The Peanut Butter Hack Your Ramen Needed All Along

Ramen has long been a staple in Japanese cuisine. The dish, which consists of Chinese-style wheat or egg noodles served in an aromatic broth, has been around for decades in Asia. But up until recently, ramen in the United States was thought of as a quick lunch for kids or a cheap snack for broke college students. Most of us likely remember those blocks of curly Maruchan ramen noodles — that came in flavors like shrimp or roast chicken — or the iconic Cup Noodles that simply required adding water and heating for a quick minute in the microwave.

In the last few years, however, Americans have started to recognize ramen for what it can be, which is a gourmet, delicious dish. While there are plenty of Asian restaurants where you can find authentic ramen, you can also make your own variations at home — no pre-packaged squares of noodles required. There is also an easy way to elevate your homemade ramen with a basic pantry ingredient: peanut butter.

Mix peanut butter into the pot before serving

If you've ever ordered Thai takeout, you've likely discovered the deliciousness that is peanut noodles. A little bit sweet, a little bit salty, the chewy noodles are tossed with a tangy peanut sauce (and often an array of colorful veggies and other mix-ins). You can recreate the same flavor profile using ramen, too. To do so, Kitchn says to prepare your instant ramen noodles according to the package and then, instead of stirring in seasoning, stir in up to two tablespoons of peanut butter instead. Because the broth is still hot, the peanut butter will melt quickly so it should be easy to mix smoothly.

According to Kitchn, this gives the ramen a nutty flavor that's reminiscent of Pad Thai. Mic adds that not only does it boost the flavor but it also adds a helping of healthy fats and protein to your dish. The site also recommends finishing with a dash of Sriracha (or any hot sauce, for that matter) to break up the sweetness of the peanut butter and add some kick.