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Pad Thai

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Craving restaurant-quality pad Thai? Using easy-to-find ingredients and this simple recipe, you can make it at home!

Pad Thai is a popular stir-fried noodle dish that originated in Thailand, where it’s commonly enjoyed as a quick and easy street food. Today, it’s a popular Thai restaurant dish in many parts of the world. If you love this noodle dish as much as I do, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s surprisingly easy to make in your own kitchen. While traditional pad Thai calls for a daunting list of hard-to-find ingredients, from tamarind liquid and dried shrimp to pickled white radishes and garlic chives, a simplified “Westernized” version can be just as delicious with a few ingredient substitutions (yes, that’s why the recipe strangely calls for ketchup!).

Pad Thai is made with rice noodles, which can usually be found in the Asian or Thai food section of most large supermarkets. It’s important to note that the process of cooking rice noodles is different from cooking other types of pasta. To start, fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, remove the pot from the heat and add the rice noodles. Allow them to soak in the hot water for 5 to 10 minutes, or until they become tender yet still chewy. Once done, drain the noodles in a colander and rinse them briefly under cold water to remove any excess starch. From there, it’s just a matter of stir-frying the noodles with the other pad Thai ingredients.

What you’ll need to make pad thai

pad thai ingredientsStep-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Soak the Rice Noodles

Bring a large pot or wide skillet of water to a boil.
soaking noodles for pad thai

Off the heat, add the noodles. Briefly swish them around to separate them, then let sit, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the noodles are soft and pliable but still not tender, 5 to 10 minutes.

softened noodlesDrain and rinse well with cold water. Set aside.

rice noodles in strainerStep 2: Cook the Pad Thai

In a small bowl, beat the eggs with a pinch of salt. Set aside.
beaten eggs

Make the sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together the water, fish sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, sugar, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.

pad Thai sauce in bowlHeat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and season with ⅛ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, for two minutes. Add the garlic and light green scallions and cook, stirring constantly, until softened and the shrimp are cooked through, about 1 minute more.

cooking the shrimp and aromatics in a skilletTransfer the shrimp, garlic, and scallions to a large plate, using a rubber spatula to scrape the pan clean.
To the pan, add 1 teaspoon of oil to the hot pan. Add the eggs and scramble until cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the eggs to the plate with the shrimp.

scrambled eggs in skillet

Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the hot pan. Place the drained noodles in the pan, along with the sauce mixture. Cook, tossing the noodles gently so as not to break them, until the liquid is absorbed by the noodles and the noodles are cooked through, a few minutes. If the noodles are still firm to the bite when the sauce is absorbed, add a few tablespoons of water and continue cooking.
cooking the rice noodles in the sauceAdd the contents of the plate and the dark green scallions to the noodles and toss gently to combine, until everything is warmed through.

adding the shrimp, eggs, and scallions to the noodlesTaste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Transfer to a serving platter and top with peanuts, bean sprouts, and cilantro (if using). Serve with lime wedges, if desired.

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Pad Thai

Craving restaurant-quality pad Thai? Using easy-to-find ingredients and this simple recipe, you can make it at home!

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 25 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces flat rice noodles (linguini or fettuccini width)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons water
  • 2½ tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1½ tablespoons ketchup
  • ¼ cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • Heaping ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, divided
  • ¾ pound large (31/35) shrimp, peeled and deveined, thawed if frozen
  • Salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 scallions, light parts thinly sliced, dark green parts cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup dry roasted salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • Lime wedges, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot or wide skillet of water to a boil. Off the heat, add the noodles. Briefly swish them around to separate them, then let sit, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the noodles are soft and pliable but still chewy to the bite, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and rinse well with cold water. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, beat the eggs with a pinch of salt. Set aside.
  3. Make the sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together the water, fish sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, sugar, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and season with ⅛ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, for two minutes. Add the garlic and light green scallions and cook, stirring constantly, until softened and the shrimp are cooked through, about 1 minute more. Transfer the shrimp, garlic, and scallions to a large plate, using a rubber spatula to scrape the pan clean.
  5. Add 1 teaspoon of oil to the hot pan. Add the eggs and scramble until cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Add to the plate with the shrimp.
  6. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil to the hot pan. Add the drained noodles to the pan, along with the sauce mixture. Cook, tossing the noodles gently so as not to break them, until the liquid is absorbed by the noodles and the noodles are cooked through, a few minutes. If the noodles are still firm to the bite when the sauce is absorbed, add a few tablespoons of water and continue cooking. Add the contents of the plate and the dark green scallions to the noodles and toss gently to combine, until everything is warmed through. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Transfer to a serving platter and top with peanuts, bean sprouts, and cilantro (if using). Serve with lime wedges, if desired.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 579
  • Fat: 23 g
  • Saturated fat: 3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 66 g
  • Sugar: 17 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 28 g
  • Sodium: 1,411 mg
  • Cholesterol: 230 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Comments

  • Good afternoon, Jenn, this was my first time cooking pad thai. I enjoyed it. I was wondering, would you pair this with a main dish? If so, what would it be?

    • — Sheila on June 1, 2023
    • Reply
    • Glad you liked it! because of the shrimp and noodles, I consider this to be a main dish. If I served anything with it, it would be a green veggie as a side.

      • — Jenn on June 1, 2023
      • Reply
  • Absolutely amazing! I and my family are a BIG fan of your recipes. You never fail to inspire, Jenn. If i can cook well now (confirmed by my kids and hubby) it’s thanks to you and your website that i found back many years ago. Thank you so much and to the many more delicious food in the future. Renata

    • — Renata on April 26, 2023
    • Reply
  • This is so delicious! Thank you for all your wonderful recipes.

    • — Alanna on April 22, 2023
    • Reply
  • Didn’t this have peanut butter in it?

    • — Whitney on April 21, 2023
    • Reply
    • Yes, it did originally, but I recently updated the recipe (and think it’s better now). If you’d prefer the old version, let me know and I’ll email it to you. 🙂

      • — Jenn on April 21, 2023
      • Reply
      • Please send me the peanut butter recipe!

        • — Mona Lemanski on April 25, 2023
        • Reply
  • Made it last night and it is the best pad Thai ever! Easy to make and customize. Thank you!

    • — Marci g on April 12, 2023
    • Reply
  • Did you change the recipe? How do I find the old one? I’m sure this one is good too but I don’t remember ever adding ketchup.

    • — Alexandra on April 6, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Alexandra, I did update the recipe. I happen to think the new one is an improvement, but I will email you a copy of the old version. 🙂

      • — Jenn on April 7, 2023
      • Reply
      • Happy Friday Jenn. Could I get the old recipe as well? My son is bringing friends from college and this recipe is his request. Thank you for all your yummy recipes.

        • — Whitney on April 21, 2023
        • Reply
        • I just sent it. 🙂

          • — Jenn on April 21, 2023
          • Reply
    • Me either on the ketsup but it had peanut butter

      • — Whitney on April 21, 2023
      • Reply
  • Jenn,
    I have tried a few of your recipes with great success, but this Pad Thai recipe is amazing! Made it tonight and my wife and I could not stop eating. Thank you!

    • — Dave L on March 30, 2023
    • Reply
  • Very, very good — the sauce is wonderfully subtle and delectable. Tastes just like the Pad Thai I’ve had at a popular Vietnamese restaurant for years. I suppose there are variations that other reviewers are referring to that taste differently, but to me, this is perfect and brings it home.

    • — RSL on March 30, 2023
    • Reply
    • Wonderful Pad Thai, I added some carrots and broccoli. All Jenns recipes are winners, haven’t had one we didn’t like.

      • — Scott on March 30, 2023
      • Reply
  • Yummy! Fun to make! What’s not to like?

    Well, my mother doesn’t like shrimp at all. So I substituted crab. It worked and she was asking for seconds!

    • — Jeremy Webster on March 29, 2023
    • Reply
  • Perfection as usual! You’re my go to person for all recipes. They are delicious and the step by step directions are super helpful. Thank you for creating the BEST recipes!

    • — Sharon on March 28, 2023
    • Reply
  • Love this Pad Thai recipe! Easy, delicious and a crowd pleaser! Leftovers tasted even better the next day!

    • — Linda on March 27, 2023
    • Reply
  • This dish was good but did not taste like Pad Thai.

    • — Karen on March 27, 2023
    • Reply
  • I need a substitute for ketchup, I would never use it. I do have dried tamarind.

    • — Susan on March 25, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Susan, You could try Sriracha, but you might prefer a more authentic pad Thai recipe if you can source all of the ingredients.

      • — Jenn on March 30, 2023
      • Reply
  • I was following the old version of this recipe and purchased broccoli florets. Where/how do I add them in to this one? Thanks, Jenn!

    • — Savannah on March 23, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Savannah, You can find the original recipe here.

      • — Jenn on March 23, 2023
      • Reply
  • I, too, am one who finds tamarind sauce necessary in Pad Thai which is one of my favourite dishes. I love your recipes Jenn and hope you are able to revamp this one to use tamarind.

    • — Jill on March 23, 2023
    • Reply
  • Was this recipe changed recently? I’ve made this recipe several times in the past and I don’t remember ever putting ketchup in.

    • — Mel on March 23, 2023
    • Reply
    • Yes, Mel, I have tweaked it a bit. I’d try this version — I think it’s an improvement!

      • — Jenn on March 23, 2023
      • Reply
  • I have tamarind paste can I use it instead ! How much do you suggest and should I leave out the ketchup

    • — Lee Ann Thompson on March 23, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Lee Ann, Because this is just my take on Pad Thai, I don’t really know the best way to work in tamarind paste.I’m sorry!

      • — Jenn on March 23, 2023
      • Reply
  • Will I ruin the meal if I use less oil?

    • — Alex on March 4, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Alex, you can get away with using a bit less oil. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 6, 2023
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I love this recipe! It’s rare to find fresh bean sprouts where I live. Would cabbage be a good substitute?

    • — Sharon T on February 23, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Sharon, I think cabbage would work, or you could also just leave them out – it will still be delicious.

      • — Jenn on February 23, 2023
      • Reply
      • Can I use canned bean sprouts?

        • — S Harvey on May 10, 2023
        • Reply
        • I’ve never had canned bean sprouts, but I think they should work.

          • — Jenn on May 10, 2023
          • Reply
          • The recipe was perfect! Great make at home.

            I will omit the canned bean sprouts next time. They were squishy.

            • — S Harvey on May 18, 2023
  • It is so tasty! The best pad thai ever. I love your recipe, with all the explainations, I cannot miss. Thank you!

    • — Lyse on January 30, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Jenn! I love pad Thai but I don’t love shrimp. In restaurants I usually ask for pad Thai with chicken. Would I be able to sub chicken breasts in place of shrimp in your recipe? If so, can you tell me how and when to add?

      Thank you!

      • — Lisa on March 23, 2023
      • Reply
      • Sure, Lisa. I would use chicken tenderloins (or chicken breasts) cut into small pieces and cook the same way as the shrimp. I’d love to know how it turns out!

        • — Jenn on March 23, 2023
        • Reply
  • what do you suggest I serve with this?

    • — connie sinn on January 25, 2023
    • Reply
    • This is kind of a meal in itself, but if you’d like a side, but it would pair nicely with this cucumber salad. Hope you enjoy if you make it!

      • — Jenn on January 26, 2023
      • Reply
  • I have a package of KAME express rice noodles that I would like to use for this recipe. They require 2 minutes of cooking on the stove or 90 seconds in the microwave. Should I just add them in place of the cooked noodles or maybe microwave for say 30 seconds before adding?

    • — Carlene on December 19, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Carlene, I think I’d just add the noodles at the end along with the fish sauce mixture. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 20, 2022
      • Reply
  • I want to serve a side salad with this Pad Thai. Which one of your Thai salad recipes would you recommend? Can’t wait to try both recipes!

    • — Phyllis on September 21, 2022
    • Reply
  • I have been using store-bought packets of Pad Thai sauce for years and my friends loved it. I tried this recipe on them last Saturday and we were all blown away at how much better it was. It was lighter, but so much more flavorful! And the sauce was so easy to make.

    I tossed all of the store bought packets of sauce I had in my pantry into the trash. This is my new go-to Pad That recipe!

    • — Rich Dezelon on August 29, 2022
    • Reply
    • So glad you liked it! 🙂

      • — Jenn on August 30, 2022
      • Reply
  • Absolutely delicious! One thing I’ve realized after using your recipes for years now Jenn is that I never have to alter a thing. You’ve got each recipe perfected and I sure do appreciate that. Tried and true!

    • — Linda Fasulo on June 30, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi. Sound delicious. Do you think substituting chunks of white meat chicken in place of shrimp would work for this recipe?

    • — Kelly on January 6, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sure, Kelly, that should work. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 7, 2022
      • Reply
      • Absolutely amazing! I was a little nervous about the fish sauce (potent smell) but it was perfect!! As always – your recipes are spot on!!! Thank you!

        • — Kelly S on May 4, 2022
        • Reply
  • Bonjour !
    This is a winner recipe. I’ve substituted once beef filet in small thin pieces instead of shrimp and was also excellent.
    Great also when there is some leftovers for lunch:)

    • — Martine Belanger on December 19, 2021
    • Reply
  • Thanks for another great recipe and dinner!

    • — Kathleen M Wright on December 2, 2021
    • Reply

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