All The Things You Can Add To Instant Noodles

You need to give these a try.

IMAGE Trixie Zabal-Mendoza

Instant noodles were invented to be a fast, easy, and flavorful meal. The first of its kind was a "chicken ramen" where steamed and seasoned noodles were dehydrated in oil and packaged as is to be rehydrated in boiling water. These packs however only contained the noodles, so it was up to you to make it more flavorful and appetizing. It won't be until much later that flavoring packets would be included in that same "chicken ramen" pack. 

If you were faced with cooking instant noodles yet again, what would you add to make it better? The automatic response would be more vegetables because these packs are lacking that essential fresh ingredient despite the dehydrated versions included in the pack.

So what else can you add? We have a few ideas, and the best ideas were have tried and tested are these super delicious instant noodle hacks

Photo by Roselle Miranda

1 Add an egg, especially a soft-boiled one.  

The easiest way to upgrade instant noodles is to add an egg. You can boil an egg with your noodles and serve it as is. You can poach the egg together with the noodles in the last minute, so it cooks even faster. The best way to serve an egg with the least amount of effort is to make soft-boiled eggs or even ramen eggs or ajitsuke tamago eggs.

Ajitsuke tamago eggs are soft-boiled eggs marinated in a soy sauce-based sauce for at least one day and up to 3 days ahead. It's the marinating that transforms the yolks of these soft-boiled eggs into a jelly, almost translucent yolks. You only get these eggs at high-end ramen places because of the time it takes it make ahead. Here's a quick and easy recipe to make it:    

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Easy Ajitsuke Tamago or Ramen Eggs Recipe

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 1. Make the soft-boiled eggs: Using a pin, puncture a hole in the shell in the rounded part of the egg. Add these eggs to a saucepan full of water. Bring to a boil then start the timer. Boil eggs for 6 minutes after the water comes to a boil. Stir the water into a whirlpool occasionally to force the yolks into the center of the egg.
  • 2. Place eggs in cool water until just warm. Crack eggs all over and place back in the water. Peel completely underwater. Set aside.
  • 3. Meanwhile, heat sugar, soy sauce, chicken stock, onion, and garlic clove until the sugar have dissolved. Place in a container with a lid.
  • 4. Add eggs to the soy sauce mixture, cover, and refrigerate overnight (8 hours) or up to 48 hours.
Photo by Trixie Zabal-Mendoza

2 Add fried canned meat. 

Adding fried luncheon meat is a hack to make that instant noodle bowl more appetizing! Simply frying some canned meat that you know you love can boost the appeal of even the simplest bowl. Plus, it added a much-needed meatiness that you can eat is a great bonus. 

Photo by Bianca Laxamana

3 Add miso paste. 

Miso paste is a gloriously salty, umami-packed condiment. You can add it to almost anything to give it a serious boost of that savory or umami flavor, but also a salty quality that plain salt just doesn't give a dish. If you love miso soup, this flavor is not unfamiliar so giving your instant ramen this flavor is a delicious addition. Add in some sauteed mushrooms and a handful of green leaves such as pechay is just the boost that it needed to make it more nutritious, too.   


Photo by Bea Faicol

4 Add ketchup or tomato sauce. 

You really have to try it before you say "no" to it. There is a reason why tomato sauce or the more flavorful ketchup becomes a delicious addition to instant noodles: it's a complementary flavor. Think of how beef and tomato is so delicious together! The tanginess of the tomato sauce is what amplifies the salty and savory flavors of the instant noodles. You can add it to beef ramen, a spicy beef ramen, or any flavor that you like. 

Think of how calamansi juice or even vinegar is delicious when added to pancit canton or calamansi juice and patis is the recommended sawsawan for a beef nilaga or bulalo. It's that same play of flavors that make this instant noodle hack one you should try. 


5 Add seafood. 

You can take a break from the beef and chicken and instead use seafood as your main ingredients. These are fantastic ingredients to any meal and when its added to instant noodles, it naturally ups the umami flavor considerably.

You can use squid, tahong (mussels), halaan (clams), shrimp, and even chunks of fish fillets. Amp it up even more with Korean chili powder to give it a kick and different kinds of mushrooms and sprouts to give it more texture and heartiness for a full meal that's delicious and satisfying all at same time. 

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Photo by Majoy Siason

6 Add steak cubes. 

This has to be the ultimate instant ramen hack. It's the cubes of tender steak that make this instant noodle recipe, or jjapaguri or now more popularly known as ram-don courtesy of the Oscar-winning movie "Parasite", instantly extravagant. While this is not technically ramen, this is most definitely an instant noodle recipe. The packages are cooked exactly as it states to do in the package and when combined, the two noodles combine gloriously and the "soup" thickens to a saucy consistency that's perfect with the steak. 

What's fantastic about this instant noodle recipe is that it really just takes 3 "ingredients" to make: two kinds of instant noodles and steak. You'll of course need water to cook the noodles and salt, pepper, and oil to cook the steak but that's everything you need to make this meal that's worthy of an Oscar. 





Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on by submitting your recipe here!

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