Instant ramen is a beautiful thing. It’s cheap (unless you’re buying one of the fancier brands), it’s filling, and there are a million and one ways to turn it into a meal meal, not just a college dorm struggle dinner. A few extra ingredients can really elevate a 30 cent packet of noodles. You’ve still got yourself a budget-friendly meal, but one that tastes like more than just beef, chicken, or pork bouillon. We scoured Sporked‘s rankings for some of the best toppings for ramen and we think you’re going to like what we found. The next time a noodle craving hits, make sure you have some of the best ramen toppings in your pantry.
- GimMe Teriyaki Roasted Seaweed Snacks
For being unsuspecting, paper-thin sheets of seaweed, GimMe Teriyaki Roasted Seaweed Snacks have surprising depth of flavor. Sporked contributor Danny Palumbo described them as subtly smoky and sweet, and since they’re cooked in sesame and sunflower oils, they have a nice nuttiness, too. I like to rip these up a bit and mix them into my bowl of ramen, so I get a bit of that delicious, savory flavor in each bite. I know seaweed snacks might not normally be in your pantry, but these are worth stocking up on. Not only are they one of the best toppings for ramen, they make a really good light snack, too.
Read the full ranking of the best seaweed snacks
- Del Monte Golden Sweet Whole Kernel Corn
I was a picky eater growing up, so I’m no stranger to canned corn, which was one of the foods I could always get down with. And, boy, does it lend itself beautifully to a piping-hot bowl of ramen. Throw a few scoops of Del Monte Golden Sweet Whole Kernel Corn into your next bowl of ramen and prepare to be surprised by little crunchy bursts of juicy sweetness. Compared to other canned corn, Del Monte Golden Sweet corn is firm, crispy, and naturally sweet. The best ramen toppings add texture and flavor, and these definitely deserve a spot on the list.
Read the full ranking of the best canned corn
- Natural Plus Green Sichuan Chili Oil
Chili crisp is trending hard in the U.S. right now, and the moment it touches your tongue you’ll understand why. It’s spicy, flavorful, and if you buy Natural Plus Green Sichuan Chili Oil, numbing, too. This stuff was pretty much made to be stirred into noodles, even if those noodles are submerged in broth. Sporked senior writer Jordan Myrick flipped for Natural Plus Green: “This chili crisp is better than the homemade chili crisp I buy in bulk from my local dumpling place, but please don’t tell them I said that.” If that doesn’t convince you this is one of the best toppings for ramen, I’m not sure what will.
Read the full ranking of the best chili crisp
- Fix Lemongrass Sriracha
Fix Lemongrass Sriracha isn’t like the rooster sauce you’re used to. It’s acidic, tangy, and has a strong lemongrass flavor. This is going to add major freshness to a hot bowl of ramen, but you know what makes it one of the best toppings for ramen in my book? It’s green! That makes it a great way to add intrigue to an otherwise brownish beige bowl of noodles. Put a swirl of this on your ramen, but be careful not to overdo it—this stuff is spicy and the heat builds as you eat.
Read the full ranking of the best sriracha sauce
- Sunja’s All Natural Medium Spicy Kimchi
If you’ve never stirred kimchi into you ramen, ya gotta. The Korean cabbage condiment brings crunch and major tang to Japanese noodle soup. And Sunja’s kimchi is a great option, especially if the spicy stuff on this list doesn’t appeal to you. It has a little heat, but it won’t set your mouth on fire. Mostly, it’s one of the best toppings for ramen because it adds that burst of freshness instant noodles can really lack. Lay a bed of kimchi on any ramen you make at home and watch it transform into a bright, inviting dish you would expect from a real restaurant.
Read the full ranking of the best kimchi