Simplified Pad Thai

A great, basic, Simplified Pad Thai recipe with chicken, scrambled egg, bean sprouts, peanuts, scallions, and a flavorful lime and brown sugar sauce. This has become one of our favorite dinners and one that I continue to make years later!

Simplified Pad Thai
Simplified Pad Thai in a bowl

My undergrad research adviser sent me “The Best 30 Minute Recipe” cookbook as a wedding gift. It’s a Cook’s Illustrated publication. All of the recipes are designed to take 30 minutes from start to finish, and each has been optimized in their test kitchen.

All of the dinners I’ve made from it have been really good! Because of my allergy to peanuts/tree nuts, I try to avoid Thai restaurants, which is extremely unfortunate because I love Thai food – actually all types of Asian cooking. So, I must resort to making these dishes at home.

chopped green onions and garlic in a bowl
box of pad thai rice noodles

Bob and I love this Simplified Pad Thai. I’m not sure how authentic it is, but it’s quick and tasty.

Due to my nut allergy, I leave out the peanuts, and Bob adds them to his bowl. We still have nuts in our house, but I know some with allergies don’t. Bob also likes to add Sweet Chili Sauce for some added heat at the end.

Updated Commentary & Gluten Free Simplified Pad Thai

Many years later, I still make this dinner frequently, and even more so now that I must eat gluten free, as this dish is naturally gluten free. It is even more imperative that I prepare Asian dishes at home now, so I’m glad to have this recipe when we are missing our restaurants favorites!

Looking for more Asian recipes?

Check out my favorite Asian recipes to make at home:
Honey Chicken Kabobs
Red Curry Rice Noodles with Chicken
Garlic Chicken with Rice Noodles
Garlic Chicken with Rice
P. F. Chang’s Copycat Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Chicken Fried Rice (Soy Free)
Coconut Curry Chicken
Skinny Orange Chicken
Bourbon Chicken

Simplified Pad Thai in a bowl

Simplified Chicken Pad Thai

A great, simple pad thai recipe to make at home. It's also gluten free!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Rest Time 5 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Thai
Servings 4


  • 8 ounces thick rice stick noodles
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil (divided)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce (optional, see note)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 large eggs (beaten lightly)
  • 6 tablespoons chopped unsalted roasted peanuts (optional, see note)
  • 3 cups bean sprouts, well rinsed
  • 5 scallions (sliced thin)
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges (for serving)
  • Sweet chili sauce (for serving, optional for a little heat)


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a jelly roll pan or baking sheet with sides with aluminum foil. Set aside.

Soak the Noodles:

  • Cover noodles with hot tap water in a large bowl and soak until softened, pliable, and limp but not fully tender, about 20 minutes. While noodles soak, proceed to cook the chicken. After 20 minutes, drain the noodles and set aside.

Cook the Chicken:

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil over high heat in a skillet. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and add to the hot oil. Cook until the chicken starts to brown, then flip and repeat on the other side. Remove chicken to a foil lined pan and bake in the oven until chicken is cooked through and internal temperature measures at least 165 degrees, preferably closer to 180 degrees, about 15 minutes.
  • Remove chicken from oven and transfer to a plate or cutting board to rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Shred with two forks and set aside, covering if necessary to keep warm.

Prepare the Sauce:

  • In a small bowl, stir together lime juice, water, fish sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons of oil.

Assemble the Pad Thai:

  • Add remaining tablespoon oil and garlic to skillet and return to medium heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add eggs and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring vigorously until eggs are scrambled, about 20 seconds.
  • Stir soaked noodles into eggs. Add fish sauce mixture, increase heat to high, and cook, tossing constantly, until noodles are evenly coated. Add 1/4 cup of peanuts if using, bean sprouts, all but 1/4 cup of scallions, and cooked chicken. Continue to cook, tossing constantly, until noodles are tender, about 2 minutes. If the noodles start to get dry before they have softened, add 2 tablespoons water to skillet and continue to cook until tender.
  • Transfer noodles to serving bowls and sprinkle with remaining scallions and peanuts. Serve, passing lime wedges separately.


Due to an allergy, I leave the peanuts out of this step and offer them as an optional topping to those not allergic.  If you have someone in your house who has a nut allergy and still feel comfortable having peanuts in the house, you can do the same.
Instead of fish sauce, I substitute 3 tablespoons of water with some extra salt. 
Source: Adapted from The Best 30 Minute Recipe cookbook
You’re Gonna Bake It After All
Keyword asian, chicken, gluten free, main dish, thai

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