Shrimp Pad Thai Recipe: A Step-By-Step Guide 

 Last Update May 14, 2024

By Jenny Zhang

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If you're a fan of Thai food and crave Southeast Asia's tangy and vibrant flavors, then you need to learn how to make Shrimp Pad Thai in the comfort of your home. Prepare to indulge your taste buds with the alluring aroma and irresistible flavors of shrimp pad Thai. Bursting with vibrant colors, tangy sauces, and the perfect balance of sweet and savory, this dish will surely impress your friends and family.

Preparing shrimp pad Thai at home is a delightful experience that allows you to unleash your creativity in the kitchen. No matter your culinary expertise, whether you're an experienced chef or a beginner in the kitchen, this dish can be tailored to your individual taste and preferences. In this post, we will share how to make shrimp pad Thai in your kitchen.

Shrimp Pad Thai

Prep Time
10 minutes

Cook Time
15  minutes

Rest Time
0 minutes

Total Time
25 minutes

  • Cooking Method: Stir Frying, Boiling
  • Cuisine: Thai
  • Servings: 4
  • Calories: 449
  • Courses: Main Dish
  • Best Season: Any


  • 8 Oz Thai Rice Noodles Or Pad Thai Noodles
  • 1/2 Lb Medium Shrimp Peeled And Deveined
  • 3 Medium Eggs Whisked
  • 4 Cloves Garlic Minced
  • 1 Cup Bean Sprouts
  • 1/2 Cup Sliced Green Onions
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Roasted Peanuts
  • 1 Tablespoon Avocado Oil
  • Lime Wedges For Serving
  • Fresh Cilantro For Garnish

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 3 Tablespoons Tamarind Paste
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Palm Sugar/ Light brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Lime Juice
  • Chili Garlic Sauce Optional


1. Begin by soaking the rice noodles in water and allowing them to soak as per the instructions provided on the package. They typically need about 20 minutes or so until it's soft. Drain and set them aside.

2. In a small bowl, prepare the Pad Thai sauce by combining tamarind paste, fish sauce, palm sugar, soy sauce, and lime juice. Stir well until the sugar has dissolved. Adjust the flavors to your liking by adding more tamarind paste for tanginess, fish sauce for saltiness, or sugar for sweetness.

3. Heat a tablespoon of cooking oil over medium-high heat in a generous-sized skillet or wok. Add the shrimp and cook them for approximately 2-3 minutes until they transform into a delightful pink hue and are thoroughly cooked. Transfer the cooked shrimp to a separate dish and set them aside for later use.

4. Add a tablespoon of oil to the same skillet, then introduce the minced garlic. Sauté the garlic for around 30 seconds, allowing its enticing aroma to infuse the oil and create a fragrant base for the dish.

5. Create a space in the skillet by pushing the sautéed garlic to one side, and on the other side, pour the lightly beaten eggs into the pan. Allow the eggs to cook for a few seconds until they start to set, then scramble them using a spatula. After the eggs have cooked to your desired doneness, combine them with the sautéed garlic, ensuring the flavors meld together harmoniously.

6. Cook noodles according to the packaging directions and then generously drizzle the Pad Thai sauce over them, ensuring they are thoroughly coated in the flavorful sauce in a mixing or serving bowl. Use tongs or two utensils to gently toss and combine the noodles with the sauce. Ensure that all the noodles are coated evenly.

7. Stir in the cooked shrimp, bean sprouts, and sliced green onions. Continue stir-frying the ingredients for an additional 2-3 minutes, allowing the bean sprouts to soften slightly and blend harmoniously with the other flavors and textures.

8. Take the pan off the heat and sprinkle the shrimp pad Thai with a generous amount of chopped roasted peanuts for added crunch and flavor. Serve the dish while hot, accompanied by lime wedges on the side. Let everyone squeeze fresh lime juice over their portion, enhancing the vibrant flavors of the dish. Top with fresh cilantro for added freshness and aroma.

Tips & Notes

Prep Ahead: Prep all your ingredients before you start cooking. Shrimp pad Thai comes together quickly once you start cooking, so it's essential to have everything chopped, measured, and ready to go. The tasks involved are preparing the shrimp, finely slicing garlic, slicing vegetables, and soaking the rice noodles.

Cook The Raw Shrimp Separately: To ensure perfectly cooked shrimp, cook them separately from the other ingredients. This allows you to effectively manage their cooking duration and avoid the risk of them turning excessively cooked and chewy.

Nutritional Facts

Nutrition Facts

Servings: 4



% Daily Value*

Total Fat 8.5g


Saturated Fat 1.8g


Cholesterol 243mg


Sodium 1626mg


Total Carbohydrate 66.1g


Dietary Fiber 1.6g


Total Sugars 9.2g

Protein 30g

Vitamin D 12mcg


Calcium 99mg


Iron 12mg


Potassium 335mg


*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Use High Heat And A Wok If Possible: To achieve that signature smoky flavor and slightly charred edges, cook your shrimp pad Thai over high heat. A wok is the ideal cooking vessel as it distributes heat evenly and allows for quick and efficient stir-frying.

Add Bean Sprouts and Green Onion At The End: Incorporate the bean sprouts and green onions at the final stage. They provide freshness and crunch to the dish. Add them to preserve their texture and vibrant color towards the end of the cooking process.

Cook The Noodle Accordingly: Take care not to overcook the Pad Thai noodles, as rice noodles tend to become mushy if cooked for too long. Follow the package instructions for soaking time, and when stir-frying, cook the noodles just until they are tender but still have a slight chew. After cooking, it is advisable to rinse the cooked noodles with cold water to halt the cooking process.

Swap For Almond Butter: If you are allergic to peanuts or out of peanut butter, you can use almond butter or other nut butter instead.

What Is Pad Thai?

Pad Thai is a popular and common street food that has become renowned worldwide for its unique combination of flavors and textures. It is a stir-fried noodle dish typically made with rice noodles, protein (such as shrimp, chicken, or tofu), eggs, and various vegetables. The dish is characterized by its tangy and slightly sweet flavor profile, achieved through tamarind paste, fish sauce, and palm sugar.

Pad Thai is often prepared by stir-frying soaked rice noodles in a wok or skillet, along with the protein, eggs, and a medley of vegetables like bean sprouts, green onions, and carrots. The rice noodles are bathed in a delectable sauce that harmoniously combines tamarind paste, fish sauce, palm sugar, and occasionally lime juice, resulting in a burst of irresistible flavors. This sauce gives Pad Thai its distinct tangy and savory taste.

How To Elevate A Shrimp Pad Thai Recipe

Marinate The Shrimp

Before cooking the shrimp, marinate them in a mixture of lime juice, soy sauce, minced garlic, and a touch of sugar for about 15 minutes. This will infuse the shrimp with extra flavor and add complexity to the dish.

Add Additional Vegetables

While traditional pad Thai includes bean sprouts and green onions, you can incorporate more vegetables to add color, texture, and nutrients. Consider adding thinly sliced bell peppers, shredded cabbage, julienned carrots, snow peas, or snap peas for a delightful crunch and vibrant presentation.

Experiment With Protein

Shrimp is a classic choice for pad Thai, but you can explore other proteins to change things up. Try using thinly sliced chicken breast, tofu, or even a combination of different proteins for a more diverse flavor profile.

Include Fresh Herbs And Aromatics

The distinctiveness of Thai cuisine lies in its aromatic herbs and spices. Just before serving, add a handful of fresh Thai basil, mint, or cilantro to your shrimp pad Thai. The herbs will provide a burst of freshness and elevate the dish's overall flavor.

Spice It Up

If you enjoy some heat, don't hesitate to add Thai chili peppers or red pepper flakes to your pad Thai. Adjust the spiciness to your liking, but be mindful of the heat level to ensure everyone's preferences are accommodated.

Incorporate Unique Ingredients

Consider adding extra ingredients to create a more distinctive and gourmet pad Thai. For example, you can toss in some crushed pineapple for a hint of sweetness, toasted sesame oil for a nutty flavor, or even a small amount of creamy peanut butter to give the sauce a rich and velvety texture.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How Do I Prevent The Rice Noodles From Sticking Together?

Rice noodles tend to stick together, especially when cooked or left at room temperature for too long. To prevent sticking, rinse the cooked rice noodles under cold water immediately after cooking to remove excess starch. Gently toss them with some oil to further prevent them from sticking together, keeping the noodles separated and maintaining their texture.

What Can I Use As A Substitute For Tamarind Paste?

In the absence of tamarind paste, you can replace it with a mixture of lime juice and brown sugar or rice vinegar. Tamarind paste provides a tangy and slightly sweet flavor to the dish, so a mixture of lime juice and brown sugar or rice vinegar can provide a similar tanginess. Begin with modest quantities and make adjustments based on your preference until you achieve the desired harmony of flavors.

How Do I Achieve The Perfect Balance Of Flavors In The Pad Thai Sauce?

Personal preference plays a crucial role in attaining the ideal balance of flavors in the pad Thai sauce. The traditional balance includes tamarind's tanginess, fish sauce's saltiness, palm sugar's sweetness, and lime juice's brightness. Start by following the recipe measurements, then taste and adjust the tamarind, fish sauce, sugar, and lime juice levels to suit your taste buds. Some people prefer a more tangy or sweeter pad Thai, so feel free to experiment until you find your preferred balance.

How Do I Know When The Shrimp Is Cooked Properly?

To prevent shrimp from becoming rubbery and tough, it is essential to avoid overcooking them due to their quick cooking time. Shrimp are considered cooked when they transition to an opaque and pink hue, with the flesh being firm yet tender to the touch. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of the shrimp, but it usually takes about 2-3 minutes per side. Exercise caution to prevent overcooking by not leaving them in the heat for an extended period of time. Shrimp have a tendency to cook rapidly and can easily become overdone if not closely monitored.

How Long Can I Store Leftover Shrimp Pad Thai?

You can safely store any remaining shrimp pad Thai in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Consuming it within this time frame is best to maintain its freshness. Before reheating, add a splash of water or sauce to moisten the noodles, as they may dry out slightly in the refrigerator.

Can I Reheat Pad Thai And Maintain Its Flavors And Textures?

Yes, you can reheat pad Thai while maintaining its flavors and textures. To preserve the texture of the noodles and proteins, it is recommended to reheat the leftover pad Thai gently, taking care not to overcook them. To reheat, use a skillet or a microwave with a small amount of water or sauce to help rehydrate the noodles and prevent them from drying. Stir-fry or microwave until heated through, but be mindful not to overcook.

Can I Freeze Shrimp Pad Thai For Later Consumption?

Shipping shrimp pad Thai is not recommended as the rice noodles can become mushy upon thawing. The texture may change, and the flavors may not be as vibrant. However, if you have leftovers and still want to freeze them, remove the shrimp before freezing and undercook the noodles slightly. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat gently to minimize texture changes.

Jenny passionately advocates a holistic and natural approach to health and well-being. She has a Bachelor of Science degree and years of working in food sciences, specializing in organic & natural products. She is committed to helping others embrace a balanced, natural lifestyle that fosters well-being. Jenny believes that a harmonious balance between nutrition, fitness, and mindfulness is the key to unlocking the full potential of one’s well-being.