Instant ramen noodles have always been there to lift me up in lean times. Each pouch’s blast of savory flavor and comforting noodles seems to say, “Hey, you don’t need to spend a lot, you’ve got me.” Thanks, ramen. The best way to show your appreciation to this fabulous noodle is to explore its versatility. So instead of making soup today, why not waffle your ramen?

Maybe you’ve heard of (or eaten) a ramen burger—made of ramen noodles pressed into a bun-like round and pan fried so they can support a hamburger patty. These pleasantly dense ramen buns are crisp on the outer edge, but still soft and squiggly (like noodles). While waffling your ramen isn’t exactly the same as forming it into a burger bun, the noodle bricks’ most important quality emerges in both variations: They will maintain soft interiors while forming crispy brown exteriors. 

The only way to properly waffle anything is with a waffle maker:

Hamilton Beach Mini Waffle Maker

Presto Ceramic FlipSide Belgian Waffle Maker

How to make a savory ramen waffle

Springy, soft, and crunchy—this harmony of textures is the primary goal for your first ramen waffle. Second is imbuing the noodles with flavor. Luckily there are a couple opportunities to do that. 

1. Boil the noodles

Make the noodles how you normally would—add the powder packet, the dried veggies, and whatever else you add to the water. This is how you’ll infuse flavor into the noodles; any minced veggies can get tangled in the noodle framework. If you normally make a broth-y soup, use less water. 

For one package of Shin Black, I used about one and a half cups of water and I probably could have done with a bit less. Let the noodles cook and soften in the broth over medium-low heat, and keep cooking until most of the water has evaporated. 

2. Prepare the waffle iron

Preheat your waffle iron. Brush or spray a layer of neutral cooking oil onto both sides. (Be sure to use regular oil—not aerosol cooking spray, as that can damage the non-stick surface.) Pour the noodles on to the bottom waffle plate and use a heat-safe spatula to nudge them around until you’ve made an even layer. 

Credit: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

A packet of noodles will fill about half of a Belgian waffle iron, making two four-inch square waffles. If you have a smaller four-inch waffle maker, you’ll need to waffle in multiple batches. When waffling, shut the iron and apply pressure to ensure good contact. Waffle the noodles until they form a light brown, but discernible, crust.

Credit: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

This is also a good opportunity to add a sprinkle of shredded cheddar or parmesan cheese, provided you’re interested in a crunchy frico crust. Browning will about 10 to 12 minutes. Be patient. The crispy surface is worth the wait. 

3. Top the waffle and serve

Turn off the waffle iron and carefully use a spatula or fork to loosen the edges and get under the waffle, then scoot the whole thing over onto a plate. The waffled crust will encourage the ramen to stay together, but you do want to take care, as at the end of the day, it is just a bunch of noodles. Top your waffle with chopped scallions, fried garlic, avocado, a fried egg, or anything that brings you joy.