This Asian-inspired ramen noodle salad has so much sweet and tangy flavor. The bright, bold colors also make it a true show-stopper!
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My easy ramen noodle salad recipe can be made with any flavor of ramen noodles. You discard the seasoning packets and just use the noodles anyway! And once the noodles are cooked, they are tossed in a honey soy dressing that will make you swoon. This is a noodle salad that you will make again and again—I can never get enough of it!
Easy Ramen Noodle Salad Recipe
The first time I heard of ramen noodle salad I was unsure if I would like it. How can those salty, freeze-dried noodles turn into something that is actually tasty? The answer is simple—get rid of that seasoning packet! Once you do that, you have perfect, crunchy noodles that will absorb all of the great flavors of the dressing. It is actually pretty amazing what you can make with a simple pack of ramen noodles!
My original ramen noodle salad recipe is made with crunchy cashews, nutty sesame seeds, and beautiful shredded cabbage. I love using purple cabbage as the color is so vibrant, especially when paired with the orange shredded carrots. The crispy and tender textures of this salad are as good as all the sweet and savory flavors that fill every bite. Ramen noodle salad is perfect for summer barbecues, baby shower brunches, or to make as a meal prep lunch. It is just a classic, amazing, everyday salad that you are sure to adore.
Ingredients for Ramen Noodle Salad
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Butter – Use unsalted butter for this recipe since there is the perfect amount of salt added to the salad dressing.
- Ramen noodle packet – Any brand of ramen noodles will work, but I usually use Nissin Top Ramen which can be found in almost every grocery store.
- Sesame seeds
- Purple cabbage – Look for pre-shredded cabbage to help save on prep time.
- Napa cabbage – Napa cabbage is actually lower in sodium than regular cabbage and has twice the amount of vitamin C! The subtle flavor is also great in this ramen noodle salad recipe.
- Carrots – One large carrot will give you about 1 cup of grated carrots.
- Green onions
- Olive oil
- Rice wine vinegar – Rice wine vinegar can be found in the Asian section of the grocery store. It is sweet and also tangy.
- Soy sauce – I like to use low-sodium soy sauce, which has the same flavor as classic soy sauce but with a lot less salt.
Here are a few recipe variations and substitutes that will work well.
- Use any kind of pre-shredded cabbage mix you can find in the grocery store. Bagged cabbage mixes or coleslaw mix will work well to make this salad in a hurry.
- Replace the honey with maple syrup for a rich, earthy flavor. You can use the same amount of syrup as honey.
- Cashews are my favorite nut for this recipe but pecans or salted peanuts are also great.
How to Make Ramen Noodle Salad
- Toast the noodles: Melt the butter in a large skillet, then break apart the ramen noodles, adding the pieces to the hot butter. Toast the noodles in the butter, stirring occasionally, for about one minute.
- Toast the nuts: Add the cashews and sesame seeds to the skillet with the noodles, mix, and then saute until the noodles and seeds are browned, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the skillet from the stovetop and let cool.
- Make the salad: Add the shredded cabbages, carrots, green onions, and cooled noodle mix to a large bowl. Toss everything together well.
- Make the salad dressing: Add the olive oil, rice vinegar, honey, and soy sauce to a small bowl and whisk together. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss everything together.
- Enjoy!: Divide the salad between plates and enjoy while fresh!
Make the salad even faster by skipping the toasting steps. You can make a great salad without toasting the nuts, seeds, and noodles. However, toasting does add a nice, subtle caramelized flavor. If you’re in a rush, skip it. If you have the time, definitely toast!
How to Store Ramen Noodle Salad
If you have leftover ramen noodle salad, you can store it in the fridge for 2-3 days. The noodles may become soft after a day as they absorb the dressing, but the salad will still taste good!
If you want to make the ramen salad ahead of time, keep the dressing separate, adding it to the salad right before serving. This is a great way to keep the salad crunchy but prep it in advance.
You can use lettuce in this salad along with cabbage. Use a mix of baby mesclun greens to make a salad that has a little more mild flavor and less of a hard crunch.
Ramen noodle salad was first created in China but it was also quickly popular in Japan soon after being invented. Both countries have versions of this salad made cold or hot. Some ramen noodle salad recipes are made with cooked noodles while others use the noodles while crispy, just like this recipe!
Ramen noodles originated in China around the 1800s. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that hot ramen noodle bowls made it to Japan. Ramen started to become popular in the US in the early 2000s and has stuck around ever since!
Ramen Noodle Salad
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 3 ounce packet Ramen noodles (any flavor, flavor packet removed)
- ½ cup chopped cashews
- 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 4 cups shredded purple cabbage
- 4 cups shredded napa cabbage
- 1 cup grated carrots
- ½ cup sliced green onions
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Add the butter to a large skillet and melt over medium high heat.
- Crush the ramen noodles in the package, breaking them apart into smaller pieces. Open the pack and remove the seasoning packet. Discard the seasoning or save it for another recipe.
- Add the dry noodles to the melted butter and toss.
- Add the chopped cashews and sesame seeds to the skillet and toss again, coating everything in the butter. Saute until the noodles are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool.
- Add the shredded cabbages, shredded carrots and green onions to a large bowl and top with the crispy noodles.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, rice vinegar, honey, soy sauce and salt. Pour the dressing over the salad.
- Toss the salad in the dressing and then divide it between plates and enjoy!
- Make the dressing a little spicy by adding ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- Give the salad a fruity twist by adding 1 cup of mandarin orange slices.