How do I make gluten-free ramen?

What is ramen?

Ramen is a Japanese noodle soup dish that typically consists of wheat noodles served in a meat or fish-based broth, often flavored with soy sauce or miso, and topped with ingredients like sliced pork, dried seaweed, kamaboko, and green onions. Ramen is a popular food in Japan and has become increasingly popular worldwide in recent decades.

The wheat noodles used in traditional ramen contain gluten. Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley and rye. For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, consuming gluten can cause adverse health effects. Therefore, people following gluten-free diets need to avoid wheat-based noodles and use gluten-free alternatives when making ramen.

Why make gluten-free ramen?

There are several motivations for wanting to make gluten-free ramen:

– For people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, eating gluten-free ramen allows them to enjoy this popular dish without the health consequences of consuming gluten.

– For those without dietary restrictions, gluten-free ramen can provide variety to their diet and meal options.

– Gluten-free diets have grown in popularity in recent years, so gluten-free ramen allows more people to enjoy this comforting noodle soup.

– Making your own ramen at home gives you control over the ingredients and allows you to customize the flavors to your taste.

– Gluten-free ramen may have a lighter texture that some people prefer over wheat noodles.

– Homemade ramen often has less sodium and preservatives than store-bought varieties.

No matter your reasons for wanting gluten-free ramen, it’s definitely possible to recreate this iconic dish without wheat!

What are some gluten-free noodle options?

The key to gluten-free ramen is using noodles made from grains, vegetables or legumes instead of wheat. Here are some of the most common gluten-free noodle options:

Rice noodles

Rice noodles provide the closest texture and appearance to traditional wheat noodles. Rice ramen noodles made from white or brown rice flour are a popular gluten-free substitute. They can be found in Asian grocery stores or the Asian foods section of major supermarkets.

Buckwheat noodles

Despite the name, buckwheat is gluten-free and not related to wheat. Buckwheat noodles have an earthy, nutty flavor and chewy texture. Soba noodles made from buckwheat flour work well for gluten-free ramen.

Quinoa noodles

Quinoa noodles are higher in protein and fiber than traditional pasta. Their texture lends itself well to ramen dishes. Look for quinoa ramen noodles or use spaghetti-style quinoa noodles broken into shorter lengths.

Mung bean noodles

Also called glass noodles, mung bean noodles are made from mung bean starch and water. They have a jelly-like texture when cooked. Their translucent appearance makes them unique for ramen dishes.

Chickpea noodles

For a high protein and high fiber noodle, try chickpea-based pasta. The texture is a bit softer and more porous than wheat pasta. Chickpea noodles pair nicely with vegetable-based ramens.

Zucchini noodles

For a lower-carb option, spiralized zucchini or other vegetables can stand in for noodles. The texture will be softer and moisture-rich. Use zucchini noodles for chilled ramen dishes.

Kelp noodles

Made from seaweed, kelp noodles have a chewy bite and absorb broth flavors well. Their mild ocean-like taste complements Japanese-style ramens.

Shirataki noodles

Shirataki noodles are made from the konjac plant. They are almost zero calories and low carb. Their gelatinous texture is best for hot Asian-style noodle dishes like ramen.

Choosing your broth

Gluten-free noodles will make it safe for you to eat ramen, but watch out for pre-made broths and soup bases that can contain hidden sources of gluten such as wheat, barley malt, and soy sauce. Making broth yourself allows you to control all of the ingredients. Here are some gluten-free broth options:

Chicken broth

Chicken broth made by simmering chicken bones, meat and vegetables makes a light and classic ramen broth base. Choose gluten-free chicken stock or make your own.

Beef broth

For a richer, heartier soup base, beef broth is the perfect choice. Simmer marrow bones, beef chuck, and aromatics to develop a deep umami flavor.

Vegetable broth

Veggie broth highlights plant-based ingredients like mushrooms, onions, carrots and soy sauce or miso paste for a savory flavor. Use gluten-free vegetable broth or make your own.

Seafood broth

Fish, shrimp or a combination of seafood makes for a delicately flavored, yet satisfying ramen broth. Simmer the seafood shells and use gluten-free fish stock if store-bought.

Bone broth

Bone broth made by slowly simmering animal bones and connective tissue is very nourishing. Use bone broth in place of meat-based stocks for a creamy, collagen-rich soup base.

Ramen toppings and seasonings

One of the best parts of ramen is the variety of toppings and seasonings that can customize each bowl. Here are some gluten-free ideas:


Thinly sliced cooked pork, chicken, beef, tofu or mushrooms.


Bean sprouts, shredded cabbage, spinach, scallions, jalapenos, etc.


Cilantro, basil, mint, etc.

Spices and seasonings

Garlic, ginger, sesame oil or seeds, red pepper flakes, gluten-free tamari or soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili garlic paste.


Soft boiled eggs, avocado, kimchi, nori seaweed sheets.

Step-by-step instructions for making gluten-free ramen

Follow these steps to make your own customized gluten-free ramen at home:

Make the broth

Choose a broth like the chicken, beef or vegetable options mentioned above. For 4 servings, bring 4 cups of broth to a boil in a saucepan then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes to develop the flavors. Add any aromatics, herbs or spices.

Cook the noodles

While the broth simmers, cook the gluten-free ramen noodles according to package directions until al dente. Rinse briefly with cold water to stop the cooking process.

Assemble the bowls

Place a portion of the cooked noodles in each bowl. Ladle the hot broth over the noodles until covered.

Add protein and vegetables

Top each bowl with thin slices of your desired proteins like pork, chicken, and mushrooms. Add any vegetables like shredded cabbage, bean sprouts or scallions.

Garnish with extras

Customize your ramen further by garnishing each bowl with herbs like cilantro, sliced jalapenos, sesame seeds, a soft boiled egg and any other desired toppings.

Season to taste

Season each bowl with gluten-free sauces like tamari, rice vinegar, chili oil and any other seasonings to taste. Enjoy your homemade gluten-free ramen!

Tips for making the best gluten-free ramen

– Use a flavorful, homemade broth made with bones or seafood for maximum umami flavor. Simmer the broth for an extended time.

– Sauté aromatics like garlic and ginger in oil before adding to the broth. This boosts their flavors.

– Combine broths like chicken and vegetable or seafood and mushroom for more complex flavors.

– Add miso paste or gluten-free soy sauce to the broth for a salty, savory taste.

– Cook noodles for the shortest recommended time so they don’t get soggy in the broth.

– Keep toppings and seasonings on the side to retain their texture and allow for customization.

– Top with soft boiled or marinated eggs for extra protein and richness.

– Garnish with scallions, chili oil and seaweed sheets for added flavor and crunch.

– For more spice, offer chili garlic paste, chili crisp oil or miso with chili for drizzling.

Full recipe ideas for gluten-free ramen

Here are some full gluten-free ramen recipe ideas combining the components discussed above:

Pork and Vegetable Ramen

Broth: Chicken broth seasoned with ginger, garlic and gluten-free tamari
Noodles: Rice ramen
Toppings: Thinly sliced pork, shredded cabbage, scallions, carrots
Garnish: Soft boiled egg, sesame seeds

Spicy Miso Ramen

Broth: Vegetable and mushroom broth with white miso paste and chili garlic paste
Noodles: Buckwheat soba noodles
Toppings: Tofu, bean sprouts, bok choy
Garnish: Nori seaweed strips, fresh cilantro

Beef Bone Broth Ramen

Broth: Beef bone broth seasoned with rice vinegar and garlic
Noodles: Quinoa ramen noodles
Toppings: Sliced beef, spinach, onions
Garnish: Soft boiled egg, scallions

Seafood Ramen

Broth: Fish and shrimp broth with garlic, ginger and gluten-free tamari
Noodles: Kelp noodles
Toppings: Shrimp, mussels, squid, water chestnuts
Garnish: Basil, bean sprouts, lime wedge

Lemongrass Chicken Ramen

Broth: Chicken broth with lemongrass and lime juice
Noodles: Rice noodles
Toppings: Shredded chicken, carrots, bok choy
Garnish: Cilantro, chili oil

Curry Vegetable Ramen

Broth: Vegetable broth seasoned with gluten-free curry powder
Noodles: Chickpea pasta
Toppings: Mushrooms, broccoli, bell peppers
Garnish: Chopped cashews, scallions

Frequently asked questions about gluten-free ramen

What noodles can I use to make gluten-free ramen?

Rice noodles, soba noodles, quinoa noodles, chickpea pasta, zucchini noodles, kelp noodles, shirataki noodles and mung bean noodles are all gluten-free options that work well as ramen noodle substitutes.

Do I need any special ingredients to make the broth gluten-free?

Opt for gluten-free broths and stocks and avoid soy sauce or miso paste that contains wheat. Use tamari instead of soy sauce and check that curry powders are gluten-free.

Is ramen made from rice or corn safe for a gluten-free diet?

Yes, rice noodles and dried corn pasta are inherently gluten-free ingredients. Opt for brands that are labeled gluten-free to ensure safe manufacturing processes too.

Can I use instant ramen packets to make gluten-free ramen?

No, the seasoning packets and dried noodles contain wheat and are not gluten-free. Make broth from scratch and use separate gluten-free noodles.

How can I make sure my ramen toppings are gluten-free?

Prepare fresh meats, seafood, vegetables and herbs rather than using pre-made toppings. Check labels on pre-packaged garnishes like chili oils and sesame seeds.

Does ramen broth need to be simmered for a long time?

Yes, simmering the broth with bones and aromatics for 1-3 hours extracts more flavor. Slow cooking develops the rich, savory taste that ramen is known for.


With some gluten-free substitutions like rice, quinoa or vegetable-based noodles and homemade broth, you can absolutely make flavorful ramen that is safe to enjoy on a gluten-free diet. The keys are choosing wheat-free noodles, making your own hearty broth, and then customizing your bowl with fresh gluten-free toppings and seasonings. With so many noodles, broths and ingredients to combine, you can create infinite gluten-free ramen options to suit any taste. Getting creative with different broths and garnishes will help you make your ramen truly unique and discover new favorite versions. So stay true to the satisfying noodle soup experience by exploring all the ways to craft gluten-free ramen at home.

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