30 Minute Thai Drunken Noodles

Drunken Noodles are a popular, spicy Thai noodle dish. These Easy Thai Drunken Noodles are better than your favorite takeout and you can make them at home in just 30 minutes! 

30 Minute Thai Drunken Noodles


Drunken Noodles are one of the more popular and well known Thai dishes here in the US. You can find them on pretty much any Thai takeout menu. Despite the name, these noodles actually contain no alcohol. Drunken Noodles, called Pad Kee Mao in Thai literally translates to “drunkard”. It is rumored that the origin of the name may stem from a drunk man making himself a late night snack with the available ingredients in his refrigerator. Whatever the origin, we can all be glad that Drunken Noodles were invented and are now a part of our lives! This recipe comes together in just 30 minutes and is easy to make in a wok.


30 Minute Thai Drunken Noodles

What will I need to make Drunken Noodles?



A Wok – You don’t need much in the way of equipment, the whole dish can be made in a large wok. The dish is easiest to handle and comes out best when made in a wok. If you do not have a wok, you can also use a large skillet.

Wide Rice Noodles –  The extra large, wide rice noodles work best for this recipe, they are easy to find at international or Asian markets, but not always at standard grocery stories. You can substitute Pad Thai noodles, which are easy to find. Dried rice noodles need to be soaked in warm water before frying in the wok, you can also use fresh rice noodles if they are available to you.

Sauce – The sauce is a thick, sweet and spicy brown sauce made from oyster sauce, soy sauce, ginger paste, sesame oil, fish sauce, rice vinegar and Sriracha.

Vegetables – Onion, red pepper, plum tomatoes and baby bok choy are the vegetables added to this recipe. There are many ways to make drunken noodles, these are the vegetables I chose that I think work best with the dish.

Thai Chilis – Drunken Noodles are meant to be spicy. The Sriracha in the sauce adds some of the spicy and a lot of it comes from fresh red Thai chilis that are finely chopped and added to the dish.

Thai Basil – Thai Basil is a key ingredient in drunken noodles, it is added right at the end of the cooking process because it wilts quickly. If you can’t find Thai Basil, you can substitute with regular basil, use a little less as it is a bit stronger.

Protein – For this recipe I decided to use chicken, a popular choice for Drunken Noodles, however you could make them with shrimp, beef, tofu or decide to omit the protein all together.


30 Minute Thai Drunken Noodles

How to make drunken noodles


Did I mention it’s easy? It really is so simple you could make it any night of the week!

Start by making the sauce, combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl and whisk together. Set the sauce aside, you will need it towards the end of the recipe. At this time you will also soak the rice noodles in warm water according to the package instructions.

Heat your wok over medium heat and add some olive oil. Pat the chicken dry and slice it into bite sized pieces, sprinkle it with a little salt. When the oil is heated, add the chicken to the wok, working with a wooden spoon, sauté the chicken for 5-7 minutes, the chicken should no longer be pink. It is ok if it’s not cooked all the way through at this step, you will be adding it back to the wok later. Strain the chicken out of the wok and pour out any excess liquid so you are working with a clean wok again. Set the chicken aside.

Put the wok back over the heat and add some more olive oil. Add in all the vegetables and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Pour the vegetable from the wok into a strainer to strain off any excess liquid. Put the wok back over the heat and add some more oil, when the oil is heated, add the noodles, use tongs to toss gently, you don’t want the noodles breaking. Pour the sauce over the noodles, toss until the noodles are evenly coated inn the sauce. Add the vegetables and chicken back to the wok, toss to incorporate with the noodles and sauce, cook for the few more minutes. The last step is adding the Thai Basil, it cooks very quickly so it only needs a quick toss and then remove the wok from the heat.

Serve the noodles straight out of the wok and garnish with green onions, dried Thai chilis, lime slices and Thai basil, if desired.

Easy Drunken Noodles

How spicy are these drunken noodles?


Drunken Noodles are meant to be spicy. I wrote this recipe to be mild enough from most people’s taste buds. But, you can easily turn up the heat! If you want a very spicy drunken noodle, double the Sriracha and add the seeds of the red Thai chili peppers!


30 Minute Thai Drunken Noodles

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30 Minute Thai Drunken Noodles

  • Author: Laura
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 3-4 servings 1x




1 cup oyster sauce

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 tbsp Sriracha

2 tsp ginger paste

2 tsp rice wine vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil


8oz wide rice noodles

8oz boneless skinless chicken thighs


5 tbsp olive oil, divided

1 small yellow onion, large chopped

1 red bell pepper, large chopped

1 plum tomato, diced

1 head baby bok choy, chopped

2 red Thai chilis, seeds removed, finely chopped

2 large cloves garlic, smashed

1/2 cup finely chopped Thai basil


Green Onions

Lime Slices

Sprinkle of Dried Red Chilis



Add all the sauce ingredients to a small bowl, whisk until fully combined

Set sauce aside


Soak noodles in warm water according to package instructions

Pat chicken dry, cut into bite sized pieces

Sprinkle chicken with salt

Heat olive oil in a large wok over medium heat

Add chicken, sauté 5-7 minutes

Strain chicken and any liquid out of wok and set chicken aside

Put wok back over medium heat and add 2 tbsp olive oil, heat

Add the onion, red bell pepper, plum tomato, baby bok coy, red chilis and garlic

Sauté 4-5 minutes

Remove vegetables from wok, set aside, pour out any excess liquid

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in the wok

Add the noodles

Pour the sauce over the noodles

Use tongs to gently toss the noodles until they are evenly coated in the sauce

Add the chicken and vegetables back to the wok

Sauté for 3-4 minutes, tossing gently so you do not break the noodles

Add in the Thai basil, toss gently and remove from heat

Serve garnished with green onions, lime slices and a sprinkle of dried red chilis, if desired


*for spicer noodles leave some or all of the seeds

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Noodles
  • Cuisine: Thai

Keywords: #drunkennoodles, #thainoodles, #thaicookingathome, #thaidrunkennoodles, #padkeemao

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30 Minute Thai Drunken Noodles

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  1. KimS said:

    Is a cup of oyster sauce correct? Thats like a whole bottle…

    • Laura said:

      Hi Kim! Yes it is correct, it’s the base for the sauce. If you don’t want to use that much you could water it down – 1/2 cup oyster sauce and 1/2 cup water, but the sauce will not be as thick.