Thai beef noodles. Takeout flavour with ingredients you can get at the grocery store. No specialty market required and easy to make as well.

Thai beef noodles are a tasty weeknight dinner. They’re a bit different. Not like pad thai really – although you could be forgiven for thinking that.

Garlicky, sweet, salty, spicy. Lots of big flavours going on. Good complexity. Good balance.

Thai beef noodles are street food style cooking. Prep your ingredients. Heat up a wok and go. Cook the beef and it’s on the table literally a couple minutes after that.

You should probably only make two servings at a time. You don’t want everything to steam in a big pile of soggy noodles. You are frying the noodles. You want them coated.

The trick is to cook all your beef up front. Have it ready to go and the rest comes together in a couple minutes. Literally. Two minutes an order. Street food.

You can play with ingredients as well. It works with shrimp or chicken instead of beef. Like it spicier. Up the chili or the sambal oelek. The only thing you can’t change is the sauce.

If you change that you’re making something else. Nothing wrong with that. Just different.

As with any Thai noodle dish, the noodles are key. Do not boil your ban pho. Just don’t do it. Instead, soak them for about 45 minutes in warm water. They will soften just enough.

Then toss them in hot oil until they are well coated. Do this before you add the sauce. It works.

Thai beef noodles are spicy, salty, sweet and garlicky. A nice change from the usual pad thai.

Bon Appetit recently decided that sambal oelek was a trendy ingredient. It’s a great chili paste so I do urge you to listen to them and find a jar. It’s been my go to asian chili paste for as long as I can remember. Any asian market should have it.

Thai beef noodles. Weeknight fast. Restaurant flavour. Fast. Easy. Delicious.

Thai beef noodles are spicy, salty, sweet and garlicky. A nice change from the usual pad thai.

5 from 5 votes
thai beef noodles
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins

Thai beef noodles make a great dinner any night of the week. Fish sauce may sound scary but it's in everything you get at Thai and Vietnamese restaurants. It makes a difference.

Course: Main
Cuisine: Asian
Servings: 2
  • 7 oz wide rice noodles - also known as ban pho
  • 8 oz beef top sirloin or flank steak, sliced about 1/6" thick across the grain
  • 2 large cloves garlic minced
  • 1 red finger hot chili cut into fine rings
  • 1 cup green onions cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup bean sprouts rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp roasted peanuts coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro leaves chopped
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil in all
  • 1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 Tbsp sake
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce - more soy if you don't have fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp sake
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp sambal oelek - more if you want it spicy
  1. Soak the noodles in warm water for 30-45 minutes.
  2. Combine the marinade ingredients. Add the beef and set aside while you prep the other ingredients.
  3. Mix together the sauce ingredients and stir well.
  4. Heat a wok over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp oil.
  5. When the oil is shimmering, add the beef and marinade and cook until the beef loses it's red colour, abut 2 minutes.
  6. Remove beef and wipe out the wok with paper towel. Return the wok to medium heat.
  7. Add 2 Tbsp oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the green onion, garlic and red chili and cook about 15 seconds.
  8. Add the noodles and stir until well coated with oil - about 30 seconds.
  9. Return the beef to the wok along with the bean sprouts. Stir briefly and add the sauce. Stir to combine and cook, stirring constantly, for one minute.
  10. Add cilantro and stir.
  11. Serve topped with peanuts and additional cilantro.
Recipe Notes

2 servings will fit reasonably in a wok. If you want to cook for more you will need a big wok or repeat the recipe as needed.

Don't boil the noodles - you will get mushy noodles. Take the time to soak them. It's important.


17 thoughts on “thai beef noodles

    • Thank you. I’m a big fan of the wider ones. I find they are just a bit more satisfying than the narrower ones for dishes like this or pad thai.

  1. I was so sad when I realized there was no good thai take-out in my new town. But, this looks easy enough and probably quicker than waiting for delivery anyway! Also, I’ve made the mistake of boiling rice noodles, so your note is really important!

  2. It’s amazing to me. Some packages actually have instructions on them telling you to boil the noodles. There must be a reason but for any of the fried noodle dishes it just doesn’t work. Hope you like it.

  3. Alyssa – that’s a very interesting observation. I suppose you could tweak the recipe in one direction or the other depending on what dish you were leaning towards without too much trouble at all.

  4. This looks great! I love the wide noodles, too. Do you think sambal oelek is trendy enough to find in a small town grocery store? I’ll look for it next time I’m shopping! Otherwise, I will definitely have to get some the next time I’m in Portland!

    • Sambal oelek is big in Indonesia so the Dutch brought it back with them. I don’t think it’s that hard to find. Any asian market and big grocery stores have it where I am. I like it a lot more than Sriracha. It is a more subtle flavour profile (not so heavy on vinegar) so it slides in beautifully in many dishes without overpowering. Hope you find some.

    • I’m so glad you liked it Maryam. Good substitution tip with the rice vinegar. I will keep that in mind next time I’m out of sake myself.

  5. I love Thai food, but am not so good at recreating it at home. You’ve definitely inspired me to broaden my grocery store horizons! Super excited to try the sambal oelek!

    • This recipe is pretty bullet proof. I expect you’ll have no problem recreating it at home. Enjoy the sambal oelek in any case:-)

      There are a few uniquely Thai ingredients you should look into if you want to get into Thai cooking. Kaffir lime leaf and galangal seem to be in all the curries for starters…

  6. Yes! Finally someone who doesn’t think I’m crazy! 🙂 I totally agree that soaking dried noodles is the only way to go. Boiling it turns it to mush, then frying it up just makes it goop? This looks fantastic! The noodles look perfectly made and I am loving the spicy garlicky, sweet and salty mix…yay to sake to drinking and cooking! Cheers! 🙂

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