I’ve personally taste-tested a variety of ramen seasoning 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 swap, or want a healthy, low salt substitute, I’ve got the answers.
The best way to replace ramen seasoning is to make your own version with spices like garlic and onions powder. For a quick and easy option, try better than boullion. Or for a healthy and low salt ramen seasoning alternative, make your own stock and flavor it with things like ginger and sesame.
I cooked a big batch of ramen noodles to test out several different seasoning substitutes (this was probably one of my favorite experiments so far).
Inside packets of ramen you normally find a small packet of ramen seasoning. It’s a flavorful powder that transforms plain noodles and water into a moreish meal.
The problem with ramen seasoning packets? They’re high in sodium, which isn’t great if you eat ramen noodles regularly.
I was looking for DIY substitutes that would give me control over the sodium content without sacrificing any flavor.
Homemade ramen seasoning
Making your own ramen seasoning is cost-effective and gives you total control over flavor and salt content.
The ingredients are simple, and you’ll hopefully already have most of them to hand if you like cooking: bouillon cubes, garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley, ground cumin, ground ginger, ground black pepper, and a pinch of kosher salt.
Since there’s so many ingredients, it won’t matter if you skip one or two! And of course you can add extras if you want. Add a cayenne pepper for heat, or crushed nori flakes for a subtle oceany flavor.
Psst… I follow this recipe from This Healthy Table.
But there are lots more out there if you don’t like the sound of this one.
How to substitute: replace ramen seasoning with a tablespoon of homemade ramen seasoning for every serving of noodles.
Better than bouillon
Better than bouillon is an excellent replacement for ramen seasoning if you want a quick and simple solution.
With its intense flavor, you only need two teaspoons for every cup of boiling water. And you’ve got loads of flavors to pick from.
I’d go for the roasted chicken base if you want a traditional ramen taste. Feeling adventurous? The lobster base offers a unique seafood twist. And if you’re on a vegetarian diet, the mushroom base is delicious.
If you happen to have some scallions on hand, chuck these in as well to add some freshness. Small amount of soy sauce and sesame oil also go a long way in terms of adding flavor.
Psst… you can also get low-sodium versions of better than bouillon.
How to substitute: for every packet of ramen seasoning, use 2 teaspoons of ‘better than bouillon’ dissolved in 1 cup of boiling water.
Homemade stock or dashi
It’s a bit of hassle, but you can make a big batch and then freeze the leftovers for the next time your ramen craving hits.
Once you have the stock, simply flavor it with things like minced garlic or ginger, sesame oil, chili, mushroom powder, sriracha, mirin, or chives and you have a deliciously light ramen soup.
To keep with the Asian theme, make dashi instead (a type of Japanese stock). You can get powdered dashi you mix with water.
Or you can make your own with kombu and bonito flakes. Dashi mixed with a bit of miso paste is divine.
How to substitute: use the homemade stock as the base for your ramen soup
Spicy Sichuan sauce ramen
I found this ramen seasoning alternative on Tiktok and have been addicted ever since!
It’s so simple – combine sesame seeds, chili powder, freshly minced garlic, and green onions with hot cooking oil, soy sauce, and Chinese black vinegar.
Then add your noodles and about ½ cup of the starchy cooking liquid to the mixture.
The results? A rich, savory broth with a fiery kick.
Just make sure you get the oil hot enough – it really unlocks the flavor and makes this simple “broth” mouthwatering.
Pssst… if you don’t have Chinese black vinegar, any other vinegar will do, except distilled white vinegar!
How to substitute: use the spicy Sichuan sauce as the base for your ramen soup
Miso paste (+ extras)
Some sites suggest using plain miso paste as a ramen seasoning substitute, which is a decent suggesting but we can do better.
For a simple souped-up miso ramen, mix it with chili garlic sauce. SO much umami!
Or if you don’t mind something more complicated, try Bon Appetit’s additions: kimchi juice and black bean sauce. Here’s my take on why this combo is a game-changer.
Miso paste is a reliable starter with its earthy, umami flavor.
But adding the kimchi juice and black bean sauce brings another layer of funky goodness, with a nice background heat. You’ll be blown away.
How to substitute: prepare your miso soup, then add your cooked ramen noodles.
Butter, red pepper flakes, soy sauce, sugar, egg
Here’s another fun and easy TikTok hack to jazz up your plain old noodles instead of using ramen seasoning.
Get comd butter, red pepper flakes, soy sauce, sugar, and eggs.
The combine these ingredients in one pan to create an enticing fusion of sweet, salty, and spicy flavors.
Once the sugar melts, add your cooked and drained noodles and give it a good stir.
This may not be your conventional bowl of ramen, but it’s an easy alternative if you’re up for trying something new.
How to substitute: mix your noodles into the mixture of butter, red pepper flakes, soy sauce, sugar, and egg
Getting bored of your usual instant ramen? Ditch the ramen seasoning and add a Thai twist with this easy peanut sauce from Minimalist Baker.
It’s straightforward to make and only requires six ingredients – peanut butter, tamari or soy sauce, maple syrup, chili garlic sauce, lime juice, and water.
This unique blend results in a nutty, savory, and slightly spicy concoction that’ll have you coming back for seconds.
Looking for something simpler? Here’s another Tiktok hack to the rescue. Cook your noodles, drain, then add a tablespoon of peanut butter, 2 tbsps of soy sauce, and a drizzle of sriracha.
It won’t be as flavorful as the Thai peanut sauce, but it’ll hit the spot, especially late at night. You can also swap the peanut butter for sesame oil.
How to substitute: mix the peanut sauce into your noodles, thinning it out with water if you want more of a soup-style
Homemade ramen soup base
If you’re willing to put in a bit more time, creating a homemade ramen soup base is the best way to elevate your humble noodles.
You can try this homemade tonkotsu ramen broth from Glebe Kitchen if you want to impress.
You only need three ingredients (pork bones, onions, and mushrooms).
But the catch is you’ll need to cook this broth low and slow for 12 hours to extract all the flavor from the bones and mushroom.
If you don’t have 12 hours to spare, this youtube video for ‘1 hour ramen’ is great.
How to substitute: prepare 1 cup of ramen soup base, then add your cooked noodles
Other options to consider
Above are my top picks for ramen seasoning substitutes, but there’s a whole world out there to explore!
Don’t limit yourself, here are some more ways to flavor ramen:
- Tom yum paste or Thai curry paste, mixed with coconut milk for creaminess
- Gochujang, corn syrup, and Mirin for a Korean twist
- Butter and oyster sauce
- Dried shiitake mushrooms (ground into a powder)
- Frank’s Red Hot mixed with olive oil and butter
- Chives or cilantro
- Furikake or bontio flakes
You can use a mixture of pretty much any of the ingredients mentioned in this article to create a tasty ramen soup. So get experimenting.
BEST Ramen Seasoning Substitutes
- 3 chicken bouillon cubes
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- Crush the bouillon cubes and combine all the ingredients in a bowl or jar and mix them together. Alternatively, toss all the ingredients in a spice grinder or food processor and blitz everything.
- Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 6 months.