This Crunchy Ramen Noodle Salad recipe is quick and easy to make, tossed with a simple sesame vinaigrette, and perfect for picnics and potlucks!
Alright, show of hands.
Who else grew up eating ramen noodle salad?
Chances are that if you grew up in the Midwest, this salad crossed your path at least a time or two. My mom used to make it regularly when we were kids, and brought it along to every potluck, picnic, and church function imaginable. And we always, always came home with an empty bowl.
What can I say — people love this salad!
That said, the original version that we made back in the 90s was a little more full of processed ingredients and sugar than I like to eat nowadays. So a few years ago, I gave my mom’s recipe a few modern updates and shared it on blog. But even in the years since then, I’ve actually made a few more updates — including making it with healthier ramen noodles (and even gluten-free ramen noodles, if needed), and adding in some extra veggies. So since we’re entering the prime of potluck and picnic season, I thought I’d share it with you once more. Because no matter the decade, I’ve found that people go absolutely nuts for this salad. And it’s downright delicious.
Crunchy Ramen Noodle Salad Recipe | 1-Minute Video
Back in the day, this salad used to simply be made with:
cole slaw mix
sliced green onions
a vegetable oil / white vinegar / white sugar vinaigrette
canned mandarin oranges
…and the noodles from those classic $0.29 ramen noodle packets
Nowadays, I still stick with the cole slaw mix (organic), green onions and almonds. But I also like using (affiliate links included):
fresh mango (instead of the mandarin oranges with added sugar)
To make the salad, I recommend spreading the ramen noodles and almonds out on a baking sheet and toasting them for about 10 minutes until lightly golden. (<– Tip from my mom!) Then add all of your ingredients to a large mixing bowl, drizzle on the vinaigrette, give everything a good toss…
And in no time, this delicious salad will be yours to share and enjoy!
It’s still just as perfect as ever for picnics, potlucks, or church basement functions…or anytime you need a good salad in your life. ;)
Heat oven to 425°F. Spread the crumbled ramen noodles and sliced almonds out on a baking sheet, and stir a bit to combine. Bake for about 5 minutes, or until the almonds and noodles are slightly toasted and golden. Remove baking sheet, and give the mixture a good stir to toss. Then return it to the oven and toast for an additional 3 minutes. Keep a very close eye on the mixture so that it does not burn. Remove and set aside.
Add ingredients (including the vinaigrette) together in a large bowl, and toss until combined.
Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. (This salad is much better eaten the first day, as the noodles lose their “crunch” the longer it sits, and the avocado may brown a bit. Still, it’s perfectly edible and enjoyable even after a few days!)
Don’t judge me..but I have NEVER had a ramen noodle salad! Cray cray right?! You can judge me for using cray cray though.
I LOVE ramen though, so this salad sounds amazing! Pinned!
I’m from the Midwest, and yes, I’m sure I’ve seen a version of this salad at every potluck I’ve ever attended. Funny, I’ve never made it myself. I like your updates!
I can definitely see why this is one of your favs!! LOVE!
My mom loves this type of salad but I’ve always been weary about the ramen mixes (and I think most of them have meat “parts” in them!) so I LOVE that you made your own seasoning mix! I’m definitely trying this one!
I shouldn’t love Ramen noodles as much as I do but good grief, this looks so good!
Well, I’m from the Niagara Falls area, no where near the Midwest so I have never heard of such a thing as Ramen Noodle salad, this is a big news flash to me! Can’t wait to try. Like your healthy spin on it.
And I love how you got this from your mom, those are the best recipes,….aren’t they?….the ones that get handed down, brought to the church potluck gathering, the family reunion, Uncle Jimmy’s 80th B-day party, you cherish them and the people you get to munch on them with =)
Loving this noodle salad Ali!!
Lovely Ali!!! So colorful and vibrant! I grew up on on similar salads..the best :) xo
Whoa my gosh. YUM! My aunt always made a mean version of this. I get so excited when someone brings it to a potluck :) Now I can make it too!
I’m in love with salad! Gorgeous and delicious!
Can’t wait to try your dressing tweaks – these sound better than original – and of course, healthier. The edamame are a great additiona amongst my friends – the older ladies – always get a few comments and questions.
another tip from Mom…toast the broken up ramen noodles for extra flavor. Just watch so they don’t burn. You can also toast the almonds and add some toasted sesame seeds for garnish.
Great salad for summer!
This is one of my, if not my VERY, favorite salads. I use Bragg’s Liquid Aminos instead of soy sauce, lower sodium, healthier version, but same taste.
Im all over this! Making it very soon.
This is amazing. Looks delicious and beautiful photos :)
Cry laughing… tell your mom I love her photo!!! And I have a similar one https://thelemonbowl.com/2011/05/asian-broccoli-slaw.html ;-) I LOVE that you toast the ramen first!! I will be doing that from now on. And you know I love all the add-ons you threw in!!!
I want a giant bowl of this!!!
This is too awesome, Ali!!! Such a great summer salad and I love the retro re-do!
I added some deli chicken sautéed in a little bit of the dressing YUMMO
I LOVE that this can be made vegan! I’m excited to try it :)
I loved this salad growing up, still do actually. I like that you tweaked it just a touch, and roasted the almonds and noodles?? Never would of thought of that, but I love it!
Mango + avocado + asian noodle salad = YES PLEASE! This looks yummy! :)
The colors of this salad are amazing! Your pictures are always beautiful, but I agree, your mom’s looked pretty good too ;)
Never heard of ramen noodle salad before….but definitely going to have to give it a try!
This is always a go – to potluck salad for me. So easy and so good — love your recipe for it.
Thanks so much for the makeover of one of my favorite recipes! I’ve been making this salad for over 20 years. I always feel guilty using the seasoning packet! I can’t wait to try this tonight!
I wasn’t introduced to this salad until I was an adult. At my last job, my boss would bring it to any potluck parties we had and it was always a HUGE hit. I’m so glad to see this lightened up version too. It looks awesome!
Sad to say but I have never eaten this kind of crunchy gorgeous salad before.i.need.this.in.my.life!!
I think this is going to be a new favorite. Beautiful picture! And, perfect salad for those college students on a budget…wish I had known about this.
Love this salad and love that you nixed the seasoning package. Gorgeous too, as always!
Try it with broccoli slaw…awesome!
One other comment…if you didn’t know, most ramen noodles are fried, but there are non-fried versions out there. I buy mine at the local asian market.
This does look like the best salad ever!
Looks crunchy and so delicious!
I love this version! YUM!! :)
You are right. This is a champanion potluck salad—and one of my favorites. What a great version of the salad. I really appreciate the dressing part.
One of my favorite salads EVER! Love your updates. I have similar text threads with my mom – love the back and forth + sharing!
Is there a different fruit you would suggest than mango, don’t care for mango.
Pineapple would be a great substitute!
Does this keep well, like if I mixed the dressing with it, would it get soggy after awhile?
It will eventually get soggy, so I recommend mixing the dressing as close to serving time as possible. But that said, this salad stays crunchy significantly longer than most salads, so you should be good for a potluck or such!
I discovered this type of salad a few years ago when i got a ton of cabbage in my CSA and now i make it every year. Love the additions of mango and edamame! I’ll have to try this next time.
Been looking for a recipe that didn’t use seasoning packet! Hubby is very allergic to msg and I’ve been wanting this salad!
Made this today for a work potluck…it was a huge hit!! I personally LOVED the addition of edamame, avocado, and mango to it! This is definitely a keeper :)
I can’t wait to try this updated version! My grandmother made the original salad too, and toasted the ramen as well. Though in her case “toasting” meant browning it in a pan with some butter. Gram was wonderful, but not a health food cook.
The addition of the edamame and mango is exciting too. I’ll be making this this week!
Just made a double batch to take to a large 4th of July party, and wow, is this an amazing improvement over the original recipe(which I thought was delish and showy, too)! The mango really added another taste and color dimension. Variation: For the coleslaw mix I combined reg. coleslaw mix, red cabbage, and a Dole Asian cabbage mix (that included brocoli slaw and kale) for even more color and texture. Question: I used frozen edamame beans and cooked them first before adding. Was that your intent? Comment: Admittedly, I doubled the recipe, but it still took way more than 10 minutes preparation. (Just slicing the mango alone takes that long–at least for me!) Thanks for the great, reformed recipe and the beautiful photos.
Hands down best salad!! Thanks for all of your yummy recipes : )
Question – your notes said that you didn’t use the rice wine vinegar – you used white vinegar instead…. but the recipe doesn’t have this change. What is the correct recipe for the salad dressing? Thanks!!
Ah, maybe the wording didn’t make sense in the post. I used rice wine vinegar instead of white vinegar. Hope that helps!
I had to comment as I am eating this salad for dinner, it is incredible!! Thank you for your amazing recipes.
For the ones of you wanting to add the mango, may I suggest using the frozen mango from TRADER JOES. I thaw it for 1 minute in the microwave. This leaves it still nice and cold and a little icy in the middle but perfect for this salad. Totally thawed buy the time you serve it. MUCH quicker than peeling a mango. I love the “revision” recipe. Thanks.
Your mom must have shared her recipe with someone i know (lol)…the day i moved to TX my friend made this for me (i’m the anti leaf person btw)…i shocked myself when i devoured it and continue to make batches weekly to live on! i love the edamame and mango suggestions and will try them for sure!
I just wanted to throw it out there the version i got and have now tweaked… we use red wine vinegar and i found at our grocery a combination oil of Canola & Coconut oils…i love your honey idea and will try it, but what i’ve been doing is using organic raw sugar at half what the recipe calls for and i don’t taste a bit of difference :)
the kicker in our recipe, which probably isn’t the “most healthy”, we sauté our nuts/seeds/noodles on the stove with butter (i use real butter)…this adds an amazing dimension of taste. that’s for the girls who like to live dangerously ;)
we also use organic canned chicken breast on top, just to make it a more rounded meal all of its own instead of a side salad.
i store the sauce, shredded chicken, sautéd crunch mixture and bagged coleslaw separately in the fridge. this is because i always make a double batch and eat it for days on end. (single person’s thrill)
yes, the sauce separates and congeals but i simply take it out of the fridge about 30 minutes before a meal to thaw, when mostly thawed i whisk it and voila! the crunch is even better cold when the salad is made up.
can’t wait to try the mango & edamame! putting in on my list as we speak! i’m thrilled you’ve shared such a wonderful salad with the world… hug your momma!! :)