Cooking for One

Pad Thai From Kris Yenbamroong

June 30, 2021
51 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten. Prop Stylist: Brooke Deonarine. Food Stylist: Amelia Rampe.
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 3 minutes
  • Serves 1 to 2
Author Notes

Night + Market chef Kris Yenbamroong’s famous pad Thai uses only ingredients you’d find at pretty much any grocery store—not because it’s easier, but because that's just how his grandma does it. It’s so good and simple (the cook time is ... 3 minutes), nothing will stop you from having it for dinner tonight. He writes, "Here are my pad Thai ground rules: Some chefs like to keep the toppings separate. I don’t. I toss in the green onions and bean sprouts right after turning off the heat so they are incorporated but remain crunchy. The roasted chiles and crushed peanuts are arranged next to the noodles for easy mixing access, along with a lime wedge to squeeze on top. This arrangement makes it easier to scarf down a plate once it hits the table, which is the best way to eat pad Thai.

I like my sauce to be direct and sharp, which is why I use white sugar and white vinegar as opposed to the subtler (and harder to find) palm sugar and tamarind water. I never use fresh noodles, only dried rice stick noodles soaked beforehand because I find them more consistent. I don’t use an abundance of meat—the noodles should be the focus—and I prefer the egg to be cooked through but still soft, so that it can incorporate into the noodles as a distinct ingredient rather than as a coating, like with pasta carbonara. On the opposite end of the spectrum, don’t cook the egg too much early on, or by the time the noodles are finished, it will look like rubbery scrambled eggs from a bad hotel buffet.

If you time everything right (which might take a few tries to master), you’ll end up with chewy, sauce-infused noodles, soft bits of egg, and crunchy bean sprouts and green onion. You’ll never need another pad Thai recipe again."

Recipe slightly adapted from Night + Market: Delicious Thai Food to Facilitate Drinking and Fun-Having Amongst Friends (Clarkson Potter, October 2017). —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Pad Thai From Kris Yenbamroong
  • 4 ounces dried rice stick noodles (1/8 to 1/3 inch wide)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 pound chicken thighs, cut into bite-size slices (or extra-firm or pressed tofu or large peeled shrimp)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 2 green onions, cut thinly on an angle into 2-inch-long slices
  • 2 tablespoons crushed roasted peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon roasted chile powder
  • 1 lime wedge
  1. Soak the noodles in warm water for 30 minutes, until pliable enough to bend around a finger. (If you’re not using them immediately, you can drain the noodles and keep them in the fridge until ready to use.)
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, fish sauce, and vinegar to make a sauce.
  3. Heat an empty wok over high heat until it begins to smoke, then swirl in the oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the chicken or tofu and stir-fry until the meat turns opaque but isn’t fully cooked, which should take about a minute (less time for shrimp—they will cook a little more quickly). Add the noodles and sauce, then continue to stir-fry, constantly stirring, until the noodles absorb the sauce, about another minute.
  4. Use your spatula to push aside the noodles and leave them there, making an empty space in the center of the wok. Crack the egg into the empty space and let it cook until the edges start to set, 15 to 20 seconds. Use the edge of your spatula to break up and roughly scramble the egg, then toss it back in with the noodles while the egg is still soft. Once the egg looks mostly cooked, remove from the heat and throw in the bean sprouts and green onions, tossing thoroughly to combine. Transfer to a plate and garnish with the peanuts, chile powder, and lime wedge.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jessica Svetlana James
    Jessica Svetlana James
  • marchhare
  • Chef2020
  • Sarah Grimes
    Sarah Grimes
  • AntoniaJames
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

83 Reviews

missquickly November 5, 2023
Made this tonight and it is delicious, and SO FAST. We were cooking for a hungry family of 3 so used an entire 14 oz package of wide rice stick noodles, 3 eggs, and doubled the sauce (I also grated 2 cloves of garlic into the sauce before adding to the wok). At the very end we tossed in some sauteed broccoli, asparagus, peas, and carrots to bulk up the veggie quotient. Seriously, this was a revelation and will be adding it to our weeknight rotation. Thank you for this great easy version of pad thai!
Marcie October 26, 2022
I ate at Kris's restaurant Night Market, only one time. The food was serviceable, since Thai food is hard to make bad. But it was a shallow rendition of Thai cuisine. All the subtle depths of flavor were missing. Bold and direct but not delicious. He boasts that his grandma taught him: just because his grandma was Thai doesn't mean she was a good cook. And Americans raised with crude palates and McD's would never know. I studied Thai cooking, and my Western palate can't begin to discern the subtleties like my Thai and Vietnamese teachers can.
elspamcatcher March 9, 2022
Dude ain't got no tamarind in the sauce? Seems like a Taco Bell version of Mexican food, the general populace wont know the difference!
Susie September 8, 2022
lol - Yeah, I guess a Thai chef using a recipe from his Thai grandmother is about as inauthentic as you can get.
Marcie October 26, 2022
Just because his grandma was Thai doesn't mean she was a good cook. Lots of bad cooks in every culture. I'm sure it was cooked and eaten with love and that's why he likes it.
Kris P. June 19, 2023
Dude, you haven’t tried the recipe and posting negative comments? Try it before you criticize.
MPS826 November 27, 2021
JR C. September 27, 2021
Outstanding! Simple + easy + quick preparation + no exotic ingredients (1) = winner. I'm no pad Thai expert but I found this superior than more complicated recipes I've tried.

1.) OK, OK, maybe the Thai chili powder but that has accessible substitutes which others have mentioned. I used a few shakes of togarashi.
Jessica S. January 15, 2021
This has become my favorite go-to default recipe *of all time*. No kidding. No bean sprouts? No problem. No protein (except the egg)? No problem. I have used slivered cukes and all manner of other substitutes. I like sauce, so I double the vinegar and fish sauce but not the sugar. Super-hot wok to give ingredients a good, quick char adds a wonderful smokiness.
Charles January 9, 2021
Delicious dish and super easy to prepare. I used shrimp (we live on the Fla. Gulf Coast), substituted cashews for peanuts 'cause that's what we had. Our grocery stocks neither roasted chile powder nor dried Thai chiles so I made my own by toasting dried guajillos and chiles de arbol - don't know how authentic it is but tasted pretty good. This is a recipe we'll make often since it's so quick and easy - and delicious.
marchhare January 6, 2021
This pad thai is amazing! Simple, quick and delicious!
Janet D. January 5, 2021
Thank you Kristen, I love all your recipes and tried a lot of them I even have your book ;) This recipe was super easy and I’ve made a lot of Pad Thai. I subbed monkfruit for sugar which I normally do with anything sweet and it turned out great. I added cabbage, carrots also. I’ve always made this with Tamarind and I thought vinegar/sugar might not work but tasted great didn’t miss it. This recipe was so easy and tasty definitely a keeper. Thanks again
Chef2020 January 1, 2021
Excellent! I will make this again and again!
Bill H. December 30, 2020
This is a great recipe ... simple and delicious (we have made this a number of times over the past several months). Going to be snowbirding in the panhandle of Florida in a couple of months ... can't wait to make it with fresh Gulf shrimp! Only one tip ... Kristen is 100% on target when she says have everything prepped and ready to go (once you start, it comes together in a New York minute.
Sarah G. October 8, 2020
I really love this recipe and now make it all the time. In the night+market cookbook it also calls for you to brine the chicken with cold water, salt, garlic, white pepper and lemongrass. Definitely kicks it up another notch and tenderizes the chicken! Everything about it worked great for me the first time, except for the egg, which takes some practice. The first time it cooked too fast and stuck to the wok. I added extra oil under the egg the next time, and turned down the heat a bit.
[email protected] September 10, 2020
One of my new faves! This is definitely a new go-to recipe in our household. It's so simple and delicious and the speedy prep is an extra added benefit. I now keep the ingredients on hand all of the time just in case I need to whip up a quick meal on short notice.
Yvette August 31, 2020
Is it 10:15 am too early for a bowl of DELICIOUS scratched Pad Thai?
Thnx Food52 & Kris Yenbamroong!
[email protected] December 31, 2020
I could eat this anytime of day or night!
AnyaLeigh July 8, 2020
I made an account so I could say how much I loved this! I’d previously been to a market to buy speciality ingredients for pad Thai and it still didn’t taste “right”. This recipe, with nothing more than simple pantry ingredients and two minutes of cooking time, tasted as good as any restaurant pad Thai, better than most. Next time I’ll bulk it up with even more veggies (might try some greens) but delicious all is. Only sub was sugar snaps for bean sprouts bc I didn’t have the latter on hand—everything else was in my pantry already. Thank you for this recipe! A real quarantine lifesaver.
AntoniaJames July 7, 2020
Excellent recipe. I used chicken plus some dried shrimp from the Asian grocery store (soaked while prepping the other ingredients). A keeper. ;o)
Valli W. July 6, 2020
Very flavorful. I added some tamarind paste and used raw sugar. I doubled the recipe and next time I will scale down the liquid. Also, I had a problem with the noodles sticking together and had to ply them apart before I sautéed them. Hence my noodles soaked too long. Added chicken and shrimp.
[email protected] December 31, 2020
There are noodles you have to soak longer and those that are quick noodles, that only require a short time. I had the right noodles the first time I made the recipe (luckily) and the wrong noodles the second time. Look for the Thai Noodle brand that need to soak longer. It works!
Valli W. December 31, 2020
Thank you do much for your reply! Will do!
Randy N. January 4, 2021
Try this: soak noodles in lukewarm water for 15 minutes or until it can wrap around your finger. Then give it a dunk in boiling water for 30 seconds and rinse off with cold water. I know it's a few extra steps but well worth the effort. Noodles are perfect and don't stick!
Valli W. January 5, 2021
Thank you! I Will definitely try!
Teresa L. July 6, 2020
I apologize because I accidentally "upvoted" a comment that I thought referenced the original recipe. But then I further apologize because I thought all Pad Thai used crustacean meat rather than chicken. But I guess there IS a such thing as "Chicken Pad Thai" ...
[email protected] December 31, 2020
Made mine with d
Shrimp and it was fab!
Janet D. January 5, 2021
You can use beef / chx also or tofu for non meat eaters. They all work great
Ramya P. July 4, 2020
What kind of pan is used in this recipe, a link to it will be helpful.
[email protected] December 31, 2020
A big, deep fry pan or a Wolof you have one. I don’t, so have used my biggest deep fry pan and it worked perfectly every time! ( but my hubby got me a wok for Xmas just for this recipe! Hope it true NS out as good!)
Gavin S. February 4, 2021
I did this in a large non stick frying pan and it worked fine but I’d use a higher sided sauté pan or wok (if I had one) next time to save the oil splatter. Otherwise worked well with chicken. Sautéed some mushrooms with chicken as I had them. The sauce makes it and would make more of it next time. Thanks!
Pricila H. May 6, 2020
This recipe is just perfection. It embodies everything I want in a pantry recipe because it doesn’t feel like one! I’ve made it with shrimp and no meat and it’s amazing every time. I can’t believe I doubted how delicious it would be from looking at the ingredients. I would not double the recipe as he says, just make
It in batches. Please make this today!