Authentic rice noodles mingle with scrambled eggs, roasted peanuts, and a medley of colorful veggies in this easy recipe for Pad Thai. It’s smothered in a sweet, salty, and sour sauce that will rock your socks off!
I have a deep affection for stir-fries and rice, but there’s something exceptionally comforting about a noodle stir-fry. A steaming bowl of noodles drenched in savory sauce always gives me a sense of coziness and contentment. Noodle dishes, in my experience, offer a unique blend of relaxation and nourishment that’s simply unparalleled. This brings me to the delightful Southeast Asian dish, pad Thai. If you’re hesitant about trying to make pad Thai in your own kitchen, don’t worry! You don’t need any fancy equipment or an extensive array of exotic ingredients to create this fulfilling meal from scratch. Let’s dive into the process and see how simple and satisfying it can be!
What is Pad Thai?
Pad Thai is a delicious and popular Thai street food that has gained widespread popularity in the US. It’s a noodle dish known for its perfect blend of sweet, sour, and salty flavors, featuring soaked rice noodles, scrambled eggs, and a distinctive sauce. Common ingredients include fish sauce, tamarind paste, bean sprouts, sugar, and sometimes crunchy roasted peanuts, tofu, chicken, or shrimp. The key elements of the dish are the noodles and sauce. This recipe is convenient, using ingredients easily found in local grocery stores, and captures the same delightful flavors of restaurant takeout, yet is simple enough to prepare at home on a weeknight.
For this pad Thai recipe, I’m using sweet and crisp veggies, brown rice noodles, and simple sauce ingredients. The garnishes really put it over the top, so I do recommend using them, too.
For the Pad Thai
- Noodles: You can use any flat rice noodles you have, but I recommend 8 ounces of dried brown rice pad Thai noodles.
- Olive Oil: For sautéing.
- Garlic: Mince or press 3 cloves of garlic.
- Eggs: You’ll need two eggs, lightly beaten.
- Carrots: Bagged shredded or matchstick carrots are easiest! You can also shred your own. Either way, you’ll need one cup.
- Bell Peppers: Slice up one large or two small red bell peppers.
- Bean Sprouts: I like to rinse and drain mine in cool water, even if they’re already washed, just to refresh them slightly.
- Green Onions: Chop or thinly slice a couple of green onions, plus a more for garnish (if using).
- Cilantro: Chop up half a cup of fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish.
- Roasted Peanuts: I use half a cup of dry roasted peanuts, crushed, with more for garnish.
- 2 Limes: Cut these into wedges, for serving.
For the Pad Thai Sauce
- Fish Sauce: For this recipe, I used 3 tablespoons of fish sauce.
- Soy Sauce: You can use regular soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Just a little bit! 1 tablespoon will do it.
- Rice Wine Vinegar: This delicate vinegar adds depth of flavor and a nice tanginess.
- Brown Sugar: You’ll need 5 tablespoons of brown sugar. Substitute raw sugar, honey or maple syrup, if needed.
- Peanut Butter: Yum! A couple tablespoons of peanut butter add rich, creamy flavor to the dish.
- Sriracha Sauce: Use 1 tablespoon of sriracha for a mild recipe, or add more to taste for a spicy kick.
How to Make Pad Thai
Making this dish is as easy as pie – or maybe even easier! Essentially, you’ll prepare the noodles, sauce, and sauteed items and then mix them all together.
- Prepare the Rice Noodles: In a pot, bring water to a boil and cook the rice noodles for 6 minutes (or according to the package directions). Rinse under cold water and add a drizzle of olive oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.
- Prepare the Sauce: In a small bowl, mix all the sauce ingredients together until smooth. Set the sauce aside.
- Stir-Fry Veggies & Scramble Eggs: Heat a large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then the garlic, sliced red peppers and carrots. Sauté for 5 minutes, or until the veggies are slightly tender. Remove from the pan to a bowl or plate. Using the same pan, add another drizzle of olive oil and place beaten eggs in the center. Scramble the eggs and break them up into smaller pieces as they cook. Turn the heat to low.
- Combine All Ingredients: Add the cooked noodles and sauteed veggies back to the pan. Top with peanuts, sprouts, cilantro and green onion. Pour the prepared sauce over the top, and toss gently to combine. Allow the noodles and other ingredients to warm up slightly.
- Serve: Remove the pad Thai from the heat and garnish with additional peanuts, cilantro and green onions. Serve with lime wedges. Enjoy!
Tips for Success
- Fear Not, Fish Sauce: The best part of this dish is the sauce, and one of its most important ingredients is fish sauce! If you’ve never used fish sauce before, you might be kind of… shocked, when you open the bottle! It’s very funky, and that’s an understatement! But like anchovies in Caesar dressing, fish sauce brings a very important depth of flavor, saltiness and savoriness to the dish. Just go for it! You’ll be happy you did.
- Reduce the Heat: Feel free to omit the sriracha sauce if it makes this dish too spicy for your taste. If you do this, I recommend adding an additional garlic clove and maybe chopped pimientos to help maintain the intensity of flavor.
- Add Protein: This dish is awesome as-is, but if you’d like a little more protein, try adding diced cooked chicken, small cooked shrimp, or a bit of cooked ground pork or turkey at the very end, allowing your protein to warm up in the sauce (just don’t overcook it!).
While it’s definitely a complete meal in a bowl, I do like to add my easy Shrimp Tempura to the menu, and sometimes I go with this tasty Crispy Honey Sesame Chicken. These Crab Rangoon Wontons are also great!
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- To store leftovers, place them in airtight containers and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
- To reheat them, place the pad Thai in a covered skillet over low heat and cook until the dish is completely heated through, stirring occasionally. Do not overcook.
More Asian Inspired Recipes
- Slow Cooker Asian Glazed Chicken Drumsticks
- Shrimp Tacos with Asian Cabbage Slaw
- Chicken Potstickers
- Asian Cabbage Slaw
Easy Pad Thai
For the Pad Thai
- 1 (8 ounce box) brown rice pad thai noodles, or flat rice noodles of choice
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup carrots, shredded
- 2 small red bell peppers, sliced
- 1 cup fresh bean sprouts,
- 2 green onions, plus more for garnish
- ½ cup fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
- ½ cup dry roasted peanuts (plus more to garnish
- 2 limes
- In a pot, bring water to a boil and cook the rice noodles for 6 minutes, or according to the package directions. Then, rinse them under cold water, add a drizzle of olive oil to prevent sticking, and set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix all the sauce ingredients together until smooth. Set the sauce aside.
- In a large frying pan or wok, drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat on medium-high heat. Add the garlic, sliced red peppers, and carrots. Saute for 5 minutes, or until the veggies are slightly tender. Remove from the pan to a bowl or plate.
- Using the same pan, add another drizzle of olive oil, and place beaten eggs in the center. With a spatula, scramble the eggs and break them up into smaller pieces as they cook. Turn the heat to low.
- Add the cooked noodles and sauteed veggies back to the pan. Top with peanuts, sprouts, cilantro, and green onion. Pour the prepared sauce over the top, and toss gently to combine. Allow the noodles and other ingredients to warm up slightly.
- Remove the pad thai from the heat and garnish with additional peanuts, cilantro, and green onions. Serve with lime wedges.