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!
Easy Homemade Pad Thai Recipe
Just the other day, my kids were asking about getting some takeout. I love Asian food, and so do they! They usually opt for some kind of stir-fry with plenty of rice on the side, but as always, I made sure our meal included noodles.
That’s right, as much as I adore stir-fry and rice, I truly love and feel comforted by a noodle stir fry! Any big, warm bowl of noodles in sauce just makes me feel cozy – even during the summer! I find that noodle dishes bring with them a sense of relaxation and nourishment that’s hard to beat.
Which brings me to this yummy Southeast Asian dish, pad Thai! You might be a little nervous about making pad thai at home, but don’t be! Even if you don’t have any special equipment or a robust selection of specialty ingredients, you can make this hearty dish from scratch. So let’s get to it!
What is Pad Thai?
If you’ve never had pad Thai before, you’re in for a super flavorful treat! Pad Thai is a popular street food in Thailand, one that has made its way into kitchens, restaurants and grocery stores all across the US! This simple yet complex noodle dish features soaked rice noodles, scrambled eggs and a flavorful sauce that blends sweet, sour and salty flavors together.
You’ll find ingredients ranging from fish sauce to tamarind paste to bean sprouts to sugar, all mixing and mingling together in a warm bowl, depending on who’s cooking it! Some versions of pad Thai, like this one, call for crunchy roasted peanuts, while other recipes might blend in some tofu, chicken or shrimp. In general though, the noodles and sauce are the “stars.”
My version contains easy-to-find ingredients that you’ll most likely be able to pick up at your local grocery store. It’s got the same sweet-sour-savory flavor as a bowl from your favorite takeout restaurant, but it’s easy enough to pull together at home on a weeknight.
For this pad Thai recipe, I’m using a few 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!
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. Let’s do this!
- Prepare 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 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
When making a new dish, it’s nice to have a few inside tips and tricks. These are my top must-knows for this pad Thai recipe.
- 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!).
Looking for a few simple sides to serve up with your pad Thai? While it’s definitely a complete meal in a bowl, I do have a few addition ideas that would make this dinner even better! Here are some takeout-tasty recipes that anyone can make in the comfort of their own kitchen.
- Shrimp: Try my easy Shrimp Tempura for a nice appetizer or side dish that brings crunchy, crispy Japanese flavor to your table. They’re super popular with everyone, even picky eaters!
- Crab Rangoons: These fun and funky little appetizers are another crispy favorite! Crab Rangoon Wontons are stuffed with a delicate, sweet-and-salty cream cheese filling and chopped crab meat for a totally crave-worthy dish.
- Sticky Chicken: The sweet and nutty flavors of the honey-sesame sauce make these sticky chicken bites irresistible! My Crispy Honey Sesame Chicken is sure to become a staple in your menu!
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.
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). Rinse under cold water, and add a drizzle of olive oil to prevent sticking. 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. Enjoy!
More Asian Inspired Recipes
If you enjoyed this flavorful Thai recipe, you have to try the following dishes next!