To me, summer is defined by outdoor barbecues. Burgers and dogs on the grill, ice cold drinks, fresh and crunchy watermelon spears and corn on the cob, and heaping servings of baked beans and pasta salad (sans mayo) to round it out. And, of course, s’mores for dessert. There’s something about the scent of a bonfire that brings me back to summers at my local beach in Southern California.  

You know what doesn’t make me think of summer? Cup Noodles. At all. Instead, the hot and salty instant ramen in the quintessential styrofoam container brings me back to cool and crisp autumn air (fall weather is a stretch, because, again…Southern California) on the metal bleachers watching high school football. Until now, that is, because Nissin – the brand behind the iconic ramen cups that defined many a dorm night dinners – just released Cup Noodles Campfire S’mores ramen. Yes, you read that right. S’mores. Flavored. Ramen.

Kennedy Dierks

I tried to approach the taste-test with an open-mind – unique flavors of iconic products are nothing new to the food world. I’ve tried Maple Syrup Pepsi for Spoon, and for St. Patty’s Day, I tried Guinness-infused ice cream. In January, a ranch-flavored Burt's Bees lip balm sold out. For some God-forsaken reason, mustard-flavor Skittles exist.

Upon second thought, I had a realization: ramen noodles are pretty plain. Pairing plain carbs with sweet flavors isn’t entirely far-fetched: it’s not that different from waffles, sugary breakfast cereal, or a chocolate chip bagel. Rather than the typical MSG; salt; and chicken, shrimp, or beef bouillon that create the iconic savory broth that’s packed with umami, the ingredients in S’mores Cup Noodles include brown sugar, honey and molasses, and cocoa, of course.

The instructions to make them are the same as usual: add water, microwave for three minutes and let it stand for two minutes. This is where it gets interesting, though. The instructions recommend topping the s'mores ramen with graham cracker pieces and mini marshmallows. Naturally, in the name of science, I obliged.

S'mores ramen prior to cooking; Kennedy Dierks

My predictions were pretty spot on: Cup Noodles' limited time offering blends instant ramen noodles with chocolate, graham cracker, and marshmallow flavors, plus a touch of smokiness “to capture that campfire experience,” according to the brand. The only heat I was getting, though, was the sweltering New Jersey heat wave as I sampled the cloyingly sweet noods.

Unlike an actual s’more, there are no gooey marshmallows to enjoy; instead, they have dissolved with the rest of the ingredients to create a gummy texture. I didn’t detect much s’mores flavor; I got a hint of cocoa from the “broth,” but any carb-y graham flavor was replaced by ramen noodles, with the exception of the crumbled crackers on top. Beyond the undesirable texture, the gelatinous marshmallows didn’t lend any flavor.

Cooked ramen topped with graham crackers and marshmallows; Kennedy Dierks

Rather than s’mores, I just tasted generic sweetness with a touch of Cup Noodles’ typical umami (probably because of the garlic powder and onion powder, which I noticed in the ingredient list upon second glance). Although I didn’t specifically taste garlic and onion, I didn’t really taste s’mores, either.

Overall, I’d describe s’mores Cup Noodles as gummy instant ramen cooked in watery hot chocolate. It’s safe to say that I’ll stick to my graham cracker, golden-brown toasted marshmallow, and Hershey’s chocolate this summer. TBH, the extra couple of minutes over an open campfire beats three minutes in a microwave any day.

If you want to try for yourself, the s'mores Cup Noodles treat is available online and at Walmart locations nationwide for $1.18.