Flavored with pork and chicken broth with a mix of toppings such as Chashu and Ramen Egg, this bowl of Miso Ramen is going to satisfy your craving. You can make delicious ramen with authentic broth in less than 30 minutes!
When you’re in Japan, you will quickly learn that there are 3 basic ramen flavors: Shio (salt), Shoyu (soy sauce), and Miso (fermented soybean paste).
If you’re wondering about Tonkotsu (pork bone broth) ramen, that’s actually a type of broth base. Interested to learn more about ramen? Read our Japanese Ramen Guide for Beginners. Today we’ll make the popular and my favorite, Miso Ramen (味噌ラーメン).
Learn How to Make Miso Ramen
Ramen consists of 3 components: soup, noodles, and toppings. In this post, I’ll go over each topic in detail.
Part 1: Ramen Soup スープ
Although the Japanese enjoy eating ramen at ramen shops, it’s pretty common for the Japanese moms to make ramen at home. Making good ramen soup from scratch requires a lot of time and effort, so most households use a packaged ramen which includes 2-3 servings of fresh noodles and a concentrated soup base.
In this recipe, instead of spending many hours making the ramen soup base, I’ll show you how to make a delicious ramen soup that takes just 15 minutes. This miso ramen soup tastes much better than the soup base that comes with the package.
In case you’re wondering, the soup for Miso Ramen is not the “miso soup” made from dashi and miso paste.
Below, I explain the ingredients for Miso Ramen soup. I do not recommend skipping or substituting the following ingredients because each ingredient plays an important role. As a result, you get a rich and intensely savory bowl of miso ramen that will greatly satisfy your cravings.
5 Key Ingredients for Quick Miso Ramen Soup
- (Spicy) Chili Bean Sauce/Paste – (La) Doubanjiang in Chinese
- Sesame Seeds and Sesame Oil
- Homemade or Store Bought Chicken Broth:
- White pepper powder
Miso is a Japanese fermented soybean paste, and it’s one of the essential condiments in Japanese cooking. If you are new to miso, I highly recommend taking a look at my Miso pantry page to be familiar with it.
Based on the type of miso and the brand that makes it, the flavor of miso varies. In most cases, there is no type or brand that is better or worse, except for your preference. I personally love Hikari Miso® and you will see me using this brand exclusively on my blog.
For Miso Ramen, use any miso type except for Hatcho Miso or Saikyo Miso. My favorite miso is Kodawattemasu (see below).
2. (Spicy) Chili Bean Sauce/Paste or (La) Doubanjiang
The key condiment in this recipe is Spicy Chili Bean Paste or (la) doubanjiang. This condiment adds depth and plays such an important role that you should not substitute. You can add more Spicy Chili Bean Paste if you like your soup to be spicy, but 1 teaspoon would be enough to give a kick to the soup.
When the kids were small, I was using non-spicy Doubanjiang from a Taiwanese Lian How (岡山) brand (center in the above picture) which I get from a local Chinese grocery store. Amazon does not sell the non-spicy broad bean paste, but Walmart sells it (please let me know if you find this brand online).
3. Sesame Seeds and Sesame Oil
Sesame flavor in this recipe is prominent as both sesame seeds and oil make the broth nuttier and richer, adding nice aroma and flavor to the ramen soup.
Japanese households always have a set of Suribachi (mortar) and Surikogi (pestle) to grind sesame seeds, but if you don’t have one, you can crush the sesame seeds with a food processor (coffee bean grinder).
The type of sesame oil you need is the dark roasted sesame oil. It has a deep flavor of sesame and only 1 tablespoon would give plenty of fragrance to the soup.
4. Homemade or Store Bought Chicken Broth
For a richer and flavorful broth, homemade chicken stock is best. But it’s okay to use store-bought kind to make ramen soup if you don’t have the time.
I like chicken stock from Trader Joe’s. Use less-sodium one and adjust the salt according to your liking. Remember, some brand’s chicken stock can be saltier, so you always have to taste your soup before adding salt.
5. White Pepper Powder
I believe white pepper powder is a magical spice in Chinese-style soups and fried rice. Just a few sprinkles of white pepper will elevate the flavor and add a nice kick without the spiciness. You can find white pepper powder in Asian grocery stores.
FAQs for Ramen Soup
Do we need to add sugar?
Sugar is not added to sweeten the dish, but it’s there to counter the saltiness from the miso and spicy chili bean paste. Try adding 1 teaspoon at a time and taste the soup before adding next, if you like to reduce the amount.
Do we need to use sake?
Unless you can’t use it due to religious reasons, I strongly recommend using sake in Japanese cooking. Sake is an essential ingredient as soy sauce and mirin in Japanese cooking. In this recipe, sake removes the unwanted smell from the meat and add a subtle sweetness and umami. The best substitute would be dry sherry and Chinese rice wine.
Part 2: Ramen Noodles 麺
Ramen noodles are made from four basic ingredients: wheat flour, salt, water, and kansui (かん水, saltwater). Kansui is a type of alkaline mineral water, containing sodium carbonate and usually potassium carbonate, and sometimes a small amount of phosphoric acid. Although the color of the ramen noodles is yellow-ish, they are not egg noodles.
1. Fresh Noodles
Ideally, fresh ramen noodles are the best. My favorite ramen noodles are from Sun Noodles, and I usually make my own soup instead of the soup base that comes with the package.
Fresh noodles are available in the refrigerated section of the Japanese grocery stores and some Asian grocery stores. Some stores may keep the fresh ramen noodles in the freezer, so don’t forget to check both sections.
Fresh gluten-free ramen noodles can be purchased from Kobayashi Seimen. They are made from rice and taste very similar to fresh ramen noodles.
2. Dried Noodles
For those who can’t have access to fresh ramen noodles, you can use dried noodles. I’ve tried HIME Japanese ramen noodles (you can purchase on Amazon) and they are pretty good.
3 Tips for Cooking Ramen Noodles
There are three important tips I want to share with you when cooking ramen noodles.
- Boil the ramen noodles in a big pot of water.
- Do not salt the water like pasta.
- Ramen noodles cook really fast. So make sure to prepare everything ahead of time. Once the noodles are cooked, you have to serve the ramen fast – in less than 30 seconds!
Part 3: Ramen Toppings トッピング
Choices are yours. Here are 7 toppings I added to this Miso Ramen recipe. Even though you would spend less than 30 minutes preparing the ramen on the day of eating, I do spend one day, usually the previous day, preparing my ramen toppings.
- Chashu – braised pork belly
- Ramen Egg (Ajitsuke Tamago) – eggs marinated in soy sauce base sauce
- Blanched Bean Sprout (or spicy version)
- Shiraga Negi – julienned white negi/leeks
- Sweet corn kernels
- Chopped green onion
- Nori seaweed
Other Topping Ideas:
- Wakame seaweed
- Blanched greens (bok choy, spinach)
- Menma (bamboo shoots)
- Slices of Narutomaki or Japanese fish cakes
- Thinly sliced butter (to make it “Miso Butter Ramen”)
- Or anything you like, tofu, mushrooms, etc
Now that you have the template on how to make the best miso ramen at home, it’s time to impress yourself or someone you love with your bowl of ramen goodness. It’s really simple, and dare I say more gratifying than the bowl from your ramen joint!
Craving for more? Check out other ramen recipes on Just One Cookbook
- Spicy Shoyu Ramen
- Vegetarian Ramen
- Spicy Bean Sprout
- Ramen Egg
- How to Make Soft-Boiled Egg
- Ramen Yokocho in Sapporo, Hokkaido
For Ramen Soup:
- 2 cloves garlic (1 ½ tsp minced garlic)
- 1 knob ginger (½ tsp grated ginger)
- 1 shallot
- 1 Tbsp toasted white sesame seeds
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil (roasted)
- ¼ lb ground pork
- 1 tsp doubanjiang (spicy chili bean sauce/broad bean paste) (you can buy non-spicy version online.)
- 3 Tbsp miso (each miso brand/type makes slightly different broth)
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp sake
- 4 cups chicken stock/broth (each ramen bowl requires about 1 ½ cup (355 ml) of broth + a bit more for evaporation)
- 1 tsp kosher/sea salt (I use Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt) (adjust according to your chicken broth)
- ¼ tsp white pepper powder
For Ramen & Optional Toppings:
- 2 servings fresh ramen noodles (10-12 oz or 283-340 g fresh noodles; 6.3 oz or 180 g dry ramen noodles; For gluten-free, use these GF ramen noodles)
- spicy bean sprout salad (or blanched bean sprout)
- ramen egg (ajitsuke tamago)
- frozen or canned corn (drained)
- nori (seaweed) (cut a sheet into quarters)
- green onion/scallion (chopped)
- shiraga negi
For the Table (Optional):
- Gather all the ingredients.
To Prepare Ramen Soup
- Mince the shallot. Prepare everything ahead of time.
- Grind sesame seeds, leaving some seeds unground for texture.
- In a medium pot, heat sesame oil over medium-low heat and add the minced garlic, ginger, and shallot.
- With a wooden spatula, stir fry until fragrant.
- Add the meat and increase heat to medium. Cook the meat until no longer pink.
- Add spicy bean paste (La Doubanjiang) or non-spicy bean paste (Doubanjiang) and miso. Quickly blend well with the meat before they get burnt.
- And add the ground sesame seeds and sugar and mix well.
- Add sake and chicken stock, and bring it to a simmer.
- Taste your soup and add salt (if necessary) and white pepper. Each chicken stock varies in saltiness, so you have to taste your own soup to decide how much salt is necessary.
- Cover with the lid and keep the ramen soup simmered while you cook noodles.
To Prepare Toppings and Noodles
- Bring a large pot of unsalted water to a boil (ramen noodles already include salt in the dough). When water is boiling, take some hot water into serving bowls to warm up the bowls (and drain before adding cooked noodles). Loosen up the fresh noodles.
- Important: Prepare ramen toppings ahead of time so you can serve ramen hot immediately. For toppings, I usually put Chashu, Ramen Egg, blanched bean sprout (or Spicy Bean Sprouts), corn kernels, Shiraga Negi, chopped green onion, and a sheet of nori. Prepare a small dish of red pickled ginger, la-yu (chili oil), and white pepper powder on the table.
- Cook the noodles according to the package instructions. I usually cook the noodles al dente (about 15 seconds earlier than suggested time).
- When noodles are done, quickly pick them up with a mesh sieve. You don’t want to dilute your soup, so make sure to drain the water well. Serve the noodles into bowls.
- Add the ramen soup and top with various toppings you’ve prepared.
- Place the toppings of your choice and serve immediately.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2011. New video and photos are added in September 2014. The video and images have been updated in May 2019.