This 15 minute Chicken Ramen Stir Fry is a delicious way to spruce up your instant ramen noodles without the flavor packets. It’s ready in minutes and tastes so much better!
Perfect for lunch or dinner on busy week days and nights, and for students living on a budget!
Updated: August 2018
As a student, ramen noodles were my friend and savior. I dined on them all – from Indomie hot and spicy, to NongShim Shin Ramyun and Samyung ramen, to cheap ramen, my cupboard was packed with at least a dozen of them at any given time! And I liked ’em spicy, spicier the better!
Not only was it an economical option for my broke ass, but it was quick and delicious too! Can’t get better than that for a student living on a budget and cramming for an exam or assignment.
This infinitely adaptable and super easy 15 Minute Chicken Ramen Stir Fry was my attempt at spicing things up with my ramen game. Not that there’s anything wrong with enjoying a plain bowl of ramen with the seasoning provided, you know, other than the sodium-laden flavor packets not being my first choice for a healthy option, I do enjoy a good bowl of NongShim Shin Ramyun whenever I can!
With ramen being such an easy and quick meal to prep, it’s a great shortcut for busy days – whether you’re a student, or a parent trying to feed your family. And thankfully there are ways to spruce up ordinary ramen noodles, WITHOUT using the flavor packets that they come with. That’s where this 15 minute chicken ramen stir fry noodles come in handy.
As a student, I prepared meals at home whenever I could and made them as healthy as possible with my budget. Rice and noodles were my best buds. Frozen veggies and veggies in season were my staple. It was easy to make ramen stir fry because it would only take a few minutes more than regular ramen, and it’d be packed with any vegetables that I had in my fridge or freezer, and an egg or some chicken. And I’d often make enough to eat for dinner and then take the leftovers for lunch the following day.
I personally LOVE adding brussels sprouts or zucchini to my chicken ramen stir fry, but you can use any vegetable you have at hand. Peas, carrots, corn, cabbage, broccoli, beans, kale, Asian greens are all excellent additions.
Back in the day, my chicken ramen stir fry was flavored using only 3 ingredients – soy sauce, sugar and cayenne pepper. But now, I add a few other ingredients to really amp up the flavor – like rice wine, dark soy sauce and black vinegar (or balsamic vinegar). These ingredients are still optional, but they add plenty more flavor!
This chicken ramen stir fry recipe is so easy that I still make it when I’m strapped for time or too tired to make anything for lunch or dinner. I even make it for my husband’s lunch, because I can get it ready in minutes in the morning, before he goes to work. I can cook it all in one pot in under 10 minutes, from start to finish, and K manages the same in under 15 minutes (just because I’m faster at prepping all the vegetables!).
I like my ramen noodles with a little bite to ’em in terms of texture, so if you like your ramen softer, then cook it for a few minutes longer.
Tips on how to cook this chicken ramen stir fry noodles recipe
- Have ALL the ingredients prepped and ready to go BEFORE you start cooking. This includes the proteins, vegetables, seasoning and noodles.
- I prefer using white chicken pieces (breast or tenders) over red pieces (thighs or legs). White chicken cooks faster, and is better at absorbing the flavors of this quick stir fry.
- Cut the chicken into thin strips, and cut the strips AGAINST THE GRAIN. This will make sure that the chicken cooks fast, and because it’s cut against the grain, the chicken will have a rough surface that grips the sauce better, making the chicken more flavorful too.
- Use vegetables that you like to eat, and cut them into similar-sized pieces. If you’re using vegetables that only need a couple of minutes to cook, then adjust the recipe so that you add the vegetables AFTER the ramen noodles have been added. This includes vegetables or greens like spinach, broccoli, snow peas, and Asian greens.
- Use a large non-stick skillet. The large surface area will allow the chicken and ramen to cook faster. Make sure that the skillet has a lid to cover as well. My large skillet doesn’t have a lid that fits, but I use a slightly smaller lid that still covers the pan sufficiently to steam the noodles.
- Start cooking the ramen stir fry on high heat. The high heat will allow the chicken to cook quickly in 1 minute, but still keep the chicken tender.
- Lower the heat when you add the seasoning, vegetables and ramen noodles.
- Make sure the ramen noodles are touching the bottom of the skillet (and the water) so that it cooks properly.
- Flip the ramen half way through to help the noodles cook through.
- Don’t skip the sesame oil. It really kicks it up a notch! If you like it spicy, use sesame chilli oil instead.
Can I use any kind of ramen noodles for this stir fry?
Yes, you can! I like using the instant ramen noodles because it’s easier and faster to cook.
- You can make this recipe with standard ramen noodles (thinner ramen noodles compressed into a square-shape). When I use these noodles, I use less water and less time to cook them in the pot. One packet weighs about 2.4 oz, and the noodles are thinner as well, so they cook faster. You can use 2 or 3 packets depending on how much ramen you like to eat.
- You can use the slightly thicker ramen noodles (usually compressed into a circle, and in my opinion a better version of instant noodles). When I use these noodles, I use two packets, with each weighing about 4 oz. I like these more because the noodles are chewier and thicker and don’t get soggy too easily. They do need more water and a slightly longer time to cook as well.
So if you’re ready to give this 15 minute chicken ramen stir fry recipe a whirl, you can jump straight to the recipe by clicking here!
But if you’re looking for substitutions, here you go.
Can I use other types of noodles instead of ramen for this recipe?
Yes! But you will have to change the method of cooking. If you’re using authentic dried ramen noodles (not the instant kind), or soba noodles, or rice noodles, or glass noodles, then follow these changes in the recipe to get the same results.
- Cook 7 – 8 oz of the noodles in water, separately from the stir fry.
- While the noodles are cooking, you can prepare the chicken and vegetables and cook this stir fry almost all the way through. DO NOT ADD THE WATER to the stir fry.
- When the noodles have been cooked and drained, add the cooked noodles to the stir fry during the last couple of minutes to mix through with the stir fry base.
Can I make vegan or vegetarian ramen stir fry?
Absolutely! You can remove the chicken altogether, or you can substitute the chicken with tofu, or tempeh, or mushrooms instead too.
Substitutions to make gluten-free chicken ramen stir fry
- Use gluten-free ramen noodles – like this King Soba brand, brown rice ramen.
- Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions and add them into the stir fry at the end and toss to mix well.
- Substitute the soy sauce with tamari sauce.
- If you don’t like ramen, then substitute with rice instead, and make an insanely tasty chicken fried rice!
So there you go my friends! This chicken ramen stir fry is a super easy meal that you can put together in just minutes, all in ONE POT! It’s kid-friendly, student-friendly, budget-friendly. And with the addition of vegetables, this easy chicken ramen stir fry is more filling and flavorful too!
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Chicken Ramen Stir Fry Noodles
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large chicken breast sliced thin, against the grain
- Generous pinch of salt
- 2 small zucchinis (or 1 large zucchini) halved and sliced
- 8 oz instant ramen noodles (2 to 3 packets - see notes)
- 3/4 cup water
Stir Fry Sauce
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp honey or brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (adjust to your liking)
- 2 - 3 cloves of garlic chopped finely
- 2 tsp black vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp rice wine or sherry, or left over red wine (OPTIONAL)
- 2 tsp sweet soy sauce (OPTIONAL)
- 1 tbsp sesame oil, or chilli oil
- Chopped green onions
- Mix all the ingredients in the stir fry sauce, and stir to combine. Set aside until needed.
- Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large non-stick skillet on high heat. When the oil is hot, add the sliced chicken and a generous pinch of salt.
- Stir fry the chicken on high heat for about 1 minute to cook the chicken.
- Add the stir fry sauce and the zucchini and mix to combine.
- Break the instant ramen noodle blocks in half. Push the chicken/zucchini to the side, and place the ramen noodles on the skillet (directly on the surface of the skillet).
- Pour the water over the ramen noodles. Immediately cover with a lid, and let it steam for about 2 minutes, until the noodles soften.
- Flip the ramen noodles over to cook on the other side, and use tongs or a spatula to gently break apart the softened noodles. Cook for a further 1 - 2 minutes, uncovered.
- Separate the noodles and mix through with the chicken and zucchini, so that the noodles are well coated with the stir fry sauce.
- Cook for a further minute or 2 ONLY if you prefer soft noodles. Otherwise remove the noodles from the heat at this point.
- Serve the ramen noodles while hot, with chopped green onions and sesame oil on top.
Tips & Tricks
- If you're using the regular square-shaped ramen, you can use up to 3 packets for this recipe. It will be a little under 8.5 oz, but the recipe will still work.
- I used 2 packets of round-shaped ramen noodles (not instant noodle cups), which are thicker.
- You can buy unflavored dry ramen noodles (without the flavor packets) in bulk in some areas too (I used to buy this in Australia).
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