Beef Pad Thai

This easy beef pad Thai recipe makes a family-friendly meal that everyone rushes to the table for in my house. With tender beef, layers of flavor, and a healthy dose of veggies it’s a winner on so many levels.

overhead shot of pan of beef pad thai


Plus, you can doctor it up in loads of different ways to please all of the palates in your house! Swap out the beef for another type of protein, make it vegetarian, add some spiciness, or sweeten it a bit. It’s a simple recipe that’s totally customizable!


Don’t let the length of this list sway you from making this delicious dish! You’ll probably already have many of these ingredients hiding in your pantry or refrigerator.

  • Low Sodium Chicken Broth – Using a low-sodium version means you have more control over the saltiness of the pad Thai sauce, which is key when using other ingredients like soy sauce. You can also use vegetable broth if you prefer.
  • Light Brown Sugar – Brown sugar gives the pad Thai a touch of sweetness.
  • Rice Wine Vinegar – This vinegar helps to balance the pad Thai with its acidity. If you don’t have this handy, you can also substitute white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
  • Fish Sauce – Fish sauce adds incredible umami flavor to the dish. 
  • Creamy Peanut Butter – Peanut butter gives the pad Thai its signature flavor. If you can’t have it, substitute another nut butter.
  • Low Sodium Soy Sauce – Just like the broth, using a lower-sodium soy sauce will allow you to adjust the salt for your palate.
  • Lime Juice – Citrus brightens the whole dish, giving it a refreshing flavor. 
  • Stir Fry Rice Noodles – These are the best noodles to use for pad Thai — you can generally find dried rice noodles in the Asian food section of the grocery store. 
  • Vegetable Oil – This oil tends to work best for this dish but you can substitute other neutrally flavored oils. 
  • Top Sirloin Steak – Before you begin, cut the steak into thin pieces by cutting against the grain. Also, you can use flank steak if that’s more really available or more affordable.
  • Coarse Kosher Salt – Season the steak with the salt before cooking it. Then, add any extra if you want more salty flavor. 
  • Sugar Snap Peas – You can use fresh or frozen snap peas — whichever is most convenient.
  • Carrots – Shred the carrots so that they are fine. You can use a microplane or a cheese grater. 
  • Red Bell Pepper – Slice the bell peppers into thin strips. They will cook more quickly and mix in well with the other ingredients.
  • Egg – One large egg is all you need, but if you are a huge fan of eggs in your pad Thai, you can use more. 
  • Scallions – Use only the white part of the scallions and chop them finely and uniformly so that they cook evenly. 
  • Fresh Cilantro Leaves – Use cilantro for an herbaceous garnish. If you’re serving guests or family members who don’t like cilantro, you can leave it off or substitute basil, Thai basil, or tarragon for fresh flavor.
  • Dry Roasted Peanuts – Crush the peanuts and sprinkle them over the top of the finished dish. 
  • Lime Wedges – Serve lime wedges for spritzing the pad Thai with more citrus. 

How to Make Beef Pad Thai

While there are a number of steps to this recipe, it’s incredibly easy to make. 

  1. Make sauce. Add the broth, sugar, vinegar, fish sauce, peanut butter, soy sauce, and lime juice to a small bowl and stir to combine. 
  2. Boil noodles. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare the noodles according to package directions. 
  3. Drain and toss in oil. Once the noodles are cooked to al dente, drain them, rinse in cold water, and toss with oil.
  4. Brown beef. Add vegetable oil to a separate large skillet and heat. Place the salted beef in the skillet until browned on all sides. 
  5. Transfer the beef to a plate and remove any moisture in the pan by pouring it out and dabbing with a paper towel. 
  6. Cook veggies. Place vegetable oil in the pan again and heat. Add the peas and cook briefly before stirring in the carrots and bell peppers.
  7. Cook egg. Add the egg to the other side of the pan and scramble. Once the egg has fully cooked, toss it with the vegetables. 
  8. Place the beef back in the pan with the vegetables. 
  9. Add the peanut sauce and rice noodles and stir until all ingredients are coated with the sauce. 
  10. Garnish and serve. Serve immediately, garnished with cilantro, scallions, peanuts, and lime wedges.

What to Serve With Beef Pad Thai

I love to pair pad Thai with all sorts of other savory Asian-inspired dishes like crunchy vegetable spring rolls, veggies tossed in ginger Asian salad dressing, or chile garlic potatoes. It’s also delicious paired with Thai coconut soup and spicy green beans.    


There are tons of twists you can make on this simple beef pad Thai recipe!

  • Vegetables – Increase or add vegetables like zucchini, lemongrass, bean sprouts, broccoli, and onions. Or skip the meat altogether and make it a vegetarian meal. 
  • Proteins –  Substitute leftover pork, chicken, shrimp, or cubes of tofu for the beef. 
  • Cashews – Add roasted cashew nuts for extra crunch and nuttiness. Toss them in towards the end of cooking or use them as a garnish.
  • Spiciness – Add red pepper flakes or chopped fresh chilies for a spicier kick. You can also stir in some sriracha or chili garlic sauce for extra heat.
  • Coconut Milk – Replace some of the broth with coconut milk for a creamier and slightly sweet flavor. 
  • Pineapple – Add diced pineapple for a sweet twist.
  • Curry – Stir in a bit of Thai red or yellow curry paste for a fragrant and slightly spicy variation. 
  • Garnish – You can switch up your garnish however you like. Add a pop of color with green onions or nuttiness with sesame seeds.
  • Noodles – If you can’t find pad Thai rice noodles, you can substitute pasta. Vermicelli is a good option. Or, if you’re trying to cut carbohydrates you can eliminate the noodles altogether or serve it with shirataki noodles or cauliflower rice.
  • Tamarind Paste – This ingredient is a popular inclusion in traditional pad Thai. Add to impart a bit of sweet and sour flavor.
  • Garlic – Add garlicky flavor by mincing some garlic cloves and sauteing them with the vegetables.

Storage and Freezing

Beef pad Thai is best eaten fresh off the stove, but you can store leftovers in the fridge or freezer.

If you want to make this meal ahead of time, you may want to store the noodles separately from the sauced beef and veggies and toss to combine when you’re ready to reheat.

Storing Beef Pad Thai

Store beef pad Thai in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

How to Freeze Beef Pad Thai

Freeze beef pad Thai for up to 3 months in a freezer-safe container or resealable freezer bag.

straight on shot of plate of beef pad thai

Common Questions About Beef Pad Thai

What type of meat is in pad Thai?

Any type of meat can be used in pad Thai. Beef, pork, and chicken are all good options and shrimp is popular, too. It can also be meat-free with lots of vegetables or tofu substituted for the meat.

What does pad Thai taste like?

Pad Thai has a nutty flavor with notes of sweetness and saltiness. It also has loads of umami flavor and a citrusy note that comes from lime.

What is pad Thai made of?

Pad Thai is a combination of protein, vegetables, and rice noodles in a flavorful peanut butter-based sauce.

close up of spoon with pad thai sauce

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close up angled shot of beef pad thai with text overlay
overhead shot of pan of beef pad thai

Beef Pad Thai

5 from 7 votes
With tender beef, layers of flavor, and a healthy dose of veggies this EASY Beef Pad Thai recipe is a winner on so many levels!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4



  • Combine the broth, sugar, vinegar, fish sauce, peanut butter, soy sauce and lime juice in a bowl, whisking well until smooth. Set aside.
  • Cook the stir fry rice noodles according to package directions for al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Toss with 1 teaspoon of the oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.
  • Season the beef with the salt.
  • Heat another 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef, browning on all sides, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove the beef to a plate and set aside. Pour off any liquid and wipe the pan with a paper towel.
  • Add the remaining 1 teaspoon vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the sugar snap peas, cooking for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the bell pepper and carrots, continuing to cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Move the vegetables to one side of the skillet and crack the egg in the empty side. Using your spatula, scramble right in the pan until cooked, then mix in with the vegetables. Return the beef the skillet and pour the peanut sauce over top.
  • Toss in the rice noodles, coating all ingredients well and allowing to heat.
  • Place in serving bowls and top with the cilantro, peanuts and scallions. Serve with the lime wedges.
  • If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.


This recipe is very verstile and forgiving. Feel free to double or triple the protein or even swap it out with shrimp or chicken.
Vegetables can increased or swapped. Others favorites are zucchini, lemongrass, bean sprouts, broccoli and onion.


Calories: 553 kcal, Carbohydrates: 44 g, Protein: 47 g, Fat: 21 g, Saturated Fat: 5 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9 g, Trans Fat: 0.03 g, Cholesterol: 141 mg, Sodium: 1666 mg, Potassium: 1007 mg, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 13 g, Vitamin A: 3857 IU, Vitamin C: 39 mg, Calcium: 102 mg, Iron: 4 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 553
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: beef pad thai
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
collage of beef pad thai
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Chef Jessica Anne Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal, Mashed and more!

Read More About Jessica

5 from 7 votes

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Recipe Rating

Questions and Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    I loved every single bite of this! I added a little bit of onion and it turned out incredible! I’ll be making this one again soon.

  2. 5 stars
    I made a double batch of this and put half in the freezer for a later date. It was so delicious! So many different textures and flavors in each bite.

  3. 5 stars
    I made a double batch of this and put half in the freezer for a later date. It was delicious! So many different textures and flavors in each bite.

  4. 5 stars
    Yum! This was delicious and quick to get on the table too. I replaced some of the broth with coconut milk as you suggested – that was a winner!