The 8 Best Instant Ramen for a Delicious Quick Lunch

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Most of us have a package of instant ramen on hand as a wonderful dinner that is fast and simple to cook while also being economical. While ramen noodles have been a mainstay of Japanese cuisine for centuries, instant ramen only became available in the 1950s.

Nevertheless, as good as they are, instant ramen has nutritional deficits. In this post, we examine at some of these gaps and provide advice on how to enhance their nutrition. We also look at some of the information around additives like MSG and THBQ and how they may affect our health. With so many instant ramen options, this article will also assist you in selecting the finest instant ramen for that fast and simple lunchtime pleasure.

Best Selection

With its traditional taste air dried noodles, the genuine Japanese pack of 10 Nissin Raoh umami soy sauce ramen noodle soup (3.77 oz) is our top selection.

Budget Selection

Our organic and GMO-free budget selection ramen is the Dr. McDougalls Right Foods vegan ramen chicken taste (1.8 oz cups).

Product Name Grade
Nissin RAOH Ramen Noodle Soup A
Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods Ramen Chicken Soup with Noodles A-
Lotus Foods Millet and Brown Rice Ramen with Miso Soup A-
Maruchan Ramen Noodle Soup B+
Maruchan Flavor Ramen Noodles A-
Asha Healthy Ramen Noodles A-
Saigon Mi Instant Coconut Milk Curry Ramen Noodles B+
NongShim Soon Cup Noodle Soup B+

1. ​Nissin RAOH Ramen Noodle Soup  

Highlighted Characteristics

  • A ten pack of 3.77 oz umami soy sauce flavored Ramen noodles
  • Air dried rather than fried for a fresh-like noodle texture
  • Made in Japan, these noodles have a clear broth with a light and classic flavor

The box of 10 Nissin Raoh umami soy sauce ramen noodle soup (3.77 oz) are genuine Japanese ramens made in various locations of Japan. This ramen has a traditional taste with a light flavor in the form of a transparent broth. Some people may find the taste of these ramen to be too mild, therefore you may wish to add more flavoring components.

These are air dried noodles that have the feel of fresh ramen noodles rather than fried noodles. They do have a significant sodium level, with one serving providing around 45% of your daily sodium value. They are more prone to be damaged during shipment since they are dry noodles.


  • Japanese-made ramen
  • Clear broth
  • Light umami flavor
  • Air dried noodles


  • High sodium content
  • You may find the flavor too bland
  • Risk of shipping damage

2. Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods Ramen Chicken Soup with Noodles 

Highlighted Characteristics

  • A six pack of 1.8 oz chicken flavor noodle cups
  • Suitable for vegans, these are also organic and Non-GMO Project Verified
  • Cups are made of paper from sustainable forests
  • Ready to serve- just add boiling water to the cup

The six pack of Dr. McDougalls Right Foods vegan ramen chicken flavor (1.8 oz cups) is made with steamed organic noodles and ramen seasoning and just requires water for convenience. The cups are crafted from paper sourced from responsibly managed forests, and the ramen is Non-GMO Project Verified.

A lot of customers have reported receiving these without the flavor packets, and others believe the noodles could be more flavorful and have a better texture.


  • Vegan noodle cups
  • Organic noodles
  • Chicken flavor
  • Non-GMO
  • Paper cups


  • May be received with flavor packets missing
  • Noodles may not be the best texture
  • Can lack flavor

3. Lotus Foods Millet and Brown Rice Ramen with Miso Soup

Highlighted Characteristics

  • Ten pack of 2.8 oz ramen made from heirloom variety whole grain brown rice and millet
  • This ramen is gluten free and also organic
  • These Chinese imported noodles are free from MSG

Lotus Foods millet & brown rice ramen (2.8 oz) is organic and free of MSG, and is made with heritage whole grain rice types. This ramen is also gluten free and just takes four minutes to prepare. The end taste may be less powerful than you think, because they are imported from China rather than manufactured in the United States. These noodles may also cook unevenly, resulting in some noodles becoming excessively soft while others remaining firm.


  • Rice and millet ramen
  • Whole grain rice
  • Wheat-free
  • Organic
  • Gluten free


  • ​Not manufactured in the US
  • ​The noodles can cook inconsistently leaving some parts hard
  • ​May need to add more ingredients to increase the flavor

4. Maruchan Ramen Noodle Soup 

Highlighted Characteristics

  • 36 pack of 3 oz chicken flavor ramen noodle soup
  • Do not contain any trans fat
  • Are ready to eat in just three minutes

The box of 36 Maruchan ramen noodle soup chicken taste (3 oz) is prepared in the United States and cooks in about three minutes. These noodles are trans fat-free, however they include around 35% of the Daily Value of salt, as well as a variety of chemical additives. There is a chance that these noodles may be damaged during shipment.


  • Ramen noodle soup
  • Chicken flavor
  • Three minute cook
  • US-made
  • ​Free from trans fat


  • Contain a number of artificial additives
  • Higher sodium content
  • Noodles can be damaged during shipping

5. Maruchan Flavor Ramen Noodles 

Highlighted Characteristics

  • 24 pack of 3 oz ramen noodle soup
  • These noodles are made in the US
  • Oriental flavor which contains beef extract

The pack of 24 Maruchan ramen noodle soup oriental taste (3 oz) is made in the United States. This ramen contains MSG and has been preserved with TBHQ. It also has many artificial ingredients. There has been considerable debate over whether these noodles are still vegetarian, as they were before. It has now been verified that products contain beef extract and are thus unsuitable for meat-free diets. These, like other quick noodles, are heavy in salt.


  • Ramen noodle soup
  • Oriental flavor
  • Made in the US


  • These are no longer vegetarian as they contain beef extract
  • Contain MSG and other additives
  • High in sodium

6. Asha Healthy Ramen Noodles 

Highlighted Characteristics

  • Five packs of 3.35 oz Tainan noodles with original source
  • These are air dried noodles made with Oregon wheat
  • Flavored with soy sauce and sesame oil
  • Do not contain any preservatives or added MSG
  • Ready to serve in three to five minutes

These five packs of A-SHA Tainan noodle original sauce (3.35 oz) are air dried noodles produced from Oregon wheat and are free of added MSG and preservatives. These noodles are naturally flavored with soy sauce and sesame oil. This ramen should be cooked in boiling water for three to five minutes before serving. This is a higher-sodium ramen, with one serving providing 66% of our daily salt need.


  • Made with US wheat
  • Soy and sesame flavor
  • No MSG
  • No preservatives


  • High sodium content
  • Flavor can be a little light for some tastes

7. Saigon Mi Instant Coconut Milk Curry Ramen Noodles

Highlighted Characteristics

  • A five pack of thicker fried ramen noodles made in Vietnam
  • Noodles have a rice cake texture
  • They are a traditional Vietnamese coconut milk curry flavor

The bag of 5 Saigon Mi instant coconut milk curry ramen noodles are created in Vietnam and are a Vietnamese curry ramen. These thicker fried noodles have a rice cake feel and are done in five minutes. They are heavier in calories than other varieties of instant ramen, and some people think they’re boring and could use more curry flavor.


  • Vietnamese ramen noodles
  • Coconut milk curry flavor
  • Thicker noodles


  • Are higher in fat as fried noodles rather than air dried
  • Flavor can be milder than expected

8. NongShim Soon Cup Noodle Soup 

Highlighted Characteristics

  • Six pack of 2.6 oz vegetable noodle cup
  • Made in the US and are Vegan Society registered
  • These are ready to serve noodles – just need water adding to the cup

The Vegan Society has certified the Nongshim Soon vegetarian noodle soup cup (2.6 oz) pack as vegan. To serve, just add water. These cups are created in the United States and, like other noodles, are heavy in salt. They may also be flavorless.

There is a chance that some of the lids on the cups may come away during shipment, and the cups may leak if microwaved.


  • Ramen noodle cup
  • Vegan
  • Vegetable flavor
  • Made in the US


  • Lids can come loose during shipping
  • The paper cups may leak if you prepare the noodles in the microwave
  • May need to add extra ingredients to increase their flavor

Considerations When Purchasing Instant Ramen

How is Instant Ramen Made?

Traditional fresh ramen noodles are produced with wheat, alkalized water, and egg, and the broth is generally fish or meat-based, with soy sauce, miso, sliced meats, seaweeds, green onion, and, on occasion, egg.

Chikin Ramen, a Japanese food producer, created instant noodles in the late 1950s. They were first considered a luxury item since they cost more than fresh noodles, but they quickly gained popularity due to their extended shelf life. The producer subsequently started putting the spice in flavor packets rather than directly on the noodles, and the same company created cup noodles in 1971.

Currently, ramen is often used in the United States to refer to any form of quick noodle product, and in 2018, around 103 billion servings of instant noodles were eaten globally. China led the way with 39% of these servings, with Indonesia, India, and Japan close behind.

Instant ramen, like fresh ramen, is produced using wheat flour, water, alkalized water (kansui), and salt. The alkalized water is vital because it gives the ramen its flexibility. The ingredients are combined to form a dough, which is then formed and cut into noodles. They are steamed and dried either by frying or, more typically nowadays, using air drying technology.

To preserve the noodles, they must be thoroughly dried, and frying enables the noodles to be virtually totally dehydrated. Frying also creates microscopic holes on the top, making it simpler for the noodles to rehydrate after they’ve been soaked in boiling water.

Noodles are air dried or blow-dried at a high temperature (176F), where they are left for up to an hour. The water content of the noodles is less than 12% at this point. This technique of air drying was tried in the early days of instant ramen, but it was not widely adopted since it resulted in a poor texture.

After the noodles have dried, they may be packed for sale. Air dried noodles take about two minutes longer to rehydrate than fried noodles, but they are fewer in calories and fat than fried ramen.

Serving up and Spicing up Ramen 

While serving your ramen, take a time to untangle them with your chopsticks, since this makes them much simpler to consume. Slurping noodles is normal; in fact, it is expected in Japan! If you gulp the leftover soup, be careful since the flavor might be quite concentrated, leaving you with a very fiery or salty feeling in your tongue!

If you are on a low-sodium diet, you may leave out the extra broth; use just half the packet while making your ramen; or even skip the package entirely and use your own flavor.

Instant ramen can be eaten as is, but only your creativity limits what you may add to it. A dash of Sriracha, sesame seeds, Asian spices, seaweed, kimchi, dried shiitake mushrooms, or miso paste may all be used to enhance the taste. It is also simple to add fresh or frozen veggies for added nutrients and pre-cooked sliced meats or tofu for added protein.

A creamier broth may be made by cracking an egg into the heating water. When the whites are done but the yolk is still liquid, the ramen is at its finest. When you’ve boiled the noodles, add the instant ramen to a stir fry.

Ramen Nutrition in an Instant

While instant ramen is often low in calories, it lacks several essential nutrients. A serving of chicken-flavored instant ramen has around 188 calories and 890 milligrams of sodium, which is more than half of the American Heart Association’s recommended daily sodium limit of 1,500 mg. A serving will also include:


27 grams

total body fat

7 grams


5 grams


1 gram

It’s worth mentioning that most ramen serving sizes are based on half a pack, although many of us consume a whole pack (two serves) for a meal.

Since instant ramen is often manufactured with fortified wheat flour, it contains extra minerals like as B vitamins and iron, which boosts the nutritional value of the noodles. Instant ramen contains trace quantities of folate and manganese.

Since these meals are processed, they lack many of the minerals and antioxidants present in fresh foods. Consuming instant ramen on a regular basis is also associated with poor overall food quality and metabolic syndrome symptoms such as high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and extra belly fat.


or tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ or tBHQ). Monosodium glutamate (MSG) and other additives are often found in instant ramen and other processed meals.

MSG imparts umami taste to foods. Umami or fifth taste receptors in the tongue have a greater capacity to attach to free glutamate molecules. Humans already eat glutamate, and spices like MSG may account for less than 10% of our daily consumption. Since MSG has around two-thirds less sodium than table salt, it enables recipes to use less salt.

MSG is the sodium salt of an amino acid present in meat, fish, and cheese, as well as carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Glutamate is processed the same in the body whether it comes from food or from spices like MSG, and it is utilized as part of the body’s metabolism.

MSG is still considered safe by the FDA, the EU Scientific Committee for Food, and the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, and is permitted for use in food by many nations. MSG has also been demonstrated in studies to be safe for pregnant women and children to consume.

TBHQ is a synthetic antioxidant that keeps fats and oils in foods from degrading due to oxidation, hence increasing food shelf life. In experimental animals, TBHQ has been associated to certain immune response impairment. The animals who were given additional TBHQ took longer to recover from flu infection than those that were not. Animal studies have also shown a relationship between persistent exposure and the danger of cancer or neurological impairment.

While there are restrictions as to how much TBHQ may be found in food, one concern is that it is not usually on ingredient labels and it can also be put to the oil or fat which the food will subsequently be cooked in.

For you to consume enough food to suffer negative effects from nausea to collapse, you would need to eat almost 11 lbs. of Chicken McNuggets in one sitting. This would yield around one gram of TBHQ. The deadly dosage is five grams, which must be consumed in one session since TBHQ does not accumulate in the body over time.

Since TBHQ is often present in processed meals such nuggets, microwave popcorn, and crackers, as well as certain instant ramen, decreasing your daily consumption of these processed foods can help you ingest less TBHQ.


Instant ramen provides a varied, quick and simple dinner that is also inexpensive. Consuming a lot of instant ramen on a daily basis may cause vitamin deficiencies, and its high salt level may also be harmful to your health. But, there are easy methods to increase its nutrition, such as using just a portion of the flavor package and adding some frozen veggies.

We hope that our evaluations of the finest instant ramen have been informative and that we have removed some of the uncertainty from your next instant ramen purchase. Instant ramen is great for a pleasant and quick supper when consumed as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

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