I’ve personally taste-tested a variety of ramen noodle substitutes to find the best one for every cooking occasion. Whether you’re on the hunt for the closest flavor match, in need of a last-minute pantry substitute, or want a swap that fits your diet, I’ve got the answers.
Chinese egg noodles are the easiest substitutes for ramen noodles. But if you don’t mind a heartier bite, why not try udon noodles? Soba noodles are also a great alternative if you want a bit more flavor. Looking for a gluten-free option? Try zucchini or rice noodles.
I made a big batch of simple shoyu broth to put different ramen noodle substitutes to the test.
Ramen noodles are generally made from wheat and either alkaline or lye water. This base gives them their characteristic springy texture and prevents them from disintegrating into your ramen broth.
I was looking for a substitute that would work well with a flavorful broth and provide a satisfying bite.
Here are the substitutes I tested and the verdicts:
|Chinese egg noodles||An easy swap||9/10|
|Soba noodles||Have a nutty flavor||8/10|
|Dried spaghetti||Boil in baking soda||8/10|
|Veggie noodles||Zucchini noodles||8/10|
|Rice noodles||Pah Thai noodles work well||8/10|
|Homemade ramen noodles||Not easy!||8/10|
Chinese egg noodles
Ramen noodles and egg noodles look and taste so alike that most people assume they’re the same thing. So if you can’t find any noodles labeled “ramen”, the easiest thing to do is pick up a pack of fresh or dried egg noodles.
Thin wonton or Hong Kong-style egg noodles are delicate, light, and the perfect stand-in when you have a vegetable or chicken-based broth. But when your broth’s got some serious oomph (like a beef-based broth), go for a thicker variety like lo mein noodles.
These bad boys are sturdy and absorbent – so they’ll hold up to all the robust flavors without getting lost.
How to substitute: Replace ramen noodles in a 1:1 ratio with Chinese egg noodles.
Udon noodles are thicker and chewier than ramen noodles. They’re also made from wheat flour, but the production process is a little different.
While traditional ramen noodles get their chewy texture from alkaline salts, udon noodles get their trademark chewiness from good old-fashioned kneading. The extra elbow grease develops the gluten in the noodle dough, resulting in a satisfying bite.
Some people even seal their udon dough in plastic and step on it to further develop the gluten.
And because of their size, udon noodles are flavor sponges. They’ll happily slurp up any tasty broth you pour over them. But keep in mind that their thickness means they’ll take slightly longer to cook.
How to substitute: Replace ramen noodles in a 1:1 ratio with udon noodles.
Soba noodles are similar in size to ramen noodles, but they have a distinctive look and taste. They’re made from buckwheat flour, which gives them an iconic dusky grayish color and a nutty taste.
They’re traditionally served chilled with a cold dipping broth, but don’t let that tradition limit your culinary creativity. Their nuttiness worked great in my ramen broth.
Another advantage of soba noodles is that, as long as they’re made with 100% buckwheat flour, they’re gluten-free. You’ll need to check the labels though, because sometimes a mix of flours is used.
Psst… these noodles work especially well in vegan ramen with mushrooms
How to substitute: Replace ramen noodles in a 1:1 ratio with soba noodles.
Hear me out! Dried spaghetti makes a really decent ramen noodle substitute when you can’t make an emergency grocery run.
And I have a great little trick that will bring the texture closer to noodles. When you’re boiling the spaghetti, add baking soda to the water. When the spaghetti is done, it will be slicker and more chewy than normal. Magic!
You’ll want around 1 tablespoon baking soda per quart/litre of water.
Pro-tip: looking for a slightly healthier alternative? Try going with whole-wheat spaghetti! It’s got a hearty flavor that pairs well with most broths.
How to substitute: Replace ramen noodles in a 1:1 ratio with dried spaghetti.
Here’s an exciting option for my health-conscious friends. Zucchini noodles are perfect if you’re looking for a light, low-calorie, low-carb option. They’re naturally gluten-free too.
They’re also really easy to make, especially if you have a spiralizer, which I recommend getting if you plan on making a lot of zoodles. Don’t worry if you don’t have one though, you can also use a julienne peeler.
If zucchini isn’t your thing, there are lots of other vegetables to pick from! You can use carrots, sweet potatoes, or even squash.
Just remember not to overcook them, or you’ll end up with a mushy mess.
How to substitute: Replace ramen noodles in a 1:1 ratio with your choice of veggie noodles.
Rice noodles are another solid option. They’re normally used in Vietnamese noodle soup (pho), so we know they work well in broths. And they have a very neutral flavor profile that will let your body be the star of the show.
The major difference is in the texture. Rice noodles are softer and more delicate, with not much chew to them. And they have a really slippery texture, so they’ll definitely test your chop-stick skills (mine were not up to par).
Rice noodles come in all shapes and sizes, from super thin vermicelli noodles to flat and wide varieties. I recommend pad Thai rice noodles, although sometimes you can even find ‘ramen rice noodles’!
How to substitute: Replace ramen noodles in a 1:1 ratio with rice noodles.
Homemade ramen noodles
If you have the time to spare, why not try making your own ramen noodles? Bon Appetit has a detailed recipe, complete with pictures, to guide you through the process.
The ingredients are all easy to source. And don’t worry, you don’t need alkaline salts for this recipe. Instead, it uses baked baking soda (yes, this isn’t an error) to give your homemade noodles that signature springy texture.
It’s not the quickest or easiest DIY project, but making the noodles was extremely satisfying.
Pssst… this recipe uses a pasta maker. Check out Way of Ramen for a recipe that involves hand-cutting the noodles instead.
How to substitute: Replace ramen noodles in a 1:1 ratio with your homemade ramen noodles.
Other substitutes to consider
The suggestions above are my top picks for ramen noodle substitutes, but the list doesn’t end there. Here are more noodle alternatives you can try:
- Glass noodles: These are typically made from potato and bean starches, and have a nice springy texture. But they’re more delicate than ramen noodles
- Shirataki noodles: Shirataki noodles come from konjac yam instead of regular wheat flour, and they have very little carbs or calories, no gluten, but plenty of fiber. The catch? They can be a bit pricier than other options, but the health benefits can make them worth the extra cost.
- Kelp noodles: Kelp noodles are another healthy alternative. They’re made from seaweed but actually have a very neutral flavor and won’t taste fishy or salty.
- Instant noodles: Instant noodles aren’t as springy or chewy as other noodle substitutes, but they’re a budget-friendly alternative you can use in a pinch.
Best Ramen Noodles Substitutes
- pasta maker
- 266 g baking soda
- 1½ tsp Diamond crystal kosher salt or any kind of salt
- 1¼ cups water
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups potato or cornstarch
- Preheat the oven to 250 F. Spread the baking soda evenly over a parchment-line baking sheet and bake for 1 hour. The baking soda should look the same. Let it cool.
- Place 500 g all purpose flour in the bowl of a stand mixer. In a separate bowl, mix in 1tbsp of baked baking soda, salt, and 1 ¼ cups of water untul baking soda and salt are dissolved.
- Add the baking soda mixture to the flour in three batches, mixing to incoporate with a wooden spoon after each addition. Mix until you form a shaggy dough. Knead in the bowl to bring the dough together. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest in room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Turn the dough unto a surface and knead until smooth and bouncy. Return to bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Continue to rest at room temperature for at least 3 hours.
- Cut the dough into 6 equal portions and flatten the dough until it's slightly narrower than the width of your pasta maker. Dust the dough evenly and generously on both sides with potato starch. Pass the dough through the pasta maker 2 times per setting, starting with the widest and narrowing until ⅛-inch thick.
- Dust the sheets of dough with generous amount of starch and run each through the pasta maker on spaghetti setting, gently wrapping the noodles with your hand to form a loose bundle. Carefully set each bundle on a parchment-line baking sheet and sprinkle with more starch.