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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

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

  • This was delicious and looked just like the pic. Made as instructed and thought the saltiness was perfect though I did use reduced sodium soy sauce. Next time I’ll probably skip the bean sprouts because I didn’t think they added much to the over-all flavor. Thank you for the recipe!

  • It is excellent! The sauce has a delicate taste and in french is would be «  un petit goût de revenez-y! » To be repeated, thank you!

  • This recipe is absolutely amazing and so authentic. It’s rare not to see a perfect 5 star sweep for recipes on this great website so I was keen to read the reviews before trying it out but I didn’t alter a thing and it was perfect. One thing I hoped to get help with is this… my daughter is so sensitive to the fish sauce smell (literally gags at the smell alone) that I won’t be able to use it going forward in this recipe or the Vietnamese salad. Is there an adequate substitute for fish sauce?

    • Glad you like the recipes! You can replace the fish sauce with more soy sauce. The dish won’t have that authentic Thai flavor w/o the fish sauce, but it will still be good!

  • I will definitely be making this again. Made it just as the recipe directed in both ingredients and quantities. My husband does not have an adventurous palate but he actually loved this and asked that I make it again. Our friend who has traveled extensively said it was perfect! It was great as are most of your recipes.

  • This recipe is wonderful! Better than any restaurant! We loved it! Another winning recipe from Jenn. She is always spot on. I have enjoyed every recipe I have made. I always look forward to trying something new. THANKS JENN!!!

  • We liked this a lot. However, we use very little salt when we cook and have become sensitive to it. Is there a way to reduce the amount of fish sauce without sacrificing the taste? Is there a substitute we could use?

    • Hi Beth, you could try reducing the fish sauce and replacing it with more soy sauce and (and you could use reduced-sodium soy sauce). Hope that helps!

  • The seasoning of this dish was delicious . It tasted like restaurant food . The only problem I have noticed is that I struggle to cook noodles properly . This is the third time I have found that my noodles – be they udon , flat rice etc noodles comes out sticky despite rinsing in cold water – they end up with a ‘slimy’ texture . Any tips Jenn to avoid this ? I will definitely make this dish again once I manage to handle the noodles as it would be perfect for guests as well.

    • Hi Louise, After they’ve been sitting and before you incorporate them back in at the end, I’d give them a quick rinse under warm water and use your fingers to manually un-stick any noodles. Shake out any excess water and then proceed. Hope that helps!

  • Made the Shrimp Pad Thai for dinner tonight. It was wonderful! Yes, salty…but wonderful! Made it with fresh Beaufort, SC shrimp – right from the roadside shrimp shack. Added some diced zucchini, onion, and shredded carrots, otherwise followed the recipe as written. Another great Jen recipe to add to our rotation!

  • I made this tonight with one major substitution, I spiralized a couple of kolrabi for the noodles and it turned out great. Kolrabi spiralizes very nicely and looks much like real pasta. I skipped the pre-boil step but I should have done a quick pre-fry with them as they released a lot of water and diluted the sauce but it still tasted really good. We’ll have this again!

  • Killer and easy Pad Thai! Loved by all in my home. I usually don’t have bean sprouts, so add a little finely shredded cabbage (red this time) at the end. Added 1 T or so of tamarind paste since I had it (adds extra tangyness), also slightly reduced the sugar. You can switch up the veggies some, but the sauce, peanuts, green onions and cilantro are non-negotiable in my opinion. I wouldn’t even miss the shrimp that much. Also I always top with some sriracha. this was my third time making it and definitely not waiting so long to make it again!

  • I’ve attempted to make Shrimp Pad Thai several times. But this recipe is the absolute best, most authentic that I have tried. I did make a few alterations based on personal taste:
    * I inverted the ratio of fish sauce to soy sauce as I find fish sauce, in abundance, to taste like funky feet
    * I added crisply sauteed, sliced carrots
    * I made 1.5 x the amount of sauce and added garlic red chili paste ~1 Tbsp.
    * I used prepared, refrigerated minced garlic instead of fresh and added the same type of ginger ~ 1 Tbsp.
    After we enjoyed this so much, I recreated it using chicken and regular spaghetti noodles. Still absolutely delish!
    Thanks for this recipe!

  • I make this recipe at least once a month! I actually add tofu in addition to the shrimp and it is so delicious. Highly recommend!!

  • Made this recipe tonight and it was so delicious!!! I forgot to add the sugar to the sauce but you couldn’t tell….it tasted so healthy. Doubled the recipe so we’ll enjoy leftovers!

    • I made this twice within the last 2 days because the first batch didn’t last very long. This dish is so flavorful and easy to make. My family and I loved it!

  • Love this recipe! I have made it many times over the last several years and it is a hit every time! I also use chicken and I personally like it better than the shrimp, but both are wonderful! Thanks!

  • I have made this recipe many times, and I just love it, as have each and every person I have made it for. So full of flavor. I have substituted chicken for the shrimp at times and it is also wonderful, maybe better.

    • Made this for my family. Loved the flavours, recipe was easy to follow. Will make again for sure. I found it to be a bit salty will maybe eliminate a tbsp of fish sauce on my next serving

  • Delicious! I followed the recipe as written, except that I used thawed bag of frozen, cooked shrimp, and I added carrot. There were so many wonderful flavors in each bite. I will definitely make this recipe again!

  • We have made many varieties of Pad Thai sauce (even “cheating” with some store bought brands from our local asian markets). This recipe is by far the best one my family has tasted, and the sauce has worked for a number of other dishes as well. If you love Shrimp Pad Thai this is definitely a recipe that you want to try. The only thing I change when we cook this recipe is that I saute some fresh veggies ahead of time to add to the dish at the end. We usually like to add broccoli, carrots, onions, zucchini, and sliced peppers. I have also changed the brands of ingredients (based on recommendations at our local asian market) and use a high heat oil instead of vegetable oil.

  • My whole family loves this version of pad thai. My 12 year old recently said, while we were in a thai restaurant, that she would not order it because no one’s pad thai was better than mine! Thank you Jen! I always know I can count on your recipes to be delicious and stand up to the kid test!

  • The recipe is very easy to follow and the results are close to the pad Thai at the Thai restaurant down the street.
    Very well written and the ingredients are easy to obtain at pretty much any local grocery store .
    Thanks very much for the time and effort you put into this recipe- it’s a winner!

  • My hubby is allergic to fish. What can I use as a substitute for the fish base? Thanks!

    • Hi Lora, you could easily substitute chicken for the shrimp and use soy sauce in place of the fish sauce. (Without the fish sauce, this dish will not have the same authentic Thai flavor, but it will still be good.) Hope you enjoy!

  • My daughter asked for this dish for her birthday dinner. I had made this recipe at home and she had had it at a really good Thai restaurant but she specifically asked me to make it again because she liked mine more. Glad to say, this recipe is now a family favorite – as are so many of your recipes!

    • — Sandie Marstiller
    • Reply
  • I made this for our dinner for the first time last night. It was delicious and easy to make! My husband likes it spicy. He added a little chili garlic sauce. I will definitely make this again! Is there a particular kind of fish sauce that you prefer?

    • So glad you enjoyed it! I like Red Boat brand fish sauce.

  • This was excellent! I made this recipe exactly as written and my boyfriend (who loves pad thai) loved it! My roommate even raved over it. This was her first time ever tasting pad thai. Will definitely make it again.

  • Absolutely amazing! As good as anything you can buy in a Thai restaurant. So easy to make and phenomenally delicious! I had to sub fresh cauliflower for the broccoli, but it was so yummy! I will definitely make it again!

  • I just made this a few hours ago – it turned out amazing ! The family loved it. The recipe was so easy to follow. Also love that all the ingredients are available at most grocery stores. The only change I would make next time is to cut down on the oil in the last step.

  • This is SO good! It’s a relatively quick and super easy recipe for weeknights, and most ingredients I already have on hand. I’ve made many ingredient subs too that work beautifully. I’ve used leftover rotisserie chicken in place of shrimp, if I don’t have fresh ginger I’ve used the ginger paste I keep in the fridge, and I’ve even used leftover rice in place of the noodles. Very versatile recipe, but is also perfect as is!

    • — Jonnie Beth Bryan
    • Reply
  • This recipe was really good. BUT, like Jenn says, you really have to watch the noodles. I thought I had them at the perfect al dente(and maybe they were) but after adding them and everything else to the pan, I maybe cooked them a little too long and they got a little mushy, so watch that. Also the shrimp will also cook a bit once adding them back into the pan, so make sure to not overcook them in the first step. Great recipe though.

  • Delicious! Nicely balanced flavor and texture. A nice amount of heat that allows the individual ingredients to be enjoyed.

  • This was awesome!! My whole family loved it!! The only problem was there were no leftovers. Jen, I have made at least 35 of your recipes and they have all been incredible! I cook and bake a lot and your site is by far the best site. So many favorites from your site. My husband and I only use your site now. Thanks for sharing such fantastic recipes!!! My favorite dessert is your Coconut Dream Pie!! It is unbelievable!!!

    • — Denise Ksen-Smith
    • Reply
    • So glad you and your family are enjoying the recipes, Denise! And the Coconut Dream Pie is a favorite at our house as well ?.

  • I already had a pretty good Pad Thai recipe, but this one is better. My hubby doesn’t love Pad Thai like I do but he will eat it. This recipe he liked a lot. Thanks.

  • My husband and I both really liked your take on the recipe. I made it with chicken tenders because we had them on hand and added 1 T red Thai paste to the sauce per another reviewer’s suggestion. We like spicy! Another great recipe. Thanks so much.

  • This is the easiest and most delicious Pad Thai recipe. I love that the ingredients are simple and easily accessible at my local grocery store.

    • Jenn – you never disappoint. Very authentic with bright flavors. Reduced fish sauce to 2 Tablespoons and it was perfect. We bought Annie Chun’s Thai noodles at WF and put in boiling water for 6 minutes finished by a cold bath. Perfection. Thank you.

      • — Patticakes in Darien.
      • Reply
  • Love this pad thai recipe. It comes very close to the pad thai I usually get at my favourite Asian restaurant. I substituted shrimp for chicken, and it still came out great.

  • I love this website, every recipe is a hit with my family! For me, the noodles turned out perfectly and the taste was delicious. I didn’t expect purely “authentic” thai food and felt highly satisified with this version.

  • This is, by far, the best pad thai recipe I have ever made. The only thing I did differently was prepare the noodles toward the end, as there is a lot of prep work, and I was worried that they would get overcooked. My family really loved it.

  • This recipe would need a sodium warning, having over a day’s recommended level. How would cut the level by 2/3s?

    • Hi Tom, Yes, this recipe is definitely high in sodium. You could reduce it a bit by replacing the fish sauce with additional soy sauce (and using the reduced-sodium variety of soy sauce). Without the fish sauce, this dish will not have the same authentic Thai flavor, but it will still be good. You could also use unsalted nuts on top of the dish. I’m not certain how much these changes reduce the sodium, but it should definitely help.

  • I tried this recipe again and it was still enjoyable but next time one thing I would do differently towards the end is pour the sauce over all the ingredients, not just the noodles, to better distribute the sauce and to try and avoid “over-saucing” the noodles at the top (is that a word?). Also, this is a “note to self” but I would also try not to overcook the noodles…I find that after adding the noodles to the hot water, I tend to neglect them as I work on prepping all the other ingredients and I don’t like the noodles as much when they are super-soft. That is probably why you recommend actually following cooking times and rinsing the noodles with cold water once they are done…smart advice. 🙂

  • I’ve tried several Pad Thai recipes and this one is my new favourite. I’ll definitely make it again.

    Thanks, Jenn!

  • This is one of the best Pad Thai I’ve tasted. I added Thai red curry as suggested. It was easy and so tasty. Thank you Jenn.

  • I made this last night, and my family and I loved it! I followed most of the measurements, and it turned out great. I have always been told that recipes are merely guidelines, and you have to adjust to your liking. I didn’t have to make a lot of adjustments to this one. Thanks for another great recipe!

  • This was so delicious! Everyone in my family loves it and had seconds. Thanks for a wonderful recipe!

  • This was excellent! I felt that it was of a lot of work between all of the chopping and different prep steps, but was rewarded in the end. I left the hot pepper out and the kids devoured this happily-and took multiple extra helpings! Will make again-on weekends and nights that I have time. Will try to make this with tofu and minus eggs and fish sauce (ideas on substitutions appreciated)for vegetarian family members. Thanks for another great recipe, Jen! I tell everyone about your site!

    • Jennifer, So glad you liked it! You could use soy sauce in place of the fish sauce but the dish will have more of a Chinese bent than a Thai one without the fish sauce. Still tasty, just different!

  • Terrific recipe!! The sauce was spot on – though I did add a Tbsp of Red Thai Curry paste for zing. Much better dish than any of the restaurants in our area. Even the left-overs, warmed up slowly so as not to make the shrimp rubbery, were delicious! Another WINNER =D

  • Hi!

    What if I don’t have fresh ginger, but granulated? How much of that should I use? Thanks! Can’t wait to try this recipe soon!

    • If you’re referring to ground ginger, I would use about 1/2 tsp., If you’re referring to the granulated/candied ginger, I wouldn’t suggest it. If that’s the case, you can just omit the ginger.

  • Loved this recipe! Pad Thai is my fav and even though I did not have ginger, cilantro to hand it tasted great. Hubby declared best pad Thai ever- and we ate pad Thai in Thailand:)

  • Excellent. I made this according to the recipe, and it was very good.

  • I actually have dried shrimp and tamarind paste in the house. How can I add that to make it more authentic (as well as how much)?

    • Hi Anjli, Because this is just my “take” on Shrimp Pad Thai, I wouldn’t really know the best way to work those ingredients in- I’m sorry! I would suggest looking for a more traditional pad thai recipe if you really want to use those ingredients!

  • I would love to try this but I am allergic to shrimp. I have had chicken pad Thai in restaurants. Could I substitute chicken; and if so, how much and how should I cook it?
    I’m new to the website and me and my husband have been loving the recipes we’ve tried so far! Thanks!

    • Hi Amy, you could definitely prepare this with chicken. Like the shrimp, use a pound, cut into roughly 1-inch pieces. The chicken will take a bit longer than the shrimp to cook; probably about 3 – 4 minutes per side. Hope you enjoy!

      • Thanks for the tip on switching out the shrimp for chicken. I love Pad Thai, but someone I cook for cannot eat shrimp. I cannot wait to try this. I also appreciate the comments as to the sodium content, as that is a concern for me too.

    • Hi
      I have tried this recipe with both Prawns and with chicken, and both are equally good. Love this recipe totally. The sauce is phenomenal and the beansprouts add the correct crunch to the dish.
      Thanks
      Vanita

  • Asked and delivered! Thanks so much. Can’t wait to try it!

  • Questions

    1 Is the weight of shrimp (I pound) before or after peeling?

    2 What were the original ingredients for which you used substitutes?

    • Hi Gordon, the weight of the shrimp is prior to peeling. And I didn’t really use substitutes for ingredients like dried shrimp and tamarind paste because there are no real substitutes. This is more of my “take” on Pad Thai. Hope you enjoy!

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