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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.

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

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, my easy Beef Pad Thai recipe uses a tablespoon of ketchup, extra rice wine vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce to mimic the sweet, tangy tamarind paste flavor.

beef pad thai in a wok

Not only that, these Beef Pad Thai noodles gets added umami (savory) flavor from a healthy splash of fish sauce, a staple in stir fry cooking.

Looking for more delicious 30-minute stir fry meals? My Sriracha Chicken Stir Fry with tender chicken and caramelized Brussels sprouts in a spicy sweet honey sriracha sauce is popular among my friends. Or, my Easy Orange Chicken Stir Fry cooks in a to-die-for homemade soy-honey sauce.

Why you’re going to love it!

  • Easy to make. Prep and cook, all in 30 minutes.
  • Salty and sweet. Irresistible flavor combination from the sweet sauce and salty peanuts.
  • Family friendly. Kids love these saucy noodles!

Beef Pad Thai: behind the recipe

Pad Thai is probably the most popular stir fry noodle dish served by street food vendors and restaurants across Thailand. Cooked quickly in a salty and sweet sauce, Pad Thai beef dishes have gained popularity here in the U.S. as well.

Today’s recipe will show you how to make easy beef pad Thai at home with ingredients you can easily find at your local grocery.

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

Key ingredients & substitutions

  • 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.
  • Sirloin steak, thinly sliced — or a flat iron steak will work
  • Rice wine vinegar — or use an equal amount of white wine vinegar, adding 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to replace the sweetness in the rice wine vinegar
  • Fish sauce — A bit pungent (it is made from FISH after all), fish sauce adds  earthy, savory flavor. Red Boat Fish Sauce is the one I prefer.
  • 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
  • Carrots — julienned (or buy matchstick/shredded carrots in the produce aisle to save on prep time)
  • 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
beef pad thai in a wok

How to make Beef Pad Thai with peanut sauce

STEP 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.
  • Don’t be tempted to cook the rice noodles as you would regular pasta or they’ll become mushy.


  • If Pad Thai noodles are not available at your grocery, you may substitute cooked linguine noodles.

STEP 2 |Prep the ingredients

  • Practice mise en place. 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.
    • Whisk. In a small bowl combine sherry vinegar, fish sauce, brown sugar, soy sauce, ketchup, peanut butter, garlic, and red pepper flakes for the sauce.
    • Slice. Cutting the steak across the grain is the secret to getting tender pieces of meat.
    • Chop. Julienne carrots slice scallions, and cut a lime into wedges.


  • How do cut across the grain in meat? First, look for long parallel lines or muscle fiber, in the meat. Hold your knife perpendicular to those lines — the grain — and slice.

STEP 3 | Stir fry

  • Heat up the wok. Specifically designed for fast cooking at a high temperature, a wok cooks on the bottom and even up the sides. Use canola oil, peanut oil, or avocado oil with a high smoke point.
  • Sear the meat. Add the steak and stir until it is cooked through.
  • Toss in the rest. All at once, add the carrots, bean sprouts, drained noodles, and sauce. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.

STEP 4 | Garnish

  • Ladle into bowls and top with dry-roasted peanuts, green onions or scallions, and chopped fresh cilantro, if desired.
  • Serve with a lime wedge — a squeeze of lime juice brightens up all the flavors.
beef pad thai in a blue striped bowl with a fork

Frequently asked questions

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.

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.

What if I don’t own a wok?

Although stir-frying is best done in the wok, a deep 12-inch skillet may also be used for cooking this recipe.

beef pad thai in a blue striped bowl
easy chicken cookbook cover image

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beef pad thai in a bowl with chop sticks and a linen napkin on a table.

Beef Pad Thai with Crunchy Peanuts

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 sauce.
3.95 from 19 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course 30-Minute Meals
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 6 servings
Calories 354 kcal


  • 8 ounces thick rice noodles
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Sirarcha sauce or Thai chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds sirloin steak thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup matchstick carrots
  • 3 green onions thinly sliced, white and green parts
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 14-oz. can bean sprouts drained
  • ½ cup dry-roasted peanuts
  • 1 lime cut into wedges, for serving


  • Place the noodles in a large bowl, pour boiling water over to cover and let stand 6 for to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. The noodles should be soft, but firm. Drain well.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, and Thai chili sauce until smooth.
  • In a large skillet or a wok over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the sliced steak and minced garlic, then cook and stir for 4 to 5 minutes, until the beef is no longer pink.
  • Add the carrots and half the green onions and cook for 3 minutes. Make a well in the center and pour in the beaten eggs, scrambling them until done.
  • Stir in the bean sprouts, drained noodles, and the sauce mixture. Cook and stir until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the dry-roasted peanuts (if desired reserve half and crush for topping). To serve, garnish with the reserved green onions and crushed peanuts and serve with lime wedges.


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.


Serving: 1gCalories: 354kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 32gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 131mgSodium: 902mgPotassium: 600mgFiber: 2gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 1950IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 73mgIron: 3mg

Life Love and Good Food does not claim to be a registered dietician or nutritionist. Nutritional information shared on this site is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

Keyword Pad Thai, stir fry
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was.
Sheila Thigpen, blogger

About Sheila Thigpen

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.


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