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Who needs delivery when you can make your own Thai drunken noodles with tofu right at home?! Sweet, spicy, and saucy, this recipe has everything you love about the takeout favorite.

Drunken noodles with tofu in wok with chopsticks.
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For the longest time, I would only order pad see ew at Thai restaurants, but once I started tolerating spicy foods, I gave drunken noodles a try and they quickly became my go-to. While they’re definitely two different dishes with different flavors, you’ll find that the bases of the sauces are pretty similar. This means if you have the essentials to make pad see ew, you can whip up a batch of drunken noodles with tofu too!

This is the type of recipe that’s easy enough to make for a weeknight meal—and it’s also versatile enough to make everyone happy. You can use any protein you like; I chose tofu because that’s what I typically order, but sliced beef, chicken, or even shrimp would be delicious. Add more vegetables, adjust the spice level according to your preferences, and garnish with some extra fresh basil, sliced green onion, chopped cashews, or anything else you happen to have on hand.

Also, if you’re looking for more easy tofu recipes, I’m a big fan of pan-fried sesame garlic tofu, sweet and sour tofu, and spicy chili tofu stir fry.

Why You’ll Love This Thai Drunken Noodles Recipe

Homemade Thai drunken noodles are a go-to weeknight meal for me! Here’s why I think you’ll adore this recipe, too:

  • Sweet, savory, and spicy. Rice noodles and tofu are smothered in a sauce made with salty soy sauce, sweet soy sauce, and oyster sauce, for a bit of umami flavor. There are also some bird’s eye chilis thrown in to kick up the heat (feel free to adjust how much you add in to fit your spice preferences, though!).
  • Quick and easy. Drunken noodles with tofu can be made in just 30 minutes, making it a great choice for nights when you need dinner on the table ASAP.
  • Adaptable. It’s so easy to change up this meal. You can add in more veggies, switch up the tofu for meat, and more. Check out the variations section below for more info!
Ingredients for Thai drunken noodles with tofu.

What You’ll Need

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make drunken noodles with tofu at home. Scroll down to the recipe card below for exact measurements.

For the Sauce

  • Oyster sauce – You can swap in vegetarian mushroom oyster sauce if you want to make this recipe plant-based.
  • Soy sauce – Low sodium soy sauce and regular soy sauce are both good options.
  • Sweet soy sauce – This is usually sold alongside other soy sauce varieties. You may also find it labeled as kecap manis, which is the Indonesian version.
  • Rice vinegar – Not the kind that’s seasoned and sweetened!
  • Fish sauce – Again, you can use a vegetarian fish sauce here, or just add extra soy sauce.

For the Tofu and Noodles

  • Flat, wide rice noodles – If you can’t find the short, flat rice noodles, you can use regular longer flat rice noodles.
  • Veggies – I like to keep it simple with onion and red bell pepper.
  • Garlic – Freshly minced garlic is the best, but store-bought will work as well.
  • Bird’s eye chili – If you can’t find these at your grocery store, you can use 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Thai basil leaves – Thai basil has a very distinctive, sharp, anise-like flavor. If you can’t find it, use regular basil leaves. 
  • Extra-firm tofu – Extra-firm tofu stands up well to stir-frying. Anything softer is more likely to crumble.

How to Make Thai Drunken Noodles

As promised, this drunken noodles recipe is totally easy and fast enough for a weeknight dinner. By the time you get takeout or delivery, you could already be eating! At any rate, here are the basic steps involved – be sure to check out the recipe card for the full set of directions!

  • Make the sauce. Whisk together the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl, then set it aside.
  • Cook the noodles. Bring a small pot of water to a boil, then cook the rice noodles according to the directions on the package.
  • Cook the vegetables and aromatics. Place a wok over high heat and add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the onion and bell pepper. Cook until the vegetables are soft and tender, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, bird’s eye chili, and basil.
  • Finish the drunken noodles. Reduce the heat to medium, pour in the sauce, then stir to combine everything. Add the drained noodles, and toss to coat them in the sauce. Finally, add the tofu and gently toss again to evenly distribute all the ingredients. Remove everything from the heat and serve!

What Can I Use If I Don’t Have a Wok?

Use the largest skillet you have; preferably one with high sides. You’ll need plenty of room to toss all of the ingredients together.

Drunken noodles in wok with with chopsticks and bowls in background.

Tips for Success

Here are some tips for perfect Thai drunken noodles with tofu at home.

  • Drain the noodles well. If they’re too wet when you add them to the sauce, they’ll thin it out and your finished dish won’t be as flavorful.
  • Press the tofu. Take the time to press the tofu; this lets it soak up the flavor of the sauce.
  • Adjust the level of heat. Drunken noodles are usually served spicy. If you’re making this for people who have different preferences for the heat level, you can make the recipe with a small amount of hot pepper, then reserve some for garnish for those who want more of a kick.

Substitutions & Recipe Variations

Here are some ways to switch up this drunken noodles recipe if you’re looking for a change:

  • Protein. As mentioned above, you can add a different protein (beef, chicken, shrimp, etc.). Note that you’ll need to cook that protein first!
  • Veggies. Add scallions, baby corn, broccoli, carrots, or other veggies.
  • Fresh tomatoes. Stir in halved cherry or grape tomatoes after removing the wok from heat; just enough to warm them up before serving.
Closeup shot of drunken noodles in wok with chopsticks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make drunken noodles less spicy?

Of course! Simply use less of the bird’s eye chilis, or skip them entirely. You can also use red pepper flakes instead, starting with a very small amount at first and increasing as needed.

Why are they called drunken noodles?

One theory is that the noodles are meant to be enjoyed with a cold, alcoholic beverage. (The idea is that the spiciness of the dish can cut through any inebriation.) The actual dish does not contain any alcohol, though!

Serving Suggestions

Thai drunken noodles make for a pretty filling meal all on their own, but there are a few things that you can serve with them! Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Salad. Something light and refreshing like this cucumber salad would be good!
  • Veggies. Garlic roasted green beans, for example, are a great add-on to this meal. And other roasted vegetables taste awesome, too!
  • Lime wedges. Fresh lime juice adds a tanginess to each bite that really takes the overall flavor to the next level.
Drunken noodles with tofu in wok with chopsticks.

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

Got some leftovers? No problem! This is the best way to store and reheat them:

  • To store. Store your drunken noodles with tofu in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • To reheat. Reheat the noodles in the microwave until warmed through. Drunken noodles are great for meal prep lunches, too!

More Thai-Inspired Recipes

Ready to make some more Thai food in your own kitchen? Let’s get to it!

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4.78 from 9 votes

Thai Drunken Noodles

Make this classic Thai takeout dish at home! Drunken noodles with tofu are sweet, savory, and spicy all at once – you'll love them.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2

Equipment

Ingredients 

For the sauce:

  • 2 ½ tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sweet soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce

For the rest of the dish:

  • 5 ounces (142 g) flat, wide, rice noodles, cooked
  • ½ medium onion, sliced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 or 2 bird's eye chili, finely chopped (or use 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes if you can't find birds eye chili), adjust levels of spice to your own tolerance
  • Handful of fresh Thai basil leaves
  • 7 ounces (199 g) extra firm tofu, cubed, pressed and drained

Instructions 

  • In a small bowl, combine ingredients for the sauce. Set aside.
  • In a small pot, bring a pot of water to boil and cook rice noodles according to directions on the package.
  • Put a wok over high heat and add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the wok. Once hot, add onion and bell pepper to the wok. Cook until soft and tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add in the garlic, birds eye chili, and basil.
  • Reduce heat to medium then add in the sauce. Stir to combine then add in the drained noodles. Toss to incorporate then add in the tofu and gently toss to incorporate everything evenly.
  • Serve warm and enjoy!

Notes

  • To store. Store your drunken noodles with tofu in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • To reheat. Reheat the noodles in the microwave until warmed through. Drunken noodles are great for meal prep lunches, too!

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving, Calories: 308kcal, Carbohydrates: 52g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 5g, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 27g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.

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Recipe Rating




18 Comments

  1. So good! Only change that I made was to use a crispy tofu recipe for the tofu in the air fryer. I will be making this again and again. Thanks so much for this recipe!

  2. Followed the recipe and didn’t substitute anything…. I did add an extra dash of rice vinegar because the levels were on the sweet side. It was fantastic and going in the rotation for vegetarian dish.

    I also did a pad thai thing and served with crushed peanut and lime wedges that I will do again.

  3. I absolutely adore this recipe and make it all the time! I was just looking at the nutritional info and am curious where the sugar is coming from? 27g seems like a lot so I’m just curious if you know?

  4. REALLY good and easy and QUICK.

    I loved this and will be making it regularly. FINALLY, I can have Drunken Noodles at home! And, I was able to bring the heat down to a level that doesn’t make me cry. Thank you.

    1. This is a follow up. I entertained for the first Covid-era time tonight and served this. It is such a stress free dish to serve company. It turned out great!

      I served it with miso soup and a small salad. It was a successful dinner. Thank you!

    1. you can input the ingredient amounts into a nutritional calculator that you can google…sorry, i only do the basic calculations

    1. @Dafne Morales, there’s mushroom sauce similar to oyster sauce. Fish sauce has vegan alternatives as well but maybe you can omit overall. Good luck!

    2. @Dafne Morales,

      I make a vegan version of this using hoisin sauce instead of clam sauce and vegan fish sauce(can get at whole foods or make your own! Look online for recipes). It is delicious and a super easy switch!

  5. Where do you get the fat noodle, looked e everywhere here. Its Kim, I work with your mom. Your drunken noodle looks so good. My boys love that noodle, they always get the pad see ew

    1. Hi, if you are talking about browser notifications, that is something you will have to do on your own as you clicked “allow” when you came to this site. You can google “how to block notifications for (enter browser, i.e. Safari here)” and it will show you how.