Below we answer the question: Are ramen noodles always vegan? We'll also give you some great vegan instant ramen brands you can buy and try out.
This guide is here to help. You'll learn:
- Are ramen noodles usually vegan?
- What are the best vegan ramen brands I could buy?
- Tips on creating awesome vegan ramen.
- The answers to common frequently asked questions.
Are Ramen Noodles Always Vegan?
Many of the most popular ramen brands are not vegan because their broth flavorings contain hidden animal products, such as chicken and beef.
But lets be clear...
The noodles themselves usually don't contain any products.
In fact, there are even several meat "flavored" ramen brands that are still 100% vegan and of course, infinite ways to make delicious ramen from scratch.
Check out our top picks for the best vegan ramen brands and recipes below or jump to our grocery list of foods vegans can eat.
Best Vegan Instant Ramen Brands
There are a a whole plethora of instant vegan ramen brands that you can buy both in stores and online.
Because most of them are "accidently vegan" you're not likely to see specific vegan labels. That means you'll have to check the ingredients of the noodles, ramen broths and flavor packets to be sure.
As always, be sure to double check all ingredient statements as they can change.
Here are the best vegan ramen brands we've found online and in the grocery store...
Dr McDougall’s offers a massive range of vegan foods that are easy to eat and prepare. They have a variety of flavors, including the ever popular:
- Chicken Ramen
- Miso Ramen
The best part about Dr. Mcdougall's ramen is that you know that its going to be vegan.
After all, he is one of the most well-known plant-based doctors.
As an added bonus, the flavor packets are typically going to be lower in sodium than other brands.
This is not to say that they are salt-free, but anything is better than Top Ramen level sodium.
Lotus Foods has plenty of vegan ramen noodle options in a lot of different flavors.
Some of the best ones are:
- Millet and Brown Rice Ramen
- Forbidden Rice Ramen
- Jade Pearl Rice Ramen
- Buckwheat Mushroom Rice Ramen
- Purple Potato and Brown Rice Ramen
- Wakame and Brown Rice Ramen
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.
You may also be able to find Lotus Foods uncooked ramen in bulk without the flavor packets. We've spotted them one of our local Asian groceries.
Koyo is one of the best brands for vegan ramen, and all of their flavors (that we’ve spotted) are 100% plant based!
- Asian Vegetable Ramen
- Garlic Pepper Ramen
- Tofu Miso Ramen
- Mushroom Ramen
- Lemongrass Ginger Ramen
- Garlic and Pepper Ramen
- Seaweed Ramen
- Soba Ramen
…and quite a few more that we won’t have room to list!
The noodles are also organic, and much like the Lotus brand, have very clean ingredient statements.
One of the things that we love best about Koyo Ramen is that they simply have so many flavors to choose from.
Nongshim, which is a well-known Asian food brand, has a couple of accidental 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.
From what we could find: Nongshim’s Soon Veggie Noodle Soup or the Cup of Noodles Version are both vegan.
We also found the Kimchi Noodle Soup which we were pleased about as we love vegan kimchi!
Paldo is another popular Asian food brand, and like Nongshim, it is unintentionally vegan.
In the following flavors, we found no sign of overtly or hidden animal ingredients:
- Jjajangmen Chajang Noodles
- Kimchi Bowl Noodle Soup
- Premium Jjajang Noodles
- Teumsae Ramen
Like their tagline says…
“Fun and Yum!”
Vegan Ramen Frequently Asked Questions
You've got questions about vegan foods and we've got answers!
No, but seriously...
Here are some of the most common questions have about eating ramen noodles as a vegan:
Does Top Ramen Have a Vegan Flavor?
Top Ramen (one of the biggest brands out there) has Oriental and Chili flavors which both appear to be vegan based on their website.
You can find the Top Ramen Oriental Ingredients and Chili Ingredients here.
UPDATE 10/3/2017: It seems that Top Ramen has renamed their "Oriental" flavor to "Soy Sauce". According to their website, the noodles and flavor packets seem to have the same ingredients, so enjoy!
Does Maruchan Have a Vegan Flavor?
Unfortunately, we couldn't say the same for the Maruchan Oriental Flavor which had beef extract on their flavor packet.
Here are the Maruchan Oriental Ingredients:
Ingredients: Ramen Noodle: Enriched Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Vegetable Oil (Contains One or More of the Following: Canola, Cottonseed, Palm), Preserved by TBHQ, Contains Less than 2% of: Salt, Soy Sauce (Water, Wheat, Soybeans, Salt), Potassium Carbonate, Sodium (Mono, Hexameta and/or Tripoly), Phosphate, Sodium Carbonate, Turmeric. Soup Base: Salt, Contains Less than 1% of: Monosodium Glutamate, Dehydrated Soy Sauce (Wheat, Soybeans, Salt), Sugar, Dehydrated Vegetables (Garlic, Onion, Chive), Caramel Color, Spices, Beef Extract, Maltodextrin, Hydrolyzed Corn, Wheat and Soy Protein, Vegetable Oil (Palm), Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate, Natural Flavor, Yeast Extract, Lactose.
Pretty upsetting that they would put beef extract in a non-beef flavor, but oh well!
Are Ramen Noodles Bad For You?
When it comes to foods being healthy or not, we like to keep things simple:
If you're looking to eat healthy (we won't judge you if you're not), then you should be trying to maximize your intake of whole plant based foods.
Many of the vegan ramen noodle flavor packets can be full of salt and don't really have any nutrients in them...
...But if you have a little bit of ramen noodles with a bunch of nutrient dense vegetables, then there's nothing wrong with that.
Mix in some green onion, bok choky, sesame seeds, and some seaweed with your ramen and you've got a complete meal on your hands!
To avoid the salt, you can always get rid of the flavor packet and opt for making your own broth.
Where's the Best Grocery Store to Shop for Vegan Ramen?
Nowadays typical grocery stores have a pretty large ramen section.
Even at a store like Walmart, you should be able to find the Oriental or Soy Sauce Top Ramen flavor(s) if you're in a pinch.
But if you're looking for a wider variety of selection you're going to have to look for an Asian Grocery store near you.
One particular store that is becoming quite popular is H-Mart.
Conclusion on Vegan Ramen
Much like all vegan food, there are countless ways to enjoy ramen once you know what you're doing.
With all of the available vegan ramen flavors and the endless idea of great recipes, this worldwide staple has a place in the vegan pantry.
Whether you're a junk food vegan or want to make a low-sodium ramen salad loaded up with veggies, there's truly something for everyone!
If we missed something or you have a vegan ramen brand/recipe that you recommend, be sure to let us know in the comments below...