This post is sponsored by the National Peanut Board. I received compensation for this work, but all opinions and content are my own.
This Thai peanut butter ramen is a perfect dish for your weekday dinner. The tender noodles, juicy chicken, and colorful veggies are soaked in a rich broth that is nutty, savory, spicy, and sweet. Learn how to use peanut butter to create a nutrition-loaded meal in one pot!
A jar of peanut butter is always a staple in our pantry. Even after moving to New York, when we got rid off 80% of the belongings in our kitchen, a big jar of unsweetened peanut butter still sits in the most convenient cabinet.
My husband and I are big fans of peanut butter, in different ways. Thomas is a long-distance runner and peanut butter is his favorite fuel and after-run snack. He likes to whip up some peanut butter jelly toast when he’s feeling fancy, or simply snack on a heaping spoonful of peanut butter by itself. Every two tablespoons of peanut butter contains 8 grams of plant-based protein, 2 grams of fiber and 12 grams of unsaturated fat. Not only does he feel filled after snacking on peanut butter, but the plant-based superfood doesn’t weigh him down and he can go for a run immediately.
For me, I indulge myself by spreading peanut butter on crispy toast with a drizzle of maple syrup. But more often than not, I use it in cooking to create simple savory dishes for dinner.
In the past, I’ve shared recipes such as Chinese Sesame Noodles, Chinese Chicken Noodle Salad, Dan Dan Noodles, Beef Satay, and Steamed Eggplant in Nutty Sauce. All of these recipes use peanut butter. It’s so effortless to create a great sauce with this magic ingredient!
Peanut butter in ramen broth?
Today I want to introduce you to the Thai peanut butter ramen recipe I developed recently. The dish was inspired by a previous dish I made – African Chicken. It’s a famous Macanese dish that uses peanut butter along with curry powder and oyster sauce to create a super rich sauce to braise the chicken.
Lately it has been cold in New York. I wanted to use a similar method to create a quick one-pot comfort dish for a weekday dinner. The Thai peanut butter ramen borrows ingredients from Thai curry. It uses red curry paste, coconut milk, creamy peanut butter, soy sauce, and aromatics to create a rich and creamy sauce that is savory, sweet, and spicy. With a drizzle of lime juice, you get all the great flavors in one bowl, brought together with the nutty peanut butter. I joked to my husband that this dish is dangerous to make, because we will always end up eating too much of it.
1. Which type of peanut butter to use
I used unsweetened natural peanut butter in this recipe because it’s the type we always have on hand. Alternatively, you can use smooth peanut or chunky peanut butter. In this case, skip the sugar from the ingredient list.
2. Versatile ingredients
The peanut butter curry broth is so rich and delicious and goes well on just about everything. My recipe merely serves as a guide, and you can get creative with the ingredients you have on hand.
For the protein, you can:
- Top with cooked meat such as leftover rotisserie chicken, sliced sausage, or grilled steak
- Use shrimp. Note, you should add the shrimp at the end and only cook them for 3 to 5 minutes, until the shrimp are just cooked through.
- Add tofu cubes to make the soup more filling.
For the veggies, you can:
- Use other types of mushrooms, or skip them all together
- Add root veggies such as cubed potatoes or sweet potatoes. It will require 10 to 15 minutes of cooking time depending on the size of the cut.
- Add a handful of green veggies at the end. Spinach, broccoli florets, chopped kale, and zucchini all work well in this broth.
3. Make this dish vegan
- Make sure that you use a vegan red curry paste (many curry pastes contain fish sauce or shrimp).
- Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth
- Use cubed tofu to replace the chicken. Fried tofu and sliced tempeh are great options too.
I’ve tried making the dish vegan and it turned out just as rich as the meat version.
Peanut butter is such a versatile, affordable, nutritious, and delicious ingredient. To maximize its potential, think outside of the box and try some less common savory dishes, such as this Thai peanut butter ramen. I promise you’ll thank me later 😉
More recipes using peanut butter
- Sichuan Chicken with Spicy Sesame Sauce (怪味鸡)
- Homemade Hoisin Sauce
- Tang Yuan (Sweet Rice Balls with Peanut Butter Filling)
- Nutty Steamed Buns
If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.
Now it’s your turn to spread the peanut butter love! Share your favorite peanut butter recipe in the comments with the hashtag #HowDoYouPB. Click here for peanut butter recipe inspiration for every occasion.
Thai Peanut Butter Ramen
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
- 1/2 onion , sliced
- 3 cloves garlic , sliced
- 2 teaspoons ginger , minced
- 2 to 4 tablespoons Thai red curry paste (*Footnote 1)
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 can (14oz / 400 ml) full-fat coconut milk
- 1/3 cup unsweetened natural peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 (8 oz / 225 g) boneless skinless chicken breast (or 2 chicken thighs)
- 8 oz (225 g) mushrooms , sliced
- 1 bell pepper , sliced
- 2 pieces (total 7 oz / 200 g) Instant noodles
- 1 lime , juiced (and more lime wedges to garnish)
- Chopped cilantro for garnish (Optional)
- Heat oil in a 4-quart (3.78-litedutch oven (or heavy poover medium-high heat until hot. Add the onion. Cook and stir for 1 minute.
- Add the garlic, ginger, and red curry paste. Cook and stir for another minute or so, until it becomes very fragrant and the curry paste evenly coats the veggies.
- Add the chicken broth. Use a spatula to scrape the bottom of the dutch oven to release the brown bits. Add the coconut milk, peanut butter, soy sauce, and sugar. Stir to mix well. Try to use your spatula to break apart the peanut butter. The peanut butter will melt into the broth once it starts simmering. Taste the broth. You can add more Thai red curry paste if the broth is not spicy enough.
- Once the broth comes to a boil, add the chicken breast and mushrooms. Turn to medium-low heat and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the chicken breast is just cooked through.
- Transfer the chicken to a plate. Shred with two forks. If you find the inside of the chicken is still pink, return it to the pot and cook for a few more minutes, until it just cooked through.
- Turn to medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Add the instant noodles and bell peppers. Boil according to the package instructions until the noodles turn tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Turn off the heat. Add back the chicken and lime juice. Stir to mix well. Taste the broth. You can adjust the taste by adding more salt. If the broth is too spicy, you can add more sugar to balance the hot taste.
- Serve hot with more lime wedges and cilantro, if using.
- The amount of Thai curry paste depends on the brand you use. Some brands produce a very spicy paste. In this case, 2 tablespoons are more than enough heat for the dish. Some brands make much milder pastes, such that you can use up to 4 tablespoons and the dish still won’t taste too spicy. I recommend you add 1 to 2 tablespoons first. You can taste the broth at step 4 and add more paste if needed.
Questions and Reviews
This sounds delicious. Which noodles would be best substituted for ramen noodles?
Hi Susan, you can use egg noodles or any thin type of wheat noodles (such as dried Udon or low mein noodles) for this recipe.
Delicious. Love it. For the win!!
Wow, never knew peanut butter could be used in ramen broth. This is a very creative dish and one that I can’t wait to try. Thanks for sharing!
Hi Maggie, massive applause from the whole family on this one! Such a delicious recipe. We don’t have a Dutch oven so just made it in a standard big pot. Used a combo of ramen and udon noodles. Thanks again…
Maggie, massive round of applause for this one, absolutely delicious meal! We don’t have a Dutch oven so just used a large saucepan. The broth was so thick, just amazing. Thank you again for sharing your creativity
This is a very creative dish and one that I can’t wait to try.
This was delicious! I used Japanese ramen that I ordered on Amazon and it worked wonderfully:) Next time I may try tofu instead of chicken. Either way this recipe will be added to the rotation.
Delicious! Made with shrimp, didnt have lime juice so I used rice vinegar lol. Really good, reminded me of curry. Saving the rest of the thick broth for rice tomorrow.
I made it a vegan version with mushroom, bell pepper and spinach and it was super tasty! Thanks for sharing this recipe. This is definitely on the heavier side and the perfect comfort food when the weather gets colder. The creamy texture of the sauce reminds me a little of your dan dan mian recipe:)
This was tasty! I served mine with shrimp instead of chicken. I will definitely make this again. Thanks!
Hi Maggie – Since I discovered your blog I’ve made many of your recipes, all delicious. This peanut butter ramen may be my favorite. I substituted veggie broth for the chicken broth & used tofu instead of chicken. So good!
The recipe was an delicious inspiration using what I had available, gochujang and bok choy. While more Korean than Thai the peanut butter makes the recipe sublime and was fully devoured for the family dinner. Thank you!
Hi, I don’t have thai chili paste and was wondering if you swapped the chili paste for the gochujang? I have everything on hand except for the chili paste but I do happen to have gochujang if that’s what you used. I don’t want to waste ingredients, but if the gochujang is fine in it I would love to know! 😄
I have never tried this dish with gochujiang so I can’t say for sure. I think you can use gochujiang, but it’s a little risky. The dish needs some kind of curry to balance with the sweet coconut flavor. If you have any curry powder at home, I would use some of that plus the gochujiang. Maybe start with 1 tablespoon curry, and adjust the amount when you taste the soup.
For some reason I can’t reply to you Maggie so I’ll just reply to my own comment, and your suggestion worked perfectly! I used gochujang and curry powder in my curry ramen like you said to, and the broth ended up being super rich and flavourful. I ended up not using any meat since I had a meat heavy lunch and used a stalm of celery as my only veggie. I then I topped it with some chopped green onion and a tea egg from your chinese tea egg recipe I made the other day. I’m also going to try some of your pickled cabbage when it’s done fermenting with one of your fried rice recipes. Thank you for providing so many lovely recipes on your site, I can’t wait to try your curry ramen with ham once I get some more instant ramen!
Ah wait this is my first time commenting so I thought that I wasn’t replying to you but nvm looks like it works just fine!
Easy peasy delish.
Bangin! we left the chicken still clucking Peng!
Wonderful! I used 2 chicken breasts for a meatier version, and only a teaspoon of sugar since my peanut butter had sugar in it. We absolutely loved it!
Loved this. Made my own version. Added kimchi to my soup. I love the depth and savory sweetness peanut butter brings to recipes. Balanced out with acid it is perfection! Thank you for the inspiration. Also I did not include any protein…just my preference.
Came out really good but needed a couple of tweaks to hit the rest of the Thai notes; I added some fish sauce and sriracha as even 4oz of red curry paste got lost amongst the peanut butter. Would be really good in the future with bean sprouts as a topping for a Thai soup base with Japanese ramen noodles and Vietnamese pho toppings.
Hi Maggie, I just signed up on your site, I found it on the Tumblr site.
I do not have a Dutch Oven. Can I use my Slow Cooker for this Recipe ?
And your others recipes that call for a Dutch Oven ?
If so, this will be my first I’m going to make…!! (smiling)
If you do not have a dutch oven, any big pot (heavy duty is the best, but regular ones work as well) can be used as a replacement 🙂
I love this recipe, can’t wait to try it. Do you think regular curry spice instead of red curry paste would work????
Curry powder will yield a very different flavor but I think it should be tasty, because regular curry spice works well with coconut milk and nut butter. Maybe start with 2 tablespoons and see how it goes, and add a bit more curry if needed.
I have their recipe in my rotation for the family. My hubby had two bowls today.