Easy Pad Thai Recipe – Cheater Version!

Perfect Cheater Pad Thai Recipe

In this Easy Pad Thai Recipe:

Sometimes a cheater sauce is just the answer.

Yummy Cheater Pad Thai Recipe

The Asian aisle at my local grocery store has soo many bottles and jars of Asian sauces – sweet-sour, kung-pao, ginger-garlic. Most of the time, I tell you to skip the pre-made stuff – it’s just easier to combine fresh ginger, fresh garlic, soy sauce or other easy-to-find ingredients to make your own type of sauce:

Sweet & Sour Chicken
Healthy General Tso’s Chicken
Chinese Beef & Broccoli
Sesame Chicken Salad

But when it comes to Pad Thai noodles, a do-it-yourself sauce can be tricky. The recipe for the sauce includes tamarind paste, which isn’t that easy to find in most American grocery stores. Thai Kitchen Pad Thai sauce is the only one my store carries, and it’s good! Let me know if you’ve tried others and have had good/bad results.

Original Pad Thai Sauce

Buy Pad Thai Sauce on Amazon!

This recipe takes 10 minutes to prep and less than 8 minutes at the stove.

10 Minute Cheater Pad Thai Recipe

Pad Thai noodles comes together really fast – so easy to make yet so easy to mess up.

1. Dried rice noodles are not cooked the same way regular pasta noodles are cooked. If you try to cook dry rice noodles in a pot of boiling water (like you do with spaghetti) – you’ll end up with a mushy mushy mushy mess. Instead, soak the noodles in hot (not boiling) water. That will soften the rice noodles and the stir-fry will finish cooking the rice noodles.

Even when making Vietnamese Pho Noodle Soup, another dish that uses dried rice noodles, I soak them in water – then briefly touch down in boiling water to cook. They’ll cook in 1 minute!

Delicious Cheater Pad Thai Recipe

2. The shrimp, egg, garlic, ginger and vegetables all cook at different heat setting and different times. In order to make sure nothing is under or over cooked, you have to adjust heat and add the ingredients into the wok or pan in a certain order. Prepare all of your ingredients first, and have them all ready within arm’s reach.

Tasty Cheater Pad Thai Recipe

3. Shrimp is not very forgiving to cook with. Because of their size, they are so easy to overcook! Then they become rubbery. To make sure that the shrimp is perfectly cook AND also get a nice sear – we sear them each side first before we do anything else. The shrimp are only cooked half-way. We’ll add them back into the pan near the end of the stir-fry. In fact, this is the technique that I use for stir-frying all meats and seafood. Sear at high heat, remove, then add back into finish cooking towards end.

4. Egg is also another funny ingredient – if you just crack an egg into a stir-fry, you’ll end up with a soggy mess. The egg will coat all of the ingredients and weigh down the dish, making it very “wet” and mushy. Instead, right after the shrimp are taken out of the pan, the egg is added to the pan. Give it a good scramble, and when it sets, remove the cooked eggs from pan too. You can just put the egg in the same bowl as the shrimp. This way, your Pad Thai will get nice bits of perfectly scrambled egg.

I know this seems like a lot of information – but don’t worry – here’s a video and the recipe will give you step by step!

Cheater Pad Thai Recipe Video



Cheater Pad Thai Recipe

Servings: 4 Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 8 minutes
Cheater Pad Thai


1 pound dry rice noodles (about 1/4" wide)
1 tablespoon cooking oil, divided
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 egg, beaten
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 pound snow peas, sliced diagonally lengthwise
8 ounces bean sprouts
one 8-ounce jar prepared Pad Thai sauce
1 tablespoon water
optional toppings: Sriracha hot chili sauce, torn fresh cilantro, lime wedges, chopped peanuts


1. In a large bowl, fully submerge the dry rice noodles in hot tap water (not boiling, just hot to touch). Let them soak for 8-10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. In a wok or large saute pan over high heat, add just half of the cooking oil. When the oil is hot, swirl it around the bottom of the pan and add the shrimp in a single layer. Let cook for 2 minutes. Try not to move the shrimp too much, let them develop a sear and then flip to sear the other side for an additional minute. The shrimp should be half-cooked. Remove the half-cooked shrimp to a bowl and set aside.

3. Keep the pan on the stove and add the beaten egg to the pan, stirring constantly to fry quickly. Remove cooked egg to the same bowl as the shrimp.

4. Turn the heat down to medium-low and let the pan cool down a bit. Swirl in the remaining cooking oil. Add the garlic to the pan and stir fry until the garlic becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the snow peas and bean sprouts and stir fry for another minute. Add the sauce to the pan from the jar. To get every bit of sauce from the jar, add a tablespoon or so of water, close lid, shake jar and pour that into the pan. Add the drained noodles into the pan. Turn the heat back up to medium-high. Stir to combine.

5. The moment the sauce begins to simmer, add the shrimp and egg back into the pan and stir fry everything until the shrimp are fully cooked through, about another minute. Add optional garnishes and serve immediately.


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Comments 46

  1. Samantha @FerraroKitchen

    Pad Thai has been on my bucket list for sometime now and I JUST went to the Asian store and bought ingredients to make it…tamarind concentrate, lemongrass, etc. I never knew there was an already made sauce! I can’t wait to make it, nonetheless!

    1. Keili Gunden

      If you find a good ready-made sauce, you should totally use it. Otherwise, sometimes I make loads of extra sauce and store it in the fridge. I am not sure that it would keep for very long (I use it up in week-long Pad Thai binges), but it really cuts down on prep time to have the sauce already made.

  2. Heather

    This looks amazing! I am going to be trying this one for sure. Do you know if the sauce has any traces of peanuts? I know you add the peanuts to the dish but if someone had a peanut alergy could they omit the added nuts and just have the sauce?

    1. Wendy

      Just googled, here’s the ingredients:

      Ingredients: Sugar, Water, Rice Vinegar, Tamarind, Salt, Tomato, Anchovy Extract, Radish, Chinese Chives, Soybean Oil, Garlic, Shallot, Modified Tapioca Starch, Red Chili Pepper, Citric Acid, Xanthan Gum, Extractives of Paprika.
      Warnings: Contains: anchovy.

      I did not see any nut warnings, but I’d double check at the market reading the label closely.

  3. Jane

    I love pad thai, but i never tried to make it at home. Ive seen that sauce at my local grocery store too, so im definitely going to give it a try. I tried getting the sauces at the asian supermarket, but i was overwhelmed by all the variety. Thanks for the tips!

  4. [email protected]

    will be trying soon for sure!

  5. Pingback: Cheater Pad Thai | EvaGalloway.com

  6. MonaG

    Tamarind(imli) paste is pretty common and easily available at Indian and South Asian grocery stores. It is used to make chutney. The chutney often accompanies samosas, fritters, and chaat(a savory snack often served at roadside stalls).

    1. mary

      “easily available at Indian and South Asian grocery stores.”

      Easily available to me means at a regular supermarket!

  7. cheri

    Can’t wait to try this recipe! looks so good, loved the video, will probably watch it one more time before I actually make this.

  8. Shelly H

    I have a Thai friend who introduced me to Thai cooking. She always used Maesri Pad Thai Sauce, then added extra ingredients. It was always amazing. I recreated at my house pretty close.

    1. Nabeel Alsalam

      I would love to know what you combine with the Maesri pad Thai sauce to create the sauce you use.

      1. Post

        Hi there – I don’t have the Maesri brand on hand to look at the instructions. If it’s a jar sauce like the one I have in the recipe, just follow my recipe, substituting the Maesri brand.

  9. Eloisa

    My Husband and I both love Pad Thai so I gave this recipe a try. We both absolutely loved it! The only problem I had was that 1 pound of rice noodles was too much so it was a little dry. But the flavor was great. I will be making this often.

  10. Leslie - Definitely not Martha

    I love Thai Kitchen products. Their pad thai sauce is pretty tasty (I do find it a little sweet, but then I dress up the dish with a whole boatload of sri racha). I also love their green and red curry pastes, and the fish sauce too. Basically, if it’s Thai food, I love it. My stepmother is Thai, so I’ve also been lucky to enjoy delicious authentic Thai dishes too.

  11. Samantha Velez

    I’m all for making the recipe easier with a cheater sauce. Sometimes you’re craving that delicious flavor but don’t have the time or energy to make it from scratch. Thanks for the video!

  12. sandy

    I do have tamarind paste…we have a great international store within an hour’s drive of my home…and a couple of great Asian store/Mediterranean ones as well. It requires a little more effort than popping into Kroger’s or WalMart but worth it in the end. All our of larger local grocery stores carry this sauce…and the noodles. So why pay for take out when you can make it yourself in just a few minutes, the way you want, however much you want, and put your own spin on it? I love your videos! Just discovered you via Ree Drummond’s blog…am hooked. I love Asian food and need to do a much better job making it. One thing I REALLY want to make is Hot and Sour Soup from scratch. None of the places around here make it well at all. My ex husband did a plumbing job for a little old Chinese man who owned a restaurant in Cincinnati (Reading actually)…and he made fresh every day the BEST BEST BEST hot and sour soup I’ve ever eaten anywhere…around here it’s neither hot, nor sour…just a gloopy mess. Would love a really good recipe for that because it truly is one of my most favorite soups of all time, when done right…and almost always never is and disappointing..,

  13. Gillian

    Thanks, Jaden. I’m not convinced this is worth the effort, though, since the ingredients would probably cost more than takeout food from a restaurant. Just a thought. Thank you very much for your inspiring blog. I’ve probably made at least 50 of your recipes over the past 2 years. Your pork chops with plums and star anise from your cookbook is my all time favorite, for sure. My family is grateful.

  14. Foodie70

    Tried the cheater Pad Thai recipe with exactly the same ingredients except for using chicken as a substitute for shrimp ( shellfish allergy). The dish came out super yummy and cost a lot less to make than getting a takeout. Thanks Jaden !

  15. Helen Lazzaro

    How do I turn off Comments so I can view the recipes and articles? It seems comments are on top of the article/recipe and I cannot find a way to get to the articles or recipes.

    1. Post
  16. Peggy

    Hi Jaden,

    Looks easy using the pad Thai sauce. Do you have to rinse the rice noodles in cold water, after soaking them in hot water for 10 mins ?
    Thanks, good recipe:

    1. Post
  17. Peggy

    Sounds good Jaden,
    I saw dry rice noodle Vermicelli. ( 1/4″ wide), is that ok.
    Also, would mushrooms, carrots, bell peppers go well with pad Thai ? Can not eat snow peas..

    1. Post
  18. Peggy

    Last question, Jaden,

    I finally found a 12 ozs. Jar of Pad Thai sauce at Loblaws,
    Markham. We live in Canada .
    Your video uses the entire jar.
    Should I just use only 8 ozs from the jar.

    Thanks, peggy

    1. Post
  19. Amy

    Perfect recipe! Thanks for sharing, we love Thai food and made this last night. We loaded up with vegetables and it was divine.

  20. Danielle Stilgenbauer

    I’m excited to make this recipe tonight for my husband’s birthday! Do you know approximately how many this will serve? We will have four adults. Thank you!

    1. Post

      Hi Danielle – This feeds 4 people. If you’re having a party and also have other dishes, this recipe will do just fine!I would break the noodles into smaller pieces so that it would be easier to dish and serve. Sometimes long noodles are hard to serve in small portions!

  21. Tracy

    This dish was really good. Thanks for posting it. My husband who doesn’t care for Pad Thai really like it too. I have been on vacation in Thailand and love to cook but have never made Pad Thai, this dish was fantastic. The only different things I did was 1) used chicken instead of shrimp 2) used Hokan Stir Fry Wok oil. I think the oil topped the dish off.

    Was great.

  22. Nicole

    Typo in the first bullet point: “enchance” should, of course, be “enhance.” 🙂

  23. valerie mcclusky

    I like Pantai NoraSingh brand pad thai sauce. It’s high in sugar, but also the base ingredients tamarind, fish sauce and palm sugar.

  24. faith

    Hey jaden I was wondering the procedure for if you didn’t have chicken or shrimp and wanted to start with the eggs, does the amount of oil mess with the egg taste if you put in the eggs first because I thought a larger meat would use most of the oil before the eggs would effect it.

    1. Post

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