Many of the most popular ramen brands are not vegan because their flavorings contain animal products , such as chicken and beef. However, the noodles themselves don't contain any animal products. There are even several meat "flavored" ramen brands that are still 100% vegan!
Ramen is a staple in a lot of places, including Japan and college dorms. Traditionally it is dressed up with ingredients like poached eggs (not vegan) and fresh vegetables. The cheaper convenient store versions are eaten straight out of the package, with the included flavor sachet, to keep your meal cheap and simple. As stated above, these sachets most likely contain animal products if they are the typical "chicken" or "beef" flavor. But don't worry, we've listed some alternatives below.
There’s no need to give up this easy food option just because you’ve gone vegan. I’ve consistently found delicious 100% plant-based instant ramen options at my local Asian supermarket. You don’t need to look for specifically vegan brands; just pick up the closest vegetarian flavor, read the ingredients, and make sure it doesn’t have any seafood or egg in it (those are the main things to look out for with the vegetarian labeled ones).
If you don’t have an Asian supermarket near you, you can either shop online or search your local supermarket for vegan ramen options.
There are a few ramen products that you can buy online that are listed as vegan. Though most are "accidentally" vegan, there are a few brands that make specifically vegan ramen. Dr McDougall's brand is one of them. It's worth double checking the brands that don't advertise as vegan, as their ingredient statements can change at any time.
Much of their packaging even says Vegan on the front or the back which means they are doing something right! Their ingredient statements also tend to be pretty clean and preservative free.
Koyo is one of the best brands for vegan ramen, and all of their flavors are 100% plant based! They offer Asian Vegetable Ramen, Garlic Pepper Ramen, Tofu Miso Ramen, Mushroom Ramen , Lemongrass Ginger Ramen , Garlic and Pepper Ramen, Seaweed Ramen, and Soba Ramen, among others. There’s plenty to find here.
The noodles are also organic, and much like the Lotus brand, have very clean ingredient statements.
Nongshim, which is a well-known Asian food brand, has a couple of unintentionally vegan products on Amazon. They aren’t listed as specifically vegan flavors, so you’ll need to check the ingredients again if you decide to buy them. Nongshim’s Soon Veggie Noodle Soup (here or here) and Kimchi Noodle Soup are both vegan.
We were actually surprised about the Kimchi noodles as Kimchi has been known to contain anchovies. See our full article on Kimchi here.
A lot of ramen is accidentally vegan, especially in Asian supermarkets – you just have to look at the ingredients. Most Asian brands will list fish/crustaceans/eggs in the allergens section pretty faithfully, and those are the things you should look out for most – meat can sometimes sneak in there, but much more rarely if it is not overtly labeled with a meat flavor.
Dr McDougall’s is a brand that is definitely vegan and can be found at most Whole Foods. A lot of the other brands are probably going to be smaller Asian ones.
Top Ramen (one of the biggest brands out there) has Oriental and Chili flavors which both appear to be vegan based on their website.
Unfortunately, we couldn't say the same for the Maruchan Oriental Flavor which had beef extract on their ingredient list.
Vegan ramen is really easy to make at home, whether you want to keep it simple or dress it up. Add whatever other foods you want, flavor it however you like, and you’ve got a delicious and filling meal. This recipe is a great way to dress ramen up. Serve with a side of vegan boba tea (which is super easy to make at home) and you've got a cheap and easy meal.
Cheap Lazy Vegan is a great channel to follow if you’re new to veganism – and she even uses a brand on this list! (Nongshim’s Soon Veggie Noodle Soup). As well as adding vegetables for extra micronutrients and phytochemicals. She also adds soft tofu to give it a silken texture and some sesame seeds and seaweed to make it even more delicious.
How do you make your vegan ramen? Let us know in the comment section below!
Hey! I'm Michelle and I write product reviews for ThriveCuisine.com. I'm always preparing healthy / plant based foods and I've developed a knack for helping people get the best bang for their buck.