If you are a fan of ramen and want to explore fun new ways of cooking it, you do not need to take up classes or work under the supervision of a trained chef. There are several cookbooks for you to take inspiration from.
So, what are the best ramen cookbooks? The best ramen cookbooks are written by experienced chefs and ramen lovers and include a wide range of recipes that provide you with new ways to cook ramen. The recipes should be easy to understand and provide a comprehensive experience for beginners and experienced cooks alike.
Read on for a detailed buyer’s guide on how to choose the best ramen cookbooks and our top picks of the 11 best ones!
What Is Ramen?
A mainstay of Japanese cuisine, ramen is believed to have originated in China and is commonly associated with dried, packaged noodles in the United States.
Simply put, ramen is a noodle soup served with a combination of a flavored broth, different types of noodles, and a selection of meat and vegetables, topped with a boiled egg.
Considered fast food in Japan where it is served at many small restaurants and street vendors, ramen has made its way into the West and is now touted as one of the most popular foods in America.
Although there are several different variations of ramen based on the region in Japan where it is served, they all have the same basic concept of broth and noodles.
Varieties Of Ramen
Authentic ramen is divided into four main categories based on the type of broth that the soup is prepared with. They include:
- Shoyu ramen: the most common type made using a chicken broth base flavored with soy sauce.
- Shio ramen: made using a thinner chicken broth seasoned with salt.
- Miso ramen: a thicker and heartier variety made using a rich, brown broth flavored with miso or fermented soybean paste.
- Tonkotsu ramen: a thick, creamy, fatty broth made from simmered pork bones.
Other than the type of broth, ramen is also categorized depending on the noodles used, which range from thin and curly to thick and straight.
While thicker noodles are generally paired with a heavier broth, many restaurants will give you the option to choose the noodles of your choice to accompany a soup base.
The one thing that all ramen noodles have in common is that they are made using wheat flour, salt, water, and kansui (an alkaline mineral), which gives them their characteristic elasticity and chewiness, along with an earthy, yellow color.
Lastly, another differentiating factor is the type of toppings used, which vary depending on the region and the restaurant where they are served. Some of the most popular toppings include:
- Boiled, poached, and even raw eggs
- Chashu (braised/roasted pork)
- Bok choy
- Dried seaweed
- Chopped scallions
- Steamed fish cake
- Pickled ginger
The most popular variety of ramen that is universally loved, and far more popular than the authentic kind, is packaged instant ramen that you can easily find at any grocery store.
While instant ramen may not capture the true essence of fresh ramen cooked in a slow-simmered broth, it is surely a culinary staple and something that Americans are truly obsessed with.
How To Cook Ramen
Ramen was an unknown dish in the West and other parts of the world until a few years back. Now, it has become one of the most popular foods eaten by people of all ages and economic and cultural backgrounds.
It is a delicious meal that is easy to prepare at home in a variety of ways. Provided you have the right instructions and recipes to follow, you can prepare it in new flavors and toppings for weeks!
You can make fresh ramen as well as the instant variety. Fresh ramen is easily available at Japanese or Asian grocery stores and the broth can be prepared at home.
If you are feeling particularly ambitious, you may even make your own fresh ramen noodles.
Fresh ramen noodles are typically simmered for 1-2 minutes before adding to the hot broth.
Instant ramen noodles, on the other hand, are boiled for 2-3 minutes and use a seasoning packet that comes with the package to prepare the broth.
When it comes to cooking, preparing, and flavoring ramen noodles, there are endless creative options such as ramen stir-fry, ramen sandwiches, ramen salads, and even ramen desserts!
Ramen’s recent surge in popularity has led to a demand for ramen cookbooks and recipes. You will find plenty of amazing ramen recipes in well-researched and dedicated books written by professionals in the field.
To buy the best ramen cookbooks, you need to know what you are looking for and keep a lookout for certain features that will help you create the best ramen.
Make sure that the cookbook is niche-based so that the main focus of all the recipes is ramen, which is your particular area of interest in this scenario.
General cookbooks with just a handful of relevant recipes may not be the best choice since what you’re looking for here is a variety of ways to make a certain dish.
Therefore, look for cookbooks that cater to the specific ramen niche.
Number Of Recipes
The best cookbooks have a few dozen recipes to offer good value for money and a wide variety of options for you to choose from.
Some recipes may not be your cup of tea, possibly due to their unconventional nature or ingredient choices. For that reason, look for ramen cookbooks that have 40 recipes or more.
From traditional flavored ramen noodles to the American version, the best ramen cookbooks have a wide variety of ramen noodle recipes that are easy to prepare and cook.
Recipes need to be practical and easy to prepare so that even beginner cooks can follow them easily. Also, the ingredients used must be easily available, or it may become a hassle to gather the ingredients, let alone make the dish.
A cookbook that contains hundreds of recipes that are either too difficult to make or include unique, difficult-to-source ingredients is of no use since most recipes will be wasted this way.
The arrangement of the recipes must be logical and defined in sections to make it easier to find them. They can be arranged according to the main ingredient (chicken, beef, pork), cooking method, and special dietary requirements.
Imagine having 100s of great recipes that are all equally great but a challenge to locate since they are hidden somewhere in the middle of a lengthy cookbook.
An extensive index that lists recipes according to their name and main ingredients is a very useful feature that not only saves you time looking for the right recipes but also presents a summarized version of the cookbook’s contents.
Look for ramen cookbooks with simple directions written in sequential order so that the steps are easy to follow.
Directions written in a narrative form are not only difficult to understand and follow but may also take much of your time. In addition to that, it is easier to get lost and confused when referring to the recipe while cooking.
The best ramen cookbooks, or any cookbook for that matter, always show the preparation time and the number of servings for each recipe.
They also come with cooking tips, suggestions on how to serve the dish, product substitutes, and definitions for any unusual words, processes, and ingredients.
Pictures are always a bonus as they provide a visual aid and help guide the reader better.
Anyone can develop a recipe but it takes a knowledgeable person in the relevant field to create an extensive, niche-oriented cookbook.
The author of the cookbook either must have education and experience in the relevant subjects or cooked for family and friends with great reviews.
They must also test their recipes and have an understanding of how to play with flavors and textures to enhance a dish.
The 11 Best Ramen Cookbooks
You can find several ramen cookbooks in the market that teach you how to make traditional ramen at home using a few basic ingredients.
Some include recipes collected from Japanese home kitchens while others explore the wide variety of ramen served in other countries.
Here are 11 of the best ramen cookbooks that make it super easy to create delicious ramen at home, whether you are an amateur cook or a seasoned chef:
|Let's Make Ramen!: A Comic Book Cookbook
|Named one of the best cookbooks of the year by the Chicago Tribune
|Ramen Obsession: The Ultimate Bible for Mastering Japanese Ramen
|Contains 130 fantastic recipes with easy-to-follow instructions
|Ramen at Home: The Easy Japanese Cookbook for Classic Ramen and Bold New Flavors
|Complete beginner’s guide with simple step-by-step instructions
|Ramen: Japanese Noodles and Small Dishes
|Comprehensive ingredient compilation for each recipe
|Simply Ramen: A Complete Course in Preparing Ramen Meals at Home
|Delicious fusion of 70 traditional and non-traditional recipes
|Ramen Otaku: Mastering Ramen at Home: A Cookbook
|Includes step-by-step instructions, simple descriptions, and photographs
|Ramen: 50 Classic Ramen And Asian Noodle Soups
|Winner of the Best Japanese Cookbook at the Gourmand International Cookbook Awards 2020
|Ivan Ramen: Love, Obsession, and Recipes from Tokyo's Most Unlikely Noodle Joint
|Written by the chef and owner of one of Japan’s most famous ramen restaurants
|Ramen Fusion Cookbook: 40 Traditional Recipes and Modern Makeovers of the Classic Japanese Broth Soup
|Practical guide for making modern fusion ramen
|Ramen for Beginners: Traditional and Modern Recipes Made Simple
|Entry-level ramen cookbook
|The Essential Ramen Cookbook: Simple Homemade Ramen Noodles Recipe Book for Beginners
|Great collection of delicious ramen recipes based on the most popular trends
1. Let’s Make Ramen!: A Comic Book Cookbook
The rightful recipient of the top spot on our list of ramen cookbooks, this comic book cookbook was named one of the best cookbooks of the year by the Chicago Tribune.
This hybrid cookbook/graphic novel beautifully illustrates the history of ramen and includes tips and insights from ramen luminaries.
It includes more than 40 easy-to-follow ramen recipes for the home cook, including tares, broths, noodles, and toppings.
Written by authors Hugh Amano, a graduate of The New England Culinary Institute, and Sarah Becan, an illustrator and designer, this super fun and colorful ramen cookbook presents fully detailed steps to make the best homemade ramen.
In addition to that, it shares preparation shortcuts, tidbits on Japanese culinary traditions, and cultural insights from well-renowned ramen chefs such as Ivan Orkin and Brian MacDuckston.
The recipes include different varieties of broth that include Shoyu, Shio, Miso, and Tonkotsu, and use ingredients such as Onsen eggs, Chashu, and Menma.
Ideal for beginners as well as seasoned cooks, this ramen cookbook is a great investment that provides a detailed insight into Japan’s most iconic dishes.
2. Ramen Obsession: The Ultimate Bible for Mastering Japanese Ramen
Ramen Obsession by Naomi Imatome-Yun includes both traditional Japanese recipes as well as modern interpretations for all tastes and preferences.
With over 130 ramen recipes that cover different types of classic broth, its standout features include an easy-to-follow six-step process for making ramen.
In addition to the detailed instructions, it highlights essential tools and cooking techniques and can be classified as a home tutor due to the detailed knowledge and information it has to offer.
The recipes are properly arranged and all the steps are logically itemized to make them easy to follow, even for the amateur.
It contains several different ways of preparing ramen and teaches how to cook it without the flavor packets that come with the instant variety.
3. Ramen at Home: The Easy Japanese Cookbook for Classic Ramen and Bold New Flavors
The Ramen at Home cookbook introduces new flavors and teaches how to make restaurant-level ramen at home.
With over 100 delicious recipes that are easy to prepare and cook, it is a true inspiration for ramen lovers and will instruct you on how to make ramen like a pro.
What’s great about this ramen cookbook is that it simplifies the art of cooking ramen through easy-to-follow recipes and accessible ingredients.
This is a complete beginner’s guide that teaches you everything that you need to know to cook and serve the most perfect bowl of ramen.
Its extensive collection of recipes will make sure you don’t run out of options and have something new to create every week!
4. Ramen: Japanese Noodles and Small Dishes
From backstreet Tokyo diners to the most popular ramen establishments in LA, this cookbook includes 50 recipes that you can easily prepare at home.
Written by Tove Nilsson, it contains both traditional and contemporary recipes and includes a comprehensive ingredient compilation for each recipe.
It features highly practical and easy-to-make recipes and uses different ingredients such as algae, fungi, and fish to enhance the flavor of the dish.
The author also takes her time to explain the preparation methods and suitable flavor combinations for each recipe.
A great option if you wish to cook ramen differently than the conventional methods, it also includes recipes for side dishes such as pickles, udon gyoza, and tempura.
5. Simply Ramen: A Complete Course in Preparing Ramen Meals at Home
Written by Amy Kimoto-Kahn, Simply Ramen offers a delicious fusion of 70 recipes that include different broth bases, noodles, toppings, and sides.
It teaches how to make the most perfect ramen at home using basic everyday ingredients that are easy to find.
It also incorporates different cooking styles and methods to help you master the art of cooking ramen.
This cookbook has all the information and instructions you need for cooking both traditional and non-traditional ramen recipes and includes brilliant pictures to help you visualize.
6. Ramen Otaku: Mastering Ramen at Home: A Cookbook
Ramen Otaku loosely translates to ramen geek in Japanese, which is what the author of this cookbook, Sarah Gavigan, claims to be.
With over 40 recipes, each one definitely worth trying, it is a great option for those looking to up their ramen game.
With step-by-step instructions, simple descriptions, and photographs, this cookbook is a perfect guide for cooking delicious ramen at home.
It is a well-organized cookbook that covers the history of ramen and the basics of broths, noodles, stock, tare (sauce), toppings, different ramen styles, and recipes.
7. Ramen: 50 Classic Ramen And Asian Noodle Soups
Winner of the Best Japanese Cookbook at the Gourmand International Cookbook Awards, this ramen cookbook showcases a variety of recipes.
These include both classic and modern ones with ingredients such as beef, pork, poultry, fish, and vegetables.
It also has instructions for making your own base stocks and includes a guide for tare, flavorings, and toppings for you to try.
The recipes are easy to understand and follow, which is a sigh of relief for all the newbie cooks wanting to add to their ramen repertoire.
In addition to that, every recipe comes with a beautiful photograph and a nutritional breakdown of the dish.
8. Ivan Ramen: Love, Obsession, and Recipes from Tokyo’s Most Unlikely Noodle Joint
Written by Ivan Orkin, chef and owner of Ivan Ramen, one of Japan’s most famous ramen restaurants, this book is part memoir, part cookbook.
It features recipes as well as the author’s journey of becoming a chef.
It also includes the recipe for Shio ramen, the signature dish that the restaurant is known for, and describes in detail the ingredients used and the process to follow to make it easily at home.
The cookbook part focuses on popular ramen variations including Shoyu ramen, dashi ramen, tsukemen ramen, and mazemen ramen, while the memoir part looks into the fascinating culture of ramen and how to set up a ramen business.
9. Ramen Fusion Cookbook: 40 Traditional Recipes and Modern Makeovers of the Classic Japanese Broth Soup
This cookbook features traditional and modern ramen recipes influenced by ingredients and cooking techniques from different parts of the world.
A visually stunning cookbook with colorful photographs, it takes you through the entire process of making delicious ramen from scratch.
The recipes are easy to understand and follow and come with guides to help you get creative with different versions of the popular dish.
Recommended as a practical guide for making a delicious bowl of modern fusion ramen, this cookbook also includes recommendations for different spices, oils, seasonings, and other additional ingredients.
10. Ramen for Beginners: Traditional and Modern Recipes Made Simple
An entry-level ramen cookbook, as suggested by its name, Ramen for Beginners features a mix of 75 classic and modern ramen recipes.
It contains step-by-step instructions that are incredibly easy to follow.
This book covers everything from the basics to listing the essential ingredients and learning about ramen, such as the type of broth to use and ways to enhance its flavor.
With recipes ranging from meat-based varieties to vegan options, it also includes helpful troubleshooting tips for when you overcook the noodles or oversalt the broth.
11. The Essential Ramen Cookbook: Simple Homemade Ramen Noodles Recipe Book for Beginners
This is another beginner-level cookbook that features 70+ recipes for classic Japanese ramen.
It also includes options for specific dietary requirements such as vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free ramen.
This recipe book guides the reader on all the ramen basics, which includes the origins of ramen, and discusses the ingredients and equipment for clarity.
In addition to that, it also includes nutritional information for every recipe.
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