This delicious spicy ramen is a quick fix for your savory cravings. Featuring instant ramen, these 10-minute noodles pack a ton of flavor, depth, and complexity, thanks to the lip-smacking homemade broth.
How do you make your stock-standard package of instant ramen taste like it’s from a restaurant? Make my famous spicy ramen recipe!
Sure, you can buy this pre-packaged that involves adding hot water, but it is all preservatives and artificial flavorings.
In my elevated, homemade version, I make a simple yet flavorful broth with a handful of pantry staples and some aromatics. Once you boil the noodles in this broth instead of water and seasoning packets, you’ll be left with the most slurp-worthy and flavorful dish in less than 10 minutes.
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Why you’ll love this recipe
- Simple. Dinner cannot be simpler than making ramen (from store-bought noodles, of course!). And yet it’ll transport you to your favorite Asian restaurant.
- Pleaantly spicy. If you LOVE spicy food, this ramen recipe will not disappoint. It’s like our spicy noodles (or Korean noodles) but with a warming broth that is the perfect balance of heat.
- Budget-friendly. Instant noodles, a few spoonfuls of chili paste, pantry staples, and a couple of fresh veggies are all you need to make this recipe work.
- Customizable. Ramen is a perfect dish to play around with (hello, birria ramen). Add your favorite proteins and veggies to make it to your liking.
- Incredible flavor. With sugar, vinegar, chili paste, and soy, you’ll have a symphony of sweet, salty, acidic, spicy, and umami flavors.
Besides some aromatics and some seasonings, there really isn’t much else needed to make restaurant-quality spicy ramen noodles. Here is what you’ll need:
- Dried ramen noodles. Use only the noodles, not the sauce. Fresh ramen will work too, but you will need to simmer it in the broth for an extra 2-3 minutes. If you follow a gluten-free diet, you can use gluten-free ramen noodles.
- Vegetable broth. Instead of water, I love using vegetable broth for more flavor.
- Sesame oil. The nutty aroma of sesame oil complements this ramen beautifully. Don’t substitute it with a neutral oil.
- Onion and garlic. Red onion adds a great flavor and body to the sauce, and the garlic boosts flavor.
- Tomato. Tomatoes and anything spicy are a fabulous combination. I used cherry tomatoes for the base as they are sweeter and balance out the strong and spicy flavor well.
- Sambal oelek. The ‘spicy’ element. You’ll find this hot Indonesian chili paste in any supermarket (it can sometimes be labeled as chili garlic sauce).
- Soy sauce. For the umami flavor and to balance out the spicy elements.
- Rice vinegar. You want to balance the heat with the acidity of rice vinegar. It works well in Asian recipes.
- Brown sugar. Similar to vinegar, sugar also balances the heat and acidity.
- Green onions, sesame seeds, and boiled eggs. Simple yet must-have toppings for any good bowl of ramen.
How to make spicy ramen
What I love about this recipe is that the broth is just as tasty as the noodles, so you pretty much get a two-in-one meal!
Step 1- Sauté the veggies. In a soup pot or small saucepan, sauté sliced onions, garlic, and tomatoes, then add the chili sauce. Continue cooking until the onions become translucent.
Step 2- Make the sauce. Blend the cooked mixture with broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar until smooth.
Step 3- Boil the noodles. Transfer the broth to a saucepan, bring it to a simmer, and cook ramen noodles until al dente.
Step 4- Garnish and serve. Finish the noodles with sesame seeds, spring onions, and soft-boiled eggs, and serve hot.
Recipe tips and variations
- Adjust the spiciness. Add more or less red chili paste, depending on your love for the heat.
- Don’t skip out on the broth. The spicy tomato-based broth helps build the flavor that resembles a slow-cooked restaurant-style ramen.
- Don’t use the seasoning/ sauce from the ramen packet. The dehydrated sauce, seasoning, and oil don’t compare to the customized homemade spicy sauce. And you don’t want those artificial flavors when you can use fresh ones!
- Use leftover protein. If you have any leftover meat, use it in the ramen. It’ll warm up in the broth and flavor it simultaneously. Try sliced chicken breast, shrimp, tofu, or pork.
- Add more veggies. I love adding bell peppers, broccoli, edamame, mushrooms, or carrots to the ramen.
- Use different broths. I used vegetable broth to keep this overall dish vegetarian but feel free to use chicken broth, beef broth, or even fish broth.
To store. You can refrigerate the leftover ramen in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
To reheat. Heat the ramen in the microwave until warm or in a saucepan to enjoy it the next day!
Frequently asked questions
These are mild to medium spicy ramen. But if you cannot handle spice, reduce the amount of sambal oelek in the recipe.
Of course! Don’t feel limited by the noodles you use! The broth works beautifully with rice noodles, soba, and even buckwheat noodles.
You can add some red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, or even some fresh chilis.
More delicious Japanese recipes to try
- Harumaki– Also known as Japanese spring rolls. These are deceptively easy to make.
- Kani salad– Restaurant-style crab salad that pairs well with almost anything.
- Chicken katsu– Crispy breaded chicken that makes the best dinner.
- Beef negimaki– An elegant and delicious way to cook beef.
- In a non-stick skillet to pan, add the sesame oil and place over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and tomatoes and cook for a minute, before adding the chili sauce and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
- Transfer the mixture into a blender, along with the broth, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and brown sugar. Blend until smooth.
- Pour the broth into a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Once simmering, add the ramen noodles and cook until al dente.
- Top with sesame seeds, green onions, and soft boiled eggs.
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