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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Easy Asian Chicken Noodle Soup (a.k.a. Homemade Ramen)

Today I have a super fast and easy dinner recipe for you that is also delicious and healthy. That’s the best kind of recipe, right?

easy asian chicken noodle soup aka homemade ramen | from @janemaynard at

But first, a confession. I love ramen noodle packs. You know, the 89-cent packages of ramen noodles paired with the sodium-rich broth that is oh-so-good. But…but. The sodium. Ah, the sodium. I haven’t bought ramen in years and years because of that darn sodium. Happily, today’s recipe will let us have our ramen and eat it, too!

easy asian chicken noodle soup aka homemade ramen | from @janemaynard at

You will need to buy one of those cheap-o packages of ramen for this recipe, but you’re going to throw the flavor packet in the trash where it belongs. Instead, we’ll use healthy, natural ingredients and just a bit of salt to create a yummy meal that’s perfect for kids, adults and college-kids alike!

This recipe is fast to prepare and should be eaten immediately, so plan accordingly!

easy asian chicken noodle soup aka homemade ramen | from @janemaynard at

Easy Asian Chicken Noodle Soup (a.k.a. Homemade Ramen)
Cook time
Total time
Adapted from a recipe in America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook
Recipe type: Main Dish, Soup, Poultry
Cuisine: Asian
Serves: 4
  • ½ tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded*
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin with greens separated from whites
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (I use my garlic press)
  • 3½ cups low-sodium or sodium-free chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, plus extra as needed (a commenter mentioned that soy sauce can be high in sodium, so if you really want to cut back, try using low-sodium soy sauce or reducing the amount used)
  • 1 3-ounce package ramen noodles, flavor packet discarded
  • 1½ cups shredded coleslaw mix (I used a coleslaw mix made only with green cabbage)
  • 1½ cups fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • ½ tablespoon sesame oil, plus extra as needed
  • salt and pepper
  1. Heat vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chopped white green onions (reserving the greens for later), ginger and garlic and cook for about 1 minute.
  2. Stir in chicken broth and soy sauce and bring to a simmer (you’ll want to turn the heat up to get it boiling gently, then reduce the heat to medium or so to maintain the simmer).
  3. Stir in ramen noodles and coleslaw and cook for 4 minutes.
  4. Add chicken and spinach and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Stir in the rest of the green onions and sesame oil. Mix together, taste, then add salt, pepper, soy sauce and sesame oil to taste. Serve immediately.
*Cook the chicken however is easiest for you – grill, sauté, boil, whatever!



  1. 1

    Delicious. I, too, harbor a love for those terrible little ramen packs. I love your healthy take on a college meal favorite.

  2. 2

    my kids love those…gotta try this. perfect for chilly autumn nights when we have too many after-school activities.

  3. ahhh i love ramen too! will have to try this 🙂

  4. In Sweden we can find the ramen noodles on their own the same way you would buy penne or spaghetti and I bet if you have an Asian market close you could buy them the same way too! we make ramen with pork loin we bake covered in bbq sauce and honey. Here is a link to the recipe on my blog

  5. 5

    I am so excited about this recipe! I love me some ramen noodles and this will definitely make an appearance at our house next week.

  6. 6

    Ohhh this sounds so yummy! I have saved it to try.

  7. 7
    Jenn A

    How do leftovers keep? I am trying this recipe soon and am wondering. Do the noodles get mushy?

    • Jane Maynard

      they do NOT keep. as I mentioned in the recipe, you want to serve it immediately. you’re right, the noodles just get mushy over time!

      hope you like it! 🙂

    • Tom N

      Make a quart or more of the broth/chicken, and then make 1 portion of fresh noodles to add to a portion of the broth, enough for one meal.

  8. 8
    Fred Rickson

    Folks who really enjoy ramen should make a true stock at least once. The bones, meat, and vegetables are simmered, without much attention, for six or so hours (mine goes for 10, and you throw away the cooked items). You’ll never use boxed or canned stock again.

  9. 9
    Sandy Lipin

    Do you have the nutritional information for this recipe?

  10. 10

    Aren’t those noodles highly processed and therefore not good for you? I saw a video once that they never get digested in your stomach, Is there a more healthy alternative for the noodles?

  11. 11

    My son figured out years ago that he can use a small metal tea bag strainer to get a large portion of the salt out. (And the ‘little green things, as he calls them!) and just leave behind the seasoning. You would be surprised at how much is removed. At 6’9″, size 18 and growing feet! he has been a connoisseur of MaruchanRamen and Nongshim Shin Ramyun for a Long time. This is his way of having his ‘noodles’ and eating them, too!

  12. 12
    Amy Kearns

    One can buy ramen noodle bricks without the packets at Asian grocery stores. They come in fried and non fried versions; as well as, in wheat and buckwheat versions.

  13. 13
    i heart salt

    I used to save those little seasoning packets ( and the cheese ones from mac & cheese) to put on popcorn!

  14. 14
    Vlad Mikijanic

    Sorry Jane, but your recipe, although definitely better tasting, isn’t significantly better sodium wise than the packaged types. My wife suffers from congestive heart failure, where one pack of ramen soup would send her into an intensive care unit. Her diet MUST remain below 1000mg (1 gram) of sodium daily.
    The one tablespoon of soy sauce contains on average 1200+mg sodium (“plus extra as needed”), plus the added salt to taste, and the low sodium chicken broth (avg of approx 70-100mg/cup sodium)…and you’re almost right back at the packaged ramen soup levels.
    I simply make my own chicken soup stocks with lots of veggies and seasonings without salt, and go from there.

    Oh, a simply hint, citrus provides the same ‘mouth feel’ that salt does, which is why every salt free seasoning (ie Mrs Dash) uses lemon extract as an ingredient. And those bullion cube flavorings? Each one exceeds 1000mg sodium/cube…except for the hard to find salt-free ones.

    • thanks for your great info, vlad. I have a good friend who has a food blog (she also cannot have salt for medical reasons…sodium girl) and it is astounding how much sodium is in everything.

      anyway, thank you and love the citrus tip – very cool!

    • Billie

      Vlad, your calculations seem a bit skewed. I’m looking at my bottles of Kikkoman right here (which is a pretty major brand of soy sauce) and the REGULAR one is the one that comes in ~900mg/tablespoon… specifically, 921mg/tablespoon. The Kikkoman Less Sodium version comes in at 575mg/tablespoon.

      Also, I don’t think that you’re taking into account the fact that the recipe says “Serves ~4”. This recipe does quite a bit more than just prepare a package of ramen, so it should serve more than one person. It’s two proper servings worth of chicken (and soups often use less than a full serving size), 3-6 servings of veggies, and a pretty generous quantity of broth.

      Looking in my kitchen, I happen to have all of the ingredients on hand, and I’m getting sodium values of (in order from the recipe) 0+8+0+0+0+245+575+10+0+0+0+0=838mg
      (I put in 0 for the last because I personally don’t ever add salt when I’m cooking unless it’s needed from a “kitchen chemistry” perspective – obviously the “salt to taste” value can’t really be assigned, same with the soy sauce’s “extra as needed – I just included the listed tablespoon). At any rate, even if one person eats the entire recipe, that’s better than a ramen packet, but shared even between two… 419mg of sodium for a bowl of ramen sounds pretty darned good to me.

    • billie, great calculations – thank you! very helpful!

  15. 15

    No thanks. I am not getting Ramen package for this! There are many good healthy recipe how to make a fresh ramen out of flour. Its very healthy and very safe. Ramen Package is horrible! Sorry about my English.

    • thanks for your comment – I’m excited after comments to even just go to an asian market and try some different ramen noodles, but I’m impressed you make your own! 🙂

  16. 16

    I started making my own dashi (Japanese soup stock)and miso soup with dried kelp and bonito flakes (both available in Asian markets and some generic markets in my area) to better control my sodium portions. It’s a lighter, more seafood-based stock than chicken or beef, but it still tastes superb with veggies and ramen noodles. At times I also use Furikake, a sesame and nori seasoning mix that contains no sodium or msg, to add more complex favors.

  17. 17
    Kenneth Moser

    Don’t throw away the packets. I save them in an old large bullion container. Just use common sense and they can be a great assist is preparing other meals to help boost the flavor–for example, their great for broths to use for gravies. Just use them more sparingly so the sodium content is not so high. You can use 1/4 to 1/2 a packet for meals that require the same amount of water, or even use a whole packet with more water for your recipes which are served to more than one person. As I said use your judgment.

    • someone else commented that their son likes to use the packets sprinkled on popcorn! 🙂 you’re right, use good judgment and everything in moderation 🙂

  18. 18
    Mike Janney

    Put a few packets of Taco Bells Mild or Hot sauce in there for a bit of Zest. Don’t for get to melt some cheese over it. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM Ramen!

  19. 19
    Sharon Johnson

    I am a huge fan of Ramen noodles. Having lived in Japan as a teen-ager (many long years ago), I loved the ‘noodle’ shops that were every where. It was so easy to become a huge fan of Japanese noodles (there are many varieties). Yes, I’m well aware of the fact that the little package of Ramen is not real nutritional but I don’t indulge every day. Sometimes I just get one of those cravings and it has to be satisfied. I will have to try this recipe. If you really want to learn about Ramen noodles you need to try to rent the movie “Ramen Girl”. I happened to catch it on late night TV about a year ago. I had never heard of it. Basic story — American girl goes to Japan, gets dumped by boyfriend, chooses to stay even tho heartbroken, late one night sees a Ramen noodle restaurant across the street, goes in and becomes obsessed with learning how to make Ramen noodles which are a man’s job. Despite language barriers as well as cultural differences she hangs in there till the end. The movie tells about the noodles, the precise way to make them, ect. It is a great movie. Here is a link for that has some reviews on The Ramen Girl —
    You can also go to Wikipedia for information.

    • how fun, I hadn’t heard of that movie – thanks so much for the link! 🙂

    • Kelly Bailey

      I found that movie too!! I don’t know if it was on Netflix or
      On DTv, but I loved it!!! It made me want to learn all
      About making noodles, and made mean even bigger fan of
      Our local Noodle Shop!!!

    • Kelly Bailey

      I loved this movie!!! Made me want to learn about making
      Noodles. It also made me even more of a fan of my local
      Noodle store.

  20. 20

    We still love ramen noodles, but I have always used it for a base for soup, adding enough other stuff that I end up with at least double the servings, thus cutting the sodium in half or more.

    Favorites are diced onion, celery, & chicken, cooking it all together and just adding the noodles in time before serving. julienned or thin sliced carrots are good, too, as are snowpeas and/or the occasional potato.

    Onions & celery are great with shrimp in the shrimp flavor, too.

    Sometimes I’ll just add leftover already cooked chicken, beef, vegetables, etc., whatever is handy in the fridge.

    • great tips, thanks, kara!

    • Peter

      DITTO! I just made a package and used the whole shrimp flavor packet. I add so many vegetables, olive oil, celery, garlic, oregano, sesame oil, little soy sauce, ginger, 3 tbsp. butter, then saute. Add just enough water to cook noodles, stirring, then add milk to thin. When hot, can stir in one or two eggs like egg drop soup. Delicious. I use all of the flavor packet, but make 5 servings or more this way. SO, divide the salt content by FIVE to get the salt per serving. This is very tasty and not much salt for a normal person. Besides, I never add salt to anything after cooked. Experiment!

  21. 21

    Skewed perhaps Billie, but based upon brands that I’ve seen and avoided. Perhaps a bit higher but well within range of commercial brands. I was looking at La Choy at 1160, and my bottle of Kikkoman says 920.
    I think the point is, we consume wayyy too much sodium and it’s very difficult to make healthy meals yourself if even the ingredients are loaded with unnecessary, uh, carp. Notice how the low carb, no gluten, and fat free products have higher sodium content to compensate for the less that flavorful taste?

    • vlad, so glad you’re keeping in the conversation.

      sodium AND sugar seem to be lurking everywhere…once you try to cut one of those from your diet, it’s shocking how much there is everywhere.

      I once saw mark bittman speak and I’ll never forget him saying “you know, you could be vegan but eating a really crappy diet” (obviously he spoke more eloquently)…

      it’s all great food for thought and maybe even a bit overwhelming!

  22. 22

    I use Bragg Liquid Aminos for a soy substitute. 1 tbsp is 320 mg of sodium. Anytime I need soy, I just use this.

  23. 23

    Wait, so you want to use veggie oil to heat up your food? That’s an even worse idea! Salt is one thing, but using veggie oil is single-handedly the dumbest thing you can do in cooking (aside from eating chicken not well cooked). The risk of you boiling your oil, which will most likely happen, increases your chances of… the same things salt would do. Welcome heart attacks. So, that substitution makes zero sense.

    Use water, never oil. I NEVER use oil, even to cook steaks. Always water, regardless of what I cook. Steaks, chicken, fish. Always water.

    If you suggest your readers to use oil, you might as well tell them to use salt. The end result, physically speaking, is the same – the risk of heart problems.

  24. 24

    That’s not entirely accurate. Concerning the traditional cooking oils, olive oil is the only one that is acceptable for cooking (this is without considering coconut oil, as no one uses that lol). Still, I stick with “no oil”. The reality is that people are frighteningly too ignorant to realize what they’re doing. That, and some people believe it won’t truly have an impact on them.

    Think about it this way: if you have children, would you bring them to McDonald’s (or any other fast food)? I sure as hell would not. However, a lot of parents do, knowing full well the dangers it poses, and acting all shocked when their kids are morbidly obese.

    The reality is that kids end up weighing at least 5 times what a kid their age should normally weigh. They wonder why. The truth is that A LOT of people don’t care because they are ignorant of VERY basic and sound health principles. Why? I don’t know, as this is the only thing people talk about. Their ignorance baffles me beyond belief.

    I stopped buying Kraft peanut butter a decade ago in favour of natural peanut butter – I was finally old enough to fully realize the potent disaster that was contained within Kraft peanut butter. Heck, I don’t think you could even call it peanut butter. And I started eating bread without any added sugar the day it came out (who the f*** wants sugar in their bread??? I mean, come on, that’s disgustingly vile). Yet, a lot of people are too stupid to accept that the negative consequences of those things WILL have an impact on them (and/or children).

    • Lisa

      Judgemental much? Maybe blogs aren’t a good place for you, name calling and shaming people for their food choices isn’t getting your point across. It just makes you sound mean.

      I think the recipe sounds up interesting and as I’m searching for healthier choices for lunches for my boys (who love ramen too!) I’m excited to try making my own.

      Thanks for the recipe!

    • thanks, lisa! hope you and your boys like the recipe! 🙂

    • Blackfinga

      I agree, we have far too many 325 pound 6 year olds out there. And 600 pound 12 year olds. It’s peanut butter’s fault. A shameful epidemic. I’m 41, and I weigh 1200 pounds. Why Kraft, why Mom?!?

    • Beth

      Great that you have all these opinions you want to shove down everyones throat.
      You’re an internet troll, just a different breed. To be quite honest, I believe you should be ashamed of yourself.
      Someone is trying to provide a healthy alternative and you come in on your high horse with your shaming and completely rude attitude. Why would anyone listen to you when you’re putting it that way?
      Maybe take a hint from this blog owner and take a look at how to respectfully and kindly respond to people. I can ASSURE YOU that you will get much further with trying to “educate” others on food/diet.
      You don’t have to agree with everyone but there is no need for your negativity.

  25. 25

    Ahh…you guys left out da most important ingredient…SPAM!

  26. Nom Nom Nom. The perfect solution to my kids love of Ramen and my distaste for the seasoning packets. The weather is getting cooler here in Texas so I am putting this on my list for this weeks dinner. 🙂

  27. 27

    This might be a tasty recipe but there is nothing fast or easy about it. And it is especially not “super easy!” This is a classic example of FALSE ADVERTISEMENT.

    Also you screwed up the instructions… Number 1 and 2 should be swapped. You should prepare everything while the chicken is cooking.

    • if you notice I have an asterisk next to the word chicken in the ingredients list, which is referring to what is listed as number 2, which also has an asterisk. It’s technically not Step 2, it’s just the way that the automatic formatting is done for the recipe plug in. I will see if I can move it to a notes section to make it more clear, but the point of the instruction is that you can prepare the chicken however you like – or even buy cooked chicken at the store if you so choose! 🙂

      Also, I’m sorry the recipe was not super easy for you. Did you actually cook the recipe? It is pretty straightforward, but I am interested to hear where any potential trouble spots in the recipe might be. Let me know. Thanks!

    • I was able to move the note about the chicken (which used to be #2 in instructions) down into a notes section. Thanks.

    • Fred Rickson

      Holy Smokes, thetruth, if you don’t find this recipe easy, stay away from ever trying to boil water.

  28. 28
    Danny Park

    I personally never drank the broth for the instant ramen noodles. Just eat the noodles and anything else you put into the instant noodles. Just toss the rest of the broth, that’s where most of the sodium is in.

  29. 29
    Amos Garrett

    Salt free chicken stock (Campbells or generic) and instant noodle bricks ( in an eight pack by Six Fortune) can be found in most supermarkets. The noodles have 180 calories and 480 mg of salt. They are also much tastier than instant ramens.

  30. 30
    Dave Bilinsky

    You can purchase salt-free Ramen noodles at Costco. There is also low-sodium chicken broth there from Kirkland (35 mg per cup) so you can cut out the soya sauce and it is still yummy and low sodium. I too am on a low sodium diet and missing my Ramen. Thanks for the recipe! I used baby Boo Choy instead of the cabbage mix, added fresh shiitake mushrooms and fresh bean sprouts to garnish. MMmMmMmMmMm!!!!

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