easy pad thai

Easy pad thai. That’s three words that make me smile. This is the classic noodle stir fry that everybody loves. Famous for a reason. It’s absolutely delicious.

There’s no reason you can’t make it yourself. It’s a snap to make. Comes together in no time. Perfect for weeknight dinners.

This is street style cooking. High heat. Everything ready to go. Just bang it out. Like you were working a stall in Bangkok. Simplified ingredients. Same technique.

Full disclosure. This post is a re-tread. I have been playing with this recipe since I originally published it. This is the new and improved version. Expect it to change again in a couple years.

Easy pad Thai garnished with lime in a bowl. From the front.

I’ve been making this easy pad thai forever

There was a time before Internet. Hard to believe. But true. The dark ages.

Back then, you had to figure things out the hard way. PBS. Cookbooks. Word of mouth. Wasn’t so easy. 

I learned how to cook this dish in the only cooking class I ever took.  Taught by a Thai woman who I would credit for this recipe. Except I have no idea what her name was.

The recipe has drifted a fair bit over the years. But I still have my original notes. So I know it’s really her recipe. With some of my technique on top. Some tweaks. Easy pad thai glebekitchen style.

Easy pad Thai table scene from above.

This is weeknight cooking

I make a more complicated version. Dried shrimp. Palm sugar syrup. Salted radish. Blazing high heat. More in line with traditional recipes.

I make all sorts of Thai noodle dishes. I’m a rice noodle addict. My name is Romain and I have a problem.

But I keep coming back to this one. When I want something fast. It’s fast, happy food for me.

This is pad thai for when you don’t feel like going the distance. No dried shrimp, no salted radish, no palm sugar and no marinated tofu. Simple. But so tasty.

Don’t fear the fish sauce

A word on fish sauce. There is no substitute. Seriously. If you eat at Thai or Vietnamese restaurants, you eat fish sauce. You may not know it. But you do.

Soy sauce is not a substitute. Soy sauce will destroy this dish. Kill it. Like
“This is about the worst thing I have ever put in my mouth” bad. Just. Don’t. Do. It.

Luckily, you can find fish sauce at a big grocery store. It’s not exotic any more.

Probably worth hitting a decent Asian grocer though. For a better fish sauce brand. Pay the extra three dollars. There’s a lot of variability. Google “fish sauce review”. You’ll see.

If you like Thai or Vietnamese it’s worth getting good fish sauce. It’s the backbone of these cuisines. I have three different types on the go right now.

Fish sauce doesn’t go in the fridge. So it’s not so bad. My soy sauce collection on the other hand…

Bowl of pad Thai sauce with spoon from above.

The sauce is the thing

It’s a simple thing. Mix a few ingredients together. Done. But the sauce is what makes this dish what it is.

Tamarind paste is the key. It has this complex, slightly sour taste. Not like anything else.

Worth it for this dish alone. But so good in so many recipes. Tamarind and Indian. Tamarind and Thai. Latin. Cocktails. Just get some. You won’t be sorry.

You can play with this recipe. Probably should play with this recipe. Modify it to your taste. Add tofu or scramble an egg. Leave out the chicken.

Whatever you want. Just don’t mess with the sauce.

Pad Thai closeup with fork

Don’t boil your noodles for pad thai

I cannot stress this enough. Soak your rice noodles in hot water. This is critical. Critical. Did I mention this was important?

Keep boiling water away from rice noodles any time you are stir frying them. Boiling water makes mushy noodles. Unless you nail the timing. And mushy noodles makes terrible pad thai. Simple as that.

Soak your noodles in hot water for 30-45 minutes. Just do it. You will be bitterly disappointed if you don’t. You want them pliable. A bit toothy. Think 85 percent of the way there. They will finish cooking in the wok.

One thing to note. All rice noodles are not created equal. I can’t say I understand. But I do know all brands do not soften at the same rate. So you are going to need to figure this out for yourself. Annoying. I know. Sorry. I can’t help you here.

Serve with lime wedges, chopped peanuts, cilantro and vinegar soaked chilies on the side. Maybe some extra bean sprouts. Let everyone customize to taste.

Don’t try to make more than two servings at a time

Stir frying doesn’t scale. Never does. And that’s especially true here. Unless you have a jet engine for a burner. And a wok the size of a car. Then maybe it might work. If you live.

You need to maintain some sort of balance. Heat. The ability to move things around in the wok. And volume. Up the volume and the others go down.

And that’s going to disappoint. For sure. Truth be told this recipe works even better if you cut it in half. Cook one portion at a time. That’s real street cooking.

Easy pad thai any time you want it

This is easy pad thai. For Tuesday night. For any night. Easy. Any day. Every day.

Next time you feel like picking up the phone to order in make this instead. You won’t be sorry.

Easy pad thai in a bowl from above.
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4.97 from 30 votes

easy pad thai

This is a simple straight forward pad Thai that uses easy to get ingredients. Do your prep before you start cooking. This dish comes together in under 10 minutes.
Course Main
Cuisine Thai
Keyword pad thai
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 952kcal
Author glebe kitchen


Pad thai sauce

  • 4 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp tamarind paste – not tamarind concentrate – that is way too strong.
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp sambal oelek
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar

Easy pad thai

  • 8 oz rice noodles (ban pho) – about 1/2 a package
  • 4 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 8 oz chicken thighs boneless, skinless (or one large chicken breast)
  • 6 shrimp (optional). 31-40 per lb works well here.
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 3-4 garlic chives chopped
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 2 Tbsp peanuts chopped
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro

To serve

  • lime wedges
  • cilantro
  • vinegar soaked chilies – see notes
  • chopped peanuts


Do your prep

  • Soak the rice noodles in fairly hot water for 30-45 minutes. They will turn white but still be quite firm. You want them a little toothy. Not hard. Just toothy. Pliable. 85 percent of the way there. Start checking them after about 20 minutes. This is important.
  • While the noodles are soaking, do your prep. Chop your vegetables. Cut the chicken into 3/4 inch cubes. Peel your shrimp if using.
  • Chop your peanuts. I like a mini food processor. You don't want to make peanut butter but you don't want huge pieces of peanut either. If you don't have a mini food processor chop by hand. It takes a while but you'll get there.
  • Combine the fish sauce, brown sugar, tomato paste, tamarind and sambal oelek. Stir to combine. This is your pad Thai sauce.

Make the pad thai

  • This goes fast. Be ready. Have everything at hand. Heat a well seasoned wok or large non-stick frying pan over medium high heat. Add the oil.
  • When the oil starts to shimmer, add the chicken and cook for two minutes. Add the shrimp. Cook until the chicken is just done and the shrimp are opaque – about 3-5 minutes total. Probably closer to 3 than 5 but I don't know how hot your stove is…
  • Turn the heat way down. If you're cooking on electric just slide it off the burner. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for another 30 seconds. You don't want the garlic to burn. It gets bitter. That's no good.
  • Crank the heat to max. Mix in the noodles. Stir to coat the noodles with oil. Cook about 45-60 seconds, stirring constantly. Be careful not to break the noodle strands. At this point you want the noodles just done right. Try one to see.
  • Add the pad thai sauce and stir. Get it all evenly coloured. Remove from heat.
  • Mix in the garlic chives, cilantro and bean sprouts and chopped peanuts.
  • Serve, topped with chopped peanuts.
  • Pass the lime wedges, sambal oelek, cilantro and chopped peanuts to allow people to tweak to their individual tastes.


Do not double this recipe. Don’t do it. If you want to serve 4 make it twice. Double your prep. But make 2 batches. Please.
All brands of rice noodles are not created equal. Some soften faster. Some take longer. You will need to figure this out yourself. You are looking for 85 percent of the way to your final texture. It’s super annoying. I know.
Vinegar soaked chilies are just literally that. 3-4 sliced Thai chilies soaked in around 1/2 cup of white vinegar. That’s it. This can be really spicy depending on the chilies so be careful.
Play with this recipe. Add tofu. Or don’t. Push the noodles to one side and scramble an egg in the wok before you add the sauce. Leave out the chicken. Up the shrimp. Or leave it out. Have fun with it.


Serving: 2servings | Calories: 952kcal | Carbohydrates: 130g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Cholesterol: 110mg | Sodium: 3378mg | Potassium: 611mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 46IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 118mg | Iron: 3mg
An easier version of authentic pad thai cooked street food style.

32 thoughts on “easy pad thai”

  1. 5 stars
    This was amazing! It’s the best pad Thai recipe I’ve come across. I love all the detail and it definitely is restaurant quality.

    • Delighted to hear you liked it. I’ve been making this version for many, many years. House favourite!

  2. 5 stars
    Romain! I have been lurking around reading your recipes for some time. They all look delicious, but this is the first one I’ve made. A leap of faith because I’d never cooked with fish sauce before and hate the smell of it, but this was SO tasty! Easily the best pad thai I’ve ever eaten, and potentially the best meal I’ve ever cooked. I can’t wait to make it again and to try your other recipes. Thanks so much!

  3. Would love to try this recipe! However, I can’t find any Tamarind paste in my country. They do however have this:
    – Tamarind Slab Wet (from TRS)
    – Tamarind Concentrate (from Topop)
    – Tamarind Concentrate (from Natco)
    – Wet Tamarind (from Natco)
    – Dry Tamarind (from Natco)
    – Tamarind Powder (from Topop)
    – Tamarind Sauce (from Natco & Maggi)

    Which one would you recommend? Thanks!

    • The best (better than paste even) is the slab but it is work to make a paste using it. If you use concentrate make sure you use about 1/3 of the quantity specified. Maggi Tamarina (tamarind sauce) has a lot of extra ingredients and sugar so very different from paste.

  4. 5 stars
    Dear Romain, that’s a while ago! We all wish you a healthy and happy new year 2023! Tonight we cooked this amazing recipe again, after the kids had been begging for a while. They were jumping around like crazy that this would be our dinner tonight. And it was amazing as expected, your recipe stays fantastic! And the kids are helping more and more with it. In the last months I was checking out other things in the kitchen, such as making my own sausage. I succeeded in making “Fränkische Bratwürste” which I know from Nuremberg, with Sauerkraut and Sourdough-bread. And I am trying to make Ethiopian Doro Wot and Injera. So much to discover in the world of food! But good old glebekitchen will stay forever, that’s for sure! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Kind regards from Germany, Daniel and family.

    • I’m just back from a business trip (apologies for taking so long to respond). I love this one too. Easy weeknight dinner with real flavour.

      I will watch for the Fränkische Bratwürste next time I’m in Nuremberg. But first I will have to have one my all time favourite meals – schaüfele from a little restaurant within walking distance from the main Bahnhof.

  5. 5 stars
    Dear Romain,

    here is a message from my daughter: “Hello Romain, I am Jana, Daniel’s kid. Last week we made Pad Thai and I helped making it. (And I tasted it of course!) It was really fun to make.
    I pretended to be Thor with the hammer when I had to crush the peanuts! Also it tasted really good as always!”

    I agree! It was de-lish! Indeed as always. Your recipe is an everlasting hit. We cooked it so often in the last years! Thank you for all that cooking fun and fantastic dinners. We keep exploring all your recipes. I have many cookbooks, but glebekitchen beats them all! Kind regards, Daniel&family.

    • Hi Dana. Nice to meet you. I bet you showed those peanuts!!!

      Delighted to hear you enjoyed it and even more exciting – that you had help making it!

    • I’ve never tried. I keep a bottle of Maggi Tamarina if that’s what you mean by tamarind sauce for a couple Indian recipes I like. It is quite sweet and has a distinctively “Indian” flavour (maybe cumin and coriander?) . That’s not a flavour I think of when I cook Thai so I don’t think it would work great. If you do try it cut back on the sugar in the recipe or it will likely be too sweet.

  6. Hi Romain,
    Thanks so much for this easy, fun and delicious recipe!
    One quick question:
    8oz. of noodles seemed like a lot, I felt that the wok was overcrowded and it definitely made more than two servings. Half of my package would have been 4oz., but maybe I should have been thinking about weight of soaked noodles rather than dried right out of the package? What do you think? I will say that the proportion of sauce to noodles was just about perfect, so maybe it’s just my lack of skill in handling the noodles in the wok. (OK, it wasn’t really a quick question! Thanks for your time and all the wonderful recipes on your site.)

    • It is a generous two portion recipe. For me not quite enough for 3 but appetites vary. I use 8 oz dry (half a 454 gram/1 lb package). It could be that I have an easier time with it because I have been making this dish for many, many years. Or it could be as simple as my wok is possibly larger than yours?

    • It’s not a spice. It’s a sauce. Crushed chilies, salt and vinegar mostly. You can just google Huey Fong sambal oelek to see what the jar looks like. It’s in a plastic jar with a gold label and green lid. It’s pretty widely available where I am. Some regular grocery stores even. Almost certainly any Asian market will have it.

  7. 5 stars
    Hi Romain,

    Despite your sound advice, I botched a few of things: I over-soaked the noodles and I over-crowded the pan. The end result was still superb – can’t wait to do it right next time!

    Before I found this cite, I was completely bored with cooking. No new ideas and no energy to look for recipes. Nowadays I cannot stop thinking about what to cook next and I only cook recipes from Glebe Kitchen. The reasons: all recipes that I have so far tried (about 10) have been superb (5 stars), and both the measures and instructions are precise (just follow them and all turns out perfectly). This is vastly different from other “recipes” where 1 tablespoon might mean a 1/2 cup. In short: so easy, so good. If you ever consider publishing the material as a cookbook, sign me up!

    One small wish though: This cite would be even better if you could have the option to switch the measurements into the metrics system (cups to dl etc.).

    Many thanks!

    PS. I had to postpone restaurant-style Indian cooking until after the summer.

    • I can’t wait for you to do it right next time. I am so happy you have found reason to get back into the kitchen and are having fun. That is exactly the one and only reason I started glebekitchen so stories like this are what keep me going!

      I apologize for the imperial only recipes. I am Canadian and in Canada we still use imperial. My recipe software doesn’t convert so I would have to go through every recipe (there are a lot) and find a way to present both formats. Glebekitchen is my hobby so I can’t devote the time I wish I could…

      Keep cooking!

    • Im the same. I went to a place in Darwin called Exotic, it was amazing Indian food. I needed to replicate it, it is a Saag with prawns instead of lamb. That is how I stumbled onto Glebe Kitchen. Wow what a journey, and I love making up a huge batch of some spice mix you might use a teaspoon of, haha. Just wonderful recipes And it helps you understand how the Indian style shown in other video recipe
      Chanels come together. Would love to see a hard copy book released.

  8. 5 stars
    I’ve been to Thailand multiple times and seriously enjoy a good pad Thai. I’ve attempted several tried pad Thai recipes and couldn’t quite get it right. All I have to say is thank you (multiple times) for your TIPS such as how to prepare the noodles AND cooking it in portions of two, then repeat should you require a larger portion. Also the quantity for the tamarind and fish sauce was spot on… it was ENOUGH to coat the noodles and veggies, (as an aside in many recipes that I happen to use the sauces and dressings are never enough for the portion of food leaving it bland), but alas that is NOT the case here. I excluded the tomato sauce and sambal olek as those aren’t traditional ingredients in a pad Thai and nor did I have it in the pantry. I remember learning that the red colour in pad Thai comes from the large fresh prawns with shell… but I totally get it, this is an EASY and accessible weeknight dish that uses western(ish) ingredients to transform an ordinary meal into the extraordinary tasty meal. Your website is awesome.

    • Thank you for such a nice comment. I’m glad you found the tips helpful. You are absolutely correct. This is not intended to reproduce the pad from the streets of Bangkok but rather an easy and tasty weeknight dish.

  9. 5 stars
    I love your writing style. You should write a book (not necessarily a cook book, it could be about anything or everything).

    Also- this recipe is awesome.. a new e-treasure!
    Thankyou thankyou

  10. Hi Romain, today we had a special night! I cooked a menu for our friends based on your recipes.
    As a starter I served the shaking beef – vietnamese bo luc lac. After the first bite it stayed silent. After the second bite it still stayed silent! After the third bite I heard: “Mmmh!!! That’s delicious!!!”. And our friends said: “Now I am really interested in that website!”. The main dish (do you call it entrée in Canada?) was the Easy Pad Thai. While eating the first bites it remained silent as before. I heard different sounds such as “Mmmh” or “Oooh”. Then our friends said that they love it! And they asked for that ‘special website’ again. When we said goodbye later, they still repeated that they loved dinner! By the way: I served the Vietnamese Satay with the Pad Thai, which was soooo delicious! We loved every single bite of our meal!!! We finished with some Pecan nut-icecream and after that a glass of Tanqueray Sevilla Gin on the rocks. Happy people all around after a perfect dinner! By the way: you advise to cook 2 batches for 4 people. That’s what I did: I cooked the two batches in two pans simultaneously. It worked fine! We love your recipes and we keep spreading them! And again we have to say it: you changed our way of cooking and tasting. And that is a life-changing experience! Thank you so much! Kind regards, Daniel, Wiesje, family and friends!

    • Wow. That sounds like a dinner party I would love to attend! Sounds like an absolute feast and I love the idea of the Vietnamese sate with the pad.

      Thank you also for spreading the word. I hope they find some things to cook. And gin after dinner. We think alike!

  11. 5 stars
    This is an awesome recipe, and it’s as easy as advertised. Everybody loved it! I was told by my family that we should be making no other Pad Thai but this, ever again. Highly recommended.

  12. 5 stars
    Dear Romain,

    I just finished dinner with this dish. Words are insufficient: fan-tas-tic!!! In-sane!!!
    This was by far the most tasteful dish I have ever eaten. The pan is empty,
    and while my wife and I were nearly screaming from the flavors, my daughter
    asked if she could taste it. Empty plate! My wife immediately said: this is my
    new favorite dish! I still taste the fantastic sauce, and the fish sauce is indeed incredible.
    Also the vinegar soaked chillies, together with the limes were adding depth and completed
    the flavor. And it added gentle heat!
    I am lucky here in The Hague, Netherlands, to have an excellent Asia Shop,
    so I could get all the ingredients. Garlic chives were new to me, and what a discovery is this.
    After dinner, my wife says another wise phrase: “We are so lucky that you discovered that website!”. Indeed! You are our hero, thank you so much for this recipe, which is actually
    a whole experience. Great work!!!

    Kind regards, Daniel.

    • Daniel, thank you so much for such a nice and gracious comment. It is really kind of you to take the time to write such a thoughtful note.

      I am delighted to hear this was a hit. I have been making this pad or minor variants of it for most of my life and it’s truly a go to dish for me. I’m so glad it is going to be the same for you.



  13. I LOVE Pad Thai! Just one question before I try this amazing recipe, do you not need to cook the bean sprouts at all or are they tinned?

    • I like the crunch you get with raw or nearly raw bean sprouts. I’m not suggesting this is necessarily a good idea given the potential for food borne illness. I live dangerously. You should do what you are comfortable with.

      If raw beansprouts is a concern I understand some people blanch them quickly in boiling water. I’ve never tried this nor have I looked into it in any detail. Again, you should do what you are comfortable with.

      I’ve never opened a can of tinned bean sprouts so I have no idea what they are like. I think I would just leave them out rather than risk this dish by using them.

      Hope you like this recipe as much as I do!

4.97 from 30 votes (21 ratings without comment)

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