DIY Spicy Kimchi Beef Instant Noodles Recipe

DIY instant noodles made with fresh ingredients. Just add boiling water, and you've got lunch. Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt. Video: Natalie Holt

Why It Works

  • All the convenience of a package of instant noodles, but with better ingredients and better flavor.
  • By keeping the scallions separate from the rest of the ingredients, you can stir them into the hot soup for bright, fresh, layered flavor.
  • Beef jerky reconstitutes into meaty bites in boiling water, while also adding flavor to the broth.

This pot of noodles, flavored with kimchi, mushrooms, and beef, can be made ahead and taken to work. Just add boiling water, seal it up for three minutes, add the contents of the fresh-scallion packet, and you've got a hot lunch ready.

Recipe Facts

Active: 5 mins
Total: 8 mins
Makes: 4 pots of noodles

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  • 4 tablespoons (60ml) high-quality beef base, such as Better Than Bouillon
  • 2 cups kimchi with juices
  • 4 tablespoons (60ml) chili-garlic sauce (more or less to taste)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps
  • 4 ounces (110g) beef jerky, cut into 1/2-inch squares
  • 4 small nests rice noodles or precooked ramen or Italian pasta (see note)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced scallions


  1. Divide beef base, kimchi, chili-garlic sauce, mushrooms, beef, and noodles between 4 resealable glass jars. Divide scallions between 4 small zipper-lock bags and seal bags, squeezing out all of the air. Tuck bags into jars and seal. Refrigerate for up to 4 days.

  2. When ready to serve, remove scallion packet and add boiling water to the top of the jar. Seal jar and let sit 2 minutes. Open jar, stir in scallions, and serve.

Special equipment

4 resealable 1-pint glass jars


Dry Thai or Vietnamese rice noodles can be used with no prep. Alternatively, use precooked and chilled ramen-style noodles or fresh Italian pasta. Cook the fresh noodles in boiling water for 1 minute, shock in cold water, drain well, toss with 2 teaspoons (10ml) oil until coated, then proceed with step 1.

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