Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao)

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These drunken noodles (or spicy Thai noodles) are filled with delicious flavors! Coated in a perfectly savory sauce, these noodles will satisfy any Thai food craving!

If you love Thai food as much as I do, then you must try out this fantastic Thai basil beef, this amazing pad Thai and especially this slow cooker Thai peanut chicken. They are all so delicious. You will love them!

A pan filled with cooked drunken noodles.

What are Drunken Noodles?

Drunken noodles are also known as Pad Kee Mao. This is a classic dish hailing from Thailand. It’s different from Pad Thai noodles because instead of a sweet flavor, it’s savory. This drunken noodles recipe is especially delicious because the flavor of onions, peppers, and garlic is mixed with delicious basil and the marriage of the flavors together is one of a kind.

The chili paste that is mixed in gives it a mild amount of heat but you can add in some more if you like your dish really spicy! The thing that I especially love about this recipe (aside from how good it tastes) is how simple it is to make. This is better than going out to eat at a Thai restaurant. You can have better than takeout food in the comfort of your own home without the hassle and cost of delivery!

What Ingredients are in Drunken Noodles?

Because this recipe hails from Thailand, there are a few unique ingredients. You can find them in the international aisle of your local grocery store or at any Asian market near you! Check out the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact measurements.

  • Wide Rice Noodles: These are the perfect shape and size for this dish and are able to hold so much flavor in them!
  • Sesame Oil: You will cook up your vegetables in this giving them a slight flavor as they cook.
  • Onion: Slice your onion as thinly as you prefer.  
  • Garlic: You can mince up fresh cloves or use minced garlic instead. I would use about 2-4 cloves if they are fresh.
  • Fresh Ginger Paste: Ginger paste is more potent and fresh tasting than ground ginger.
  • Green Onions: Chop these up.
  • Red Bell Pepper: Make sure that your slices are uniform in size so that they cook evenly.
  • Fresh Thai Holy Basil Leaves: You can use regular basil if you don’t have Thai holy basil.
  • Thai Red Chili Paste: You can substitute sriracha or crushed red pepper flakes instead.
  • Optional Protein: Chicken, Shrimp, Beef, or Tofu (thinly sliced)

Sauce

  • Soy Sauce: You can use regular or reduced sodium in this recipe.
  • Oyster Sauce: This adds in a slight bbq flavor.
  • Fish Sauce: Fish sauce has a salty flavor.
  • Brown Sugar: The brown sugar adds in a sweet element to balance out the salt.

How Do You Make Drunken Noodles?

This Pad Kee Mao (also known as drunken noodles) is super easy to make! It takes a total of 20 minutes from start to finish which makes this a perfect and easy dish for those busy nights. Add in the protein of your choice to make this a little bit heartier!

  1. Whisk the Sauce: Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk together and set aside.
  2. Make Noodles: Prepare the noodles according to the package directions.
  3. Heat the Oil: Heat the sesame oil in a wok or large cast-iron type skillet over high heat.
  4. Cook Seasonings: Add minced garlic, chili paste, and fresh ginger paste. Cook for 20 seconds. 
  5. Add Vegetables: Add sliced onion and red pepper, and cook for 1 minute.
  6. Combine: Add green onion, noodles, and sauce. Stir and cook for 1 minute making sure the sauce coats the noodles.
  7. Add Basil: Remove from heat and immediately add the basil, and toss until it barely starts to wilt. Serve immediately and enjoy!
4 pictures showing how to cook the noodles and add in the seasoning and vegetables.

What is Thai Basil compared to Holy Basil and Regular Basil?

A common question that I get asked is if all basil types taste the same. The answer is no! Thai basil tastes like regular basil with a hint of anise flavor. This taste will be recognized if you are familiar with Thai food. This drunken noodles recipe calls for Holy basil which is very similar to regular basil and can be substituted with that.

A bowl of drunken noodles ready to eat with chopsticks on the side.

How to Store Leftover Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao)

We all know that takeout makes the best leftovers! And these homemade drunken noodles are no exception.

  • In the Fridge: Once your noodles have cooled then store them in your fridge in an airtight container. They will last for 2-3 days. When you are ready to eat them then you can reheat the noodles on the stovetop or in the microwave. 
Drunken noodles in a bowl beaing grabbed with some black chopsticks.

Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao)

5 from 1 vote
These drunken noodles (or spicy Thai noodles) are filled with delicious flavors! Coated in a perfectly savory sauce, these noodles will satisfy any Thai food craving! 
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Author Alyssa Rivers
Servings: 4

Ingredients
  

Noodles

  • 8 ounces Wide Rice Noodles
  • 1 tablespoon Sesame Oil
  • 1/2 Onion sliced
  • 2 teaspoons Garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon Fresh Ginger Paste
  • 2 Green Onions chopped
  • 1/2 cup Red bell pepper, sliced
  • 3/4 cup Fresh Thai Holy Basil Leaves or substitute regular basil, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Thai Red Chili Paste, to taste (substitute sriracha or crushed red pepper flakes)
  • Optional: Chicken, Shrimp, Beef, or Tofu (thinly sliced)

Sauce

  • 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Oyster Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Fish Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Brown Sugar

Instructions
 

  • Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk together and set aside.
  • Prepare the noodles according to the package directions.
  • Heat the sesame oil in a wok or large cast-iron type skillet over high heat.
  • Add minced garlic, chili paste, and fresh ginger paste. Cook for 20 seconds.
  • Add sliced onion and red pepper, and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add green onion, noodles, and sauce. Stir and cook for 1 minute making sure the sauce coats the noodles.
  • Remove from heat and immediately add the basil, and toss until it barely starts to wilt. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Notes

Feel free to add 1 lb of cooked meat if you would like to make this dish heartier!

Nutrition

Serves: 4

Calories273kcal (14%)Carbohydrates54g (18%)Protein4g (8%)Fat4g (6%)Saturated Fat1g (5%)Polyunsaturated Fat2gMonounsaturated Fat2gSodium1393mg (58%)Potassium148mg (4%)Fiber2g (8%)Sugar4g (4%)Vitamin A884IU (18%)Vitamin C27mg (33%)Calcium36mg (4%)Iron1mg (6%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Dinner
Cuisine Thai
Keyword drunken noodles, pad kee mao, vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic

Alyssa Rivers

I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

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  1. 5 stars
    My son has been after me to make Drunkin Noodles. This recipe was a hit! Thanks so much for easy, great recipe.

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