This vegan tofu pad Thai recipe features rice noodles tossed in a homemade peanut sauce and can be made in under 30 minutes for quick weeknight dinners.

Vegetarian pad thai in a bowl topped with cilantro and a slice of lime.

About the Recipe

If you ever wanted to learn how to make your own pad Thai recipe, this is the dish for you! This vegan tofu pad Thai is made with just a few simple ingredients including tofu, rice noodles and fresh vegetables.

The key to this recipe is in the pad Thai sauce, which is made with a combination of tamarind paste, soy sauce, and coconut sugar.

It’s delicious, straightforward to make and will quickly become a family favourite!  

You could pair tofu pad Thai with this Thai Basil Eggplant, Easy Vegan Cabbage Fried Rice Recipe and Vegan Cashew Tofu Stir Fry with Broccoli or Vegan Panang Curry for a homemade Thai-inspired feast.


Visual list of ingredients for making a vegan tofu pad thai recipe. Each ingredient is labelled with text.
  • Rice Noodles: Look for flat rice noodles, usually in a clear package. Any brand works! Sometimes they’re even called pad Thai noodles. If you can’t find rice noodles, you could substitute something like soba noodles or even ramen.
  • Tamarind Paste: Tamarind comes in a jar and is relatively easy to find in a grocery store; if not, it’s readily available online or Asian speciality shops. Tamarind really makes the difference in pad Thai sauce, so try not to skip it!
  • Soy Sauce: Use low-sodium soy sauce. If you’re gluten-free, you can substitute it with gluten-free tamari sauce or coconut aminos.
  • Coconut Palm Sugar: Swap for brown sugar or maple syrup if needed.
  • Peanut Butter: Use natural peanut butter with no added oil or sugar. If you need the recipe to be peanut-free, you can use almond butter. If you need it to be nut-free, sunflower seed butter works just as well.
  • Sesame Oil: Key for that delicious “stir fry” flavour. I would highly recommend using sesame oil, but if you need the recipe to be oil-free, you can skip it. For a spicy kick, try using some chili sesame oil.
  • Tofu: Firm or extra-firm tofu works best in this pad Thai recipe! You can press it first for the best results, but it’s unnecessary if you’re crunched for time.
  • Veggies: You’ll need fresh garlic, shallots, and green onion for the stir-fry but you can also add veggies like bell pepper, zucchini, bamboo, baby corn, carrot or broccoli.
  • Toppings: Toppings are optional, but if you’d like to use them, I recommend cilantro, crushed peanuts, and lime wedges.

This list is not complete. Please see the recipe card at the end of the post for the complete ingredient list with measurements and detailed instructions.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Prep the tofu.

A block of tofu in a tofu press.

To prepare the tofu for frying, use a tofu press or fold the block of tofu between a dish cloth or paper towel and a heavy object like a skillet or a few books placed on top.

Do this for at least 20 minutes before cooking.

Step 2: Cook the rice noodles.

Start by boiling a large pot of unsalted water over the stovetop. Cook the rice noodles until al dente or as per packaged directions.

After the noodles are done cooking, drain and rinse well with cold water to stop the cooking process. Drizzle the noodles with 1/4 tsp oil and toss well to prevent the noodles from sticking together.

Pad Thai sauce in a small glass bowl.

Step 3: Add all the ingredients needed to make the homemade pad Thai sauce in a medium-sized bowl. Thoroughly mix together and reserve for later.

Crumbled pieces of tofu in a large saucepan.

Step 4: Heat up a large pan over medium heat for 1-2 minutes with some sesame oil.

Add in the diced tofu and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Then, use tongs to flip the tofu until every side is golden brown and crispy. Remove it from the pan and place it on a paper towel-lined plate.

Scallions, garlic and shallots cooking in a skillet.

Step 5: In the same pan, add the garlic, shallots, green onion, and red pepper flakes with a bit of sesame oil. Cook for about 2 minutes until fragrant and cooked through.

Scallions and shallot cooking in sauce in a pan.

Step 6: Slowly pour in the homemade pad Thai sauce while stirring and bring it to a boil.

Pad Thai in a serving bowl.

Step 7: Add the cooked rice noodles once the sauce comes to a boil. Use a pair of tongs to toss them in the pad Thai sauce until the noodles are fully coated.

Then, add the fried tofu and bean sprouts and toss them together until everything is nicely mixed.

Serving bowl of tofu pad thai with a wedge of lime and cilantro on top.

Step 8: Serve your tofu pad Thai topped with chopped peanuts, fresh cilantro, and lime wedges.

Recipe FAQs

Is this pad thai recipe vegan?

Yes! This pad Thai recipe does not contain eggs, chicken, or seafood.

Is pad Thai gluten-free?

To make this recipe gluten-free, be sure to use gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce. The rest of the ingredients are gluten-free!

Do I have to add tofu?

Nope. If you don’t want to use tofu, you can go ahead and skip it or use another protein of your choice.

What other noodles can I use in place of rice noodles?

If you’re not a fan of rice noodles, you can use another type of noodles such as soba noodles or even linguine! Just be sure to cook them al dente according to package instructions.

How can I make this tofu pad Thai spicier?

If you want to add a bit of spice to this tofu pad Thai, I recommend adding some more chili flakes or using chili sesame oil. You can also drizzle some sriracha sauce over the top.

How long does vegan tofu pad Thai keep?

You can store leftover pad Thai in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Let it cool before storing. Reheat it in a pan on the stovetop or in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave.

Tongs lifting pad Thai noodles from a bowl.

Notes & Tips

  • To cut down on cooking time, you can use a jar of storebought pad Thai sauce. Just make sure to check the ingredients list to make sure the sauce is vegan. Though, if you can, I recommend making your own.
  • Pressing the tofu before cooking is optional, but it does help absorb more flavour when adding it to the pad Thai.

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Scroll down to the comment section to leave a star rating and review.

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Vegetarian pad thai in a bowl topped with cilantro and a slice of lime.

Vegan Tofu Pad Thai

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.8 from 5 reviews
  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Cuisine: Thai
  • Diet: Vegan
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Amazing vegan tofu pad Thai you can make at home with simple ingredients. This dish comes together in under 30 minutes for a delicious meal you can enjoy any night of the week.


For the Pad Thai

  • 350 g wide rice noodles
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil (30 ml)
  • 1 package extra firm tofu, pressed and diced (454 g) 
  • 4 large garlic clove, sliced (30 g) 
  • 1 large shallot, sliced (60 g) 
  • 1 bunch green onion (spring onions), thinly sliced (110 g) 
  • 1 tsp chili flakes 
  • 1 cup bean sprouts (110 g) 
  • 1 cup roasted peanuts (115 g), optional for serving
  • finely chopped cilantro, optional for serving
  • fresh lime wedges, optional for serving

For the Pad Thai Sauce

  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste (30 g)
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce (120 ml) 
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar (60 g) 
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (60 g) 
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (60 ml) 


  1. Cook noodles as per packaged directions. Rinse with cold water and drain well. Drizzle with ¼ tsp oil and toss to prevent sticking.
  2. While noodles are cooking in a medium size bowl thoroughly mix together the sauce ingredients and reserve for later. 
  3. Heat up a large skillet over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Once heated add sesame oil until there is a shine to it (approximately 1 minute). Add your diced tofu and allow to crisp until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Using tongs, flip your tofu until every side is golden brown and crispy.  When ready, remove and place on a paper towel lined plate. 
  4. When the tofu is out of the pan, add the garlic, shallots, green onion and chili flakes. Cook for about 2 minutes until fragrant.
  5. Add the mixed sauce and bring to a boil. 
  6. Once sauce boils, toss in your reserved noodles. Using tongs mix together until noodles are fully coated in sauce.
  7. Add the cooked tofu and bean sprouts toss together until mixed. 
  8. Serve in your favourite bowl and top with roasted peanuts, chopped cilantro and a fresh lime wedge.


Tofu: To press the tofu, either use a tofu press or fold the block of tofu between a dish cloth and place a heavy object on it, such as a skillet or a few books, for at least 20 minutes. Pressing the tofu is optional but it does help it absorb more flavour when you add it to the recipe. More details on how to press tofu can be found here. 

Storing: Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Enjoy cold or reheat as needed in the microwave or on the stovetop.

Gluten-Free & Nut-Free Options: For a gluten-free recipe, be sure to use gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce. To make it peanut-free, almond butter or cashew butter can be used instead of peanut butter and chopped cashews can be used for topping instead of peanuts. To make it nut-free, use sunflower seed butter or Wowbutter instead of peanut butter and omit the peanuts for topping.


  • Serving Size: 1/6th of recipe
  • Calories: 558
  • Sodium: 104 mg
  • Fat: 21 g
  • Carbohydrates: 69 g
  • Fiber: 6 g
  • Protein: 20 g