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Beef Pad Thai Recipe

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This authentic beef pad Thai recipe with homemade sauce is so delicious and always a hit with the family. It’s perfect for your busy weeknights, as you can make the sauce in advance and whip up the noodles in less than 30 minutes. Quick, easy, and delicious!

Authentic beef pad Thai on a bamboo dish with lime, garlic chives, chili flakes, and crushed peanuts.

These Thai beef noodles are really versatile, and you can switch up the protein with anything you like. If you prefer chicken, feel free to head over to my authentic chicken pad Thai recipe.

Don’t forget making my easy pad Thai sauce, it’s a must-have for this recipe!

What is beef pad Thai

Beef pad Thai is a classic Thai noodle stir-fry, combining juicy beef slices with flat rice noodles, garlic chives, and bean sprouts. Traditionally prepared with fish sauce, palm sugar, and tamarind paste, it balances salty, sweet, and sour notes.

Pad Thai beef

Homemade pad Thai beats takeout any day, especially when made with 100% traditional Thai ingredients – no peanut sauce is used here.

Hand squeezing lime over beef pad Thai garnished with bean sprouts and peanuts.

This dish is the perfect balance between tender and crunchy, thanks to the crisp bean sprouts and garlic chives. It’s exactly like the street food you’d find in Thailand.

The homemade Pad Thai sauce is incredibly easy to make with just four ingredients: Thai tamarind paste, palm sugar, fish sauce, and water. This is authentic Thai cooking made easy.

Thai food is so versatile, and so is this Thai beef recipe. It comes with step-by-step images and simple instructions because I believe that any home cook should be able to learn how to make beef pad Thai.

Thai beef vendor slicing beef in her shop.
Local beef vendor in Thailand slicing beef for our pad Thai.

Make sure you use a tender cut of beef, like sirloin or flank steak, and don’t forget to cut it against the grain so it has a tender bite.

And feel free to make these beef noodles your own with the many customization options coming up after the easy instructions. Make it spicy, opt for pork, or adjust the seasonings to your taste – it’s all about you here.

Ingredients

Ingredients can be sourced at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.


Ingredients for beef pad Thai labeled: beef, pad Thai sauce, shallots, dried shrimp, eggs, garlic, sweet preserved radish, rice noodles, bean sprouts, oil, and garlic chives.
  • Rice noodles – rice noodles can be found at any Asian grocery store and at Asian markets.
  • Beef – It’s important to cut your beef into thin strips against the grain. For stir-frying, opt for tender beef cuts like flank steak, skirt steak, tenderloin, and sirloin for the best flavors.
  • Dried mini shrimp (optional) – Authentic pad Thai often comes with dried mini shrimp. If you don’t like seafood, you can simply omit these.
  • Pad Thai sauce – My homemade sauce perfectly balances sweet, sour, and salty flavors.
  • Oil – Use any oil with high smoke point and neutral flavor, like canola oil and vegetable oil.
  • Egg – Egg adds richness and binds the noodles and beef together.
  • Sweet preserved radish – This adds a delightful crunch and a distinct, slightly sweet flavor.
  • Bean sprouts – Crisp and fresh bean sprouts are a must.
  • Garlic chives – A key ingredient, they add a mild onion-like flavor with a hint of garlic. Learn more about garlic chives.
  • Shallots – They have a subtle, natural sweetness and enhance the overall flavors.
  • Garlic – Garlic is the base of many Thai stir-fry dishes, bringing aroma and a pungent note.

Cooking instructions

Hand lifting soaked flat rice noodles.

Step 1: Follow the instructions on the noodle package to soak your rice noodles. Different brands might need different soaking times. Drain after soaking.

Beef pieces browning in wok.

Step 2: Heat a tablespoon of oil in a wok over medium heat. Cook the beef until it’s mostly done and has a nice brown color on all sides. Take the beef out of the wok and set aside.

Golden fried shallots, garlic, and sweet preserved radish in wok.

Step 3: Use the same wok to heat the remaining oil. Then, toss in the garlic, shallots, sweet preserved radish, and dried shrimp. Cook them until they’re fragrant, which should take about 20 to 30 seconds.

Wide rice noodles with garlic and shallots in a wok.

Step 4: Push these ingredients to the side of the wok. Add the noodles and water in the empty space. Fry the noodles with the water until they get soft.

Noodles tossed with garlic and shallots in wok.

Step 5: Stir everything in the wok together so the noodles mix with the other ingredients.

Beef noodles stir-fried in a wok.

Step 6: Add the browned beef and pour in the pad Thai sauce. Stir it all up so the noodles are completely covered in sauce.

Egg and beef noodles stir-fried in a wok.

Step 7: Move everything to one side again. Crack the eggs into the wok’s empty side.

Fried noodles and beef in a wok.

Step 8: Scramble the eggs in the wok, then mix them in with the noodles.

Beef pad Thai ready in a wok.

Step 9: Turn the heat off. Now gently stir in the chopped garlic chives and bean sprouts. Serve hot and enjoy!

Kitchenware

  • Strainer or colander for draining the rice noodles
  • Wok with spatula or large skillet
  • Bowl for soaking rice noodles
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Knife and cutting board

Thai beef noodles Variations

Ground beef pad Thai: If you love the flavor of ground meat, you can simply swap the beef slices for ground beef. And if you’re a fan of ground beef dishes, you’ll definitely want to try the popular authentic Thai basil beef recipe and pad kra pao.

Spicy beef pad thai: You can easily add Thai chili flakes or fresh Thai chilies like bird’s eye chilies to give your stir-fried noodles a hint of spice.

Vegetables: A traditional pad Thai includes bean sprouts and garlic chives. However, no one’s judging you for adding some vegetables like carrots, onions, and green onions or any vegetable that won’t overpower the other flavors.

Proteins: You can easily swap the beef for your favorite meat or seafood, like pork and shrimp or even squid. Just remember to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Thai noodles with beef expert tips

Soaking rice noodles: Soak your rice noodles just as the package says. Too long and they’ll get mushy in the wok. For chewy noodles, soak them less and stir-fry a bit more.

Traditional wok: If you’ve ever been to Thailand, you must have seen the countless carbon steel woks at street food markets. Its high sides and heat distribution are great for making pad Thai. If you have one, now is the best time to use it.

Taste-test: A Thai restaurant will never serve without taste-testing. It’s important to create a balance of sweet, sour, salty, and optionally spicy before serving your final dish.

Serving suggestions

In Thailand, pad Thai is typically served with crushed roasted peanuts, a lime wedge for sourness, white sugar for sweetness, and Thai chili flakes for those who like spicy noodles. Make sure to add some fresh bean sprouts and more garlic chives.

Pad Thai beef with a side of bean sprouts, lime, pepper flakes, peanuts, and sugar.

Storing and reheating leftovers

Let your leftover beef noodles cool to room temperature before transferring them into an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to a day for optimal freshness and noodle texture.

Reheating: Reheat your noodles in a skillet over low heat, stirring frequently until warm. Alternatively, you can microwave it in a covered dish.

Make ahead tips (pad Thai sauce)

One of the best ways to save time when making beef pad Thai is having the sauce ready. The homemade pad Thai sauce can be stored in your refrigerator for up to a week, and you can even freeze it for up to a month. Just thaw it in the fridge overnight when you’re ready.

Frequently asked questions

How many calories are in beef pad Thai?

A typical serving of beef pad Thai has about 600 to 900 calories, depending on the ingredients and portion size.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Yes, all ingredients are gluten-free. However, always double-check the labeling of your store-bought ingredients.

I can’t find garlic chives!

If you can’t find garlic chives, you can add leek to taste.

Authentic Thai noodle recipes

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Beef Pad Thai Recipe

Authentic beef pad Thai on a bamboo dish with lime, garlic chives, chili flakes, and crushed peanuts.
Authentic beef pad Thai recipe with homemade pad Thai sauce. This recipe yields enough for two when used in combination with my sauce recipe.
Praew
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Main Course
Serving Size 2 people

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons oil
  • 7 ounces beef see notes
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1.4 ounce shallots finely chopped
  • 1.4 ounce sweet preserved radish chopped
  • 0.18 ounces dried mini shrimp optional
  • 5 ounces dry rice noodles
  • 1.7 fluid ounce water
  • 2 eggs
  • pad Thai sauce see notes
  • 3.5 ounces beans sprouts
  • 0.7 ounces garlic chives sliced into 2-inch sized pieces

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS

Instructions

  • Follow the instructions on the noodle package to soak your rice noodles. Different brands might need different soaking times. Drain after soaking.
  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a wok over medium heat. Cook the beef until it’s mostly done and has a nice brown color on all sides. Take the beef out of the wok and set aside.
  • Use the same wok to heat the remaining oil. Then, toss in the garlic, shallots, sweet preserved radish, and dried shrimp. Cook them until they’re fragrant, which should take about 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Push these ingredients to the side of the wok. Add the noodles and water in the empty space. Fry the noodles with the water until they get soft.
  • Stir everything in the wok together so the noodles mix with the other ingredients.
  • Add the browned beef and pour in the pad Thai sauce. Stir it all up so the noodles are completely covered in sauce.
  • Move everything to one side again. Crack the eggs into the wok’s empty side.
  • Scramble the eggs in the wok, then mix them in with the noodles.
  • Turn the heat off. Now gently stir in the chopped garlic chives and bean sprouts. Serve hot and enjoy!

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline
  • Pad Thai sauce: This recipe calls for my homemade pad Thai sauce. The sauce recipe yields just enough to make this recipe for pad Thai.
  • Beef: It's important to cut your beef into thin strips against the grain. For stir-frying, opt for tender beef cuts like flank steak, skirt steak, tenderloin, and sirloin for the best flavors.

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