This simple recipe delivers tasty comfort food. It’s perfect for busy weeknights when you’re tired but still want a hot meal. Discover the proteins, vegetables, sauces, and garnishes that offer dozens of variations. You’ll never get bored because this ramen stir fry technique is so customizable.
One of the terrifying aspects about hosting dinner is not having enough food. Can you imagine the thoughts trailing in your guests’ minds at the end of the evening? “The company and conversation were stellar, but the food was a bit meager. Let’s get a hamburger at the drive-thru.”
Three months ago in the dark of winter, I was in this position. With less than half an hour until my dinner guests arrived, I had 3 dips on the table — salsa, guac, and hummus — and a bowl of corn chips. Rummaging through my pantry, I found a few cans of sardines, packages of Top Ramen, and a lot of dark chocolate.
Twenty minutes later, I served this noodle stir fry with very spicy chili sauce. Dare I say, I even got a compliment on my cooking. The evening was a success thanks to this simple recipe. You’ll love it for easy weeknight dinners regardless of whether you have guests.
And if you’re wondering whether I deployed everything I had, yes I served 5-Minute Hot Chocolate for dessert.
Which types of instant ramen to use
You can stir fry all kinds of noodles. This recipe focuses on instant ramen because they’re cheap and offer a desirable chewy texture. They’re easy to find in any grocery store across the globe. And they’re nostalgic young adult food, where you can reminiscence over simpler days while enjoying this comfort food.
If you’re curious about experimenting with other noodles, you can make this ramen stir fry using fresh rice noodles, pho-style noodles (like pad Thai noodles), soba noodles, udon noodles, thick Shanghai-style noodles, Taiwanese-style wheat noodles, and so on. You can even use Italian pasta noodles like spaghetti and fettuccine.
TIP: Follow the packet instructions to boil the noodles and add the noodles the same way you would add the instant ramen into the stir fry.
Do you need to boil instant noodles?
Yes, this recipe requires boiling the noodles before adding them to the stir fry.
Cook the noodles in boiling water until they are al dente (not fully cooked, still have some bite). For instant ramen (and most noodles), cooking it for 1-2 minutes less than the packet instructions. I drain them immediately and run them under cold water to stop them from cooking in residual heat.
Mung bean (a.k.a. glass) noodles and pho noodles can be soaked in hot water.
Ramen stir fry variations
This recipe contains eggs and shrimp. Remove the shrimp for a simple ramen stir fry with eggs. Similarly, remove the eggs for ramen stir fry with shrimp.
Since this recipe breaks almost every dietary restriction (it’s full of gluten, animal products, and packed with carbs), here are stir-fried noodle variations to guide you on customizing the recipe to add umami. Try out these ideas:
- Vegan version: Omit the eggs and shrimp. Use extra-firm block tofu, five-spice tofu, or flavored baked tofu as the protein. Slice the tofu into strips. Top with toasted cashews for extra flavor and protein.
- Vegetarian version: Omit the shrimp and keep the eggs. You can add tofu like the vegan version.
- Chicken version: Follow the instructions on preparing chicken in the One-Pot Chicken Broccoli Stir Fry recipe to prepare a ramen stir fry with chicken. Marinate cubed chicken thighs or breasts and stir fry the meat first. Set aside and cook the aromatics with the vegetables. Add the chicken back in at the same time as the noodles.
- Beef version: Ramen stir fry with beef would follow similar instructions as the chicken version above. Slice flank steak or a similar lean cut of beef against the grain. Marinate the beef strips with a tablespoon of soy sauce and cornstarch each. Add 1 tablespoon of Shaoxing wine or dry sherry to the marinade if desired. Cook the beef the same way you would the chicken.
- Pork version: Similar to the beef version above except use pork shoulder cut against the grain or a boneless pork chop cut into cubes. Marinate the pork in the soy sauce-cornstarch mixture. Follow the same instructions for pork as if you were cooking chicken.
- Cabbage version (low carb & gluten-free): Add shredded cabbage after cooking the sturdy vegetables like broccoli (if you parboiled the broccoli, add the cabbage at the same time as the parboiled vegetables). Stir fry for 1-2 minutes to allow the cabbage to soften and then add the noodles. Replace the soy sauce with a gluten-free option like tamari sauce.
- Zucchini/courgette version (low carb & gluten-free): You can spiralize zucchini/courgette to add more vegetables to this noodle stir fry. Add the “zoodles” at the same time as the ramen into the pan. Replace the soy sauce with a gluten-free option like oyster sauce.
Ramen stir fry mix-ins
The beauty of this stir fry is that you can create endless variations. In addition to different types of noodles and vegetarian vs. meat versions, there are plenty of sauces and mix-ins you can add to customize the dish. Here’s a list of vegetables and sauces for sprucing up the traditional instant noodle stir fry.
- Bean sprouts
- Sliced bell peppers
- Baby corn
- Sliced green beans
- Straw mushrooms
- Sliced bamboo shoots
- Sliced carrots
- Sliced onions
- Sugar snap peas
- Broccolini & broccoli
- Farmers market-inspired
NOTE: For sturdy vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower, you may want to steam or parboil them in salted water to soften them. While it’s extra work, this helps if you are stir frying for the first time or you are scaling up the recipe. Learn more about how to stir fry vegetables.
Can I use frozen vegetables?
Yes. Defrost the frozen vegetables. Drain the excess water well before adding the thawed vegetables to the hot wok.
WARNING: Avoid putting watery ingredients in contact with hot oil when stir frying, which causes the oil to dangerously splatter on you.
Ramen sauce ideas
For Chinese takeout stir fry noodle sauce: Mix light soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, a splash of chicken stock.
For Cantonese-style sauce: Mix oyster sauce or hoisin sauce along half the soy sauce.
For Northern Chinese-style sauce: A lot of Lao Gan Ma chili sauce.
For Vietnamese-style sauce: Hoisin and garlic-chili or sriracha sauce. Serve with a splash of fish sauce.
For Korean-tasting sauce: Mix soy sauce, rice wine (mirin), toasted sesame oil, honey, brown sugar, gochujang (optional)
For teriyaki sauce: Add teriyaki sauce and omit half of the dark soy sauce.
Using the flavor packet: If you want to use the flavor packet that comes with the instant noodles, omit the soy sauce because the flavor packet is usually very salty. Add 1 tablespoon of warm water to dissolve the powdered mix.
For Anna’s tomato sauce: Mix ketchup/tomato sauce, dark soy sauce, and chili sauce.
TIP: Use your judgment on the measurements for these sauces. If you’re unsure, I recommend adding 1/2 teaspoon of the ingredients and tasting as you go to build up the sauce to taste the way you want it.
After you’ve mixed in your favorite vegetables and sauces, here are garnishes and toppings to make your noodle stir fry unique:
- Sliced green onions
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Roasted seaweed
- Corn kernels
- Crushed peanuts
- Toasted cashews
- Bean sprouts
- Chopped chives
- A spoon of chili oil
Tips for success
- Stir fry in a wok or a pan with high sides: A wok is ideal for tossing and cooking at a high heat. If you don’t have a wok, you can use a skillet with high sides.
- If using a skillet: You may need to cook everything separately to avoid crowding because there are a lot of ingredients in this recipe. Consider working in batches, parboil the vegetables, and mix everything together at the end.
- Cook the noodles at the very end: It’s OK to turn off the heat on the stir fry and then cook the noodles. Instant ramen gets soggy quickly so you’ll want to cook the noodles just before you’re ready to serve the stir fry.
- Shake the noodles after draining them: You want the noodles to be as dry as possible after boiling them so they don’t get soggy.
- Cut the noodles (optional): To avoid clumping noodles or challenges with tossing the noodles, you can snip them 2-3 times with kitchen shears to separate them.
- Eat immediately: Stir-fried noodles are best consumed hot off the wok. Get the table ready so the noodles aren’t waiting for 15 minutes before serving.
How to scale the recipe
This recipe serves 2-4 people comfortably. If you want to scale the recipe, here are my tips:
- Use the biggest pan or wok you have: Avoid crowding the vegetables or noodles.
- Cook the food in batches: This avoids crowding and steaming. This means cook the eggs and set them aside. Cook the shrimp and vegetables in waves and set them aside. At the very end, you may end up cooking the noodles and then adding everything in a mixing bowl to combine.
- If you’re serving more than 5 people: Either provide everybody with appetizer-sized portions of noodles. Or serve a regular portion of noodles for the first 4 people and make sure there are other dishes that diners can nibble on while waiting for the next batch of noodles.
Ramen stir fry with shrimp, eggs, and vegetables
- Chopping Board
- Mixing Bowl
- 12 oz (350 g) shrimp, wild, peeled, deveined
- 3 large (3 large) Eggs
- 2 tablespoons (15 ml) canola oil, divide in half
- 2 sprigs (2 sprigs) Green onion, sliced
- 3 cloves (3 cloves) garlic, chopped
- ¼ cup (40 g) onion, sliced
- 1 head (1 head) Broccoli, substitute with other vegetables if desired
- 1 medium (1 medium) carrot
- 7 oz (210 g) baby corn, About half a 15 oz./425g can of baby corn
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) Dark Soy Sauce, for color and umami
- 2 packets (2 packets) Ramen, discard the flavor packet from the instant ramen
- ½ teaspoon (2 ml) sesame oil
- Chili sauce, optional, to taste
- Gather the ingredients.
- If you are using frozen shrimp, place the shrimp in a bowl of water to defrost while you prepare the other ingredients
- Beat the eggs until the egg whites and yolks are thoroughly mixed.
- Chop the aromatics and vegetables. Cut the head of broccoli into florets that are approximately the same size. Cut the carrots into roughly julienne pieces. Cut the baby corn into half-inch/2 cm pieces.
- Add 1 tablespoon of oil into the pan on high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the beaten eggs into the pan. Once the edges of the eggs are firm and golden, flip the eggs over. They will puff up as they cook through. Once the eggs are cooked, remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add the remaining oil to the hot pan. Keep the heat on high. Add the aromatics (chopped garlic, green onion, onion) to the hot oil. Stir continuously to avoid burning the garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds.
- Add the chopped broccoli and carrots. Toss the vegetables in the aromatics. Cook for about 3 minutes stirring continuously to avoid burning the aromatics.
- Make a well in the middle of the pan by pushing the vegetables to the side of the pan. Add the defrosted shrimp and the dark soy sauce.
- Keep stirring the shrimp until the shrimp are pink and cooked through. While waiting for the shrimp to cook, boil water to prepare the instant noodles.
- Add the baby corn and the cooked eggs to the pan. Using your spatula, break apart the eggs until they form shrimp-sized pieces. Turn the heat down to low.
- Cook the noodles in the boiling water according to the package instructions except drain the noodles a minute earlier than the instructions. Don't add the flavoring packet to the noodles.
- Add the cooked noodles and sesame oil to the pan. Mix thoroughly to combine. If it's not salty enough, add salt to taste.
- Enjoy your stir-fried ramen noodles! Serve with chili sauce (optional).
Can you make this in advance?
Stir-fried noodles are best served hot immediately after cooking. That said, you can make extra stir fry for leftovers the next day as long as you are OK with soggier noodles.
How to store leftovers and reheat
Leftover ramen stir fry can be stored in a sealed container once cooled. Keep it refrigerated and eat within 3 days. Reheat it in the microwave. Avoid eating cold ramen stir fry straight from the fridge as I’ve had a few stomach aches in the past from doing this (could be psychosomatic).
Can you freeze it?
You can freeze leftovers in an airtight plastic container but they are not going to taste as good as freshly cooked ramen stir fry. Eat the frozen noodles within 3 months to avoid freezer burn. Defrost it overnight in the fridge and reheat in the microwave.