Ah, ramen noodles. The food sometimes gets a bad rep as a stereotype for cheap college meals students eat when they come home from a bar.

But the truth is, ramen noodles don’t always come in a plastic pack and can be made in the microwave in 60 seconds flat. It’s actually a Japanese dish consisting of wheat-based that many restaurants pride themselves on!

That said, if you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg for a bowl of soup, instant ramen does have its place. But don’t just heat it up and devour it at 2 a.m. There are actually lots of ways you can use instant ramen to make a real, gourmet meal.

Don’t believe us? Here are 9 recipes that use instant ramen, but will impress your friends and family (not to mention, yourself!) to no end. Grab your chopsticks, you’re not going to want to miss these.

  1. Mongolian Beef Ramen

    It turns out filet mignon is only one way to have a gourmet meal. This recipe calls for sirloin and three packs of instant ramen—not a sentence you thought you’d hear, but alas, the finished product is lip-smacking worthy.

  2. Spicy Tofu Ramen

    The flavors in this one are seriously to die for. Can you smell it just wafting off your phone screen? It’s vegan, it’s vegetarian, and oh yeah, there’s a tasty spicy miso paste involved. Enjoy.

  3. Veggie Stir-Fry

    Broccoli, shredded carrots and shitake mushrooms make this recipe healthy, but the sesame oil, soy sauce and hoisin sauce take it to the next level, making you feel like you’re at a fancy Japanese restaurant. With just 5 steps (one of them being “dig in”), this recipe couldn’t be simpler to make.

  4. Ramen Carbonara

    Is this a Japanese or Italian meal? The world may never know. We do know one thing though: It’s delicious!

  5. Ramen Noodles To-Go

    This meal prep idea will save you from lunch fatigue: healthy ramen noodle jars packed with fresh veggies, homemade Asian-style broth, and a hard-boiled egg.TipHero

    Craving ramen, but on the go? These make-ahead to-go noodles are the perfect recipe to meal prep for the week. Everyone at work will be jealous of your fancy lunches—little do they know it’s made with instant ramen.

  6. Thai Chicken Ramen

    Sure, we said Ramen was a Japanese dish, but this one has a Thai flair. It’s a bit of a mixture of pad Thai, but in the form of soup. With ramen. Just trust us, it’ll become a go-to for dinner parties.

  7. Caramelized Pork Ramen Soup

    The best part of this one isn’t the caramelization on the pork (though that’s certainly up there)—it’s the fact that you can make this in a crockpot and no one will know you didn’t spend hours slaving all day (it totally will taste like you did!).

  8. Ramen Burger

    Sure, burgers aren’t what you’d always call gourmet, but this one is an exception. There’s something about noodles and a patty on a bun that makes our stomach rumble.

  9. Garlicky Shrimp Ramen

    Seafood is just what you need to even out the carb-to-healthy ratio of a ramen dish. You can make this one in a total of 30 minutes flat, but it’ll taste just like an authentic meal—perfect for when you’re craving true Japanese food.

Are you a big ramen fan? Which one of these recipes will you try first?