Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao) are a Thai favorite made with wide rice noodles, Thai basil and vegetables. There is often meat and fish sauce in the authentic version, but I’ve kept this recipe 100% vegan. Ready in less than 30 minutes!
Looking for more Thai-inspired vegan food? Try my Vegan Pad Thai, Fresh Spring Rolls or Thai Red Curry.
These drunken noodles are not all that authentic, since the original contains meat, fish sauce and/or oyster sauce. However, they are incredibly delicious and I know you will love them as much as I do!
Consider adding a serving of Marinated Tofu when serving. Or slice up some Vegan Chicken and add it to the stir fry.
How to make drunken noodles
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
I’ve divided the recipe into three easy parts. Then it’s just a matter of putting it all together!
- Cook the noodles according to package instructions, then drain and rinse in cold water.
- Mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
- Stir fry the vegetables.
- Add the noodles, sauce, basil and baby corn to the pan, and stir until the noodles are coated. That’s it!
Instant Pot drunken noodles
You can actually make these in your Instant Pot if you’d like. The vegetables will be a bit soggy, instead of crisp, but for a quick meal I don’t mind it!
For this version, do not cook the noodles first, they will cook in the Instant Pot. You will sauté your veggies in the Instant Pot, then add some broth or water to de-glaze the pan.
Push the dry noodles into the broth/water so they are mostly covered, and cook at high pressure for 3 minutes. Do a quick release and stir everything well. Add the green onions, basil and baby corn and cover for another few minutes. Serve and enjoy!
Recipe variations and substitutions
- Gluten free? Substitute gluten free tamari for the soy sauce.
- Can’t find wide rice noodles? You can use thinner rice noodles, such as Pad Thai noodles. I had to order wide noodles on Amazon because I couldn’t find them where I shop.
- What kind of basil? I used Thai basil here, but you can use Thai holy basil (hot basil) or even sweet basil. It won’t be as authentic tasting with sweet basil, but sometimes the other kinds can be difficult to find.
- Switch up the vegetables. Add more vegetables or different ones depending on what you have. Sliced zucchini, yellow squash, cauliflower, spinach, mushrooms or kale would all be good additions.
- Add some protein. A serving of Marinated Tofu or Vegan Chicken is excellent with drunken noodles!
Are drunken noodles spicy?
Typically drunken noodles are very spicy. If you’re serving them to kids or adults who are sensitive to spice, add less hot sauce. You can always serve it on the side to make everyone happy.
For more quick and easy noodle dishes, make sure to check out my Thai Peanut Noodles and Teriyaki Noodles.
Easy Drunken Noodles
- 16 ounce box wide rice noodles
- 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce use tamari for gluten free
- 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup vegan oyster sauce omit if you don't have it
- 2 tablespoons Sriracha hot sauce, more or less to taste
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
- 4 green onions, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups Thai basil, sliced or chopped
- 1 cup canned baby corn, drained and rinsed
- Cook the noodles according to package instructions. Drain, rinse in cold water and set aside.
- Mix all sauce ingredients in a small bowl until combined. Set aside.
- In a large skillet or wok, heat the oil over high heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, then add the onion and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Now add the carrots, broccoli and bell pepper to the skillet, and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Add the cooked noodles, green onions and sauce and stir for 1 minute until the sauce is coating the noodles.
- Remove from heat and stir in the basil and baby corn. Serve immediately, with more hot sauce or a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, if desired.
Instant Pot Option
- To make this in your Instant Pot, do not cook the noodles first. Mix the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Press the sauté button on the IP, then add the oil along with the garlic, onions, carrots, broccoli and red bell pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then turn off the sauté.
- Add the sauce and 3 cups of vegetable broth or water, to the pot, and de-glaze the pan, scraping off any stuck bits. Add the noodles and push them down into the broth so they are mostly covered. Cook at high pressure for 3 minutes, then do a quick release. Open the pot, and give everything a good stir. Add the green onions, basil and corn and cover for 5 more minutes. Toss again and serve immediately.
- If you can’t find wide rice noodles, feel free to use thinner ones, such as pad thai noodles.
- For lower sodium, cut the soy sauce in half. Use 1/4 cup soy sauce and 1/4 cup water instead.
- If serving to kids or sensitive adults, add less hot sauce, to taste.
- Feel free to vary the vegetables (try zucchini, yellow squash, cauliflower, spinach, kale) and add Marinated Tofu.
Hi there, wondering if you would sub anything in for the vegan oyster sauce, which I can’t find.
You can actually just leave it out, no problem!
My whole family liked this. My husband even said “This is the best meal I have had this year!”
Thanks, Ann! I’m so glad to hear the noodles are a hit! I appreciate you taking time to share your review!
Nora, you never fail to deliver! We love Thai food. Made it for dinner tonight. I love your recipes as I always have all the ingredients in my fridge or pantry. This recipe will definitely go into the meal rotation. Tomorrow is your jack fruit pulled pork over your Mac n Cheese (the recipe with the turmeric). Thank you, Nora.
Hi Diane. I appreciate you taking your time to share your kind review! It means a lot to me! I’m glad you love the noodles!
I’m making these the lazy way in my IP but I don’t see where to add in the sauce. I just cooked it in with the noodles etal. Is that correct?
It turned out great that way ?!
Sorry about that! I’ve fixed it now. You add the sauce along with the broth or water. Hope you enjoy!
I used an 8 oz. box of brown rice noodles which was plenty of noodles in the dish. I’m wondering if 16 oz. is an error? I also cut the sugar down and still too sweet for me. Will make it next time with 2 Tbs. sugar. Added diced, baked tofu for protein as a main dish meal. Very tasty, thank you!
Not an error, but I bet your noodles were extra saucy! No problem to cut back the sugar to your personal tastes. Glad you enjoyed the recipe, thank you!
The Easy Drunken Noodles is another fabulous recipe – thank you! My omni hubby commented several times on how much he enjoyed it. So easy and delicious!
Hi Rosemary! Thank you for taking time to try and review my new recipe! I’m so glad you guys enjoyed the noodles!
Can’t wait to make this, as soon as I can find Thai Basil! No stores in my area carry it, is there a good substitution? thanks! Mary
Sure! You can use any basil really, it won’t have exactly the same flavor but it will work just fine.
I have not made this yet, but it sounds delicious! I will be making this as soon as I can get to the grocery store. Thank you so much for sharing!
Thank you, Donna! Let me know how it goes when you make it!