5 College Dorm Ramen Hacks

September 13, 2019


Packing up and heading to college? Let’s face it: You’re poor. Don’t worry, though, it’s a good poor—a necessary poor in the name of higher education and its contributions to an informed citizenry. The sacrifices you’re making are of a noble nature. That $1 cup of instant noodles you’ve resigned yourself to eating for the next year is for the greater public good. You, my friend, are an everyday hero.

Of course, that’s no consolation for where you’re at right now. Back to school means back to the sad reality that no one will be cooking a free meal for you after a long day of classes and homework. And if fending for yourself wasn’t bad enough, food is so dang expensive! But fear not, undergraduate college coed—we’ve got some dorm room ramen hacks to elevate your dinner game without breaking the bank.

Hit up your college cafeteria

Let’s be real: The puny bag of freeze-dried peas and carrots that comes in the box can’t hold a candle to the frozen stuff, so how’s it going to hold up against momma’s downhome cooking? Swing by your dining hall’s salad bar to collect some fresh toppings. Not only will this take your ramen from Toky-NO to Toky-YES, it’ll also allow you to keep your ramen veggie combos fresh and exciting throughout the school year.

Make eggs in your coffee maker

Sounds counterintuitive since it’s literally called a “coffee maker” but it turns out your coffee maker can do more than make coffee. For those who can’t resist the runny goodness of a poached egg in your ramen, this tip is for you. Well, the poor version of you, that is. You can’t poach an egg in a coffee maker, but you can soft boil it. Beggars can’t be choosers! Place an egg inside your coffee pot and submerge it with water. Then press brew and let it sit for 15 minutes.

Plant an herb garden

We know—who do we think we are, right? Telling you to live away from home, stay on top of your schoolwork, make your own dinner, and now take care of plants? It might sound like a lot of work, but a mini herb garden is surprisingly manageable. Find a few yogurt cups, rinse them out, and poke a drainage hole in the bottom. Place them on a tray near your window. Borrow soil from school grounds, if you must. A pack of seeds is dirt cheap, so if you play your cards right, you could have fresh herb seeds well into early middle age. And what, you have to water them a few times a week? Do it in the name of adult ramen.

DIY your ramen seasoning

OK, we hear you—another big ask. But think of this ramen hack as a ramen investment. Collect the ingredients once—preferably during a weekend when Mom and Dad are visiting, because you know they’re going to offer to take you grocery shopping—and you’ll be seasoning your own ramen noodles until you’re officially too cool for freshmen. See below for a recipe that’s as easy as instant noodles.

DIY Ramen Seasoning Recipe

Ingredients (all equal parts except for salt):

  • Onion powder
  • Ground ginger
  • Garlic powder
  • Ground black pepper
  • Salt, to taste

Fuse cuisines to keep things exciting

All the dining hall salad bar vegetable variety in the world won’t stop you from feeling stagnant during your year of ramen. To avoid burnout, seek inspiration from food cultures near and far. Our personal favorites are thai curry ramen and tortilla soup ramen. Trust us, kid: Variety keeps the love alive.

Thai Curry Ramen

Mix these ingredients together:

  • 1 package of cooked instant noodles (sans freeze-dried veggies and salty-as-hell seasoning packet)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon green curry paste
  • Juice of 1 lime

Garnish with the following:

  • 1 sliced jalapeño 
  • 1 tablespoon crushed roasted peanuts

Tortilla Soup Ramen

Mix these ingredients together:

  • 1 package of cooked instant noodles (sans freeze-dried veggies and salty-as-hell seasoning packet)
  • 2 tablespoons salsa verde

Garnish with the following:

  • ½ avocado, sliced
  • ½ cup of tortilla strips
  • 1–2 lime wedges
  • Cilantro, to taste

Planning ahead? Tell your parents you think it would be wise to get a storage unit for your dorm room furniture when you come home for the summer. They’ll be so proud of what a responsible adult college has already made out of you.

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