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The best pad thai recipe

Easy Pad Thai (Chicken, Tofu or Shrimp)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.9 from 283 reviews


An easy, 30-minute recipe for Pad Thai made with rice noodles, your choice of chicken, shrimp or tofu, scrambled eggs, and an incredible “not too sweet” Pad Thai Sauce. Makes 2 large servings. Watch the video!


Units Scale
  • 4 ounces rice noodles
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil, divided ( or use avocado oil, or coconut oil)
  • 8 ounces chicken breast, tofu or prawns (peeled and deveined)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large shallot, finely diced (much better than onion here)
  • 4 fat garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 eggs, whisked with a fork with a generous 3-finger pinch salt if vegan, leave it out)
  • 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 wine vinegar (or tamarind water– see notes) do not sub white vinegar, it will be too sour.
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce (or GF liquid aminos like Braggs)


  • lime wedges, fresh bean sprouts, chili flakes, chopped scallions, roasted peanuts, Thai basil


  1. Soak the rice noodles.  Place rice noodles in a shallow pan and cover with boiling water for 4-7 minutes, stirring occasionally (so they don’t stick together) until al dente;  drain, rinse with cold water to stop cooking. They don’t have to be totally soft, just bendy and pliable. 
  2. Whisk the two eggs in a bowl with a fork and add a generous, 3-finger pinch of salt. Set aside.
  3. Make the Pad Thai Sauce: whisk fish sauce,  rice vinegar, brown sugar and soy sauce. (see notes) in a small bowl. Set aside.
  4. 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: season with salt and pepper.
  5. Cook the protein: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan or wok, over medium-high heat. Sear the seasoned chicken, shrimp or tofu until cooked through. Set aside
  6. Stir Fry: Gather your chopped shallots and garlic, whisked eggs, cooked noodles, cooked protein and Pad Thai Sauce around the stove. Heat a little more oil in the wok over medium heat, add shallot & garlic and stir fry 2-3 minutes.  Scoot the shallot mixture to the side, add more oil, and pour in the eggs. Scramble and break them apart into little bits, and move them to the side. Add more oil, and the noodles, stirfry 2-3 minutes until noodles are soft and pliable and even a little crispy. 
  7. Pour in the Pad Thai Sauce (turn hood on) stir everything together and cook 1-2 minute, then add the cooked protein and stirfry for a few more minutes. Just as you start to smell the sugar carmelizing, you are there! Squeeze with a little lime juice. Turn off heat. 
  8.  Taste. Adjust salt, lime, heat and sweetness to your liking; add salt, or soy sauce for more depth if you like,  a squeeze of lime juice, chili flakes, or a pinch of sugar to taste. 
  9. Toss in 1/2 the bean sprouts and roasted peanuts (or serve on the side) and sprinkle with chili flakes and scallions. Give one more toss and serve immediately. Divide among two plates.
  10. Garnish with more bean sprouts, fresh scallions, cilantro or basil, chili flakes, lime wedges and roasted crushed peanuts. Or make this Peanut Chili Crunch!


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 lighter on the fish sauce- like 2 tablespoons.  If going with less, replace it with soy sauce.

Poach the chicken. An easy way to cut back on the oil in the recipe is to poach the thinly sliced chicken breast in a little salted water, or broth for a few minutes, until cooked through. Drain and set aside. The thinner you slice the chicken the faster it will cook.

Tamarind: If using tamarind paste (instead of rice vinegar) make tamarind “water” by mixing 1 tablespoon tamarind paste with 2 1/2 tablespoons hot water. If using tamarind “concentrate” mix 1-2 teaspoons with 2 1/2 tablespoons water. Use tamarind water in place of the vinegar. Using tamarind is more authentic but not everyone has access to it.  Tamarind is extremely sour so if unfamiliar, go light. You can always add more lime to taste. 


  • Serving Size: 1 ½ cups
  • Calories: 409
  • Sugar: 14.3 g
  • Sodium: 1134 mg
  • Fat: 14.2 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 47.4 g
  • Fiber: 1.1 g
  • Protein: 20.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 165.4 mg