Chicken Pad Thai (EASY 20-Minute Recipe!)
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Chicken Pad Thai — EASY, ready in 20 minutes, and BETTER than takeout!! Tender rice noodles, juicy chicken, with crisp-tender carrots, cabbage, and more for an IRRESISTIBLE and AUTHENTIC chicken pad Thai!!
Easy Pad Thai with Chicken
My Thai recipes are some of my most popular recipes on my site and I knew it was time for an authentic-tasting chicken pad Thai recipe that’s easy, ready quicker than you can call for takeout, and leaves you going back for more.
This homemade pad Thai recipe feeds a crowd, so invite your friends over or get ready to enjoy delectable leftovers.
All the chicken pad Thai ingredients are readily available in the Asian or ethnic section of most major supermarkets. Or there’s always Amazon.
Ingredients in Chicken Pad Thai
To make this easy chicken pad Thai recipe, you’ll need:
- Flat rice noodles
- Coconut oil
- Chicken breasts
- Ground ginger
- Green cabbage
- Shredded carrots
- Low-sodium soy sauce
- Fish sauce
- Lime juice
- Green onions
Scroll to the bottom of this post for the recipe card containing the exact measurements!
Can I Substitute the Fish Sauce?
No, the fish sauce is a must! It helps give the pad Thai sauce its signature flavor. I promise the chicken pad Thai recipe doesn’t taste fishy whatsoever! It just adds a rich umami flavor that’s impossible to replicate with another ingredient.
What Are the Best Chicken Pad Thai Noodles?
You’ll want to use flat rice noodles when making pad Thai. Flat rice noodles resemble Italian fettuccini and hold up well again the juicy chicken and hearty sauce.
How to Make Chicken Pad Thai
This is such an easy chicken pad Thai recipe! Here’s an overview of how the recipe is made:
- Boil one pound of flat rice noodles, sometimes called pad Thai noodles or ban pho noodles. Because they’re made from rice and don’t have gluten, they cook very quickly, in about 5 minutes so make sure not to overcook them or you’ll have mush.
- Drain and rinse the noodles under cold water, and set them aside.
- In a very large skillet, cook together diced onions and chicken that’s been sliced into long and thin strips with sesame oil, coconut oil, garlic, and ginger before adding green cabbage (an 8-ounce bag of chopped cabbage is a time-saver), shredded carrots (use pre-shredded to save time), fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, a touch of honey or agave syrup, and optional sriracha sauce.
- Stir in the noodles, a scrambled egg, top with green onions, peanuts, and get ready to dig in.
How to Reheat Pad Thai
I recommend reheating the chicken pad Thai in a skillet over medium heat. You may need to add a little oil to the pan if the noodles seem dry.
I don’t recommend reheating pad Thai in the microwave as that will make the noodles and chicken rubbery.
Can I Make Shrimp Pad Thai Instead?
Yes! To make this homemade pad Thai recipe using shrimp instead of chicken, add cleaned, fresh, raw shrimp at the same place in the recipe where you would add the chicken.
As soon as the shrimp is cooked through (in likely 2 minutes), remove them from the pan, set it aside, and stir them back in at the end. Otherwise it will be overcooked and rubbery.
Pad Thai Variations to Try
As with any recipe that’s thousands of years old, there are a million versions and variations.
Some optional ideas and variations include:
- Add bean sprouts, bell peppers, and/or mushrooms.
- Rather than green onions, use fresh Thai basil.
- Sriracha adds a touch of heat, and for me Thai food needs to have at least some heat, but you can omit it if you’re sensitive to spices.
- Add extra sriracha and/or dried chili flakes if you want more heat.
Tips for Making the Best Pad Thai
One 12-ounce bag of coleslaw mix would do double-duty for the cabbage and carrots. This likely will also have red cabbage, and slightly less carrots, but in terms of taste, it will be very similar and is a time-saver and you’ll a tiny bit of money on ingredients compared to buying cabbage and carrots separately.
Note that fresh ginger can be used instead of dried (use half the quantity listed if using fresh).
Rather than using a combination of sesame and coconut oil, you’re welcome to use vegetable and/or olive oil. (Note that the mere 1 tablespoon of coconut I used in this big-batch recipe does not make the dish taste at all like coconut if you’re sensitive to the flavor).
- 1 pound flat rice noodles
- 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 medium onion, diced small (I used sweet Vidalia)
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced into thin long strips
- 3 to 5 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger ( 1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger may be substituted)
- 8 ounces thinly sliced green cabbage (about 3 to 4 loosely packed cups)
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 tablespoons honey or agave syrup
- 1 large egg, scrambled
- 2 tablespoons sriracha, optional and to taste
- 3 green onions, sliced into thin rounds (optionally substitute with 1/3 cup minced fresh Thai basil)
- 2/3 cup chopped peanuts (I used reduced-salt)
- Cook rice noodles according to package directions, drain, rinse under cold water; set aside.
- To a very large skillet at least 4 inches deep, add the oils (vegetable and/or olive oil may be substituted for the sesame and coconut oil), onion, and sauté the onion over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, or until onion is beginning to soften; stir intermittently.
- Add the chicken and cook for about 3 minutes, or until done; stir and flip nearly constantly to ensure even cooking. The chicken will cook very quickly if it’s sliced sufficiently thin.
- Add the garlic, ginger, and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant; stir nearly constantly.
- Add the cabbage, carrots, soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, stir to combine, cover skillet with a lid, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for about 3 minutes, or until cabbage wilts and softens. Remove lid and stir.
- Add the honey and stir to combine.
- Add the cooked noodles, turn off the heat, and stir well to combine.
- Add the scrambled egg, optional sriracha, and stir to combine.
- Evenly garnish with the green onions, peanuts, and serve.
- Recipe will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.
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Amount Per Serving:
Calories: 510Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 134mgSodium: 663mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 3gSugar: 9gProtein: 55g
More Asian Chicken Recipes:
ALL OF MY ASIAN RECIPES!
Chicken Stir-Fry with Noodles — Skip takeout and make this EASY stir fry that’s ready in 15 minutes!! Loaded with juicy chicken, crisp-tender veggies, comforting noodles, and Asian-inspired flavors! Perfect for busy weeknights!!
Better-Than-Takeout Sticky Chicken — Stop calling for takeout or going to the mall food court and make this AMAZING sticky chicken at home in 15 minutes!! So EASY with the perfect balance of sweet and spicy with plenty of sticky sauce!!
15-Minute Chicken, Vegetable, and Ramen Noodle Stir Fry – Don’t call for takeout when you can make this EASY Asian stir fry in minutes!! HEALTHIER and faster than takeout and great for busy weeknights!!
Thai Coconut Chicken Stir Fry – Chicken, sugar snap peas, bell peppers, and carrots simmered in a rich coconut milk broth that’s irresistible! Layers of flavor, easy, ready in 20 minutes, and healthy!
Healthier Orange Chicken — Stop calling for takeout or going to the mall food court and make this HEALTHIER orange chicken at home in less than 10 minutes!! EASY, authentic, and so INCREDIBLE that you’ll never miss the fat and calories!!
15-Minute Skillet Sesame Chicken with Broccoli – HEALTHIER sesame chicken that isn’t breaded or fried!! You won’t miss the fat or calories in this FAST and EASY version that’s loaded with Asian-inspired flavors!
Chicken Egg Roll in a Bowl— This egg roll in a bowl is easy, ready in 15 minutes, full of flavor, has lots of texture, and is healthier than actual egg rolls!
Originally published October 28, 2019 and republished on October 14, 2022 with updated text.
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