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Pad Thai Sauce Recipe (Easy and Authentic)

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Pad Thai sauce recipe is perfect for creating homemade, restaurant-quality noodles that are both easy and authentic. With simple ingredients and a perfect balance of sweet, sour, and salty flavors, this from-scratch guide is just what you need to bring that Thai street food vibe into your kitchen.

Close-up of authentic pad Thai garnished with fresh herbs, bean sprouts, and peanuts.

Prepare this easy sauce in large batches to save time during your busy weekdays – enabling you to whip up delicious pad Thai noodles in under 30 minutes!

Use this recipe in combination with my authentic chicken pad Thai recipe and beef pad Thai to make the best noodles you’ve ever tasted.

What is pad Thai sauce

Pad Thai sauce is a crucial component of pad Thai noodles, made from palm sugar, fish sauce, tamarind paste, and water. Its flavor is a balanced mix of sweet, salty, and sour.

Authentic homemade sauce

Let me tell you about this authentic Thai recipe. My mom, with her 20+ years in the kitchen of Thai restaurants, has nailed the recipe for pad Thai sauce.

The good news is that she’s given me the green light to share it with you all. If you’re looking for more of those authentic family recipes, you’ll also love my grandmother’s Thai bamboo soup and authentic Thai peanut sauce recipe.

Chef cooking in a kitchen at a Thai restaurant.
My mom, the creator of this pad Thai sauce recipe, in the kitchen of our former Thai restaurant.

Crafting this pad Thai sauce from scratch is the best thing you can do, it beats takeout and is much healthier.

It’s also better than any store-bought alternative available. All natural ingredients, free from additives and preservatives, giving you the healthiest, sauciest noodles ever.

And hey, making homemade sauce allows you to make it your own: low-carb, vegan, gluten-free, you name it.

I’m telling you, this is not just any recipe. It’s the very one that won over the crowds at our former Thai restaurant, turning our chicken pad Thai into the talk of the town.

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

The best part is how you can whip up a big batch to stash it in the fridge or freezer, perfect for your meal-prep days! You’ll want to keep a jar on hand at all times, it’s that good.

By the way, have you ever heard of Lao kua mee noodles? They’re similar to pad Thai but still quite different, definitely a must-try! And hey, if you love noodle recipes, beef pad see ew and pad woon sen are two classic Thai dishes you can try later!

Avoid these ingredients

Working at Thai restaurants in Belgium, I saw a bunch of non-traditional ingredients making their way into the pad Thai sauce. Avoid these:

Ketchup & peanut butter – a common Western misconception, but it’s a no-go in authentic pad Thai sauces recipes.

Top-view of pad Thai sauce in a glass cup, surrounded by bean sprouts and garlic chives.
Pad Thai sauce, ready for stir-frying.

My mom used to add garlic, shallots, and sweet pickled radish in the sauce. But through experimenting, I’ve found out it’s best to add these directly to the noodles. It keeps both the sauce and the noodles tasting fresher.

Her recipe also included soy sauce, but I believe there’s no need.

The proteins and veggies – chicken, tofu, bean sprouts – they’re introduced in the pan, not in the sauce.

Eggs are a staple in pad Thai, but they’ll meet the sauce in the pan.

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 Thai sauce recipe: tamarind paste, fish sauce, water, and palm sugar.
  • Thai tamarind paste – Tamarind paste is one of the key ingredients in pad Thai, bringing a unique tangy and sour flavor that’s absolutely essential. You can learn how to make homemade tamarind paste in my Thai tamarind sauce recipe.
  • Palm sugar – Palm sugar adds a rich, caramel-like sweetness, balancing out the salty and tangy notes. Its subtle sweetness is distinct from white and brown sugar and essential for authentic flavor.
  • Fish sauce – One of the key ingredients of Thai cooking – fish sauce provides a deep, savory umami to the sauce that’s irreplaceable.
  • Water – Water provides the base, blending all the bold sweet, sour, and salty flavors into one sauce.

How to make pad Thai sauce from scratch

Palm sugar dissolving in a pot, the beginning stage of pad Thai sauce.

Step 1: Warm palm sugar in a saucepan over low heat, stir until it dissolves and starts to take on a golden caramel hue.

Pad Thai sauce simmering in a pot.

Step 2: Add fish sauce, tamarind paste, and water. Stir and allow it to cook over low heat for about 5 minutes, letting the flavors meld and intensify.

Kitchen tools

  • Measuring spoons and cups for weighing out the ingredients
  • Large wok pan or cooking pot for making the sauce
  • Mason jar for storage

Noodles for two

Follow this recipe, and you’ll have enough sauce for making my authentic chicken pad Thai recipe or beef pad Thai. That’s dinner for two!

Make it in bulk

Once your sauce is done, let it cool to room temperature. Then, transfer it into an airtight container, like a mason jar, and store it in your refrigerator. It’ll stay fresh for up to a week.

Make ahead tips

You can keep your homemade pad Thai sauce for up to a month in the freezer for busy days. Cool it down, portion it out, and freeze. Simply thaw it in the fridge overnight for easy noodles the next day.

Frequently asked questions

What is in pad Thai sauce?

The key ingredients in pad Thai sauce are tamarind paste, palm sugar, and fish sauce. This combination creates a blend of sweet, sour, and salty flavors.

How can I make vegetarian pad Thai sauce?

To make a vegetarian version of this recipe, simply substitute the fish sauce with a vegetarian fish sauce.

Is homemade pad Thai sauce better than store-bought?

Absolutely! Homemade sauce is better in taste and quality. Once you try it, you’ll never go back to store-bought.

Authentic Thai sauce recipes

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Pad Thai Sauce Recipe (Easy and Authentic)

Close-up of pad Thai, highlighting the noodles coated with pad Thai sauce.
This pad Thai sauce recipe yields enough sauce for two servings of my authentic chicken pad Thai recipe or beef pad Thai.
Praew
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Sauces
Serving Size 2

Ingredients

  • 3.5 ounces palm sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 1.7 fluid ounce water

Instructions

  • Warm palm sugar in a saucepan over low heat, stir until it dissolves and starts to take on a golden caramel hue.
  • Add fish sauce, tamarind paste, and water. Stir and allow it to cook over low heat for about 5 minutes, letting the flavors meld and intensify.

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.

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