Chicken Pad Thai

Chicken Pad Thai

The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 12 mins
Total: 27 mins
Servings: 3 to 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
387 Calories
15g Fat
39g Carbs
26g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 387
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 20%
Saturated Fat 3g 13%
Cholesterol 46mg 15%
Sodium 2114mg 92%
Total Carbohydrate 39g 14%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 17g
Protein 26g
Vitamin C 42mg 209%
Calcium 73mg 6%
Iron 2mg 14%
Potassium 583mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Pad Thai is probably one of the most well known Thai dishes. It is a tangy and delicious combination of noodles, vegetables, and chicken or shrimp all tossed in a sweet and sour sauce with a little bit of spice. This recipe is a fast and easy version of traditional pad Thai, but maintains the authentic taste.

The key to perfect pad Thai is in the cooking of the noodles—cook them just enough so that they are chewy-perfect. When this dish is all put together, you will understand why pad Thai is so popular.


Click Play to See This Recipe Come Together

"A complex and flavorful version of Pad Thai thanks to the use of tamarind paste instead of ketchup and generous amounts of fish sauce for a great funky flavor. My local supermarket carried everything (even tamarind paste) except for the bean sprouts, which I easily found at a nearby Asian market." —Danielle Centoni

Chicken Pad Thai Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


For the Pad Thai Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup chicken stock

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon chili sauce, or to taste

  • 3/4 tablespoon tamarind paste, dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water

For the Pad Thai:

  • 8 ounces rice noodles

  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped chicken breast, or thigh

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 to 2 fresh red chiles, minced

  • 1/4 cup chicken stock

  • 3 cups bean sprouts

  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

  • 3 green onions, sliced

  • 1/3 cup peanuts, crushed or roughly chopped

  • Lime wedges, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Chicken Pad Thai ingredients

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Make the sauce by combining the tamarind paste mixture, chicken stock, fish sauce, brown sugar, and chili sauce. Stir well to dissolve. Taste-test for a tangy balance between sweet and sour. Add more sugar if too sour or more tamarind if too sweet.

    sauce ingredients combined in a bowl

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Bring a large pot of water to boil and dunk in rice noodles. Stir to separate. Only cook until they are limp but still firm and slightly crunchy (they will finish cooking later in the pan). 

    rice noodles cooking in boiling water

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Drain the noodles and rinse well with cold water to prevent sticking. Set aside.

    cooked noodles draining in a colander

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  5. Place the chicken in a small bowl. Stir together the soy sauce and cornstarch and pour over the chicken. Stir well and set aside.

    Chicken mixed with soy sauce and cornstarch

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  6. Preheat a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil followed by the garlic and minced chili, if using. Stir-fry until fragrant (30 seconds).

    Stir-fried garlic in a pan

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  7. Add the marinated chicken. When the wok or pan becomes dry, add the chicken stock. Stir-fry 5 to 7 minutes, until the chicken is cooked.

    chicken cooking in a pan

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  8. Add the drained noodles and pour the prepared sauce over. Using two utensils or chopsticks, use a gentle "lift and turn" method to fry the noodles (like tossing a salad). Stir-fry in this way 5 minutes, or until the noodles are chewy. If you find your pan too dry, add a little more oil.

    chicken and noodles in a pan

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  9. Add the bean sprouts and continue frying for 1 more minute, or until the noodles are cooked. The noodles are done when they taste chewy and a little sticky. Taste-test for seasoning, adding more fish sauce until your desired flavor is reached (you can add up to 1 tablespoon fish sauce).

    bean sprouts added to wok

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  10. Top with generous sprinklings of fresh cilantro, green onion, and crushed/chopped nuts. Serve with fresh lime wedges on the side.

    Chicken Pad Thai

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi


  • Look for tamarind paste at Asian/Chinese or Indian food stores.
  • If you don't have chili paste, use 1/2 teaspoon or more dried crushed chili or cayenne.
  • For even more flavor, make a double batch of the pad Thai sauce. Then, as you're stir-frying the noodles, add more sauce until you're happy with the taste (you can also add extra fish sauce).
  • Any leftover sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three weeks or the freezer for six months.

Is Pad Thai Spicy?

Pad Thai is not typically very spicy and is sometimes served with chili sauce on the side to adjust the spiciness. The dish is salty, tangy, and savory. You can adjust the level of spice in your homemade pad Thai by adding more or less chili sauce.