| | | | | |

Thai Pad Kee Mao Recipe (Authentic Drunken Noodles)

This post may contain links to affiliate websites, such as Amazon, and I receive an affiliate commission for any purchases made by you using these links. I appreciate your support!

Thai pad kee mao chicken is a takeout favorite that’s really easy to make at home. It’s packed with holy basil and fresh vegetables sauced up in the most incredible stir-fry sauce. This authentic drunken noodles recipe wraps up all the flavors into one – sweet, savory, and spicy. It’s seriously good!

A plate of pad kee mao chicken with baby corn, spicy red chilies, and fresh green peppercorns.

Also check out my delicious Thai street food version – drunken mama noodles!

What is pad kee mao

Pad kee mao is a stir-fried Thai noodle dish typically made with holy basil and lots of chilies. It combines rice noodles with vegetables and often a protein like chicken or beef, then seasoned with soy and fish sauce for an authentic taste.


Pad kee mao translates to “drunken noodles,” and its Thai name is ผัดขี้เมา.

Authentic drunken noodles recipe

This recipe’s got you covered for some authentic Thai food at home. It’s all about those slippery noodles, packed with bold flavors – just like you’d find in Thailand.

These noodles are saucy, they’re spicy, and so delicious. Feel free to use fresh noodles if you can find them, if not dry rice noodles are the perfect choice.

Chopsticks lift a serving of authentic drunken noodles with visible strands of noodles, chicken, chilies, and vegetables.

The key to making authentic drunken noodles is definitely the Thai basil. Its peppery, slightly sweet flavor takes the noodles from great to irresistible. There’s simply no substitute, and regular basil won’t have the same result flavorwise.

The heat level in this stir-fry dish is totally up to you. I used spicy Thai chilies, but feel free to sub with mild ones if a fiery kick is not your thing.

Close-up of spicy pad kee mao chicken with green peppercorns, red chilies, and baby corn on a white plate with chopsticks.

Either way, this recipe for pad kee mao won’t disappoint, it’s Thai restaurant quality!

Why try these spicy noodles

  • Quick and easy to prepare: Even on the busiest days, you can whip up a spicy pad kee mao in no time. It’s the perfect dish for a simple weeknight dinner.
  • Healthier than takeout: Skip the takeout and whip up these healthy noodles, they’re equally delicious and so easy to make!
  • It’s easy to customize: Use your favorite protein like pork or chicken, or add in your favorite veggies. You can make these noodles just the way you like them.
  • Great for leftovers: Pad kee mao noodles is the ideal clean-out-your-fridge dish! Toss those leftover veggies in the pan and create something delicious.

Pad kee mao vs pad see ew vs pad Thai

  • Pad kee mao: Known as “drunken noodles” this dish is beloved for its spicy kick and bold flavors. It’s a stir-fry made with Thai basil and plenty of chilies.
  • Pad see ew: Made with wide rice noodles coated in a dark soy sauce, it’s a sweeter, more savory option. It’s less spicy than pad kee mao and often made with egg, Chinese broccoli, and protein.
  • Pad Thai: The classic Thai street food dish, offering a balance of sweet, sour, and salty flavors. Pad Thai noodles are known for their tamarind-based sauce, including ingredients like bean sprouts, peanuts, and egg, often served with a lime wedge.

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.


Top-view of ingredients for pad kee mao recipe: fish sauce, sugar, oyster sauce, soy sauces, chicken, vegetables and herbs, and rice noodles.
  • Rice noodles – Use fresh rice noodles if you can find them for the most authentic taste. Dry rice noodles work perfectly too. They’re widely available outside of Thailand at Asian grocery stores or larger supermarkets.
  • Chicken – Opt for boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts. Feel free to swap with other protein or use tofu for a vegetarian version.
  • Baby corn, carrot – Feel free to customize the vegetables with whatever you have on hand.
  • Fresh peppercorns – These provide a unique heat that’s not overwhelming, as well as aroma.
  • Finger root – Also known as Chinese keys, they bring a unique, slightly earthy flavor. If you can’t find these, you can simply omit them.
  • Holy basil – Holy basil has a peppery, somewhat anise-like flavor. For authentic drunken noodles, it’s not substitutable with sweet basil, as the outcome will be different. You can get dried holy basil leaves at Amazon.
  • Chilies – Choose Thai bird’s eye chilies if you like spicy pad kee mao noodles. Remove the seeds or opt for mild chilies for mild noodles.
  • Garlic – Fresh garlic cloves are the base of Thai stir-fries.
  • Rosdee flavor seasoning – A popular Thai seasoning, enhancing the overall flavors.
  • Dark soy sauce – Darkens the color of the noodles and gives them a slightly sweet flavor. Essential for that glossy appearance.
  • Oyster sauce – A thick, dark sauce that’s often used in Thai stir-fries for its rich, salty flavor.
  • Fish sauce – A staple in Thai cuisine for its salty, umami flavor.
  • White sugar – A sweet flavor is essential for balancing the salty and spicy flavors.

How to make drunken noodles

Soak noodles

Prepare dry rice noodles as per packet directions.

Stir-fry noodles

Step-by-step images showing the cooking process of drunken noodles, with garlic and chilies being stir-fried, followed by chicken, vegetables, noodles, and sauces added in a wok.

1. Heat oil in a wok over medium-high heat, add garlic and red chilies, stir-fry until aromatic or 10–20 seconds.

2. Add the chicken pieces and stir-fry until they’re nearly done.

3. Add sauces and seasonings: sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, flavor seasoning, and oyster sauce. Make sure each piece of chicken is coated with sauce.

4. Add the carrots, baby corns, finger roots, and fresh peppercorns, cooking for about 10–20 seconds.

5. Toss in the rice noodles and ensure they are well coated with sauce and softened to your liking. (I like mine a bit chewy.)

6. Remove from heat and stir in holy basil. Serve hot!

Kitchen tools

  • Strainer or colander for draining dry rice noodles after boiling.
  • Wok with spatula or large frying pan
  • Cutting board and chef’s knife
  • Measuring spoons and cups

How to serve Thai basil noodles

Serve Thai basil noodles hot with chopsticks and optionally garnish with fresh holy basil leaves or chopped cilantro.

How to store Thai spicy basil noodles

Allow the leftovers to cool to room temperature, and transfer the stir-fried chicken noodles to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Reheating instructions: Reheat in a wok or frying pan over medium heat. Add a splash of water or oil to prevent the noodles from drying out. As a last resort, use the microwave.

Did you know?

Why is it called drunken noodles?

  • Late-night snack for drunkards: One story suggests that this noodle dish was put together by drunk people using whatever ingredients they had on hand. The result was a spicy noodle dish beloved by many. Drunk Thai people love spicy food.
  • Alcohol to tone down the heat: Another theory is that this dish is so spicy that one needs a lot of beer or water to counter the heat.

Frequently asked questions

Is pad kee mao gluten-free?

No. Traditional pad kee mao recipes call for soy sauces, which are not gluten-free. For a gluten-free version, use gluten-free soy sauces.

Is pad kee mao healthy?

Pad kee mao is often loaded with vegetables and lean protein like chicken. Its spices and fresh herbs also offer health benefits. The dish does contain a high sodium content and may contain some fat from the oil used.

Which noodles to use in drunken noodles?

For authentic pad kee mao, use wide rice noodles. If you can’t find fresh noodles, dried rice noodles are a good substitute.

Can I make pad kee mao vegetarian?

Yes. Simply swap the chicken with tofu and ensure that the sauces are vegetarian as well.

How spicy is pad kee mao?

Pad kee mao is a dish with a high spice level. You can increase or reduce the number of chilies based on your heat preference.

Thai noodle recipes

Loved reading this Thai pad kee mao recipe? Please make my day by dropping a star rating and/or a comment below! Follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest.

Thai Pad Kee Mao Recipe (Authentic Drunken Noodles)

A plate of Thai pad kee mao with chicken, fresh peppercorns, holy basil, and vegetables, served on a banana leaf against a traditional Thai-patterned cloth.
This authentic Thai pad kee mao recipe is the perfect blend of rice noodles with tender chicken and crisp vegetables, all stir-fried in a fiery sauce.
Praew
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Main Course
Serving Size 2 people

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 chilies to taste, sliced
  • 5.3 ounces chicken sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon flavor seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 3 baby corn
  • 3 stalks of fresh green peppercorns
  • 0.35 ounces finger roots sliced
  • 1 ounce carrot sliced
  • 7 ounces dry rice noodles
  • 0.35 holy basil

Instructions

  • Prepare dry rice noodles as per packet directions.
  • Heat oil in a wok over medium-high heat, add garlic and red chilies, stir-fry until aromatic or 10–20 seconds.
  • Add the chicken pieces and stir-fry until they’re nearly done.
  • Add sauces and seasonings: sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, flavor seasoning, and oyster sauce. Make sure each piece of chicken is coated with sauce.
  • Add the carrots, baby corns, finger roots, and fresh peppercorns, cooking for about 10–20 seconds.
  • Toss in the rice noodles and ensure they are well coated with sauce and softened to your liking. (I like mine a bit chewy.)
  • Remove from heat and stir in holy basil. Serve hot!

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • Use fresh rice noodles if you can find them for the most authentic taste. Dry rice noodles work perfectly too.
  • Opt for boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts. Feel free to swap with other protein or use tofu for a vegetarian version.

Similar Posts

3 Comments

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating