Which gluten-free ramen is best?
Ask a person eating a gluten-free diet what they miss the most, and you’ll get one of two answers: bread or pasta. If you could go years without a slice of bread but can’t say no to a piping hot bowl of ramen, you already understand the importance of the noodle. The best gluten-free ramen perfectly replicates the texture and taste of its gluten-filled counterparts.
If you are just diving into the world of gluten-free ramen, Lotus Foods Millet and Brown Rice Ramen is a good place to start. This pack of 10 comes with 10 individual flavoring pouches but can also be used plain in any ramen noodle dishes you’d like to try.
What to know before you buy gluten-free ramen
You don’t need to be a chopsticks pro to enjoy a delicious bowl of ramen, but you do need to decide what type of gluten-free ramen you are looking for.
Primary choices include ingredients such as:
- Buckwheat: A dense flour that is usually reserved for thicker noodles such as soba.
- Millet: Generally used in combination with another type of gluten-free flour.
- Rice: The most common substitute and widely available.
Gluten is sometimes replaced by starches and gums to improve their stretch, but the ingredient list is often simple and clean.
Traditional ramen takes just a few minutes to cook. In fact, most prepackaged versions can be covered with boiling water and left to steep. However, some gluten-free ramen requires longer cooking times and cannot be prepared by pouring boiling water over it. If time is of the essence, check the average cooking times on the package before you buy.
Hot vs. cold
Not all gluten-free ramen works well in both hot and cold dishes. If you need something versatile, look for a combination of flours and experiment with temperatures.
What to look for in quality gluten-free ramen
Cooks new to the world of ramen might need a little inspiration. If this sounds like you, look for ramen with a seasoning packet to get you started. This serves as a good base for whatever dishes you’d like to try.
Free from allergens
Because many people consuming a gluten-free diet are also avoiding other allergens, it’s critical to read the ingredients list to make sure the ramen works for you. The best gluten-free versions are free from:
- Nuts, including tree nuts and peanuts
- Fish and shellfish
Made in a dedicated facility
There are currently three international companies that certify gluten-free facilities.
- Gluten Intolerance Group’s Gluten-Free Certification Organization
- BRC Global Standards (formerly the Allergen Control Group)
- NSF International
Look for the seal of one of these organizations on your package of gluten-free ramen.
Tips for serving gluten-free ramen
As with their gluten-filled counterparts, these noodles need to be cooked and eaten fresh.
- Follow the package preparation directions closely.
- Cook the ramen separately and then add to any broth.
- If you prefer no broth, prepare mazeman — brothless ramen — by mixing cooked noodles in a sauce of sesame oil, miso paste, tamari, butter and garlic. Thin the sauce with hot water, then toss in the ramen and heat through.
- If using ramen in soup, regular chicken or vegetable broth works. Flavor the broth with dashi or miso paste.
- Use tamari instead of soy sauce in broth or as a garnish.
- Avoid gluten in your garnishes. Add scallions, jammy egg, sliced pork, fresh radish, chopped and pickled cabbage, chili paste and crumbled nori to taste.
How much you can expect to spend on gluten-free ramen
Because package sizes can differ, it’s best to price out ramen in ounces. Expect to spend 64 cents to $1.75 per ounce.
Gluten-free ramen FAQ
Can you use gluten-free ramen when it is not cooked?
A. No. Traditional ramen is crumbly when uncooked, and it can be used as a crunchy textural element on things like salad and even as a topping on some other soups and broths. Because it uses nontraditional flour, gluten-free ramen is very hard when uncooked and cannot be eaten raw.
Do you have to use the entire seasoning packet?
A. No. You can use as much or as little as you like, seasoning to your own taste.
What’s the best gluten-free ramen to buy?
Top gluten-free ramen
What you need to know: This is a nutrient-dense, delicious ramen that is ready to eat in five minutes.
What you’ll love: This pack of ten individual cakes of ramen is organic, dairy-free, kosher and vegan. It works well in both hot and cold dishes, and it has a light nutty taste that absorbs whatever sauce or condiments you add. These come with a small red miso flavoring packet for each ramen cake. They are low in sodium and also available in brown rice and jade pearl varieties.
What you should consider: Some reviewers missed the extra sodium.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top gluten-free ramen for the money
What you need to know: These noodles are a blank canvas for any flavors you’d like to add.
What you’ll love: In addition to being gluten- and wheat-free, they are also free from the top eight allergens, including milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts and soy. They are vegan and made from non-GMO Japanese rice flour in a dedicated gluten-free facility. They cook in less than five minutes. This is a pack of ten.
What you should consider: These noodles are soft and best consumed immediately after cooking.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: You can try three different flavors with this variety pack.
What you’ll love: This variety pack of 12 contains four each of garlic and vegetable, onion and lemongrass and chili instant ramen. The noodles are egg-free and ready in three minutes or less. The ingredients lists are generally shorter and contain cleaner ingredients than traditional ramen.
What you should consider: These contain milk products and are therefore not vegan.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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