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 and Gluten-Free adaptable. 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.
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.
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. What I love about this Pad Thai recipe is how adaptable and customizable it is. Make this with chicken, or shrimp or tofu. YES, you can even make vegan Pad Thai !!! Here’s my recipe for vegan fish sauce that will come in handy. 😉
how to make pad thai! | 30-second video
Simple and easy!
How to Make Pad Thai (in a nutshell):
- Whisk together Pad Thai Sauce
- Prep the protein and vegetables
- Whisk the eggs
- Cook the noodles
- Stir fry it all together!
I have paired this Pad Thai recipe down to its simplest components. I also make a more authentic version here, emulating what we learned in Thailand- using tamarind and such, but here I’ve wanted to create it with ingredients most everyone has on hand.
It really doesn’t need to be complicated to taste amazing. It is ALL about balance!
Give it a try. Once you have the ingredients prepped, see if you can cook it in 15 minutes! It’s a fun challenge. It took me 20 minutes the first time, then finally down to 15!
- Read the whole recipe through first and then give it a go.
- Practice! The more you make this the faster and easier it will be!
- Use a wok! A skillet will work in a pinch but a wok gives the best results!
- Pad Thai works best made in smaller batches, so the noodles can fry! If doubling, fry in batches!
- Prep everything ahead, and place it near the stove. Cooking goes very fast here!
Pad Thai Variations:
Make the Pad Thai with tofu (like you see above) or chicken or shrimp — take your pick. If going for chicken, make sure to read the notes at the bottom of the recipe, especially if looking to reduce fat.
We’ve been poaching the thinly sliced chicken in a bit of water instead of frying it, and this is the way it was done at the restaurant. In fact, they actually poached the chicken in water ahead to save even more time, which is always an option.
Cut the 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 save a few calories, poach the chicken in a little salted water, until cooked through which just takes a couple of minutes. Then set it aside.
Another secret to this flavorful pad thai recipe is the shallot. And of course garlic. But shallot more than anything adds so much flavor to this dish, way more than substituting onions. So try to seek out shallots at your grocery store, it will make a big difference -trust me!
Sometimes I’ll add ginger, but it’s not imperative- and to save time, I’ll use store-bought, already peeled garlic.
Ginger paste, which comes in a tube is also another time-saving product I’ll buy at the grocery store.
Saute the garlic and shallot and prep the remaining ingredients.
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.
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.
Try it and see for yourself. You may adjust to your personal taste.
AND please do not leave the sugar component out. You will end up with fishy, sour pad thai that tastes terrible. TRUST ME.
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!
- Always follow the directions on the rice noodle package. Some require soaking, some boiling like pasta. Cook until al dente.
How to cook Rice Noodles:
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Each package is different.
- If going for a vegan pad thai, make the vegan fish sauce recipe ahead, it’s actually quite good, and keeps for months.
- Make crispy tofu as the protein.
- Leave the egg out!
How to Garnish Pad Thai:
Pad Thai is typically garnished with fresh lime juice- so serve it up with lime wedges, bean sprouts, roasted peanuts (or try this amazing Peanut Chili Crunch!) scallions or Thai basil. Serve with sriracha or chili paste for extra heat.
I hope you after you make this, you’ll think this is the best Pad Thai recipe you’ve ever made 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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