These cup of noodle soups are a serious upgrade from the instant noodles you ate in college, but just as convenient! Learn how to make and meal-prep homemade noodle jars to pack for lunch or heat and eat for an easy dinner.

Devon O'Brien
Updated April 08, 2020
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The cheap price tag and addictive saltiness of beef-flavored instant noodle soup in a convenient foam cup was the stuff of midnight dinner dreams in college. But now that I'm older, arguably wiser and definitely more in-tune with health and nutrition, my favorite quick slurpable meal needed a serious upgrade. I give you: homemade cup of noodle soups.

That's right–all the convenience of an instant, single-serving meal but with a healthy upgrade to ingredients you actually know (say buh-bye to powdered chicken soup base for good).

One serving of our Spicy Ramen Cup of Noodles saves you 179 milligrams of sodium and 3 grams of saturated fat while packing in an extra 10 grams of protein and an extra 8 grams of fiber. Just add water to these beautiful veggie-loaded noodle soups and lunch is ready in no time-plus each jar only takes about 5 minutes to assemble.

To Make One 1 Jar You'll Need:

  • 3-4 teaspoons creamy flavor base
  • 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons liquid flavor, optional
  • 1/2 to 1 cup raw vegetables
  • 1/2 cup cooked noodles
  • 3 ounces cooked protein
  • Garnishes

Here's how to do it:

1. Gather Your Equipment

Pictured Recipe: Spicy Ramen Cup of Noodles

You'll need three 11/2-pint wide-mouth canning jars (Wide-mouth jars are easier to layer in and eat out of.) to make these noodle dishes. Why three? Because they keep for three days in your fridge. Eat them all yourself, send them to work or school with your family or adjust the recipe to make fewer–or more.

2. Start with a Creamy Flavor Base

Since these soups aren't made like broth like traditional soup or instant ramen, the creamy flavor base is key to making sure you pack in tons of taste without watering it down. This base will meld into the water you add when you are ready to eat, making a "broth" all it's own without having to add too much soy sauce or salt.

If you do it right, you might come up with something like a tom yum or pho in your own kitchen! Try mixing and matching these for your flavored noodles:

  • bouillon paste
  • miso
  • tahini
  • gochujang
  • Thai red curry paste
  • chili sauce
  • grated ginger
  • grated garlic

3. Add Liquid Flavor

Pictured Recipe: Chicken Curry Cup of Noodles

This is your second chance to pack in flavor–the liquid flavor gives you the opportunity to add creaminess, acid and/or sweetness depending on what you like, but you can also skip this step if you're happy with the flavor profile you created in step 2. Mix and match some of the following:

  • coconut milk
  • mirin
  • vinegar
  • brown sugar

4. Layer in Quick-Cooking Vegetables

Or at least cut the vegetables so they'll cook up quickly when you're actually ready to eat! What you want is something like a noodle salad to combine with your broth. Try some of these:

  • leafy greens (like spinach, bok choy and cabbage)
  • sliced mushrooms
  • shredded carrots
  • thinly sliced radish
  • mixed frozen vegetables

5. Can't Forget the Noodles

For the best heat-and-eat soups, you don't want to start with dry noodles; you'll want to cook your noodles ahead of time. Just make sure to only cook them until al dente, as they will continue to cook when you heat up your jar, and you don't want a mushy mess! Using good frying noodles is best. Try one of these:

  • rice noodles
  • ramen noodles
  • soba noodles
  • spiralized vegetable noodles like zucchini or butternut squash

6. Pack in Some Protein

Make your lunch or quick dinner ultra-satisfying by adding in some protein. While we know chicken ramen starts with flavor packets, real chicken is the healthier option. You will want to add the protein already cooked, too so you can heat and eat in a jiff without worrying about everything cooking all the way through. Try:

  • hard-boiled eggs
  • baked tofu
  • shredded chicken
  • shrimp

7. Top it Off with Some Garnishes

Pictured Recipe: Kimchi Shrimp Cup of Noodles

Not only do sprinkles and sprigs look pretty, but they also add flavor and texture. Place these at the very top of the jar to keep them as fresh as possible! Some (like citrus wedges) you will want to remove from the jar before you heat it up. Try:

  • toasted sesame seeds
  • toasted chopped nuts
  • lime wedge
  • fresh herbs like mint, basil and/or cilantro

Close the lids tight and store these in the fridge for up to three days.

8. Just Add Water and Slurp!

Once you're ready to eat, add 1 cup of very hot water to one jar.

Close the jar and shake to combine. Microwave uncovered on high in 1-minute increments until steaming hot, 2 to 3 minutes.

Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir before eating.

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