Pad Thai with Shrimp ~ Quick & Easy Weeknight Recipes

Pad Thai w/ Shrimp

Pad Thai w/ Shrimp


Who loves Pad Thai?

We do!

Every sauce-soaked noodle, crunchy peanut, fresh cilantro and lime part of it!


Yes, but not scorched-earth spicy (a.k.a. Thai hot), I prefer just-gets-your-attention spicy, somewhere around medium, please. I’m not looking for a bead of sweat to form on my brow unless I’m trying to finish a P90X routine, so there’s Sriracha on the table to adjust the spice to your liking.

Good, glad we got that cleared up.

Years ago when we lived in California my husband developed a love for Pad Thai while working in L.A. His affinity and discriminating taste for what he remembers from his time there has made it difficult to find a comparable favorite here in Colorado. We did find one restaurant that comes pretty close, but driving across town isn’t convenient. What do you do when you want great Pad Thai? You make it at home!

If you’ve never tried making Pad Thai at home it might seem intimidating, but the ingredients are easier to find than you might imagine. Stores like Whole Foods, Natural Grocers, and even King Soopers carry items like tamarind paste and fish sauce, though King Soopers stopped carrying bean sprouts. Don’t worry about buying something you’ll only use for one recipe, once you have these items on-hand you’ll be prepared to try even more Thai recipes.

Pad Thai with Shrimp is not a complicated dish—once all the ingredients are prepped it is on the table in just minutes.

When I posted a Pad Thai with Beef recipe a couple of years ago, I was reminded by a reader that shrimp or pork are more commonly used  for Pad Thai—at the time I was simply trying to be a little different. Whether you choose beef, pork, chicken, shrimp, or some combination, cook the meat separately and toss-in at the end to avoid overcooking. For this recipe I recommend buying larger shrimp and cutting them in half lengthwise rather than buying a smaller variety. In my experience, larger shrimp have a better taste and texture; cutting them in half allows for more bites of shrimp throughout.

Shrimp, chopped peanuts, and fresh cilantro twirled into a bed of rice noodles with a savory sauce is just the kind of dish to infuse a little adventure into your weeknight menu. The finishing squeeze of fresh lime is like the exclamation point declaring, “Of course you can make this at home!”

Inspired by Emeril’s Pad Thai

Pad Thai with Shrimp Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 8 ounces dried rice noodles
  • ¼ cup fish sauce -- I prefer Red Boat Fish Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2-3 tablespoons coconut palm sugar -- adjust to taste
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 7 cloves garlic -- minced
  • 1 pound shrimp -- 16-20 count; peeled and deveined, cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 ounces bean sprouts -- (about 2 cups) rinsed and dry
  • 2 cups green onions -- (2-3 bunches) white and green parts separate, chopped
  • ⅔ cup roasted peanuts -- chopped
  • ⅓ cup fresh cilantro leaves -- chopped
  • 1-2 whole limes -- cut into wedges for garnish
  1. In a large bowl, combine the noodles with enough warm water to cover. Soak until just tender, about 30 minutes, then drain and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, vinegar, lime juice, tamarind paste, crushed red pepper, and sugar; stir until the tamarind paste and sugar dissolves and is well blended. Set aside.
  3. In a wok or large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds or fragrant. Add the shrimp and cook until shrimp becomes pink in color and mostly cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer shrimp to a plate and cover loosely to keep warm.
  4. Add the eggs to the skillet and cook, stirring to break up into small pieces, about a minute. Add the white part of the onions and cook for 1-2 minutes to soften (add more oil if needed). Add the sprouts, green part of the onions, fish sauce mixture, and most of the noodles; cook over medium heat until mixed well and warmed through, stirring frequently. Note: I add most of the noodles at first, then add more based on how well the sauce is covering everything in the skillet. Sometimes the noodles soak up more sauce depending on the brand and type.
  5. Add the reserved shrimp and peanuts, and cook for 30 seconds to incorporate into the noodles. Finally, toss with the cilantro and serve immediately with lime wedges and Sriracha sauce on the side.
Notes & Suggestions
Nutrition Information
Serving size: Serves 4

Pad Thai Shrimp - Served with a slice of limeShared on the following Blog Hops:
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23 Responses to Pad Thai with Shrimp ~ Quick & Easy Weeknight Recipes

  1. betsyb March 14, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

    One of my all time favorite dishes, and yours looks particularly tasty and easy to make! My husband hates shrimp, but maybe I could do a half beef and half shrimp. :)
    betsyb recently posted..Swimming with Fishes: An Easy Pan Sauteed Salmon and a Mediterranean SaladMy Profile

    • Judy Purcell March 17, 2013 at 9:28 am #

      Hi Betsy! It has become one of my favorites too. You can make it with chicken, beef, or pork too so hubby would be happy too. :)

  2. Natasha in Oz March 15, 2013 at 5:09 pm #

    Thanks so much for posting this yummy recipe and sharing it at my Say G’day Party!

    Best wishes,
    Natasha in Oz
    Natasha in Oz recently posted..Say G’Day Saturday ~ Fig & Hazelnut CakeMy Profile

    • Judy Purcell March 17, 2013 at 9:30 am #

      Hi Natasha, thanks so much for stopping by and taking time to comment. Have a great week!

  3. ChgoJohn March 15, 2013 at 9:23 pm #

    Pad Thai is a favorite, to be sure. In fact, only recently did I order something else while at a Thai restaurant, for the first time in quite literally years. You should have seen the faces of my dinner companions. Thanks to you, I’ll be able to make Pad Thai at home while I continue to explore other options on the menu. Yay!
    ChgoJohn recently posted..Another of the Bartolini Crown Jewels: CannelloniMy Profile

    • Judy Purcell March 17, 2013 at 9:31 am #

      I know exactly what you mean, it is hard for me to order anything else when we go out for Thai! You are right, making it at home helps open more options when going out. :)

  4. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef March 16, 2013 at 6:49 am #

    I love pad thai but haven’t had it with shrimp or prawns for a while. Now it’s all I can think about. :)
    Maureen | Orgasmic Chef recently posted..Rich Hot Fudge SauceMy Profile

    • Judy Purcell March 17, 2013 at 9:33 am #

      Hi Maureen, I know what you mean, one look is all it takes sometimes to get something stuck in my head — there’s no rest until I can make it! :)

  5. Krista Low March 16, 2013 at 7:15 am #

    My husband loves Pad Thai. I love this with shrimp. Just pinned :) Thanks for a great recipe!
    Krista Low recently posted..Orange Sweet RollsMy Profile

    • Judy Purcell March 17, 2013 at 9:34 am #

      Hi Krista, thanks for pinning and taking time to comment — really appreciate that!

  6. Ellya Brill March 16, 2013 at 11:48 pm #

    Stopping by from G’Day party. Pad Thai is my fave dish. Definitely will give it a try. Thank you for sharing.
    Ellya Brill recently posted..Chocolate Chip & Strawberry Crepe {Strawberry Field}My Profile

    • Judy Purcell March 17, 2013 at 9:37 am #

      Hi Ellya, thanks so much for stopping by! It was fun to check out your blog too, so beautiful. Have a great week!

  7. Raymund March 18, 2013 at 12:53 am #

    Nice one Judy, I love this noodles because nearly all flavor notes are represented in this dish (except for bitter). From the sweetness of palm sugar (which I guess you opted out), sourness and fruitiness of lime and tamarind, the saltiness of fish sauce and hotness for chilli, what more can you ask for
    Raymund recently posted..Tom Yum GoongMy Profile

    • Judy Purcell March 18, 2013 at 6:25 am #

      Hi Raymund, I agree, this dish pretty much has it all. I always thought tamarind was a kind of bitter, but maybe the brand we have here is a little different? I didn’t opt out on the coconut palm sugar, to me, it is important for balance in the recipe. I always value your opinion so much on dishes like these, you are far more experienced with this cuisine than I am — thanks for the encouragement. :)

  8. Jed Gray (sportsglutton) March 18, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    I too love Pad Thai, but have stopped ordering it at Thai restaurants because I have been disappointed all too often. Time to fire up the store and get busy making it at home!! Thanks for sharing the recipe Judy and a bit of spice is always welcome here!
    Jed Gray (sportsglutton) recently posted..Double Bailey’s Chocolate Covered Sheet CakeMy Profile

    • Judy Purcell March 18, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

      Jed, I think you’ll like this recipe and the best part about making it at home is you can highlight the flavors you like the most, so it’s all good.

  9. Pure Complex March 20, 2013 at 10:31 am #

    I’ve never wanted to try pad thai because it never looks great when some people make it. But yours looks amazing! And I love the shrimp in this dish.
    Pure Complex recently posted..Check In / Maroma ResortMy Profile

  10. April @ The 21st Century Housewife March 20, 2013 at 11:58 am #

    Your Pad Thai looks delicious, Judy! I’ve never made Pad Thai at home but your recipe sounds very do-able, and very, very yummy :)
    April @ The 21st Century Housewife recently posted..Take 2 by Leeza GibbonsMy Profile

  11. Judy Purcell March 21, 2013 at 6:39 am #

    Oh it is very do-able, April. You are a good cook, so it would be a cinch for you and so very delish!

  12. Joanne @ Fifteen Spatulas March 21, 2013 at 9:28 am #

    What a wonderful recipe! I love love love Pad Thai. I could eat it all day every day!
    Joanne @ Fifteen Spatulas recently posted..Crispy Orange Beef {Chinese Takeout at Home}My Profile

  13. Sharon Reese March 22, 2013 at 6:48 am #

    Do you mean fermented fish sauce for this pad thai recipe? One quarter cup would be way too much.

    • Judy Purcell March 22, 2013 at 7:40 am #

      Hi Sharon, glad you asked! And I understand your question and hesitation because every time I make this dish I do a double-take on the fish sauce (which is fermented) and think it must be a type-o. I assure you it is not and the recipe works, as I have proofed it a number of times now. I am sensitive to how pungent fish sauce can be and often reduce the amount in any recipe the first time around just to be sure it doesn’t overwhelm. The combination of flavors really is great, I hope you try the recipe. If you do, please let me know what you think, feedback is so helpful. :)

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