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    Thai Drunken Noodles Recipe (Pad Kee Mao)

    Published September 18, 2020. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

    This drunken noodles recipe is loaded up with chicken and vegetables and is one of the most flavorful 30-minute meals ever.

    We are all about quick weeknight meals and if you are too, then absolutely check out my grilled pork tenderloin and chicken piccata.

    bowl of drunken noodles with chicken and basil

    Drunken Noodles

    Formally known as Pad Kee Mao, drunken noodles are a savory and spicy dish consisting of rice noodles, vegetables, and peppers in an oyster sauce-based sauce.  Pad Kee Mao literally translates to “stir-fry drunkard.”  It was said that the recipe was so spicy that it would sober up a drunkard.  Since I’m a bit of a weakling when it comes to spice, my version is much milder.

    The main vegetable ingredients in this recipe can be altered to suit you and your likes, as well as what’s in season.  The most important components of this dish being classic are:

    • Rice Noodles
    • The Sauce
    • Basil
    • Thai Peppers

    The Sauce

    The drunken noodles sauce is bursting with savory umami flavor with a hint of sweetness from the brown sugar.  Here are the main ingredients in the sauce:

    • Oyster Sauce – This savory oyster-based sauce is a staple in this recipe as well as Asian cuisine.
    • Dark Soy Sauce – Much more concentrated than regular soy sauce and richer in flavor.
    • Light Soy Sauce – Any typical soy sauce will do.
    • Fish Sauce – A fish-based sauce that adds a lot of flavor to this as well as a myriad of traditional Asian dishes.
    • Brown Sugar – Light or dark brown sugar will do and in addition, you can substitute with regular sugar or honey.

    What Type of Noodles to Use?

    The most classic noodles to use in a drunken noodle’s recipe are rice noodles.  They come in different widths, but I prefer to use wider as they soak up more of the delicious sauce.

    How to Make Drunken Noodles

    Follow these simple procedures to make this quick and easy recipe:

    Stir together all of the ingredients in a bowl until combined and set aside.

    whisking together a drunken noodle sauce in a bowl

    Add the rice noodles to a large pot of lightly simmering water and turn the heat off and let them cook in the water for 5-7 minutes.

    cooking rice noodles in a pot

    In the meantime, stir-fry thin-sliced chicken in a wok over high heat in oil for 2-3 minutes or until browned and cooked throughout.  Set the cooked chicken aside on a plate.

    stir-frying chicken in a wok

    Stir-fry the vegetables in the wok over high heat with a bit more oil for 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly browned.

    stir-frying drunken noodles vegetables in a wok

    Add back in the chicken, baby corn, Thai basil, drained noodles, and sauce, and stir until combined and serve.

    wide rice noodles coated in sauce with vegetables and basil

    Recipe Chef Notes + Tips

    Make-Ahead: This recipe is meant to be eaten right after it is done cooking.

    How to Store: Cover and keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.  This recipe will not freeze well.

    How to Reheat: Add the desired amount of drunken noodles to a hot wok with a ¼ cup of chicken stock or water and cook for 2-3 minutes or until hot.  Likewise, you can cook in the microwave until hot.

    I used mild dried Thai peppers because I can’t handle spice too well, but if you want to keep things zesty then fresh Thai peppers will do just great.  If you want just a bit of heat, try using some julienne jalapeños.

    If you can’t get dark soy sauce, then feel free to use all regular or light soy sauce.

    For the oil, I like to use sunflower, vegetable, canola, or sesame oil.

    Feel free to use regular basil if Thai basil cannot be found.

    thai noodles with thai basil

    More Quick Recipes:

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    Let's Cook - Chef Billy Parisi

    Video

    Thai Drunken Noodles Recipe (Pad Kee Mao)

    5 from 4 votes
    This drunken noodles recipe is loaded up with chicken and vegetables and is one of the most flavorful 30-minute meals ever.
    Servings: 6
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 8 minutes

    Ingredients 

    For the Sauce:

    • 1/3 cup oyster sauce
    • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
    • 3 tablespoons water
    • 1 ½ tablespoons packed light brown sugar

    For the Noodles:

    • 16 ounces wide rice noodles
    • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
    • two 7-9 ounce thinly sliced boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    • ½ peeled thinly sliced yellow onion
    • 8 dried mild Thai chiles
    • 4 thinly sliced green onions
    • 4 finely minced garlic cloves
    • 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger
    • 2 15- ounce cans drained baby corn
    • 1 ½ cups Thai basil

    Instructions

    • Sauce: Whisk together all of the ingredients in a bowl until combined and set aside.
    • Noodles: Add the noodles to a large pot of lightly simmering water and add in the noodles, turn the heat off and let stand for 8-10 minutes or until cooked. Drain and set aside.
    • In the meantime, add 2 tablespoons of oil to a wok over high heat, and as soon as it begins to smoke add in the chicken and spread it around the wok to brown. Cook for 2-3 minutes then stir-fry until lightly browned and cooked through and set aside.
    • In the same wok over high heat add in the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and stir-fry the onions and chiles for 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly browned.
    • Next, add in the green onions, garlic, and ginger, and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.
    • Add in the cooked chicken, baby corn, Thai basil, noodles, and sauce, and mix until combined. Serve.

    Notes

    Chef Notes:
    • Make-Ahead: This recipe is meant to be eaten right after it is done cooking.
     
    • How to Store: Cover and keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. This recipe will not freeze well.
     
    • How to Reheat: Add the desired amount of drunken noodles to a hot wok with a ¼ cup of chicken stock or water and cook for 2-3 minutes or until hot. Likewise, you can cook in the microwave until hot.
     
    • I used mild dried Thai peppers because I can’t handle spice too well, but if you want to keep things zesty then fresh Thai peppers will do just great. If you want just a bit of heat, try using some julienne jalapeños.
     
    • If you can’t get dark soy sauce, then feel free to use all regular or light soy sauce.
     
    • For the oil, I like to use sunflower, vegetable, canola, or sesame oil.
     
    • Feel free to use regular basil if Thai basil cannot be found.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 452kcalCarbohydrates: 88gProtein: 7gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 1243mgPotassium: 305mgFiber: 4gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 655IUVitamin C: 18mgCalcium: 45mgIron: 2mg
    Course: entree, Main
    Cuisine: Asian, Chinese