Easy Chicken Pad Thai
The easiest chicken pad thai you’ll ever make! Not only is it better than take-out or your favorite restaurants version of it, it’s also quick and easy and takes just 30 minutes! Simple enough to accomplish on a weeknight!
Tangy, sweet, savory, and just exploding with flavor. This chicken pad thai is anything but ordinary.
But this takeout fake-out pad thai recipe is more than just plain old delicious. Some major fork twirling action is required and I don’t think anyone is going to complain about that. And let me tell you about this homemade pad thai sauce! It’s super easy to make and uses mostly ingredients that’s you’ve already got in the pantry.
And just look at all the flavors that go into this one recipe. One bite, and they’re all jumping out at you! A little tang from the lime juice, and tamarind, sweetness from brown sugar, a bit of heat from the chili paste, and all the savoriness from soy sauce. Sweet joy! There is just so much going on in this one quick and easy pad thai recipe, can your mouth handle it?
But flavor isn’t the only thing this pad thai has. It’s also packed with that crunchy texture — my absolute favorite. The bean sprouts and shredded carrots along the cilantro packs on some much needed earthy flavor. If you’re not a fan of cilantro (GASP) then skip it or replace it with a little parsley. But Please, oh please, give it a go with the cilantro at least once.
Side note: Have you ever had chicken pad thai cold? I LOVE IT. I LOVE IT.
There are a few main components to making chicken pad thai, and though I don’t claim my recipe to be authentic pad thai, I will say that it gets as close as you can to your favorite restaurants version of it! And with a pat on my back, i’m saying its at least a 1000 times healthier than the stuff you find in Thai restaurants. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Pad Thai Rice Noodles – these are noodles that are made from rice flour and water. These come in a variety of sizes like vermicelli, spaghetti, and both thick and thin flat noodles. I’ve used flat rice noodles that closely resemble linguine.
- THE SAUCE – I am capitalizing this because it’s what makes pad thai, pad thai. This is the stuff that’ll make or break it. My sauce contains fish sauce, water, soy sauce, lime juice, sambal oelek, chicken broth, tamarind paste, and brown sugar.
- The fish sauce or Nam Pla is what’s used in Thai cuisine. I already had Nouc mam (vietnamese fish sauce) which is an easy substitute so either will do.
- Tamarind paste is an ingredient that’s not always easily available in all grocery stores so I suggest purchasing it online or looking for it in ethnic grocery stores. It also doesn’t hurt to take a peak down the ethnic aisle, you may find it in the Hispanic food or Indian food section. If you absolutely cannot find it, replace it with rice vinegar but please, do try looking for it as the flavor is SOOOOO much better with tamarind paste.
- The brown sugar can also be replaced with palm sugar as it’s more commonly used in Thai restaurants when making Pad Thai. But I personally don’t think this one makes a huge difference so I went with brown sugar.
- Peanuts – For me, the more peanuts + lime juice on my chicken pad thai, the better. If you’re allergic to peanuts or don’t care for them, you can replace them with either roasted cashews or almonds. They’re both great for adding the crunch factor!
It would be ridiculously difficult for me to choose between Thai and Mexican food. I love them both equally. And it’s probably because both of these cuisines often combine tang with spice. Not gonna lie, if the hubby asks me which one i’d like out of the two, i’d be quite a pickle.
I like my chicken pad thai super hot with lots of lime juice and enough peanuts to serve up at least 3 adults and an ice cold glass of something to keep my eyes from watering so much that they actually dehydrate me.
What about you? How do you like your pad thai? Mild? Medium? Fire breathing dragon Hot? Is there something you HAVE to have with it?
P.S. Though I like my pad thai hot, I’ve kept it mild for this recipe. Feel free to increase the amount of sambal oelek to increase the heat! Also, feel free to swap out the chicken for shrimp or tofu!
P.P.S I know it may seem like a lot of ingredients, but some are repeated, i’ve split the amounts amongst the sections so it’s easier to follow the recipe.
Also!! (last thing, I promise!) There’s still time to enter the VISA gift card giveaway from Subzero + Wolf. Enter here and good luck!
Easy Chicken Pad Thai
The easiest chicken pad thai you'll ever make! Not only is it better than take-out or your favorite restaurants version of it, it's also quick and easy and takes just 30 minutes! Simple enough to accomplish on a weeknight!
- 1 lb. chicken, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari (or soy sauce)
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 tablespoons low sodium tamari (or soy sauce)
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon sambal oelek
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 12 ounces flat rice noodles
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bunch scallions, sliced (light greens and darks separated)
- 1 cup carrots
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch + 1 tablespoon water (made into a slurry)
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1/3 cup roasted peanuts, chopped (see note)
- In a medium bowl, combine the sliced chicken, cornstarch and tamari, stir to coat; set aside.
- In a 2 cup measuring cup or larger, combine the fish sauce, tamarind paste, water, tamari, lime juice, chicken broth, sambal oelek, brown sugar, and tablespoon of oil, whisk until the brown sugar dissolves completely; set aside.
- Cook the noodles according to package directions. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Heat a large wok over medium high heat. Add in 1 tablespoon of oil, along with the garlic let cook for 30 seconds, then add the chicken and allow for the chicken to cook through, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the chicken to a plate. Add the light green portion of the scallions along with the carrots and let sauté for 30 seconds before adding in the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and the beaten eggs. Scramble the eggs in the pan until they cook, about 1 minute, then add the chicken, noodles, bean sprouts, and the sauce. Pour the slurry into the pan toss the pad thai using wooden spoons so that everything mixes together, let sauce thicken 1-2 minutes.
- Serve immediately topped with dark greens of scallions, cilantro, chopped peanuts, and lots of lime wedges.
- If you absolutely cannot find tamarind paste, you can replace it with equal amounts of rice vinegar.
- 1 teaspoon of sambal oelek makes this pad thai mild, feel free to increase the amount of sambal oelek to make it spicier.
- I just threw the peanuts into a food processor and gave it a few pulses instead of chopping.
- Chicken can be replaced with shrimp or tofu too if you'd like.
This was delicious, thank you for the recipe. Husband and kids loved it too!
I find pad thai too sweet for me so I halved the sugar and it was perfect!
YAY! Glad you guys liked it! Thanks, Sandy!
Great blog, amazing recipes and gorgeous photos. Can you tell me which light source you use for this photos? Natural day light or artificial light and if is artificial light which one? Thank you!
Thank you so much! These photos were shot with natural lighting but I have used artificial lights in the past, if you’re interested in investing in some. Shoot me an email and we can talk. 🙂
Making this tonight! What do you do with the tamarind paste? I don’t see where you use it. Do you need to heat it first before mixing it with the sauce?
Thank you for catching that! It should’ve been in there with the rest of the sauce ingredients. I’ve fixed the recipe sheet to reflect. If it’s super thick, you can pop it in the microwave for a seconds to help loosen it up. Mine was the consistency of hoisin sauce so i really didn’t need to.
I’ve made this twice, and it was delicious! It’s easy once you get everything chopped up and prepped. Made it with tofu instead of chicken. Worked perfectly. Love it!
I am attempting recipe and noticed you have chicken broth in he ingredient list but no in the directions. W a typo?
Hi Edna, thanks for catching that. The chicken broth was suppose to be mixed with the rest of the sauce ingredients in step #2.
Should the chicken be precook end, or does it cook in the end?
The recipe states to cook the chicken through in step 4.
Hi! Just wondering if there is any oil in particular you recommend. Vegetable, sesame… etc?? Thanks!! Can’t wait to make this!
Hey Lindsay! I used canola oil, but any flavorless oil such as vegetable or corn will also work. I just wouldn’t use sesame or olive oil, these tend to change the flavor a bit!
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Approved by 4 daughters, one of whom worked in an Asian restaurant. She asked for the recipe. It’s a hit!!!
This recipe is phenomenal. I had tried Mark Bittman’s pad thai recipe and failed several times. THANK YOU for this!!!!
Do you know if this recipe is gluten free?
This recipe can be made GF by using gluten free tamari and rice noodles.
This is soooo good! I’ve made it a dozen times and it never disappoints. Thanks for the delicious recipe!!
I LOVE this recipe so much. It is better than my local Thai restaurant.
The only change I make is to add stock powder instead of liquid stock which makes the consistency of the sauce perfect so it doesn’t need the corn starch.
I have been enjoying this recipe for years, thanks so much.