Ground beef stir fry with ramen: kid-friendly weeknight dinner recipes don't get any better than this! Made with budget-friendly ramen and bulked up with fresh veggies, this is a ground beef recipe you'll use again and again.
I am always looking for budget-friendly fast weeknight dinners for my family.
As much as I love to cook elaborate things from scratch, sometimes you just need a quick and easy dinner on the table.
Since I know my kids will eat just about anything if pasta is involved, I decided to play with this easy ground beef stir fry with ramen noodles and see if I could make it even more quickly after Little Pea's dance class one night.
The recipe was a huge hit with my entire family.
The whole recipe is finished in less than 20 minutes and that includes the time chopping up some fresh veggies!
If you have a bag of frozen vegetables ready to go, the dinner would more likely be in the 15 minute range. Perfect for a busy night.
Why This is the Best Recipe
My family loves Chinese take-out but sometimes the budget says we need to cook at home. This ground beef stir fry recipe is the perfect answer because:
- Quick & Easy: 15 - 20 minutes and the dish is ready to serve.
- Kid Friendly: My kids gobbled this up even with the veggies. They'll eat almost anything if it includes a noodle.
- Flexible Variations: You can make this the perfect recipe for your family just by switching up the veggies you include.
- Budget-Friendly: A package or two of ramen noodles are significantly cheaper than regular pasta. Use whatever veggies are on sale and inexpensive ground beef for a cost conscious dinner for the family.
This easy recipe starts with a short and simple list of ingredients:
- Ground Beef: You could substitute ground turkey, ground chicken, or ground pork if you prefer. Whatever is on sale will totally work.
- Mixed Stir Fry Vegetables: You can use whatever you have on hand, fresh or frozen. Be sure to see my notes about the best stir fry veggies below.
- Oriental Ramen Noodles: Yes, the super cheap kind you used to eat in college.
- Soy Sauce
- Minced Garlic
- Asian Seasoning Blend: Most major spice companies offer a stir fry blend. If you don't want to use that, you can use the spice recipe listed below.
- Fresh Green Onions for garnish (Optional)
The Best Stir Fry Noodles
The price of a regular box of pasta has nearly tripled in our area recently.
I love that this recipe uses budget-friendly ramen, the kind we used to eat in college.
You'll just want to be sure to toss the seasoning packet that comes with the ramen, it is filled with far too much sodium.
Ramen cooks quickly from the steam of the dish so your veggies don't get overdone.
I bought a 6-pack of ramen noodles at our grocery store that looked just like this.
We ended up using 3 of the 6 packages to stretch this dish a little farther than the recipe calls for, but at a fraction of the cost of normal pasta, I didn't mind.
The kids were fascinated by the ramen noodle bricks and they LOVED that the individual noodles were slightly curly.
They made the dish even easier for the kids to eat with their forks. Another small benefit only a mom could appreciate!
For some reason they seem to struggle with most long noodles used for stir fry but had no problems with the curly ramen.
The Best Stir Fry Veggies
My favorite part about this easy ground beef and noodles recipe is that you can mix and match the stir fry veggies that go into it.
You can either use what vegetables you have on hand in the fridge or you can buy a pre-mixed stir fry veggie packet from the frozen section at the grocery store.
I sliced up an onion, red pepper, and fresh broccoli and shredded some carrot for our dinner since I had them all on hand in the fridge.
You could buy a frozen stir fry veggies kit or mix your own blend from these easy options:
The vegetables my kids tend to enjoy the most that would work great in this recipe include:
- pea pods: sugar snap peas or pea pods, fresh or frozen
- celery: fresh, chop it or slice it on the diagonal
- bell peppers: fresh or frozen, sliced or cut into chunks
- broccoli: fresh or frozen florets
- shredded carrots: grate your own from fresh or use the pre-shredded carrots from the store
- onions: sliced thinly or chopped
- baby corn: canned, you can find it in the Asian foods section of the grocery store
- asparagus: fresh or frozen
Can I use ground beef for stir fry?
This was the biggest surprise for me about this easy ground beef stir fry.
Normally, I imagine beef stir fry with sliced flank steak but that always requires some time at the cutting board.
This stir fry recipe calls for using ground beef instead of steak! You brown up the ground beef in the pan first and then add the veggies to sauté together.
A ground beef stir fry comes together so much more quickly than a steak version does and is a lot more budget friendly for families.
I also feel like the ground beef is easier to stretch to feed a bunch of hungry kids than slices of steak would have been.
Asian Stir Fry Seasoning Substitute
If you don't want to buy a pre-mixed spice blend, you can add a few dashes of each of these spices from your pantry:
- crushed red pepper flakes
- onion powder
- sesame seeds
- citrus zest from an orange or lemon
- black pepper
How to Make the Stir Fry
First, brown the ground beef in a very large skillet over medium-high heat.
Crumble it as it cooks until it is no longer pink. Drain the excess fat as needed.
Add the Asian stir fry seasoning blend and minced garlic to the beef and stir to combine.
Then you'll add your veggies and quickly saute them.
Break up the ramen bricks and sprinkle them into the pan. Pour the water over th top and stir to combine.
Cover the pan with a lid and let the stir fry simmer until the noodles are tender, just 1 - 2 minutes.
Stir the noodles into the juices at the bottom of the pan so they absorb as much flavor as possible and let cook for just 1 more minute.
Pour the soy sauce over the top, garnish with green onions if desired, and serve immediately.
NOTE: Do not overcook the ramen, it will soften quickly so keep an eye on it!
More Easy Asian Dinner Recipes
If you love Asian-flavored stir fry recipes, you'll love this spicy gochujang noodles recipe which features mushrooms in the mix.
Our family also loves this easy spicy peanut butter noodles with pork which is finished in just 20 minutes. When we want chicken, I love making this Asian peanut butter pasta dish, too.
More Easy Ground Beef Recipes
When ground beef goes on sale, you might want to stock up to make these other delicious recipes.
Top ground beef chili bowls with fresh tomatoes, green onions, and cheddar cheese.
Easy Beef Stir Fry with Noodles
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 tablespoon Asian seasoning blend Most major spice brands have a blend made for stir frys.
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 cups mixed stir fry vegetables fresh or frozen
- 2 packages Oriental ramen noodles broken into chunks (Discard the seasoning packet.)
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- OPTIONAL: Chopped green onions for garnish
- In a large skillet, brown the ground beef over medium-high heat until no longer pink and cooked through. Break it up into crumbles with the back of a spoon as it browns. Drain the fat and return the skillet to the stovetop.
- Add the Asian seasoning and minced garlic to the beef, stir them to combine with the beef over the heat until fragrant. About 30 seconds.
- Add the veggie mix to the pan and stir fry for 3-4 minutes, mixing the veggies into the beef as they cook.
- Add the broken up chunks of ramen noodles to the pan and pour the water over the top. Stir to combine and cover the pan with a lid. Let the stir fry simmer and steam until the noodles are tender. After a minute or two, stir the softening noodles into the liquid in the bottom of the pan so they can absorb the water faster.
- When the noodles are softened through, toss the noodles, beef, and veggies together and pour the soy sauce over the top.
- OPTIONAL: Serve with chopped green onions for garnish.
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