This 30 Minute Vegan Pad Thai recipe is made with rice noodles, fried tofu, veggies, and the most incredible, simple sauce. Easy to make using everyday ingredients!

a plate of vegan pad thai topped with peanuts, lime wedges, and cilantro.

This is the easiest Vegan Pad Thai recipe! Rice noodles, pan-fried tofu, veggies, and a really simple sauce are tossed together and ready to enjoy in just 30 minutes. It’s a must-try, Thai-inspired recipe that’s perfect for lunch and dinner!

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • The best sauce: The sauce can make or break any Pad Thai recipe. It was a bit of a challenge to get my version just right since traditional Pad Thai recipes call for fish sauce and tamarind paste. After a lot of trial and error, I came up with a savory, tart, and subtly sweet sauce made entirely from everyday ingredients.
  • So simple and easy! This is, plain and simple, an easy vegan Pad Thai recipe. That means we’re substituting complicated and hard-to-find ingredients, like vegan fish sauce and tamarind paste, with flavorful alternatives that are probably already in your pantry.
  • Easy to prep ahead: Everything, from the vegan Pad Thai sauce to the tofu cubes, can be prepared ahead of time! It’s the best way to turn this 30 minute recipe into a 15 minute recipe.
close up on a plate of vegan pad thai topped with peanuts, lime wedges, and cilantro.

Ingredients needed (with substitutions)

  • Stir fry rice noodles – Rice noodles of any size work well here! Plus, they’re naturally gluten free and vegan.
  • Vegetable oil
  • Fried tofu – Extra firm tofu is pressed, then fried until golden and crisp. If you don’t want to fry the tofu, you can bake it or air fry it ahead of time instead. Check out the Variations section for more vegan protein options or how to omit the tofu altogether.
  • Soy sauce – I recommend using low sodium soy sauce. Or, if you’re gluten free, use tamari.
  • Rice vinegar – This adds a necessary tartness to the sauce. More traditional recipes are made with tamarind paste, which can be hard to find sometimes, but rice vinegar works well as a substitute. 
  • Maple syrup – The real stuff! It’s important for sweetness, warmth, and balance in the sauce.
  • Lime juice
  • Sriracha hot sauce – For just a touch of heat in the sauce. You can add more or less depending on how much spice you like.
  • Carrots – Julienned into thin strips. You can save time by buying pre-sliced carrots from the grocery store.
  • Green onions
  • Toppings – Top your plate with refreshing and colorful toppings, like lime wedges, mung bean sprouts, chopped peanuts, and cilantro.
ingredients for vegan pad thai in individual white bowls.

How to make vegan Pad Thai

Find the complete recipe with measurements in the recipe card below.

Make sure all of your veggies are chopped and your tofu is being pressed before you start. Tofu Pad Thai moves fast, so it’s important to be prepared!

Begin by cooking the rice noodles in a pot of boiling water. When they’re done, set the noodles aside to soak for a few minutes, then drain and rinse with cold water to prevent them from sticking.

Next, stir all of the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.

whisking a dark brown sauce in a white bowl.

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the pressed tofu cubes once the oil is hot and fry until all sides are golden brown.

Tip: Speed up the recipe by making my Air Fryer Tofu while you wait for the noodles to cook. Once it’s done, add the tofu to the pan with the noodles, sauce, and veggies.

frying cubed tofu pieces in a beige pan.

Next, add the cooked noodles, sauce, carrots, green onions, and half of the cilantro to the pan. Keep stirring to warm everything up and ensure every bite is well-coated in the Pad Thai sauce.

Serve the Pad Thai immediately and finish each plate with the toppings you love. Don’t forget the drizzle of lime juice – it takes every bite over the top!

cooking rice noodles, carrots, and scallions together in a beige pan.


  • Gluten free – All you need to do is use gluten free tamari in place of soy sauce to make gluten free and vegan Pad Thai.
  • Add more vegetables – You have plenty of options when it comes to vegetables in Pad Thai. I only used carrots and green onions, but you can add even more, such as red pepper strips, broccoli florets, mushrooms, snap peas, or edamame.
  • Protein options – You can make vegan Pad Thai with any type of plant-based protein you love! Pan-fried tofu is filling, crispy, and tender, but you could easily use tempeh, leftover strips of vegan chicken, or edamame instead. Or, for a vegetable-only Pad Thai, omit the tofu and replace it with any of the vegetables I suggested above.
  • Add vegan eggs – Did you used to love Pad Thai with scrambled eggs? Then I recommend pouring liquid JUST Egg into the pan right before you add the sauce and noodles. It scrambles just like real eggs!

Make ahead tips

Pad Thai doesn’t make for great leftovers because the noodles dry out and the flavors lose their vibrancy. However, you can still have Pad Thai in a hurry by preparing all of the elements ahead of time:

  • Noodles: Cooked rice noodles can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Rinse them in cold water, then toss in a little vegetable oil to prevent them from sticking.
  • Sauce: Make the sauce as normal and keep it in a jar in the fridge for up to 1 week.
  • Veggies: Store the chopped vegetables and toppings in separate containers in the fridge. They’ll stay crisp and fresh for 1 or 2 days.
  • Tofu: Press the cubed tofu, then store it in a covered container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

When it’s time to eat, just take all of your prepped ingredients out of the fridge and cook as normal!

close up on a plate of vegan pad thai topped with peanuts, lime wedges, and cilantro.

Want more 30 minute vegan recipes?

a plate of vegan pad thai topped with peanuts, lime wedges, and cilantro.
4.90 stars (64 ratings)

Vegan Pad Thai

This 30 Minute Vegan Pad Thai recipe is made with rice noodles, fried tofu, veggies, and the most incredible, simple sauce. Easy to make using everyday ingredients!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • 7 ounces stir fry rice noodles
  • 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 14.5 ounce block extra-firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes



  • 1 cup julienne sliced carrots, about 3 carrots
  • 3 green onions, chopped

For serving

  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup crushed or chopped peanuts
  • 1 cup mung bean sprouts, optional


  • Prepare all of your ingredients before you begin. Slice the carrots, chop the green onions, cilantro and the peanuts. Press your tofu if needed (I like to get the vacuum packed extra-firm tofu so no need to press it), and then chop into 1/2 inch cubes.
  • Cook the noodles: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat, and let them soak for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  • Make the sauce: Stir all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Fry the tofu: In a large pan (you can even use the same pot you boiled the noodles in), heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the tofu, and fry it until all sides are golden brown.
  • To the pan with the tofu, add the noodles, sauce, carrots, green onions and half of the cilantro. Stir as it warms up. 
  • Serve immediately, sprinkling peanuts and more cilantro on the top of each serving, with lime wedges and mung bean sprouts on the side. Squeeze lime juice to taste before eating. Yum!


  1. For Gluten Free, use gluten free tamari instead of soy sauce.
  2. If you want vegetable only pad thai, replace the tofu with various veggies, such as red pepper strips and broccoli florets. Stir fry these in place of the tofu until tender, before adding the noodles and sauce. 
  3. For the carrots, I buy the bag of pre-cut carrots, julienne style so it reduces my chopping time.
  4. Consider cooking up some JUST Egg to add some “scrambled eggs” to the Pad Thai.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 500kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 754mg | Potassium: 585mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 5571IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 111mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Thai
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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  1. I am not vegan but I don’t like fish in any form so I was looking for a sauce recipe without the fish and oyster sauce. The family loved it! Thank you so much.

    1. You are welcome! I’m glad the Pad Thai was a hit with your family! Thank you for sharing your feedback!

  2. SO good!! This will be a keeper.  I doubled the recipe and made extra sauce. I love all your recipes so far that I’ve tried.  

    1. Hi Kirsten. Thank you for using my recipes and I’m glad you are loving them! I appreciate you sharing your great review and feedback! Wishing you happy cooking!

  3. Ever try a new recipe and kick yourself for not doing it years ago? I’ve always been intimidated by making pad thai, but this was really simple and so delicious! I bulked it up with 8 oz baby bella mushrooms and red bell pepper, which yielded 5 solid servings. I might try air frying the tofu next time to cut down on oil. Thanks Nora!

    1. I’m so glad that you loved the Pad Thai! The tofu turns out great cooked in the air fryer! Thank you for taking time to share your wonderful review and comments! Happy cooking!

  4. My mom begs me to make this once a week! My family of meat eaters is still getting introduced to tofu so I use your tofu scramble recipe for “eggs” in the pad Thai instead of cubes! This is our favorite recipe 🙂

  5. My entire family, including the fussy teen, loves this recipe. The sauce is what makes it truly delicious. I add more vegetables – 1 cup each julienned red pepper and zucchini. The teen, who hates tofu, says the tofu is excellent. Thank you!

    1. I’m so happy your family loves the pad Thai recipe! Thank you so much for sharing your review and fun comments!

  6. Loved this Pad Thai! Wanted to make it again but realized I ran out of rice vinegar, do you have any substitute recommendations? Thanks!

    1. Thanks Vanessa! Gosh that has happened to me before. There isn’t a great replacement, but I have subbed a little bit of white vinegar before. Not quite the same though!

    1. You are welcome! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review! I’m so glad you enjoyed the Pad Thai!

  7. Made this for the first time last night, yummy ??? I made enough for left overs and therefore made extra sauce for reheating. I’ve shared this recipe with my vegan and non vegan friends and family ?✌️

    1. I’m glad you like the pad Thai! Thank you for sharing your great review, as well as the recipe with friends and family!

  8. Probably the best meal I’ve ever cooked at home! We added a some courgette and bock Choi to get rid of some spare veg and it worked well. 

  9. This was absolutely amazing! So simple yet so much better than the pad Thai kits at the grocery store. This tasted so authentic I was shocked! Definitely will be making this a lot in the future. Thank you very much for this great recipie 

    1. Hi Katie. I’m glad you loved the pad thai and will be making it lots! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review! Happy cooking!

  10. I never comment on recipes online… But this is the second recipe that I’ve made by noracooks and I’m really impressed. I get takeaway pad thai all the time and this is one of the best I’ve ever had. And it was so easy to make at home! I love that I can make this myself, with ingredients I usually have, and be certain it’s vegan. Like some others, I added a tablespoon of peanut butter. I also popped in a bit of tamarind since I think that’s traditional.

    Side note – I can’t recommend enough the vegan lasagna recipe on this site… seriously amazing. Thanks, Nora! You’re a genius.

    1. Hi Kendall. I’m thrilled that you love my recipes that you’ve tried! I appreciate you taking your time to share your comments and experience! Thank you! Have fun exploring more Nora Cooks recipes, and happy cooking! Let me know how it goes!

  11. This recipe is great! I add 2 tablespoons of peanut butter to the sauce. The sauce looked thin to me at first, but it thickened up really nice after stirring it in with the noodles for a couple extra minutes.

  12. Nora, you always hit these recipes way put of the park! I’ve loved all the recipes I’ve tried from you. Pad Thai is one of my favorites and this was absolutely delicious!!!

  13. Hi Nora! 
    Thank you for your recipes! For this one, I am not a big fan of sriracha. If I leave this out will the taste be greatly affected? Do you have an recommendations for a substitute? Thank you !

  14. Just made this for lunch and was like, “Omg! It tastes JUST like pad thai!”. I am not vegan, but my boyfriend is, so we…I mean I…have been making a lot of your meals. All have been spot on AMAZING and makes it easy switching over to vegan. Thank you so much!

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