Vegan Pad Thai

GFGluten FreeSFRefined Sugar FreeVVegan
4.94 from 16 votes
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Enjoy homemade Vegan Pad Thai any night of the week! It’s loaded with rich flavor, packed with plant-based protein, and can be made faster than you can order takeout. Gluten-free.

This Vegan Pad Thai is made with chewy rice noodles and fresh veggies tossed in a flavorful sauce until coated and saucy. It’s ready in 30 minutes or less and can be made a number of ways to suit your taste buds and pantry. You’ll be hooked after the first sweet and savory bite!

Table of Contents
  1. What is Pad Thai?
  2. What You Need for Vegan Pad Thai
  3. How to Make Vegan Pad Thai
  4. Serving Suggestions
  5. How to Store Vegan Pad Thai
  6. Vegan Pad Thai Recipe
vegan pad thai served on a plate topped with lime and peanuts

What is Pad Thai?

Authentic Pad Thai is a stir-fried noodle dish that is a popular street food in Thailand. It is traditionally prepared with seafood, proteins such as chicken and or tofu, and eggs. For this vegan version, we’ve made a few simple plant-based ingredient swaps without compromising on flavor or the integrity of the dish.

All in all, if one of your favorite pastimes was ordering Pad Thai at your local Thai restaurant, I think you’re going to be pleased with this plant-based twist!

What You Need for Vegan Pad Thai

Although this Pad Thai is made with just 12 ingredients, there are 3 ingredients you’ll need to make a classic, restaurant-worthy Pad Thai:

ingredients for egan pad thai served in bowls on a marble kitchen countertop
  • Palm sugar: Pad Thai is traditionally made with palm sugar. It’s a sweetener derived from palm trees and is slightly less sweet than white sugar. This can be hard to find in mainstream grocery stores, but I was able to find it at my local Asian grocery store. The next best alternative would be to use coconut sugar, followed by brown sugar. Brown sugar is slightly more sweet, so you can reduce it to 1-2 tablespoons, if desired.
  • Tamarind: Tamarind is an essential component to Pad Thai and adds a delightfully tangy flavor! I like to buy tamarind concentrate as a little goes a long way and it keeps for a long time in the fridge. Tracking this ingredient down is worth it!
  • Garlic chives: This herb has flat tender stalks and tastes like a mix between garlic and green onions. Again, I was able to find this at my local Asian grocery store, but green onions will work in a pinch!
side-by-side photos of palm sugar and green onions and garlic chives side by side

How to Make Vegan Pad Thai

step-by-step photos showing the process of making pad thai
  1. Cook the noodles according to package instructions.
  2. Whisk the pad Thai sauce together. Set aside.
  3. Pan-fry the tofu until crispy. Set aside.
  4. Sauté the aromatics and veggies until fragrant and tender.
  5. Push the shallot and veggie mixture to one half of the pan, then add the sugar followed by the the sauce ingredients. Simmer until thickened.
  6. Add the cooked noodles and tofu to the wok and toss to combine. Cook until all of the extra liquid has evaporated and the noodles are soft and chewy.
  7. Add the garlic chives and bean sprouts and mix well, causing the bean sprouts to wilt slightly.
  8. Serve immediately as desired.

Caitlin’s Cooking Tips

  • Use a work or large sauté pan and warm it properly. This helps brown the aromatics, allowing them to release their flavor into the oil and create a well-rounded dish. A wok can also help prevent the vegan Pad Thai sauce from thickening and evaporating too quickly, ensuring the dish remains as flavorful and saucy as possible.
  • Don’t overcook the noodles! Keep in mind that the rice noodles will continue to cook once tossed in the wok. For best results, soak the noodles in water according to the package soaking instructions. If you decide to boil them, slightly undercook the noodles in the boiling water and finish them in the wok. This will prevent mushy Pad Thai!
a zoomed in image of vegan pad thai

Serving Suggestions

This vegan Pad Thai makes a satisfying main dish, perfect for lunch or dinner when you’re craving something sweet, savory, and a little spicy thanks to red pepper flakes. Pair it with a side of bean sprouts to lighten up the dish, plus crushed peanuts and lime wedges.

If you’re looking for more vegan Thai-inspired recipes, you’ll also love this Thai Green Curry Recipe, this Vegan Tofu Pineapple Curry and this Thai Red Curry Vegetable Soup with Crispy Tofu!

How to Store Vegan Pad Thai

Vegan pad thai is best enjoyed while fresh, but can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Freezing is not recommended.

To reheat, transfer the pad Thai back to the stovetop or place in a microwave-safe bowl with a splash of water and heat until warmed through.

two plates of pad thai with lime wedges and crushed peanuts

Substitutions and Variations

  • Gluten-free option: Swap the regular soy sauce for tamari and ensure your vegan fish sauce and rice noodles are certified gluten-free.
  • Tamarind concentrate substitute: If you cannot find tamarind paste at the grocery store or online, substitute this ingredient with lime juice and 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar.
  • Tofu options: I prefer to use super firm tofu in this recipe as it requires no pressing, but you could also use extra-firm tofu and press it well beforehand.
  • Skip pan-frying the tofu: If you prefer softer tofu in your Pad Thai, skip the pan-frying step and add the tofu cubes in at step 7.
  • Omit the veggies. Traditional Pad Thai does not often include veggies. If you’d like to make this easy vegan version more authentic, omit the carrots and bell pepper.
  • Add seafood flavor: Finish the dish with up to 1 tablespoon of dried nori flakes, or to taste.
  • Make it eggy: Add 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of black salt or kala namak at the end right before serving. Note that black salt is very salty, so use a very light hand.

Recipe FAQs

Is Pad Thai a hot or cold dish?

Pad Thai is meant to be enjoyed while hot. If you’re looking for a cold noodle dish, try my Cold Soba Noodles with Peanut Sauce.

Are pad Thai and rice noodles the same?

Yes, pad thai noodles are rice noodles. Depending on the brand, the rice noodles may be thinner or flat rice noodles and this can affect the cook time. Pad Thai is typically made with white rice noodles, but you can use brown rice noodles, if desired.

What is the difference between Pad Thai and Lo Mein?

Lo mein is a Chinese stir-fried noodle dish and Pad Thai is a traditional Thai recipe. Lo mein is also typically made with wheat based noodles whereas Pad Thai is typically made with gluten-free rice noodles. If you’re interested in a stir-fry style dish made with wheat noodles, you may love this Spicy Sesame Noodles Recipe.

Is tamarind paste vegan?

Yes, tamarind paste (concentrate) is usually vegan. It is made from a tamarind fruit. The ingredients in most quality pastes should be simply tamarind pulp and water.

Enjoy! If you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I would also love it if you could leave a comment below with a recipe rating! Thank you for the support 😊

vegan pad thai on white plate topped with peanuts and with bean sprouts on the side

Vegan Pad Thai

4.94 from 16 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 people
Enjoy homemade Vegan Pad Thai any night of the week! It's loaded with rich flavor, packed with plant-based protein, and can be made faster than you can order takeout. Gluten-free.


For the Pad Thai Sauce:

For the Pad Thai:

  • 2-3 tbsp high-heat oil avocado, vegetable, or peanut
  • 8 oz super firm tofu* cut into 1/2” cubes
  • 1 shallot cut into thin slices
  • 3 cloves of garlic finely minced
  • 1-2 teaspoons chili flakes optional
  • 1 carrot peeled and cut into matchsticks; optional
  • 1 bell pepper thinly sliced; optional
  • 3 packed tablespoons palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 ½ cups bean sprouts loosely packed
  • 7-10 stalks garlic chives OR 5 green onions cut into 2” pieces
  • ¼ cup peanuts crushed


  • Cook the Noodles: Soak the noodles in boiling water according to package instructions; my noodles only needed 10 minutes, but some may take longer so prep accordingly! Once tender, drain the noodles and set aside.
  • Prep: Warm wok or large sauté pan over medium heat. Once warm, add 2 tablespoons of oil and swirl it around to coat the sides. Whisk the soy sauce, tamarind concentrate, water, and vegan fish sauce (optional), together in a small bowl; set aside.
  • Pan-Fry the Tofu: Add the tofu to the pan and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring only occasionally, until crispy. Remove the tofu from the pan and set aside. Notes: If you do not want pan-fry your tofu, skip to step 3. If you are doubling the recipe, fry the tofu in batches).
  • Aromatics: Add additional oil to the pan if necessary so the bottom of the pan is coated. Add the shallot, garlic, and chili flakes (optional) and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until the garlic begins to brown.
  • Add Veggies (optional): Add the carrot and bell pepper and sauté for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, until the veggies are tender. Skip this step if you are not adding extra veggies.
  • Make the Sauce: Push the shallot mixture to one half of the pan. Add the sugar to the other half and pour the soy sauce mixture on top; mix well, until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, until thickened.
  • Combine: Add the cooked and drained rice noodles and tofu to the wok and use tongs to toss with the sauce. Cook until all of the extra liquid has evaporated from the pan. Taste the noodles and if they are still too firm, add water in 2 tablespoon increments and cook for a few more minutes.
  • Final Touches: Turn the heat off and add the garlic chives (or green onions) and bean sprouts. Use tongs to mix well and let sit until the bean sprouts have wilted slightly.
  • Serve: Transfer the Pad Thai to serving plates, making sure to get a good mix of noodles, tofu, and veggies. Top with peanuts and serve warm with a lime wedges and extra bean sprouts, if desired. Pad Thai is best enjoyed immediately, but you can store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days and reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave with a splash of water.

Recipe Notes

  • Tofu: I prefer to use super firm tofu in this recipe as it requires no pressing, but you could also use extra-firm tofu and press well beforehand
  • Sugar: Pad Thai is traditionally made with palm sugar, but this can be hard to find in grocery stores. The next best alternative would be to use coconut sugar, followed by brown sugar. Brown sugar is slightly more sweet, so you can reduce it to 1-2 tbsp if desired.
  • Tamarind: Tamarind is an essential component to Pad Thai and adds a delightfully tangy flavor! I like to buy tamarind concentrate as a little goes a long way and it keeps for a long time in the fridge. If you cannot find tamarind near you, replace it with the juice of 1 lime and 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar.
  • Make It Eggy: Add ¼-½ tsp black salt at end
  • To add seafood flavor: Add 1 tbsp nori flakes at end, or to taste


Calories: 634kcalCarbohydrates: 82gProtein: 24gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 15gSodium: 1951mgPotassium: 1056mgFiber: 10gSugar: 18gVitamin A: 7705IUVitamin C: 106mgCalcium: 157mgIron: 6mg
Keyword: pad thai recipe, vegan pad thai, vegetarian pad thai
Course: Main, Main Course
Method: Stovetop
Cuisine: Chinese, Japanese
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

About the Author

Hey there, I’m Caitlin! I make easy-to-follow, wholesome, and budget-friendly vegan recipes that are mostly gluten-free and refined sugar-free. I’m also an avid yogi, love the great outdoors, am chocolate-obsessed, and enjoy eating almond butter straight off of the spoon.

Learn More

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  1. 5 stars
    YUM 😀
    Made this last night. I replaced peppers with mushrooms since I have a weird thing about cooked peppers. Also I have had the hardest time getting tofu in this pandemic, so I made “chicken” pad thai instead with Quorn meatless pieces and it was awesome.

    1. Mushrooms work too! I’m glad you were able to make it work with things you liked and things you could find. Hope you’re able to find tofu again soon!

  2. 5 stars
    This was soooo ridiculously delicious that I had to share it with my entire family (picky omnivores) and ended up having no leftovers ))))): !!!!! I’ll have to double the recipe next time. But this is definitely a new staple recipe!!!! Once all the chopping and shredding is done, it’s so easy to throw together. A great well balanced meal that will make you (+ your entire family) lick your plate clean!!!

    1. That’s awesome! Personal favorite stories are when nonvegans love vegan food. Thanks for the kind words!

  3. 5 stars
    Outstanding recipe! I pimped it up with some extra Veg (Broccoli, zucchini) and some extra fresh chilli. This was my first use of Black Salt. What a wonderful spice! The sulphur in the salt really does create an eggy aroma…..I will also add this to my Tofu scramble at breakfast. This dish, both super tasty and easy and quick to put together, will become a regular meal in our house. Thanks!

  4. 5 stars
    This was so amazing! I added a tablespoon of almond butter to the sauce just to get a little extra nutty flavor in and added some broccoli for more veggies, and it came out wonderfully! I am also not completely vegan, and was out of sugar, so I added a tablespoon of honey in place of the coconut sugar. Great flavors, so easy! This is definitely being added to the regular rotation in my house.

  5. Do you have any suggestions to keep the rice noodles all separated and yummy? This was SO good and I’ll definitely make it again, but my noodles definitely broke apart into little pieces/clumps.

    1. I would make sure to gently fold them into the mixture, and you may also want to cook them 1-2 minutes less in the pot as they will continue to cook once you add them to the hot pan 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    This was awesome. I did reduce the amount of tofu a bit mainly because not everyone in my family likes tofu. May reduce it down to a quarter next time because my daughter is such a picky eater but I threw in plenty of broccoli to make up for it and she at all the broccoli. I will definitely be adding this to our regular rotation since it’s rare that I can find something that all 4 of us agree on.

  7. 5 stars
    I can’t believe how delicious this is!! I omitted the red bell pepper and subbed 4 hot chili peppers, and I also added a tbls of unsweetened peanut butter…I can’t get enough of it! I made it early in the day and have been snacking on it nonstop.

  8. So happy with this recipe! I went to my local Grocery Outlet and they had ALL ingredients (except Tamari, but luckily I had coconut aminos in my fridge already). I love Pad Thai and this recipe was almost perfect (I made a few simple cooking errors), so next time I’ll cook the noodles more and add more sauce. I added some jalapeños and serrano’s to spice it up more! Thank you so much for sharing a wonderful recipe!

  9. I made this for dinner last night and it was absolutely delicious!!! (I’m not even vegan, but like to eat vegan meals from time to time, so would also recommend for those looking to experiment with vegan recipes). My husband typically turns his nose up at tofu, but I honestly don’t think he even realized it was in there, as he went back for seconds. Highly recommend this one! Yum.

  10. Hey Caitlin, I made them using white rice (I didn’t have the brown ones) and they are absolutely delicious.

  11. I made this recipe last night! I loved how saucy it was, but definitely missed the peanutty aspect of the traditional sauce. Do you think adding tahini would help with this?

    1. Hi Shelby, traditional Pad Thai does not have peanuts in the sauce, but only as a garnish! If you’d like to add a peanut flavor to the sauce though, you can add in 2-4 tbsp of Peanut Butter with the other sauce ingredients.

  12. Is this the exact recipe you followed in your video, or is this doubled from the video? I remember you using a small block of tofu in the video, but this seems to list a full block. I am doubling this recipe tonight for my family, and want to make sure the proportions are right. Should I use 2 15oz packages of tofu?

  13. I never tried Pad Thai until I was already vegan, so I’ve never even thought to try making it with tofu scramble. Tofu scramble and Pad Thai are two of my favorite foods! I am so excited to try this recipe!

  14. Going to try this tonight, but I just wanted to see on future recipes, if you’ll offer suggestions for sourcing items like kombu or bean sprouts because I checked at my two local grocery stores and neither had them. Thank you for the recipe!

    1. Jake, great idea! I will definitely do that in the future. My grocery store has the bean sprouts located near the tofu, and I purchased my Kombu online – it’s linked in the recipe ingredients 🙂

  15. Pad Thai is such a wonderful recipe. This is such a great dish for the collaboration! I love the combination of flavors and spices in your take on Pad Thai–I love the dry roasted peanuts and chiles to garnish the most!