Thai food is famous for its robust flavors and use of distinct spices. No wonder it is a frequent favorite takeout choice! But did you know that Thai recipes are actually quite easy to make at home? This article’s compiled a list of 31 authentic Thai recipes that you simply must try!
You will need to stock up on a few staples, like fish sauce, curry paste, tamarind, and oyster sauce. Most of these ingredients can be found at your regular supermarket, though if you have an Asian supermarket near you, you should go just for the experience. So many of these dishes are amazingly flexible in terms of what you put in them, so don’t be afraid to experiment!
Spring rolls are a popular Thai appetizer. These delicious rolls are more like a wrap and less like the fried spring rolls you get at Chinese restaurants. Fresh veggies, rice noodles, protein (usually prawns), and other herbs like coriander and basil are folded into rice paper wrappers and served with a decadent tamarind sauce.
Fresh corn combined with rich Thai flavors of curry and coconut is enough to make your appetite go wild! These tasty fritters are a great appetizer or side to accompany a variety of Thai dishes or can be served on their own at a summer picnic. Sour cream and coconut milk dipping sauce with a hint of sriracha complement this dish perfectly.
If you want something fresh and light, either for an appetizer or a main dish, consider trying lettuce wraps. Crisp and cool lettuce serves as a bed for flavorful chopped chicken and veggies cooked in a sauce that is bursting with herbs and spice. This recipe is versatile, so use whatever veggies you have on hand.
For the uninitiated, this is probably the dish they most commonly associate with Thai cuisine. Satay is popular street food thanks to it being easy to eat while on the go. Lightly spiced curried chicken is grilled to perfection and served on skewers with oh-so-good spicy peanut sauce for that little extra something!
If you prefer your salad with something other than lettuce, this is right up your alley! Crunchy cucumber is the star while red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, and peanuts round out the cast. Simply mix everything together and then dress with a combination of tangy lime juice and pungent fish sauce accompanied by oil, garlic, and sugar.
This popular Thai salad is chock full of crisp veggies and loaded with spicy chile pepper dressing. Shredded green papaya is the centerpiece of this dish, with bean sprouts, tomatoes, and green beans rounding out the veg. Adjust the dressing to taste with sugar, chilis, or fish sauce. Start with fewer chilies to avoid burning your tongue!
You will find this soup everywhere in Thailand, from the breakfast table to a lunch cart. Marinated chicken is added to cooked rice broth and then topped with celery leaves, cilantro, and green onion to serve. It is simple to make, delicious any time of day, and a wholesome meal in itself.
#8. Khao Soi
Khao soi is a signature soup common in Northern Thailand. The broth is made from coconut milk and red curry paste, which provides both heat and a delicious creamy texture. Serve hot with a protein of your choice and a healthy mound of egg noodles. Top with cilantro, crispy fried onions, chili oil, and other veggies for garnish.
#9. Tom Yum
This versatile spicy-sour soup is generally eaten along with other dishes, but feel free to enjoy it on its own. A traditional tom yum would come with shrimp, but variations include chicken, pork, and mixed seafood. The fragrant broth gets its flavor from shallots, lemongrass, lime juice, and minced Thai chili peppers, and is usually served with steamed rice.
Tom kha gai is a lesson in contradictions; coconut milk is rich and creamy while red curry paste lends the broth a tangy saltiness. Lemongrass, galangal (or ginger), and lime juice or makrut lime leaves round out the dish. Chicken is the most commonly used protein, but you could use tofu and vegetable broth for a great vegan dish.
Vastly different from the Chinese version, Thai hot and sour soup is a blend of fantastic flavors. It is made with chicken broth, mushrooms, chicken breast, and various other veggies seasoned with tomatoes and fried shallots for sweetness, chili for spiciness, lime juice and tamarind for sour flavors, and fish sauce for saltiness. You’ll never have anything quite like it; one taste, and you’ll be hooked!
Pad krapow gai translates literally to “stir-fried holy basil.” The dish is ridiculously easy and quick to make and deliciously spicy with tons of Thai basil and Asian red chilis, but if you don’t have access to an Asian market, then regular basil and jalapenos work just as well. Serve with an egg on top, or experiment with different meats or veggies for variety.
In this dish, a fish fillet seasoned with Thai spices and coconut milk is wrapped in fragrant banana leaves before baking. Any fish is good, including salmon, tilapia, cod, and red snapper, and if you don’t have banana leaves, then a foil packet will do nicely. Serve with coconut rice or roasted potatoes, or alongside a tasty salad.
A southern Thai specialty, this fish stew is spicy and sour. Pick a single fruit or vegetable, not a mix, for this dish. Green papaya is the traditional choice, but pineapple will work, too. This recipe uses Asian sea bass, but any ocean fish will do; just make sure you use a firm fish instead of a soft one.
#15. Pad Thai
Pad Thai is the ultimate takeout indulgence, not to mention that it is incredibly economical. It is also very simple to make. In fact, if you pre-cut the veggies, pre-soak the noodles, and make the sauce ahead, you can go from stove to table in less than 15 minutes. All you have left to do is toss everything in a wok!
#16. Pad See Ew
Easy stir-fried noodles with Chinese broccoli, egg, and chicken will please everyone at your table. Cooking the noodles last in an empty pan will give you the best caramelization, while dark soy sauce will provide the dish’s signature brown color. Pad see ew is an easy dish to make vegetarian or vegan, and you can substitute gai lan with regular broccoli.
#17. Easy Thai Noodles
You won’t find a simpler recipe than this noodle dish! Thai flavors and spices combine with any vegetables you like and whatever noodles you have in the cupboard. If you want authenticity, don’t skip the sesame oil! Serve as-is for a yummy side dish, or add meat or tofu for a more substantial stand-alone supper.
So many noodle dishes, so little time! This is another stove-to-table meal perfect for busy nights. Noodles, protein, and tons of veggies do a perfect job of soaking up the sweet and spicy sauce. Garnish with fresh Thai basil and some crushed salted peanuts for a perfect texture and flavor combination.
Veggies form the base, and the rest is up to you — add meat or tofu, and serve with rice or noodles. Like so many Thai dishes, this curry is easy to make and well-rounded. But remember, red curry is typically hotter than green curry, so check the spice level in this dish before serving!
Massaman is a lightly-flavored, mild curry, and it exists as a fusion of Thai and Indian cuisine. Beef and chicken are the most popular variations, and they soak up the fragrant sauce well. Before serving, sprinkle your curry with crushed nuts and drizzle some coconut milk in. This will go extremely well with a bowl of hot rice.
This delicious curry is unlike anything you’ve ever eaten! All its sweet and sour flavor comes from makrut lime leaves, fresh lime juice, and a variety of herbs and spices. Amazingly, it only takes about half an hour to prepare this dish, but you can always make the paste ahead to save time. Serve with rice or noodles.
This amazing curry is an Indonesian-influenced Thai dish. Unlike the more soup-like curries that are sauce-heavy, the rendang curry is considered a “dry” curry, meaning that the sauce sticks to the meat. It is thick, stew-like, and extremely flavorful. Steamed rice, noodles, or even flatbread are great accompaniments.
#23. Kai Jeow Thai Omelet
This omelet is perfectly fluffy inside while the outside edges are deliciously crispy, thanks to the frying. Fish sauce (instead of salt) gives it a rich and slightly pungent flavor. Load your omelet up with red onion and scallion for a veggie meal, or add protein for something more substantial. This tastes best with rice.
Fragrant Thai basil and hot peppers give this fried rice a delicious kick of flavor. This recipe uses a variety of fish and oyster sauces along with soy sauce for flavor, plus onion and pepper for crunch. Use a protein of your choice, or go vegan by using an egg substitute (or just leave the egg out altogether).
#25. Coconut Rice
Why serve plain steamed rice with Thai food when you can have coconut rice? This savory rice is cooked with coconut milk and turmeric, with a sprinkling of pepper flakes for a little bit of heat. Garnish with chopped green onion, crystallized ginger, or chopped nuts, and pair with any meal to replace steamed rice to change things up.
An incredibly popular Thai street food, this Thai pineapple fried is a great summer dish. Pineapple offers a touch of sweetness, while yellow curry adds mild heat. The rest of the recipe is highly customizable; add egg or meat, peppers, onion, cilantro, and even raisins. Just don’t forget the cashews for crunch!
This delicious sweet sticky rice is made with rice, creamy coconut milk, tapioca starch, and sugar. Ripe mango can be served sliced on the side if you prefer your rice to be truly sticky. If you like a softer, more pudding-like consistency, then dice your mango and mix it into the rice.
This creamy Thai iced tea is as common in Thailand as Starbucks is in the US, and it is sold in street stalls, shops, and from mobile beverage carts. This bright orange delight contains both evaporated and sweetened condensed milk, sugar, and a strong black tea with yellow dye.
#29. Thai Iced Coffee
While tea is more common in Thai cuisine, there is a place for coffee as well. Thai iced coffee is an incredibly strong coffee flavored with cardamom, vanilla, or cinnamon, and topped with sweetened condensed milk. The texture is thicker than a traditional latte, and the flavor and caffeine jolt is hard to beat!
Tasty Thai bananas coated in lightly seasoned rice and tapioca flours and deep-fried, these banana fritters are incredibly popular street food in Thailand. This dish has also started appearing on the dessert menus in upscale Thai restaurants. Served warm with ice cream for an indulgent dessert or in paper bags for easy snacking; it is a great treat to take on the go.
Similar to jello, this jelly is a popular dessert that is sweet and refreshing! Two distinct layers and the cool combination of coconut and mango make this ideal after a heavy meal. The layers are set with agar-agar, making this a great choice for vegetarians and vegans. If you are looking for a summery dessert, try this out!