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
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
563 Calories
27g Fat
50g Carbs
35g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 563
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 27g 34%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 123mg 41%
Sodium 1509mg 66%
Total Carbohydrate 50g 18%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Protein 35g
Calcium 101mg 8%
*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.)

If you're one of the many people who has trouble finding special Asian ingredients like tamarind paste, not to worry - you can still create delicious pad Thai without it. In fact, the original pad Thai didn't contain tamarind at all (the makings of pad Thai being brought to Thailand via the Chinese), and the following recipe is based on this earlier version of the dish and is perfect for a Thai dinner party menu.

If you're living in a place where Asian ingredients are difficult to find, then this tamarind-free recipe might just make your day. Enjoy!


  • 3/4 pound boneless chicken thigh (or breast, cut into small pieces or strips)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • For the Pad Thai Sauce (Without Tamarind)
  • 1/3 cup good-tasting chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar (or substitute white vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoons 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 Dish
  • 9 ounces pad Thai rice noodles 
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 fresh red chili (or green chili, sliced)
  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal (or ginger, grated)
  • 4 green onions (sliced)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 to 3 cups bean sprouts
  • 1 fresh lime (sliced into wedges)
  • 1/3 cup dry-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 prepared chicken in a bowl and toss with 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce. Set aside.

    Prepare chicken
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  3. Combine pad Thai sauce ingredients together in a cup, stirring well to dissolve sugar. Note that this sauce needs to taste sweet first, followed by sour and then salty to create good pad Thai. 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 noodles to soak approximately 6 minutes, or until 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 noodles briefly with cold water to keep from sticking. Set aside.

    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/ginger, and half of the green onion (or just the white parts), reserving remaining for later. Stir-fry 1 minute to release the fragrance.

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

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

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

    Add noodles
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  10. Remove from heat and taste-test, adding more fish sauce until desired taste is achieved. If you like your pad Thai a bit on the salty side, we recommend adding 1 to 2 tablespoons fish sauce.

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

    Chicken pad Thai
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga 


  • Use wheat-free soy sauce for gluten-free diets.