This Instant Pot Chicken Pad Thai is a quick and easy one-pot dinner – the noodles cook alongside the other ingredients for minimal clean-up!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Olive oil – or another neutral cooking oil like canola or avocado oil.
- Chicken breasts – you can also make this pad thai with frozen shrimp or add in some tofu chunks after cooking.
- Garlic – freshly minced garlic is best. Jarred minced garlic will work in a pinch.
- Soy sauce – coconut aminos or tamari are the best substitutes for soy sauce.
- Jarred pad thai sauce – I use Thai Kitchen’s sauce but you can also make your own using this recipe.
- Rice noodles – use vermicelli rice noodles if you don’t have any rice noodles on hand.
- Carrot matchsticks – if you can’t find any carrot matchsticks you could grate a carrot instead.
- Red and yellow pepper – use any colour combination of bell peppers of your choice.
- Green onions – chives would also be good or you can leave these out.
- Peanuts – leave this out altogether if you don’t like peanuts.
- Cilantro – leave this out altogether if you don’t like cilantro.
How to make chicken Pad Thai
Step 1: Add the first 7 ingredients to the Instant Pot in order.
Add olive oil, chicken, garlic, soy sauce, pad thai sauce, water and rice noodles to Instant Pot in that order, leaving noodles floating slightly above other ingredients.
Step 2: Cook on high pressure for 2 minutes.
Set to manual and pressure cook on high for 2 minutes. When complete, press cancel and do a quick release of the steam, waiting until the pressure gauge drops back down and the lid is safe to open.
Step 3: Toss in the carrot, peppers and half the peanuts.
Add carrot matchsticks, bell peppers and half of peanuts, tossing carefully with tongs. Place lid back on and let sit for 5 minutes.
Step 4: Garnish and enjoy!
Remove lid and serve, then top with green onions, remaining chopped peanuts and cilantro. Enjoy!
What is pad thai sauce made of?
When it comes to the sauce for this Instant Pot pad thai, I find using a store-bought jarred sauce is easiest. I actually love Thai Kitchen's Pad Thai sauce (this is not a sponsored post, I just love this product)! I have made a version of homemade Pad Thai sauce that's relatively easy, but when you're looking to throw dinner together in a hurry, the jarred sauce is where it’s at.
Plus, it can be hard to find tamarind paste in the grocery store – and since tamarind is the secret ingredient to Pad Thai sauce, you can’t really make the sauce without it! If you do want to try your hand at a homemade sauce though, you can always check out these Spiralized Pad Thai Meal Prep Bowls and add the ingredients to the Instant Pot instead!
Frequently Asked Questions
Chicken Pad Thai is a delicious Thai street food dish. It’s typically made with thick rice noodles, chicken, veggies, eggs and a sweet and savoury sauce. This recipe tastes just like your favourite takeout recipe but with half the calories!
This pad thai Instant Pot recipe offers the perfect blend of sweet and savoury thanks to the sauce. The tamarind in the sauce gives it a sweet flavour with a bit of saltiness. If you add in the chopped peanuts, you’ll get a nutty flavour too.
Pad Thai is most commonly made with chicken but you can also make it with frozen shrimp or even tofu. If you’re using tofu to make Instant Pot pad thai, make sure to stir it in after the noodles and sauce have cooked – otherwise, it will fall apart in the pressure cooker.
This chicken pad thai recipe has 402 calories per serving, which is significantly less than the Pad Thai you’d get at your favourite takeout spot. One serving of Thai Express’ Pad Thai sauce alone has 420 calories, and that doesn’t even include the noodles and chicken!
Storing and reheating
You can store any leftover Instant Pot pad thai in the fridge for up to 5 days. Sprinkle a little bit of water over top before reheating, then microwave for 1-2 minutes until heated through. You can also reheat it in a pan on the stovetop for a few minutes. Garnish with fresh green onions and cilantro to keep the dish feeling fresh!
Freezing this recipe
I have not tried freezing this pad thai Instant Pot recipe but based on the ingredients, I'd say it's worth a shot! Store everything in airtight glass containers and freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, let it defrost in the fridge overnight then sprinkle a tiny bit of water over top to keep everything from drying out. From there, you can reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop.
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Instant Pot Chicken Pad Thai
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 chicken breasts, diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
- 1/2 cup jarred pad thai sauce (I like Thai Kitchen brand)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 7 oz rice noodles
- 1 cup Carrot matchsticks
- 1/2 each red and yellow pepper, sliced
- 4 green onions, sliced
- 1/3 cup chopped peanuts
- 1/3 cup fresh chopped cilantro
- Add olive oil, chicken, garlic, soy sauce, pad thai sauce, water and rice noodles to Instant Pot in that order, leaving noodles floating slightly above other ingredients. Set to manual and pressure cook on high for 2 minutes. Instant Pot will take about 10 minutes to pre-heat and then 2 minutes to cook. When complete, press cancel and do a quick release of the steam, waiting until the pressure gauge drops back down and the lid is safe to open.
- Add carrot matchsticks, bell peppers and half of peanuts, tossing carefully with tongs. Place lid back on and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Remove lid and serve, then top with green onions, remaining chopped peanuts and cilantro. Enjoy!