This backpacking ramen soup recipe is filled with hearty meat and veggies, and lots of delicious flavor. Plus, all ingredients are shelf-stable and don’t require refrigeration— perfect for camping along the trail!
We are a very outdoorsy family— we camp and hike a lot, and even backpack a few times a year. Whenever I share photos of what I’m cooking while we’re camping I always get requests for recipes and tips. And this backpacking ramen recipe is one of my most requested recipes!
It’s famous among our group of backpacking friends, and for good reason. It’s very hearty and filling (which is so important after a long day on the trail), but also really quite delicious. This is not your average instant ramen!
I’ve filled this backpacking ramen with beef jerky, mushrooms, peas, carrots, corn and onions. My cooking method ensures the broth is full of flavor and that the veggies and jerky are tender, and adding a bit of soy sauce and sesame oil takes it to a whole new level. Skip the MRE ready-to-eat meals, and make this ramen instead. I promise you won’t have a better backpacking meal!
Table of Contents
- Ingredients you’ll need
- How to prep and pack
- How to make backpacking ramen
- Tips for making this recipe
- Flavor variations
- More camping recipes
- Get the recipe
Ingredients you’ll need
- Dried ramen noodles— Use a flavored ramen noodle soup packet (chicken or beef), or other Asian dried noodles.
- Dried jerky— I prefer to use teriyaki beef, but regular beef or turkey jerky are fine too.
- Dried shitake mushrooms— Look for dried mushrooms in the produce section of your grocery store. Use shitake, or whatever you find or prefer.
- Freeze-dried vegetables— Any combination of peas, carrots and corn. If you can’t find freeze-dried veggies at the grocery store, you can buy them online.
- Bouillon powder— If you aren’t using a ramen noodle soup package with flavor packet.
- Soy sauce, sesame oil and sriracha— Optional, but adds so much flavor! See below for how to bring it backpacking.
- Fried onions— Also optional, but I like the added texture on top of the soup just before serving. You can substitute freeze-dried scallions instead if you prefer.
How to prep and pack
Cooking meals while backpacking is a whole new ball game! There’s no clean running water, no countertop work space, or stovetop to cook on. Everything you need must be carried in your pack, and so you want to be as efficient as possible.
Here’s a few tips for prepping and packing this ramen soup at home to make later at camp:
- Do any slicing and chopping at home. Slice jerky into strips and chop dried mushrooms.
- Bring only what you need. Don’t bring the whole packet of dried mushrooms, for example. Measure out exactly what you need and leave the rest at home.
- Use disposable bags. I pack the veggies and jerky in plastic ziplock bags because they’re light and take up very little space. Reusable containers or bags are often heavier and bulkier (but if you have a lightweight plastic-free option you prefer, feel free to use it!).
- Look through your takeout packet stash. If you typically hold on to soy sauce packets, etc. leftover from restaurant takeout, have a look through it! Sriracha/chili oil and red pepper flakes would also be great flavor additions. If you don’t have anything at home, visit the deli counter at your grocery store, they often have packets available.
- Use small backpacking storage containers for liquids. Lightweight small containers designed for travel and backpacking are great for packing in liquids like sesame oil, soy sauce, etc.
How to make backpacking ramen
- Boil jerky and mushrooms. Add to a pot of boiling water, cover with lid and cook for 5 minutes. This rehydrates the ingredients and also provides a flavorful base for the broth.
- Add noodles and vegetables. Stir them in and simmer for 3-5 minutes until tender (time depends on the brand of noodles).
- Stir in flavor packet, soy sauce and sesame oil. Turn off heat and stir in flavorings.
- Top with fried onions and sriracha. If you want!
- Enjoy! Serve this ramen immediately straight from the pot, or divide into bowls.
Tips for making this recipe
- You should be able to get all ingredients needed for this recipe at any grocery store, with the exception of the freeze-dried vegetables. They may be harder to find. We really like Packit Gourmet for any backpacking ingredients we need to buy online.
- I like the combination of teriyaki beef jerky with beef-flavored ramen noodles (usually Nissin or Maruchan brand), but feel free to use whatever sounds good to you!
- I prefer to use jerky over freeze dried meat as it’s heartier (and hardier) and has more flavor.
- Most similar recipes simply add dried jerky on top of the soup before serving, but simmering it along with the soup tenderizes it so that it almost tastes like you’ve got a fresh piece of steak in there.
- I highly recommend packing soy sauce and sesame oil (preferably toasted sesame oil). They add so much more flavor!
- This recipe feeds 1-2 people, depending on how hungry you are. It’s also very flexible, so you can simply change ratios of water/broth, veggies, noodles and jerky if needed to make a little more or less. If feeding more than 2 people, I would add another package of noodles.
Consider adding these ingredients to your ramen for different and/or additional flavor!
- For a vegetarian-alternative protein, use freeze dried tofu instead of jerky. Boil tofu cubes with mushrooms until tender.
- Add 1 tbsp freeze dried ginger to water along with mushrooms and jerky.
- Use other vegetables such as red bell peppers, green beans, broccoli and spinach (cooking time may need to be adjusted).
- Stir 2-3 tbsp dried coconut milk powder into ramen once noodles are tender, before serving.
- Top ramen with strips of dried seaweed just before serving.
- A sprinkle of red pepper flakes on top is another great way to add some heat.
- Top with 2 tbsp chopped roasted peanuts or cashews for more protein and a bit of crunch.
*I haven’t tested many of these, but they should work just fine. You can always do a test run at home to find your ideal ramen combination before heading out on the trial.
More camping recipes
Get the recipe
Backpacking Ramen Soup
- 2-3 cups water (see Notes)
- ¼ cup dried shitake mushrooms , chopped
- 2 oz jerky , chopped
- 3 oz ramen noodle soup packet (with flavor packet)
- ½ cup freeze-dried veggies , like carrots, corn and peas
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce (1 takeout soy sauce packet)
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil (optional)
- 1 tsp sriracha (optional)
- ¼ cup crispy fried onions (optional)
- Bring pot of water to boil. Add jerky pieces and mushrooms to the water and cover. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add vegetables and dried noodles and simmer 3-5 minutes until both are tender (time depends on noodles used).
- Turn off the heat and add soy sauce, sesame oil and ramen flavor packet.
- Before serving, top with sriracha and crispy fried onions if desired.
- This ramen will feed 1-2 people, depending on how hungry you are (Nutrition facts are for 1 serving).
- Water amount is flexible depending on how many people you’re feeding, how much broth you like in your soup, and size of pot.
- You can use any dried Asian noodles in place of ramen noodle soup package. If using noodles that don’t include a flavor packet, add 1 tsp flavored bouillon. Adjust cooking time as needed.
- I like the combination of teriyaki beef jerky and beef-flavored ramen noodles, but use what you prefer. Regular or turkey jerky would also work fine.
- If you can’t find freeze-dried vegetables at your grocery store, you can buy some online.
- See the article accompanying this recipe for more flavor suggestions and substitutions.