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Pad Woon Sen Recipe (Thai Glass Noodle Stir Fry)

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This pad woon sen recipe is a quick and easy Thai glass noodle stir fry, ideal for busy weeknights. Packed with fresh vegetables and translucent glass noodles tossed in a savory stir fry sauce, this dish is ready in under 20 minutes and perfect when you’re craving takeout.

Pad woon sen, Thai glass noodle stir-fry, with chopsticks for a Thai meal.

Rather have some spicy Thai stir-fried glass noodles? Try suki hang, a delicious Thai sukiyaki stir-fry recipe that’s easy to make at home. Pad mee korat and chili garlic noodles are perfect for spicy rice noodles.

What is pad woon sen

Pad woon sen is a classic Thai noodle dish featuring glass noodles, protein such as chicken, and crisp vegetables, all tossed in a savory stir-fry sauce.

Pad woon sen translates to stir-fried glass noodles in Thai, combining pad (stir-fried) and woon sen (glass noodles).

Thai glass noodle stir-fry recipe

These stir-fried glass noodles with vegetables are what I call the ultimate comfort food.

They got everything: a little salty, a hint of sweet, and some heat if you want to. It’s the perfect Thai dish for the whole family!

Chopsticks lifting stir-fried glass noodles over a plate of pad woon sen with vegetables.

You can use up anything you have sitting in your fridge, simply toss in your leftover vegetables and make this pad woonsen recipe your own.

It’s fast, easy, budget-friendly, and you probably have everything you need sitting in your kitchen pantry already.

You’ll be surprised how fast this dish comes together – 20 minutes, at max.

Next time you’re at a Thai restaurant, look for it on the menu. It’s the perfect side – light, simple, and so good.

Why try this easy glass noodle recipe

  • Add your favorite vegetables: You can easily add extra vegetables such as bell peppers, bean sprouts, red onions, shiitake mushrooms, leeks, broccoli, you name it.
  • Easy weeknight recipe: Fast, simple, and a one-pan wonder, this glass noodle stir-fry is perfect for busy evenings.
  • Customize this recipe: Throw in chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, or seafood. Vegetarian? No problem! Add some tofu and use mushroom sauce instead of oyster sauce.
  • Filling yet light: This dish is perfect as a light main or a savory side, these noodles are so versatile. In Thailand, they’re often served as a side with spicy salads.
  • Crowd favorite: With simple yet delicious flavors, it’s a dish that can please anyone.
  • Healthy: Loaded with greens, pad woon sen is as nutritious as it is delicious. Homemade beats takeout on taste and health every time.
Vegetable pad woon sen with chopsticks, served in a traditional bamboo dish.

Check out some of my other easy glass noodle recipes: chicken glass noodle soup, Thai glass noodle salad known as yum woon sen pork, and goong ob woonsen!

Pad woon sen vs pad Thai

These two Thai noodle dishes might seem kinda similar, but they’re very different!

Pad woon sen

  • Preparation: Quick and easy, perfect for a fast meal.
  • Noodles: Traditionally made with glass noodles.
  • Flavor: A light, savory flavor, with a subtle sweetness from dark soy.
  • Sauce: A simple stir-fry sauce that’s light, often made from soy sauces and oyster sauce.

Pad Thai

  • Preparation: Typically, requires a bit more time with special ingredients like tamarind sauce, fish sauce, and roasted peanuts.
  • Noodles: Traditionally made with rice noodles.
  • Flavor: Pad Thai is bolder, more tangy, and sweet.
  • Sauce: Pad Thai sauce is more complex, with sweet and sour flavors.

Stir-fried glass noodles

Thai pad woon sen is made with glass noodles.

Glass noodles displayed on a white background.

Glass noodles are known by many names like bean thread noodles, mung bean noodles, and cellophane noodles. Glass noodles are gluten-free, as they’re usually made from mung bean starch or sweet potato starch.

If you’re in Thailand, like me, glass noodles are readily available at the local street food market. Elsewhere? Check out the nearest Asian grocery store for dried glass noodles, or get a pack online at Amazon.

Don’t confuse them with rice vermicelli. Glass noodles are chewier and turn opaque when cooked. Rice vermicelli offers a soft bite, while glass noodles are rather chewy.

They’re a key ingredient for authentic pad woon sen, as they easily absorb the flavors of the stir-fry sauce.


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 woon sen laid out on a banana leaf: oyster sauce, sugar, eggs, golden mountain, dark soy, glass noodles, and vegetables.
  • Glass noodles – Glass noodles perfectly soak up that savory pad woon sen sauce. When cooked, they turn clear to opaque and offer a chewy texture that goes great with the crisp vegetables. They look similar to kelp noodles, but they are not the same!
  • Green onions, conical cabbage, coriander, carrot, garlic, onion – This vegetable mix is my go-to for pad woon sen. Feel free to customize – swap in our out veggies as you like.
  • Oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, golden mountain sauce – This trio makes up the pad woon sen sauce, each adding its own flavor. Oyster sauce is a key ingredient in Thai stir-fries, adding a savory, umami richness. Dark soy darkens the color of the noodles and adds a subtle sweetness, while golden mountain rounds it out with savory notes.
  • White sugar – A touch of sweetness is necessary for balancing the flavors. To replicate the exact flavors, use white sugar, so not brown sugar or palm sugar.
  • Eggs – Eggs add texture as well as a rich flavor. If you’re not an egg fan, you can totally skip them.
  • Oil – Use an oil with high smoke point and neutral flavor, like vegetable oil or canola oil.

How to make pad woon sen

Soaked glass noodles in a bowl.

1. Prep glass noodles: Soak glass noodles in room temperature water until they are soft, following the package instructions. Drain well and cut them in half before adding them to the stir-fry.

Golden fried garlic in a wok.

2. Sauté garlic: Start by heating oil and sautéing garlic in a wok until fragrant.

Scrambled eggs in a wok.

3. Add eggs: Scramble eggs until nearly cooked.

Stir-fried vegetables with scrambled egg in a wok

4. Add greens: Add the prepped vegetables and stir-fry with the scrambled eggs until well mixed and the vegetables are tender yet crisp.

Pad woon sen ready in a wok.

5. Add noodles and seasonings: Stir in the noodles and add the stir-fry sauces with sugar. Keep things moving until the noodles are well coated with the sauce and have softened yet still have a bite to them. Serve immediately.

Some of my all-time favorite noodle dishes are beef pad see ew and lad na, made with homemade sen yai noodles – try them next!

Kitchen tools

  • Colander for draining the glass noodles after soaking.
  • Cutting board and chef’s knife
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Small bowl for soaking
  • Wok or large skillet
  • Tongs

Tips for the best stir-fried noodles

  • Cook in batches: Make sure there’s plenty of room in your wok.
  • Protein options: Feel free to add your favorite proteins like chicken thighs, pork, beef, or even seafood!
  • Protein first: If you’re adding meat or tofu, cook it first and then remove it from the pan. Add it back in when the veggies are almost done.
  • Prep ahead: Chop all your ingredients before you start cooking. Stir-frying noodles is fast-paced, and having everything at your side will make it easy.
  • High heat: Get your pan or wok hot before adding your ingredients, and stir-fry over high heat if you’re comfortable.
  • Taste test: Before serving, taste test and adjust seasonings if needed.

How to serve

Pad woon sen can be served for lunch or dinner.

In the Northeast of Thailand, Isan, locals love to pair this glass noodle stir-fry with other Thai food like spicy salads. Serve with som tum Thai (green papaya salad) or a spicy long bean salad for an authentic Thai dinner.

Garnishing options

  • Ground white pepper or black pepper: For a subtle heat.Thai chili flakes: For those who love a spicy flavor.
  • Lime wedge: For a tangy twist.
  • Fresh herbs: Add cilantro or chopped green onions for a refreshing taste.

How to store and reheat

Let your leftovers cool to room temperature. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to three days.

Reheating instructions: Reheat on the stove top over medium heat, adding a tablespoon of oil or water if needed.

Frequently asked questions

Is pad woon sen healthy?

Yes, pad woon sen is healthy, packed with vegetables and lean protein, making it a nutritious choice. On average, a serving contains about 300-400 kcal.

What does pad woon sen taste like?

Pad woon sen has a savory sauce with a slight sweetness and a touch of umami, and chewy glass noodles tossed with fresh vegetables and sometimes protein.

Is pad woon sen gluten-free?

Pad woon sen can be gluten-free if made with gluten-free sauces. The key ingredient, glass noodles, are naturally gluten-free.

Can I make this in advance?

You can prep ingredients for pad woon sen in advance, like chopping the vegetables. It’s best stir-fried immediately before serving for the best texture and flavor.

Can I substitute glass noodles?

Yes, you can substitute glass noodles with other thin noodles like rice noodles, but it will alter the dish’s traditional texture and taste.

How can I make this vegetarian?

Simply use a vegan oyster sauce alternative and follow the rest of the recipe!

More Thai noodle recipes you’ll love

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Pad Woon Sen Recipe (Thai Glass Noodle Stir-Fry)

Pad woon sen, Thai glass noodle stir-fry served in a traditional bamboo dish.
This pad woon sen recipe can be customized with your favorite vegetables and protein.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Main Course
Serving Size 2 people


  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2.5 ounces onion chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon golden mountain sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 0.5 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2.5 ounces dried glass noodles
  • 3 ounces oxheart cabbage roughly chopped
  • 1.7 ounce carrots finely chopped
  • 0.3 ounces green onions chopped
  • coriander for garnishing, add to taste


  • Soak glass noodles in water until they are soft, following the package instructions. Drain well and cut them in half before adding them to the stir-fry.
  • Start by heating oil and sautéing garlic in a wok until fragrant.
  • Scramble eggs until nearly cooked.
  • Add the prepped vegetables and stir-fry with the scrambled egg until well mixed and the vegetables are tender yet crisp.
  • Stir in the noodles and add the stir-fry sauces with sugar. Keep things moving until the noodles are well coated with the sauce and have softened yet still have a bite to them. Serve immediately.


  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • Feel free to customize with your favorite vegetables and add seasonings to taste.

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