The Crunchy Ingredient You Should Be Tossing In Ramen

One of the best things about ramen is how customizable it is. Among all the creative additions you can throw in for an instant upgrade, crispy fried onions give the ultimate crunchy boost while enhancing the dish's savory flavor. The contrast of the soft noodles with the crispy fried onions makes the texture more diverse, and once the onions start to soften in the broth, they become chewy pieces of salty goodness. Whether you try out a homemade ramen recipe or opt for an instant ramen packet, the soup's umami-heavy broth is perhaps why it pairs so well with crispy fried onions.

Ramen is a Japanese dish with Chinese origins, and there are typically four main varieties: miso, tonkotsu, shio, and shoyu. Every dish features a savory flavor profile containing hints of pork, chicken, seafood, and/or soy sauce. Adding crispy fried onions intensifies the rich, tangy notes of each unique broth. Pre-packaged crispy fried onions are the quickest way to test this tip for yourself, and any brand you can find at your local grocery store should produce the same result. (Plus, they can be a tasty snack while you whip up your meal.) If you have some extra time, you can even make homemade crispy fried onions.

Tips for making crispy fried onions

The process of making crispy fried onions is actually pretty simple since it only requires two ingredients: onions and oil (though you can also add salt if you prefer). Thinly sliced onions work best, which you can achieve with a mandoline or sharp knife. Depending on your preference, you can fry them in a pot of oil or simply put them in a greased air fryer basket. (You could even throw in some chili oil to mimic the kick of our tantanmen ramen recipe.) Whether you're preparing your onions on the stove or in the air fryer, remember to toss them frequently to create an even crisp. When they're done cooking, place them on a paper towel to dry off any excess oil and really lock in that crunch.

It's possible to make crispy fried onions up to two weeks in advance, but they have to cool completely before you put them in the refrigerator — otherwise, their steam will make them soggy. At room temperature, fried onions are good for about five days in an airtight container. If you're big on meal prep, you can freeze them for up to six months. No matter the technique you use, crispy fried onions are an easy secret ingredient for a more flavorful bowl of ramen, and although it might not be super traditional, it sure will be delicious.