Yep, this fun train just keeps chugging on down the tracks and ope, here we are for a delicious little stop in Noodle Town! The very best of towns. These are perfectly spicy noodles, swimming around in a ginger-spiked broth, ready for all your slurpiest noodle needs.
The short ribs are the most tender, the most fall-apart, the most worthy of tears because how are they so gooood?! Just peeking out on top of your noodle-y pile, next to some bright sautéed spinach, sprinkled with sesame seeds and swizzled with a little toasted sesame oil. Oh my. Oh my, oh my.
What Is Gochujang Sauce?
This little noodle-y wonder gets its deep and interesting spice from the gochujang sauce. If you’re not familiar, it is a sauce made from gochujang — a staple ingredient in Korean cooking with an absolutely delicious lingering heat and strong umami flavor — mixed with some other ingredients like soy sauce, vinegar, and a sweetener. Gochujang itself is a spicy-sweet-savory paste that is made from fermented soybeans, red chile pepper flakes, sticky rice, and salt and it is commonly used to flavor meat dishes, soups and stews, and sauces. You can read a little more about how it’s made and used from Christina Chaey over at Bon Appetit.
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Ingredients For Short Rib Noodle Soup
Because the gochujang sauce brings so much depth of flavor, especially when paired up with aromatics like ginger and garlic, the ingredient list itself isn’t too long!
trimmed short ribs, removed from the bone (it’s worth it to trim/prep before cooking for a top-notch soup experience)
minced fresh ginger, garlic & shallot
dry ramen noodles or any other stir-fry noodles
scallions, sesame seeds, and/or sesame oil for finishing
How To Make This Spicy Short Rib Noodle Soup
Because we’ve got our ol’ pal the Instant Pot working for us here, things come together relatively simply.
Short Ribs. Season generously with salt and then pop them in the IP on sauté mode without disturbing them until browned on the outside.
Flavor it up. Add gochujang sauce, tomato paste, ginger, garlic, and shallots to the IP and let that go for a bit, then add the broth.
Cook. High presh for 30 minutes. When done, that meat will be so beautifully tender.
Noodles! Set to the sauté mode again and add the noodles and cook until softened.
Spinach. Sauté in a separate pan and then add to your soup (optional, but such a nice bright add-in). You could also toss it right into the pot if that’s your jam!
Serve your soup bowls topped with the fall-apart short ribs, tuck in your sautéed spinach, sprinkle with scallions, sesame seeds, and sesame oil. YUM!
Make It Your Own
This recipe came to be after trying to replicate this beautiful bowl of goodness from The Daley Plate spotted over on Insta (years ago!). While not working from a particular traditional recipe, this dish definitely has notes of more culturally-specific spicy beef and noodle soup combos, like this homemade take on Shin Cup Style-Spicy Korean Ramyun Beef Noodle Soup or this Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup from Woks of Life, both of which sound absolutely delicious for a more traditional recipe.
What we have here is a super slurpy, heat-you-from-the-inside-out broth/noodle combo that is the perfect base, and then you can really start to customize from there! We’ve tried a few different cuts of beef, short ribs being the fave for tenderness, but others definitely work! If you’re feeling chicken instead, you could totally do that. You could certainly keep it vegetarian, too, with a little veg stock and then maybe some marinated crisp tofu or oven-roasted mushrooms on top. So much possibility!
If you’re not an Instant Pot owner, no worries, this dream can still be yours with a little more time. If you only have a package of ramen available? Perfect, toss that flavor packet out and then get that noodle block swimming. What we’re saying is this ginger, garlic, gochujang sauce combo is going to make absolutely anything sing.
Fun soups forever!
Instant Pot Spicy Short Rib Noodle Soup: Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a difference between gochujang and gochujang sauce?
Yes! This recipe uses gochujang sauce, which has a different taste and spice level than straight gochujang paste since it is mixed with other ingredients. If you can only find gochujang paste, consider adding a splash of soy sauce and perhaps a bit of honey or sugar to balance things out.
Can I make this vegetarian?
Absolutely! Just use veggie broth and either plop some delicious marinated crispy tofu or oven-roasted mushrooms on top for extra flavor.
How can I make this without an Instant Pot?
Sear the short ribs in large pot on the stove in a little bit of oil until there’s a beautiful browned crust. Remove the short ribs from the pot and add in the tomato paste, gochujang sauce, ginger, shallots, and garlic and cook for a few minutes until the aromatics are translucent. Add in the beef broth and add the short ribs back to the pot. Simmer on low for a few hours until the short ribs are tender and start to fall apart. Add in your noodles and cook through.
We’re making a stop in Noodle Town! This noodle-y wonder is packed with tender short ribs, bright sautéed spinach, sesame seeds, and gingery broth, and noodles upon noodles.
1poundshort ribs (meat removed from bone, fat trimmed, cut into smallish chunks)
1 tablespoongochujang sauce (more gochujang = more spicy! I would say this amount is medium spicy)
1 tablespoontomato paste
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
6 cloves garlic, crushed/minced
1shallot, thinly sliced
10–16ouncesdry ramen noodles or any other stir-fry noodles (I use 2-3 individual serving size packages)
scallions, sesame seeds, and/or sesame oil on top
Set Instant Pot to the sauté mode. Sprinkle short ribs generously with salt; sauté without disturbing them until browned on the outside.
Add gochujang, tomato paste, ginger, garlic, and shallots to the Instant Pot with the short ribs and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
Add broth. Cook on high pressure for 30 minutes. When the cook time is up, the meat should be extremely tender and yummy.
Set to the sauté mode again. Add noodles and cook until the noodles are softened. Taste broth and season with salt, pepper, maybe a shot of rice vinegar? and anything else you want.
Sauté spinach in a separate pan (optional).
Serve noodle soup bowls topped with the short ribs, sautéed spinach, scallion, sesame seeds, and sesame oil.
Stovetop Instructions: Sear the short ribs in large pot on the stove in a little bit of oil until there’s a beautiful browned crust. Remove the short ribs from the pot and add in the tomato paste, ginger, shallots, and garlic and cook for a few minutes until the aromatics are translucent. Add in the beef broth and add the short ribs back to the pot. Simmer on low for a few hours until the short ribs are tender and start to fall apart. Add in your noodles and cook through.
This recipe is best served right after the noodles finish up cooking. If you wait too long before serving, the noodles can get mushy and absorb the extra broth. It would also work to make the short ribs and broth ahead of time, then add the noodles right before serving.
I have tried this with other cuts of beef and I didn’t like it as much – they just didn’t get as tender. I’ve also tried cooking the short ribs with the bones and fat on them and while the flavor was good, the broth got way too oily and it was just a mess to try to pull the meat off. So in my opinion it’s worth doing the trimming before you cook.
I bought packages of beef that were about 1.5 pounds so by the time I was removing the bones and fat, I was probably left with .75 pounds of the actual beef. That amount of meat + 2 noodle packages was about the right ratio for me!
For the broth, I usually start with 4-5 cups but have definitely found myself needing to add more to the leftovers – the noodles like to soak up the liquid.
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:40 minutes
Keywords: short rib recipe, spicy short ribs, noodle soup