Home & Garden Home Is Ramen Vegan? The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Ramen The vegan status may vary between ramen noodles and broths. By Gia Mora Gia Mora Facebook Twitter Writer and Quality Team Editor University of Colorado University of Pisa Gia is a writer, performer, and producer who has written extensively about veganism, food waste, and sustainable living. Learn about our editorial process Published January 4, 2023 Share Twitter Pinterest Email Treehugger / Lindsey Reynolds Home Sustainable Eating Pest Control Natural Cleaning DIY Family Green Living Thrift & Minimalism In This Article Expand Why Most Ramen Noodles Are Vegan Why Most Ramen Broth Is Not Vegan Non-Vegan Ramen Brands Vegan Ramen Brands Frequently Asked Questions A staple in kitchens across the world, ramen is a Japanese noodle soup. Despite their yellow color, ramen’s chewy wheat flour noodles don’t usually contain eggs, making them vegan-friendly. However, ramen broth is traditionally made from dashi (a family of fish and vegetable stocks) and other animal-based stocks. Ramen is also commonly topped with non-vegan sliced pork. Still, many readily available ramen packets and cups offer vegan broth options flavored with umami-rich mushrooms and other vegetables. Learn what to look for in your next bowl with our guide to vegan ramen. Why Most Ramen Noodles Are Vegan The Chinese-style wheat noodles in ramen typically use just four ingredients: flour, oil, salt, and kansui, which is a mineral alkaline water made from 80% potassium carbonate and 20% baking soda. The higher PH of the dough transforms the texture of the noodle, giving ramen its signature spring. The kansui gives ramen noodles their golden color. Still, egg noodles—especially in specialty ramen bars or in homemade ramen in Japan—are also popular. The egg gives an even richer yellow color, provides extra tenderness, acts as a binder, and makes the dough easier to manipulate. In general, you won’t find egg noodles in shelf-stable ramen or at a ramen bar unless the noodles are marked as such. Did You Know? Instant ramen noodles are often flash-fried in palm oil before they are dehydrated. This fact might give some environmental vegans pause, as palm oil is associated with deforestation and wildlife habitat loss. Why Most Ramen Broth Is Not Vegan Ramen broth traditionally relies on non-vegan dashi stock for its savory flavor. Made from bonito (tuna), kelp, mushrooms, and sardines, dashi serves as the base for other Japanese broths, including non-vegan miso. Other common ramen animal-based broths contain shrimp, beef, and chicken. Other less obvious ingredients may be of concern for vegans as well. Powdered Meat and Fish Ramen broths commonly rely on dehydrated meat and fish to provide flavor, making them non-vegan. However, if the meat or seafood flavor is derived from artificial sources, many vegans will consume the broth. Dairy Some ramen mixes contain lactose, a sugar derived from cow’s milk. Sugar Some flavor packets of ramen contain sugar. Foods that don’t specify the sugar source usually contain a mixture of both beet and cane sugar. While sugar from beets is always vegan-friendly, most cane sugar is refined with non-vegan animal bone char. For this reason, strict vegans also abstain from sugar that does not specify its processing. Natural and Artificial Flavors Most vegans who take a “practical and possible” approach to the lifestyle don’t concern themselves with the origin of natural flavors. Some strict adherents avoid natural flavors altogether to ensure none are derived from animals. Artificial flavors are often derived from petroleum products, prompting some environmental vegans to steer clear of these additives. Despite their differences, artificial flavors are identical to natural ones on a molecular level. MSG, GMP, and IMP Food additives monosodium glutamate (MSG), disodium guanylate (GMP), and disodium inosinate (IMP) are a family of fermented vegan-sourced starches and sugars. Together, these sodiums provide synergistic umami flavor to processed foods. TBHQ A preservative and antioxidant used to extend the shelf life of processed foods, tertiary-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ) is a synthetic food additive made from unsustainable petrochemicals. Non-Vegan Ramen Brands Because nearly all ramen noodles are vegan, some plant-based eaters choose to buy non-vegan ramen packets or cups and throw away the non-vegan flavor packet. Instead, they spice up their meal with at-home seasoning, including soy sauce, hot sauce, or curry. To avoid any unwanted animal products, steer clear of these common ramen brands and varieties. Maruchan Ramen (all flavors)Samyang (all flavors except 2x Spicy Hot Chicken)Nissin Top Ramen (all Cup Noodles and Top Ramen flavors except Oriental/Soy Sauce and Chili)Nongshim (all flavors except Soon Veggie and Kimchi Ramyun)Lotus Foods Rice Ramen (Spicy Kimchi Cup) Vegan Ramen Brands Animal-free ramen is available at grocery stores across the nation, giving vegans their choice of flavor and spice level. Vegan ramen broths often rely on dried shiitake mushrooms, kombu (kelp), and nori (seaweed) which are naturally rich in glutamates and provide that savory, umami flavor. Topped with additional dried nori, bamboo shoots, and scallions, these vegetable broths make a tasty plant-based meal. Annie Chun’s (Spicy Ramen, Vegan Tonkotsu Ramen, Spicy Miso Ramen, and Shoyu Ramen)Dr. McDougall’s Ramen (Vegan Chicken Flavor, and Miso, Hot & Sour)Koyo Ramen (Garlic Pepper, Lemon Gingergrass, and Shiitake Mushroom)Lotus Foods Rice Ramen (Forbidden, Buckwheat Shiitake, Purple Potato, Jade Pearl, Millet & Brown Rice, Wakame & Brown Rice, Garlicky Veggie Cup, and Hot & Sour Cup)Mike’s Mighty Good Ramen (Vegetarian Soy Sauce, Vegetarian Miso, Vegetarian Kimchi, and Vegetarian Vegetable)Nissin Top Ramen (Chili and Oriental/Soy Sauce) Nongshim (Soon Veggie and Kimchi Ramyun)Ocean’s Halo (Vegan Beef, Vegan Thai Coconut, Vegan Chicken, Ramen Bowl, Miso Ramen, and Ocean’s Halo ramen noodles and broth)Soken (Miso, Wasabi, Spicy Dragon, and Spinach)Samyang (2x Spicy Hot Chicken is made with artificial flavor) Frequently Asked Questions Are any ramen noodles vegan? Yes! Quite a few brands offer ramen free of animal products. Be sure to check the ingredients to double-check that the variety you’ve chosen is indeed vegan-friendly. Are beef ramen noodles vegan? With the exception of brands like Ocean’s Halo, most beef-flavored ramen is made with actual meat, making it off-limits for plant-based eaters. Does ramen contain egg? Sometimes. Certain ramen noodles use egg for both color and texture, but egg is neither a traditional nor a common ingredient in ramen. Varieties that include it will be marked accordingly.