20-minute Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao)

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Devin and I have been on a real Thai Drunken Noodle kick over the last few months. On one of our take-out nights we decided to order some Thai food, which is one of our go-to’s. We would usually get something like Pad Thai or Red Curry but this time I was craving something different. One of my absolute favorite cuisines is Thai so I figured being experimental wouldn’t be too risky. And I was right!

I had heard of drunken noodles before but seeing the name on the menu peaked my interest again so I decided to order it. I was obviously expecting this to have alcohol as an ingredient but after tasting it I was surprise to find there wasn’t any alcohol in it at all! Curious, I decided to look up the recipe and see exactly what IS a drunken noodle and how can I make this so I can save myself $13.99 per order, plus tax and tip and delivery.

20 Minute Thai Drunken Noodles

So what’s so drunk about these noodles anyway? When I looked this up after eating it, I couldn’t agree with the explanation more. It’s called drunken noodles because it’s so spicy that the person eating it either has to be so drunk to be able to get it down, or they got drunk trying to drown out the heat with alcohol! Now if that’s not the most lit name for a dish then I don’t know what is!

20 Minute Thai Drunken Noodles

That being said, if you don’t like spicy food don’t go running for the hills just yet. I’ve made this dish about three times so far, all with a different level of spice. The secret to this is in the number of Thai chilies you use. Let me just worn you now, these little guys are FACKING spicy, but you can absolutely omit them if you’re a no tolerance type of person. For those with low heat tolerance, I’d say use no more than 1 or 2 chilies. For medium use 2-3 and hot 3-4. I would use as much as 5 chilies which is extra hot but definitely no more than that! Hot or extra hot is the typical spice level for this dish and it will have you chugging a whole 40 with dinner!

Have you ever tried Drunken Noodles? Did you like the spice? Leave me a comment below and lets chat about it!

20 Minute Thai Drunken Noodles
20 Minute Thai Drunken Noodles
20 Minute Thai Drunken Noodles
Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao)
Vegetarian version of the popular Thai dish with grape tomatoes, Thai basil and a spicy sauce.
  • 1 lb rice noodles
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2-4 Thai chilies, chopped
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/2 cup Thai basil or basil, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. olive or coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp. sweet soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp. raw sugar
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • Cook rice noodles according to package directions. Rice with cool water and set aside.
  • In a small bowl combine all sauce ingredients and stir. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in a wok or large skillet. Sauté garlic and Thai chilies for 2 minutes. Add in tomatoes, basil, sauce and noodles and cook for an addition 2-3 minutes, making sure all ingredients are fully incorporated. Remove heat and allow sauce to thicken.
  • Transfer noodles to a bowl. Garnish with more Thai basil.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 servings
Skill Level: Easy


  • Use this number of Thai chilies depending on heat preference:

    • Mild: 1-2 chilies

    • Medium: 2-3 chillies

    • Hot: 3-4 chillies

    • Extra hot: 5 chillies

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