Drunken Noodles are ready in 15 minutes from start to finish for a quick and easy weeknight meal. This simple Thai dish is made with rice noodles, chicken, bell peppers, and broccoli in an irresistible sweet and spicy stir-fry sauce!
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Thai Drunken Noodles Recipe
Have I got a fun, great recipe to share with you! Yes, partly because of its clever name, but mostly because this standout dish is one of my favorites among all the delicious recipes I’ve tried at Thai restaurants.
This spicy Thai noodles recipe is a friend when you’re looking for something super flavorful yet quick to make for dinner. I don’t make mine unbearably spicy, but if you like living on the edge, feel free to add more heat by adding chili peppers. You can also swap the protein (beef strips, shrimp and tofu are great) or use whatever veggies are in season. You could even omit the chicken completely for a vegetarian drunken noodles dish.
There are so many reasons to love stir fry, but being able to enjoy a healthier, better-than-takeout noodles and sauce dish at home in 15 minutes is all the reason I need!
Why are they called Drunken Noodles?
The name drunken noodles, also called Pad Kee Mao, which translates to “stir fried drunkard”, does not refer to any alcohol used in the recipe. There is none!
It’s a fun name given to a dish that some say it got for being a great hangover cure and others say it’s because they are fantastic with a cold beer to mellow out the heat!
Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this recipe. Scroll down to the full recipe card with amounts.
- Dry noodles: I recommend wide rice noodles (similar to Pad Thai noodles). You can use whatever you can get your hands on, even the thinner rice noodles, but wide noodles will hold up to the chicken and veggies a bit better.
- Vegetable oil: A good stir fry starts with an oil that can withstand high heat to cook the chicken and veggies quickly.
- Chicken breast: Skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into thin strips.
- Veggies: Sliced red bell pepper and broccoli florets.
- Sauce ingredients: You’ll need minced fresh garlic and ginger, oyster sauce, red chili paste, and dark soy sauce.
1. Use boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of breasts if preferred. You could also use a completely different protein of your choice. Pork, shrimp, beef, or extra firm tofu are all great alternatives.
2. Any color bell pepper will work.
3. Clean out your fridge! Add whatever veggies you have on hand, or use whatever’s in season. Swap the broccoli for snow peas, bok choy, zucchini, baby corn or mushrooms instead.
4. Add ½ cup of regular fresh basil or Thai Holy Basil leaves (not to be confused with Thai basil). Holy basil can be used interchangeably with more common Italian basil. Regular Thai basil can also be used but will lend a different flavor. (you can find so many wonderful ingredients at local Asian grocery stores!)
5. For extra salty briny flavor, add 2 teaspoons of fish sauce to the sauce. It’s not meant to replace oyster sauce, which has a different flavor altogether.
How to Make Drunken Noodles
You can literally make this wonderful recipe in just 15 minutes. If you’re lucky enough you’re not only about to make dinner but lunch for the next day too!
While you cook the noodles according to package instructions. Some noodles are soaked instead of boiled so check your package. I like them al dente so they are not too mushy.
Step 1: In a large skillet or wok, cook the chicken in oil over medium-high heat for about 3-4 minutes, flipping halfway. Then remove from the pan and set aside on a plate. Stir fry moves fast, so we want to make sure everything cooks evenly.
Step 2: In the same skillet, sauté the bell peppers in a bit more oil for a couple of minutes.
Step 3: Then, add the broccoli, garlic, and ginger. Cook for another 2 minutes.
Step 4: In a small bowl, whisk together the chili paste, oyster sauce, and soy sauce.
Step 5: Add the chicken back to the skillet along with the cooked noodles and pour in the sauce. Stir to coat the chicken and veggies well.
Step 6: Cook for 2 minutes until the noodles and chicken are heated through. Garnish with sliced green onion and/ or fresh basil and enjoy!
- Prep your ingredients. Stir fry moves quickly, so have your veggies chopped and sliced and your chicken cut into strips beforehand.
- If you can’t find chili paste, swap it with sriracha or red pepper flakes.
- To add a bit of sweetness to the sauce, feel free to add a splash of brown sugar, palm sugar, honey, or maple syrup. Dark soy sauce is sweeter, so adding brown sugar, honey or maple syrup is great if you can’t find dark soy sauce.
Storing and Reheating
In the refrigerator: Keep any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. They make great leftovers for dinners, lunches, and late-night (may have had one too many beers) cravings!
To Freeze: Absolutely. This dish is freezer-friendly which means it’s always a good idea to double the amount. Once drunken noodles are cooled, transfer them to a freezer bag or freezer-safe container. Keep frozen for up to 2 months.
To reheat: No need to get fancy here. Just pop them in the microwave to reheat and enjoy!
Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao)
- 8 ounces dry rice noodles 250 g
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 pound chicken breast skinless and boneless, cut into thin strips
- 1 red bell pepper sliced
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger minced
- ⅓ cup oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon chili paste
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- Cook rice noodles as directed on package.8 ounces dry rice noodles
- In a large heavy skillet or a wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil on medium heat2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Sauté chicken for about 3-4 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove from the pan and set aside on a plate.1 pound chicken breast
- Add the other tablespoon of oil to the skillet and then the bell pepper and sauté it for 2 minutes.1 red bell pepper
- Then add the broccoli, garlic and ginger and cook for another 2 minutes.1 cup broccoli florets, 1 tablespoon garlic, 1 tablespoon ginger
- In a small bowl, add the chili paste, oyster sauce and soy sauce and whisk together.⅓ cup oyster sauce, 1 teaspoon chili paste, 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- Add the noodles and chicken in the skillet and stir.
- Then pour the sauce into the skillet and stir to coat the chicken and veggies well.
- Cook for 2 minutes until noodles are heated through.
- Remove from heat. Garnish with green onions.
Use any colored bell peppers you’d like.
Swap the broccoli for snow peas or sliced zucchini
Add ½ cup of fresh basil or Thai Holy Basil leaves
Add 2 teaspoons of fish sauce to the sauce if you’d like. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days. After completely cooling, freeze in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Reheat in the microwave until heated through.
Nutritional facts are estimates and are provided as a courtesy to the reader. Please utilize your own brand nutritional values to double check against our estimates. Nutritional values are calculated via a third party. Changing ingredients, amounts or cooking technique will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.
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