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4.8 from 5 votes

How to Make Authentic Pad Thai

This well-loved sweet, sour, savory noodle dish is one of Thailand's favorite exports for good reason. We keep a batch of the sauce, tofu, and pickled radishes in the fridge all the time, so on any given night we can make a batch of Pad Thai for dinner in about 20 minutes. Once you get the hang of it, you'll find you like homemade Pad Thai better than any restaurant version!
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Thai
Keyword: homemade Thai, noodles, pad thai, Thai recipe
Servings: 2 servings
Calories: 561kcal
Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $9.00


  • Wok or Large Skillet


For Pad Thai:

  • 4 oz Thin Rice Noodles (sometimes labeled "rice stick" or "pad thai noodles")
  • 2 oz Extra Firm or "Pressed" Tofu
  • 2 tablespoon Pickled or Preserved Radish or Turnip
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 8 large Shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 stalks Chinese Chives
  • ¼ cup Roasted and Unsalted Peanuts
  • 1 Lime
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 cup Bean Sprouts
  • ½ cup Pad Thai Sauce (keep an extra ¼ cup of sauce close by in case you need it)
  • 2 tablespoon Peanut Oil, divided (or any cooking oil)

For Serving:

  • Roasted and Unsalted Peanuts
  • White Sugar
  • Fish Sauce
  • Lime Wedges
  • Red Pepper Flakes


  • Soak the noodles in hot tap water until they are tender enough to easily twist around the tines of a fork but still have a tiny bit of bite to them, about 10 minutes.
  • While the noodles soak, prep all other ingredients as follows and set them beside the stovetop:
    Tofu - slice into thin 1-inch long rectangles.
    Pickled Radish / Turnip - If coated in salt or sugar, rinse the pickled radish or turnip under cool water. Chop into small pieces if not already minced.
    Garlic - Mince.
    Shrimp - Peel and devein the shrimp (if not already done), leaving the tails on. Lightly season with salt and pepper.
    Chinese chives - Chop the top half of each stalk into 1-inch lengths. Reserve the bottom halves for garnish.
    Peanuts - Finely chop and divide in half. Set half aside to serve as a garnish.
    Lime - Slice into wedges.
    Set the egg, bean sprouts, Pad Thai sauce (make sure you have ½ cup measured out as well as extra sauce ready in case you need it), and vegetable oil beside the stovetop.
  • When the noodles are tender, rinse and drain them.
  • Place a large wok (or large skillet) over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and when it begins to shimmer, add the noodles and ½ cup of Pad Thai Sauce. Saute, stirring constantly, until the noodles are warmed through and coated in sauce, 1 minute.
  • Move the noodles to one side of the pan and add 1 tablespoon of oil, tofu, pickled radish, garlic and shrimp. Saute just until the shrimp is pink on the outside (it will continue cooking as you add additional ingredients to the pan), 2 minutes. Stir to combine all of the ingredients. If the noodles look dry, at this point, add a couple tablespoons of additional Pad Thai Sauce.
  • Create a well in the center of the pan and add the egg. Scramble the egg until fully cooked and toss to combine all of the ingredients.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the bean sprouts, chopped chives, and peanuts. Squeeze juice from one of the lime wedges over the top of the noodles.
  • Transfer to serving plates and top with more peanuts and the reserved Chinese chive stems. Serve immediately with all of the garnishes listed above, so that everyone can adjust to their taste at the table.


Pad Thai is best made in small batches, so this recipe is just designed to serve 2 people. This will help prevent the noodles from overcooking and turning soft. If you want to cook this for more people, prep extra ingredients and set them by the stovetop. It cooks so fast that you can make several batches in a row which will impress anyone nearby!
I am often asked if I recommend store-bought Pad Thai Sauce. And I say, if it will save you time and give you that boost you need to make Pad Thai at home, go for it! Look at the ingredients and make sure that tamarind and/or fish or shrimp sauce are high on the list. I've also seen some sauces that include makrut lime which isn't in traditional Pad Thai, but is a delicious addition!


Serving: 1g | Calories: 561kcal | Carbohydrates: 84g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 128mg | Sodium: 1117mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 16g