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Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

Best Instant Ramen for 2023 Top 12 Reviewed



Whether you’re an adult, an exhausted college student, or a child who will eat anything, you’ve probably heard of ramen noodles – and you probably love them.

Ramen is the ultimate Japanese comfort food. It’s sometimes topped with a boiled egg, different kinds of meat, and seaweed. But making a bowl of homemade ramen can take hours, and most of us don’t have that kind of free time. That’s where instant ramen noodles come in to play.

white bowl of ramen and vegetables and boiled egg on table

Dress it up or eat it plain: we’ll share the best ramen noodles with you.Instant ramen noodles are a cheap, store-bought alternative to the umami-packed dish we know and love. To meet your late-night craving habits, we’ve created a list of the top twelve best instant ramen noodles. It’s time to determine which instant ramen is your favorite!

If you’re in a rush, here’s my favorite pick and my favorite spicy pick.

Note: If Spice is all you care about, scroll to the bottom for our 3 spicy ramen picks.

1. Maruchan Ramen Noodle Soup, Chicken Flavor

Maruchan Ramen Noodle Soup is a staple for kids and adults. Maruchan ramen noodles are also very affordable. At only a few dollars for a pack of 24 packages, college students find themselves flocking to this familiar brand.

Maruchan Ramen Chicken, 3.0 Oz, Pack of 24

Each Maruchan ramen package comes with a block of noodles and a seasoning packet. The Chicken Flavor seasoning is a fan-favorite. The seasoning makes the noodles savory and salty, but the flavor isn’t too powerful. Unlike many on this list, these noodles aren’t spicy. You can make them spicier with sriracha or your favorite hot sauce. Chicken is also a great additive to the Chicken Flavor noodles.

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2. Sapporo Ichiban Japanese Style Noodles and Chicken-Flavored Soup

Sapporo Ichiban Japanese Style Noodles bring that nostalgic feeling you’ve been waiting for. Each package comes with a block of noodles and a packet of seasoning. These noodles are simple to cook and take only three minutes on the stove.

Sapporo Ichiban Original Ramen Noodles, 3.5 Ounce (Pack of 12)

Noodle-lovers are a fan of Sapporo Ichiban noodles for the quality of the actual noodles. They are tastier and more high quality than some cheaper alternatives. These noodles have a high sodium count, though, so we recommend different brands if you can’t eat them. Shrimp and sesame products are also made in the same facility as the noodles.

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3. MAMA Instant Ramen Noodle, Tom Yum Shrimp Flavor

These packaged noodles hit the spot for anybody with a craving for seafood. MAMA Instant Ramen Noodles also have less sodium than other popular brands.

MAMA Instant Ramen Noodle, Tom Yum Shrimp Flavour (Pack of 30)

Along with a noodle block, MAMA Instant Ramen Noodle packages come with many flavor packets to choose from. One of them is chili powder. If you don’t add this packet, the noodles aren’t very spicy, but you might find that you like it better that way.

These noodles are simple to make but the flavor is tricky to master. They also contain MSG, so we don’t recommend them for everyone, but they’re a worthwhile brand to try.

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4. Maruchan Instant Lunch Chicken Flavor

Maruchan makes another appearance on this list for its iconic cup ramen. These are by far the easiest to make. Add hot water, wait three minutes, and you have a serving of hot instant ramen!

Maruchan Instant Lunch Chicken Flavor, 2.25 Ounce (Pack of 12)

Unfortunately, the flavors of typical instant ramen doesn’t translate well to a cup. The noodles are tasty, but not as flavorful as the Maruchan Instant Ramen Noodle Soup. The seasoning is already on the noodles when you open the package as well. This means you can’t choose how much seasoning you want to add.

Maruchan Instant Lunch is still a delicious and convenient way to make a quick lunch. If you’re not looking for the most intense umami flavor of your life, then these noodles are a good choice. (Toddlers in the house, anyone?)

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5. Asha Healthy Ramen Noodles, Original

Instant ramen noodles are often jam-packed with artificial flavors. This makes them unappealing to health-conscious people. Asha Healthy Ramen Noodles are a healthy alternative that appeal to everyone!

Asha Healthy Ramen Noodles (Original, Thin Size Tainan Noodle)

The noodles are completely air-dried in the package and not fried. The natural ground wheat noodles and sauce contain no MSG or preservatives.

The noodles have a unique shape thanks to their Taiwanese roots. The sauce packet can tend to be on the salty side, so be aware of how much you add to preserve the natural flavors.

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6. Ichiran Tonkotsu Ramen

Japanese Popular Classic Tonkotsu Ramen ''ICHIRAN'' by M-Japan, Instant Straight Ramen Noodles 5 Servings with M-Japan Original Cherry Blossoms ''Sakura'' Chopsticks (Japan Import)

Ichiran Tonkotsu Ramen is the instant version of the Tonkotsu Ramen from Ichiran. The ramen is delicious in person and still great in instant form!

This ramen isn’t as affordable as the other options on our list; it is a little pricier for only five servings. This might be out of your price range, but reviewers say the price is worth the quality. It also comes with a pair of chopsticks that you can use to eat the ramen.

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7. Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods Ramen Chicken Soup with Noodles for Vegans & Vegetarians

Ramen noodles are usually made in meat-based broths and have meat added to them. Unfortunately, that means vegans can’t always enjoy them. Thanks to Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods, vegans can enjoy instant ramen now, too!

Dr. McDougall's Right Foods Ramen Chicken Soup with Noodles, 1.8 Ounce Cups (Pack of 6) Non-GMO, No Added Oil, Made w/ Organic Steamed Noodles, Paper Cups From Certified Sustainably-Managed Forests

These noodles are convenient to make and only need hot water to cook. The dish is organic, vegan, plant-based, and non-GMO certified.

The noodles are tasty immediately. If you’d like more flavor, we recommend adding your favorite spices and ramen toppings.

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8. Nissin Top Ramen Chicken

Nissin Top Ramen’s Chicken flavor is popular for all the right reasons; it’s convenient, it’s yummy, and it’s cheap. The chicken flavor is delicious and is great for people who enjoy salty seasonings.

Nissin Top Ramen Chicken - 3 oz - 24 ct

The ramen might taste a little plain, so we recommend adding egg, meat, or hot sauce. Many people microwave Top Ramen, but we find that the flavors are best preserved when you boil the noodles. But at the end of the day, Top Ramen is still delicious no matter how you prepare it.

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9. Nissin Cup Ramen Noodle Soup, Curry & Seafood

Instant ramen noodles in a cup is the best way to eat it for those of us who are busiest, and Nissin Cup Ramen Noodle Soup is no exception. The Curry and Seafood flavors are favorites to lots of people.

Nissin Cup Ramen Noodle Soup, Curry & Seafood (Pack of 6)

These noodles are nostalgic and delicious, but like most noodles packaged in cups, they can lose some of the complexity in their flavors. Adding your own ingredients will spice up this versatile dish.

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And now….on to the Spicy Noodles

These next brands are some of the best of the best, but they’re not ideal for everyone. That’s because of their spices! If you’re a fan of intense flavors and spices, then we recommend these spicy instant ramen noodle brands.

10: (Spicy Category) Nongshim Shin Ramyun Noodle Soup, Gourmet Spicy

Nongshim Shin Ramyun Noodle Soup is high quality and flavorful. Each package comes with a block of noodles, a powder soup base, and a packet of dehydrated vegetables. These Korean noodles aren’t lying with the title ‘Gourmet Spicy,’ so be careful when adding the soup base.

Nongshim Shin Ramyun Noodle Soup, Gourmet Spicy, 4.2 Ounce (Pack of 20)

Nongshim Shin Ramyun Noodle Soup is full of flavors on its own, but classic ramen toppings are great additions. Bok choy or green onions are also common to add.

Shin Ramyun noodles are soft and chewy, and can be used in any dish that requires noodles. You can use them in different sauces and they hold up well over time. No matter how you prepare it, Shin Ramyun is one of the best instant ramen noodle brands ever.

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11: (Spicy Category) Samyang Chicken Fried Noodles, Carbo & Cheese

The Samyang Chicken Fried Noodles are a breath of fresh air when it comes to instant ramen. The Carbo and Cheese flavors come with a seasoning packet and a sauce packet, as well as a block of noodles. Reviewers agree that the Cheese flavor is the spiciest, but the Carbo is a close second.

Samyang Chicken Fried Noodles (10 Packs 5x Carbo & 5x Cheese) Hot Fusion Select

What makes these noodles so tasty is the extra step during the cooking process. You’re supposed to stir fry the noodles after boiling them. This extra step enhances the flavors of the noodles and leaves you craving more. The noodles are also thicker than many other kinds of instant ramen noodles.

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12: (Spicy Category) Samyang Instant Ramen Noodles, Spicy Stir-Fried Chicken Flavor

Samyang Instant Ramen Noodles are some of the spiciest noodles available. The Spicy Stir-Fried Chicken Flavor isn’t the spiciest option, but because of the mega flavor, we recommend trying it. Each package comes with a noodle block and a sauce packet.

Samyang Instant Ramen Noodles, Halal Certified, Spicy Stir-Fried Chicken Flavor (Pack of 10)

Although this flavor isn’t the spiciest available, it’s still a challenge to eat. The flavor and spice might make it your #1!

Samyang Instant Ramen Noodles are great stir fried and are 100% Halal certified.

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Instant ramen noodles are a convenient way to enjoy the flavors of Asian cuisine without the hassle of going to a ramen restaurant. Put your palate to the test and find out which of these instant ramen brands are your favorites.

Additional Resources

Kitchen Professor author
About the Author: Rose Reinhard

Rose Reinhard is a Thai-American foodie from Chiang Mai, Thailand. She's been a creative writer since she could speak and enjoys making vegetarian/vegan dishes and reading about food science. She claims her air-fryer is the best purchase she’s ever made to date.

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