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).
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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!!
- 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:
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.
All my boys loved this!! Great recipe, fantastic flavor, excellent dish.
Thanks for the 5 star review and I’m glad everyone loved this and it was excellent!
I was dying to love this (it was pretty easy to make!) but it was not sweet enough for me. I have since found other recipes where brown sugar (and more of it) is used vs. honey and maybe that would be a better flavor profile for my tastebuds. When I order pad Thai at a restaurant (and I order it at just about every Asian fusion and authentic Thai restaurant we frequent) there is a distinctively sweeter taste to the sauce. That said – my husband and son thought it was great! So I am just reviewing to call out that those looking for “restaurant familiar” flavors may want to increase the sweetener.
Thanks for trying the recipe and your feedback about sugar. I have tons of glowing comments on this and no one has ever mentioned the sauce as not being sweet enough. I do love a sweet sauce at times personally in Asian dishes. But….
Sugar in (overall) savory recipes I have found is a very funny thing because many times one person will say it’s too much and another not enough. So I try to be as middle of the road, but erring on the conservative side, so as to not get that one comment that says they had to toss the whole thing because it was too sweet. Whereas people in your camp can always taste it, and add more, if they desire.
Yet your husband and son said it was great as you made it. So even in your own house, there were varying tastes! Which is my conundrum. But I have to take the middle approach on sugar in savory dishes, in general. I appreciate this feedback though as it’s one of those things that 2500 recipes later I still always am very careful about.
Made this for supper tonight. We loved it. I followed the recipe as written substituting boneless skinless chicken thighs. I cooked the whole pound of rice noodles but found that half the amount was plenty. It also took me longer to prep than 20 minutes but I am one of the people who chopped the cabbage and grated the carrots. Yes, I will make again
Thanks for the 5 star review and I am glad you loved it! Yes, if you hand chop everything rather than taking some shortcuts it will definitely take you a bit longer but sounds like it was all worth it in the end!
tried to email you but bounced back just wanted to say I have gotten your newsletter for quite awhile now and just really enjoy is the recipes are just wonderful Thank youKay Swanson TorrenceMaple Grove, MN
I did see your email and thank you for taking the time to write! Glad you are loving my recipes!
I’m doing a personal cooking challenge and your Pad Thai dish has been a favorite with my family! I wrote an article about your dish here. https://marychang-10894.medium.com/pad-thai-anyone-753585eccd8a?sk=b3d84de1e43e1dbd237c87312a33282b
That’s great and nice to hear this has been a favorite for your family!
Can’t wait to make this tonight! Most recipes call for a small amount of ground ginger as compared to using fresh ginger. (1/4 tsp ground = 1 tablespoon fresh ginger) This recipe seems to do the opposite. Are those amounts correct? Do you use ground or fresh when you make it? Thank you!
I use ground, I don’t keep fresh on hand normally and so I sprinkle the dry/ground in fairly freely. Of course, always adjust to taste. I like strong flavors just to note that too.
This was delicious! I was a little worried because of the amount of fish sauce, but I’ve loved all of your recipes, so I went with it. A definite winner! My whole family loved it. Thanks, Averie!
Thanks for the 5 star review and I am glad it was a definite winner! This makes such a big batch of food that 1/4 in all those noodles and chicken and more really isn’t too much.
This recipe was easy to make and was better than any resturant take out. Def five stars. Thanks for sharing!!!
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad that it was better than any restaurant take out!
Made this chicken pad Thai recipe last night. I have to say it was absolutely delicious and I will definitely be making it again. I made it exactly as written except I didn’t have any Thai basil so just left it out with no substitution. Thank you for sharing and I will be trying your other recipes as well.
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad it was absolutely delicious and you’ll make it again!
Is the scrambled egg cooked prior to making this or does it cook from the residual heat of the noodles and veggies?
In the ingredients section where I wrote 1 large egg, scrambled that means it’s already scrambled at the time you add it to the pad Thai so you need to do that separately.
With quarantine I’ve been cooking a lot more and this is a favorite of mine! I made a double batch to drop off with my immunocompromised mom, and she also loves it.I chopped everything myself, so prep we longer. But it was still very quick and it’s not like I have anything else to do.I’ll be looking into some of your other recipes too! Easy to follow and delicious.
Thanks for the five star review and how nice of you to drop some of this off for your mom. Glad you’ll be taking a look at some of my other recipes as well!
Recipe was DELICIOUS! I am an experienced cook too, but found the prep work took at least 20 minutes. However, I didn’t get anything pre-chopped besides the carrots and garlic, so I would warn everyone who is an average home cook or even a very good home cook that is chopping all the ingredients themselves – give yourself time for that, otherwise the recipe is perfect and the cook time is super quick! I’m rating this 4 stars because I think its misleading to say this takes 20 minutes total :) It will take closer to 45 if you chop everything yourself. But the flavor is 5 stars.
Glad it was delicious and I appreciate your sharing how long it took you to chop things.
For me, really it comes down to chopping the chicken and an onion so that’s why I say 5 minutes.
I buy bagged cabbage and carrots. I use garlic in a squeeze jar.
This recipe was do-able and delicious. I made it to bring for lunch for two consecutive work weeks — I get bored with EVERYTHING by the end of my six-day week, but not this. Delicious, and not exceedingly challenging for the amateur/not great cook that I am. The reason for the four stars was that the 20 minutes was super advertised and while it takes about that time to cook, the 5 minute prep is incredible disingenuous. I’d be shocked if professional chefs truly can do all of this in 5 minutes — cook and drain rice noodles, finely chop a bunch of raw chicken, get out a pan and scramble egg, cut/measure lime juice, measure spices, measure other liquids, pull all of these items out of their resting spot in your kitchen to even begin the above-mentioned tasks. Now as a very not-good cook, I always add time to the prep time, but both times took be about 45-60 minutes of prep. That included having to grate baby carrots (I tried for pre-shredded, but I made this during COVID-19 times). Still, take away 10 minutes and that’s still A LOT of prep. Five minutes is what it would take for a dump and go crockpot chili or something. I almost missed a meeting both times I made this because I underestimated the prep time. That said, the prep and cook instructions for this meal are entirely do-able even for me. The result is delicious and this has definitely been added to my regular rotation of recipes… when I have sufficient time. Every time I bring this to work and open it up I feel like a world-class chef (I’m not)!
I made this recipe last weekend – my first time making Pad Thai. It turned out GREAT. My fiancé and I I agreed this recipe is a keeper. I’m vegetarian, so I subbed tofu for the chicken. I marinated and cooked the tofu ahead of time and then added it in with everything else, about the time the cabbage had softened. . Love the flavors of this dish, and it’s so easy to make and also to adapt if there’s one or two ingredients that you don’t have or like.
Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad that this turned out great with tofu! And I agree it’s adaptable based on preferences and what you have on hand. Glad it’s a keeper for you!
Loved this!! I found Thai basil at the grocery about 6 weeks ago and haven’t spotted it since so just went with regular basil. Forgot to garnish with peanuts the first time around but remembered them for the leftovers. The fish sauce, garlic and ginger really make this taste fantastic!
Thanks for the 5 star review and I’m glad that you loved this! Thai basil is rare for me to find as well but I am glad that regular basil was just fine. I am sure you hardly even missed the actual peanuts on top because there are so many great flavors going on – I agree the fish sauce, garlic, and ginger are delicious here!
I feel as though I am living in some parallel universe. I was a caterer for over 30 years. My specialty was nouvelle Chinoise. How you can say this recipe takes 5 minutes to prep is beyond me. It takes more than 5 minutes to measure the liquids; more than 5 minutes to squeeze the limes; more than 5 minutes to cut up the chicken. Please this is not the first time I have encountered your unrealistic times, but this time is too many. 5 minutes indeed.
Since I cook for a living I am very fast in the kitchen, maybe not everyone is as fast. But whether it takes you 5, 7, or 10 minutes to prep this, it’s still very quick.
I buy convenience products like preshredded carrots, cabbage, bottled lime juice; since I cook for a living, I don’t need to prove to myself that I can chop vegetables and therefore buy things and shop based on convenience.
I also just measure/dump the liquids in as I go. I don’t premeasure everything out as if I am getting this ready for an on-camera shoot. We all have our own styles.
I hope you love the pad thai as much as we did!
Love your reply. Some people are such a pain. Instead of calling you out over something like this, she/he should just shut up and move on to another site, or develop their own and let people decide if she/he is perfect.
I love your “there’s always Amazon” comment. It’s funny and true! I like your Thai meals (the ones I have tried) I hope you are doing well
People tend to panic a bit if there’s an ingredient they’ve never purchased before but that’s what Amazon is for :) As well as for anything bulky, heavy, etc. that I don’t want to carry in from the grocery store! And it’s usually cheaper on Amazon anyway!
Hope you’re doing well, too!
I’ve never made Pad Thai before and would love to try it–it looks amazing and sounds delicious!
This was so good! And as written, makes a hefty portion. You and Jon will enjoy the leftovers :)