Upgrade Your Instant Ramen With One Creamy Ingredient

Few meals are as effortless and simultaneously satisfying as a packet or cup of ramen noodles. The industry has become crowded in recent years with innovative versions elevating the classic inexpensive dorm-room faves, offering plant-based and gluten-free versions, plus ones bursting with creative add-ins or more "authentic" flavors. But the low-brow classic holds a special place in our hearts, and no one's above the ultimate ease and comfort of boiling water, dried noodles, and a punchy sauce packet.


Of course, with such an inexpensive and uncomplicated delicacy comes endless opportunities for bulking up your ramen with creative adds-ins — to pack in more protein, veggies, and even bigger flavor. You can scrap the sauce and make your own for a more homemade twist that makes ramen taste restaurant-made.  Easier still, try using an ingredient that's similarly inexpensive and likely already in your pantry – peanut butter. Many ramen broths boast a creamy sauce laced with silky coconut milk or nut butter, and it's all too easy to recreate this same luxe bowl at home using your favorite packet of instant noodles and flavoring.

Add creaminess to any brand of instant ramen noodles

To give your ramen the royal treatment, choose your player (aka any brand of instant ramen that comes with dry noodles in a sleeve). You could also add peanut butter to a cup of noodles, but cooking them in a saucepan works best for ample mixing space. When the noodles have cooked, drain away most or all of the water, and if desired, replace it with milk or coconut milk. This takes the richness factor up a notch. Then, stir in a spoonful of peanut butter — a smooth variety works best to add silky decadence, but crunchy works too if you prefer some added texture. If your broth ends up too thick, thin it out with a bit of water or more milk, and add the seasoning packet and any extra kicks of spice you like, like sriracha or chili crunch. If you forgo the seasoning packet — never toss it; there are so many uses for that little envelope of seasoning


The fattiness of the peanut butter provides a mellow companion to the salty spice of the seasonings. The time-honored combo of nutty and spicy is often featured in Asian cooking, from curries to sesame noodles. To zhuzh up your humble instant ramen and transform it into an even more well-rounded meal, consider adding proteins like cooked edamame, jammy, soy-marinated eggs, or baked tofu, then top with wilted bok choy or broccoli to add some greenery to those dressed-up noods.