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

Craving more? Sign up for the Just a Taste newsletter for a fresh serving of content delivered every week to your inbox! And stay in touch on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram for all of the latest updates.


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
1/4 cup sliced scallions, 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.


  1. 4


    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.

  2. 8

    Deirdre Flanagan says

    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!

  3. 13

    Lizzy says

    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.

  4. 21


    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.

  5. 22


    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.

  6. 23

    Becca says

    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!

  7. 24

    Christi says

    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?

  8. 25

    Lisa says

    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.

  9. 26


    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)

  10. 28

    Becky says

    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!

  11. 29

    Matthew Alexander says

    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!

  12. 30

    Jon says

    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.

  13. 31

    Marilyn says

    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! :)

  14. 32

    Julie says

    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 :)

  15. 33

    Susje says

    Julie: if you can’t find the fresh sprouts…so easy to sprout your own Mung Beans if you can find the whole-dried beans-easy to store too! I made this last night for the first time, we loved it, but too many noodles, I’d prefer less, but no fault of the recipe–drove to Asian store 20 minutes away to get Tamarind, was worth it! Thanks.

  16. 34

    Emma says

    Wonderful recipe – thank you! I have tried so many different recipes, and this is the one to finally make the recipe book :) My husband and I loved it!

  17. 35


    The first time I ever tasted Pad Thai with chicken was in 1979 I worked with a young lady from the Philippines and she made it for my birthday, I never tried making it but always wondered how, it’s easy and I can’t wait to try this dish again.

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — July 22nd, 2014 @ 9:04 am

      Awesome! Hope you enjoy this recipe, Jareen!

  18. 36

    Tess Alvarez says

    where do you buy the tamarind concentrate/ paste?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — July 30th, 2014 @ 9:59 am

      Hi Tess! Check the Asian foods section of your largest local grocery store. Otherwise, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s both stock it. Enjoy!

  19. 38

    Heidi says

    We loved how fresh the toppings were. When I made the pad thai it was really strong flavored. I have never cooked with tamarind and I wonder if cutting back on that would help? It just seemed like something was overpowering. Any suggestions? I really want to make it again.

  20. 39


    I made this last spring and LOVED it. Really solid recipe. I keep thinking I need to make it again, and soon!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — January 7th, 2015 @ 1:01 pm

      Awesome! So glad you’re enjoying the recipe, Tory!

  21. 40

    Gina Moore says

    I ordered the Thai ingredients that you had links to Amazon for earlier this week and we are making this tomorrow night for dinner!! Absolutely can’t wait! Will tell you about it next weekend! xo

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — January 23rd, 2015 @ 12:31 am

      OMG GINA! You are the best! I can’t wait to hear about it!

  22. 41

    Janine says

    I made this recipe once as written and unfortunately didn’t love it. It seemed too overpowering (especially on the salt and tamarind). However, I just made it a second time with the following adjustments and found it to be perfect! First, I cut the tamarind and fish sauce in half. I also added chopped shallots with the garlic. And I added scrambled egg (1 per serving you are making) at the stage after chicken is cooked, before adding noodles and sauce. Plus I only attempted cooking 2 serving at a time instead if 4 – this made the whole process more manageable. These adjustment really worked for me so I thought I’d share!

  23. 42


    Hi Kelly,
    This is a favorite at our house! I’m a dietitian and I feature some of my favorite healthier recipes on my website Nutritionistics.com. I’ve posted your pad thai there with a link to your website. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — February 24th, 2015 @ 11:17 pm

      So glad you’re enjoying the recipe, Mandy!


  1. […] If you’re ready to take ramen noodles beyond the soup bowl, head on over to the Better Homes and Gardens Delish Dish blog, where I’m serving up this quick and easy recipe for Thai Chicken Pasta Salad with a few flavor-packed twists (hello, crushed red pepper flakes!). And if you’re ready to keep cruising on the Thai food train, don’t miss my recipe for Easy Pad Thai with Chicken. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *