Chicken Pad Thai

This Chicken Pad Thai Recipe rivals any restaurant but is made with pantry friendly ingredients, is less expensive and on your table in 30 minutes!

Devour your favorite Chicken Pad Thai smothered in the most irresistible savory, sweet, salty, sour Pad Thai Sauce with crunchy peanuts and veggies!   You can completely customize your Pad Thai recipe to include whatever veggies or protein you want to make it Chicken Pad Thai, Shrimp Pad Thai or Vegetarian Pad Thai!  The possibilities are endless and so is the deliciousness! 

Pad Thai Recipe Video

Chicken Pad Thai

Thai food is one of my favorite foods in. the. world. with it’s depth of layered flavors that create a savory symphony with every bite.  I love Thai food so much, it’s usually my cuisine of choice for every milestone such as college graduation, engagement, birthday celebrations, transplant anniversaries, etc.  I’ve created several of my restaurant favorites into takeout fakeout versions from Pad See Ew, Panang Curry, Red Curry (one of my Most Popular Recipes of 2017), Yellow Curry, Coconut Curry Chicken and  Tom Kha Gai.

I’ve also created many not so traditional Thai recipes from my wildly popular Thai Chicken Noodle Soup and  Thai Pineapple Peanut Chicken Satay to my equally delicious Slow Cooker Thai Coconut Chicken and Wild Rice Soup, Thai Chicken Pizza, Thai Sticky Orange Chicken, Thai Butternut Squash Soup, and on and on.  And because today is actually my birthday (and yes, we are going to be eating lots of Thai food), I giddily bring you this Chicken Pad Thai recipe!

What is Pad Thai?

If you have ever dined at a Thai restaurant, then I guarantee Pad Thai has been on the menu.  It is common street food dish in Thailand and arguable the most popular Thai food in America because its aHHH-MAZING!  Pad Thai is a favorite stir fried rice noodle dish interpreted as “Thai-stir fry.”  It is characterized by the soaked rice noodles with their chewy texture, stir fried with eggs, either chicken, shrimp or tofu, tossed in a harmonious sauce that’s salty from the fish sauce, sour from the tamirand pulp (I use pantry friendly substitutes in my version) and sweet from the palm sugar (we substitute brown sugar in my version) with plenty of crushed peanuts, cilantro and bean sprouts.

Pad Thai became popular in World War II when Thailand was facing a rice shortage.  Rice noodles, on the other hand were in abundance so the Thai government encouraged the substitution of rice with rice noodles.  The citizens mixed rice noodles with various vegetables and proteins resulting in a new inexpensive, instant classic known as Pad Thai that the world has been enjoying ever since.

Close up view of Chicken Pad Thai in a blue pan.

What noodles are best for Pad Thai Noodles?

Every restaurant Pad Thai recipe begins with rice noodles.  Rice noodles are made from rice flour and maintain their perfectly al dente texture if not overcooked initially, giving Pad Thai its wonderfully slightly chewy characteristic texture.  Rice noodles can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store.  You are going to want rice noodles that are 1/4″ wide, resembling the width of fettuccine.  The noodles I use are easily accessible Thai Kitchen Stir Fry Rice Noodles.  If you can’t find rice noodles, you may substitute fettuccine.  Your Pad Thai Noodles won’t be as “authentic” but to be honest, I have tried both rice noodles and fettuccine and the fettuccine is still outrageously good if you can’t get your hands on rice noodles.

How to Cook Rice Noodles

The key to every perfect Pad Thai Recipe is to not over cook the noodles.  This is not something to stress about, it’s super easy to do, you just need to be aware of it.  In my Chicken Pad Thai recipe, I instruct to “Prepare rice noodles according to package directions, taking care they are a slightly crunchy/al dente because they will cook more in the sauce.”

Different rice noodle brands have slightly different soaking times, but the method is generally same.  Bring approximately 4 cups of water to boil in a medium saucepan then remove the pan from heat.  Add your noodles and let stand approximately 8 minutes OR until your noodles are limp but they’re still slightly firm.   You will want to take care to test the noodles on the early side of soaking time so they don’t overcook –  we do NOT want mushy noodles!

We want our noodles to be slightly crunchy and under cooked just a bit at then end of soaking because they are going to finish cooking when we stir fry them in the sauce.  Once the noodles are al-dente, drain them and rinse them under cold water to stop them from cooking.  Next, toss them with some olive oil to keep them from sticking together while we get our stir fry on.

Top view of Chicken Pad Thai with lime and cilantro.

How to Make the Best Pantry Friendly Pad Thai Sauce

I am telling you upfront that this is an Americanized version of Pad Thai but it tastes like authentic Pad Thai.  Authentic Pad Thai uses tamarind paste which can either be difficult to locate or just not as realistic because you will probably only ever use it for your Pad Thai recipe.  Instead, I’ve used the classic substitute of lime juice and rice vinegar.  I’ve also used brown sugar in the place of palm sugar.   Our other cast of characters that we simply whisk with our lime juice, rice vinegar and brown sugar include soy sauce, fish sauce, peanut butter, chili sauce, dried basil, dried coriander and pepper.  This dynamic sauce is simple but tastes authentic with its tangy, savory slightly spicy kick.

Aside from tasting yummy-licious, a great thing about making your own Pad Thai Sauce is you can completely customize the Pad Thai Sauce to your liking.  Add more chili sauce if you like it spicier, add more lime juice if you like it tangier.  I tend to like it tangier, so in this Chicken Pad Thai recipe, I have you cook the Pad Thai in the sauce and then have you taste it and add one additional tablespoon lime juice to give it more tang.  If some of your eaters like it more tangy or spicier, individuals can customize their own servings with fresh limes and chili sauce.

Tips for Successful Chicken Pad Thai

  • As previously discussed, don’t overcook your Pad Thai noodles so they are perfectly chewy.
  • For maximum efficiency, use the time while the noodles are soaking to whisk together your Pad Thai Sauce ingredients.
  • Have your Pad Thai Sauce ready and all your chicken and veggies chopped before you start cooking because the actual cooking process is super quick and you want everything ready to go at your fingertips.
  •  If you don’t like heat at all, start with less than one tablespoon chili paste.  I would say 1 tablespoon is about a 3 on the heat scale at a Thai restaurant, which is what most people order.
  • Add additional lime juice at the end of cooking if you want it tangier
  • Garnish, garnish, garnish!  Crunchy peanuts and cilantro are the crowning glory of this Chicken Pad Thai!
  • Chicken Pad Thai in a green blue bowl.

Pad Thai Recipe Variations

I love that by making Pad Thai at home you can customize to your own tastes by adding different vegetables or proteins and making it tangier, sweeter or spicier.

  • Veggies:  As far as veggies go, I’ve included red bell peppers, matchstick carrots and bean sprouts because this combo is my fav out of everything I’ve tried buuuuut you can omit the red bell peppers and carrot or substitute them for whatever veggies you want.  Having tried different combinations, however, I DONT suggest skipping the bean sprouts.  They add a fresh crunch that will be missed.
  • Shrimp Pad Thai:  If you don’t want to make Chicken Pad Thai, you can leave the chicken out or substitute it for shrimp or tofu.  If substituting shrimp, use 8 oz. peeled, deveined medium shrimp.  Cook them as you would the chicken just until opaque, about 3 minutes.  Remove to a plate per the chicken instructions.
  • Tofu Pad Thai:  For Pad Thai with tofu, use 4 ounces of extra-firm tofu, cut into ½ inch cubes and add them to the skillet with the noodles at the end of cooking.

Now that you know more than you ever wanted to about Chicken Pad Thai, it’s time to go make your own world famous worthy Pad Thai in the comfort of your own home.  In 30 minutes.


Close up view of a fork taking a bite of Chicken Pad Thai.

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©Carlsbad Cravings by

This Chicken Pad Thai Recipe is unbelievable with the most incredible pantry friendly Pad Thai Sauce!  It tastes even better than takeout and only 30 minutes to make!  You can use chicken or make it vegetarian Pad Thai or Shrimp Pad Thai!

Chicken Pad Thai (Video)

This Chicken Pad Thai Recipe rivals any restaurant but is made with pantry friendly ingredients, is less expensive and on your table in 30 minutes! Devour your favorite Chicken Pad Thai smothered in the most irresistible savory, sweet, salty, sour Pad Thai Sauce with crunchy peanuts and veggies!   You can completely customize your recipe to include whatever veggies or protein you want to make it Chicken Pad Thai, Shrimp Pad Thai or Vegetarian Pad Thai!  The possibilities are endless and so is the deliciousness! 
Servings: 6 servings
Total Time: 28 mins
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 8 mins

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Stir Fry

  • 8 oz. ¼” wide rice noodle may sub fettuccine*
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or peanut oil
  • 1 lb. chicken breast, sliced into thin strips then 2” pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper thinly sliced then halved
  • 1/3 cup minced shallots
  • 1 1/2 cups Matchstick carrots
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups (6 oz.) Bean Sprouts
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (optional)



  • Prepare rice noodles according to package directions, taking care they are a slightly crunchy/al dente because they will cook more in the sauce. Rinse noodles in cold water, drain and toss in with 1 teaspoon sesame oil oil. Set aside.
  • Add all of the Sauce Ingredients to a medium mixing bowl. Whisk together and set aside.
  • While rice noodles are soaking, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable/peanut oil in a deep large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Once very hot, add chicken and let cook undisturbed for 1 minute then continue to stir fry just until cooked. Transfer to a plate. Wipe out pan.
  • Heat one tablespoon oil in same skillet and heat over medium high heat. Add bell peppers and shallots and sauté 1 minute. Add carrots and garlic and sauté 1 additional minute. Reduce heat to medium and pour beaten eggs over vegetables and cook, stirring constantly, just until scrambled.
  • Add sauce and noodles and increase heat to medium-high. Toss until evenly combined and continue to stir and cook until noodles are al-dente, 1-2 minutes. Stir in chicken, bean sprouts, green onions and peanuts and heat through.
  • Taste and add one additional tablespoon lime juice if desired for more tang (optional, I prefer it this way) and chili sauce to taste. Top with cilantro and serve.



*Rice noodles can usually be found in the Asian section of your grocery store.  Sometimes they are called stir-fry rice noodles.  If you can’t find them, then Amazon is a great option.

original SAUCE quanity

I have updated this recipe to include 1.5X the amount of sauce on 10-26-21 per reader requests.  If you made it previous to this date and prefer the original, here it is:

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  1. marvina Rose johnson says

    Your recipes are some of the most intense recipes I have ever read. They are fabulous. Thanks

  2. Lucy says

    Looks soooo good. Is there a sub for fish sauce ?

    • Jen says

      Hi Lucy, you can use soy sauce, not quite the same but still delish.

  3. J.M. says

    This has become a favourite and my go to recipe for pad thai…delicious!!!

    • Jen says

      I love hearing that, thank you!

  4. Jodi says

    Hello! What do you think about turning this into a slow cooker meal? Would I just cook the chicken with the sauce and then add the eggs at the end? Thinking of making this while camping. And I would probably serve over rice. Just wanted your thoughts. Thank you in advance. P.S. I have made this twice on the stove top and it is delicious!!

    • Jen says

      Yes, you could absolutely do it that way – so creative! I would add the vegetables halfway through cooking so they are still crisp-tender.

  5. Emily says

    Damn this is delicious! Major flavor; it was a huge hit!

  6. Christine says

    Hey I’m so excited to try this! It looks delicious and so simple 🙂 but I have a question, I’m taking this to my boyfriends and have all the ingredients to my house. Do you see any issue with prepping the sauce the night ahead or would that affect the flavor? Thanks so much!

    • Jen says

      Hi Christine, you can absolutely prep the sauce ahead without any issues! Enjoy!

  7. Silene says

    I’ve made this twice now, and it’s amazing! My hubs says it’s better than take out from our local Asian restaurant

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much for the awesome review Silene, I’m thrilled its a repeat favorite!

  8. Donna says

    Hi I too am a fan of Thai food, love all the stir fried variations, my question is I see that you mention tamarind sauce but it’s not in your recipe, when would I add to this recipe? Thank you

    • Jen says

      Hi Donna, I mention as an ingredient in traditional Pad Thai but this recipe uses easy shortcuts instead 😉

  9. Robyn says

    I made this last week and my family loved it!!! Thanks so much!

    • Jen says

      I love hearing that, thanks so much Robyn!

  10. Karen Bradbury says

    Help, I love rice noodles but whenever I make them they are too soft or too hard. I follow the package directions. What brand do you recommend for Thai dishes. Thanks!

    • Jen says

      Hi Karen, I use easy-to-find Thai Kitchen. I usually soak them less time than the package says so they are still slightly al dente and then finish cooking them in the sauce.

  11. Sarah says

    Sooo delish!! This is absolutely a new addition to our regular rotation. Next time, I’d probably 1.5 the sauce- the noodles soaked it all right up. Thanks!!

    • Jen says

      YAY! I’m so pleased it’s a new favorite! I have had several readers say they would increase the sauce so I went ahead and updated the recipe to 1.5x the sauce. Thanks for your input!

  12. Patricia Swanson says

    I needed a simple, straightforward recipe for Pad Thai. This fit the bill. I mostly followed the recipe, but added a few ingredients. One was seeded and deveined jalapeño peppers, chopped in half rings. I used fresh ginger, chopped finely. For the meat, I used shrimp, calamari, and very thinly sliced pork loin. I used a jar version of a pad Thai sauce. Fresh cilantro, fresh Thai basil, peanuts and freshly squeezed line juice topped it off nicely. Thanks for this recipe.

    • Jen says

      Hi Patricia, I love how you took this recipe and made it your own, your additions sound fantastic!

  13. Allison Wolf says

    I’ve made this recipe numerous times and it’s always delicious! Glad you updated the sauce though because I like it much better than way. This took me more like an hour to cook, but it’s worth the extra time!

    • Jen says

      Thanks Allison, I love hearing it’s a repeat favorite and that you like the updated version!

  14. Susan says

    Hi Jen and Happy New Year! I made this last night and it was more than delicious!!! I couldn’t find fresh bean sprouts so I used a 14 oz. can of LaChoy bean sprouts, drained, and didn’t use the unsalted peanuts or cilantro. The sauce is AMAZING!! I made it ahead of time and good thing I started earlier chopping, slicing, mincing veggies so I could have them ready when I started cooking.
    I’m glad there were only 2 of us as we love leftovers!
    Many thanks for another delicious recipe! Can’t wait to make your chicken satay and other Thai recipes!!

    • Jen says

      Happy New Year Susan! I’m thrilled this recipe was a huge hit! It sounds like we are foodie kindred spirits with your love of Thai food. I hope you love the rest as much as us!

  15. Kristyna says

    Made this recipe for dinner with my 14 year old daughter it was amazing

    • Jen says

      I love hearing that Kristyna, thank you!

  16. Lynn says

    This is delicious! I’ve made it many times and actually enjoy it better the next day cold right out of the fridge!

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Lynn! That says a lot if you even like it cold!

  17. Madison Dooley says

    This was seriously so delicious!! Better than some takeout I’ve had. The only thing that I’d say is that it is pretty spicy, if making for kids, I’d probably do only 1/2 tablespoon of chili paste or omit it completely and add your own after it’s cooked. With all the chopping and prep, it definitely took me longer than 30 mins, but it was worth it!

    • Jen says

      Thanks for the review and the tips Madison! I’ll make a note about the chili sauce in the recipe.

  18. Aime Keith says

    My first attempt to make Pad Thai. This was SO delicious and tasted authentic.

    • Jen says

      Thanks Aime, I’m so pleased it was a hit!

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