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Eat Cheap, and Well: 8 Favorite College Ramen Recipes to Try

college ramen recipes

When you’re living the dorm life, ramen becomes a staple food. Saving money is tough! Sure, you can change up the flavors and try all of the 25 cent varieties at the grocery store (or even spring for the fancy dollar packs if you’re feeling reckless), but eventually, you’re going to need to jazz it up a bit. If you’re tired of throwing some sad, salty powder and noodles into a bowl of hot water, you’re in need of some amped-up college ramen recipes to add to your collection. 

Add some protein and nutrition to your diet (or hey, maybe just make your instant ramen taste better, we won’t judge) with 8 of our favorite college ramen recipes upgrades that still won’t break the bank. 

1. Simple: Add Peanut Butter

This is going to sound a little bit unusual but have faith. 

You’re going to need:

  • A ramen packet
  • Peanut butter (peanut butter powder works best, but normal peanut butter will suffice)
  • A pinch of sweetener to taste to offset the salt

This works best with the chicken or soy sauce flavors (and if you’re a vegetarian, most brands of ramen have at least one flavor labeled as vegetarian friendly! Always check first). 

For this, you’re going to make your ramen noodles as normal by following the package instructions. Don’t add the flavor packet until after the noodles are boiled. 

After your noodles are boiled, drain just enough water so that you’ll have ramen in just about a cup of broth and add your flavoring packet. 

Add in about one tablespoon of powdered peanut butter or one teaspoon of regular peanut butter and mix well. This adds protein and a bit of fat that traditional ramen has. Then add the pinch of sweetener to taste.

2. Spice it Up 

Do you want that spicy ramen challenge but don’t want to pay spicy ramen challenge money? Try this. 

You’ll need:

  • Chili garlic paste (or sriracha, but it’s not quite the same)
  • A ramen packet (any flavor)
  • A pinch of sweetener

Make the ramen packet as per the instructions on the package but leave the powder out. 

When the noodles are boiled, drain them, leaving just enough water to make mixing easy. Add in the powder to taste and mix well (Tip: start with half the packet!).

Add about a teaspoon of the chili garlic paste. This stuff can be spicy, so if you’re not used to it, start slower!

3. Make it Cheesy

Don’t knock it until you try it. You’ll need:

  • Two slices of American-style cheese product
  • A packet of ramen noodles 

This one is easy. Prepare the noodles as per package instructions, putting the powder to the side. 

Drain the water and put the noodles back on the stove, covering them with the cheese slices. As the noodles slowly melt the cheese, mix it around. 

Tip: If you pick a spicy ramen flavor, adding some of the powder to this is really tasty!

4. Faux-Healthy

Let’s not kid ourselves here, ramen isn’t healthy, but you can add healthy things to it. 

You’ll need: 

  • A ramen packet (flavor of choice)
  • frozen vegetables of choice, about one serving
  • Spinach

Bring 1.5 cups of water to a boil with the flavor packet and the frozen vegetables inside

Add your ramen noodles once the water is boiling and cook until softened. Do not drain. 

The powder should flavor your soup, noodles, and vegetables. Add wilted spinach in at the end for some extra vegetable nutrients.

5. Egg Ramen

Adding eggs to ramen is classic and easy.

You’ll need:

  • A ramen packet (flavor of choice)
  • 1 or 2 eggs

This one is simple. Bring 1.5 cups water to a boil and add your ramen and your powder to the pot. Once the ramen has softened just slightly (about 30 seconds), crack an egg or two into the pot.

The yolk adds a nice richness.

6. Ramen Tomato Soup

Hear us out for a second. This one is a winner.

You’ll need:

  • One can of condensed tomato soup
  • Two packets of ramen (this can be a group meal!)

Make the soup as instructed on the can. While it’s boiling, add in the ramen noodles but omit the flavor packets. This is a great way to make the soup a bit more filling. 

Tip: Replace some of the water with milk!

7. Fried Noodles 

This one is a little more “out of the box,” but you can do it!

You’ll need:

  • A ramen packet (flavor of choice)
  • Oil
  • Soy sauce
  • Garlic
  • Additions of choice (We suggest chopped vegetables and leftover cooked protein)

Cook your ramen as per the package instructions, leaving the powder to the side. While that’s cooking, oil a pan and begin to brown your garlic over medium heat. 

Add whatever additions you have to the pan, allowing them to gently sauté until they’re cooked through. Make sure that the pan remains oiled.

Add your boiled noodles to the oiled pan and flip them (being careful not to break them) until they’re oiled on all sides. Let them cook, moving them occasionally, for about 5 minutes.  

Add soy sauce and the flavor packet powder to taste to the noodles and vegetables. 

8. Egg Drop Ramen

Egg drop soup is a creamy Chinese takeout staple. Make it at home with your ramen packet!

You’ll need:

  • An egg
  • A ramen packet (chicken flavor works best, but soy sauce flavor works as well).
  • Cornstarch (if you’re doing it the hard way)

There’s an easy way in a hard way. For the easy way, you’re going to make your ramen soup exactly as the directions tell you on the package. While it’s cooking, though, you’re going to scramble an egg and drizzle it slowly into the boiling soup.

For the hard way, begin with your water and powder packet coming to a boil. In another pot, boil your noodles and set them aside. Make a slurry of cornstarch and water and add it to your water mix. Slowly drizzle in one beaten egg until it turns into a creamy soup base. Add your noodles back in. 

College Ramen Recipes Don’t Have to Be Boring

There’s so much that you can do with college ramen recipes if you’re willing to get a little bit creative and experiment with some common leftovers and pantry items. 

We know how important it is to save money while at school, that’s why we provide affordable textbook options for students. For more information, or to find affordable textbooks for your classes, visit our site! 

About the Author

Christopher Manns

I was born in the UK, grew up in Canada and have lived in the USA since the 90s. I love my family, water sports, ice hockey, skiing and soccer. When I'm not helping people save money on textbooks, I'm travelling with my wonderful family and playing sports.