Make this restaurant quality Pad Thai recipe at home with chewy rice noodles, shrimp, scrambled eggs and vegetables in a flavorful sauce, my favorite!
Homemade Pad Thai Recipe
Do you love Pad Thai Noodles? I fell in love with this dish years ago after trying it a local Thai restaurant. Talk about flavor. It's a mash up recipe of Chinese noodles stir fried with Thai ingredients.
Also, it's done in under 30 minutes!
You can make it in different ways, and you'll find variations from restaurant to restaurant and cook to cook, as it is with a lot of Thai food. It isn't traditionally spicy, but I like to give my own spicy spin to the dish.
The key to a good Pad Thai recipe, to me, is the fresh ingredients. You can buy a Pad Thai sauce from the grocery store, for example, but it's so much better when you make the sauce from scratch.
You'll need quite a few ingredients to make it the way I make it, but it's well worth the gathering.
Let's talk a bit about Pad Thai.
What is Pad Thai?
Authentic Pad Thai is a famous dish made with stir fried rice noodles, shrimp or chicken, scrambled eggs, and fresh vegetables, stir fried in a tangy, salty sauce.
It is not an age-old dish, but invented in Thailand in the 1930s. At the time, Chinese noodle dishes made by Chinese immigrants were gaining quick popularity with the Thai people. Noodles were not traditionally used in most of Thai cooking, considered more of a Chinese ingredient.
Pad Thai was developed out of this trend, through a sense of national pride, a noodle dish made with more traditional Thai ingredients. It quickly became a favorite, eventually becoming the national dish of Thailand, and spread from the region because of its wonderful flavor.
It's definitely a favorite in the United States where it graces the menus of Thai restaurants everywhere.
Why You'll Love My Pad Thai
My recipe is adapted from experimentation and several cookbooks, and I will list them below for reference. It's much closer to more authentic Pad Thai, though with a few updates of my own, geared toward lovers of big flavor and spices.
Let's talk about how to make Pad Thai, shall we?
I've organized the ingredients into 5 different bowls to make it easier, as there are a number of ingredients and need to be cooked in quick stages.
Pad Thai Ingredients
- Rice Noodles. I use dried, and soak them, then boil them until soft just before I need them. Rice noodles are gluten free.
- Bowl 1 (Pad Thai Sauce)
- Fish Sauce.
- Oyster Sauce.
- Soy Sauce.
- Tamarind Concentrate.
- Palm Sugar. Or use brown sugar.
- Water. Rice Vinegar.
- Sriracha. Optional, for a spicy version.
- Bowl 2
- Shrimp. This is a shrimp Pad Thai dish.
- Vegetable Oil.
- Bowl 3
- Firm Tofu. Use chopped chicken as a substitute.
- Preserved Daikon Radish.
- Dried Shrimp.
- Red Pepper Flakes. Optional, for spicy.
- Bowl 4
- Eggs. Beaten.
- Bowl 5
- Bean Sprouts.
- Garlic Chives. Use scallions or green onions as a substitute.
- Roasted Peanuts.
- Garnish. Red pepper flakes, chopped roasted peanuts, bean sprouts, lime wedges or lime juice.
How to Make Pad Thai - the Recipe Method
Prep the Noodles. Soak the dried rice noodles for 1 hour in room temperature water, or until the noodles become pliable (or soak them 5-7 minutes, then add to boiling water for 10 minutes). Refer to your packaging directions for preparation to cook them through as needed.
Prep the Ingredients. Set up 5 bowls and add the ingredients into the bowls as listed above. Prepping makes the recipe much easier.
Make the Pad Thai Sauce (Bowl 1). Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl until well combined and set aside. See my homemade Pad Thai sauce recipe for a make-ahead version.
Cook the Shrimp (Bowl 2). Heat a large wok to medium high heat. Toss the shrimp in bowl 2 with oil and salt, then add to the wok. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes, or until the shrimp is partially cooked through (they will continue to cook as we continue). Push the shrimp aside in the pan.
Add Bowl 3. Stir in the contents of the 3rd bowl and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, until the garlic becomes fragrant. Push the ingredients to the side of the pan.
Add Bowl 4. Add more oil if needed, stir in the eggs. Cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes, until the eggs are cooked and mixed with the ingredients.
Sauce and Noodles. Stir in the Pad Thai sauce (bowl 1) and prepped rice noodles. Stir to coat the noodles with the sauce.
Add Bowl 5. Stir in the contents of the 5th bowl. Toss to combine.
Garnish and Serve. Garnish with extra bean sprouts, roasted peanuts, chili flakes, and serve.
Boom! Done! Your delicious shrimp Pad Thai is ready to serve. Look at all those amazing noodles, and all those ingredients. So inviting. I can't wait to dig into this. Grab some bowls!
Mild-Medium. Pad Thai isn't usually a recipe that focuses on the heat, but you can easily adapt it to your own personal preferences. I go heavy on the sriracha and chili flakes.
You can add in some sliced hot chilies into bowl 3 if desired.
Serving Pad Thai
Serve Pad Thai family-style in a large serving dish, or portion it out onto individual plates. Make sure to sprinkle some garnishes on top of each serving, and consider adding some additional lime wedges or hot sauce on the side for people to adjust the flavor to their liking.
I like to serve my Pad Thai with sriracha sauce on the side to use as I wish.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Sweet Preserved Daikon Radish. This might be a hard to find ingredient, and you can skip if it you'd like. I've made this with and without it and both versions are good. I prefer to include it, but just omit if you're unable to find it. You can often find it in Asian specialty grocery stores, or online. Buy Sweet Preserved Daikon Radish at Amazon (affiliate link, my friends!).
- Dried Shrimp. The same goes for dried shrimp. Dried shrimp offers a big flavor boost and lots of umami. Use shrimp paste as an alternative, or use fish sauce. Buy Dried Shrimp at Amazon (affiliate link, my friends!).
- Other Proteins. Shrimp and tofu are hugely popular in making Pad Thai, but chicken is also commonly used. Use your favorite, or a combination of them.
- The Noodles. Rice noodles are traditionally used to make Pad Thai, and are an important component of the dish. You can make this with other noodles, but anything other than rice noodles will change the overall character of the dish.
- Additional Ingredients. Paprika is good for color, which you can add when you cook the shrimp, or to the Pad Thai sauce. Others include peanut butter (for a creamier sauce, more of an American solution). Carrots are also popular, and you can use other vegetables.
Storage and Leftovers
Store leftover Pad Thai in an airtight container in the refrigerator within 2 hours of cooking. It will last up to 3 days.
To enjoy it again, simply reheat the leftovers in a microwave or on the stovetop.
You can also freeze it in a vacuum sealed container for 3 months.
That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoy my Pad Thai recipe. Let me know if you make it and how you change it up YOUR way. I'd love to hear how it turned out for you. Keep it spicy!
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Pad Thai Recipe
- 4 ounces dry rice noodles
Bowl 1 (PAD THAI SAUCE)
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate
- 2 tablespoons sriracha optional, for spicier – or more to taste
- 2 tablespoons palm sugar or use brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 10 large shrimp peeled and deveined
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil + more as needed
- Salt to taste
- 4 ounces firm tofu cut into bite-sized pieces (sub in chicken if desired)
- ¼ cup sweet preserved daikon radish chopped (optional, SEE NOTES)
- 1 shallot chopped
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 tablespoon dried shrimp minced (optional, SEE NOTES - use shrimp paste as an alternative)
- 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes optional
- 2 eggs beaten
- 2 cups bean sprouts + more for garnish
- 1 cup garlic chives or use scallions, chopped
- 2 tablespoons roasted peanuts + more for garnish
- Prep the Noodles. Soak the dried rice noodles for 1 hour in room temperature water, or until the noodles become pliable (or soak them 5-7 minutes, then boil for 10 minutes). Refer to your packaging directions for preparation to cook them through as needed.
- Prep the Ingredients. Set up 5 bowls and add the ingredients into the bowls as listed above. Prepping makes the recipe much easier.
- Make the Pad Thai Sauce (Bowl 1). Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl until well combined and set aside.
- Cook the Shrimp (Bowl 2). Heat a large wok to medium heat. Toss the shrimp in bowl 2 with oil and salt, then add to the wok. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes, or until the shrimp is partially cooked through (they will continue to cook as we continue). Push the shrimp aside in the pan.
- Add Bowl 3. Stir in the contents of the 3rd bowl and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, until the garlic becomes fragrant. Push the ingredients to the side of the pan.
- Add Bowl 4. Add more oil if needed, stir in the eggs. Cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes, until the eggs are cooked and mixed with the ingredients.
- Sauce and Noodles. Stir in the Pad Thai sauce and prepped rice noodles. Stir to coat the noodles with the sauce.
- Add Bowl 5. Stir in the contents of the 5th bowl. Toss to combine.
- Garnish with extra bean sprouts, roasted peanuts, chili flakes, and serve.