Pad Thai (with Chicken or Shrimp)

03.25.2019

This is such a flavorful, hearty, approachable Pad Thai recipe that anyone can make! It’s made with ingredients you can find at the regular grocery store and it’s sure to leave you craving more!

Pad Thai in a black wok with chicken and fresh vegetables.

What is Pad Thai?

Pad Thai is Thailands National dish and likely the most popular order at the majority of Thai restaurants here in the U.S.

It is a noodle stir fry dish traditionally made up of rice noodles, shrimp, tofu, eggs and a deeply flavored, sweet and sour sauce. The sauce is usually consists of ingredients such as fish sauce, tamarind paste, dried shrimp and palm sugar.

Is This Authentic Pad Thai?

I’ll be the first to admit this is not the typical Pad Thai you’d find in Thailand. My version uses common ingredients found in the U.S. with a similar, and equally as delicious flavor to an authentic version.

So, you won’t have to make a special trip to the Asian grocery store that may be 30 miles or more away from home.

In this Pad Thai you’ll find tender pieces of chicken and lots of fresh vegetables and it’s all tossed with the most crave-worthy sauce, and of course, finished with an abundance of crunchy peanuts.

You’ll see based off of the reviews and comments this has been a reader favorite! Try it for yourself and please leave a review in the comments below, I love to get reader feedback!

Pad Thai Recipe Video

Serving of pad thai in a white bowl.

Ingredients for Homemade Pad Thai

  • Rice noodles – you can find these in the Asian foods section of the grocery store. I usually use A Taste of Thai brand.
  • Chicken breasts or shrimp – this makes it hearty and adds protein. Tofu can also be used here as well.
  • Vegetable oil – used for sautéing.
  • Brown sugar – to sweeten the sauce. This is added instead of the traditional palm sugar.
  • Soy sauce – to add deep flavor, it adds a nice saltiness and umami flavor and balances the sweetness.
  • Rice vinegar and lime juice – to add brightness. This is added in place of traditional tamarind paste.
  • Fish sauce – adds key flavor, don’t skip it. You can find it in the Asian section of the grocery store. Feel free to add more to taste.
  • Vegetables (bell pepper, carrots, bean sprouts, green onions, garlic and cilantro) – these make it a meal in one and they add lots of flavor and bright, appetizing color.
  • Eggs – a classic part of Pad Thai. Scramble them using a fork.
  • Peanuts – for that crave-able crunch. Be sure to use unsalted so it doesn’t make the dish overly salty.

Ingredients needed for pad thai shown here including eggs, red pepper flakes, fish sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime, bell pepper, chicken, brown sugar, peanuts, rice noodles, cilantro, green onions, bean sprouts, carrots, garlic and vegetable oil.

How to Make Pad Thai and Pad Thai Sauce

  • Cook noodles: Prepare rice noodles according to directions listed on package. This usually includes soaking in very hot water or boiling noodles, until al dente. Then rinsing briefly to prevent sticking.

Rinsing rice noodles in a colander for Pad Thai.

  • Prepare sauce: In a mixing bowl, whisk together brown sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice and fish sauce, set aside.

Showing how to make pad thai sauce. Whisking soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar and brown sugar in a glass mixing bowl set over a marble surface.

  • Cook chicken or shrimp: Heat oil in a wok or a 12-inch deep saute pan set over medium-high heat.
  • Add chicken and saute until cooked through, about 6 minutes.
  • If using shrimp cook about 1 1/2 minutes per side or until opaque.
  • Transfer to a plate, leaving oil in pan.

Showing how to make pad thai. Sautéing chicken breasts pieces in a wok.

  • Saute vegetables until crisp tender: Add bell pepper and carrots saute 1 – 2 minutes then add garlic, green onions and bean sprouts saute 1 minute longer.

Sautéing vegetables in wok for pad thai.

  • Cook eggs: Push veggies to edges of pan and crack eggs into center.
  • Cook and scramble until eggs have just set.

Scrambling and cooking eggs in a center of wok for pad thai.

  • Stir fry everything together: Add in chicken, noodles and sauce and toss everything together and cook 1 – 2 minutes.
  • Garnish: Serve warm topped with cilantro, peanuts and optional red pepper flakes and sesame seeds.

Adding rice noodles, cooked chicken and sauce to finish Pad Thai in wok.

How can I Make a Healthier Pad Thai?

If you want to make this healthier:

  • Swap the white rice noodles with brown rice noodles
  • Use low-sodium soy sauce
  • Replace brown sugar with honey
  • Use avocado oil or light olive oil in place of vegetable oil

Pad Thai in a black wok with chicken and fresh vegetables.

What if I Can’t Find Bean Sprouts?

Bean sprouts may be the only ingredient you have difficulty finding in this recipe. Some grocery stores don’t carry them so if you can’t find them simply omit them from the recipe.  If you’d like you could replace with another vegetable such as snow peas or zucchini noodles.

Can I Use Beef in Place of Chicken or Shrimp?

This recipe can also be made with beef in place of chicken or shrimp. Use 1 lb. skirt steak cut into thin 2-inch strips (against the grain) and sear on high heat just briefly on each side (about 1 minute per each, to medium doneness).

Two servings of pad thai in white bowls, with chopsticks on the side, set over a blue napkin.

More Thai Recipes You’ll Love:

Close up image of Pad Thai showing rice noodles, vegetables, chicken, peanuts and cilantro.

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Print

Pad Thai (with Chicken or Shrimp)

4.8 from 60 votes

This is such a flavorful, hearty, approachable Pad Thai that anyone can make! It's made with ingredients you can find at the regular grocery store and it's sure to leave you craving more!

Servings: 5 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 10 oz Thai rice noodles
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced into small strips, or 1 lb extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips and strips halved
  • 1 1/2 cups matchstick carrots
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 5 green onions, whites minced, greens sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, chopped
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Red pepper flakes and sesame seeds (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prepare rice noodles according to directions listed on package. In a mixing bowl, whisk together brown sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice and fish sauce, set aside.
  2. While noodles are cooking, heat oil in a wok or a 12-inch deep saute pan set over medium-high heat. Add chicken and saute until cooked through, about 6 minutes. If using shrimp cook about 1 1/2 minutes per side or until opaque.

  3. Transfer to a plate, leaving oil in pan. Add bell pepper and carrots saute 1 - 2 minutes then add garlic, green onions and bean sprouts saute 1 minute longer. 

  4. Push veggies to edges of pan and crack eggs into center. Cook and scramble until eggs have cooked through. Add in chicken, noodles and sauce and toss everything together and cook 1 - 2 minutes.
  5. Serve warm topped with cilantro, peanuts and optional red pepper flakes and sesame seeds.
Nutrition Facts
Pad Thai (with Chicken or Shrimp)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 572 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Fat 18g28%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 156mg52%
Sodium 1212mg53%
Potassium 796mg23%
Carbohydrates 71g24%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 16g18%
Protein 31g62%
Vitamin A 7500IU150%
Vitamin C 42.6mg52%
Calcium 76mg8%
Iron 2.6mg14%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Thai
Keyword: Chicken Pad Thai, Pad Thai
Calories: 572 kcal
Author: Jaclyn
Recipe originally shared March, 2015. Photos and tips updated March 2019.

 

212 comments

  • Ashim Mohanto: No August 21, 2019 at 12:25am Reply

  • Zach: Thought this recipe was missing something and decided to add toasted sesame oil. Added 1-2 tsp and it made a world of difference! July 19, 2019 at 7:46pm Reply

  • Larry D Chase: Have made this recipe several times on my Blackstone Flat Top Griddle. Tonight we will make it for dinner and going to make some additions just not ure what yet until I get to the store. June 28, 2019 at 10:15am Reply

  • Nick Nicholas: I made this last night and was excellent. Made a large batch. Added lots of broccoli and bok choy. Increased amount of sauce. Tweaked it with some ginger and w spoon of chili Garlic paste. Great easy to follow recipe. Will try it with shrimp next time. That what I order when out. Thanks. June 25, 2019 at 5:21am Reply

  • Sami: Decided to give making homemade pad Thai a try about a year ago and this has been my go to recipe since. Comes out great and it’s pretty simple. I usually put about 1/2 of what it calls for on fish sauce but otherwise follow the recipe exactly. The pepper flakes can make it real spicy. Bought a new package of pepper flakes because I had ran out after making this a few times and it was way more spicy than I intended even with using the same amount I always had before. June 21, 2019 at 2:47pm Reply

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