We’re beefing up your ramen noodle packages by adding juicy ground beef, carrots, red peppers, and green onions to a crockpot to simmer in a flavorful, sweet and savory sauce. Slow cooker beef ramen is a Japanese-inspired dish that will satisfy even the hungriest teens!
Beef Ramen Noodles
Slow cooker beef ramen is traditionally made with tender chunks of beef, much like Mongolian beef, but we’re making ours with seared ground beef instead. It’s a bit of a shortcut and cost-effective which is one of the best parts about Ramen noodles!
They have always been a budget-friendly way to make hearty soup. Yes, it’s those same packages of noodles you poured boiling water over when you lived in the dorms during college days.
Do you remember when you blew your food budget at the beginning of the month and were too afraid to call home? Yeah, those.
Little did you know you could make a delicious noodle bowl without the need for those little flavor packets that are so high in sodium.
With ground beef, veggies, and a few extra pantry items, this is one way to make a cost-effective and cozy bowl of soup that rivals anything you’d order at a Japanese restaurant.
A lot has changed since college! 😉
Why you’ll love Slow Cooker Beef Ramen
Easy to make – Brown the beef and toss everything but the noodles into the slow cooker. The noodles cook super fast so they get added in at the end. It’s that easy.
Super satisfying – Not just for college students! A perfectly flavorful, fully loaded, slurpable bowl of beef ramen noodles is served! Great for busy nights and it’s one the whole family will enjoy.
Cost-effective – If you’ve stocked up on packages of Ramen noodles or have a ton of frozen ground beef you have saved up, this is a great way to use them both. Toss whatever veggies you have in the fridge and avoid waste.
Equipment you’ll need
- Slow Cooker – A 6 quart slow cooker is standard for most crock pot recipes. This is my favorite.
- Veggie Chopper
- Ladle – This ramen is less soupy, more hearty, but it’s still easily served with a ladle.
Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this recipe. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card.
- Ground Beef – Use extra lean ground beef so there isn’t an excess of fat. I like to use ground sirloin 93/7.
- Veggies – Matchstick carrots and sliced red bell pepper add beautiful color to this dish. The carrots and red bell pepper are on the sweeter side and pair well with the sugary elements in this dish.
- Aromatics – Roughly chopped scallions (aka green onions) and minced garlic.
- Low Sodium Soy Sauce – A slightly salty, umami flavor that gives the beef and flavorful broth a darker color. Popular in Asian cooking, it adds so much flavor!
- Brown Sugar – There’s something so complex about the balance of sweet and salty in slow cooker beef ramen. It’s not at all overpowering, but necessary!
- Liquid Stock – I like to use chicken stock but if you want a more robust beef flavor, go ahead and use beef broth.
- Ramen Noodles – You’ll need 2 packs of these but you can discard the seasoning packet & we’re going to ignore the package instructions. We just want the noodles. These can be found in your local grocery store, Asian food market, and even some dollar stores.
- Optional Garnishes – Sesame seeds for a great textural element and more scallions.
How to make Slow Cooker Beef Ramen
- Step One: Brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink. If necessary, drain any excess grease. If you’re using extra lean ground beef there shouldn’t be too much.
- Step Two: Add the cooked beef to the basin of your slow cooker then add the carrots, red bell pepper, and scallions (saving some for garnish).
- Step Three: Whisk together the garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, and chicken stock and pour that into the slow cooker as well. Stir to combine.
- Step Four: Cook on low for 4-6 hours and with 30 minutes left in the cooking time, add the dry Ramen noodles. Stir them around frequently so they are covered in liquid and cook evenly until tender.
- Step Five: Serve topped with additional scallions and sesame seeds. Enjoy!
What to serve with Beef Ramen
Traditional ramen is served with soft-boiled eggs and lime wedges, otherwise it’s completely satisfying on its own.
You could always just enjoy it with a side of bread to sop up the juices.
If you want to make your meal a little extra special, provide chopsticks for people to use for the noodles.
- It wouldn’t exactly be ramen anymore, but you could skip the noodles and serve it over rice or in lettuce leaves.
- Swap out the beef for a lean meat like ground turkey or chicken for a lighter version. Or, try my slow cooker chicken ramen that uses chicken thighs!
- Add red pepper flakes or sriracha for a spicy kick.
- Add some fish sauce or oyster sauce to the broth for another layer of flavor.
- Finish it with a squirt of lime juice to really brighten it up.
- Fresh ginger in the soup or pickled ginger on top is always a great pairing with soy sauce and beef.
- If you like a lot of broth, only add one pack of noodles.
How to reheat and store leftovers
How to store leftovers
Keep leftovers in an airtight container. Be sure to wait until it’s completely cooled before closing the lid. When you don’t, you trap the heat which causes excess moisture. This can affect the flavor when it’s watered down.
How long will it last in the fridge?
Store cooked and cooled beef ramen noodles in the fridge for up to 3 days.
How to reheat it
The microwave is great if you’re short on time, or the stovetop over medium-low heat.
Is this a good make ahead dish?
Definitely! If you’re wanting to cut down on the time you can brown the beef the day before. You can also get ahead by chopping veggies and having them ready to go.
The entire soup can be made the day before and then reheated, or you can make the soup without the noodles.
When you’re ready to serve, place dry noodles in a bowl and pour hot broth overtop and let it sit for a few minutes.
Can you put raw beef in the slow cooker?
Technically you can but for this recipe, I don’t recommend it. Browning the beef first gives it so much added flavor and caramelization that you just don’t get adding it in raw and then slow cooking it.
If you want a start from raw option, try my slow cooker beef & broccoli.
What cut of beef is good for ramen?
Whether you use ground beef or strips of beef, I’d say top sirloin is the best. It’s lean and has a ton of flavor.
I like to use 93/7 or 90/10 ground sirloin so it’s not greasy.
What other vegetables can I add to beef ramen?
Toss in some extra veggies or swap them completely. Bok choy, mushrooms, bean sprouts, or snow peas are perfect.
Any fast-cooking veggies should be added later on to avoid them getting mushy.
Need more noodle recipes? Try these:
Click here for my entire collection of soup recipes.