Pad Thai

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Pad Thai with shrimp on white plate with chopsticks

Who needs takeout when this easy Pad Thai recipe is ready in just 25 minutes? My lightened up version has that signature sweet-and-tangy flavor, along with rice noodles, bean sprouts, tender shrimp, and scrambled eggs. Customize it with your favorite protein!

Easy Pad Thai Noodles Recipe

I love Thai food, so it’s no surprise that I’m a big fan of Pad Thai, or Thai stir-fried rice noodles. Thai cuisine is prized for its perfect balance of the four main tastes: hot, sour, salty, and sweet. Pad Thai is no exception, with each of those flavors represented in this dish. Like Thai Basil Chicken and Bang Bang Chicken Salad, it’s one of those recipes that’s more than the sum of its parts. When simple ingredients come together to create a delicious dish and it’s done in under 30 minutes, that’s a weeknight win!

Overhead view of shrimp Pad Thai in bowl with peanuts, lime wedges, and basil for garnish

Why You’ll Love This Homemade Pad Thai

  • Authentic flavors with everyday ingredients. Traditionally, Pad Thai is made with tart tamarind and palm sugar for sweetness. Bee from Rasa Malaysia created this practical recipe for home cooks, and used rice vinegar instead of tamarind and swapped white sugar for palm sugar.
  • Pad Thai, but lightened up. As with other takeout favorites like General Tso’s Chicken and Pineapple Shrimp Fried Rice, when you make Pad Thai at home, you’re in control! Opting for homemade instead of takeout means there’s less oil and sugar in the recipe.
  • Easy to make your own. I love juicy shrimp in Pad Thai, but you can use any protein you like for this dish. There are even ways to make this recipe low carb or vegan!
Overhead view of Pad Thai ingredients with labels

What You’ll Need

Everything about making Pad Thai is easy, including the ingredient list! Scroll down to the recipe card below for exact measurements.

  • Rice noodles – These are sometimes also known as rice sticks.
  • Oil – Any high smoke point oil you like to use for cooking, like avocado, vegetable, or peanut oil.
  • Garlic – Push this through a garlic press or mince it finely with a knife.
  • Shrimp – Remove the shells and devein the shrimp before cooking. A pairing knife works well for deveining. Or buy them already cleaned to save time.
  • Fried firm tofu – If you’re not a tofu fan, you can skip it. It’s a nice way to add some extra protein to your Pad Thai.
  • Eggs – You’ll need one large egg and one egg white. You can freeze the spare egg yolk for another day; thaw it and whisk it with a tablespoon of water when you have a recipe that needs egg wash.
  • Bean sprouts – Also known as mung bean sprouts, I add a generous amount to bulk up our homemade Pad Thai.
  • Chinese chives or scallions – You might see Chinese chives labeled as garlic chives; they have a stronger flavor than common chives. Can’t find them? Scallions are just fine!
  • Crushed peanuts – A classic garnish.
  • Lime wedges – Serve your Thai noodles with a squeeze of fresh lime juice to brighten things up.

For the Seasonings:

  • Fish sauce – Use Thai Kitchen brand for a gluten-free option.
  • Sugar – We’ll use just enough to make the sauce sweet without overdoing it.
  • Water – To achieve the right consistency for the sauce.
  • Rice vinegar – Be sure to use rice vinegar, not seasoned rice vinegar, which has added sugar.
  • Chili powder – Feel free to adjust the amount to your liking.

Do I Have to Use Fish Sauce to Make Pad Thai?

Fish sauce is one of the key elements in Pad Thai sauce; without it, you’ll have a delicious noodle dish, but it won’t have that authentic flavor. If you’re okay with this, you can substitute soy sauce, coconut aminos, or tamari. Another option is vegan fish sauce, which has that fish sauce flavor without the actual fish, making it suitable for anyone with allergies.

How to Make Pad Thai

Here’s a quick overview of the steps involved in making Pad Thai. See the recipe card below for more detailed instructions.

  • Cook the noodles. Follow the package instructions, cooking the rice noodles until they’re soft but not mushy. Rinse under cold water.
  • Make the sauce. Mix all of ingredients in a small bowl until well combined.
  • Start stir frying. Set a large skillet over high heat; once it’s warm, add the oil. When the oil is hot, stir in the garlic until it’s aromatic, then add the shrimp or protein of your choice and tofu, if using. Continue to stir.
  • Add the noodles. As soon as the shrimp changes color, add the noodles and stir for about 30 seconds.
  • Scramble the egg. Push the noodles to one side of the skillet, then crack the eggs on the empty side. Use a spatula to break the egg yolk and cook for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the sauce. Combine the egg and the noodles, then stir in the sauce. 
  • Finish and serve. Stir in the bean sprouts and chives, followed by the crushed peanuts. Turn off the heat and serve the Pad Thai with the lime wedges for garnish.
Overhead view of shrimp Pad Thai in bowl with lime wedge and fresh basil for garnish

Tips and Variations

  • Stir fry with chopsticks. I’ve found that when making stir fried noodle dishes, using wood chopsticks is nice for keeping the noodles from clumping together in the pan. If you’re not good with chopsticks, tongs work too!
  • Be ready to move quickly. Have all of the ingredients ready to go near the stovetop so you don’t have to pause to chop or measure. It’s important not to over-cook the shrimp and noodles!
  • Make it low carb. If you would like to make low carb Pad Thai, swap out the rice noodles for zucchini noodles. Another option is to add even more bean sprouts and reduce the amount of rice noodles.
  • Veganize it. For vegan or vegetarian Pad Thai, omit the shrimp and add extra tofu, or add more veggies. (Asparagus would be fantastic in the spring!) Use vegan fish sauce or swap in soy sauce or tamari, then either skip the eggs or use a vegan egg substitute. 
  • Try another protein. You can swap the shrimp for small chunks of chicken breast, or use Pad Thai as a base for leftover Chili-Lime Air Fryer Salmon.

Serving Suggestions

For a takeout-at-home dinner, pair this Pad Thai recipe with Shrimp Egg Rolls, Asian Cabbage Mango Slaw, or other Asian-inspired favorites.

Proper Storage

  • Fridge. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 
  • Reheat. You can reheat homemade Pad Thai in a skillet set over medium heat, or in the microwave if the stovetop isn’t an option.
Overhead view of homemade Pad Thai in bowl with chopsticks

More Shrimp Recipes You Might Enjoy

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Pad Thai

5 from 12 votes
This easy homemade Pad Thai recipe is a lightened up version of the original! Made with shrimp, eggs, and tofu, it’s packed with protein and has that classic sweet-tangy flavor you love. 
Overhead view of bowl of Pad Thai with shrimp

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Yield: 2 servings
Serving Size: 1 /2 of recipe


For the Seasonings:


  • Follow the package instructions to cook the dry rice noodles. The rice noodles should be soft (but still chewy and not mushy) after boiling.
  • Rinse the boiled noodles with cold running water.
  • Mix all the seasoning ingredients in a small bowl until well combined, set aside.
  • Heat up a large skillet on high heat and add the oil. As soon as the oil is hot, add the garlic to the skillet and start stirring until you smell the aroma of the garlic. Add the shrimp and the tofu and continue stirring.
  • As soon as the shrimp changes color, add the noodles and stir-continuously, about 30 seconds.
  • Use the spatula to push the noodles to one side of the skillet, and crack the eggs on the empty side of the skillet. Use the spatula to break the egg yolk and let cook for about 30 seconds.
  • Combine the egg and the noodles, and add the seasoning sauce. Stir to combine well with the noodles.
  • Next, add the bean sprouts and chives and continue stirring.
  • As soon as the bean sprouts are cooked, stir-in the crushed peanut.
  • Turn off the heat and serve the Pad Thai immediately with the lime wedges.

Last Step:

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Serving: 1 /2 of recipe, Calories: 420 kcal, Carbohydrates: 25 g, Protein: 40 g, Fat: 18.5 g, Sodium: 1391 mg, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 9.5 g


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