The Creamy Pantry-Staple To Upgrade Instant Ramen

Because there are so many different types of ramen, the deliciously slurpable noodle dish can range from restaurant-quality soup with kotteri, assari, or tonyu broths, to a simple packet of noodles and seasoning cooked in hot water. For college students and midnight snackers, the latter is the more likely option. Instant ramen runs as low as 50 cents per packet, making it a cost-saving way to indulge in these savory noodles.

But you don't have to settle for a two-ingredient dish when making ramen at home. There are plenty of ways to upgrade yours — for example, butter is a simple addition that adds fat and creaminess, while Japanese mayonnaise is the TikTok instant ramen hack that brings tang to an otherwise rich meal. 

And the options don't end there — if the noodles on their own don't do it for you, try tossing in vegetables, an egg, or fun toppings like kimchi or dried seaweed. However, if you'd like to give your ramen a dose of Southeast Asian flavors, try adding a spoonful of this pantry staple.

Mix in a spoonful of peanut butter for a creamy texture and nutty taste

Peanut butter is a delicious accompaniment to jelly, chocolate, and ... ramen? If you're not familiar with Southeast Asian food, peanut butter in noodles may sound unconventional, but peanut sauces have been a staple in Thai, Malay, and Indonesian cuisine for years. Authentic Southeast Asian peanut sauce is made from roasted or fried ground peanuts, and it's used in Thai cuisine on satay, fried tofu, and spicy fish cakes.

So while you may not be creating a traditional Japanese or Southeast Asian recipe, if you want to upgrade the flavor of instant ramen, an easy way to do it is by adding peanut butter. All you have to do is plop a spoonful of peanut butter in your ramen mix until it dissolves; alternatively, you can skip the flavor packet entirely and create a sauce with ingredients like soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar. Along with adding flavor, peanut butter will make your ramen thicker and creamier.

If you'd like to take your peanut-flavored noodles even further, try topping them off with Pad Thai-inspired ingredients, such as chopped green onions, chili paste, and lime juice.