Make restaurant-quality Pad Thai at home with this simple recipe! It gets major flavor points for ginger-marinated chicken and a savory peanutty sauce.
You can easily customize the ingredients to use what you have on hand or what you enjoy most! (Chicken, shrimp, cauliflower, carrots, etc.)
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Alternate Pad Thai Ingredients
Pad Thai is the perfect “clean-out-your-fridge” meal because no matter what you swap ingredients out for, the sauce and marinade do the most heavy-lifting on flavor.
This recipe uses in-season ingredients that I love (like cabbage). However, your options are pretty limitless if you want to use other ingredients. Here are some possible variations you could do:
- Use a different protein. Feel free to swap the chicken for shrimp, steak, pork, or veggie alternatives like tofu, cauliflower, or more eggs. If shrimp, you only need to marinate for 5 minutes – don’t marinate overnight. If tofu, make sure to get extra firm tofu and blot to be as dry as possible for a better sear.
- Use other veggies. Any stir fry veggie will work well here, so broccoli, snap peas, mushrooms, carrots, bok choy, and baby corn will work fine as additions or substitutions.
- Add or reduce spice. Increase or decrease the recipe’s sriracha (or chili garlic) amount to meet your ideal spice level.
- Make it vegetarian. Use one of the protein veggie alternatives mentioned above and swap the fish sauce for salt.
- Make it gluten-free. The only ingredient to worry about is soy sauce; make sure to purchase GF soy sauce or tamari.
- Make it more peanutty. Add more peanut butter to the sauce + definitely garnish with chopped peanuts!
- Make it sweeter. Add more brown sugar or honey to the sauce.
- Use brown rice noodles. The texture will be different, but if you have to, using brown rice noodles will work fine with the same recipe.
Cooking Pad Thai
If the instructions below seem like a lot, don’t be intimidated! Making pad thai is simply tossing together pre-cooked ingredients witb a sauce, so the majority of the steps are cooking the separate ingredients. Then, they all come together at the end for one happy pad thai!
My enhanced take on a classic Thai recipe with ginger-marinated chicken and the addition of cabbage for a more voluminous pad thai!
Pad Thai Noodles + Veggies
- 16 oz pad thai noodles, dry or fresh* (see notes)
- 1/2 head of green cabbage (thinly sliced)
- 1 red bell pepper (sliced)
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp cooking oil
- 1 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- kosher salt (to taste)
- black pepper (to taste)
Chicken + Ginger Marinade
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs (cut into 1 to 2-inch pieces)
- 1/2 white onion (sliced)
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger (minced or grated)
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp garlic (minced or grated)
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes or chili flakes
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (or 3 tbsp honey)
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
- 2 tbsp chili garlic sauce or sriracha hot sauce
- 2 tsp garlic (minced or grated)
- 1 lime (quartered)
- 1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)
- 1/4 cup peanuts (chopped, optional)
- bean sprouts (optional)
- Marinate Chicken. Add all marinade ingredients (chicken thighs, onion, fresh and ground ginger, garlic, fish sauce, red pepper, cooking oil) in a bowl or zip-top bag. Marinate the chicken for at least 15 minutes or up to overnight in the fridge.
- Cook Noodles. If you’re using dry noodles, cook per package instructions, drain, and set aside. If using fresh, vacuum-sealed noodles, prepare a pot of simmering water so we can quickly cook the noodles near the end of the recipe.
- Mix Sauce. In a medium bowl, whisk together all the sauce ingredients (fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, peanut butter, chili garlic, garlic). Set aside.
- Cook Eggs + Sear Chicken. Heat a large non-stick skillet, pan or wok on medium and add the 2 tsp of cooking oil (be careful not to use the sesame oil). Crack 3 eggs into a bowl, stir to break yolks, and pour directly into the pan. Cook until eggs resemble a wet scramble. Place eggs in a bowl and set aside.
In the same skillet, add the marinated chicken, and sear on medium-high heat until browned on all sides, 2-4 minutes per side. You might have to do this in batches. Set chicken aside.
- Assemble Pad Thai. In the same pan on medium-high heat, sautee the sliced cabbage and red bell pepper until slightly tender, 2-4 minutes. Add the noodles* to the pot (*see notes section below if you’re using fresh noodles.) Then pour in the pad thai sauce, and stir with tongs to coat all ingredients. Turn off the heat. Drizzle on the toasted sesame oil. If needed, season to taste with kosher salt and pepper.
- Garnish + Serve. I highly recommend serving with at least a squeeze of lime and cilantro! You can also top with bean sprouts and chopped peanuts.
*Fresh Pad Thai Noodles. If you are using fresh noodles, quickly cook them right before you have to add them with the rest of the ingredients. Dunk them in a simmering pot of water for about 1 minute until tender. Use tongs to transfer the noodles directly into the pan with the other ingredients. It’s okay if they’re still dripping water – that will add moisture to the pad thai!
Keywords: Asian recipes, pad thai, pasta, weeknight dinner