One Pot Easy Beef Drunken Noodles

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One Pot Easy Beef Drunken Noodles – delicious garlic and chili flavor packed beef drunken noodles that taste just like takeout – in under 30 minutes!

Less time than it takes to order takeout and beef drunken noodles that are a perfect Thai food inspired indulgence! 

picture of beef drunken noodles in a white bowl
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When I go out to Thai food, there is one dish I order time and time again.

It’s spicy, earthy, packed with garlic and Thai basil flavors – meaty, hearty, and so delicious! I could seriously eat pounds and pounds of it – and never, ever get sick of the saucy goodness.

The Thai food dish I love the most?

Beef Drunken Noodles! 

Since I live in a town with NO Thai food options, I decided to once and for all master my favorite Thai Takeout Inspired dish and sorted through numerous Beef Drunken Noodles recipes I could find, until I found one just like the amazingly delicious Denver Thai joint I miss working just up the street from so very much.

picture of beef drunken noodles on a metal plate

What Are Drunken Noodles?

Drunken noodles, or “pad kee mao”, are a stir fry dish with garlic, fish sauce, rice noodles, black pepper, thai basil, and meat or seafood.

Drunken noodles typically come with wide, flat rice noodles that soak up all the rich, earthy, and slightly spicy sauce – the broad noodles are perfect for enhancing the unique and amazing flavor of this Thai Food dish!

While drunken noodles can come with chicken, shrimp, tofu, pork, and other meat – my favorite has always been beef.

Beef Drunken Noodles are rich, hearty, and perfectly addictive – and soon to become your favorite new Thai-Inspired dinner that you can make in half the time it takes to order and pick up takeout!

Do Drunken Noodles Contain Alcohol?

Drunken noodles actually contain no alcohol…. so why the name?

I’ve read tons of theories about this particular name – some say it was a standby “everything but the kitchen sink” type meal where you’d clear out your fridge and stir fry whatever you had on hand to pair with a night of heavy drinking, some say it might be due to the rice wine in the dish, but my favorite theory:

The drunken fried noodle might be originated from a kitchen where a drunk man wanted to make something to eat. He found something and put them together and stir-fried them and it finished as the drunken fried noodle. The taste was good and then it become famous.

Either way, there is NO alcohol in Drunken Noodles…

..but I can confirm it is a great meal to pair alongside a long night out! It’s also a great meal to help nurse your war wounds from an overly enthusiastic night.

How to Make Beef Drunken Noodles

Beef drunken noodles are a simple, easy, and delicious quick stir fried dish – but there are some tips and tricks to make perfect beef drunken noodles, every time!

Pre-soak noodles

Don’t skip this step – pre-soak your noodles to soften them before you start to cook this dish, or you’ll be waiting to finish your drunken noodles for so long your beef and vegetables will get soggy.

Use a wok or very large pan 

Like all stir fried dishes, HOT heat and fast cooking time is essential for beef drunken noodles. Use a pan that is heavy and large with a lot of surface area so you can cook quickly for the best flavor and texture.

Cook on HIGH heat 

Again, I can’t understate the importance of HOT oil and a HOT pan. Keep your stove on high to get this dish cooked fast, or it can boil the vegetables and beef instead of pan frying!

Stir quickly 

Keep vegetables and beef from sticking to the pan and the high heat by stirring quickly – but let it brown and fry, so don’t stir the whole time.

Let beef brown and let vegetables soften

Don’t add the sauce until your beef is browned and vegetables are soft, or they will boil instead of frying.

Slightly undercook noodles

I prefer my noodles to be slightly less than done if I can’t eat the whole serving when I cook it, so they don’t get soggy when reheating.

I like a *tiny* bit of bite to my noodles.

picture of beef drunken noodles in a white bowl

To Make This Easy Beef Drunken Noodles Recipe, You’ll Need:

  • Broad Rice Noodles
    • While many stir frys use thinner rice noodles, Drunken Noodles use a broad rice noodle to help soak up all of the rich and delicious garlic and Thai basil sauce. Wide, broad noodles are ideal in this dish.
  • Fish Sauce
    • Fish sauce is salty, earthy, and full of flavor – it might sound a bit scary to cook with if you aren’t used to it, but I love using fish sauce in a wide variety of dishes for a flavor that can’t be replicated with other ingredients.
  • Oyster Sauce
    • Oyster sauce is thick, slightly sweet, and has an amazingly rich flavor – even if you don’t love oysters, you shouldn’t skip this delicious sauce! I love it over stir fried bok choy, over beef, and in more complex sauces – oyster sauce is a secret ingredient for so many dishes to develop a complex flavor, fast!
  • Thai Basil (Holy Basil)
    • Thai Basil gives a spicier kick than regular basil – and is a bit like mint mixed with basil. It is bright, crisp, and adds an amazing freshness to dishes you can’t get from just plain basil. While you might have a harder time finding it, more and more grocery stores are offering Thai Basil – or you can find it at an Asian Foods store. It is most definitely worth the search!
  • Black Pepper
    • Black pepper helps add an earthy spiciness to Drunken noodles that is essential to the flavor.
  • Red Chilis
  • Bell Peppers
  • Soy Sauce
  • Thinly Sliced Ribeye or Top Sirloin
picture of beef drunken noodles in a white plate

The Best Beef For Drunken Noodles

Drunken noodles rely on very thinly sliced steak – I chose either Ribeye Steak or Top Sirloin Steak.

To slice your beef thinly, you can use one of two methods:

  • Ask your butcher to thinly slice your steak. 
    • Not all grocery stores will offer this, but some will thinly slice your steak using a deli-style slicer. One of my local stores won’t do this because it is against their policy – but my local Whole Foods will if they aren’t too busy (I usually call ahead and ask for some sliced thin so when I pick up my steaks they are ready, and it allows the butchers to work it into whenever works best for them.)
  • Lightly freeze steak (so it is frozen outside, but not rock-solid) and then slice. 
    • Using a sharp knife to thinly slice steak is much, much easier when steak is lightly frozen (NOT solid frozen) – it will keep it’s shape instead of squishing, making it easier to get a thin slice.
    • Slice your steak as thin as you can while keeping it still in tact – thinner beef will cook faster and more evenly.

The Best Noodles For Drunken Noodles

While I love thin rice noodles in dishes like Pad Thai, Drunken Noodles rely on a wide, broad rice noodle to help soak up the sauce.

If you can’t find broad rice noodles at your local grocery store, you can order them online here (using my affiliate link) – or in a pinch, you can use the thinner noodles – but trust me when I say the thicker noodles do really change the flavor and texture of this dish in a noticeable way, so it’s worth the effort to try to find broad rice noodles.

picture of beef drunken noodles in a white bowl

Asian Takeout Inspired 30 Minute Meals:

If you love how easy and quick this beef drunken noodles recipe is, you have to check out my other favorite Asian Takeout Inspired dinners that you can make in 30 minutes or less – faster than it takes to order and pick up takeout!

Easy Chicken and Shrimp Pad Thai Noodles Recipe

10 Minute Pan Seared Thai Chili Scallops Recipe

Panda Express Black Pepper Chicken Copycat Recipe

One Pot 15 Minute Potsticker Soup

Spicy Thai Shrimp Salad Recipe

The Best Easy Bang Bang Shrimp Recipe Ever

picture of beef drunken noodles in a white bowl

One Pot Easy Beef Drunken Noodles Recipe

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picture of beef drunken noodles in a white bowl

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Thai beef drunken noodles on a plate.

One Pot Easy Beef Drunken Noodles Recipe

These beef drunken noodles are sure to satisfy your craving for this Thai classic!
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine Thai
Keyword beef drunken noodles, drinken noodles, easy thai recipes, rice noodle recipes, thai food drunken noodles
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 517kcal
Author Courtney ODell


For the Beef and Marinade:

  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 lb ribeye or top sirloin very thinly sliced
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil

For the Drunken Noodles:

  • 8 ounces wide dried rice noodles
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 shallots sliced
  • 4 Thai red chili peppers deseeded and julienned
  • 1 scallion julienned into 3-inch pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic sliced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger peeled and minced
  • 1 cup bell pepper strips
  • 1 cup loosely packed holy basil or Thai basil minced

For the Sauce:

  • teaspoons brown sugar dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce Thai soy sauce preferred
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
  • pinch of ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh grated ginger


For the Beef Marinade:

  • Add oil, soy sauce, cornstarch, and beef to a bowl or plastic bag and mix well, set aside and marinate for at least 30 minutes. 

For Beef Drunken Noodles:

  • Soak rice noodles in a large bowl of cold water. Set aside. 
  • Heat oil in large wok on high until shimmery. 
  • Add garlic, ginger, bell peppers, scallons, Thai chili peppers, and shallots and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. 
  • Shake beef from marinade bag (to get rid of excess sauce) and add beef and continue cooking until beef is browned, about 4 minutes. 
  • Do not overcook. 
  • Turn heat to low. 
  • Mix sauce ingredients in small bowl, and then stir into wok after beef is browned and vegetables are softened. 
  • Rinse noodles and add to wok, toss and stir over low heat for 1-2 more minutes until noodles are slick and shiny and evenly coated with sauce. 
  • Top with minced Thai basil and serve immediately. 


Serving: 1g | Calories: 517kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 3047mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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