Thai Beef Drunken Noodles combines rice noodles with thinly sliced flavored beef, thai basil, peppers, all dressed in delicious sauce with just the right amount of heat! A simple and easy weeknight meal that comes together in 20 minutes.
For all of you Thai food lovers that devour a big bowl of Drunken Noodles every time you go to a Thai restaurant, this recipe is for you! As a nutritionist, I love to take traditional takeout food and make it healthier. That is what we are doing with these Thai Beef Drunken Noodles! And if you want my low-carb version, you can always head to my Thai Beef Drunken Zoodle recipe.
What are Drunken Noodles?
Drunken Noodles are also referred to as Pad Kee Mao. I once asked a waiter where the name drunken noodles came from; he told me its because the dish is so spicy it requires you to chug beer to tame down the spice. Sounds legit. When making this dish I did a bit more research and found that the dish was devised by someone who came home drunk and used whatever ingredients he had on hand to create the dish. Either way, if you’ve never tasted them before, the version I created is pretty ridiculously delicious!
I’ve mentioned before how much we love Asian food. Especially my kids, and when anything involves noodles, they are ALL over it! My teenager often helps me with my photo shoots, and always wants to be the first to taste something. She kept on shoveling the noodles in her mouth, that we had to do a re-plating of the dish. I call that a great endorsement!
How to make Thai Beef Drunken Zoodles:
This recipe couldn’t be easier!
- Cook your rice noodles according to package directions.
- Start by prepping your veggies: slice up the peppers (can use bell pepper), chop your shallot and ginger, and mince the garlic.
- Finely slice your beef into strips.
- Warm up a large wok or saute pan to medium high. Add oil and once hot, toss in shallot, ginger, peppers, and garlic.
- Saute for 2-3 minutes, then toss in the beef. Sear the beef so it’s browned (it might not be cooked all the way).
- Whisk together your sauce ingredients, and toss into the pan with rice noodles and carrots.
- Toss to combine and serve with Thai Basil!
- Protein: I used beef, but chicken, tofu, or even shrimp would taste delicious.
- Rice Noodles: Feel free to use zucchini noodles for a low carb variation!
- Veggies: Bean sprouts are sometimes used in drunken noodles, and the only vegetables I threw in here were peppers and carrots (favorites in our house).
- Spice level: you can easily play with the amount of spice. I used small dried red chile peppers, that I re-hydrated by placing in hot water. They are a bit less spicy then typical fresh chili peppers. The recipe had a bit of kick, but was perfect! I use my kids to judge the level of spiciness and they were fine with it.
- Thai basil: is your best option, but I have also made noodles with standard basil when I was unable to find Thai or holy basil.
Other healthy takeout dishes you will love!
- Slow Cooker or Instant Pot General Tso’s Chicken
- Thai Coconut Curry Meatballs
- Hibachi Steak Bowls with Cauliflower Fried Rice
Thai Beef Drunken Noodles
20 minutes is all you need to enjoy this restaurant quality Thai Beef Drunken Noodle dish! You'll love the burst of flavor, hints of spice, and fresh Thai Basil on top!
- 16 oz rice noodles
- 3 tbsp coconut or olive oil
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
- 5 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 cup chopped shallots
- 2-4 small red chili peppers*
- 12-16 oz high quality beef cut into thin strips top sirloin, filet mignon
- 1/2 cup soy sauce can use GF Tamari or coconut aminos
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 cup matchstick carrots
- 1 cup fresh thai basil or holy basil*
Prepare your rice noodles according to package directions. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat up a large wok or skillet to medium high heat. Add oil, and toss in ginger, garlic, peppers, and shallots. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant, add beef. Cook beef for just a few minutes, making sure each side is browned, but not overcooked. Turn down heat to low.
Make your sauce by mixing together soy sauce, honey, vinegar, and fish sauce. Toss into skillet with beef. Mix in noodles and stir to coat. Finally toss in carrots and fresh basil (torn into pieces). Serve hot!
*Adjust the spice to your taste. 2 peppers is a more mild variation, 4 will make it more spicy, even add up to 6 peppers for really spicy.
**Thai basil can be found in some grocery stores, or in an Asian grocery store. Regular basil can be used as a substitute if you are unable to find it.