How to Save Money Eating Ramen and Still Like the Taste

How to Save Money Eating Ramen and Still Like the Taste
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    College students are always looking for free or cheap food to make their monthly budget.

    Instant ramen is a common solution to eat for cheap.


This has one problem, after a while instant ramen starts to taste dull and repetitive. But luckily college students can add a few ingredients to make it taste better.


One of the simplest things to add to instant ramen is spices. A teaspoon or two can increase the flavor. Plus the added benefit is that containers of spices are available at the the dollar store. Having a small collection of spices can make a large impact.

Nearly any spice that goes with chicken, beef, pork or shrimp will work with instant ramen but a few suggestions are:

  • Garlic powder or salt
  • Ginger
  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Cumin
  • Curry powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Red chili flakes
  • Taco seasoning

You can mix and match these as well without being a culinary student. The trick is to smell the spices together before using them. If the combined smell is good, their flavors should work together.


Another way to add flavor to instant ramen is to add a little bit of another sauce. This opens up a whole range of possibilities and can still be inexpensive using generic brands and coupons. Try adding:

  • Siracha
  • Hot sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Fish sauce
  • Vinegar
  • Sesame oil
  • Worcestershire sauce

A little sauce can go a long way. A tablespoon or two will add plenty of flavor to a single serving of instant ramen.


Vegetables add flavor and texture to instant ramen. Some vegetables, such as leafy greens and smaller vegetables, can be put in after the instant ramen is done cooking. Other vegetables that are thicker, or that you want to soften more, have to be put in while the instant ramen is still boiling. This time will vary depending on how crunchy you want to make them, but a good rule of thumb is about one to two minutes before it is done.

Vegetables to add after cooking:

  • Baby spinach
  • Cabbage
  • Frozen peas
  • Green onions
  • Frozen corn
  • Sliced peppers, such a bell or chili
  • Vegetables to add while the instant ramen is still cooking:
  • Snap peas
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Bean sprouts

These options will not be as inexpensive as spices or sauces, but vegetables add nutrients. Since instant ramen is not the healthiest food option in the first place, the added nutritional value may be worth it.


You can add a lot of flavor by adding a little meat. For college students it may not be practical to buy raw meat and cook it, but there are still manageable options. Try:

  • Lunch meats such as ham or salami
  • Bacon bits
  • Hot dog pieces

Meat may not be the cheapest option to add to instant ramen, but there are ways around it. Consider adding pieces of leftover chicken, beef or pork from a previous meal or the to go bag from the restaurant you ate at.

This is by no means an all-inclusive list. For more recipes visit:

Eating on a tight budget does not mean that food has to be bland. If this article inspired you to make new instant ramen recipes or if you know someone who wants more flavor out of their money-saving meals, please share this on social media.

Home Remodeling reference:

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Last update on 2020-03-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


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