This Chicken Pad Thai for Two is a scaled-down version of the popular street food common in Thailand. Chewy noodles, crunchy peanuts, and a tangy-spicy sauce accompany juicy stir-fried chicken breast for a meal that’s ready to enjoy in 30 minutes!
Most people crave soups and stews during the cold winter months.
I’m the weirdo who wants all the spicy Asian food. Go figure.
Not that this Chicken Pad Thai for two is spicy – I mean, it is. But not like that burn your mouth off, drink a quart of milk kind of spicy. More like the pleasant, slow-burning bite of Mexican chocolate. Pad Thai is a festival for your taste buds, playing whack-a-mole with each and every one of them.
This page includes step by step instructions, as well as tips and notes. If you’d like to skip all that, feel free to scroll down to the full, printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
What’s funny about Thai food is that I’d never tried it until about 4 years ago, when my best friend Angel took me to a local Thai place for my birthday lunch. She ordered us two Thai iced teas while we perused our menus.
I read over every page like I was studying for the SATs – trying to burn the information into the backs of my eyes, but not really understanding any of it in the process. Sensing my struggle, Angel recommended the Pad Thai. I re-read the menu description, then decided it didn’t sound terrible. But brown sauce? And peanuts? Over pasta?? I couldn’t comprehend what I was about to try.
It didn’t look like much when it arrived at the table. It was indeed very brown, very nondescript…but the smell was intoxicating. And of course, the flavors matched the smells – completely incredible.
Let’s just say I have a really hard time ordering anything but Pad Thai to this day when we go Thai.
What should Pad Thai sauce taste like?
Every Thai restaurant and food cart will serve it tasting slightly different based on their ratio of ingredients. This particular recipe will assault all of your taste buds.
The overall flavor has a sweet overtone, thanks to the brown sugar, but it’s downplayed by the umami saltiness of the fish and soy sauces, the sourness of the lime, and the spice provided by the red pepper flakes.
Every Thai restaurant I’ve been to has served Pad Thai that was only slightly saucy. But, as with spaghetti, Abe really enjoys a little bit extra sauce in his bowl.
The rice noodles tend to soak up the sauce pretty quickly, so I always make a double batch of it so he can add it until the dish is the just the way he likes it. I like to balance this Pad Thai with a fresh, crunchy veggie, like steamed edamame or this Thai cucumber salad.
How to make chicken pad Thai
Here are a few tips for the best homemade Chicken Pad Thai for two of your life:
- Soak – don’t boil – your rice noodles in hot water. They turn to mush in the blink of an eye, so keep an eye on the clock when soaking them as well. 5–10 minutes should do it.
- Toast your chopped peanuts for 2-3 minutes. It adds an extra layer of flavor and texture.
- Don’t skip the tamarind water in your Pad Thai sauce. If all you have is tamarind paste, mix some together really well with some water and use that instead.
- Use chicken in the recipe! Chopped or leftover shredded, both taste delicious.
- Don’t over scramble your eggs. They’ll continue to cook after you take the wok off the heat, so if they look a tiny bit on the soft-scrambled side, don’t fret.
- Make some extra sauce. You won’t regret it.
More delicious Asian dinner recipes:
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Chicken Pad Thai for Two
- 4 ounces Pad Thai rice noodles
- ¼ cup unsalted peanuts chopped
- ¼ cup tamarind water
- 3 tablespoons lower sodium soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons lime juice about 1 medium lime
- 2 tablespoons mirin rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 chicken breasts cut into strips
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- 2 green onions scallions, sliced
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped
- Chili sauce for garnish
- Lime wedges for garnish
- Boil water in a large saucepan, then place rice noodles inside, making sure they are completely submerged. Let soak until tender but not mushy, 5–10 minutes. Drain (do not rinse) and set aside.
- Set a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Toast the chopped peanuts for 2-3 minutes, then remove to a small bowl and set aside.
- In a small bowl, stir together the tamarind water, soy sauce, brown sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, mirin, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
- Add the oil to the hot wok. Add the chicken and stir-fry 5-7 minutes until cooked through. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant. Pour the lightly beaten eggs into the wok and cook until barely set, about 45 seconds. When the eggs are scrambled, remove the wok from the heat and set aside.
- Return the chicken to the wok with the eggs, then pour in half of the sauce. Add the noodles and toss to coat in the sauce.
- Sprinkle the green onions, cilantro, and toasted peanuts over the noodles, then toss lightly to combine. Divide between two bowls and serve warm with lime wedges and additional sauce, if desired.