Is Oriental Ramen Vegan and Cruelty-Free?

September 8, 2023

If you’ve ever wondered, Is Maruchan ramen vegan? you’re not alone. Identifying whether or not Maruchan Oriental Ramen (now called Soy Sauce Flavor) is vegan is a complex endeavor.

The challenge often lies in the manufacturers’ lack of transparency regarding the nature and source of their ingredients.

This article is here to unveil the truth and support you in your ethical, vegan journey.

Is Oriental Ramen Vegan?

No, the Soy Sauce flavor (formerly Oriental flavor) of Maruchan instant ramen noodles is not vegan. The ingredients that specifically make it non-vegan are beef extract, lactose, and sugar.

Sugar is vegan on its own, but it’s frequently filtered through animal bone char. Usually, when a manufacturer chooses to use sugar not processed with bone char, it makes a point of publicizing the fact. A manufacturer that doesn’t disclose the source of its sugar gives strict vegans no choice but to avoid its products.

Is Oriental Ramen Cruelty-Free?

No. According to Maruchan, the ingredients that come from soy and corn are GMO, and GMO products are tested on animals to ensure their safety for human consumption.

Nothing that is tested on animals can be considered cruelty-free.

Furthermore, this product contains palm oil, which is notorious for its harmful effects on local environments and habitats where it is grown and harvested.

What Is Oriental Ramen Made Of?

Oriental Ramen is a complex blend of ingredients, some of which are plant-based, but others are decidedly not. Here’s the full list:

  • Wheat flour
  • Niacin
  • Reduced iron
  • Thiamine mononitrate
  • Riboflavin
  • Folic acid
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • Soy sauce
  • Water
  • Wheat
  • Soybeans
  • Potassium carbonate
  • Sodium
  • Phosphate
  • Sodium carbonate
  • Turmeric
  • Monosodium glutamate
  • Hydrolyzed corn, wheat, and soy protein
  • Sugar
  • Dehydrated vegetables (garlic, onion, chive)
  • Dehydrated soy sauce (wheat, soybeans, salt)
  • Caramel color
  • Spices
  • Beef extract
  • Yeast extract
  • Maltodextrin
  • Vegetable oil (palm)
  • Disodium inosinate
  • Disodium guanylate
  • Natural flavor
  • Lactose

Wheat Flour

Wheat flour is plant based, derived from wheat grains. It serves as the base for the ramen noodles and is vegan friendly.


Niacin is a form of Vitamin B3, usually synthetic, and is vegan.

Reduced Iron

Reduced iron is a mineral and is vegan.

Thiamine Mononitrate

This is a synthetic form of vitamin B1 and is generally considered vegan.


Riboflavin is a vitamin, usually synthetic, and is vegan.

Folic Acid

Folic acid is a synthetic form of the vitamin folate and is vegan.

Vegetable Oil

Derived from plants, vegetable oil is vegan.


Salt is a mineral and is vegan.

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is made from fermented soybeans and wheat, and it’s vegan. However, most soy is GMO unless it is organic.


Water is vegan.


Wheat is a grain and is vegan.


Soybeans are legumes and are vegan. The majority of the world’s soybeans are genetically engineered, which means they’re likely tested on animals. Avoid GMO products if you want to be cruelty-free.

Potassium Carbonate

This is a salt of potassium and carbonic acid and is vegan.


Sodium is a mineral and is vegan.


Phosphate is a salt of phosphoric acid and is vegan.

Sodium Carbonate

This is a sodium salt of carbonic acid and is vegan.


Turmeric is a plant-based spice and is vegan.

Monosodium Glutamate

Also known as MSG, this is a synthetic flavor enhancer and is vegan. It’s widely tested on animals though.

Hydrolyzed Corn, Wheat, and Soy Protein

These are plant-based proteins that have been broken down and are vegan. Many of these products are GMO.


Sugar is plant-based but can sometimes be processed with bone char. At Caring Consumer, we try to err on the side of veganism, so if a company doesn’t declare its sugar vegan, we don’t either.

Dehydrated Vegetables (Garlic, Onion, Chive)

These are all plant-based and vegan.

Dehydrated Soy Sauce (Wheat, Soybeans, Salt)

This is a dehydrated form of soy sauce and is vegan, but it’s likely GMO.

Caramel Color

This is a food coloring that is generally synthesized and is vegan.


Spices are plant based and vegan.

Beef Extract

Beef extract is derived from animal tissues and is used for flavoring. It is not vegan.

Yeast Extract

Yeast extract is vegan because it is derived from yeast, a single-celled organism.


This is a plant-based carbohydrate and is vegan.

Vegetable Oil (Palm)

While plant-based, the ethical implications of palm oil are a concern. However, it is technically vegan.

Disodium Inosinate

This is generally synthetic and vegan, but it’s important to keep in mind that many synthetic ingredients are tested on animals.

Disodium Guanylate

This is also generally synthetic and is vegan, but it’s important to keep in mind that many synthetic ingredients are tested on animals.

Natural Flavor

Natural flavors can be either plant or animal-derived, but given the presence of other non-vegan ingredients, it’s safe to assume it’s not vegan.


Lactose is a sugar derived from milk, making it non-vegan and non-cruelty-free.

Vegan Alternatives to Oriental Ramen

If you’re looking for ethical food choices, there are plenty of vegan ramen brands that offer delicious and ethical options. And if you can’t find those, it’s easy to make ramen noodles vegan at home: 


So, you’ve been on this culinary journey with me, and we’ve dug deep into the nitty-gritty of what makes Oriental Ramen tick.

The verdict? It’s a no-go for our vegan and cruelty-free warriors out there. But don’t let that dampen your noodle-loving spirit! 

The world is full of scrumptious, ethical ramen options just waiting for you to slurp them up, including some exclusively vegan brands. So go ahead, embrace those vegan alternatives and keep being the compassionate, planet-saving hero you are! 🌱🍜