Easy Pad Thai

Easy Pad Thai with Shrimp, tofu, rice noodles, and peanuts in a quick sauce made from fish sauce, sugar, crushed red pepper and vinegar in less than 30 minutes. Skip the delivery!

Asian Recipes like this Pad Thai are a classic comfort food. Pair this recipe with Thai Green Curry for a perfectly delicious authentic take-out meal.

Pad Thai Recipe
 Traditional Pad Thai Recipe

This is an authentic pad thai recipe given to me by a friend’s grandmother and it’s COMPLETELY EASY. I promise it is in fact. Once you gather the ingredients, the hardest ones are the rice noodles and the fish sauce, the rest of the dish is a breeze to make.

One of the most prominent flavors of Thai food is the inclusion of fish sauce. Though fish sauce can seem like a scary ingredient it is actually similar to eating anchovies in caesar dressing.

You can taste a flavor of umami (a savory/salty flavor) but you don’t actually taste a “fishy” taste from it. Many people who make chicken pad thai would never even guess that there was seafood in the dish based on the fish sauce.

More Delicious Take-Out Recipes:

What is Pad Thai?

Pad Thai is a rice noodle dish traditionally made with chicken, shrimp and tofu that with eggs, fish sauce, sugar and vinegar. A quick stir fry with soaked rice noodles it is a classic Thai recipe that is very popular in Thai restaurants.

In most restaurants they’ll offer a version of pad thai that includes shrimp, chicken and tofu. We stick with shrimp and tofu in this version to help create an easy recipe and because Shrimp Pad Thai is the most classic representation of this recipe. Some people will add chicken to the shrimp and tofu, but adding the chicken flavor in on top of it only muddles the flavors instead of enhancing them.

How do you cook Rice Noodles?

There are two schools of thought about rice noodles. Some people like the all soaking method where you soak in cold water for 30-45 minutes before draining. The second method is to boil them for one minute, steep for 5 minutes, then drain and rinse before adding to recipes.

I prefer to boil/steep and rinse because I can do that while cooking the rest of the ingredients in the wok.

Traditional Pad Thai

Pad Thai Sauce:

Pad Thai Sauce is actually a very easy mix of fish sauce, vinegar, sugar and chili peppers. The sugar helps to temper the strong fish sauce flavor, the vinegar adds acidity and a bright flavor while the chili peppers add the traditional spice.

  • Fish Sauce: Yes, this is a strong flavor, but when tempered with the other ingredients you won’t taste the fish sauce flavor on its own. What is fish sauce? It’s fermented fish. Leaving the ingredient out will impact the flavors of the recipe significantly. If you are vegan/vegetarian I suggest substituting a vegetarian mushroom oyster sauce for the fish sauce.
  • Rice Vinegar: The rice vinegar acts to provide a tangy dimension of flavor to the recipe and helps to blend in the fish sauce. In a pinch if you don’t have rice vinegar you can substitute apple cider vinegar which has a similar sweeter profile.
  • Sugar: The sugar does not make this recipe sweet. It balances the umami, vinegar and salty flavors of the rest of the sauce ingredients. Don’t leave the sugar out.
  • Crushed Pepper Flakes: The dish is not spicy but does balance the flavors with a bit of heat from crushed red pepper flakes. You can swap this for a hint of Sriracha in a pinch.
  • Lime Juice: This adds a punch of fresh flavor since the rest of the sauce ingredients are bottled or packaged.
  • Tamarind Paste: Tamarind Paste in pad thai sauce is a classic ingredient that we leave out in this recipe. Why leave it out? We feel like we mimic the authentic flavors without the tamarind paste. If you prefer to add in the paste, add in 2 tablespoons of paste in step 6 with the rest of the sauce ingredients and stir well until combined.

More Asian Noodle Recipes:

What do you serve with Pad Thai? We love to serve Light Crispy Chinese Chicken Salad or papaya salad. Other great appetizers include crab rangoon or egg rolls.


Can you make Pad Thai ahead? Sometimes I’ll cook the ingredients minus the shrimp and noodles ahead of time. Then when ready to eat I’ll soak/cook the noodles while cooking the shrimp and toss it all together. The whole recipe is such a breeze to make though, it would also work to just prep the ingredients ahead and stir fry when ready.

  • Serve: This dish is best served fresh and hot. Keep at room temperature for up to 2 hours before storing.
  • Store: Place in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Reheat in a wok or frying pan with a little oil and soy sauce or chicken broth.
  • Freeze: This recipe can be frozen for up to 3 months in a sealed container or freezer safe bag. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat on the stove top in sauce for best taste.

This is the best pad thai recipe, take my word for it.

classic pad thai

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Traditional Pad Thai
5 from 11 votes

Easy Pad Thai Recipe

Easy Pad Thai with Shrimp, tofu, rice noodles and peanuts in a quick sauce made from fish sauce, sugar, crushed red pepper and vinegar in less than 30 minutes.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Thai
Keyword Easy Pad Thai
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 555 kcal
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 14 ounce rice noodles
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 pound shrimp , peeled and deveined
  • 8 ounces extra firm tofu , cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 3 carrots , julienned
  • 1/4 cup crushed peanuts
  • 2 green onions , chopped
  • 1 lime , cut into wedges
  • cilantro , for garnish (optional)


  1. Add the rice noodles to boiling water for 1 minute, then turn off the heat and let sit for five minutes.

  2. When softened rinse with cold water and set aside.

  3. Add canola oil to a wok on high heat and add the shrimp and tofu cubes.

  4. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, then remove the shrimp and tofu from the pan (leave the oil in the pan).

  5. Add the eggs into hot oil, and chop with a spatula into little pieces as your cooking them.

  6. Add softened noodles, shrimp, tofu, rice vinegar, fish sauce, sugar and red pepper.

  7. Serve topped with bean sprouts, carrots, green onions and lime wedges.
Nutrition Facts
Easy Pad Thai Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 555 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Fat 16g25%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 272mg91%
Sodium 1549mg67%
Potassium 387mg11%
Carbohydrates 73g24%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 14g16%
Protein 26g52%
Vitamin A 5305IU106%
Vitamin C 11.2mg14%
Calcium 175mg18%
Iron 3.6mg20%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Traditional Shrimp Pad Thai
Easy Pad Thai Recipe

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. Sauce did not thicken or stick to the noodles, tasted fine but not like I would want to go back for more. Disappointed.

    1. I’ve made it both ways and felt this recipe didn’t need it and it makes it accessible to more home cooks.. However, definitely use some if you like, it is a delicious add!

    2. I have been searching for a great Pad Thai recipe. In my search, I have read that vinegar can be substituted for Tamarind Concentrate. Not sure how that tastes.

  2. This recipe was super easy and i loved it but i did make some slight changes to it. I julienned about a thumbs size of fresh ginger, 2 large cloves of garlic, 8 serrano chili peppers sliced, 2 jalapenos sliced to the oil right before cooking the meat for that extra flavor. I also added in some fresh tamrid in the sauce with brown sugar instead of white and doubled the sauce recipe to mix with the rice noodles. My husband loved it!

      1. Sabrina, The picture looks perfect. That is what caught my eye. I too like peasnut butter in my sauce. Isn’t that the idea of home cooking? You make the dish your own. Thanks.

  3. I made this recipe tonight. It had a great taste. I added 1/8 cup of peanut butter for a slightly more peanut buttery taste. Overall, this was spot on regarding taste. It had a great taste, but a few tips for others that may not be as avid chefs (like me). I am not necessarily the best cook, so this reminder is worth it. DO NOT OVERCOOK! The rice noodles are easy to become mush (I have not cooked with them before and the ones I had really should only have been cooked 1 minute and sat 3 for a firmer noodle – they ended up as mush for me because I waited 5 1/2 minutes). I added snow peas and baby corn, but I overcooked those too (yikes – I am such a rookie) because I wanted to cook the sauce items and had already added all the ingredients when I started adding the sauce ingredients. I feel like the sauce items should be mixed together first and heated before adding the noodles, shrimp and tofu, so it cooks properly / blends/heats, but maybe that is just because I wasn’t using a real wok (I don’t have one, so I used a large sauté pan. Overall the flavors were excellent, just would have changed my technique / sequence a bit. It moves pretty quickly once you start cooking so be prepared. Thanks for the recipe. I will definitely get it down next time.

  4. This recipe is GOLD!!!

    I did add more chopped peanuts only because the restaurant I would normally order it from had more peanut flavor …. and my family all likes different levels of “stars” or “heat” so they added sriracha to theirs at the table and they were ASTONISHED how much it tasted like our favorite restaurant pad Thai!

  5. I agree with Whitney. It tasted good but the flavor was very faint like something is missing from the sauce. And mine came out really dry. I double check all my measurements and can’t see any place where I made a mistake.

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