While the notion of pimping up your instant ramen has been a culinary phenomenon within college circles, many often go overboard with overpowering sauces and clashing condiments. A squeeze of sriracha may provide a much-needed kick to an ordinary broth, but when you find yourself shooting a steady stream into a piping hot bowl of soup, it kind of feels like overkill. Imagine drowning a perfectly decent steak in an overwhelming peppercorn sauce; it’s almost a crime. (Note: focus on the concept rather than the ingredients; steak and instant ramen are, indeed, far from interchangeable products.) Sometimes, a few simple ingredients can stretch your dollar and elevate the mundane instant ramen into something far tastier and exciting.

1. Ramen stir fry

Photo by Meredith Marcus

Asian takeout requires wait time and money that we sometimes just don’t have. Whip up your own stir fry in the comfort of your dorm room. Get the recipe here.

2. Cacio e pepe

Photo by Andrew Seah

The cacio e pepe traditional recipe calls for Pecorino and Parmesan, but because buying more than one packet of pre-shredded cheese during your weekly – or fortnightly – grocery run might seem like overkill, we’re sticking with just Parmesan cheese. Easy peasy. Get the recipe here.

3. Cheddar Broccoli Ramen

Photo by Caitlin Wolper

The broccoli makes it healthy, right? Get the recipe here.

4. Hot and Spicy Chili Ramen

Photo by Caitlin Wolper 




No college student should ever have to live without homemade chili. Now you can make it in your dorm room and kinda pretend like it’s homemade. Get the recipe here.

5. Dessert Ramen

Photo by Meredith Marcus

Remember Buddy the Elf’s mouth-watering rendition of pasta (including all the necessary food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup)? Well, this recipe isn’t as intense as Buddy’s, but it will definitely take care of your sweet tooth.

6. Chicken Ramen Soup

Photo by Caitlin Wolper

Chicken ramen soup, chicken ramen soup, chicken ramen soup, with a soda on the side. Just like mom’s homemade chicken noodle soup, but a little less homemade and a little more ramen. Get the no-brainer recipe here.

7. Crispy Ramen Salad

Photo by Meredith Marcus

If you haven’t eaten crispy raw ramen yet, now is your chance, with this ramen salad recipe. It allows you to ditch the sodium-packed flavor packets too, which is an added health bonus.

8. Ram’N’Cheese

Photo by Caroline Liu

First there was ramen, the stereotypical college-student food staple. Then there was mac n’ cheese, the childhood guilty pleasure and go-to dinner for babysitters everywhere. Now there’s something more. Who knew that such an unlikely duo could make the greatest of friends? Get the recipe here.

9. All the Asian Fixings

Photo by Andrew Seah

If you’re a true ramen connoisseur but can’t get the real stuff in your college town like you can in big cities, make it yourself. Throw in some napa cabbage, bok choy, garlic, scallions, egg, sesame oil, corn, tofu and mushrooms and you’re golden. Get this full-throttle recipe here.

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Contributions by Andrew Seah, Meredith Marcus, Nicole Feretich, Lauren Eiden, Caroline Liu and Caitlin Wolper