Instant Pot Pad Thai
This instant pot pad thai is going to quickly become your go-to! Why? Because it is flavorful, delicious, and comes together in under 30 minutes with just one pot! Love the huge flavor and minimal mess.
New to instant pot? Check out the guide to using your instant pot.
This post is sponsored by BestFoodFacts.org and the United Soybean Board, all opinions are my own.
Recently I got the chance to meet with a panel of experts in food sustainability, including a registered dietician, retail expert, food scientist, and farmer. And we talked all things SUSTAINABLE FOOD!
I got to ask my questions, and learn about the sustainability initiatives involved in getting food from the farm to the store to your table. We learned about:
- Sustainable Farming Practices
- Packaging and Labeling for Sustainability
- Sustainable Grocery Shopping Tips
- And More…
We also talked about trusted resources for learning more, including BestFoodFacts.org and today, in addition to this amazing Instant Pot Pad Thai, I am going to share some of what I learned.
What You Need For Pad Thai
Let’s talk about what you need to make this delicious pressure cooker pad thai? And how you can contribute to food sustainability while shopping for your ingredints.
One of the things I learned during the expert panel is that our food choices can greatly impact sustainability, and by supporting brands, farmers, and even grocery store chains that focus on food sustainability we can make a difference.
Therefore, when I was shopping for the ingredients for this pad thai recipe, I paid attention to packaging labels, to see which options were best for sustainability. When selecting items, I keep my eye out for these packaging labels, which indicated the items are being produced/farmed/packaged/transported sustainably:
Learn more here – Sustainability: What are the True Impacts of Your Food Choices?
Ingredients for Pad Thai
- Vegetable oil
- Chicken thighs, Tofu, or Shrimp
- Rice noodles
- Carrot Matchsticks
- Red and Yellow Peppers
- Bean Sprouts
- Green onions
- Tamarind paste
- Chicken stock
- Fish sauce
- Soy sauce
- Chili sauce
- Black pepper
- Brown sugar
Chicken – For this recipe, I used chicken, however, the great thing about pad thai is it is good with almost any protein. So, Instead of chicken, sub in some tofu (a great soy product) or shrimp. Just be sure to opt for Responsible Choice Seafood if replacing the chicken with shrimp.
Rice noodles – Because we are using the instant pot, it is best to stick with the rice noodles, as the testing was done with rice noodles, however, if you want to cook your noodles separately, you can use zucchini noodles, or some other vegetable noodle.
Vegetables– While you probably won’t want to leave anything out from the recipe, you can always add extra vegetables. Edamame, for example, is a great addition to this recipe.
Sauce– Personally, I find this sauce to be simple to throw together, and easy to adjust to your preference. For example, you can add extra soy sauce, or reduce the brown sugar, etc. to achieve the flavor profile you want. However, if you want to simplify things even further, feel free to swap out the homemade sauce for a pre-made pad thai sauce. We like this pad thai sauce.
Food sustainability is a broad concept, it covers everything from farming practices, to the social and economic impact–is your food affordable? and even packaging and processing. I wanted to share some of the things I learned that were most interesting to me:
How things are farmed sustainably really depends on where the farms are located. For example, the soy farmers near the Chesapeake Bay have to do things differently than soy farmers elsewhere, in order to reduce the run off into the bay, and protect their soil. Some of the things the farmers are doing for sustainability include:
- Plant tissue sampling
- No till and cover crops to reduce soil erosion, and put nutrients back in the soil.
- Using technology like Autosteer Planting
Packaged and Processed Foods:
One thing I love about this pad thai recipe is it combines pre-packaged items like rice noodles, with fresh items to make a wholesome, and delicious meal. But let’s talk a little but about how processed foods play a role in food sustainability?
There is a general perception that if you want to make healthy choices you have to avoid processed foods. Despite FDA approvals, etc, we tend to believe processed foods are stripped of their naturally occurring healthy qualities and nutrients and are pumped full of preservatives and chemicals to make them shelf stable.
I have long held these notions, that it is best to avoid anything processed, but after talking with Dr. MacDonald, my perceptions about processed foods have changed. Processed foods play an important role in food sustainability. We waste ⅓ of the food we produce, and if we can extend life, and make foods shelf stable, it can increase sustainability, and make food more affordable. Not to mention, the chemicals added to processed foods to help them be shelf stable are not necessarily robbing them of their nutritious qualities, and can often add to them.
Do not dismiss processed food as a great source of nutrition, but do your due diligence to find the processed foods that are wholesome while contributing to food sustainability.
Not all processed foods are created equally when it comes to sustainability, in both production and packaging, as well as distribution, and so watch for the label indicators and do your part for sustainability and make more informed purchasing decisions.
Without processed foods, sustainability would be difficult to achieve. Processed foods help to cut food waste significantly, help aid the social and economic aspects of sustainability making food more affordable, and “processed” does not mean it isn’t nutritious and good for us!
If you aren’t sure where to start to do you part with food sustainability, simply look for the labels on the items you purchase, and support companies who are using sustainable practices.
How to Make Pad Thai in the Instant Pot
- Mix together pad thai sauce. Or replace with ½-¾ cup premade pad thai sauce.
- Sear Chicken in the instant pot on “saute” mode.
- Add in: garlic, the pad thai sauce mixture, water and rice noodles. Do not stir.
- Lock lid on, and cook for 2 minutes, then quickly release pressure.
- Add the carrots, bell peppers, and bean sprouts, and toss.
- Place the lid back on the pot, let sit for 5 minutes.
- Serve with sliced green onions, chopped peanuts, cilantro, and fresh lime wedges.
***Full instructions and ingredient measurements can be found in the printable recipe card below.
Pad Thai FAQ’s
Yes! Even though there is only a 2 minute active cook time, you sear the chicken before hand, which starts the process. Then, the chicken will continue to cook during the 10 minutes or so that your pot is coming to pressure. So it will be fully cooked when the cook time ends.
When I tested this recipe I tried all kinds of noodles. Spaghetti noodles clumped together…yuck! The rice noodles worked awesome. I tried thick cut, vermiccili, and brown rice noodles. The brown took longer to get soft, and I felt like it meant everything else overcooked a little. The best were the thick white rice noodles, which are also what is most common for pad thai.
Usually in almost all of my recipes I tell you taste and adjust the seasoning by adding salt and pepper to your preference. But this recipe really doesn’t need it. If you want to taste and adjust, it is best to do so with the sauce, before cooking.
No extra salt is needed as you will find salt in the tamarind, soy sauce, etc.
I have not personally tried freezing this as it is so quick to throw together fresh. However, if you wanted to speed things up and make ahead, the sauce can be whipped up ahead of time and frozen. You could also pre-cut and freeze peppers etc.
It keeps in the fridge for 3-5 days.
Reheat leftovers by dishing out what you want, add 1-2 Tablespoons of water over the top, then microwave, or heat on the stove top until heated through (about 1-2 minutes in the microwave). Garnish with fresh garnish and enjoy!
Other Great Recipes:
- Asian Chicken Pasta Salad
- Teriyaki Chicken Stir fry
- Cashew Chicken
- Teriyaki Shrimp Stir Fry
- Egg Drop Soup
Other Instant Pot Favorites:
- Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs
- Instant Pot Chicken Piccata
- Instant Pot Pork Chops
- Instant Pot Meatloaf
- Instant Pot Lasagna Soup (Slow Cooker)
Instant Pot Chicken Pad Thai
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 pounds chicken thighs trimmed and diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 7 oz rice noodles
- 1 cup Carrot matchsticks
- 1/2 red and yellow pepper sliced
- ¼ cup bean sprouts
- 4 green onions sliced
- 1/3 cup peanuts chopped
- 1/3 cup cilantro fresh chopped
- 1 lime cut into wedges
- 1 Tablespoons tamarind paste
- 1/3 cup chicken stock
- 3 Tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon chili sauce
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 4 Tablespoons brown sugar
- In a small bowl mix together pad thai sauce. If you can’t find ingredients, or want to speed things up, replace with ½-¾ cup premade pad thai sauce.
- To the liner of the instant pot, add olive oil, and turn pot on to “saute” mode.
- Once hot, add chicken, and saute for 2 minutes per side, to get a little sear, but not cooked through.
- Turn pot off, and add in this order: garlic, the pad thai sauce mixture, water and rice noodles to the Instant Pot liner. Do not stir.
- Place lid on instant pot, and lock into place. Set valve to sealing.
- Set to manual and pressure, cook on high for 2 minutes. Note: Instant Pot will take about 10 minutes to pre-heat and then 2 minutes to cook.
- When cooking time is up, do a quick pressure release, and remove the lid.
- Add the carrots, bell peppers, and bean sprouts, and toss with tongs.
- Place the lid back on the pot, locking it into place, and let sit for 5 minutes.
- After five minutes, remove lid, and top with sliced green onions, chopped peanuts, cilantro, and fresh lime wedges.
Our recipe card software calculates these nutrition facts based on averages for the above ingredients, different brands, and quality of produce/meats may have different nutritional information, always calculate your own based on the specific products you use in order to achieve accurate macros for this recipe.
Pin to your Instant Pot or Dinner board: