Ah, the enduring appeal of ramen. Most commonly known as the eternal savior of broke, hungry college students, it’s also a popular pantry staple for people of all ages, appetites, and budgets. There are loads of different recipes that make the most of ramen.

Its allure is obvious: If you’re strapped for cash, limited on kitchen space and hardware, and/or short on time and energy, for less than a buck and in under 5 minutes, you’ve got yourself a satisfying hot meal.

The thing about ramen is you often buy it in bulk, and while those first few hits of brothy goodness might do the trick, after night 3 you’re ready for a change.

But ramen noodles have way more potential than what the package instructions indicate. So, if you want to explore the versatility of that filling brick of carbs beyond the simple hot water and flavor packet trinity, give these recipes a try.

1. Ram-don

Fans of Oscar champ “Parasite” will be familiar with this fusion of two Korean instant noodle varieties (Chapagetti and Neoguri) that’s worthy of all the gold statuettes.

Here’s a situation where you don’t want to discard the seasoning pouches as they’re integral to the recipe. To accurately recreate the version from the movie, just know that legit hanwoo beef ain’t cheap (around $50/pound) so feel free to use sirloin or another cheaper cut.

You’ll need:

  • 1 (6-to 8-ounce) steak, preferably sirloin, ribeye, or New York strip with some fatty marbling if possible
  • Salt
  • Black pepper, freshly cracked
  • 1 teaspoon canola (or other neutral cooking) oil
  • 4 to 5 cups water
  • 1 packet Chapagetti instant noodles
  • 1 packet Neoguri instant noodles

Get our Ram-don recipe.

2. Ramen waffle sandwich

If you don’t have bread or bagels but do have a waffle maker, tap ramen noodles for bun duty and indulge in this belly-filling breakfast sandwich. It’ll do the trick until you can make it back out to your favorite diner or bodega.

You’ll need:

  • 1 packet instant ramen (reserve the seasoning packet)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • cooked bacon
  • 1 fried egg
  • 1 slice cheese

Get our Ramen Waffle Sandwich recipe.

3. Ramen noodle salad

Dried ramen, slivered almonds, and sesame seeds join forces as a crouton topper over cabbage, scallions, and a light dressing. The crunchy combo exists somewhere in the flavor spectrum between a meatless Chinese chicken salad and coleslaw.

You’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3-ounce packet ramen noodles (seasoning packet removed)
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 pounds Napa cabbage, shredded
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup light flavored olive oil
  • 1/4 cup plain white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

Get the Ramen Noodle Salad recipe.

4. Ramen noodle stir fry

Oh, the joys of a good stir-fry — and the addition of noodles only make things better. No, it’s not that healthy for you but darned if it isn’t delicious. Best of all, the leftovers show no depreciation whatsoever.

You’ll need:

  • 2 (3.5-ounce) packages instant ramen noodles (flavor packets discarded)
  • 1/3 cup beef stock
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha or more, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 cup sweet onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, freshly grated
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Get the Ramen Noodle Stir Fry recipe.

5. Ramen chilies rellenos

Poblanos act as a cozy container for ramen, bacon, mushrooms, and jack cheese in this blend of Japanese, Mexican, and American comfort foods.

It’s a veritable melting pot, both literally and figuratively.

You’ll need:

  • 2 medium poblano peppers
  • 2 slices cooked, thick-cut bacon
  • 5 to 6 cremini mushrooms or similar, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 packet instant ramen
  • 1 1/2 cups loosely packed Jack cheese
  • 2 wooden skewers

Get the Ramen Chilies Rellenos recipe.

6. Late night Asian noodles

Got the midnight munchies? Try this spin on cold sesame noodles that feature ramen tossed in a blend of peanut butter (preferably chunky for added texture) and chili garlic sauce to bring the heat. Finish with a squeeze of lime and some sliced cabbage.

You’ll need:

  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 2 (3-ounce) packages ramen noodles (without seasoning packets)
  • 2 cups prepared coleslaw, vegetables only
  • 3 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
  • 4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chile-garlic paste, such as Huy Fong

Get our Late Night Asian Noodles recipe.

Because, duh.

7. Easy chicken noodle soup

Why settle for chicken soup when you can have chicken noodle soup? Make that cold-cure even heartier with the help of some packaged ramen. You’ll feel better in no time.

You’ll need:

  • 1 bone-in chicken breast
  • 1 whole chicken leg (thigh and drumstick)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, medium diced
  • 2 medium celery stalks, medium diced
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, medium diced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 6 cups (1 1/2 quarts) low sodium chicken broth or stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (2-to-3-ounce) packet instant ramen noodles (flavor packet removed)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

Get the full recipe here.

8. Smoked ramen and soft-boiled egg soup

While you might associate a stovetop smoker with meat, it can also take the killer combo of ramen and a soft-boiled egg to the next level. Confound your roommates over where you bought this “take-out” soup.

You’ll need:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 packet instant ramen

And that’s it!

Get our full recipe here.

Say what now?

9. White chocolate ramen bark

Ramen? In a dessert? It even looks as wild as it sounds. The sweet and crunchy confection appears to have sprung from the mind of Jackson Pollock.

If white chocolate isn’t your thing, substitute it with milk or dark chips.

You’ll need:

  • 1 package instant ramen (seasoning packet discarded)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter

Get our White Chocolate Ramen Bark recipe.