Introducing my favorite Thai dish in the form of  these EASY, fast, and fiery Drunken Noodles. This delicious recipe is ready in 30 minutes!

Looking for more Thai food recipes?  Try my popular Fresh Spring Rolls, Panang Curry, and Easy Pad Thai.

A bowl full of Thai drunken noodles with chopsticks on the side.

Drunken Noodles, also known as Pad Kee Mao (ผัดขี้เมา), is a stir fry noodle dish that is very popular in Thailand and found in most Thai restaurants.  It’s my personal favorite and I’m adding this recipe to my list of “better than take-out” Thai food recipes, like this pad gra prow.

What I LOVE about this recipe:

  • Choose the spice level:  I love fiery hot pasta, sandwiches, etcetera, but my young kids don’t so I can easily customize this dish to add more or less red chili sauce depending on who I’m serving.
  • Adaptable:  This recipe allows for a lot of modifications and substitutions depending on what you have on hand. If you can’t find wide rice noodles, substitute thinner Pad Thai noodles, or even linguini. if you don’t have chicken, substitute another protein (tofu, shrimp or pork would all taste great), and add any vegetables that need to be used from your fridge.  (See more adaptation ideas below).

About the basil:

As explained previously in my Thai Basil Beef recipe, Thai cooking usually includes a variety of different types of basil. Here are the main three:

  1. Thai Holy basil (or hot basil): this is what’s used in this drunken noodles recipe!  It’s a basil leaf known for adding heat to dishes. It’s harder to find, even in Asian grocery stores, but you can have it shipped directly to you on Amazon, OR you can substitute regular (sweet basil) that you find at the grocery store.
  2. Thai Basil: this basil leaf can be recognized by it’s purple stems and spicy licorice-anise flavor.  It’s not typically found at your American grocery store but it can be found in most Asian grocery stores.
  3. Sweet Basil: this is the basil we are all probably most familiar with because it’s the most common type found in grocery stores.  It’s also used most commonly in all types of sauces, marinades, and other recipes.  This is a perfectly fine substitute for Thai basil in any recipe, you just loose a little of the unique flavor that Thai basil and Holy basil provide.

Tongs tossing Thai Drunken Noodles in a wok.

About the noodles:

Drunken noodles are traditionally made with rice noodles, and in particular, extra wide rice noodles. My grocery store only carries thinner Pad Thai rice noodles, which will work well for this recipe, but I buy extra wide rice noodles from Amazon or an Asian market.

If you can’t find or don’t want to use rice noodles, linguini noodles can also makes a decent substitute.

The directions for cooking rice noodles vary per package, so follow the directions found on your rice noodles and cook them while you prepare the rest of this dish.

How to Make Drunken Noodles (step-by-step)

Ingredients:

    • Produce: shallots, carrots, garlic, fresh ginger, zucchini, bell pepper, green onions, roma tomatoes, basil
    • Rice noodles
    • Sesame oil (or canola)
    • Chicken (or other protein)
    • Sauce ingredients: oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, water, red chili sauce

1. Cook the rice noodles according to package instructions. Drain, rinse with with water and set aside.

2. Prepare the sauce:  Mix sauce ingredients in a small bowl.

Drunken noodles sauce in a bowl, and cooked rice noodles in a collander.

3. Cook chicken and vegetables.  Heat oil in wok or large skillet over high heat. Add shallots and carrot and cook for 2 minutes. Add more oil and cook chicken. Add garlic and ginger, add bell pepper, zucchini, and the whites of the chopped green onion and sauté.

4. Add noodles and sauce. Toss and cook for a few minutes until warmed through. Remove from heat and stir in chopped basil.

A wok with sautéed vegetables, then rice noodles and sauce added to the pan.

5. Serve immediately, garnished with remaining green onion and extra chili sauce, sriracha, or crushed red pepper, for added spice.

Other Variations and Adaptations:

  • Add more vegetables: yellow squash, broccoli, baby corn, etc.
  • Swap out the protein: shrimp, tofu, beef, chicken thighs
  • Vegetarian drunken noodles: substitute tofu for chicken.  You may choose to sauté the tofu separately until browned on all sides before adding to the dish.
  • Vegan Drunken noodles: substitute tofu for chicken, soy sauce for the fish sauce, and hoisin sauce for oyster sauce.

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Recipe

A bowl full of Thai drunken noodles with chopsticks on the side.
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
Total 30 minutes
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Ingredients
 
 

  • 8 oz wide rice noodles
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil (or canola)
  • 2 shallots , chopped
  • 2 carrots , thinly sliced
  • 1 large chicken breast , chopped (or shrimp or tofu)
  • 3 large cloves of garlic , minced
  • ½ teaspoon fresh minced ginger
  • 1 zucchini , thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper , thinly sliced
  • 2 green onions , chopped
  • 1 roma tomatoes , sliced
  • 1 cup fresh Thai Holy Basil leaves (or substitute regular basil) , roughly chopped

For the sauce:

Instructions
 

  • Cook noodles according to package instructions.
  • Mix sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in wok or large skillet over high heat. Add shallots and carrot and cook for 2 minutes. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add chicken and season with pepper. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 10 seconds. Add bell pepper, zucchini, tomato and the whites of the chopped green onion and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add noodles to the pan and pour the sauce over the noodles. Toss and cook for a few minutes until warmed through. Remove from heat and stir in chopped basil.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with remaining green onion and extra chili sauce, sriracha, or crushed red pepper, for added spice.

Nutrition

Calories: 405kcalCarbohydrates: 62gProtein: 17gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 1529mgPotassium: 664mgFiber: 4gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 5826IUVitamin C: 41mgCalcium: 65mgIron: 2mg

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Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. I love pad kee Mao and this recipe did not disappoint. In restaurants I always ask for more basil and spicy #4. This year I grew my own Thai basil specifically for this dish. I was so excited to make it.
    Watching levels of sodium I add the soy and fish sauce to taste. It was really good and like you stated its a great way to add any vegetable and protein of your choice or to just finish off those leftover items.
    I have access to several Asian markets so can find any noodle size and of course the wide rice is perfect!

  2. 1 star
    This was so salty that it wasn’t edible as written even using low sodium soy sauce. To salvage the dish I added 1 can coconut milk, 1/4 cup monk fruit sugar and 1 Tb lemon juice.

  3. 5 stars
    Just made this for the first time. Huge hit! I had to make a second serving (8 total) and there was only 3 of us!! I added edamame, water chestnuts and bamboo chutes. Had to substitute oyster sauce for hoisin sauce due to an allergy and brown sugar for honey just because. Delicious!!

  4. Excellent recipe. My dinner tonight. I made one other time. Directions easy to follow, and once all the slicing & dicing is complete, this dish comes together quickly. Thanks.

  5. 5 stars
    I had this dish at a thai restaurant and came home and made this the next day and then again 2 days later, the recipe is spot on and tasted the same as the restaurant, i added 2x thin red chillis, pak choi instead of courgette ( zuccini) and shallots instead of green onion, my new favourite dish.

  6. 5 stars
    Spot on with flavor, but would sub white or yellow onions for the zucchini. We also doubled the spice and it was perfect. Overall… yum!

  7. Not a fan of the recipe. There was too much Basil. Most Thai versions call for fewer veggies. I also felt like the ratio of veggies to noodles was wrong (too few noodles).

  8. 5 stars
    Took a little bit more time than recipe says, due to all the chopping of the veggies. The dish is a summer hit, everyone loved it.

  9. This is the best recipe. Wow. Totally scratches my Thai craving itch and is my husbands fave meal.
    We like to use tofu and coat it in cornstarch fry separately then combine with everything!

  10. Way too much sodium more than half of what you should have per day…I live in an Asian community and kidney and heart failure are common because of high salt…you can unami without the high salt.

  11. 4 stars
    This was my first time attempting to make drunken noodles and I loved it! Thank you, I’ll be making it all the time now!

  12. 5 stars
    This recipe was great! My family really enjoyed it. My personal changes were doubling the sauce and adding only 3/4 of fish sauce, and instead of the Thai chili paste I simply used 3 Thai chilis (deseeded), added in with the shallot. I definitely plan to make this againb

  13. 5 stars
    This recipe gave me confidence, I didn’t realize it was simple to recreate one of my favorite takeout dishes at home. I’m fortunate to have easy access to fresh wide rice noodles and other Thai ingredients. I used regular soy sauce (not low sodium) and ground turkey as a protein due to what I had on hand.

  14. 3 stars
    Just ok. Not nearly as good as the restaurant version. Definitely won’t bother making this again. It just doesn’t compare

  15. I made a vegetarian version of this with fresh spinach stirred in at the end (wilted). Even without the chicken I had to double the amount of the sauce for a good flavor. Very tasty!

  16. 5 stars
    Amazing dish. Made it as the recipe said and would do it again and again…. Tried it with Shrimp the first time – will do it with Chicken next time and I’m sure it will be amazing again. So darn good.

  17. 5 stars
    First time making this and from reading some reviews I added 1 teaspoon of cornstarch. Next time I will add much less. I also only added 3 Tablespoons of soy sauce and the dish was not salty enough. While eating it I was tempted to shake some salt on it. And in case your package of rice noodles is unclear. You put the noodles in boiling water, you don’t continue to boil them like regular pasta.
    Keeper recipe! YUM!

    1. The recipe calls for 1/3 cup of soy sauce. So you didn’t follow directions and then continued to complain about the changes you made in a comment? Make it make sense.

      1. I love Asian Food, and this recipe looks divine. That being said, it is a sodium bomb. Any suggestions for lowering the amount of sodium without compromising the flavor?

  18. 5 stars
    Loved this recipe! The family also loved it. I doubled the veggies and added some cabbage. It was so yummy. Definitely a keeper!

    1. Cabbage sounds wonderful! I’ve never eaten Thai food at all but it looks delicious- so flavorful. Salivating as I browse the Internet. We live in a rural U.S. area so ordering the basil & some more ingredients w/Amazon would be necessary. A question for you and others: for this & other Asian foods, is a Wok absolutely necessary? Thanks!

  19. 5 stars
    This recipe was simple but took time to cut up all the veggies. Loved the texture of the chopped chicken in this dish. My family loved this, and I wanted to lick my bowl!

  20. 5 stars
    Tried this today and it’s so good! I did add a little less fish sauce and oyster sauce per some suggestions( half the amount it called for) and added a little more brown sugar (heaping tablespoon). I also added a 1/2 tablespoon of corn starch to the sauce mixture for the thickness and it was fantastic! Not too salty just right! The store didn’t have any fresh Basil so I bought basil paste. I used a tablespoon of that last minute and it gave it that flavor needed. I love spicy so I doubled the chili paste. Overall the bones of this recipe are amazing! If you like salty don’t change a thing, adjust as needed for you. Love this recipe!

  21. 3 stars
    It’s tasty but it definitely tastes different from versions I had before. If I make this again, I will increase the brown sugar to subdue the salty taste. I will also add a little cornstarch to the sauce to make it a little thicker.

  22. 5 stars
    Wonderful dish. I did all the prep the day before while waiting for my local market to get more fresh Thai basil. The next day it was so fast and easy to put together and it came out wonderful. I only used 1/4 teaspoon of the chili paste and let everyone add more to thier own taste at the table. Thank you for the recipe.

  23. Made this for the first time and it was a hit with everyone. I browned the tofu before adding. It was delish! Thank you.

    1. You can find pasta pad kimour(drunken)at the hiend restaurant of course you have to pay more and it more delish by my opinion.so go ahead with any of your favorite pastas.

  24. 5 stars
    This recipe exceeded my expectations – despite the fact I forgot the basil.
    I did use a combination of light and dark soy, probably a bit less than specified. Since I hadn’t salted the noodles, I did not find the dish overly salty.
    Thank you.

  25. 5 stars
    This Drunken Noodles recipe is so delicious! I used Annie Chun’s Original Pad Thai Rice Noodles and Healthy Boy Brand Thin Soy Sauce which I bought at Karman Foods, and the taste was absolutely delighful! It’s our family’s new fave dish!

  26. 5 stars
    This Drunken noodles is so good and flavorful! This is my new favorite dish. Will cook one on the weekend for the whole fam. Glad that Karman Foods has got everything I need. It’s fast and hassle-free.

  27. 5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious; even better than I was expecting!!! The veggies were tender crisp, chicken juicy and flavors spot on. I will definitely be making this often.

  28. 5 stars
    Incredible flavor and easy to prep, make double because it goes fast! I added sliced, fresh jalapeños (seeds removed) with the shallots and carrots. This one is a keeper!

  29. The kids ate this up. I made it with less heat for my wife and allowed the kids to use sriracha or with the chili paste. I only used 1 Tbsp of soy sauce (mistakenly read the recipe wrong), but it worked very well. I also used the pad thai rice noodles. First time was with tofu second was with shrimp. I also peeled my zucchini (my wife doesn’t like the peels). I highly suggest cutting and preparing (lots of chopping) all the ingredients (noodles too) FIRST then turn on the pan/wok. It goes really fast once the heat is on and you won’t have time for much else.

  30. This is great – good for using whatever veggies you have on hand! I used coconut aminos instead of soy sauce, and dried basil (no fresh basil in my tiny remote town!).
    Everyone voted for it to go into the dinner rotation! Thanks!

  31. OMG this was over the top sooooooo good! Definitely adding this to the normal rotation. BF & I fought over the leftovers for lunch!

  32. 2 stars
    I was so excited to try this 🙁 This didn’t taste anything like Drunken Noodles. Way too much soy sauce, pretty bland except for the overwhelming salt content. Not sure where the flavor is supposed to be.

    1. i think 1/3 cup soy sauce way too much. I think you are supposed to put in 1.5 tbsp of both light and dark soy to complement the 3 tbsp of oyster.

  33. This is my favorite Thai noodle dish. I lived in Thailand for several years and haven’t been able to reproduce the sauce exactly. I’m really hoping you have “cracked the code”! Will try this soon

  34. 4 stars
    I like making your Recipes because they are easy to follow they are tasty well thought out and my family enjoys them

  35. Hi! I was going to try this recipe but I am a vegetarian. Any alternatives for the fish sauce and oyster sauce? I’ve omitted before but it definitely lacks the taste of restaurant noodles without them..any ideas/tricks?!

    1. Hi! There is vegetarian oyster sauce mad with mushrooms. For the fish sauce you can omit or try a dash of fermented bean paste.

  36. 5 stars
    Forgot the basil…very versatile recipe to use up vegetables. Sauce has just enough spice fir us. Used rotisserie chicken and frozen, cooked shrimp for a quick weeknight meal. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  37. 5 stars
    Hey Lauren! I’m going to be linking to this recipe in my upcoming post. I created a thai-inspired sake cocktail and it pairs wonderfully with Pad Kee Mao! I hope you don’t mind 🙂

  38. 5 stars
    This was the first time making Thai food. It was easy and so delicious. I opted out of the spice and let everyone add their own heat. I only put a half cup of basil in. Great dinner.

  39. I’m making this tonight for my family. Great idea on adding Gochuchang. I might use Sweet chili sauce and crushed red pepper flakes. Definitely Zucchini, broccoli, shrimp, chicken, carrots and green onions. I’m so excited!!

  40. 5 stars
    I made this for my wife since we can’t seem to find a good drunken noodles dish around. I made some small adjustments and added broccoli, used chicken and shrimp and added toasted red chili peppers and gojuchang for spice in the sauce. Made it last week and she’s already asking me to make it again. Super easy and super Delicious 😋 …. This recipe is a keeper!

  41. I love that this recipe is so forgiving. The author thinks a bit like I do about cooking – if you don’t have (or like) a particular ingredient – it[s YOUR cooking and you use whatever is on-hand or to your liking! Thank you!

  42. 5 stars
    Just made this tonight, it was FANTASTIC! I added additional veggies, yellow squash, asparagus and snap peas.
    Also added handful of shrimp. The sauce really makes it and definitely I’d use the low sodium soy. I garnished with cashews. Thanks for a great, easy recipe!

    1. 5 stars
      I loved this too after making it for dinner tonight.
      I also added broccoli, and thought snow peas would be good next time.
      Asparagus too!
      Your girl is a great cook!!

  43. 5 stars
    I made this last night with regular basil and it turned out well! I’ve made a bunch of your recipes so I typically trust that they’ll be good. Also, I assumed the tomato listed in the ingredients was a mistake since it’s not listed in the steps.

  44. 5 stars
    My husband and I have been craving Thai food but our favorite Thai place has been closed. I found this recipe online and decided to give it a try. OMG! I don’t know that we need to order take out anymore. This was fresh and just as flavorful as our place. So soo good!