Easy Pad Thai with Chicken

Easy Pad Thai with Chicken from justataste.com

Mastering an easy recipe for pad Thai with chicken at home is both the best and worst culinary discovery to ever happen in my kitchen. I have made this recipe three times in two weeks. I am now a three-time member (and soon to be president) of the Pad Thai Clean Plate Club and am currently accepting all Spanx donations.

Pad Thai ranks among my top three all-time favorite takeout dishes (the others being Mongolian Beef and Pineapple Chicken Fried Rice). There’s just something about rice noodles stir-fried with garlic and tossed in a sweet and tangy sauce that inspires me to order this dish time and time again. But it wasn’t until I shared a recent Facebook post and Instagram photo that I was inundated with requests to create a DIY version of this popular Thai dish. Challenge accepted!

Don’t let the list of ingredients fool you. Five of them are garnishes (read: optional) and the other non-traditional ingredients can be found in most major supermarkets. Just soak the noodles, whisk together the sauce and then stir-fry it all together for the freshest, most flavorful fakeout for takeout.

Easy Pad Thai with Chicken from justataste.com

Easy Pad Thai with Chicken from justataste.com

Easy Pad Thai with Chicken from justataste.com

Easy Pad Thai with Chicken from justataste.com

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Easy Pad Thai with Chicken

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 25 min

Cook Time: 20 min


For the sauce:
1 1/2 Tablespoons tamarind concentrate/paste
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon Sambal Oelek (chili sauce)
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon fresh black pepper

For the noodles:
8 ounces Thai rice noodles
2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
Vegetable oil, for stir-frying
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup sliced carrots, for garnish
1/2 cup shredded red cabbage, for garnish
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, for garnish
1/3 cup roughly chopped peanuts, for garnish
Lime wedges, for garnish


Make the sauce:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the tamarind concentrate with 1/2 cup warm water. Whisk in the remaining sauce ingredients. Set aside.

Make the noodles:

Fill a large pot with hot water. Add the rice noodles and cover the pot, allowing them to soak and soften for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they're barely al dente. (Alternately, cook the noodles according to the package instructions.) The noodles will be stir-fried so do not overcook them at this point.

Drain the noodles and rinse them with cold water to prevent them from sticking together.

Cut the chicken breasts into thin, 1-inch slices. Place the chicken in a medium bowl. Whisk together the cornstarch with the soy sauce then pour it over the chicken, stirring to coat.

Heat a wok or large nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil then add the minced garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook, stirring continuously, for 30 seconds until the garlic is golden brown and fragrant. Add the chicken to the pan (including all liquids), and cook, stirring frequently until it is no longer pink. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of chicken stock at a time to the pan while the chicken is cooking to prevent it from drying out. (You may not use the entire 1/4 cup of chicken stock.)

Add the noodles to the pan then pour in the prepared sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil, and using two flat spatulas, lift and turn the noodles to combine all of the ingredients. (Don't stir the noodles too vigorously or they'll break.) Continue cooking the noodles for 1 to 2 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly, then add the bean sprouts and cook for 1 more minute. The noodles are fully cooked when they are chewy and no longer crunchy.

Transfer the noodles to serving dishes and garnish with the sliced carrots, shredded red cabbage, cilantro, scallions, peanuts and lime wedges.

Kelly's Notes:

A majority of the specialty ingredients in this recipe can be found in the Asian aisle of most supermarkets. My preferred brand of rice noodles is Annie Chun's Pad Thai Noodles.

It's important to bring the sauce to a boil so that it will thicken enough as it cooks with the noodles.

Make sure you have all of your ingredients prepped and ready to go before you start cooking. This is a fast recipe that comes together in less than 10 minutes once the garlic hits the pan.

Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste (inspired by Darlene Schmidt). Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.


44 Responses to “Easy Pad Thai with Chicken”

  1. #
    Julie @ Table for Two — October 9, 2013 at 8:19 am

    I LOVE pad thai but I’ve never made it on my own – this looks absolutely delicious and I would totally make this for dinner during the week! It seems quick and easy and that’s what I need!

  2. #
    Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. — October 9, 2013 at 9:25 am

    i love this! Miss you!

  3. #
    steph@stephsbitebybite — October 9, 2013 at 9:28 am

    three times in two weeks…I think I need to come over and be your taste tester!

  4. #
    Laurie {SimplyScratch} — October 9, 2013 at 9:30 am

    This looks perfect! Can you believe my husband still has not tried pad Thai?? This is now on my list for the next week… so he can experience only the best Thai food dish ever. Plus this seems super simple… which is always a bonus in my book.

  5. #
    Zainab @ Blahnik Baker — October 9, 2013 at 9:45 am

    This is one of my favorite take-out dishes. Your recipe looks easy and delicious. Thank you for sharing :)

  6. #
    Jodee Weiland — October 9, 2013 at 10:12 am

    One of my favorites, but I have never made it at home. Now I can give it a try…thanks! Looks delicious!

  7. #
    Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen — October 9, 2013 at 10:17 am

    My local Thai restaurant is about to lose it’s best pad Thai customer….so long takeout. This looks absolutely delish!

  8. #
    Deirdre Flanagan — October 9, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Is there any sub for fish sauce?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — October 9th, 2013 @ 1:13 pm

      Hi Deirdre! The fish sauce it what really gives pad Thai its characteristic taste, so I wouldn’t recommend substituting anything for it (unless you have an allergy). Hope that helps!

  9. #
    Angie | Big Bear's Wife — October 9, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Those noodles look amazing, oh and with the chicken and sauce! YUM!

  10. #
    Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry — October 9, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Pad Thai is one of those dishes I always thought was to difficult to make but you make it look as easy as 1 2 3.

  11. #
    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — October 9, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    Your pad thai looks so flavorful and delicious!

  12. #
    Kelly @ The Pretty Bee: Cooking + Creating — October 9, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    This looks so good! I had a craving for Thai food earlier, so this comes at the right time!

  13. #
    Lizzy — October 9, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    I read the comment for substituting the fish sauce and that it wasn’t recommended. What if I do have a fish allergy, any recommendations for a substitute? Thank you! Can’t wait to try it.

  14. #
    Cassie | Bake Your Day — October 9, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Pad Thai is a favorite around here…although my husband likes it with shrimp, I’ll eat it any way, shape or form. This looks wonderful, Kelly!

  15. #
    Tieghan — October 9, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    This looks so good! I love pad thai and making it at home is the best! Such a great recipe!

  16. #
    Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen — October 9, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    Gorgeous Pad Thai, Kelly! Now, we can all easily make it at home. Thank you for sharing. Pinning!

  17. #
    Ari @ Ari's Menu — October 10, 2013 at 12:01 am

    Yummmm!! I LOVE chicken pad thai and this looks absolutely delicious!

  18. #
    Sommer @ ASpicyPerspective — October 10, 2013 at 8:46 am

    Gorgeous recipe, Kelly!

  19. #
    andrislagsdin — October 10, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Hi Kelly,
    This is beautiful, you make it look so easy!

  20. #
    Liz — October 11, 2013 at 9:37 am

    Sounds really good. Thank you.

  21. #
    Des — October 12, 2013 at 3:18 am

    My husband adores pad Thai. I’ve always been a bit of a skeptic because I have had a couple of bad experiences with the sauce (ie they used KETCHUP. Ick.). I like that you use tamarind in this sauce. I will have to give it a try.

  22. #
    Ash-foodfashionparty — October 12, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    Gorgeous pad thai. It’s one of those things I order all the time and love to make at home. You’ve made it look so simple and your pictures is so inviting. Thanks for reminding me of this great dish.

  23. #
    Becca — October 13, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    This recipe is absolutely divine. I will make it again and again. Thank you for sharing!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — October 13th, 2013 @ 8:27 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Becca!

  24. #
    Christi — November 1, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Any recommendations on tamarind paste? I have never bought it and have only recently seen it in our new Whole Foods. I’ve had recipes call for it in the past and was never able to find it. Now that I have, I’m not sure if it makes any difference which brand I purchase. What’s the difference between the paste and concentrate?

  25. #
    Lisa — November 7, 2013 at 11:21 am

    The only thing it’s missing is a couple of eggs, added after the garlic is done. Add to pan; once the eggs begin to set up, about 15 to 20 seconds, stir to scramble, then proceed with the chicken.

  26. #
    Ryan Henson Creighton — January 9, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    The dish was easy to whip up, as promised, and visually very impressive (although let’s be honest: who really wants to eat red cabbage? Masochists, that’s who.) We didn’t like it because it was salty. As. Balls.

    i think 1/4 cup of fish sauce is way too much, and the taste was overpowering. i have yet to find a recipe that actually tastes like what i order for takeout. i guess i’ll have to keep looking.

    (Protip: rinsing off the noodles can’t be emphasized enough. The first time i attempted pad thai, i made pad glue. Those noodles get real sticky if you don’t take the hose to them after cooking)

  27. #
    Jodee Weiland — January 20, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    I love Pad Thai with chicken, but I never tried to make it! With your recipe and directions, I just may give this a try now. Thanks!

  28. #
    Becky — January 23, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    I made this for dinner earlier this week, and was really pleased at how it turned out. I love pad thai for takeout, but am allergic to eggs so hardly ever order it anymore as most restaurant versions contain egg. Now I can make and eat this egg-free version as often as I want! I’m definitely adding this to my meal rotation. Thank you!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — January 23rd, 2014 @ 4:28 pm

      Awesome! So glad you enjoyed the recipe, Becky!

  29. #
    Matthew Alexander — February 16, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    This was simple & totally rocked on the first attempt. We substituted brown rice vinegar for the tamarind paste, but will be grabbing that for our many future pad thai meals with this recipe!! Thank you, Kelly! Perfect.

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — February 17th, 2014 @ 11:13 am

      Awesome! So glad you enjoyed the recipe, Matthew!

  30. #
    Jon — February 24, 2014 at 3:41 am

    Well, this turned out excellent, though I mistakenly put in 1/4 C of red pepper flakes instead of 1/4 t…. If you like it hot, that was HOT. Know a way to tone it down after that disaster of mine? I was thinking adding peanut butter or possibly yogurt.

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — February 25th, 2014 @ 2:54 am

      So glad you enjoyed the recipe, Jon! Unfortunately, because the crushed red pepper flakes are actually large-sized pepper pieces, it may be hard to dilute their spiciness. I’d start by adding citrus such as fresh lime juice, which often helps cut the heat.

  31. #
    Marilyn — February 25, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    Thanks for the yummy recipe, Kelly. I made it tonight and it was fabulous and easy! I added a couple of eggs and 1/2 of a lime and served with Sriracha. Your recipe is a keeper! :)

  32. #
    Julie — February 27, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Thanks so much for a recipe for Pad Thai that shares how to actually make the sauce. Now if only it were easy to get Bean Sprouts where I live!!!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — February 28th, 2014 @ 3:00 am

      You’re welcome, Julie! Enjoy :)


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