodles

The sauce for these Spicy Raman Noodles is made with pantry friendly Asian staples.  If you don’t have any of them stocked, I HIGHLY suggest adding them to your pantry because I use them all the time in my Asian recipes – so they will not go to waste!

  • Sesame oil:  adds a toasted nuttiness that its sublime.  If you don’t keep it on hand, you may substitute olive oil.   
  • chicken broth:  creates the savory base of the sauce and mellows the other ingredient.  If you don’t have chicken broth, you can substitute water but you may need to add a pinch more salt. You may also use vegetarian broth for vegetarian ramen but it is not quite as flavorful.
  • soy sauce:  use reduced sodium soy sauce so you can control the salt in the ramen.
  • oyster sauce: is the main ingredient in many Asian stir fries such as Beef and Broccoli.  It 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 grocery store. Not all oyster sauce is created equal so use either Lee Kum Kee or Kikkoman. 
  • oyster sauce substitute:  if you are allergic to shellfish, there are many oyster sauces that don’t actually have any shellfish at all.  Look for “vegetarian oyster sauce” on the label.  If you can’t find vegetarian oyster sauce, then you can substitute with one tablespoon soy sauce and one tablespoon hoisin sauce.
  • hoisin sauce:  hoisin sauce is also a staple in Asian cooking.  I use it om my Hoisin Chicken Stir Fry, Mongolian Beef Kung Pao Shrimp, etc., just to name a few.  Hoisin sauce tastes like a rich, savory, sweet and tangy Asian BBQ Sauce. Please use only quality brands such as Kikkoman or Lee Kum Kee hoisin because they taste far superior.  Hoisin sauce is located in the Asian section of your grocery store.
  • Asian sweet chili sauce:  this sauce makes everything better! It is sweet and spicy and packed with flavor from a combination of red chilies, onion, garlic, brown sugar and fish sauce.  I use it in my Mongolian Chicken, Cashew Chicken, Sesame Chicken and more. It can be found in the Asian section of our grocery store. 
  • Rice Wine:  Rice wine is NOT rice vinegar.   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.  The best substitute for rice wine is pale dry sherry.
  • Sriracha:  I use sriracha for the spice factor in these Spicy Ramen Noodles.  You can substitute your favorite chili sauce but be aware that you might need more or less due to varying spice levels of different sauces.
two hands holding a big bowl of spicy ramen with pork

Easy Ramen Substitutes

If you are feeling extra lazy and don’t want to do any more chopping than you have to (been there!) then you can substitute the fresh aromatics in this Spicy Ramen recipe with ground seasonings. 

These substitutes take your ramen noodles from 20 minutes to 15 minutes with a couple shakes of powder.

  • Chopped onion:  you may substitute the freshly chopped onion with 1 teaspoon onion powder.
  • freshly grated ginger:  you may substitute the freshly grated ginger with ¾ teaspoon ground ginger.
  • garlic cloves:  you may substitute the garlic cloves with 1 teaspoon garlic powder.  You can add more to taste depending on your garlic love.

How spicy are these Spicy Ramen Noodles?

One tablespoon sriracha is medium spicy and should be enjoyable to most everyone who likes a little heat. If you are looking for SPICY Ramen, you will want to add more than one tablespoon.  If not everyone wants super spicy ramen, then you can add additional chili sauce to individual servings.

For less spicy ramen, I would start with 2 teaspoons sriracha and add more to taste.  For mega kid friendly ramen that is NOT spicy, start with 1 teaspoon sriracha and add more to taste or to individual servings.

What Can I Add to spicy Ramen noodles?

For this Spicy Ramen recipe, I use carrots cut into matchsticks, one red bell pepper and thinly sliced cabbage BUT you can swap them out and use your favorite veggies or whatever you have on hand.  Here are some more veggie ideas:

  • broccoli
  • mushrooms
  • celery
  • bok choy
  • snap peas
  • zucchini
  • asparagus
  • bean sprouts
  • spinach
  • kale
  • water chestnuts
top view of spicy ramen recipe in a large wok with pork

What Meat for spicy Ramen Recipe?

To make this Spicy Ramen super quick and easy without any chopping of any protein I suggest either ground pork or ground chicken.  I have made these ramen noodles with both pork and chicken and they both were fabulous.   

If you choose to make spicy chicken ramen, you may want to season it with ½ teaspoon beef bouillon powder for an oomph of beefy flavor.

Protein Variations

You may swap out the meat for whatever protein you have on hand such as lean ground beef, shrimp or diced chicken.

You may also leave the protein out all together to make vegetarian ramen.  If you do this, make sure you add some more vegetables in its place or your ramen will be too saucy.

How to Cook Ramen Noodles

While some Ramen recipes cook the noodles directly in the soup or stir fry, I don’t recommend that for these Spicy Ramen Noodles.  Ramen noodles should be cooked in boiling water so they can be submerged otherwise you get unevenly cooked, gummy noodles. 

Once you cook the noodles for two minutes, drain the noodles and rinse them in cold water to prevent them from continuing to cook.  Toss the ramen noodles with a drizzle of sesame oil so the noodles don’t clump together.

Also, make sure you set a timer and don’t cook the noodles for longer than two minutes.  They will finish cooking with the sauce and cabbage to soak up flavor while they finish to the perfect al dente texture. 

How to Make spicy Ramen

While the ramen is cooking, dry roast the peanuts by tossing them in a skillet until toasted in some spots.  It only takes 2-3 minutes, so keep an eye on them.  This might seem like one extra step but it is SO worth it.  We make these toasted peanuts without ramen just to munch because they are so good!

showing how to make spicy ramen by cooking peanuts

Next, whisk the sauce together made with chicken broth, soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice wine, hoisin, Asian sweet chili sauce and sriracha to taste. 

Now it’s time to get cooking.  You’ll want to make sure your veggies are prepped because once you start cooking, everything comes together super quickly.  Start by cooking your ground chicken or pork or any protein you like along with onions.

When the meat is almost cooked through, add garlic, ginger, and your favorite veggies.  I used carrots and bell peppers this time around but another favorite of mine is zucchini.


Next, stir in your stir fry sauce and evenly coat the noodles. Finally, stir in cabbage and peanuts and turn to coat.  Cook just until the noodles are al dente.  The cabbage will continue to wilt from the residual heat, so don’t worry about it all being done at the same time as the noodles.

If you want to make the Spicy Ramen saucier, you can stir in some reserved water from cooking the noodles. Add additional sriracha to taste and garnish with plenty of green onions then DIG IN!

Cooking Tips for Spicy Ramen Recipe

  • Don’t use the seasoning packet!  We only want the ramen noodles, not the MSG seasoning packet it comes with.   We will be seasoning the noodles ourselves with plenty of garlic, onion and ginger.
  • Shortcut aromatics:   if you hadn’t made it to the grocery store you may substitute the fresh aromatics with 1 teaspoon EACH onion powder, ground ginger, and garlic mixed directly into the sauce.
  • Cook ramen separately: don’t be tempted to cook the noodles with the sauce.  The need to be cooked separately in boiling water or the will cook unevenly.
  • Prevent noodles from sticking:   if you’re not ready to immediately use the cooked ramen, then toss the noodles in a drizzle of sesame oil to prevent them from sticking together.  If you don’t have sesame oil, use a neutral oil such as canola or vegetable oil.
  • Don’t overcook the ramen:  the ramen should be undercooked after you boil it in water because the ramen will continue to cook in the sauce.  If you completely cook the ramen initially, it will become mushy in the sauce.
  • Customize heat:  Spicy Ramen Noodles are meant to be spicy, but they don’t have to be fiery hot.  Start with 1 tablespoon Asian chili sauce and add more taste.  Remember, you can always add more heat, but you can’t take it away!

Can Prep spicy Ramen recipe Ahead of Time?

Absolutely!  You can whisk your sauce, chop your veggies and even cook your noodles. You can prep all or some of the following in advance:

  • Sauce: Whisk together all of the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl, cover and refrigerate. Whisk the sauce again before using.
  • Noodles: Cook ramen for 2 minutes in boiling water, drain and rinse with cold water; toss with a drizzle of sesame oil to prevent the noodles from clumping together. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Veggies: chop all your vegetables and store in separate airtight containers or bags in the refrigerator.
  • Aromatics: chop your onions, garlic, and ginger and store in separate airtight containers or bags in the refrigerator.

Can I Make spicy Ramen noodles Ahead of Time?

Yes!  This Spicy Ramen recipes makes fabulous leftovers and meal prep because the noodles taste even better the next day since the flavors have time to meld.

For the best leftovers, take care you don’t overcook your ramen initially.  You want the noodles to remain al dente so they don’t become soggy when reheated. 

How long is spicy ramen good for?

Store leftover Spicy Ramen Noodles in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  Once properly stored, ramen should last for up to five days.

HOW TO REHEAT spicy ramen noodles

  • How to reheat in the microwave: Transfer small portions to a microwave safe dish, heat for 1 minute, stir, then continue to heat at 20-second intervals as needed.  You may need to toss the noodles with a drizzle of oil or broth to loosen the noodles. 
  • How to reheat on the stove: For larger portions, warm in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often.  You may need to toss with a drizzle of oil or both to loosen the noodles. 

What Should I Serve With spicy Ramen recipe?

We just serve this Spicy Ramen recipe by itself because it is a complete meal-in-one with protein, veggies and carbs. If you want to make an Asian feast, you can serve with with Wontons, Asian SaladPotstickers, Wonton Soup and/or Chinese Chicken Egg Rolls.

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©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

two hands holding a big bowl of spicy ramen with pork

Spicy Ramen

This Spicy Ramen recipe is quick, easy, wonderfully versatile and the flavor is out of this world! And don’t let the word “spicy” scare you away – you can completely customize the heat simply by using more or less sriracha. You can also use any protein or vegetables you have on hand for a delectable clean-out-the-fridge or last-minute dinner – because this ramen recipe is all about the SAUCE! To make these Spicy Ramen Noodles come together even quicker, you can whisk your sauce up in advance and have all your veggies chopped so its virtually 10 minutes to dinner!
Servings: 6 servings
Total Time: 22 mins
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 12 mins

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Ingredients

  • 3 ramen packets discard seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil divided
  • 1 pound lean ground pork or ground chicken
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 carrots cut into matchsticks
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped into 1/2” pieces
  • 2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
  • 1 cup cocktail peanuts may sub other peanuts

SAUCE

Garnish

  • chopped green onions

Instructions

  • Cook ramen in boiling water for 2 minutes (no longer)! Reserve one cup pasta water. Rinse with cool water and toss with a drizzle of sesame oil to prevent the noodles from sticking. Set aside.
  • Heat a large wok or skillet over medium high heat. Add peanuts and dry roast peanuts until golden and toasted in a few places, tossing occasionally, approximately 3 minutes. Remove to a plate.
  • Mix Sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl and set aside.
  • To the now empty skillet, heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil over medium high heat. Add ground pork/chicken, onions, salt and pepper and cook until browned. When meat is almost cooked through, add carrots, bell peppers, garlic and ginger and cook 2 additional minutes.
  • Stir in sauce and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 30 seconds then add noodles and toss until evenly coated. Add cabbage and peanuts and toss to combine. Heat just until noodles are al dente and cabbage has softened, about one minute. Add additional reserved water if needed to reach desired consistency.
  • Taste and season with additional sriracha, salt and pepper if desired. Garnish with green onions.

Notes

  • If you have questions about any of the sauce ingredients, see the post for details. All of the ingredients can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store.
  • You can swap the vegetables out with your favorites.
  • You can make vegetarian ramen and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. You will want to add extra vegetables to replace the meat otherwise your ramen will be too saucy.
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha is medium spicy. I would start with one tablespoon if you like heat and add more to taste at the end of cooking unless you know you LOVE heat then start with more.  Use 1-2 teaspoons sriracha if you want to make the ramen very kid friendly then add additional sriracha to your own serving. 

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22 Comments

  1. chiranshi says

    Made these for spicy-ramen tonight…omg…they were amazing!!
    Thanks for this excellent way to make spicy-ramen super delish!

    • Jen says

      That’s awesome you made the ramen already Chiranshi! I’m so happy you loved it, thank you!

  2. Ray says

    Hi. This looks amazing. Quick question. Ginger is mentioned in the instructions but not listed in the ingredients. How much do you recommend?

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much for catching that Ray! It should be 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger. I just corrected the recipe, thank you, enjoy!

  3. Susan says

    Hi Jen,

    I made this Friday night exactly as written – and it was good! So good that I made a double batch Saturday. Had it that night then finished it up last night. Really an excellent, perfect combination of flavors. Thanks so much!

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much for your awesome comment Susan! I LOVE hearing it’s a new repeat favorite!

  4. Theresa P. says

    I LOVE asian saucy noodles dishes. especially the ones that contain oyster sauce! (not all oyster sauce are equal in flavor) I’ve had some that had a nasty fishy taste. that ruined the dish! had to throw it out! so now I stick to the brand that I know is good. I now use only Hopsing brand. same with the toasted sesame oil. I trust only Imperial Dragon brand. I love your site. It makes me want to try everything you post! keep doing what you do. It is greatly appreciated! best wishes.

    • Jen says

      Thanks Theresa! I haven’t tried Hopsing, I’m adding that to my list! Thanks for your kind words – I hope you can try this Spicy Ramen soon and love it as much as us!

  5. Barb says

    Do you think this would work with cabbage instead of noodles?

    • Jen says

      It would have a different flavor/texture but you can definitely use cabbage!

  6. Patricia Bontrager says

    I made this last night with ground chicken and it was AMAZING! Totally tasted like a dish you’d get at a restaurant. And bonus – it’s awesome leftover cold! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe.

    • Jen says

      You’re so welcome Patricia! I’m so pleased you loved it!

  7. Meg says

    I made this recipe exactly as written and it was delicious! I am making it again this week and my mouth is already watering just thinking about it. Thank you for sharing this!

    • Jen says

      Thank you for your awesome comment Meg! I’m so pleased you loved it so much!

  8. Mary says

    I’m allergic to shellfish. Is there a substitute to oyster sauce that you would recommend ?
    Thanks

    • Jen says

      Hi Mary, you can purchase oyster “flavored” sauce that doesn’t actually contain any shellfish.

  9. Abby says

    What’s a suggestion to make this more soupy? I like the recipe a lot.. would it be just to add more broth?

    • Jen says

      Thanks Abby, I’m happy it’s a winner! Yes, all you have to do is add more broth.

  10. chris says

    Had giant package of Costco Lotus noodles to use – this was an excellent inspiration to use what I had on hand and what I needed to stay gf – excellent. Thank you!

    • Jen says

      That’s awesome Chris, the perfect use! Thank you!

  11. Jody says

    Woah! This was no college ramen. Very tasty. Go Aztecs!

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Jody, I’m so pleased it was a hit!

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