Thai Drunken Noodles (also known as Pad Kee Mao) are a flavorful dish that is easy to make at home. Whip them up with ground turkey (or your favorite animal protein) for a unique show-stopping meal in. The dish takes no more than 40 minutes to prepare!
There is no denying the satisfaction that comes with a well-crafted noodle. If you’re like me and you’re crazy about Thai food, you’re going to LOVE making drunken noodles at home.
They are so easy to prepare. My guess is you already have the ingredients you need if you make Asian cuisine.
What Are Drunken Noodles?
Pad Kee Mao is translated literally as “drunken noodles” It is a traditional Thai dish of wide rice noodles, fresh basil, chilis, and a sweet and salty sauce made of soy, oyster sauce, and sugar.
Yellow and green onion (and sometimes vegetables) and animal protein are often added. When everything is stir fried up together, you end up with a sweet, spicy, sticky noodle that hits all your palatary pleasures.
While it is customary to cook drunken noodles with chicken, beef or pork, I took the creative liberty to use ground turkey (because I love it!). I also choose to use liquid aminos instead of soy sauce, and coconut sugar instead of cane sugar.
Why are drunken noodles called drunken noodles?
A few theories are:
1.) The noodles are so spicy they’ll make your head spin (don’t worry, the heat level is customizable, and the recipe as written is mild)
2.) They go great alongside a cold beer (or other alcoholic beverage), and
3.) Drunken noodles are an epic hangover cure.
Like many tales, I’m sure there is truth to all three.
The key to amazing drunken noodles is using fresh chilis and basil. You can use either Thai basil or regular (holy) basil. Because we’re going for those sweet and umami flavors, a combination of soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, and sugar (or other sweetener) is bangarang.
Let’s make these noodles already!
How to Make Drunken Noodles:
Cook noodles according to package instructions and set aside until ready to use.
Stir together the liquid aminos, water, fish sauce, coconut sugar, and red chili sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
Heat the avocado oil in a large skillet or wok and add the ground turkey. Allow it to brown without touching for 3 minutes. Flip and allow the other side to brown another 3 minutes. Use a spatula to break up the meat.
Add the Thai chilies, garlic and green onion and continue cooking about 3 minutes. Add the sauce and bring to a full boil before adding the noodles.
Continue cooking until most of the sauce has been absorbed and noodles begin to stick to the pan, about 8 to 15 minutes.
Stir in the fresh basil and serve.
- Replace liquid aminos with soy sauce or coconut aminos.
- For mild noodles, replace the Thai chilies with 1 red bell pepper and omit the sriracha.
- Use ½ lb chicken breasts, chicken thighs, or steak instead of ground turkey.
- For a less meaty noodle, use only ½ lb of ground turkey instead of 1 lb…this recipe is protein-forward.
- Replace coconut sugar with cane sugar or brown sugar.
- Use only fish sauce or only oyster sauce if you just have one or the other on hand.
More Thai Recipes:
- Pressure Cooker Green Curry
- Thai Paleo Panang Curry
- Red Curry Chicken with Vegetables
- 30-Minute Thai Green Curry with Avocado
- 30-Minute Summer Vegetable Red Curry
- Chicken Pad Thai
- 30-Minute Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Krapow Gai)
- Thai Stir Fry Noodles (Pad See Ew)
- Homemade Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce
- Pineapple Fried Rice
Go home, noodles, you’re drunk.
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Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao) with Ground Turkey
- Cook noodles according to package instructions and set aside until ready to use.
- Stir together the liquid aminos, water, oyster sauce, fish sauce, coconut sugar, and sriracha in a small bowl and set aside.
- Heat the avocado oil in a large skillet or wok and add the ground turkey. Allow it to brown without touching for 3 minutes. Flip and allow the other side to brown another 3 minutes. Use a spatula to break up the meat.
- Add the Thai chilies, garlic and green onion and continue cooking another 3 minutes. Add the sauce and bring to a full boil before adding the noodles.
- Continue cooking until most of the sauce has been absorbed and noodles begin to stick to the pan, about 8 to 15 minutes.
- Stir in the fresh basil and serve.