We love a saucy, slurpy noodle dish and this recipe for spicy ramen is just that and then some. It’s also a merging of cultures featuring authentic Ramen noodles (Japanese wheat noodles) and a spicy Korean-inspired gochujang sauce that seriously packs a punch. The vibrant orange sauce is bold and bursting with the potency of gochujang, onion, garlic, ginger and toasted sesame.
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Look for varieties of ramen noodles sold by themselves—just noodles with no seasoning packet. In the test kitchen we like the brand Hakubaku. You can find ramen noodles at your local Asian market, Whole Foods or online at Amazon.
Gochujang is a Korean chili paste. It can be found in any Asian market or near the Asian sauces in most grocery stores. You can also find it online at Amazon. Look for gochujang sold in red rectangular plastic containers—our favorite brands are O’Food or Chung Jung One.
Also known as peking sauce, hoisin is a thick reddish-brown sauce that’s both sweet and savory. It’s largely used in Chinese cooking, so it’s not a traditional Korean ingredient. However, the combination of soybean, garlic, chiles, and spices make it a great addition to our gochujang-based sauce. Look for Hoisin in any Asian market or the Asian section of your local grocery store. You can also purchase it online on Amazon.
Test kitchen tips
- This sauce shouldn’t just be relegated to noodles—use it as a marinade and sauce for grilled chicken or shrimp. Or make Korean Steak and Eggs by serving this sauce over pan-seared streak, fried eggs and rice.
- If you want to make this ahead of time, you can make the sauce up to 3 days in advance. As written, we recommend using some of the starchy noodle cooking water to blend up the sauce. If you’re making this ahead of time, simply use some hot water instead.
How to Serve Spicy Ramen Noodles
- Top each serving of these noodles with a crispy chicken cutlet, sliced scallions and cilantro.
- Make one of our favorite meals—Crispy Tofu Noodles with Pickled Cucumbers.
- Top servings with a soft fried egg.
- Make this a light lunch by adding some steamed broccoli, carrots and sliced snap peas.
Our test kitchen hasn’t tested this recipe using the coily noodles we all love and adore of packaged ramen noodle meals. However, if you ditch the seasoning packet (save it for a future batch of homemade ramen) and cook the noodles according to the package. You’ll need four 3-ounce packages of ramen noodles.
Yes, you can make it up to 3 days ahead of time. The recipe calls for using ½ cup of hot noodle cooking water for blending the sauce. You can substitute with hot water. Store the blended sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
We’ve got tons of recipes on ZK that use gochujang! One of our most popular recipes, Gochujang Noodles, is a delicious way to sneak in some veggies. We’ve also got two great Gochujang meatball recipes—one for Gochujang Turkey Meatballs and another for Korean Beef Meatballs. And if you love a sheetpan dinner, check out our Gochujang Chicken with Crispy Rice.
Spicy Ramen Noodles
- 1 (9.5–10 ounce) package dry ramen noodles (Japanese wheat noodles), such as Hakubaku
- 1 small onion or ½ large onion, cut into chunks (about 1 cup)
- 2–3 tablespoons gochujang, depending on spice preference
- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1 (2-inch) knob ginger
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season water with salt then add noodles and cook 1 minute less than specified by package instructions. Reserve 1 cup noodle cooking water; drain noodles and add back to pot.
- Add onion, gochujang, hoisin, lime juice, toasted sesame oil, garlic, ginger and ½ cup reserved noodle cooking water to a blender. Blend on high until completely smooth, about 1 minute.
- Pour sauce into pot with noodles and toss gently to coat. Place over medium-low heat and cook just until warmed through. Adjust consistency with addition pasta cooking water as needed; season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with cilantro and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil.