13 quick and easy instant noodle recipes every parent needs to know about

Speedy instant noodle recipes every parent needs in the midweek madness...

Singapore noodles, low calorie meals
(Image credit: Future)

Make an interesting meal out of a store cupboard classics with these instant noodle recipes. Our collection includes everything from Thai prawn curry noodles to chilli chicken ramen, to vegetable noodle soup.

"Instant noodles are a staple in my household – they're such a great base for really speedy family meals. I'll often stir-fry some veg, such as mushrooms and broccoli, then add the noodles along with some water and the seasoning mix, and cook them in the same pan. I love a soft-boiled egg on top along with some crispy chilli oil but you could also add prawns, seared steak, chicken, or whichever protein you prefer," recommends Dominique Woolf, author of Dominique's Kitchen: Easy Everyday Asian Inspired Food, and winner of The Great Cookbook Challenge with Jamie Oliver.

"Another tasty way to pimp them up is using a raw egg to make a creamy sauce. Whisk the egg in a bowl with a dollop of mayo and some gochujang or sriracha, then slowly mix in a little of the cooking water, followed by the noodles. You could add some grated or sliced cheese as well. Top with some kimchi or veg of choice," says Dominique. 

"They're also delicious in a spicy peanut sauce. Combine peanut butter with crispy chilli oil and a little soy then add your cooked noodles to the bowl and combine. If you have any leftovers such as cooked chicken instant noodles are a perfect way of using them up too. Just add it to the broth while cooking and top with some veg. Adding miso paste to the seasoning mix is another great way of adding a layer of umami-rich flavour to your instant noodles."

Easy instant noodle recipes

Healthy Asian-inspired dinner perfection

1. Vegetable ramen noodle bowl

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 15 mins

This rainbow-coloured soup is a sight for the senses and is packed with goodness in everything from red peppers to pak choi to spring onions. Top with sliced hard-boiled eggs for protein, or add some tofu to make the soup vegan. Bamboo shoots are brilliant here too. Don't forget the sliced spring onions for the top. 

Get the recipe: Slimming World's vegetable ramen noodle bowl

Like medicine for the soul

2. Hairy Bikers' chicken noodle soup recipe

Serves: 6 | Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 2 hrs 20 mins

Made using leftover chicken carcasses from a weekend roast to create this delicious recipe. More British in the ingredients than the usual Asian-flavoured noodle dishes, this soup is enhanced by bay leaves and thyme, carrots and celery. Much like the famous Jewish soup, minus the matzo balls.

Get the recipe: Hairy Bikers' chicken noodle soup

Yes, we made it ourselves

3. Homemade pot noodle

Serves: 1 | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 15 mins

A cute idea – basically flipping the idea of using instant noodles for recipes on its head and instead creating your own instant noodles. A Pot Noodle is a guilty pleasure and isn't exactly known for its health-giving properties, so this is a wise alternative. Simply made with chicken (or veggie) stock, soy sauce, and whatever veggies and protein you have, it's a great choice for a quick lunch instead of the same-old sandwiches.

Get the recipe: Homemade pot noodle

Singapore noodles – but not as we know them

4. Singapore noodles recipe

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 30 mins

An interesting twist on a classic, this version of the famous Singapore dish is topped with breaded scampi, making it a great one for introducing your kids to the world of noodles. This could be swapped for more traditional protein elements of course, such as king prawns or pork. To make it really authentic, use vermicelli noodles in place of the egg variety.

Get the recipe: Singapore noodles

Simple, meat-free noodle-y goodness

5. Chinese vegetable chow mein

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 5 mins

Who doesn't love a chow mein? And this version is a darn sight healthier than the takeaway variety. With pepper, broccoli, and mushroom an integral part of the recipe, it's a great one for making sure you're getting those essential health-boosting veggies into your diet. It's a super adaptable recipe too, just swap in whatever veg you've got lurking in the freezer or fridge. Adding some tofu or topping with a fried egg for protein would be an excellent plan as well. 

Get the recipe: Chinese vegetable chow mein

A Wagamama dinner – made by your own fair hands

6. Wagamama chilli chicken ramen recipe

Serves: 2 | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 25 mins

If anyone knows a thing or two about cooking ramen, it is Wagamamas. The brand can be largely credited with introducing such Japanese delights to the UK back in the Nineties, and we can't imagine how many bowls of their classic chicken chill version they've served up since. Like chicken soup for the soul. Just don't forget the Sriracha. 

Get the recipe: Gousto's Wagamama chilli chicken ramen

Because cod fillets do not always need to be battered and deep fried…

7. Pan-fried cod with noodles

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 10 mins

Cod isn't the most obvious fish to associate with a noodle dish, but it works beautifully here. This is an interesting dish featuring fresh radishes, plus sesame seeds for crunch and a tang from the rice vinegar that gives it all a distinctly Japanese flavour. Super fresh, vibrant, and pretty much restaurant standard, if you ask us.

Get the recipe: Pan-fried cod with noodles

A no-fangled, simple stir fry can be just what the doctor ordered

8. Chinese-style chicken with vegetables

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 15 mins

Using tender and flavoursome chicken thighs, this is a comforting dish made with zero complicated ingredients – just soy sauce, plenty of veggies, and noodles. Because sometimes the simple things are the best (and it means you don't have to go to the shops – it could even include freezer veg, like peas and sweetcorn if you're lacking in fresh). 

Get the recipe: Chinese-style chicken with vegetables and noodles

A wonderful Vietnamese influenced noodle dish

9. Pork satay noodles

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 20 mins

Minced pork is an under-used ingredient here but, in countries like Cambodia and Vietnam, it's a staple of cooking, and works very well in noodle dishes, particularly if fried until dry and crispy. It pairs brilliantly with the cheat's satay sauce, made from jarred peanut butter, chilli, and soy sauce. The sugar snap peas are a great addition for flavour and crunch, though they could be swapped for mangetout or green beans if need be.

Get the recipe: Pork satay noodles

Pimp up your leftovers and instant noodles perfectly

10. Quick chilli beef noodles

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 10 mins

A texture sensation with the silky, thick udon noodles paired with crunchy stir fry veg and sizzling steak (leftover roast beef stirred through for the last couple of minutes works well too). Cook this dish in nut oil for the best results,  add a generous glug of teriyaki sauce, and finish off with crushed peanuts. A great choice for a midweek meal.

Get the recipe: Quick chilli beef noodles

Our Thai prawn curry and noodles is only 326 calories per portion and takes 5 minutes to prepare.

A taste of Thailand is always a good taste

(Image credit: Future)

11. Thai prawn curry noodles

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 15 mins

Using coconut milk and red curry paste, this is a classic Thai curry with a twist – switching out the usual rice accompaniment for instant noodles. Great for a Friday night curry night, don't forget the fish sauce and lime (ideally add some lime leaves into the sauce) for that distinctive flavour of Thailand.

Get the recipe: Thai prawn curry noodles

Slimming World's spicy hot-smoked salmon noodles

An excellent one for the omega 3 fatty acids, and delicious to boot.

(Image credit: Slimming World)

12. Spicy hot smoked salmon noodles

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 15 mins

Smoked salmon isn't a traditional choice to accompany a noodle-based dish, but we're all for fusion experiments and, in this case, it works. The recipe uses hot smoked salmon (as opposed to the raw type you might eat on a bagel with cream cheese) which could be swapped for a regular salmon fillet if you prefer – trout will work well here, too. Plenty of garlic, ginger, soy, and lime, and a dash of curry powder add flavour punch. 

Get the recipe: Spicy hot smoked salmon noodles

Chicken noodle salad

A southeast Asian style flavour sensation

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

13. Bang Bang chicken noodle salad

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 10 mins

Did you know that bang bang chicken gets its name from tenderising the chicken with a meat mallet? You do now… This is a great one for shredded leftover roast chicken and contains plenty towards your five-a-day with cooled noodles and a lively dressing made from ginger, garlic, chilli, lime, and peanut butter. A great recipe for warmer months, perfect with a cold beer or a chilled glass of rosé.

Get the recipe: Bang Bang chicken noodle salad

Writer bio pic
Lara KIlner

"Instant noodles are a favourite in my house – my husband is from Malaysia where a steaming bowl of Maggi curry mee (mee being the Malay word for noodle) is everyone's go-to comfort food. They even serve jazzed-up versions of Maggi in restaurants – and, if they do that in Asia countries, then I reckon that definitely gives us licence to do the same for our family dinners here. The chilli chicken ramen will go down a storm, as will the Hairy Bikers chicken noodle soup, which I will make while thinking of the lovely, late Dave Myers and all the culinary joy he brought to our lives."

For more noodle-based inspiration, check out our best chicken stir-fry recipes, as well as our handy collections of cheap family meals and healthy family meals

Lara Kilner
Food Writer

Lara Kilner is a writer and editor with two decades of experience in national newspapers, magazines, and websites. She writes about food, lifestyle, travel, health and wellness, and entertainment, and regularly interviews celebrities and people with interesting life stories and experiences. Her foodie content has included interviews with Jamie Oliver, Rick Stein, Queer Eye’s food expert Antoni Porowski, the Hairy Bikers, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, Raymond Blanc, Andi Oliver, Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith, and Nadiya Hussain.