Meal prep is made easy with these protein-packed instant noodles cups. Filled with rice noodles, chicken, vegetables, and a flavorful broth, these DIY instant noodle cups are perfect for a hearty and healthy lunch any day of the week.
If you love instant noodles, you need to try these DIY instant noodle cups! Not only are incredibly quick and easy to prepare but the ingredient combinations are endless, so once you get the concept down you can easily adapt these DIY noodles cups to your liking.
What You’ll Need
Here’s what you’ll need to make my version of homemade instant noodle cups.
- Instant Noodles: Rice vermicelli are the star of these instant noodle cups; however, you could also use rice noodles, ramen, soba noodles, or udon noodles if you prefer.
- Chicken: A little cooked shredded chicken to add some protein.
- Edamame: Some frozen edamame to boost the protein content.
- Cabbage and Carrots: A bit of shredded napa cabbage and carrots for texture and fiber.
- Green Onion: For some color and crunch.
- Chicken Bouillon: A dollop of chicken bouillon paste to transform the boiling water into a flavorful noodle broth.
- Soy Sauce: To season the broth with a bit of salt.
- Red Chili Paste: To add a bit of spice to these instant noodle cups. I recommend using gochujang, however, sambal, sriracha, or any other chili paste or chili oil would work well.
In addition to the core ingredients, I like to finish my instant noodle cups with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro to add a bit of freshness and brightness.
How to Make DIY Instant Noodle Cups
Homemade instant noodles are so easy to make they hardly need a recipe; here’s how you’ll make them.
- Add the ingredients to a glass container (or mason jar) and store them in the fridge.
- When you’re ready to eat, fill the cups with boiling water, cover and set them aside for 10 minutes.
- Once the noodles are tender, give the ingredients a good stir, and enjoy!
While I’ve designed these instant noodles cups as a meal prep idea, that you can store in the fridge for the week, they also work well as a quick and easy weeknight dinner, weekend lunch, or a fun way to feed a crowd on a cold day; just lay the ingredients out on a table and allow people to build their own instant noodle cup!
Red’s Nutrition Tip
Chicken bouillon is one of those confusing ingredients that is definitely not “real food” but not inherently unhealthy either. Since not all brands are created equal, it’s best to read the ingredients and opt for versions made with the most whole food ingredients possible. That said, don’t worry about it too much, since you’re consuming such a small amount per serving it’s really not something to stress over.
Variations and Substitutions for DIY Noodle Cups
Homemade instant noodle cups are incredibly versatile and can be made with a variety of different noodles, protein sources, vegetables, and broth flavors. Here are my top ingredient recommendations for tasty and healthy instant noodle cups.
Best Noodles for Instant Noodle Soup
While I used rice vermicelli noodles in my recipe, you can use several different types of noodles for homemade instant noodle cups. As long as the noodles are instant or quick cooking with boiling water they will work just fine, options include:
- Rice vermicelli
- Rice noodles
- Ramen noodles
- Udon noodles
- Soba noodles
Ways to Add Flavor to Instant Noodles
Instant noodle soup is nothing without a good broth. Fortunately, there are plenty of easy-to-find ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry that can quickly create a flavor base for your soup. Any combination of the following would be delicious:
- Bouillon, chicken, vegetable, beef, or mushroom
- Ginger, fresh or powder
- Garlic, fresh or powder
- Soy sauce
- Fish sauce
- Miso paste
- Red chili paste, such as gochujang, sambal, sriracha
- Curry paste
- Garlic chili paste
- Chili oil
- Sesame oil
Ways to Add Protein to Instant Noodles
Adding a source of protein to your instant noodle cups helps to ensure that you are consuming a more well-balanced meal. While I opted to use a combination of chicken and edamame in my cups, other protein options include:
- Cooked chicken
- Cooked shrimp
- Cooked beef
- Cooked pork or bacon
- Beef jerky
- Smoked fish
- Soft-boiled egg
Best Veggies for Instant Noodles
To boost the fiber content, you can add a lot of different cooked, frozen, and raw vegetables to instant noodles. Cooked and frozen vegetables will easily reheat once the boiling water is added. If using raw vegetables, such as cabbage or carrots, ensure they are thinly sliced or shredded so they soften easily in the boiling water. The best vegetables to add to instant noodles are:
- Shredded cabbage
- Shredded bok choy
- Shredded carrots
- Shredded zucchini
- Diced broccoli
- Diced bell peppers
- Sliced mushrooms
- Sliced baby corn
- Baby spinach
- Bean sprouts
- Frozen peas
- Frozen corn
- Fresh herbs, such as cilantro and mint
To Increase the Protein Content: Simply increase the amount of chicken and edamame or add an additional protein source.
To Increase the Fiber Content: Add an extra handful or two of vegetables.
To Make them Gluten-Free: Swap the soy sauce for gluten-free soy sauce or tamari and ensure that your chicken bouillon is gluten-free.
To Make them Low-Carb: Swap the rice noodles for shirataki or konjac noodles.
To Make them Low-Sodium: Use low-sodium chicken bouillon and low-sodium soy sauce, and/or omit the soy sauce completely.
Are instant noodles healthy?
Absolutely! Instant noodles are a form of pre-cooked noodles that are sold dried. Ramen noodles are the most popular form of instant noodles, which are made from wheat flour, however, instant noodles or quick-cooking noodles can also be found in the form of rice noodles and buckwheat noodles. Some prepared instant noodle cup products are sold with a broth seasoning packet; however, you can also purchase instant noodles on their own.
How often should you eat instant noodles?
You can eat instant noodles every day if you like! Talking strictly noodles, not the prepared instant noodle cups, instant noodles are a source of carbohydrates and, when consumed as part of a well-balanced diet with adequate protein, fiber, and healthy fats, are a great source of energy.
Can you lose weight eating cup noodles?
Yes! When consumed in a calorie range that creates a calorie deficit, instant noodles can be consumed as part of a healthy diet that supports weight loss.
Best Containers for Instant Noodle Cups
Containers are key when it comes to DIY instant noodle cups as your container of choice will be both the storage container and the vehicle for consumption. While many people use mason jars, I think round glass containers or glass meal prep bowls work best as they are tempered to withstand heat and will, therefore, not crack or break when boiling water is added. If using mason jars, be sure to remove them from the fridge and bring them close to room temperature before adding the hot water as they are more prone to cracking and breaking when cold.
Storage + Reheating
To Store: Store the prepared instant noodle cups, without water, in the fridge for up to 4 days.
To Freeze: Do NOT freeze the instant noodle cups uncooked. If you want to freeze the noodle cups, add the boiling water, and allow the noodles to cook, then cool completely and store the prepared soup in the freezer in an airtight container (NOT mason jars) for up to 3 months.
To Reheat: Simply add hot water when you’re ready to eat. If you’ve already added hot water and want to store the noodle cups, allow them to cool completely, then cover them with a lid and store them in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
More Meal Prep Recipes:Print
Meal Prep Instant Noodle Cups
Make meal prep fun with these highly versatile and customizable instant noodle cups! Filled with chicken and vegetables, these instant noodles are an easy and healthy meal prep idea.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 4 cups 1x
- Category: Lunch
- Method: No Cook
- Cuisine: Asian
- 12 oz. rice vermicelli, or instant noodles
- 12 oz. cooked chicken, shredded
- 2 cups napa cabbage, shredded
- 2 cups carrot, shredded
- 1 cup edamame
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 4 teaspoons chicken bouillon paste or powder
- 4 teaspoons gochujang, or other red chili paste
- 1 green onion, sliced
- 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- Boiling water
- In a glass meal prep container or mason jar, add soy sauce, chicken bouillon, and gochujang (or chili paste) to the bottom.
- Add cooked chicken, shredded cabbage, shredded carrot, edamame, and rice vermicelli to the containers, and top with a sprinkle of green onion and cilantro.
- Seal the containers with lids and store them in the fridge until mealtime.
- When you’re ready to eat, pour boiling water into the containers, just enough to cover the ingredients, ensuring the noodles are well submerged in water, then cover and let sit for 10 minutes, or as per instant noodle package directions.
- Once the noodles are tender, give the ingredients a good stir with a fork or chopsticks to ensure that everything is well combined, ensuring the chicken bouillon and chili paste are well incorporated in the broth, and serve immediately.
- The prepared bowls can be stored, without water, in an airtight container or jar in the fridge for up to 4 days. Note: If using a mason jar, bring the mason jar to room temperature before adding hot water to avoid thermal shock, which can cause the jar to crack or break.
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 497 calories
- Sugar: 5 grams
- Fat: 5 grams
- Carbohydrates: 81 grams
- Fiber: 5 grams
- Protein: 30 grams