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12 Pad Thai Recipes That Top Takeout

Stir fry shrimp, mushrooms, tofu, beef, broccoli, and more layers of flavor and texture for homemade noodles customized to your liking.

Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Melissa Gray / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell
Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Melissa Gray / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

Pad Thai is short for kway teow pad Thai, meaning "Thai-style stir-fried rice noodles." The trademark takeout dish in the United States has variations around the world. The beloved Thai noodle dish is based on a delectably sweet, salty, and sour sauce that's seasoned with fish sauce, sugar, tamarind, and lime juice. These pad Thai recipes pack layers of vegetable and protein variations that you can make at home with chewy noodles, and tweak that signature, savory flavor until it's customized to your taste.

Shrimp Pad Thai

© Con Poulos
© Con Poulos

Chefs Ann Redding and Matt Danzer load their perfectly chewy noodles with layers and layers of flavor by using shrimp three ways: head-on fresh shrimp, fried dried shrimp, and shrimp paste.

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Wild Mushroom Pad Thai

© Phoebe Lapine
© Phoebe Lapine

Cookbook author Phoebe Lapine recommends playing around with different types of mushrooms in this pad Thai. In summer, try buttery-sweet chanterelles. In the spring, you can splurge for a few morels.

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Beef with Broccoli Pad Thai

© Phoebe Lapine
© Phoebe Lapine

Make this a fast, one-pan dish by sautéeing the steak and steaming the broccoli all in the same wok.

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Seafood Pad Thai

© Phoebe Lapine
© Phoebe Lapine

This seafood pad Thai is made with rock shrimp, scallops, and squid, and you can try any combination of seafood.

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Kale Pad Thai with Daikon Radish

© Anya Kassoff
© Anya Kassoff

All of the beloved flavors and textures of pad Thai are preserved in this dish, and as a bonus, it’s packed with greens and fresh herbs. Cookbook author Anya Kassoff combines soft rice noodles with crunchy fresh daikon strips for an interesting variation.

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Tofu Pad Thai

Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Melissa Gray / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell
Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Melissa Gray / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

Chef and writer Lara Lee's meatless pad Thai stars hearty, savory fresh oyster and shiitake mushrooms, which suffuse the dish with earthy flavor and combine beautifully with chewy noodles; golden-fried tofu; fresh, crisp bean sprouts; lightly spicy long red chiles; and crunchy peanuts.

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Vegetable Pad Thai with Peas, Carrots, and Mushrooms

© Phoebe Lapine
© Phoebe Lapine

It's easy to vary this vegetable pad Thai as desired. Swap in snow peas or sugar snaps for the sweet peas, or add some julienned bell pepper in place of the carrots, for example.

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Smoked Tofu Pad Thai

© Phoebe Lapine
© Phoebe Lapine

Smoked tofu and tamarind paste packs vegetarian pad Thai with extra pleasure.

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Scallop Pad Thai

© Phoebe Lapine
© Phoebe Lapine

Make this delicious, 30-minute pad Thai with fresh bay scallops when they're in season in the late fall and winter.

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Vegetarian Pad Thai

© Phoebe Lapine
© Phoebe Lapine

Make this meatless pad Thai with tender scrambled eggs. For even more protein, add some crispy tofu just before serving.

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Quick Shrimp Pad Thai

© Kate Mathis
© Kate Mathis

Former senior F&W Test Kitchen editor Grace Parisi's great, fast version of American-style pad Thai with shrimp has an appealing combination of sweet, sour, and spicy flavors.

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Pad Thai with Cashews

© Scott Hocker
© Scott Hocker

Sweet, tangy and spicy, this pad Thai hits a range of flavors. The cashews replace the traditional peanuts, a great alternative for those with peanut allergies.

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