Every Maruchan Ramen Flavor, Ranked Worst To Best

When you think of ramen, two very different dishes likely come to mind. There's the ramen you would get at a nice restaurant that comes with high-quality noodles, delicious, from-scratch broth, and all the toppings your heart desires. This stuff is top-notch soup, and you might even eat it for a celebration.

On the other hand, you may also think about Maruchan ramen. You know, the stuff that comes in a package? You have the powdered broth, the questionable noodles, and not much else. Sure, it may not be the top-of-the-line ramen you're used to having, but it's a pantry staple that we just can't get rid of.

Whether you're a broke college student, bartering soup on the informal ramen jail economy, or just need something to feed yourself at the end of a long day that won't require hours of cooking or any effort, ramen is the way to go. But which flavors really taste the best? Take a look at this ranking of every Maruchan ramen flavor, from worst to best. That way, you know what to avoid and what to pick up the next time you're in the ramen aisle.

13. 25 Percent Less Sodium Beef

Most people already know that packaged ramen is far from a healthy food choice. It's not something you eat on the first day of your new diet or what you feed to a sick child. Therefore, any attempts to make it healthier are likely to fall flat.

Normal Beef Maruchan contains 790 mg of sodium, which accounts for about a third of your day's salt intake. (Also, keep in mind this is in a single serving, and there are two servings in every package.) You may be disappointed to learn that the 25 percent less sodium Beef flavor isn't exactly healthy either. It has a whopping 540 mg of sodium per serving, which is still about a quarter of the salt you should eat in a day.

And with less salt, the flavor really falls flat. Let's be honest, Maruchan ramen would probably taste like nothing without the salt. Therefore, you can really tell when they take it away. And since the Beef flavor isn't our favorite flavor to begin with, you're left with a noodle dish that you'll probably just want to throw in the trash.

12. 25 Percent Less Sodium Chicken

Given our opinion on the 25 percent less sodium Beef flavor, you can't be surprised to see the 25 percent less sodium Chicken flavor at the bottom of the pile too. It has the same problem as the Beef — while there's less salt in this version than the normal Chicken, it's still pretty unhealthy. Plus, the absence of salt makes the flavor pretty blah.

Of course, it does score higher on our list because it utilizes the chicken broth, which we usually love. The normal Chicken flavoring is better than the Beef, so it just makes sense that the lower-sodium version is better as well.

But at the end of the day, it's still a product you should leave on the shelf. If you're going to eat something unhealthy, it had better taste good. If it doesn't, what's even the point? Skip this Maruchan flavor and check out some of your other options. Or, if you're trying to cut back on your salt intake, just don't eat ramen.

11. Chili

Chili? That's a bold flavor assertion when this soup broth really just offers a whisper of chili. Instead, you'll be confronted with a slightly spicy water flavor that your noodles just hang in, limp and lifeless. Is that really what you want out of your next soup binge? We think not.

When we opened this package, we were hoping for the kind of spice that makes food taste downright addictive and craveable. But we were sorely disappointed. Overall, the flavor of the broth certainly isn't bad — there simply just isn't enough of it. That leads to a lack of taste that actually might be worse than something that just tastes bad.

However, we do have a trick for you if you want to make this meal more edible: Cut down on how much water you're using. If you have less water in your broth, then it should taste at least slightly stronger. That way, you can salvage your ramen packets if you accidentally bought this flavor without knowing what it was all about.

10. Creamy Chicken

In theory, the Creamy Chicken flavor of Maruchan ramen should be amazing. Just think of all of your favorite creamy pasta dishes. However, this ramen isn't really what you would call pasta. Therefore, the creaminess just adds a really weird texture to a noodle that never wanted to be associated with a dairy product anyway.

Some claim that this dish tastes like chicken alfredo, and to that, we throw up a huge question mark. Ramen is a Japanese dish, and if you've ever eaten at a Japanese restaurant before, you probably didn't notice a lot of alfredo on the menu. That's for good reason — it just doesn't work.

Not only is it insulting to ramen to suggest it could be improved with a white sauce, but it's also an insult to alfredo, which should be blessing fresh fettucini, not clinging to a dirt-cheap microwaved noodle. Though there are worse flavors out there, the Creamy Chicken just doesn't do anything for us.

9. Shrimp

What could go wrong with adding seafood flavoring to an ultra-processed and artificial product? A lot, apparently. Maruchan's Shrimp flavor doesn't taste that shrimpy — instead, it has just a hint of a "bottom of the ocean" taste to it. The scent is horrible, but when you take a sip of the broth, you realize that it doesn't taste as bad as it smells. That's a relief.

But still. There's just too much of a fishy flavor in this soup, and without the presence of actual fish, it just kind of falls flat for us.

One thing we would try, though? Adding some real shrimp to the mix. That might cure our aversion to it, as we can just pretend that we're tasting the flavor of the real shrimp instead of whatever's in that little silver package of broth. If you want to try it out, be our guest. But we're probably not going to pick up another package of Shrimp Maruchan anytime soon.

8. Roast Beef

If you usually buy Maruchan ramen at your local grocery store, then you may not come upon the Roast Beef flavor very often. For some reason, we never seem to see the Roast Beef flavor when we're out and about. But perhaps that makes sense since this flavor is solidly in the middle of the pack. It's not great, it's not terrible — it's just "ehh," for the most part.

You may assume that it tastes just like the normal Beef variety, but that's not really the case. In fact, it has a kind of smokiness we just can't put our finger on.

While we think this flavor is just okay, some people on the internet can't get enough of it. One reviewer commented about their love for this flavor, but they also had some great ideas to bring your Roast Beef ramen to the next level. After your noodles are softened, they recommended soaking them in lemon juice, soy sauce, and sesame oil before returning them to the broth. They also recommended adding extras like a soft-boiled egg, mushrooms, and curry. We have to admit, that sounds pretty amazing.

7. Pork

Chances are, if you've ever ordered ramen from a Japanese restaurant, the soup you got was made with pork broth. This is known as tonkotsu ramen, and it's perhaps the most recognizable kind of ramen to people in the West. It's used because it has a deep, umami flavor that's even more savory than chicken and perhaps even beef broth. If you've ever had this dish before, then you know just what we're talking about.

If that's what you're used to, that may be what you're expecting from the Pork flavor Maruchan. It's not quite the same, unfortunately. But what did you expect when you decided to make broth from a packet? It doesn't taste the same as the real stuff, which is definitely a disappointment. But if we didn't have such high expectations, we probably wouldn't mind. The flavor isn't bad, and it has that meaty richness you'd find in a proper broth.

We think that adding some cooked sliced pork to this dish, along with a few greens, could go a long way into making Pork Maruchan something you'd want to buy again. When you can't make it to your favorite ramen restaurant, this will certainly make do.

6. Picante Chicken

It's already been established that Maruchan did a less-than-stellar job when it came to the Chili flavor. Where was the spice, where was the taste? If you're looking for a spicy ramen flavor, you'd be better off going with the Picante Chicken. It says everything you need to know right on the package: hot and spicy. While this flavor isn't exactly that spicy, it does have just enough kick to make it interesting.

It seems like the internet has a lot of good to say about the Picante Chicken as well. One reviewer described it as "industrialized civilization's perfect food" and claimed that "This feast for the senses fuels my world domination."

We may not get behind it that much, but we do have to agree that it's one of the better Maruchan ramen flavors out there. It's got the classic chicken broth we love with just a little extra spice added in for a kick that takes the taste to the next level.

But you don't have to let Maruchan set limits for you. If you want to make your soup spicier, you are more than entitled to do that. Just add some hot sauce to your finished product, and it'll make your whole bowl even better. You're welcome.

5. Beef

You can never go wrong with a classic, which is why Beef ranks so high at the top of our list of Maruchan flavors. It's probably one of the first ramen flavors you tried, and therefore, it's probably one of your favorites. As one of the darkest and deepest flavors on the Maruchan lineup, it's no wonder that we love us some Beef flavor.

When you mix the contents of the flavoring packet in with the water, you'll see the broth develop a kind of sheen on the surface. That's how you know you're getting the good stuff. The first sip you take, you'll be blown away by how much flavor is in the broth alone. Combined with the noodles, there's no way not to like this dish.

There's only one problem with this flavor. After a while, the intense flavor almost becomes too much. When you first start eating, you'll feel like you can't get enough of the flavor. But halfway through, all that intense umami flavor might prove to be too much. If you're struggling to make it through those last few sips of broth, you may want to add more water to the broth.

4. Chicken

Another classic ... who hasn't had an orange packet of Chicken Maruchan in their pantry at some point in their lives? In fact, this may be the most classic of all the Maruchan flavors. According to the company, it's the best-selling flavor too. Because you've probably had it so many times in your life, it's hard not to love this easy meal.

Perhaps the most obvious identifying feature of the Chicken flavor is the bright yellow broth. It has little flecks of green in it, which makes it healthy, right? The noodles get coated in the yellow coloring, and just the look of it makes your bowl of ramen taste even better.

What can we say? This option is a best-seller for a reason. It's delicious, it has a light flavor, and it's good at pretty much any time of the day (yes, even breakfast — we've all been teenagers before). You should always keep a few of these on hand for when you just can't be bothered to make a real meal.

3. Lime Chili Shrimp

We know what we said about the original Shrimp flavor, and we stand by it. It's not very good, and the vaguely fishy smell really turns us off. But that doesn't mean we can't love the fresh, hearty goodness that is a bowl of Lime Chili Shrimp Maruchan.

First of all, the spice in this one is much different from what you'll experience with the plain Chili flavor. The package advertises that it gets its spice from habanero peppers, which are some of the hottest chilis in the world. That kicks this flavor up a notch in a way that the Chili just can't compete with.

Something about all that extra spice covers up the flavors we don't adore in the Shrimp. Here, the shrimp flavor is light and summery. Perhaps the lime freshens it up and gives it a more interesting flavor. Whatever the case may be, we can't get enough Lime Chili Shrimp Maruchan, and we suggest that you try some for yourself.

2. Roast Chicken

Just because the plain Chicken is the best seller on the Maruchan lineup doesn't mean it's actually the best. We don't mean any disrespect to the classic Chicken: It's up so far in our ranking for a reason. But if you have the option of choosing between Roast Chicken and regular Chicken, we will always encourage you to pick Roast Chicken.

Just think: Would you rather eat a roast chicken or a boiled chicken? The Roast Chicken is likely going to have a lot more flavor, and that's exactly what you taste when you try these two out side by side. The Roast Chicken flavor is very similar to the original Chicken, but it has just a bit more depth to it. While it may be subtle, there's definitely a noticeable difference.

Influenster asked people what they thought about the two flavors: Which one was better? The majority of the people who responded had the same response — they preferred the Roast Chicken because the chicken flavor was "stronger." But really, either way, you know you're going to be digging into a delicious bowl of ramen.

1. Soy Sauce

This may be a controversial ranking, but we believe in standing up for ourselves and speaking the truth, even when it's difficult. That's why we have to place Soy Sauce at the very top of our list. Don't recognize this flavor? That may be because you remember the blue Maruchan package that read "Oriental."

Yeah, well, times have changed. People have realized that's not a cool term to use, which is likely why the name was changed to "Soy Sauce." Maruchan, though, claims the change was simply to better describe the flavor. According to its website, "The name Oriental Flavor has now been updated to Soy Sauce Flavor to better reflect the distinct flavor profile of this tasty dish."

No need to worry, though. Apparently, the recipe hasn't changed, so you'll still get that same old flavor you love. And what's not to love? This flavor is just what it's supposed to be: salty and flavorful. Every bite is an umami bomb of noodle-y goodness. As soon as your bowl is finished, you may just find yourself ripping open a new package.

If you love the Soy Sauce flavor, then you may want to think about upgrading all the other flavors of Maruchan you enjoy. Adding soy sauce to an already super-salty soup isn't the healthiest move, but it makes just about every broth from shrimp to chicken taste just a little better.