Thai food is one of those cuisines we’ll always have a craving for. It’s spicy, refreshing, and so, so warming. What more could you want? Except that some Thai restaurants serve up bland versions of the real thing.
When you’ve eaten at a genuinely good Thai restaurant, it’s hard not to compare that experience to other restaurants that are sub-par, and you may think that you’ll be unable to replicate that experience at home.
But before you reach for the take-out menu of your favorite Thai restaurant, make a reservation, or book a flight to Bangkok, take a look at the recipes below.
Classic Thai dishes needn’t be hard to cook at home, and these recipes prove it. In fact, as long as you have a few staple ingredients such as Thai curry paste, Thai food is actually relatively easy to make. Not to mention quick!
Below you’ll find recipes for Thai classics like Pad Thai and Tom Yum soup, Thai street food favorites like Laab meatballs, and Thai twists on dishes like tacos and steak salad. So what are you waiting for? Take a look at the recipes below and bring your favorite Thai dishes home to you!
Let’s start with the basics, and the recipe for a Thai green curry paste. This paste is not only delicious and easy to make, but can be ready in just 10 minutes. Make a big batch of this paste, and you can freeze it into smaller portions, so you’ll always have some to hand.
Trust us, you’ll always want some of this curry paste around, as it’ll be the base for all your Thai green curries. It’s also an alternative to store-bought curry pastes. Win-win!
2. Pad Thai
Probably the first dish that comes to mind when you think of Thai food, this Thai restaurant favorite can be made at home in just under 30 minutes. You can use chicken, shrimp, or tofu in a Pad Thai, and combine it with bean sprouts, cilantro, peanuts, scrambled eggs and rice noodles all tossed together with a delicious Pad Thai sauce.
This dish is the perfect midweek meal.
Traditional Pad Thai sauce is made of fish sauce, sugar, tamarind paste and vinegar. But since tamarind paste might be hard to come by at your local grocery store, you can switch it out for rice vinegar. This recipe also adds a big dollop of peanut butter for extra creaminess and even more flavor.
Chicken wings are not just to be nibbled on before the main meal. Serve with Asian noodles or fried rice, and you’ve got yourself an excellent, filling main meal. These sticky chicken wings are gleaming with a tasty Thai flavored sticky sauce.
This hard-working sauce is also your marinade, which makes this recipe even easier to make. Just make one batch and split in half, using one half for the marinade and simmering the other half over the stove-top until it thickens and bubbles into a dipping sauce.
This recipe is super simple and can be made using ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.
This recipe takes the humble fried rice to a whole new level with a delicious Thai twist. This may sound a bit out there, but this fried rice can be cooked in a snap and requires simple ingredients.
This would be a great addition to your next dinner party, as the pineapple boat this rice comes in is sure to wow your guests!
Fragrant Jasmine rice is the base for this dish and is cooked until it’s nice and tender so all the curry powder, fish sauce, garlic, ginger and soy sauce absorbs into each grain of rice. Don’t just use the pineapple for serving though, add diced fresh pineapple to add some sweetness to the dish.
You can also add bell peppers and peas for extra crunch and color, and for some extra protein you can add succulent shrimp.
5. Tom Yum Soup
Another favorite in Thai food restaurants, Tom Yum Soup is something you can easily whip up in your kitchen in no time. It is a shrimp soup packed with Thai flavors and key Thai ingredients such as fish sauce, galangal, garlic, lime leaves, lemongrass and lime juice.
Tom Yum Soup is a beloved dish in Thailand thanks to its bold flavor that is light and salty, and tart and citrus all at once. This Tom Yum Soup recipe is gluten-free and can even be customized to be vegetarian and vegan as well.
Plus, if you don’t have the more traditional ingredients like galangal and lime leaves, this recipe offers substitutions for more pantry-friendly ingredients.
Another fresh soup that’s bursting with flavor, Thai Red Curry Noodle Soup contains tender pieces of chicken, rice noodles, basil, cilantro and lime juice.
This warming bowl is definitely a comfort dish that can be whipped up easily and quickly at home. After all, on a rainy day who wants to traipse all the way to a noodle house?
Another popular Thai curry, shrimp curry is easy and quick to make, not to mention mouth wateringly delicious! It’s the perfect soothing weeknight meal serviced with basmati or Jasmine rice.
Laab meatballs are a Thai street food favorite, although they may seem a bit peculiar at first bite. They’re made from ground pork, and get their crunch (yes, meatballs can be crunchy) from rice grain powder.
These meatballs are rugged on the outside, and filled with fresh, bold flavors. Served with cucumber, mint leaves, and a dipping sauce, turn to these Thai Laab meatballs if your trusty meatball recipe is getting a bit boring.
For a dinner that’s low on carbs but packed with Asian flavors, these Thai chicken lettuce wraps are the answer, but you could swap them out for turkey or even ground chicken instead.
This aromatic dish gets its flavors from fish sauce, sambal oelek, and soy sauce. Pack the meat and some veggies into these crunchy lettuce wraps, and you’re done.
The sauce in this recipe can be adjusted to your liking. If you want a saltier sauce, you can use regular soy sauce, if you want more heat you can turn up the volume on the sambal, or if you’re a fish sauce fan you can load up on that too. But don’t skimp on any of the ingredients, as each element has a part to play in making this a delicious, totally satisfying dish.
This recipe for Thai Chicken Satay is super tasty. The chicken is perfectly seasoned and cooked in a thick and creamy sauce made of peanut and coconut milk. This recipe aims to make the chicken satay taste just like take-out food, which is what we want when we’re craving takeout food but want to stay healthy.
This is a much healthier alternative! Plus, this recipe is an ideal time-saving recipe if you’re low on time to cube the chicken or soak skewers.
What’s better than chicken thighs? Chicken thighs soaked in delicious Thai flavors, that’s what! These thighs are crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, and are marinated in brown sugar, cilantro, fish sauce, ginger, lime sauce, and Thai basil.
This recipe really proves that good things come to those who wait, as the longer you marinate the chicken, the tastier it’ll be.
This is for all of you out there who love butternut squash and Thai food in equal measure. This creamy soup is packed with Thai flavors and has an irresistible coconut flavor. Make sure to serve it warm with chopped cilantro, crushed peanuts, and red chili flakes. Isn’t it enough to make your mouth water?
Cutting up butternut squash can be a bit tedious, but trust us, it’s so worth it! To make it easier on yourself, though, use a sharp vegetable peeler and a large, sharp knife.
These Thai spring rolls are the perfect summer snack! They’re light, fresh, and colorful and pair beautifully with a simple peanut and sweet chili sauce. This is the perfect healthy snack to enjoy over summer, when we’re all craving something light.
Plus, this recipe is super flexible and can be made using whatever you have to hand. Avocado, bean sprouts, bell peppers, chicken, lettuce… anything goes with these spring rolls!
Rotisserie chicken works best with this soup. Just load it with veggies, and you have a dish you can enjoy every day of the week.
When you’ve had a busy day and just want something quick when you get home, stir-fries are just what you need. Nuts like cashews and peanuts are popular in Asian cuisine, and cashews and chicken are the stars of the show in this bold and flavorful stir-fry recipe that is served best with a bowl of your favorite rice.
Thai cashew chicken may not have as much sauce as a Chinese cashew chicken, but what it lacks in sauce it makes up for in flavor.
16. Thai Curry Puffs
Resembling Indian samosas, these Thai curry puffs are sure to put a smile on your face!
A Thai twist on beloved tacos, these tacos are filled with chicken marinated in a spicy peanut butter sauce that is both sweet and savory, and a pineapple cucumber slaw. Delicious!
Crab cakes are super yummy, but not exactly kind to your wallet. Luckily, these Thai shrimp cakes are a tasty, affordable alternative. Tender and crispy, these shrimp cakes are pan seared and are ready to eat in under 30 minutes.
The combination of sweet Thai chili sauce, chili-garlic sauce and cilantro gives these cakes a bright, bold flavor, while the panko bread coating binds the cakes together and creates a crisp outer crust.
These can be enjoyed as both appetizers and mains, served with a crisp green salad, or even stuffed between two buns to make a delightful seafood sandwich. Use the chili aioli liberally, as this zesty sauce compliments the crunchy cakes perfectly.
These grilled Thai coconut chicken skewers are meant to be shared, whether that be at a dinner party or at a cookout! They are packed with flavor, and are marinated in fresh aromatics, coconut cream, and soy sauce.
Grill them for extra smoky flavor, cover them in a sweet coconut cream glaze, and serve them with a simple peanut sauce.
Most of the ingredients you’ll find at your local grocery store, however coconut cream, dark soy sauce and oyster sauce might be harder to come by. However, these ingredients can be found online or at an Asian grocery store.
Another staple in Thai cuisine, Panang curry features peanut butter as well as crushed peanut, and is sweeter than your typical Thai red curry. In fact, you may even prefer this thicker and creamier take on red curry.
It’s great for those who don’t like a lot of spice in their food, but don’t want to miss out on the strong flavors provided by the galangal, lemongrass, and fresh lime leaves.
We’re sticking with Thai cuisine favorites, as you’ll find Tom Kha Gai in most Thai food restaurants. It’s a delicious soup with a creamy coconut milk base and is rich with flavors including tender chicken and mushrooms.
With a few staple Thai ingredients to hand, you can whip up this soup in no time. You can serve this soup as an appetizer or as a main with rice, and it can be easily reheated too.
Next time you’re craving some take-out Thai curry, try out this recipe instead.
This curry is full of big, bold Thai flavors, and while its fiery appearance may make it seem like a super spicy curry, you can adjust the spice levels by modifying the amount of red curry paste, and you can customize this recipe by adding the protein of your choice.
No matter what protein you incorporate into this curry, it’s never going to be boring and is always going to be delicious.
23. Thai Steak Salad
It’s a common misconception that healthy food has to be dull and boring, as this Thai steak salad is extremely healthy and tasty, and is such a fresh dinner option.
It features sirloin steak marinated in an Asian dressing, grilled to perfection and sliced thin. Serve with a bed of greens, cilantro, cucumber and mint as well as a spicy Thai dressing. Scrumptious!
Pad See Ew Noodles are also known simply as Thai stir-fried noodles and are a street food favorite in Thailand.
These hefty rice noodles are ultra-thick and stir-fried with beef, chicken, or vegetables and smothered in a sauce that is tangy, sweet, and savory. Plus, it’s ready in 15 minutes. This dish is a great pick-me-up after a long, hectic day.
Buddha bowls are also known as glory or hippie bowls, and are hearty dishes made of beans, grains like brown rice or quinoa, raw or roasted veggies and a whole host of greens that are sure to fill you up. This bowl is brimming with nutrients and vitamins and is the perfect meal to satisfy your cravings if you’re dieting.
Plus, Buddha bowls are a lot of fun to make! This recipe features a rainbow of nutrients and flavors and is both nutritious and comforting.
Gai Lan is an ingredient also known as Chinese broccoli, and is perfectly matched with savory oyster sauce in this recipe to make one delicious dish. Thai chilies can be added to the dish to make it spicier, and the Gai Lan stems are cut up to make them easier to eat.
Stir-frying the ingredients just draws out their flavors even more, and can be made into a filling meal with the addition of rice.
Thai green curry is a dish packed with flavor, and the caramelized eggplant just takes it to whole new levels of deliciousness. Crunchy bean sprouts, red pepper, snow peas and spinach fill this dish out and make it even tastier, and it’s even better with a squeeze of lime over the top.
This Thai quinoa salad is so colorful that it’s hard not to be tempted by it, and once you’ve tucked in, you won’t regret it! Not only do the fresh vegetables make it nutritious, but it’s delicious to boot. If that wasn’t enough, the ingredients can be easily sourced and the dish can be ready in 30 minutes.
It’s easy to understand why coconut pancakes are such a beloved street food in Thailand. They’re light, fluffy, and have an irresistible coconut flavor. These cakes can be ready in under 30 minutes, and can be enjoyed with some chive or green onions for a sweet-savory breakfast.
It only seems right to finish with a Thai dessert. Another popular dish in Thailand, mango sticky rice is kind of like a rice pudding. Warm, coconut sticky rice is served with fresh mango slices, making for a creamy, sweet and fresh dessert that’s the perfect way to end a Thai meal.
We hope that the above recipes have inspired you to try some of your Thai favorites at home, as well as introduced you to some other Thai dishes!
Making your favorite Thai dishes at home is a great way to enjoy Thai cuisine at home, and is definitely more budget-friendly than take-out or eating at a restaurant… but of course we don’t blame you for treating yourself now and then. You deserve it!