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Beef Pad Thai with Crunchy Peanuts

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This easy, less-than-30-minute recipe for Beef Pad Thai with Crunchy Peanuts is a beautiful bowl of tender beef and silky rice noodles with dry-roasted peanuts in a delicious creamy sauce.

Tamarind paste, a basic ingredient in traditional Pad Thai, is not always readily available at mainstream grocery stores. Instead, to avoid a trip to the Asian market, this Beef Pad Thai recipe uses a tablespoon of ketchup, extra rice wine vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce to mimic the sweet, tangy tamarind paste flavor.

Not only that, these Beef Pad Thai noodles gets added umami, or savory, flavor from a generous splash of fish sauce.

beef pad thai in a wok

What is Beef Pad Thai?

Beef Pad Thai is a stir fry dish with savory, sweet flavor made with rice noodles and thin slices of steak, either sirloin or a flat iron steak will work. The sauce can be mild or spicy, depending on your preference.

Beef Pad Thai with Crunchy Peanuts

If you’ve been following the recipes here on Life, Love, and Good Food for a while, then you know that I’m a big fan of quick and easy recipes. Well, let me tell you, Beef Pad Thai with Crunchy Peanuts ranks up there among one of the EASIEST and TASTIEST recipes ever.

The dish comes together so quickly that you’ll want to practice mise en place—measuring and gathering all the ingredients needed ahead of time—so that you’re ready to go once you heat up the wok. This Beef Pad Thai cooks in just barely 15 total minutes!

Bowls of pad thai ingredients on a table, with noodles, beef, peanuts

Ingredients

  • Dried Pad Thai rice noodles (or linguine) — Made with rice and water, Pad Thai rice noodles are soft and silky. They are not cooked like pasta, but instead are softened by pouring boiling water over them in a bowl to soak for about 10 minutes. If Pad Thai noodles are not available at your grocery, you may substitute cooked linguine noodles.
  • Sirloin steak, thinly sliced — Cutting the steak across the grain is the secret to getting tender pieces of meat. To locate the grain, look for the long parallel lines or muscle fiber, in the meat. Hold your knife perpendicular to those lines, or grain, and slice.
  • Rice wine vinegar — adds acidity
  • Fish sauce — A bit pungent (it is made from FISH after all), fish sauce adds  earthy, savory flavor 
  • Dark brown sugar — for sweetness
  • Worcestershire sauce — added to the sauce (along with ketchup) instead tamarind paste to add tangy flavor
  • Ketchup — added to the sauce (along with Worcestershire sauce) instead tamarind paste to add sweet, tomato flavor
  • Peanut butter — to enhance the peanut flavor in the sauce
  • Minced garlic — for added flavor
  • Red pepper flakes — for a little heat
  • Canola oil — for frying
  • Carrots — julienned (or buy matchstick/shredded carrots in the produce aisle)
  • Bean sprouts — optional, but if you like them, add 1 can, drained
  • Dry-roasted peanuts — for crunch
  • Fresh cilantro or sliced green onions — for garnish
  • Lime, cut into wedges — for serving
beef pad thai in a wok

What meat is best for Pad Thai?

Obviously, for today’s recipe we’re using beef, specifically a sirloin steak. That being said, you could easily substitute slices of chicken breast, pork tenderloin, or even shrimp.

Is Pad Thai spicy?

Many Thai dishes are prepared with a variety of spicy hot chili peppers, but this Beef Pad Thai recipe is mild with a pleasant sweet and tangy flavor.

beef pad thai in a blue striped bowl with a fork

How to make Beef Pad Thai

  1. Soak the rice noodles. Pour boiling water over the noodles in a large bowl and let stand 8 to 10 minutes, until soft, but still firm. Drain well.
  2. Whisk together the sauce. In a small bowl combine sherry vinegar, fish sauce, brown sugar, soy sauce, ketchup, peanut butter, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
  3. Heat up the wok. Stir fry the sliced steak until cooked through, then add the carrots, bean sprouts, drained noodles, and sauce. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.
  4. Garnish and serve. Ladle into bowls and top with dry-roasted peanuts, green onions or scallions, and chopped fresh cilantro, if desired.
  •  Sriracha Chicken Stir Fry with Brussels Sprouts. A mouthful of flavor in every single bite with tender chicken and caramelized Brussels sprouts in a spicy sweet honey sriracha sauce. 
  • Korean Beef Stir Fry. Cook thinly sliced beef quickly at high heat and you can skip the marinating time without sacrificing tenderness or flavor in this short-cut recipe.
  • Pepper Steak Stir Fry. Fresh ginger and a trio of bell peppers result in loads of flavor and a colorful entrée for your dinner table.
  • Shrimp Broccoli Stir Fry. Forget Chinese take-out. Homemade Shrimp Broccoli Stir-Fry is another tasty dish that can be on your table in less than 30 minutes!
  • Chicken Egg Roll Bowls. This one-bowl meal is perfect for busy weeknights or as an easy meal prep lunch option.
  • Chicken Fried Rice. Made at home and as good as Chinese take-out! It’s easy and delicious when you know about the “secret” ingredient.
  • Easy Beef and Broccoli. Loaded with juicy steak, crisp, tender broccoli and a delicious, healthy and tangy sauce, that is easily spice adjustable.
beef pad thai in a blue striped bowl

Let’s cook!

Don’t be tempted to cook the rice noodles as you would regular pasta or they’ll become mushy. If you can’t find rice noodles, linguine can be used as a substitute.

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Yield: 4 servings

Beef Pad Thai with Crunchy Peanuts

beef pad thai in a blue striped bowl

This easy, less-than-30-minute recipe for Beef Pad Thai with Crunchy Peanuts is a beautiful bowl of tender beef and silky rice noodles with dry-roasted peanuts in a delicious creamy sauce.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces thick rice noodles
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 pound sirloin steak, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup matchstick carrots
  • 1 (14-ounce) can bean sprouts, drained
  • ½ cup dry-roasted peanuts
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, optional
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges, for serving

Instructions

  1. Place the noodles in a large bowl, pour boiling water over to cover and let stand 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. The noodles should be soft, but firm. Drain well.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the sherry vinegar, fish sauce, brown sugar, soy sauce, ketchup, peanut butter, garlic, and red pepper flakes until smooth.
  3. In a large skillet or a wok over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the sliced steak and cook, stirring, until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Add the carrots and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the bean sprouts, the drained noodles, and the sauce mixture, cooking and stirring until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the dry-roasted peanuts and scallions. Top with the cilantro, if desired.

Notes

Don’t be tempted to cook the rice noodles as you would regular pasta or they’ll become mushy. If you can’t find rice noodles, linguine can be used as a substitute.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 590Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 104mgSodium: 918mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 4gSugar: 13gProtein: 40g

Did you make this recipe?

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ABOUT SHEILA
Sheila Thigpen, author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook, is a recipe developer, food photographer, and food writer. She spent 20+ years as a business manager in the publishing industry before she retired in 2018 to focus on her passions — cooking, photography, and writing. Living near the beautiful Smoky Mountains, Sheila and her husband have two adult daughters and two fine sons-in-law, are active in their church, love to travel, and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. Follow Sheila on YouTubePinterestInstagramFacebook, and Twitter!

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