If you love a warm bowl of pad Thai when you go to a restaurant, this recipe will leave you wanting more every time! This easy pad Thai sauce recipe includes simple ingredients you likely have in your pantry and is not made with tamarind paste. Traditional pad Thai sauce is often made with tamarind as one of the main ingredients, but this recipe is made with honey and brown sugar instead making this a good pad Thai sauce to start with if this is your first time. Full recipe card below!
This post contains affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure policy for more information.
What is Pad Thai?
Pad Thai is a traditional stir fried street food in Thailand frequently made with shrimp or chicken, rice noodles, vegetables, peanuts, and bean sprouts. It is mixed with a sweet, sour, and sometimes spicy peanut based sauce often made with fish sauce and tamarind. Most authentic pad Thai sauce is not made with peanut butter but I am breaking the rules here and simplifying the recipe a bit. And I think it tastes better with peanut butter 😉
What is tamarind?
Tamarind is actually a tree that produces fruits that grow in pods. These fruits are dark in color and have a sour or tangy flavor and are frequently used in Thai cuisine. The fruit is often used in paste form although tamarind concentrate and tamarind sauce may also be used in Thai food as well as other Asian, Latin, and Caribbean cuisines.
Simple Pad Thai Sauce Ingredients
This is an easy recipe but it will awaken your taste buds with its umami flavor.
Peanut Butter. As I mentioned above, original pad Thai doesn’t usually contain peanut butter, but it provides an added creaminess and a nutty flavor. And bonus, most of us stock it in the pantry since it has a relatively long shelf life and it’s much easier to find at your local grocery store. Just make sure to use the creamy version.
Fish Sauce or Oyster Sauce. This essential ingredient adds a depth of flavor to this delicious pad Thai sauce and is used often in Asian cuisine and Thai dishes. It definitely has a slight fishy taste but I would also describe it as salty, tangy, and slightly sweet. Fish sauce is one of the key ingredients that give pad Thai its distinctive flavor.
Soy Sauce. Soy sauce is a staple in my pantry and I use it in almost all of my Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and Thai cooking. It is a thin sauce with a very salty taste and a fair amount of sodium. Because of this I always use the reduced sodium version to avoid an overly salted dish.
Rice Vinegar. Another common ingredient in Asian dishes is rice vinegar. It has an acidic taste but unlike white vinegar, rice vinegar is made from fermented rice and white vinegar is made from fermented grain alcohol. Rice vinegar is not quite as offensive and has a slightly sweet taste. This can be found at your regular grocery store in the international food section or near the vinegars depending on your store setup.
Brown Sugar. Another staple in my pantry which I use frequently in baking cookies also makes an appearance in sweet and savory dishes as well. I usually use light brown sugar but dark brown works too, it’s just a little sweeter.
Honey. I think we all know what honey is. It will add an extra sweetness and thicken the sauce a little bit. I usually use raw honey because it has a sweeter taste. If you don’t have honey, you can also use maple syrup. Pro Tip: When measuring honey, spray the spoon with cooking spray first and it will slide right off.
Garlic. This ingredient adds a ton of flavor and is found in many dishes across cooking styles. Garlic always adds some depth and flavor. I usually keep a jar of minced garlic in the fridge for convenience but you could also use fresh garlic. No need to chop it, just peel it and throw it in with the rest of the ingredients.
Lime Juice. This will add a bit of freshness as well as some additional acid which helps cut some of the fat in the peanut butter.
Sriracha. This is definitely an optional ingredient but in my opinion should not be left out. If you have never had Sriracha it’s hot chili sauce. So if you are not into spicy food, maybe skip this ingredient or only use a little bit. But I love my pad Thai with a nice medium heat spice level.
When making a sauce like this it is important to have a high-speed blender, food processor, or bullet mixer to create a smooth consistency. I personally love my Ninja foodi because I can use any one of these options. For a small batch like this, the bullet attachment is the perfect size! But no matter which method I choose, the Ninja never disappoints and don’t get me started on the smoothie mode! Seriously smooth! If you don’t have a blender, a quality food processor should work too.Print
What to make with pad Thai sauce
This versatile sauce can be used in several different ways and I make it whenever I am craving Thai rice noodles. It makes me feel like I am at my local Thai restaurant! Here are some great options for when to use this tasty recipe.
Shrimp Pad Thai – My all time favorite! In fact, I just made it last week and I am already craving it again!
Chicken Pad Thai Pizza – Yep, I have made Pad Thai pizza with this sauce because I believe almost anything can become a pizza. I love pizza like a fat kid loves cake!
Vegetarian Pad Thai – I know not everyone eats meat and the good news is pad Thai usually contains a lot of veggies and fresh ingredients like a bell pepper, green onions, and bean sprouts.
Chicken Pad Thai – Chicken has such a mild flavor it is a great protein option for pad Thai!
Pad Thai Rice Bowl – Hear me out on this one. I know it sounds unique, but rice noodles are not all that different from rice.
No matter how you decide to use it, I have no doubt this will quickly become one of your favorite Thai recipes!
Looking for more homemade sauces? Check out these recipes.
Did you enjoy How to Make Pad Thai Sauce Recipe without Tamarind? Hover over an image and save to Pinterest! And if you don’t already follow me on social media ( Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok or Facebook ) I would love for us to be friends!
Did you love this recipe? Give it a five star rating and Tag @garrison.street.eats on Instagram and hashtag it #garrisonsteats
Love new recipes and kitchen talk? Subscribe so you never have to ask what’s on the menu. Delicious recipes delivered straight to your inbox 😉 Plus you will receive access to all my free printables! These are only available to my awesome subscribers as my way of thanking you for your continued support!
This post, How to Make Pad Thai Sauce Recipe without Tamarind, appeared first on Garrison Street Eats.