Easy Homemade Chicken Pad Thai

Chicken pad Thai without tamarind recipe

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 3 to 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
507 Calories
27g Fat
33g Carbs
38g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 507
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 27g 34%
Saturated Fat 5g 27%
Cholesterol 203mg 68%
Sodium 1637mg 71%
Total Carbohydrate 33g 12%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 19g
Protein 38g
Vitamin C 57mg 283%
Calcium 99mg 8%
Iron 3mg 19%
Potassium 790mg 17%
*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 one of the most popular dishes ordered at a Thai restaurant but is easy enough to make at home—especially with this recipe, which doesn't call for tamarind paste. In fact, the original pad Thai didn't contain tamarind at all (the makings of pad Thai being brought to Thailand via the Chinese). This recipe is based on the earlier version of the dish and is perfect for a Thai dinner party menu or a tasty weeknight meal.

The sauce is made of chicken stock, rice vinegar, lime juice, brown sugar, fish sauce, and soy sauce, and provides a sweet and tangy flavor to the chicken, noodles, egg, and bean sprouts. The noodles are pad Thai rice noodles, which are a type of rice noodle that is 1/4 inch in width; they can be found in well-stocked grocery stores, Asian food markets, and online.

Ingredients

For the Chicken:

  • 3/4 pound boneless chicken thighs, or breast, cut into small pieces or strips

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

For the Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup chicken stock

  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar, or white vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper

For the Pad Thai:

  • 9 ounces pad Thai rice noodles 

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 fresh red or green chili, sliced

  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal or ginger, grated

  • 4 green onions, sliced

  • 1 large egg

  • 2 to 3 cups bean sprouts

  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

  • 1/3 cup roasted unsalted peanuts, or cashews, ground or roughly chopped with a knife

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingrediens for chicken pad Thai
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  2. Place the chicken in a bowl and toss with the soy sauce. Set aside.

    Prepare chicken
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  3. Combine the pad Thai sauce ingredients together in a cup, stirring well to dissolve the sugar. Set aside.

    Pad Thai sauce
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  4. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Dunk in rice noodles and switch off the heat. Allow the noodles to soak approximately 6 minutes, or until they're soft enough to bend easily but still firm and undercooked by regular standards. (This is the key to good pad Thai, so be sure not to over-soak or boil the noodles. They will finish cooking later.)

    Rice noodles
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  5. Drain and rinse the noodles briefly with cold water to keep them from sticking. Set aside.

    Drain
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  6. Heat a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle in the oil and swirl around, then add the garlic, chili, galangal or ginger, and half of the green onion (or just the white parts), reserving the rest for later. Stir-fry for 1 minute to release the fragrance.

    Heat a wok
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  7. Add the chicken and stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes, or until cooked. If the pan becomes dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the pad Thai sauce, just enough to keep the ingredients frying nicely.

    Add chicken
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  8. Push the ingredients to one side and crack an egg into the center of the pan. Stir quickly to scramble, then combine with the other ingredients.

    Push ingredients
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  9. Add the prepared noodles plus 3 to 4 tablespoons of the pad Thai sauce. Using two utensils, lift and turn the noodles to stir-fry and combine with the other ingredients. Continue frying in this way, adding more of the sauce every minute or two, until all of the sauce has been added and the noodles are chewy and a little bit sticky, 8 to 10 minutes. When the sauce has been absorbed and the noodles are cooked, fold in the bean sprouts (you want them to stay crispy).

    Add noodles
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  10. Remove the pan from the heat and taste-test; if you like your pad Thai a bit on the salty side, add 1 to 2 tablespoons fish sauce.

    Stir
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  11. For those who like it extra spicy, serve with Thai chili sauce on the side. Enjoy.

    Chicken pad Thai
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga 

Tips

  • Pad Thai sauce needs to taste sweet first, followed by sour and then salty to create a good pad Thai. Adjust the sauce ingredients if needed.
  • Use wheat-free soy sauce for gluten-free diets.