several different instant ramen noodle brands

These Are the Healthiest (and Best) Instant Ramen Brands

A new class of companies are packing more protein and less fat into our favorite microwaveable meal. Which does it best?
By Tanner Bowden
June 28, 2024

Our product picks are editor-tested, expert-approved. We may earn a commission through links on our site.

Instant ramen is the ultimate convenience food. It’s cheap, takes mere minutes to make, and tastes, almost miraculously, amazing. There’s a reason it’s the stereotypical everyday fare of college students and anyone on a budget. Ramen in a packet has been around since Momofuku Ando invented it in 1958, though recent years have produced a rush to health-ify all our junk food favorites; now you can get chickpea mac ‘n’ cheese and organic Doritos. It was only a matter of time before so-called healthy instant ramen appeared online and at your local grocery store.

What’s wrong with classics like Maruchan, Top Ramen, and classic Cup Noodles? “Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults limit sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day and saturated fat to 10% or less of your total daily calories,” explains Mia Syn, RDN. Maruchan’s classic chicken instant ramen clocks in at 1,520 mg of sodium and 7 g of saturated fat. Another issue: many instant ramen products come with a paragraph of processed ingredients.

Healthy instant ramen does things differently. Makers air fry their noodles instead of deep fry them, cut down on the sodium, and use all plant-based or whole food ingredients. Some even pack in extra protein. The big question remains: how do they taste? With expert advice, we worked up a list of healthier instant ramen products, and then we ordered them all to find out if they have the same umami factor as the original stuff we all love so much.

About the Expert

Mia Syn, R.D.N., is an evidence-based dietitian nutritionist with a focus on identifying more nutritious, health-promoting food options at grocery stores. She’s also the author of the book Mostly Plant-Based, which you can buy wherever books are sold.

The Healthiest Instant Ramen You Can Buy, Tested

Immi Variety Pack

Best overall

Immi has received a lot of attention recently as a healthier alternative to instant ramen (counting Grand Slam Champion Naomi Osaka and Olympic speedskater Apolo Ohno as proponents helps). Immi is 100% plant-based, keto-friendly, and high in protein. It also mimics classic instant ramen flavors like Tom Yum Shrimp and Creamy Chicken. “For a plant-based ramen, this one packs a good punch of protein with 21 grams per serving which primarily comes from pumpkin seed protein and wheat gluten,” says Syn. She also notes that Immi ramen is somewhat higher in sodium but lower than many other store-bought brands with around 800mg per serving, and higher in fat too.

The kicker is that Immi tastes pretty dang good. The noodles are bouncy and curly and tasty—you can tell there’s some protein in them from the texture—but the broth is deep and rich. It comes in cups, too, if you harbor nostalgia for Cup Noodles.

Calories per serving: 31
Sat. Fat per serving: 8g
Sodium per serving: 890mg
Protein: 21g

(Creamy Chicken Flavor)

Vite Ramen Vegan White Miso v2.0

Most protein

Vite Ramen has figured out how to pack as much nutrition into a pack of noodles as possible. Syn lauds the brand for its high fiber and protein content (20-plus grams per serving). Some of that comes from quinoa flour in the noodles—which, by the way, are bouncy like good ol’ fashioned instant, if a tad more bitey. The rest comes from Vite’s Noodtrient Seasoning Pack, which brings flavor to the broth alongside a long list of vitamins and minerals. The broth is good too, perhaps not as piquant as the traditional stuff, but it does have that umami-factor that we all associate instant noodles with. The downside is that Vite is much more expensive than the less-than-a-dollar stuff at $6-7 per pack.

Calories per serving: 500
Sat. Fat per serving: 1g
Sodium per serving: 770mg
Protein: 26g

(Vegan White Miso v2.0 Flavor)

Public Goods Spicy Sesame Oil Instant Noodles

Shortest ingredient list

Public Goods’ instant noodles come with the shortest list of ingredients of any of the ramen we tried. They’re not fried, and they have a nice 10g of protein in them too. Syn notes that they’re “lower in total fat and saturated fat than other store-bought ramens,” but that the sodium count remains high, which is probably what helps them taste great. Public Goods noodles are flatter, not round, but they still have a springyness to them and good flavor. You don’t prepare them with broth, so they’re more of a saucy noodle situation rather than a brothy bowl of ramen. They make a basic bowl, so be sure to doctor them up (we did a soft-boiled egg and leftover chicken to boost the protein factor).

Calories per serving: 300
Sat. Fat per serving: 0.2g
Sodium per serving: 1560mg
Protein: 10g

(Spicy Sesame Oil Flavor)

WhatIF Ramen Noodles

Unique protein source

The secret ingredient in WhatIf’s instant noodles is the bambara groundnut aka the bamnut, a high-protein legume that grows well in and replenishes poor soil. WhatIf turns it into flour, then noodles that are combined with other nutritious and eco-friendly ingredients like moringa leaves. “This ramen is a lower sodium option compared to other store-bought ramens with around 640-810 mg per serving thanks to being air-fried rather than deep fried,” notes Syn. “It also has a decent amount of protein for a vegan ramen, with 17 grams per serving.” We tried the Moringa Noodles first and were pleasantly surprised by the flavor and texture. We expected them to be cardboardy like chickpea pasta can be, for example, but they still had a nice amount of chew to them. The flavor packet was nice too and didn’t taste low-salt at all.

Calories per serving: 300
Sat. Fat per serving: 3g
Sodium per serving: 720mg
Protein: 17g

(BamNut Noodles Flavor)

Mike's Mighty Good Craft Ramen

Best grocery store brand

One of the great things about classic instant ramen is that you can find it pretty much anywhere. That’s not true of many of the healthier options on this list, but its more true of Mike’s Mighty Good ramen noodles, which are available in a lot of grocery stores. “It is lower in protein and fiber than other plant-based ramens with only 9 grams of protein and 1 gram of fiber, and still is high in sodium with 1070 mg per serving,” notes Syn. But it’s still a healthier alternative with all organic, non-GMO ingredients, and the Mike’s Mighty Good is run almost entirely on renewable energy. Plus, it tastes pretty great—we tried the pork tonkotsu first and thought the broth packed a nice umami-punch, and the noodles are chewy and springy.

Calories per serving: 26
Sat. Fat per serving: 0g
Sodium per serving: 1070mg
Protein: 9g

(Vegetarian Miso Flavor)

Momofuku Sweet & Spicy Noodles

Best brothless option

Followers of the New York City food scene will recognize the peach logo on these noodle packets. It comes from Momofuku, the restaurant group created by David Chang, which has dipped into media and, more recently grocery products. Instant noodles were a no-brainer for the company (Chang is a proponent of microwaves), and these are air fried and made with zero transfats or preservatives. The bulk of the ingredients are whole foods, too, and they’re lower in sodium. One thing to note is that Momofuku’s noodles are saucy, not brothy. We’ve tried numerous flavors (the spicy chili noodles are actually quite spicy!) and can attest that they don’t really tast all that instant. They’re good on their own, and better with veggie toppings or fridge leftovers.

Calories per serving: 330
Sat. Fat per serving: 1g
Sodium per serving: 990mg
Protein: 11g

(Sweet & Spicy Noodles Flavor)

Omsom Saucy Noodles

Best flavor variety

Omsom isn’t necessarily going after a high health-factor the way some of the other ramen brands on this list are, but it’s worth mentioning because the company doesn’t use any artificial ingredients or preservatives. Its noodles air-fried and low in sodium and fat, too. “For those looking for a lower calorie ramen option, the Omsom Coconut Lemongrass flavor would be a good option with only 180 calories per serving,” says Syn. She also notes that each package counts as two servings though, so a little math is necessary here. When we tried them we found the noodles to be bouncy and light, not cardboardy the way some instant noodles can be. These aren’t strictly ramen noodles though—they’re saucy, not brothy—and they benefit from adding toppings like tofu or broccoli.

Calories per serving: 180
Sat. Fat per serving: 3.5g
Sodium per serving: 360mg
Protein: 6g

(Coconut Lemongrass Curry Flavor)

Muso from Japan Organic Ramen Shoyu

Best for classic instant ramen vibes

Muso’s instant ramen noodles are all-organic and made in a process that doesn’t use frying. Rather than making a play at packing in extra protein or health benefits, Muso aims to make classic instant ramen in a cleaner way. The company is based in Japan and dedicated to preserving traditional flavors and ingredients. Speaking of ingredients, you’ll recognize all of them on the back of the package here. The downside is that there’s quite a bit of sodium with soy sauce being a main ingredient for the broth. The noodles, however, were the closest of any we tested to classic instant ramen, so if you’re looking for an authentic and slightly healthier option that doesn’t stray too far from what you’ve had in the past, this is a good option.

Calories per serving: 320
Sat. Fat per serving: 0g
Sodium per serving: 1710mg
Protein: 11g

(Shoyu Flavor)