Cheese ramen? Yes, you’ve read that right. Cheese with noodles in soup.
In this technological era, we are constantly fed with strange food combinations from the internet. Some are acceptable, even tasty, while some make us feel like they should be a crime. This cheesy noodle concoction might sound like the latter but rest assured, there is no need to freak out – especially if you’re a fan of both key ingredients!
Whether it is a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’, there is no better way to judge it than to try it yourself. In this post, you’ll find all that you need to know about this ‘odd’ combo and how to prepare a perfect bowl of hot spicy cheese ramen at home.
Undeniably, some attempts have led to failure, but this recipe – inspired by famous Korean instant ramen brands like Ottogi, Samyang, and Maruchan – is guaranteed to let you experience the real comfort of this creamy and rich noodle dish. Who knows, you might never want to go back to the plain ‘ol soupy ramen ever again!
What is it?
Cheese ramen is actually a classic Korean comfort food. Just as the name suggests, it is basically instant noodles with a combination of cheese. Other than that, milk is sometimes used for the broth instead of the usual cup of hot water.
Back then, American soldiers brought non-perishable rations when they came to Korea during the war and this includes cheese. When the American soldiers left, the dairy product stayed and became an important part of Korean cuisine. Today, South Korea has grown to become one of the top 10 importers of US dairy.
Over time, this cheesy ingredient gradually seeped into Korean culinary history with new menu items emerging from its acceptance. Eventually, adding cheese became an indulgent way to enjoy a bowl of instant noodles, giving birth to the Korean spicy cheese ramen recipe!
Despite being known as a Korean speciality, cheese ramen is actually loved by many people all over the world. Considering that it’s cheap, delicious, and easy to make, who wouldn’t?
Recently, this cheesy dish regained its popularity globally after it was popularised on TikTok as lockdown comfort food. Finding the combination odd, many were outraged at first but later fell for its taste after trying it. Now, many of those who are stuck at home find comfort in this quick meal.
Why do Koreans add cheese to ramen?
Korean dishes are often spicy, including their instant noodles. Therefore, cheese is often added to their meals to make them a bit milder. Adding this thick dairy produce to meals like ramen also makes the broth thicker, creamier, and tastier.
South Korea is basically a cheese-lover-friendly country as there are literally tons of Korean dishes with this dairy ingredient! Some of the famous ones are the mouth-watering cheesy Dakgalbi, Buldak, and fried rice.
Some popular brands have also come up with a variety of these cheesy instant noodles. Maruchan and Ottogi cheese ramen are among the popular ones out there.
Remember the Samyang Fire Noodle Challenge? The brand has also produced a cheesy version of the notorious Hot Chicken flavour instant noodles. Samyang cheese ramen is also spicy and broth-less but the cheesy powder makes it more tolerable for those who do not have a high tolerance for it.
Why Make This Dish?
The homemade version is actually the best way to enjoy this dish and it is better than getting an instant one from the store. This is because you can opt for less processed and real ingredients such as real cheese. We all know instant noodles and sliced cheese are two HIGHLY processed foods so why not make it a tad bit healthier?
Plus, some instant ones cannot give you the ultimate experience of tasting the richness of the spicy noodles. While they may be cheaper, some are in fact quite disappointing in terms of taste and texture. So, making your own will result in the best cheese ramen and will save you from such disappointment!
It is really easy to nail the perfect homemade version. However, if you still want to give instant packs a try, there are two brands we would recommend. They are the Ottogi Real Cheese if you prefer your noodles with broth and the Samyang Hot Chicken Buldak Ramen for cheesy broth-less noodles.
With Broth: Ottogi Real Cheese Noodle Soup (Pack of 5)
Without Broth: Samyang Hot Chicken Buldak Ramen Noodle (Pack of 5)
A bowl of cheese ramen contains about 738 calories. Certainly, this is something some might be wary of but this creamy meal can be truly rewarding, especially on “cheat days”.
While it is possible to get creative, there is no need to think far ahead in making a nice bowl of hot creamy noodles. All you need is a pack of ramen and cheese. And if you have some milk with you, that’s even better!
Basically, the above three main ingredients that you would need. You can simply get these ingredients from your local supermarket or convenience store, making it doable even in a college environment.
Types of Cheese To Use
Almost any type of dairy ingredient can go in with a bowl of instant noodles. Most Korean spicy cheese ramen recipes typically use one type but you can actually include a variety of cheeses onto your spicy ramen for different textures. Here are some of the types of which you can add to the meal:
Just like how it is a staple for mac and cheese, cheddar is often used to make this noodle dish. It is perhaps the best choice for this dish as it gives off the perfect texture and salty taste.
Mozarella typically takes longer to melt but you can add it if you love it to be a bit chewy and stretchy. Mozzarella also hardens easily so your cheese ramen might be less creamy once it cools.
A tablespoon or two can be added if you want your noodle dish to be extra creamy.
This type will turn the broth gooey and adds a salty flavour to the dish.
Just like adding some parmesan onto your pasta, sprinkling some parmesan on cheese ramen would make the dish more palatable.
When melting your cheese, it is better to do it with the heat turned off. This will prevent it from getting stuck to the bottom of the pan when it gets too hot. Since most of this dairy ingredient melts easily, we recommend melting it using the residual heat from the hot milk and noodles.
However, make sure that the thickened milk has started bubbling first, indicating that it is at boiling point.
You can also add a corn starch slurry to make your cheese ramen creamier. However, be sure to use cold water to mix the corn starch otherwise it will be clumpy. Other than that, you can prevent your noodles from being overcooked by subtracting 1 to 1 and a half minutes from the cooking time suggested by the instructions.
How to Make Cheese Ramen (Non-Spicy)
Nothing can stop you from enjoying this comfort food, not even your low tolerance towards spice. You can definitely make this hot dish non-spicy by adding more dairy into it.
Besides making this noodle dish creamier, dairy can cut down spice by a lot without losing the flavour. Eggs and milk are often the perfect addition to alleviate the spiciness.
Additional toppings may also enhance the flavour of the instant noodles and give them a bit more colour. Adding some chopped green onions might even trick you into thinking that you are not entirely eating something packed with fats and carbs!
Other garnishes that go well with cheese ramen are:
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Chilli oil
- Olive oil
- Garlic oil
Spicy Cheese Ramen Recipe | Korean Comfort Food
- 1 pack Samyang instant noodles
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups water
- grated or sliced cheese
- green onions garnish
- Bring water to boil in a saucepan and add instant noodles. Cook for about 1-2 minutes.
- Pour out the water from the saucepan and add milk.
- Add the instant noodle seasoning once the milk starts bubbling. Stir well for 30 seconds.
- While the broth bubbles, turn off the heat and add cheese onto the ramen.
- Once the cheese has melted, garnish with green onions and serve.
- Cook the noodles for 1 minute less than the suggested time from the instructions to prevent them from being overcooked.
- For a thicker texture, combine two teaspoons of corn starch with two teaspoons of cold water. Once the milk is at a low rolling boil, add the mixture and stir well until the sauce thickens.
- For soupier texture, reserve 1-2 tablespoons of water from the ramen and set aside for the end to adjust the creaminess.
Calories have been calculated using an online calculator. Nutritional information offered on Honest Food Talks is for general information purposes and are only rough estimations.
Wondering how South Koreans prepares this creamy and spicy noodle dish at home? 키스미디어 KissMeDear Youtube Channel has a beautifully made video recipe on how they made this simple yet delicious dish at home!
How did you find our spicy cheese ramen recipe? Share with us how yours turned out by tagging us on Instagram @honestfoodtalks!
Looking for another Korean noodles recipe? Look no further and try out our easy rabokki at home recipe!