Easy Late-Night Ramen Recipe

easy late night food recipe

When you work in a restaurant you must be fast thinking, quick on your feet, a skilled multi-tasker, and able to ignore hunger for long periods of time. As a waiter, it’s your job to serve food, not eat it.

Unlike a traditional day job that allows for 30 or 60 minutes for lunch, most restaurant workers don’t get meal breaks. Though there may be a staff meal–a pile of something that’s cheap and easy to make–at the beginning or end of their shift, most restaurant workers are required to work without stop from late afternoon until midnight (or later).  Stopping for a bite of bread in some restaurants is an offense worthy of termination.

So when I finish work and the grip of hunger is too strong to deny, I ignore my desire to indulge in delicious high-fat foods (a double double at In-N-Out or poutine at Animal) and head straight home for a satisfying cup of noodles.

Five ingredients equals one fast and easy late-night meal

Using just a handful of ingredients (onion, carrot, scallion, and some leftover protein if I have any) and a cheap bag of ramen noodles, I can make a satisfying and healthy bowl of noodles in less than ten minutes. Because when it’s late night and the belly is on less than empty, it’s important to be able to make something fast and easy.

Late night noodles For One Hungry Person

Even though I’ve made this for one, it’s an easy recipe to double. Be sure to taste the broth as you add the fish and soy sauce when you double up the recipe. That way you won’t make the soup too salty for your taste!


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

¼ cup thinly sliced yellow onion

1 carrot, sliced thin on the diagonal

2 cups water

1 ½ tablespoons of fish sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 package of ramen noodles

½ cup shredded Napa cabbage

a pinch of fresh basil or cilantro, chopped

2 fresh Thai bird chilies (or a teaspoon of Sriracha)

**Optional: ¼ cup leftover beef or chicken

1. Heat vegetable oil in a medium sized saucepan over moderate heat. When the oil shimmers, add the sliced onion and carrot and cook until the onion becomes fragrant, about one minute. Add the 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add fish sauce and soy sauce to season the water. Add one package of ramen and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the napa cabbage and remove from heat.

2. Pour broth and noodles into a nice big bowl. Top with leftover meat (if you have it) and green onions. Garnish with fresh basil and chilies (or substitute with a teaspoon of Sriracha sauce). Serve with a spoon and chop sticks. Get slurping!


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Food Woolf Written by:

Brooke Burton is an Los Angeles-based restaurant professional and hospitality expert. She is a freelance food writer, speaker, and co-author of The Food Blog Code of Ethics.


  1. I love this idea. I’m always looking for quick dinner suggestions — this would be good with some egg in the broth, too, if you want extra protein.

  2. April 13

    I love instant ramen (esp the selection at 99 Ranch). I usually cook the ramen with spring onions, then fill a large bowl to the top with raw spinach and fresh habanero chiles (love it SPICY). Then I pour the steaming ramen over the spinach to wilt it. Heaven!

    • Food Woolf
      April 13

      Ooooooh! Spinach! Adding miso to the water (instead of soy and fish sauce) is another great option for this dish–and one that would go great with your wilted spinach idea!

  3. What a great recipe for noodles anytime of the day! We’re big fans of noodles for breakfast, what a great way to start the day.

  4. April 14

    I always have fresh ginger on hand to toss into stuff like this for a little health kick too! Yummmmm!

  5. jivaTA
    April 15

    wonderful! i’ve tried to make noodle bowls before but my versions always seem to lose the broth + so i end up not adding noodles + they turn into a stir fry. ha.
    you’ve inspired me to try again…perfect meal to incorporate spring vebetables!
    ps. do you have any suggestions for fish sauce? i seem to always get cold feet when going to purchase…

  6. August 23

    I LOVED this recipe! From one server to another, this is a great late-night fix!

  7. Nathan
    August 13

    This was easier than I thought it would be. Just made it, and it’s amazing! If only I had some spring onion or spinach. Oh well, next time. I definantly recommend the chilli or chilli sauce.
    All in all, a great tasting recipe!

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