Drunken Noodles, also known as Pad Kee Mao, is a Thai rice noodle delight with a fun backstory. Try our genuine recipe.

Step-by-Step Guide: Making Thai Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao)

Recipe by Annie Tibber


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Drunken Noodles, also known as Pad Kee Mao, is a Thai rice noodle dish that earned its name as a favored late-night snack enjoyed after a night of revelry. Give our authentic recipe a try


  • For the Chicken & Marinade:
  • 2 tablespoons of water

  • 12 ounces of sliced chicken thighs or chicken breast (340g)

  • 1 teaspoon of soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon of oil

  • 2 teaspoons of cornstarch

  • For the Remaining Dish Ingredients:
  • 8 ounces of wide dried rice noodles (225g)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of brown sugar (dissolved in 1 tablespoon of hot water)

  • 2 teaspoons of soy sauce (preferably Thai soy sauce)

  • 1 teaspoon of dark soy sauce

  • 2 teaspoons of oyster sauce

  • A pinch of ground white pepper

  • 3 tablespoons of vegetable or canola oil (split into portions)

  • 3 cloves of garlic (sliced)

  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger

  • 2 shallots (sliced, approximately 1/3 cup)

  • One scallion, cut into 3-inch julienne pieces

  • Four Thai red chili peppers, with seeds removed and julienned.

  • 1 cup of holy basil or Thai basil (loosely packed)

  • 5 to 6 pieces of baby corn (halved, optional)

  • 2 teaspoons of Shaoxing wine


  • Chicken Marination: Begin by massaging 2 tablespoons of water into the sliced chicken until it absorbs the liquid. Add 1 teaspoon of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of oil, and 2 teaspoons of cornstarch. Mix until the chicken is evenly coated, then set it aside for 20 minutes.
  • Noodle Preparation: Follow the instructions on the rice noodle package for cooking the noodles. Typically, we fill a stainless steel bowl with hot tap water and soak the noodles for around 15 minutes. Then, drain them and set them aside for cooking.
  • Prepare the Sauce: Combine the dissolved brown sugar mixture with the soy sauces, fish sauce, oyster sauce, and a pinch of white pepper in a small bowl. Set this sauce mixture aside.
  • Chicken Searing: Heat your wok until it’s nearly smoking, then evenly distribute 2 tablespoons of oil around the wok’s perimeter. Add the chicken and sear it for 1 minute on each side, ensuring it’s about 90% cooked. Take out the chicken from the wok and place it aside. If the heat was high enough and you seared the meat correctly, your wok should remain clean with no sticking. If not, clean the wok to prevent the rice noodles from sticking.
  • Aromatics Sauté: Keep the wok on high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil, along with the garlic and freshly grated ginger. After a few seconds, introduce the shallots. Stir-fry for 20 seconds and then add the scallions, chili peppers, basil, baby corn, and Shaoxing wine. Stir-fry for another 20 seconds, then add the rice noodles. Use a scooping motion to mix everything for an additional minute until the noodles heat through.
  • Incorporate the Sauce: Next, add the prepared sauce mixture and stir-fry on high heat for approximately 1 minute, until the noodles take on a consistent color. Be sure to use your metal spatula to prevent sticking by scraping the wok’s bottom.
  • Reintroduce the Chicken: Finally, add the seared chicken and stir-fry for an additional 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Serve and Enjoy!

“Drunken Noodles, also known as Pad Kee Mao, is a beloved Thai stir-fried noodle dish that packs a flavorful punch. The dish is renowned for its bold and spicy flavors, making it a favorite among Thai food enthusiasts. This enticing dish typically features wide rice noodles stir-fried with a tantalizing blend of ingredients such as Thai basil, chili peppers, garlic, and a savory sauce. The name ‘Drunken Noodles’ is said to come from the idea that the heat from the spicy ingredients might leave you reaching for a drink to cool off. Whether you’re a spice lover or seeking a new and exciting culinary adventure, Drunken Noodles is sure to delight your taste buds with its perfect balance of heat, freshness, and umami richness. Join us on a journey to explore the world of Thai cuisine through the delicious and aromatic Drunken Noodles!”

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