A favorite Thai stir fry noodle dish at home: Pad Thai Recipe

by Alice Currah on June 1, 2009. Updated May 10, 2011

When I think of Thai food I think of Pad Thai. Ever since discovering Joy’s Thai Food online 2 years ago, I’ve been making an adapted version of her recipe which I think has to be as good or almost as good as the local Thai restaurant we frequent. For 15 years I have had a love hate relationship with this popular Thai noodle dish. I loved eating it but hated preparing it. You see, I have this weird habit of trying to re-create dishes I love eating out at home. Most recipes I found used ketchup. So each attempt at making Pad Thai always resulted in ketchup tasting noodles. I even tried using boxed Pad Thai kits with not so good results. I wanted to be able to prepare Pad Thai as good as the local Thai restaurant down the street. This would be the only way I would ever be satisfied with preparing this dish at home. I am happy to report I’ve done it. It’s not quite as special as the Pad Thai at our favorite Thai restaurant but it’s as good or even better than most Thai places we’ve eaten at. This my friend, is a personal culinary achievement! And to think, I remember back in the day when I thought ketchup was the key ingredient in making Pad Thai. I’ve come a long way baby.

This recipe calls for tamarind concentrate and palm sugarwhich can be found at Asian grocers or online. If you have a Ranch 99 Market near you, they carry both. The best and easiest way I have found to make pad thai is to make the sauce in advance and use what you need for your stir fry noodles. The rest of the sauce you can refrigerate up to a month. If you do refrigerate the sauce and find it hardened, just microwave it for 30 seconds and it will warm nicely into a usable sauce. This recipe will yield about 1.5 cups of sauce and only uses approximately 3-4 tablespoons per serving. Also when making Pad Thai, it is highly recommended to make only 1-2 servings at a time so that your pan/wok is not overcrowded. Otherwise you will have mushy noodles that never fry very well.  At first, you may think your noodles have too much sauce, but keep frying and tossing the noodles and the sauce will reduce and your noodles will soak some up as well. If you have any questions, feel free to email me or leave a comment. Enjoy!



Pad Thai Recipe
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
This recipe is for authentic Pad Thai noodles. I like this recipe better than most restaurant versions.
  • ⅓ cup fish sauce
  • ½ cup palm sugar
  • ½ cup tamarind juice concentrate
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces dried rice stick noodles
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ cups thinly sliced chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, or tofu
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup carrots, match sticks
  • cup green onion cut diagonal in ½ inch segments
  • 1 cup mung bean sprouts
  • cup cilantro
  • cup toasted peanuts chopped
  • Lime wedge
  1. To make pad thai sauce, heat a small pan on medium low and add fish sauce, palm sugar, tamarind concentrate, and garlic. Cook sauce until palm sugar has completely dissolve. At this point, you will want to taste the sauce and tweek the sweetness or hotness (be careful, the sauce will be hot). To make it more spicy add a little Thai chili powder. Remove from heat and allow to cool 10 minutes before storing it in a jar or plastic container.
  2. Boil noodles for 4-5 minutes and drain immediately rinsing with cold water for a few seconds. Noodles should be slightly firmer than Al dente. But don’t worry, they will continue to soften and cook later when stir frying. Using kitchen shears, cut the noodle clump in half. This will make it easier to fry and eat.
  3. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a wok or frying pan on high and cook raw chicken, pork, beef, tofu or shrimp for 3-4 minutes. Remove meat/tofu/seafood into a small bowl. Next, heat the remaining oil and then add garlic and red onions to the hot pan and stir fry for 1 minute stirring the garlic mixture so it will not burn. Add noodles and stir for 1 minute. Add 3-4 tablespoons Pad Thai sauce continually stirring noodle mixture until well coated with sauce. Add cooked meat/tofu/seafood back and fry for 2-3 minutes. Move the noodle and meat mixture to one side of the pan and crack an egg on the other side. Scramble the egg with a wooden spoon and cook for 30 seconds. Add carrots, green onions, and sprouts and cook for one more minute frying everything together. Test the firmness of the noodle. If the noodle is too firm, fry for an additional minute. If your noodles need more flavor, add another tablespoon of sauce and fry another half minute. Remove from heat and serve. Garnish with remaining raw carrot match sticks, spouts, cilantro, toasted peanuts, and a wedge of lime. Enjoy!
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{ 124 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate June 1, 2009 at 6:20 pm

Oh yum. I love Pad Thai. It seems like a trip to Ranch 99 is in order!


greg June 1, 2009 at 6:52 pm

Why have I never considered making this at home? I always consider it an eat out dish. But why?? I need to break out of conventional thought! GREG


The Duo Dishes June 1, 2009 at 7:16 pm

Great one to make at home. Thanks for the Ranch 99 tip! That’s good to know.


Kamran Siddiqi (The Sophisticated Gourmet) June 1, 2009 at 8:30 pm

This looks amazing! I can’t wait to get a new wok so I can make this meal. My mouth is watering from just looking at the pictures.


SuperChef June 1, 2009 at 8:54 pm

looks just awesome! i love pad thai!


Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction June 1, 2009 at 9:20 pm

This looks fantastic! I have been looking for a good Pad Thai recipe for a while, and this just might be the winner!


rebecca subbiah June 1, 2009 at 9:22 pm

love pad thai it look amazing, thanks for posting love your blog Rebecca


jenn June 1, 2009 at 9:25 pm

Ooo…i love pad thai. It’s a must when we decide to eat out at Thai restaurants. I’ve never tried the box stuff. I figured they’d put some weird ingredient in. Yours looks really great!!

I’m hosting the Blogger Secret Ingredient this week. I hope you’ll enter. =)


oneshotbeyond June 1, 2009 at 9:38 pm

so much detail went into this post and recipe! Gotta love it.


Nutmeg Nanny June 1, 2009 at 9:53 pm

I love Pad Thai! This homemade version looks delicious. Making it at home has got to be healthier and better for your wallet too.


Happy Cook June 2, 2009 at 12:30 pm

This looks really yumm, one day when i have all the ingridients i am going to make them.


joy in the Burbs June 2, 2009 at 2:21 pm

I’m just amazed. This looks so good. I can’t imagine being able to make this at home. I’d love to come hang out with you in your kitchen.



Danica June 2, 2009 at 3:51 pm

Wow – you really outdid yourself on this one – amazing!


Joan Nova June 2, 2009 at 4:47 pm

I love Pad Thai and your interpretation looks perfect, lots of crunchy peanuts!


Eric June 2, 2009 at 5:15 pm

I love Thai food so your recipe is welcome in my home anytime!



gaga June 5, 2009 at 12:41 am

I looooove pad thai, but my home version never comes out as good as restaurant pad thai. Yours looks even better than restaurants!


FOOD IS LUV June 5, 2009 at 1:40 am

your pad thai looks amazing!


Sarah June 7, 2009 at 1:42 am

Pad Thai is one of my favorite dishes, hard to believe coming from someone who usually makes Middle Eastern food. I have the same problem, whenever I try making thai dishes it just doesn’t compare to what I had in Thailand. On Koh Chang island I had pad thai made off a makeshift kitchen on a moped. He had everything stacked up on it- including chairs, tables, lanterns and of course all his pad thai cooking equipment. Perhaps coconut trees and sandy beaches also helped to make his pad thai the best I ever tasted:-). Your recipe looks delicious and authentic, way to go!


Lisa June 7, 2009 at 3:01 pm

Hey Alice
Gorgeous blog – I am so going to try the pad thai!! Thanks for the sweet comment on my, er, secret baking exploits ;-)



Jason June 13, 2009 at 5:49 pm

so its great that it looks super yummy….but have any of u tried this recipe b4 u posted…i see alot of “it looks great” or “i’ll have to try it” yet i come here looking for the “omg thanx for the recipe…it was delicious!!!” u know to maybe pump me up for trying it out….i’ll get back to ya…


Jessica June 21, 2009 at 8:04 pm

This was spectacular! Pad Thai is one of my favorite foods, and this is one of the best I’ve had. Thanks so much for the recipe!!


Alice June 21, 2009 at 10:49 pm

Thanks everyone for your comments.
Jason: It is helpful when ppl try the recipe and come back and comment. I really love pad thai and I think this recipe is really good. I was glad to see a comment from Jessica who is the only person so far who has tried the recipe and commented back on the blog.

Jessica: Thanks for taking the time to make this and report back. I hope more people will try this recipe at home after seeing your review. And if you liked this recipe you will probably like the Peanut Satay one on the site. Just look under the Thai tab.


erin July 6, 2009 at 10:45 pm

i just made this, and it was my first time making pad thai. it turned out great! i got the tamarind pulp brick and spent some time trying to figure out what to do with it. i think whatever i did must have been the right thing because this recipe is a keeper. i even found those funny little palm sugar drizzle pucks at a shop a few blocks away. thanks for posting the recipe and inspiring me to finally make a new dish i’d been wanting to make for ages!


alice July 6, 2009 at 11:23 pm

I’m so impressed you bought the tamarind brick. I’ve purchased them in the past and decided to use the concentrate for convenience. I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe. Thanks again for coming back and following up here. Maybe your comment as well as some others will give other people the confidence to make this at home.


Jan July 18, 2009 at 12:56 pm

I really appreciate you are posting this recipe. I am Cambodian and I love Pad Thai. I was looking for this recipe for a long long time! But now I have found it! Now I have found it on your website! Thanks for sharing this recipe with me and with others around the world.


Manali & Terry October 20, 2009 at 5:03 am

We’re in Thailand at the moment, just took a Thai cooking class and this is really similar to how we made it! We used oyster sauce as well to round out the flavor. SO good!
We’re doing an around the world trip for a year, so I’ve been drooling over your food porn to remind me of home! I’m waiting for a chance to be close to an oven so I can make your Chocolate Banana Bread!!


Heidi February 21, 2010 at 1:33 pm

Thank you SO much for posting this recipe! Seems I’m a bit late on the bandwagon as I just found your blog last week, but we just made the Pad Thai and it was FABULOUS! Couldn’t figure out where the heat should come from, so we added some cayenne (because I forgot there were Thai green chilies in the fridge) and it was great. A squeeze of the lime and a dash of soy sauce after plating added a nice brightness to the flavor. THIS WAS WONDERFUL – can’t wait to try more of your recipes. Thank you for doing what you are doing!


club penguin money cheats July 13, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Interesting article… Thank you for the info!


souda August 2, 2010 at 2:19 pm

im gonna try this recipe this weekend..i hope i do ok..


souda August 7, 2010 at 4:20 pm

im making this now…is the sauce suppose to be thick? mine is pretty thick


alice August 8, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Hi Souda,
Yes, the sauce is pretty quick but thins out when you stir fry it.


souda August 9, 2010 at 10:25 am

thank you alice, im gonna try again tonight.. my noodles looked more white than brown compared to ur picture perhaps not enough sauce? but it was still good! lol


Tobias Silvius August 11, 2010 at 2:02 am

I absolutely enjoy reading your articles, the variety of writing is fantastic.This post as usual was useful, I have had to bookmark your website and subscribe to your feed in ifeed. Your site looks spot on.


Kathy Victor August 19, 2010 at 3:16 am

What a great blog. I spend days on the internet reading blogs, about tons of different subjects. I have to first of all give kudos to whoever created your website and second of all to you for writing what i can only describe as an unbelievable post. I honestly believe there is a skill to writing articles that only a few posses and frankly you have it. The combination of informative and quality content is definitely extremely rare with the large amount of blogs on the internet.


Calla J September 13, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Made this last night and it was just fabulous!! A bit of chopping involved as I was making for 5 people, but well worth the effort. Will definitely be making again. The only question I have is whether there is a brand of fish sauce that is not so “smelly”. My family’s only complaint was the fish sauce smell but they got over that once they started eating..Thanks Alice for a great recipe!

Love your website!!!!!!!!!!!!


alice September 13, 2010 at 11:38 pm

Calla: Thank for your thoughtful comment. Fish sauce stinks. There is no way around it. You can try using less but it does add a great flavor to food.


Poptropica Cheats September 15, 2010 at 3:35 am

Your post is really yummy! I love Thai food as well! thanks for this information


Shelly October 18, 2010 at 11:53 pm

Looks like a great recipe for pad thai but can I substitute the palm sugar for honey or brown sugar and still get the same affect?


alice October 19, 2010 at 12:20 am

Hi Shelly: You could substitute honey or brown sugar but I don’t know the conversion amounts. If you do substitute, it won’t have the subtle deep sweetness as honey or brown sugar would so make sure you decrease the sugar amount. Hope this helps.


lily November 3, 2010 at 2:03 pm

I love this recipe because it is delicious and it isn’t so difficult to prepare so you can do it when you have guests at home because you don’t have to spend a lot of time.


Meriana November 18, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Just made this recipe and it came out SO good. I did use brown sugar instead of palm sugar, but the sauce came out really good. I also didn’t have any tamarind concentrate, but I used some that was in a block and added water to make a sauce, strained the tamarind and continued making the sauce. This definitely fulfilled my craving for noodles. :)


kay di January 5, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Is there a difference between tamarind juice and tamarind juice concentrate? I could only find tamarind juice and the tamarind brick at the asian supermarket.


loveitorleaveit January 20, 2011 at 2:34 am

I’ve noticed some recipes call for rice wine vinegar in place of some of the tamarind paste, and specify peanut oil as the frying oil of choice. Any thoughts on this?
Thanks for your recipe and great pics! Will try this week.


Sarah January 22, 2011 at 9:14 am

This looks amazing! I went out to buy the ingredients today but I could only get was tamarind paste instead of the juice concentrate. Any idea what the equivalent of paste to juice concentrate might be? I might have to wing it tonight…
Worst case scenario I’ll just have to make pad thai again another time!


alice January 23, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Paste should work but I don’t have the conversion. You might want to try google.



Xee February 2, 2011 at 9:08 pm

I made this tonight and i love it! A great recipe and will make it again for potlucks or parties.


Matthew February 15, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Quite tasty – but I had one problem. When I added the noodles they clumped together in a great big ball. Any ideas on what I might have done wrong?


Cookie February 24, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Your post inspired me to make pad thai too! Thanks for sharing!



Kelly April 8, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Wow, I can’t wait to try this! My husband and I LOVE Thai food, but my only complaint is I can’t seem to get it to taste as good as it does in the restaurant! I’m now hopeful!


Jolene April 29, 2011 at 9:58 pm

Wow. My family just got done feasting on this. It was my first time making my own Pad Thai sauce. I usually just buy a Pre-made bottled sauce. This recipe is easy and tastes awesome! I substitute brown sugar for palm sugar and I didn’t have tamarind juice. I did have tamarind candy on hand and thought I’d just try melting it down in hot water. Sure enough it worked! My husband doesn’t usually like Pad Thai even at restaurants, but he ate seconds and thirds of my dish!

Thank you!


Ashley July 9, 2011 at 7:13 pm

I just found your blog and made this the other night – exactly as stated. SOOOO GOOD!!!! My husband was SO HAPPY because he loves Pad Thai and said this was the best he’s ever had!! :-) I was so proud of myself for making this because it’s a little out of my comfort zone, but it tasted FABULOUS and wasn’t that hard. And I had such a fun time visiting the Asian market for the first time! What’s even better is that I have everything to make this again (and like you said – there is extra sauce so I don’t have to make that over) tonight! YAY!! Thanks for a wonderful recipe! I can’t wait to try more.


dalia July 15, 2011 at 9:26 am

i have been looking for a pad thai recipe that makes sense. your method of boiling the noodle solves a big problem. also , making the sauce and adding to taste later is more convenient. Thanks for sharing this recipe.


Sailaja September 10, 2011 at 2:10 am

My search for Pad Thai ends here. Awesome recipe and ever more awesome picture. Bookmarked!


chef's apprentice December 13, 2011 at 7:04 pm

I love you so much for this recipe!!
My pad thai craving was not only over-satisfied, but reignited.
You are a genie!


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