This homemade Pad Thai recipe is easy to make, tossed with a fresh and sweet and tangy sauce, and customizable with whatever protein, veggies, and spice level you prefer. (Chicken, steak, pork, shrimp, tofu and veggie-only options included below.)
Pad Thai Ingredients:
- 10 ounces thin rice noodles
- 3 tablespoons oil, divided
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 eggs, whisked
- 3 green onions, sliced into 1-inch pieces
- toppings: lots of chopped peanuts, extra crushed red pepper flakes, fresh lime wedges
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate (please see note below)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- juice of 1 fresh lime
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more/less to taste)
- Make the sauce. Whisk all ingredients together in a medium bowl (or shake together in a mason jar) until completely combined. Set aside until ready to use.
- Cook the noodles. Cook the noodles al dente according to package instructions. Drain the noodles in a strainer, then rinse with cold water briefly to halt their cooking. Toss briefly with one tablespoon oil to prevent the noodles from sticking.
- Cook the chicken (or see other protein options below). Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large sauté pan or wok over high heat. Add the chicken and sauté for 3-5 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a clean plate and set aside.
- Cook the veggies. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the sauté pan, along with the bean sprouts, carrots, and garlic. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Cook the eggs. Push the veggies to one side of the pan and add the whisked eggs on the other side. Cook the eggs until scrambled, stirring often.
- Put it all together. Now add everything back in with the eggs and veggies — the cooked noodles, cooked chicken, sauce and green onions. Give the mixture a good toss until everything is evenly coated in the sauce. Remove pan from heat.
- Serve. Serve immediately, sprinkled with lots of crushed peanuts, extra crushed red pepper flakes (if desired) and a good squeeze of fresh lime juice. Enjoy!
Recipe update: This recipe has been updated in 2021 to call for 2 tablespoons (instead of the original 4 tablespoons) of tamarind concentrate, to make it slightly less tangy per feedback from our readers.
Tamarind Concentrate: Please note that different brands of tamarind concentrate can vary significantly in terms of potency and flavor, so the quantity you use may need to be adjusted. (I also recommend using a Thai brand of tamarind concentrate, as Indian tamarind concentrate has a different flavor and is more concentrated.) This recipe is intended to have a fresh and tangy flavor. But if you prefer to have a sweeter sauce, similar to how many American restaurants make this dish, I recommend increasing the amount of packed brown sugar used to 1/2 cup (or more).
How To Make Shrimp Pad Thai: Season 1 pound of large shrimp (peeled and de-veined) with salt and pepper. Sauté in 1 tablespoon oil over high heat until the shrimp are bright pink and cooked through, stirring occasionally, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a clean plate and set aside.
How To Make Beef Pad Thai: Thinly slice 1 pound of lean steak (against the grain), then cut into bite-sized pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté in 1 tablespoon oil over heat until the steak is browned on all sides, stirring occasionally, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a clean plate and set aside.
How To Make Pork Pad Thai: Thinly slice 1 pound of lean boneless pork chops, then cut into bite-sized pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté in 1 tablespoon oil over heat until the pork is browned on all sides, stirring occasionally, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a clean plate and set aside.
How To Make Tofu Pad Thai: Slice 1 (14-ounce) block of extra-firm tofu into 1/4-inch slices. Sandwich the slices between paper towels, press and drain for 30 minutes. Cut the tofu into bite-sized pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Cook the tofu in 1 tablespoon oil in a non-stick pan in a single layer for 2 minutes, undisturbed. Then flip the tofu and cook on the second side for 1-2 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer to a clean plate and set aside.