This Pad Thai recipe is hands-down one of the easiest, tastiest recipes on the blog. It’s a Thai noodle dish made with simple ingredients and can be made with chicken, shrimp or tofu! Vegan-adaptable. Includes a video.
Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.Dalai lama
Here’s a simple easy recipe for the best Pad Thai that contains very accessible ingredients and only takes about 15 minutes of actual cooking time, once the ingredients are prepped.
The Pad Thai Sauce is so flavorful and balanced- it is as close as comes to the real deal without having to take a trip to the Asian market.
What is Pad Thai?
Pad Thai is a classic stir-fried rice noodle dish hailing from Thailand made with chicken, shrimp or tofu, scrambled eggs, crushed peanuts, bean sprouts and lime.
Why I love this recipe
Believe me, when I tell you, I’ve had a lot of Pad Thai in my life. Here and all across Thailand! It’s one of my favorite things to eat, and so I’ve made a practice of learning how to perfect this dish. It’s all about the flavor balance of the sauce, and the texture of the noodles.
- It’s adaptable! ( it can be made with chicken, shrimp or tofu)
- Vegan-adaptable! ( use vegan fish sauce and tofu, leave out the eggs)
- This Pad Thai recipe is fast and delicious!
- It’s made with simple accessible ingredients.
So yes, I may be biased but I think this tastes pretty darn amazing! Seriously! But don’t take my word for it….give it a try yourself and see what you think.
Pad Thai Video
How to Make Pad Thai (in a nutshell):
- Soak the rice noodles in hot water
- Whisk together Pad Thai Sauce
- Prep the protein and vegetables
- Whisk the eggs
- Stir-fry the pad thai all together!
NOODLES TO USE IN PAD THAI:
- Pad Thai is typically made with Rice Noodles, about 1/4 inch in width.
- They are also called Rice Stick!
HOW TO COOK RICE NOODLES:
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Each package is different.
How to cut chicken
Thinly slice, for the fastest cooking- perfect when using a wok!
You can also poach the chicken in water, for a lower oil version.
Whisk the eggs and make the Pad Thai Sauce.
Pad Thai Sauce Ingredients
The secret to the best Pad Thai is the sauce! It must be balanced. Salty, sweet, and sour!
- Fish sauce ( or vegan fish sauce) and soy sauce add the salty component.
- Brown Sugar or honey add sweetness. (In Thailand it is traditional to use palm sugar.)
- Rice Vinegar or tamarind paste and lime juice, add the sour component.
TIP: There is a delicate balance between salty, tart and sweet, and when you find it, totally elevates the dish! This sauce to my palate is perfectly balanced.
- Read the whole recipe through before you give it a go.
- Prep everything first, then place it near the stove. Cooking goes very fast here!
- Cut chicken very thinly to cut down on cooking time. Remember to cut across the grain. So here I’ve cut it into ⅛ -¼ thin strips about two inches long.
- To lower calories, poach the chicken in a little salted water, until cooked through which just takes a couple of minutes. Then set it aside.
- Use shallot. Shallot adds so much flavor here- much more so than onion.
Pad Thai Dont’s:
- Please, do not add ketchup or peanut butter. This is not Pad Thai. 🙂
- Don’t skip the sugar- you will lose the balance of the dish. You will end up with fishy, sour pad thai that tastes terrible. TRUST ME.
- Don’t try to make too big a batch. You want the noodles to get slightly crispy in the wok or skillet, and it’s difficult to achieve if making more than two servings.
Can Pad Thai be Made Vegan?
- Yes! If going for a vegan version pad thai, use vegan fish sauce – either make our recipe ahead, or use store-bought vegan fish sauce
- Use crispy tofu as the protein.
- Leave out the eggs.
How to Garnish Pad Thai:
- Top with lime wedges,
- Add bean sprouts
- Sprinkle with crushed roasted peanuts (or try this amazing Peanut Chili Crunch!)
- Add chopped scallions or Thai basil.
- Serve with Tahi chili flakes, sriracha or chili paste for extra heat.
I hope that after you make this, you’ll think this is the best Pad Thai recipe you’ve ever had too! 😉 Haha! Let me know in the comments below! 🙂
PS. It is my hope that through cooking, we not only learn new ingredients and techniques but also learn more about the culture and people from which the food we make originates. Cooking can be a way of celebrating all our unique and beautiful differences. I’d like to believe expanding our repertoire in the kitchen can also expand our hearts.
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- 15-MINUTE THAI COCONUT NOODLE SOUP (KHAO SOI)
An easy recipe for Pad Thai with simple accessible ingredients with the most amazing flavor! The best part … once you have your ingredients prepped it only takes 15 minutes of actual cooking time! See recipe notes for tips and tricks! Read the directions all the way through before starting. Watch the video above!
- 4 ounces dry pad thai noodles (rice noodles)
- Boiling water to cover noodles
- 1 large shallot, finely diced (much better than onion here)
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon ginger, chopped (optional)
- 2 eggs, whisked with a fork with a generous 3-finger pinch salt ( if vegan, leave it out)
- 6–8 ounces tofu, chicken breast or peeled prawns
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil, wok oil or coconut oil
- 1 lime
Pad Thai Sauce:
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce (see notes- or use vegan fish sauce)
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar (or coconut sugar, palm sugar or regular sugar) see notes
- 3 tablespoons of rice vinegar (or tamarind water– see notes)
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce (or GF liquid aminos like Braggs)
- lime wedges, fresh bean sprouts, chili flakes, chopped scallions, roasted peanuts.
- COOK NOODLES: Cook noodles according to package instructions (or place rice noodles in a shallow bowl or baking dish and boil enough water to cover them. Cover with boiling water for 7- 8 minutes, until tender, then drain. They don’t have to be totally soft, just bendy and pliable)
- Chop shallot, garlic and ginger and set aside.
- Whisk the two eggs in a bowl with a fork and add a generous, 3-finger pinch of salt. Set aside.
- Make the Pad Thai Sauce: whisk fish sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar and soy sauce. (see notes) in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Prep the protein. Chicken: slice chicken into very thin strips and season with salt and pepper. Crispy Tofu: Blot tofu with paper towels pressing down firmly. Cut tofu into ¾ inch cubes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and for extra crispy, dredge in a little corn starch. Shrimp: Peel and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook the protein: Sear the seasoned chicken, shrimp or tofu in a wok with hot oil until cooked through over medium-high heat. Set aside, on top of a paper towel, wipe out the pan. Turn heat off.
- STIR FRY the PAD THAI: Gather your chopped shallots, whisked eggs, cooked noodles, cooked protein and Pad Thai sauce around the stove. Heat 2 tablespoons peanut oil in the wok over medium heat, add shallot-garlic-ginger and stir, cooking just a few minutes until golden and fragrant.
- Make a well in the center of the wok, scooting the shallot mixture to the side of the pan, add the whisked eggs. With a metal spatula, scramble them and break them apart into little bits, letting them brown just a little, and incorporate them into the shallots continuing to break them into small bits.
- Add the drained, semi-soft noodles and toss with the egg mixture, stirring, flipping, frying constantly for 3-4 minutes until noodles become soft and pliable.
- Add the Pad Thai Sauce and cook 1 minute. It will smell quite fishy at first – turn your fan on – but it will mellow out perfectly. Add the cooked chicken, tofu or shrimp and turn and toss the noodles for a few more minutes. Cook until the noodles are soft (but still a little chewy) adding just a little water if it seems too dry.
- Toss in the bean sprouts and roasted peanuts (or serve on the side) and sprinkle with chili flakes and scallions. Squeeze with a little lime juice. Taste. Adjust salt, lime and sweetness to your liking adding a pinch of salt, more lime or more a pinch more sugar to taste. Give one more toss and serve immediately. Divide among two plates.
- Garnish with more bean sprouts, fresh scallions, cilantro or basil, chili flakes, lime wedges and roasted crushed peanuts. Or make this Peanut Chili Crunch!
DO NOT BE tempted to cut out the sugar – understand that Pad Thai Sauce is a very delicate balance between sweet (sugar), salt (fish sauce) and acid (vinegar or tamarind) . I’ve already lowered the sugar as much as I could while preserving the balance. That being said, if you are intent on cutting the sugar back, cut back the on the vinegar and fish sauce as well. 🙂 *Leaving the sugar or honey out will result in terrible Pad THAI! Also the same with leaving out the fish sauce (or vegan fish sauce) or leaving out the acid.
Fish sauce: If you are not accustomed to fish sauce, or are using a brand you haven’t tried before (some are fishier than others) feel free to go a little lighter on the fish sauce- like 2 tablespoons. It is an acquired taste. If going less, you will need to may add a little more salt to taste.
DOUBLING: Doubling the recipe will double the time and be much harder to manage all at once, in one wok. If doubling, I highly recommend cooking in two batches in the wok.
Use time-saving ingredients like store-bought peeled garlic (or minced garlic) and ginger paste in a tube. Using pre-cooked chicken is fastest -leftover rotisserie chicken is perfect. Also you could make the Pad Thai sauce ahead!
Tips for health: An easy way to cut back on the oil in the recipe is to poach the thinly sliced chicken in a little salted water (just enough to barely cover) and poach in the pan or wok for just a few minutes. Drain and set aside. The thinner you slice the chicken the faster it will cook.
TIPS for flavor:
- Peanut Oil and chili flakes really really elevate this dish!
- Tamarind: If using tamarind (instead of rice vinegar) make tamarind “water” by mixing 1 -2 teaspoons tamarind paste with 2 tablespoons water. Or use 1-2 teaspoons of tamarind “concentrate” with 2 tablespoons water. Use this in place of the vinegar. This is more traditional but I realize not everyone has access to tamarind. Tamarind is extremely sour so if unfamiliar, go light. You can always add more.
- TEXTURE IS KEY! Everything from frying the noodles to adding the bean sprouts and roasted peanuts elevates this.
- Serving Size: ( with chicken breast)
- Calories: 588
- Sugar: 16.9 g
- Sodium: 1063.3 mg
- Fat: 21.4 g
- Saturated Fat: 3.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 65.3 g
- Fiber: 1.2 g
- Protein: 30.1 g
- Cholesterol: 248.1 mg
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