Thai food is so deep in flavor and steeped in tradition.
And this dish is about as classic as they come. Of course, we also love our Shrimp Pad Thai, but we love chicken, too. You may need to make a run to your local Asian market to grab an ingredient, or two, or just order them online. And this dish comes together quickly!
How to Make Chicken Pad Thai
Like most stir-fry dishes, this dish comes together very quickly.
For that reason, it’s very important to have all of your ingredients prepped and ready to go before you start to stir-fry.
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The Ingredients You Will Need
Many of the following ingredients can be found in the Asian section of most well-stocked supermarkets. If not, you can find them at an Asian market or online.
Here are the ingredients for chicken Pad Thai:
For the Sauce:
Tamarind sauce (or paste)
For the Pad Thai:
Boneless, skinless chicken breast
Chopped roasted peanuts
- If you cannot find flat rice noodles, you can use dried rice noodles or even spaghetti as a substitute.
- For a vegetarian or vegan pad Thai, you can substitute the chicken with tofu or vegetables like mushrooms or broccoli.
- If you cannot find fish sauce, you can use soy sauce and oyster sauce as a substitute.
- For the rice vinegar, you can use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar as a substitute.
- If you cannot find bean sprouts, you can use sliced cabbage or shredded carrots instead.
EXPERT TIP: Be sure to push the cooked chicken and onions off to the side of your wok or skillet before adding the eggs. And then once you added the eggs, stir them constantly until they are nicely scrambled, and then incorporate them with the chicken and tofu. This only takes a couple of minutes.
Tips for Perfect Chicken Pad Thai
Use fresh ingredients: The key to making delicious Pad Thai is using fresh and high-quality ingredients. Use fresh vegetables, high-quality chicken, and fresh herbs to enhance the flavor of the dish.
Soak the noodles properly: Soaking the noodles properly is crucial to achieving the perfect texture. Soak the noodles in warm water for at least 30 minutes before cooking to ensure they are soft and pliable.
Don’t overcook the chicken: Overcooking the chicken can make it dry and tough, which can ruin the dish. Cook the chicken just until it is no longer pink and remove it from the heat to avoid overcooking. You can add it back into the dish later to finish cooking.
EXPERT TIP: We can’t express enough the importance of mise en place (everything in place) for this dish. Once you start cooking, it cooks very quickly. You’ll need to have all ingredients prepped and ready to go, including putting together sauce.
How To Serve
Chicken Pad Thai is typically served hot and garnished with chopped peanuts, lime wedges, and extra bean sprouts. If desired, you can also sprinkle on fresh herbs such as cilantro or Thai basil.
You can serve it in a large bowl or on individual plates.
To serve, simply ladle the Pad Thai into bowls or plates and sprinkle with the garnishes. The lime wedges can be squeezed over the dish to add a tangy flavor. It can be served as a main dish for lunch or dinner, and it pairs well with a side of steamed vegetables or a fresh salad. Enjoy it with a cold drink like iced tea or a cold beer to complete the meal.
Other Classic Asian Recipes to Try
Asian cuisine is so delicious and deeply flavorful. Here are some of our favorites that you’ll want to make in your very own kitchen:
Shrimp Pad Thai
Thai Beef with Red Curry
Thai Beef Salad
Thai Green Curry Chicken
Korean Bulgogi Beef Lettuce Wraps
Kung Pao Shrimp
Pork Dumplings with Peanut Sauce
Classic Chicken Fried Rice
These are all so amazing, but aren’t you craving this bowl of deliciousness right now?
This dish is so delicious and simple to prepare.
It easily feeds 2 people with a little leftover. You can double the recipe to feed 4 to 6 hungry folks.
If you don’t have a wok, you can easily prepare the dish in a large skillet. Have fun!
Ready to make the best Thai dish this side of Bangkok? Go for it!
And when you do, be sure to take a photo, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!
Homemade Chicken Pad Thai
- Wok, or large sturdy skillet/pan
- 3 tbsp tamarind paste
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
For the Pad Thai
- 6 oz rice noodles
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- ½ onion
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 6 oz chicken breast cut into strips
- 6 oz extra-firm tofu cut into bite-sized cubes
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup bean sprouts divided
- 5 scallions cut into 1-inch strips
- ½ cup roasted peanuts roughly chopped, divided
- 1 tbsp sriracha sauce more for extra heat
- 1 lime cut into wedges, for garish
- Mix all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.3 tbsp tamarind paste, 3 tbsp fish sauce, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, 3 tbsp brown sugar
- Meanwhile, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Place the rice noodles in the boiling water and cook for 5 minutes, or until very soft, stirring occasionally. Drain and rinse with cool water. Set aside.6 oz rice noodles
- Heat the oil in a wok over high heat. Add the onions and stir-fry for 2 minutes, or until just starting to soften. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds, stirring often.2 tbsp vegetable oil, ½ onion, 2 cloves garlic
- Add the chicken and tofu and cook until the chicken is just cooked, about 2 to 4 minutes.6 oz chicken breast, 6 oz extra-firm tofu
- Push the chicken mixture to one side of the wok and add the eggs to the other side. Use your spatula to constantly stir the eggs until cooked and scrambled. Mix the chicken mixture into the eggs.2 large eggs
- Stir in half of the bean sprouts. Add the cooked noodles and stir to incorporate. Cook for about 1 minute.1 cup bean sprouts
- Pour in the sauce, half of the peanuts, and the scallions. Stir to incorporate and cook for about 1 to 2 more minutes. Stir in the sriracha sauce.5 scallions, ½ cup roasted peanuts, 1 tbsp sriracha sauce
- Serve immediately with the remaining peanuts and sprouts for garnish, as well as lime wedges.1 lime
POST UPDATE: This recipe was originally published March 2014, but was updated with improved tweaks to the recipe with new tips and photography and a fabulous new video in May 2023.
Best Pad Thai I’ve had, even from a Thai restarnaunt
You just made our day, Mark! Thank you so so much for sharing! We appreciate that so very much! Best, Kris & Wesley
What can I substitute for tamarind paste?
Hi Linda! That’s a tough one! Tamarind pasta (or sauce) is a key ingredient in pad Thai. However, you could use oyster sauce or hoisin sauce, and you’ll still have a delicious sauce. I’ve heard of people subbing Worcestershire sauce for it before, but I’ve never tried that, so I couldn’t say for sure. Or, you could just omit it completely and increase the other sauce ingredients a little. Hope this helps and let us know if you make the dish and how it turns out! Best, Kris & Wesey
Hi Kris & Wesley 😉
Kris, I absolutely love extremely hot and spicey pad thai. I was wondering if you could tell me how to make my pad thai hot and spicey without messing up your recipe.
Thank you and take care you two…
Hi Bessie! So so sorry for the delayed response! The best way to add a lot of heat to Pad Thai is pick up Asian chili oil. This is how Thai cooks increase the heat. You can find lots to choose from any Asian market or online. Some supermarket carry them as well in the Asian section. Hope this helps! BTW…we’re updating this Pad Thai recipe as we speak with new tips, photos, and video. The updated post will be re-published this coming Sunday! Hope you enjoy it! It’s really good!
Amazing recipe! So Yummy!!! However i think the serving size is WAY off. I made the recipe that says it will feed 8 people and it really didn’t even feed four.