Easy Pad Thai Noodles

Easy pad Thai noodles recipe

The Spruce / Ali Redmond

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 45 mins
Servings: 2 to 3 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
553 Calories
26g Fat
53g Carbs
31g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 3
Amount per serving
Calories 553
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 26g 34%
Saturated Fat 4g 18%
Cholesterol 150mg 50%
Sodium 2042mg 89%
Total Carbohydrate 53g 19%
Dietary Fiber 6g 23%
Total Sugars 21g
Protein 31g
Vitamin C 50mg 249%
Calcium 142mg 11%
Iron 3mg 19%
Potassium 710mg 15%
*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.)

This recipe for pad thai noodles with chicken and shrimp is authentic and simple enough for any aspiring Thai cook to make. The pad thai sauce is easier to create than the more common tamarind-based variety. If you live in a place where Asian ingredients are difficult to find, then this tamarind-free recipe might be perfect for you.

Although today we associate pad thai sauce with tamarind, in this authentic Southern Thai recipe the sourness comes instead from a combination of rice vinegar and lime juice. Several hundred years ago, traditional pad thai was made in just this way—without tamarind—and versions of this original recipe can still be found in various regions of Thailand.


Click Play to See This Easy Pad Thai Recipe Come Together


For the Pad Thai Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup good-quality 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

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the Pad Thai:

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (or 1 to 2 thighs), chopped into small pieces

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 8 ounces pad Thai rice noodles

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 to 2 fresh red chiles (or green chiles), finely sliced

  • 1 teaspoon grated galangal or ginger

  • 10 to 15 medium raw shrimp, peeled

  • 1 large egg

  • 2 cups bean sprouts

  • 4 green onions, sliced

  • 1 lime, cut into wedges, for serving

  • 1/3 cup dry-roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for easy pad thai
    The Spruce / Ali Redmond
  2. Combine chicken stock, rice vinegar, lime juice, brown sugar, fish sauce, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and cayenne pepper in a cup or small bowl, stirring to dissolve sugar. Set aside.

    Combine chicken stock
    The Spruce / Ali Redmond 
  3. Place chopped chicken in a bowl and toss with 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce. Set aside.

    Place chopped chicken in a bowl
    The Spruce / Ali Redmond
  4. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Dunk in rice noodles and cook approximately 6 minutes, or until soft enough to bend easily but still firm and a little crunchy when you try to eat it (undercooked by regular standards). Drain and rinse noodles briefly with cold water to keep from sticking. Set aside.

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond
  5. Heat a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle in oil and swirl around. Add the garlic, chili, and galangal. Stir-fry 1 minute.

    Heat a wok
    The Spruce / Ali Redmond
  6. Add chicken and stir-fry 2 minutes. Add the shrimp, continuing to stir-fry until they turn pink and chicken is opaque—about 2 to 3 minutes.

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond
  7. When pan becomes dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the pad thai sauce—just enough to keep ingredients frying nicely.

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond
  8. Push ingredients to the side of the pan (if the pan is dry, drizzle in a little oil). Crack the egg into the center and stir-fry quickly to scramble.

    Shrimp in pan
    The Spruce / Ali Redmond
  9. Add the drained noodles plus 3 to 4 tablespoons of the pad thai sauce. Using two utensils, lift and turn the noodles with the other ingredients. Continue in this way, adding more sauce every minute or two, until all the sauce has been added and noodles are chewy and a little bit sticky, 8 to 10 minutes.

    Pad tha
    The Spruce / Ali Redmond
  10. Fold in bean sprouts and green onion. Remove from heat and taste-test, adding more fish sauce until desired taste is achieved.

    Fold in bean sprouts
    The Spruce / Ali Redmond
  11. Portion out onto individual plates and add a lime wedge on the side. Top with a sprinkle of chopped nuts.

    Shrimp pad thai
    The Spruce / Ali Redmond


  • For a gluten-free version, use wheat-free soy sauce.
  • When mixing the sauce ingredients, taste and adjust the ingredients as needed.

Recipe Variations

  • Adjust the spice level of this dish by adding less or more red chile. As written, this recipe is moderately spicy. For extra spice, leave the seeds inside the chiles.
  • Pad thai noodles, a type of flat noodle made with rice, is the traditional choice for this dish. In a pinch, you can substitute fettucine or another flat, long noodle.
  • Replace the lime juice with about 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of tamarind paste.

What is the difference between lo mein and pad thai noodles?

Lo mein noodles are a type of Chinese egg noodle. They are round in shape and are typically used for Chinese stir-fry dishes. Pad thai noodles are a style of Thai rice noodles that are chewy and perfect for stir-frying when making pad thai.

Why is pad thai so popular?

Pad thai is a well-balanced blend of salty, sweet, sour, and umami flavors, making it one of the world's most popular dishes.