Ramen noodles make a comforting and satisfying meal. There is really a lot you can do with ramen to keep it interesting. You can add all sorts of condiments and toppings to excite your palate.
If you’re not very explorative, you might find yourself questioning what things really go with ramen. It does take some experimentation. Listen when we say, you have an endless array of options!
But what are the absolute best ramen condiments? There are many great ramen condiments, whether that’s American cheese for a simple, creamy twist or sriracha sauce to add a kick for spice lovers. However, there are many other popular ramen condiment choices, such as yuzukoshō, black pepper, togarashi, sesame oil, and chili oil.
In this guide, we will share with you all of the best solutions for making absolutely delicious ramen.
We have some really great condiment and topping options that you should definitely try. We even have a couple of tricks up our sleeve as well.
The Best Ramen Condiments
You can do a lot of different things with ramen and each ingredient added can work uniquely in its own way.
Whether you want to add a little bit of meat or you want to kick it up a notch and add things like vegetables and sauces of your own making, we’ve got you covered.
If you’re also looking to change your entire recipe up and are feeling adventurous, we have an article dedicated to bringing you the 7 best noodles for ramen.
In this first section, we will share with you some traditional condiments and spices that you can use with your ramen. These are add-ons that really add some flavor and sometimes even pack a punch.
1. American Cheese
This one is a classic in Western culture and quite possibly something that you have already tried before.
You can use shredded cheese if you like, but we recommend just using standard sandwich slices of American cheese that will melt on top of your ramen.
American cheese is thin and has a high fat content, which means it melts easily. It makes the broth creamy and cheesy without overpowering the flavor of the ramen.
For this cheese, we don’t have a specific product to share with you. It’s easier and safer to purchase dairy products from your local grocery store than to order it online. American cheese is readily available pretty much everywhere in the U.S.
You can also use whatever cheese you like, but American cheese sandwich slices just have a unique and powerful way of blending with your ramen.
Yuzukoshō is a paste that was originally made in southern Japan.
Since then, it has become popular throughout the world and has been used in ramen. Some people make and ferment yuzukoshō at home, but you can also buy it from the store.
This fermented paste contains yuzu peel, salt, and chili peppers. It has a citrusy flavor paired with just a touch of spice from the chili peppers.
Mixing it with ramen produces a dish similar to ramens with salty bases or soy sauce bases.
Yuzukoshō is used in things like sashimi, tempura, tofu, hot pot, and Japanese soups regularly, so why not take that flavor and meld it with your ramen to get a Japanese-style dish?
If you have trouble finding yuzukoshō, you may need to visit an Asian market or order it. Remember that you can also make your own, and it’s not too difficult to do so. Otherwise, check out our recommendation below.
Recommended: Chaganju Yuzu Kosho
Our top pick for yuzukoshō is this one from Chaganju.
This premium blend of yuzukoshō is full of flavor and includes only select, high-quality ingredients.
It’s made with simple green chili peppers and grated yuzu peels. Even the salt comes from a natural source off the Toragasaki Coast.
In Japan, yuzukoshō is often used as an all-purpose seasoning, and this blend is no exception.
This paste has deep and mellow flavors from the yuzu, mixed with rich spice from the chili peppers and it is absolutely a great way to enhance your ramen.
3. Black Pepper
Keep your ramen simple and just sprinkle on some black pepper for flavor. This won’t make your ramen spicy but will instead just add a kick and help to pull out the other natural flavors as well.
Black pepper makes a really great accent. If you just want a good way to switch up the flavor or just add a little something to it, black pepper is the way to go.
If you don’t want to drastically add a full condiment, sauce, or oil, this is the solution for you.
Recommended: McCormick’s Pure Ground Black Pepper
We recommend using the tried and true McCormick Pure Ground Black Pepper. McCormick has been making spices and seasonings since 1889.
You can trust that this pepper will taste the way it should, and this option comes with 4x more than a traditional spice.
If you use a lot of black pepper, like we do, you might as well stock up with a larger size.
This black pepper is ground from peppercorns that have been hand-harvested. They are premium peppercorns that you can count on for quality with every single sprinkle.
Using black pepper on your ramen, you can just sprinkle a bit to taste. This black pepper has a bit of an earthy heat to it and a sharp aroma that black pepper is known for.
The good news is that you can use black pepper on just about anything you want to, so you won’t be buying it just for your ramen.
Finally, we leave you with another Asian seasoning. These are great ways to enhance your ramen, as ramen itself is an Asian dish with flavors that mesh well with these spices.
And there are tons of options. Asian cuisine has a lot of noodle dishes, so you can mimic them if you like.
Togarashi is a Japanese spice blend that can be quite hot and spicy. If you just want a small kick from it, you should use it very sparingly.
Again, a little bit can go a long way. Togarashi is made with finely ground pepper flakes mixed with the essence of orange peel, sesame seeds, and dried seaweed.
This brings a slight citrus flavor as well as spice to your ramen. It will also add a bright color to the dish, as these spices are rich in color.
Recommended: Silk Road Japanese Togarashi
We recommend this Japanese Togarashi spice blend from The Silk Road.
This is a restaurant blend of spice that is all-natural and vegan-friendly as well as gluten-free. There are also no GMOs or preservatives.
This company has a lot of different cultural spice options as well. You only need a pinch of this spice and a little bit goes a long way.
The Best Sauces for Ramen
Now, we have some sauces that go with ramen that we highly recommend checking out. Each of these sauces adds a totally different flavor in some way or another. Be sure to try them all at some point!
1. Sriracha Sauce
One of the most popular solutions for ramen noodles is sriracha sauce, especially if you are a fan of anything spicy.
A couple of drizzles of sriracha sauce will spice your ramen up and perfect it in a way that no other sauce can. This is our favorite.
If you aren’t familiar with sriracha sauce, it is a hot sauce that is made with the paste of chili peppers, combined with some garlic, sugar, salt, and distilled vinegar to make a flavorful spicy sauce.
This sauce is common with many Asian cuisine dishes, particularly Vietnamese foods. It also works well for making other sauces and dips.
The flavor is bold and spicy and gives your ramen just a bit of a kick and extra flavor. You can use it with any ramen flavor, homemade or instant, and it will pair well.
In fact, sometimes you can get lucky and find spicy instant ramen options that have a hint of sriracha in the seasoning packets. If all else fails, keep your sriracha sauce handy for the task!
Instant ramen is good, but why not give it a little bit of heat? This is also good when paired with the American cheese we mentioned before.
Recommended: Huy Fong Foods
If you don’t have sriracha sauce on hand and you need a good option to try it out, we’ve got you covered!
Our favorite sriracha sauce is the classic Huy Fong Foods Sriracha sauce.
This particular option is neat because it comes with some travel-sized bottles so you can take your sriracha on the go as well.
If you take ramen to work for lunch regularly or maybe even when you travel, you can use one of the included keychains and fill it with sriracha to take with you.
This means you’ll always have your spicy flavor closely available without having to have a full-sized bottle taking up fridge space wherever you are.
This is a popular brand of sriracha and is easy to find. If you go to an Asian restaurant, they will most likely have a bottle waiting for you on the table.
2. Sesame Oil
It may seem strange to add some oil to a bowl of ramen, but sesame oil just does something really special to a good bowl of ramen.
Not only will sesame oil add a semi-sweet hint of flavor, but it also adds that scent of roasted sesame to the dish and elevates the flavor and aromas already present in your dish.
You could also add just a touch of garlic with your sesame oil and it will give you a delicious sesame garlic ramen that may just become one of your favorite ways to prepare it.
You definitely don’t need very much sesame oil if you are going to try this method out. Just a drizzle or two over the top and then you can mix it in with the noodles.
Alternatively, you can sauté garlic in the sesame oil and then add that “sauce” to your ramen. It’s absolutely delicious!
Recommended: Kadoya Pure Sesame Oil
If you need a good sesame oil to have on hand, check out Kadoya’s Pure Sesame Oil.
Using this semi-sweet, aromatic sesame oil will take your ramen back to its roots with an Asian-style twist.
This is a pure sesame oil that is made in Japan. It truly is pure with no added ingredients, no fillers, and nothing artificial in the mix.
Kadoya sesame oil is available in several sizes and you can also purchase multi-packs if you really want to stock up.
Remember that you really only need small amounts and a little bit goes a long way with sesame oil.
3. Chili Oil
Next up is chili oil. If you like the oily texture that things like sesame oil add to make your ramen into an Asian-style dish, chili oil does this while adding a bit of a kick.
Chili oil is hot and spicy and is perfect for giving your ramen some spice without thickening the broth. Chili oil is fairly easy to find and you may have tried it before if you eat Chinese food.
This oil is known for being put on dishes like dan dan noodles and some other famous Sichuan meals as well.
You can always buy chili oil, but you can also make your own if you prefer. Chili oil typically has cayenne pepper, chili peppers, garlic, ginger, green onion, and sometimes sake.
If you need a good chili oil to try out, we like this S&B Chili Oil with Crunchy Garlic.
It’s made using corn oil, fried garlic, sesame oil, chili pepper, soy sauce, sugar, almond, onion powder, and paprika.
This particular option comes to you in a resealable jar. It is made in Japan and is a highly-rated chili oil across the board.
The flavor is just the right blend of umami and spice in a single, simple jar.
Much like with the other oils and sauce we’ve talked about, a little bit goes a long way. Just drizzle some of this chili oil over your ramen and mix it up and you won’t be disappointed.
No matter what flavor style you are looking for, you are bound to find something absolutely perfect to spruce up your ramen.
Keep it simple with light flavor or kick it up a notch and give it some heat and spice. It’s totally up to you! Which condiment do you plan to try first?
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