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This less-than-30-minute recipe for Easy Beef Pad Thai with Crunchy Peanuts is a beautiful bowl of tender sirloin steak and silky rice noodles smothered in a rich, savory, and subtly sweet sauce and tossed with dry-roasted peanuts.

beef pad thai in a serving platter on a table and garnished with lime wedges.

Pad Thai is probably the most popular stir-fried noodle dish served by street food vendors and restaurants across Thailand. With this quick and easy recipe, you can enjoy it at home on any busy weeknight!

Why you’ll love this easy Beef Pad Thai recipe!

  • Easy Preparation. Beef pad Thai is relatively simple to prepare, making it a great option for home cooks of all skill levels.
  • Family-Friendly Comfort Food. There’s something inherently comforting about a steaming plate of pad Thai, especially when it’s loaded with tender beef. Adults and kids alike love the tangy flavors and saucy noodles!
  • Satisfying Texture. Beef adds a delightful textural contrast to the dish, especially when paired with the chewy rice noodles and crunchy peanuts.
ingredients for beef pad thai on a table.

Ingredient notes

  • Rice noodles | Pad Thai rice noodles are soft and silky. Most local grocery stores sell a brand or two of these thick rice noodles.
  • Rice wine vinegar | For an authentic flavor, use rice wine vinegar to add a sweet and tangy taste.
  • Fish sauce | Introduce umami flavor with a splash of fish sauce, a staple in stir fry cooking. You don’t need much of this pungent sauce to bring earthy, savory notes to the Pad Thai sauce. 
  • Soy sauce | Mix the ingredients with dark soy sauce for a salty and rich taste.
  • Brown sugar | Add some sweetness to compliment the peanuts and beef by including dark brown sugar.
  • Sriracha sauce | Give the noodles a hint of heat with Sriracha sauce or Thai chili sauce.
  • Oil | Use canola oil to saute the meat and veggies. If preferred, substitute this ingredient with vegetable oil.
  • Beef | For protein, use your favorite cut of beef — use sirloin, flank steak, flat iron, or skirt steak cut into tender and thin slices.
  • Garlic | Deepen the complex flavors of this recipe with fresh garlic cloves.
  • Vegetables | For flavor and texture, include julienned or matchstick carrots and green onions.
  • Bean sprouts | If desired, include a can of bean sprouts, drained.
  • Eggs | Scrambled eggs are another staple for fried rice. However, you can leave them out if preferred.
  • Peanuts | As a final touch, sprinkle in some dry-roasted peanuts for crunch.
  • Lime | Then, serve the meal with juicy lime wedges.

How to make Beef Thai Stir-Fry with Easy Pad Thai Sauce

Make this simple noodle stir-fry for you — depending on your preference, the sauce can be mild or spicy, and you can easily omit or substitute other ingredients to match your taste!

STEP 1 | Mix the sauce

In a small bowl whisk together the rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, and Thai chili sauce until the ingredients are well combined and silky smooth.

STEP 2 | Soften the rice noodles

Place the rice noodles in a large bowl and pour boiling water to cover them completely. Let stand for 6 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent them from sticking.

The noodles should be soft but firm. Then, drain them well.

stirring together sauce ingredients for pad thai; soaking rice noodles in hot water; cooking the egg and beef separately.

STEP 3 | Scramble the eggs

Before you start the stir fry, scramble the eggs in a teaspoon of hot oil — you can use the same pan you use to cook the Pad Thai. Cook the beaten eggs for a couple of minutes until done, then remove them to a plate.

STEP 4 | Cook the beef

Next, heat a tablespoon of oil in a large wok (or a large skillet) over medium-high heat. Add the sliced steak and minced garlic. Then, cook and stir for 4 to 5 minutes until the beef is no longer pink.

cooking the beef and veggies in a wok for beef pad thai; stirring in noodles, sauce, and scrambled egg.

STEP 5 | Add the veggies, noodles, and eggs

Now, toss in the carrots and half of the green onions, cooking for 3 minutes.

Next, stir in the drained noodles and the sauce mixture. Cook and stir until most of the liquid is absorbed, taking about 5 minutes. Then, stir in the scrambled eggs.

adding peanuts to beef pad thai in a wok.

STEP 6 | Add the peanuts and serve!

Finally, remove the dish from the heat and stir in the dry-roasted peanuts. Then, garnish with the reserved green onions and add extra crushed peanuts, serving with fresh lime wedges.

Enjoy the rich flavors of Thai-inspired food by making this easy Thai-Style Chicken Fried Rice, silky Thai Sweet Potato Soup, or savory Thai Basil Shrimp.

tips

  • Don’t be tempted to cook the rice noodles like regular pasta, or they’ll become mushy. If you can’t find rice noodles, substitute with linguine pasta. 
  • Cut across the grain of the meat by looking for long parallel lines or muscle fiber in the meat. Hold your knife perpendicular to those lines — the grain — and slice.
  • Although stir-frying is best done in the wok, use a deep 12-inch skillet if you don’t have one handy.
  • Add a heaping spoonful of peanut butter to make a creamy Thai sauce.
Beef pad thai in a wok on a table.

Must-Have Cuisinart Stir-Fry Pan

  • Sloped sides maximize the cooking surface
  • Non-stick surface for easy cleanup
  • Drip-free pouring and cool grip handles
Non-stick Wok

Variations and substitutions

  • Chicken Pad Thai. Replace the protein with boneless chicken breasts or thighs to make a delicious chicken version.
  • Ground Beef Pad Thai. Instead of cooking steak, brown a pound of lean ground beef in a tablespoon of oil for this recipe.
  • Add More Veggies. Make this dish healthier by adding more fresh vegetables like green beans, bell peppers, snow peas, or Chinese broccoli.
  • Use an equal amount of white wine vinegar, adding 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to replace the rice wine vinegar if needed.
  • Adjust the spice level of this Thai noodle dish to suit your preferences.
  • Oyster sauce is a good alternative for the fish sauce.

Storage and reheating tips

  • Store leftovers refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • To reheat, add a few tablespoons of water and microwave until warmed, then serve with a fresh squeeze of lime juice and extra peanuts.
beef pad thai in a serving platter on a table and garnished with lime wedges.

Frequently asked questions

Does traditional Pad Thai have peanuts?

Yes. For most authentic recipes, Pad Thai includes peanuts. In most cases, they are finely crushed and used as a garnish for the final dish. But sometimes, they are also incorporated into the noodles themselves.

Is Pad Thai spicy?

Many Thai dishes are prepared with various spicy hot chili peppers, but this Beef Pad Thai recipe is mild with a pleasant sweet and tangy flavor. Feel free to spice things up if you prefer!

What meat is best for Pad Thai?

The most common protein for Pad Thai is shrimp, but you can use chicken, tofu, pork, beef, or a combination of proteins.

What’s the difference between Pad Thai and Lo Mein?

These similar dishes share some of the same cooking methods and ingredients, but they are two entirely different dishes. Pad Thai is a Thai recipe that includes rice noodles, bean sprouts, carrots, onions, protein, and often a sprinkle of crushed peanuts.

In contrast, Lo Mein is a Chinese recipe using Chinese egg noodles made from wheat flour and eggs. Furthermore, the sauces of these two similar recipes are different– Lo Mein primarily uses sesame oil, and Pad Thai traditionally includes tamarind sauce.

Beef pad thai in a white bowl with chopsticks.

Looking for more Easy Stir Fry Recipes?

I love making stir-fries for dinner, and a few of my favorites are this Sriracha Chicken Stir Fry with Brussels Sprouts, Easy Orange Chicken Stir Fry, and Korean Beef Stir Fry! Oh, and this Ground Pork Stir Fry is excellent, too!

Serving suggestions

Serve your delicious Beef and Peanut Pad Thai with a light and nutritious side salad, like this Kale Salad with Thai Peanut Vinaigrette or my Citrus Grilled Shrimp Salad. Or, try this Chopped Thai Salad with Spicy Dressing.

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beef pad thai in a serving platter on a table and garnished with lime wedges.

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.
4 from 21 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

Ingredients
  

  • 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
  • 8 ounces thick rice noodles
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil plus 1 teaspoon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 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
  • ½ cup dry-roasted peanuts
  • 1 lime cut into wedges, for serving

Instructions
 

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, and Thai chili sauce until smooth.
  • 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 large skillet or a wok over medium-high heat, heat a teaspoon of the oil. Whisk the eggs, pour into the hot pan, and cook and stir until scrambled. Remove to a plate.
  • Next, add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the hot wok, swirling to coat the sides. 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.
  • Gently stir in the drained noodles, scrambled eggs, 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.

Notes

    • Don’t be tempted to cook the rice noodles like regular pasta, or they’ll become mushy. If you can’t find rice noodles, substitute with linguine pasta. 
    • Cut across the grain of the meat by looking for long parallel lines or muscle fiber in the meat. Hold your knife perpendicular to those lines — the grain — and slice.
    • Although stir-frying is best done in the wok, use a deep 12-inch skillet if you don’t have one handy.
    • Add a heaping spoonful of peanut butter to make a creamy Thai sauce.

Nutrition

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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