This super easy Chicken Pad Thai Recipe is filled with tender strips of chicken breast, silky rice noodles and loads of veggies in a quick and easy sauce.
One of my go-to items to order when I visit a Thai restaurant is their classic Pad Thai dish. Whether it’s filled with shrimp, tofu or chicken, it’s always sure to be a hit.
Pad Thai is a traditional noodle dish from Thailand. It’s filled with wide rice noodles, scrambled eggs, your choice of protein and veggies in a light sauce that’s comprised of soy sauce, fish sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar and lime juice.
How To Make Classic Pad Thai
SLICED CHICKEN BREAST Since we’re making Chicken Pad Thai, we’re going to start with cutting our chicken breast into thin strips. This helps the chicken cook quickly and remains tender and juicy.
If you wanted to make this recipe with shrimp, you’ll simply swap out the chicken for shrimp and cook the shrimp until they are no longer opaque.
CABBAGE OR BEAN SPROUTS? Traditional Pad Thai would use fresh bean sprouts, but they can be difficult to find sometimes, so that’s why I opt for the shredded cabbage.
Easy Pad Thai Sauce
Pad Thai sauce is comprised of soy sauce (or tamarind paste), fish sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice and lightly sweetened with brown sugar to give it the perfect balance. You can add some heat to the sauce with a little Sriracha sauce.
Some people think that Pad Thai is filled with peanut butter, but that’s not the case here. The dish is finished with a sprinkle of crushed, unsalted peanuts on top, or sometimes served on the side along with a lime wedge.
PRO TIP: Add a tablespoon of water at a time to your Pad Thai if you find that the sauce is not enough to keep the noodles from sticking together.
Why Is My Pad Thai Sticky or Dry?
After exhaustive research, I’ve cracked the code on how to get silky smooth noodles, resulting in the BEST Pad Thai.
One of the biggest struggles when making Pad Thai at home is the noodles can become too sticky or dry.
Following these tips, should result in a silky smooth, slippery noodle that’s absolutely delicious!
- Cook your rice noodles according to package instructions, just until they’re *almost* tender. They should still have some bite to them.
- Drain them off and run a little cold water over them to remove any excess starches.
- Immediately toss your noodles into the hot wok with the veggies and sauce, along with a about 1/3 cup of water and finish cooking them in the wok until they’re perfectly tender.
- If the sauce is still looking a little dry, add in an extra tablespoon or two of water until it becomes silky smooth.
What Noodles To Use For Pad Thai?
Pad Thai uses a wide, flat rice noodle, which can typically be found in the Asian aisle of the grocery store. The box I use is 14oz.
There is a variety of brands available and amounts can vary per package.
PRO TIP: If you’re using less noodles, you’ll need to use less water at the end of cooking. If you’re using more noodles, you might need to add extra water. Just keep checking it and test as you go.
Tips & Variations
When it comes to making Pad Thai, there are lots of different ways to switch it up and make it your own. Here are some tips and variations to keep in mind…
- Feel free to swap out any sort of stir fry veggies that you prefer. Just make sure they’re cut into thin strips or small pieces so they’re quick to cook.
- I’m using two cups of finely shredded cabbage [coleslaw mix] in place of the traditional bean sprouts, but if you find bean sprouts, go for it!
- Swap out the sliced chicken breast for shrimp or even tofu.
- Kick up the heat with some added Sriracha to the sauce or a pinch of red pepper flakes. I like to add Sriracha to my bowl, while keeping the rest kid-friendly.
- When scrambling your eggs, try to not incorporate the eggs with the rest of veggies until they’re fully scrambled. Otherwise it’ll give the dish a grainy texture when finished.
- This recipe makes a lot, so using a large Wok is preferred to hold all the ingredients.
More Asian Take-Out Recipes To Try at Home
My family and I really love this super simple Pad Thai recipe. It’s a quick favorite, especially because it’s so filling for pretty cheap.
The silky noodles, tender chicken and crisp veggies pair perfectly with the crunchy peanuts and aromatic cilantro. Don’t skip the lime wedges as they are great for adding a burst of bright flavor!
Chicken Pad Thai Recipe
- 14 oz. flat rice noodles
For The Sauce
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- ⅓ cup soy sauce
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp lime juice
For The Pad Thai
- 1 lb. chicken breast, boneless, skinless cut into thin strips
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
- 1 cup matchstick carrots
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 2 cups finely shredded cabbage, or 1 cup bean sprouts
- 1 cup green onions, cut into 1" pieces
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- ⅓ cup cilantro, chopped
- ½ cup unsalted peanuts, chopped
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl or large measuring cup and set aside.
- Cook rice noodles according to package instructions, but remove from water when they're *almost* tender, but still have a little bite to them. Drain and quickly rinse under cool water to stop them from cooking and sticking.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp oil in a large wok and cook chicken breast strips until cooked through. You may have to do this in batches. Remove chicken from wok and set aside.
- If needed, add remaining oil to wok and toss in red bell pepper and carrots and cook for about 2 minutes, until starting to soften. Add in garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Toss in the cabbage and green onion and cook until lightly softened.
- Press the veggies to one side of the skillet and pour the lightly beaten eggs into the other side of the skillet and stir occasionally, until the eggs are fully scrambled. Once cooked, stir them into the rest of the veggies.
- Add the chicken and noodles to the pan, along with the sauce ingredients and ⅓ cup of water. Stir and cook the noodles the rest of the way, until they're tender and everything is coated in the sauce. If you find that the sauce is too dry, add a tablespoon of water at a time, until the noodles are slippery and do not stick together.
- Stir in the cilantro and top with chopped peanuts. Serve immediately with lime wedges on the side. Enjoy!
PIN THIS IMAGE TO SAVE THE RECIPE:
Amazing !!! Easy to make and delicious!
So glad you enjoyed it!
Wow! This was amazing! I was out of cilantro but can’t wait to make it again with the cilantro! Everyone in my family loved it – even my pickiest 16 yr old! This is one of several recipes I have made from your site and haven’t had a bad one yet! THANK YOU!
So glad you enjoyed the recipe Tammy!
You’re wrong this recipe is not Pad Thai. The original Pad Thai sauces just only 3 things 1. Tamarin paste (Tamarin in water for sour, don’t use vinegar) 2. Fish sauce (for salty, when fish sauce cook with heat a smell of fishy will gone) 3. Coconut sugar or Palm sugar (for sweet) mix all in a bowl.
Taste of Pad Thai are lead with sour continue with salty and sweet the last taste. If you add vinegar a taste will change. If you add Sriracha a taste will change if you like spicy you can add ground dry chilli. Don’t add garlic a taste will change some Thai authentic Pad Thai add shallots if you can’t find it you can use red onion instead but not to much or skip it.
Start cooking with oil and meat when meat it cook add egg shallots, dry small shrimp (taste salty but hard to find it and expensive) brown small tofu (hard to find it you can made fried tofu instead) add sweet chopped radish (taste sweet and little bit salty) add noodles (if you can’t find fresh noodles you can buy dry noodles and put in cold water until the noodles soft around 3 hours depend on brand) when cook noodles add some water stir until noodles change to a little bit transparent add Pad Thai sauce continue stir-fry untill noodles suck all sauce add crushed peanut, ground chilli, bean sprouts and chives (cut it long 1.5 inches if you can’t find it use green onions instead) stir until bean sprouts a little bit soft before taken out from wox. The color of noodles is brown not red.
When you eat add fresh lime made more another taste of sour. You can garnish with cilantro on top at this time not stir-fry in the wox, add more crush peanut and dry ground chilli if you want. If you can find fresh banana blossom and eat together (astringent taste) will very perfect.
Don’t add anything not in this list. Garlic, ginger, Sriracha, soy sauce, ketchup, tomato paste all of them made a taste change.
You can find taste of this Pad Thai every where in Thailand.
Thanks for your tips! I’m working with readily available ingredients in the US. It can be difficult to find a lot of the ingredients you mentioned, so with just a little tweaking we can have the classic flavors at home. 🙂 Tamarind has a very similar taste to soy sauce, and is a common swap for those that are gluten free. Brown sugar is a common swap for palm sugar which is more difficult to find. Bean sprouts are very difficult to find as well. I think if you read the blog post you’ll see a lot of these things mentioned in there. Either way, thanks for your tips and best of luck to you!
I’m glad to hear from you. I like that you like Thai food and learn to cook. I understand your recipe it hard to find Asian ingredients because I have lived in Philadelphia 4 years from 2007 to 2011. Many of Thai restaurant do it wrong some use ketchup, fish sauce and white vinegar. Because some Americand like sweet flavors and they can sell it easy. If you can find the Asian Market such as Laos, Vietnamese, Cambodia, China or Korea market maybe you get ingredients from many markets.
The first thing that I feel bad about the recipe you recommend is you put ginger. It has never in Pad Thai recipe before, the second thing is you can’t use soy sauce instead of Tamarind because soy sauce has a salty flavor, contains gluten and msg in the ingredients. And sour taste is the first taste you get in Pad Thai. But you can use white vinegar instead of Tamarind paste. I think the rice vinegar smell strong, changing the flavor of the Pad Thai. If you don’t like the smell of fish sauce you can use soy sauce or salt instead.
They are only three flavours of the Pad Thai taste. Sour (from Tamarind paste) sour come first followed by salty (from fish sauce) and sweet (from Palm or coconut sugar you can find ground coconut sugar from bakery self or vegan self smells better than brown sugar) as the last flavor.
Thank you for your response and I apologize for my English language if typos or make you misunderstood.
Is there a replacement for the fish sauce? I really do not like the taste of fish sauce.
Great question! I’m guessing you would be opposed to anchovies as well? In this case, you can just increase the soy sauce and you should be just fine. 🙂 Enjoy!