Ramen noodles and cup of noodles are popular lunch choices for the teens and preteens I know. They’re easy to make and pack in a thermos, make with an electric kettle in a dorm room, or make for a quick lunch during online school at home. Many instant noodles have dairy in the seasoning. Even if you replace the seasoning packet with something else, cross contamination can be a concern. So my teens and I decided to make our own dairy-free instant noodle cups for home or school.
DIY Dairy-Free Instant Noodle Cups are Easy with These Tips
Many online recipes use 16 oz. canning jars for instant noodles. We made kid-sized portions in 8 oz. canning jars. This serving size is the perfect fit for our favorite 10 oz. Thermos Food Jar, and it isn’t too much food for small stomachs–or short lunch periods. It’s easy to double the recipe and make a larger serving for those who’d like one.
These Dairy-Free Instant Noodle Cups don’t follow a strict recipe, so they are easy to adapt for size or different dietary needs. Besides being dairy free, they can also easily be made vegan or gluten free.
Choose Your Dairy-Free Broth Base
In the instant noodle cup pictured, I used Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base, which is vegan certified vegan and tastes like chicken broth. I like Orrington Farms Chicken Broth Base for a non-vegan option. Miso paste makes a great broth, too. And Alisa has a list with even more Dairy-Free Bouillon & Broth Brands.
Customize Your Cup of Noodles
I’m sure you can come up with many more ideas, but here are some suggested add-ins to help you mix things up with the recipe below:
- Noodles (gluten-free, if needed): udon, soba, ramen, angel hair, vermicelli, spaghetti (shown here)
- Protein: Tofu cubes, chicken pieces, leftover chopped meats
- Vegetables: Leftover cooked and chopped vegetables, frozen chopped or bite-sized vegetables, chives (fresh or dried), baby spinach leaves, bean sprouts, dehydrated mushrooms
- Flavor Boosters: Seaweed, sriracha, turmeric, coconut milk powder (for creamier)
DIY for Kids!
Kids can assemble the cups themselves, making it easy for them to customize the ingredients to their liking. Older children and teens can make the entire recipe themselves. Younger children might need help with the hot water.
Special Diet Notes: Instant Noodle Cups
- ½ cup cooked noodles (gluten-free, if needed)
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon dairy-free bouillon powder, broth base, or miso paste
- ⅛ cup frozen mixed vegetables (such as corn, peas, and carrots)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons diced chicken or tofu
- Place all of the ingredients in a clean 8-ounce canning jar.
- Place the lid on the jar and refrigerate for up to three days or freeze for longer storage.
- When you are ready to eat the noodle cup, unscrew the lid and fill to just below the threaded area with very hot (not quite boiling) water. Or you may fill the jar with cold water and microwave it (without the lid) for approximately 60 to 90 seconds, but be careful it doesn't overflow.
- Stir all of the ingredients together and let the soup steep with the lid on for a minute or two.
- You may transfer the soup to a thermos if you are transporting it elsewhere, serve it in a bowl, or enjoy it right from the jar.