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What To Serve With Pad Thai – 17 Delicious Side Dishes

This article was updated on the 2nd of September 2023 for clarity and freshness.

If you’re wondering what to serve with your Pad Thai, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I list 17 of the most popular side dishes for Pad Thai.

In a rush? Here’s the short answer.

The best dishes to serve with Pad Thai are crab rangoon, Thai chicken satay, or Thai turkey meatballs. You can also serve salads like Asian cucumber salad, Thai mango salad, or green papaya salad. Thai chicken lettuce wraps and tom yum soup are good options for starters.

For each side dish, I’ve provided alternative options to cater to various diets and lifestyles, including vegan, quick and easy, and health-conscious options.

Fresh and Light Sides

Pad Thai is bursting with salty, nutty, and slightly sweet flavors, which can get overwhelming. That’s why these fresh and light sides are a great option, especially for cleansing the palate and offering a contrasting bite to your Pad Thai’s rich, warm flavors.

Asian Cucumber Salad

4.7 ⭐️ (3 ratings) | 25 mins

If you’re thinking of having Pad Thai for lunch and need a good side dish, why not go for a cool Asian cucumber salad?

It’s light, crisp, and hydrating! The cooling cucumbers are tossed in a soy and rice vinegar dressing giving you a refreshingly savory contrast with your Pad Thai.

Chef De Home uses a spiralizer to form those paper-thin cucumber ribbons. But if you’re like me and you don’t have this gadget, you can chop up the cucumbers however you like it. I prefer slicing them in 1/2-inch rounds to keep it simple.

What readers are saying…

“This salad was a hit at dinner last night. I made it as a side dish along with teriyaki marinated salmon. Perfect combination.”

“Made this today for my husband’s lunch to go with pork dumplings. Very good.”

“De…lish…us thank you. Keep them coming!”

🤩 Asian Sesame Cucumber Salad
🥵 Spicy Radish Salad

Green Papaya Salad

5.0 ⭐️ (3 ratings) | 20 mins

I’ve always loved how Thai dishes are like a party in your mouth, and this green papaya salad is no exception.

It has shredded juicy papaya with a mix of different herbs and veggies, including Thai basil, carrots, and green beans. Everything is tossed in a spicy-tangy dressing that’ll make your taste buds sing.

Not sure where to get green papaya? Try your local Asian supermarket. And if you can’t find it, green apples make a great substitute. 

What readers are saying…

“I love the tangy dressing and the smell of Thai basil. Pleased that this was fairly simple — no cooking or marinating required…”

“This was really good! The trickiest part for me was shredding the papaya. Thanks for a great recipe!”

“Salad is delicious though, the dressing is perfectly balanced.”

🌱 Vegan Thai Green Papaya Salad
🤩 Pickled Green Papaya

Stir-Fried Bok Choy

4.7 ⭐️ (3 ratings) | 20 mins

Bok choy, with its satisfyingly crunchy stalk and emerald green leaves, is one of my favorite leafy vegetables.

It also has a mild taste, making it an excellent canvas for different flavors. Modern Proper goes for a classic soy sauce dressing studded with red pepper flakes and a dash of sesame seeds. It’s simple but it infuses the bok choy with a nutty, umami bite and a lightly spicy kick that’ll brighten up your Pad Thai.

What the chef says…

“…the part of the baby bok choy that you eat is THE WHOLE THING! Vegetables that don’t require peeling or trimming or end-removal of some sort are few and far between, which makes vegetables like baby bok choy so very lovable—rarely is a vegetable quite this easy to prep and cook.”

🔥 Grilled Bok Choy
🥘 Clear Bok Choy Soup

Thai Mango Salad

5.0 ⭐️ (9 ratings) | 15 mins

Want a light, summery dish to pair with your Pad Thai? This bright mango salad is just what you’re looking for.

This refreshing and colorful side dish is inspired by the papaya salad mentioned above. It has a sweeter kick since Simply Veganista uses ripe mangoes. I especially like the added sweetness because it pairs well with the rich, savory notes of Pad Thai.

What readers are saying…

“Definitely part of my favorite salad rotations. I did not put in tomatoes but in red pepper instead.”

“I just made this! OMG! This is so good!! Even without fish sauce, it replicates the flavor so well and is healthier! This will be my to-go summer salad!

“This dish is a keeper. It’s an excellent, low-cost, high-value side to a stir fry night.”

Mango Slaw
😋 Mango Jicama Salad

Fresh Spring Rolls

5.0 ⭐️ (9 ratings) | 25 mins

Are you looking for an Asian side dish that’s simple to prepare and not boring? Try these no-cook spring rolls. 

Wrapping the rolls might seem intimidating at first but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be whipping them up in no time.

But what I really love about these spring rolls is that you can fill them with whatever you like.

Kelly from Just A Taste uses microgreens and shrimp, but I’ve had success with using other proteins like tofu and chicken, and even other veggies like carrots, cucumbers, and fresh herbs. Anything goes with these fresh spring rolls!

What readers are saying…

“They were truly delicious and a nice fresh alternative to often heavy Christmas cuisine.”

“I made them and used his favorite “crunchy” peanut butter in the sauce, and we had to have them the next night with calamari!”

“I’ve made this recipe multiple times for dinner parties. The sauce literally has people licking their sauce bowls at the end of the meal each and every time.”

Bean Sprout Salad

5.0 ⭐️ (9 ratings) | 25 mins

Pad Thai is tasty because it’s got a little bit of everything: eggs, noodles, veggies — you name it! Bean sprouts are commonly used as a garnish to add some freshness.

And you can make them feel even fresher by turning them into a bean sprout salad.

The addition of carrots, napa cabbage, and peanuts brings an extra layer of crunch to contrast the tender noodles. And the zesty dressing holds up well to the boldness of your Pad Thai.

What readers are saying…

“So fresh and light and delicious! will make again and highly recommend!”

“10/10 Great recipe! The bean sprouts are so crisp and delicious with the simple and wonderful dressing!”

🥵 Korean Spicy Bean Sprouts
🍲 Bean Sprout Soup

Savory Treats

Most Pad Thai recipes already have proteins incorporated, but you can never have too much, especially if you’re serving a crowd.

Thai Chicken Satay

5.0 ⭐️ (321 ratings) | 50 mins

If you want to go full Asian with your meal, serve your Pad Thai with the gold standard of authentic Thai food — chicken satay skewers!

The best thing about these skewers is it’s not just the peanut sauce that makes them tasty. Recipe creator Nagi soaks the chicken first in a curry paste-based marinade, ensuring they’re flavorful all on their own.

And if you’re a vegetarian, no worries. This recipe works well with tofu too!

What readers are saying…

“This one is hands-down – HANDS DOWN – the best. No contest.”

“Just totally delicious! Served it to friends today – marinated the chicken overnight and made the satay sauce yesterday so that the flavors would meld. It was a hit!”

My kids love them. They request once a week. Very easy to make. Definitely love the peanut sauce. It’s so tasty. Thank you for the great recipe.”

🔥 Tofu Satay
🇹🇭 Thai Ga Yang Chicken

Shrimp Tempura

5.0 ⭐️ (9 ratings) | 30 mins

Shrimp tempura is usually associated with Japanese cuisine, but who says you can’t do a little culinary mash-up?

Pad Thai has slippery and juicy noodles, so the light crunch of the shrimp tempura is exactly the kind of extra texture you need.

Aside from the batter, the key to perfecting tempura is frying at a high temperature. Anna from Crunchy Creamy Sweets recommends the frying oil to be around 340 F to ensure the batter crisps up and won’t soak up the oil.

What readers are saying…

“I used this recipe on Cod and Shrimp and think it is a very good recipe. I give it a double thumbs up.”

“This was such a hit! My husband is such a fan of shrimp, so I wanted to make this recipe and it did not disappoint!”

“Loved this recipe and loved being able to make one of my favorites at home. Big win!”

🥦 Vegetable Tempura
🍤 Firecracker Shrimp

Baked Turkey Meatballs

4.9 ⭐️ (130 ratings) | 1 hr

We’ve all heard about spaghetti and meatballs before, but have you ever tried meatballs served alongside Pad Thai? It’s an unexpectedly tasty twist.

These Thai-inspired meatballs are flavorful morsels packed with ginger, chili, and green onions. The coconut curry sauce is phenomenal, but I skip this when serving these meatballs with Pad Thai.

Instead, I prop the meatballs over the noodles so they can soak up the flavors for the perfect bite.

What readers are saying…

“Super good! Subbed almond flour for Panko and added lime along with chili garlic sauce!”

“My husband made these tonight and they were quick and so delicious. We loved the recipe!”

“I made this for my husband and I for dinner and it was fabulous! Soo yummy. Thank you for sharing your tasty recipe!”

😇 Air Fried Tofu Balls
🍄 Mushroom Balls

Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

5.0 ⭐️ (30 ratings) | 15 mins

These Thai chicken lettuce wraps are one of my favorite Asian snacks. I love serving them as appetizers because they’re light on the stomach but still delicious. And they will make your guests feel like they’re dining in a fancy restaurant. 

You could even skip the chicken filling and fill the lettuce leaves with a small serving of Pad Thai instead!

What readers are saying…

“My family and I love this recipe! Having kids with a picky palate, it’s always great to find a new dish that everyone loves.”

“I made this recipe for friends and family a couple of weeks ago. They loved it so much that I had to forward the recipe to them.”

“Delicious recipe and I love that it’s healthy. I share it with all my friends and family and they love it too!”

🤤 Vegan Asian-inspired Lettuce Wraps
💚 Tofu Lettuce Wraps

Air Fryer Crab Rangoon

4.6 ⭐️ (16 ratings) | 18 mins

Borrow this American-Chinese goodie to add some crispiness to your Pad Thai.

These golden delights are filled with a mixture of crab sticks and cream cheese and are traditionally deep-fried to get that crispy bite. But Simply Stacie’s version uses the air fryer instead. It’s more convenient and you don’t have to deal with hot oil. Plus, air frying is slightly healthier because you’ll be using less oil.

Psst… don’t forget the sweet chili dipping sauce!

What readers are saying…

“Tried your air fryer crab rangoon recipe. It was great!”

“Simply delicious. Made 1/2 with canned crab and 1/2 without. I use mini muffin pans to prep my Rangoon. Took about 12 minutes because my kids came to help!”

“Loved the simplicity of this delicious snack. It’s fast, it’s super easy & most of all minimal ingredients.”

🌱 Vegan Crab Rangoon
🥟 Mushroom Gyozas

Thai Chicken Wings

4.5 ⭐️ (17 ratings) | 1 hr 10 mins

I don’t think I’ve ever had a conversation about someone’s favorite food where chicken wings weren’t mentioned. Everybody loves chicken wings!

And these Thai chicken wings will help take your Pad Thai to new heights. They’re marinated in yogurt and jalapeno peppers, ensuring they’re tender and juicy. But The Cookie Rookie takes things up a notch with a spicy peanut dipping sauce.

Psst… this sauce also tastes sooo good drizzled over Pad Thai!

What the chef says…

“I love baking wings, a lot of the time is hands off and because the chicken is marinated it doesn’t dry out. Baking wings is a great alternative to fried, it’s even slightly healthier!”

🌶 Sweet Chili Chicken Wings
🤩 Gochujang Cauliflower Wings

Thai Staples

Pad Thai is a gem in the crown of Thai cuisine, and pairing it with other Thai staples elevates the entire dining experience.

Tom Yum Soup

5.0 ⭐️ (17 ratings) | 35 mins

I’ve always thought of Pad Thai as a nice comfort food you can eat on a lazy weekend. And do you know what else is warm and comforting? Soup, specifically tom yum soup!

It’s filled with spicy notes and herbal flavors that’ll perk up your taste buds, making them an excellent light appetizer before the Pad Thai.

RecipeTin Eats’ basic version features a clear broth similar to what you’ll see in Thai restaurants. But it also provides instructions for a creamy version (which I prefer). You simply have to add milk or coconut cream to add a layer of richness that mellows out the spices.

What readers are saying…

“Insanely delicious. I didn’t have kaffir leaves but it turned out spectacular nonetheless.

“I ordered Tom Yum takeout two weeks ago and was so let down! This recipe seemed promising and it DELIVERED!

“…husband and I enjoyed making this recipe together – it made another Saturday night in lockdown all the more bearable…”

🍲 Thai Lemongrass Soup
🥥 Thai Coconut Soup with Mushrooms

Chili Peanut Crunch

5.0 ⭐️ (17 ratings) | 35 mins

A Pad Thai is never truly complete without its signature peanut crunch, and this recipe fits the bill!

Aside from bringing a crunchy twist, this chili peanut topping adds umami and a pleasant heat as well. It’s a handy condiment to have around even when you’re not eating Pad Thai. You can sprinkle it on salads, curries, or even just eat it as a snack! 

The best part? You can make a big batch, because this condiment lasts for up to three months in an air-tight container.

What readers are saying…

“My sweet lord – this is amaaaaaaazing! I found it needed a tad more salt, but I’m a salt-devil.”

“This has become a staple with our family… I have to make it large batches so that I can supply it to friends and family!”

“Yum yum yum yum! I’ll be eating it on almost anything! Really easy to make.”

🥵 Homemade Chili Crisp
Oven-Roasted Chickpeas

Thai Pineapple Fried Rice

4.6 ⭐️ (25 ratings) | 30 mins

If you’re looking to serve a Thai feast at your next dinner party you’ll need a bowl of fried rice on the table next to your Pad Thai.

The juicy pineapple keeps things from getting too dry and provides a nice sweet-tangy kick to cut through the salty, nutty goodness of your Pad Thai. Christine from Jar of Lemons also adds cashews for texture, but you can also use walnuts or slivered almonds instead.

I know serving this with Pad Thai is twice the carbs, but you deserve to indulge from time to time!

What readers are saying…

“This dish has become a family fav!! I added another egg, diced chicken breast and frozen peas.”

“Very good and not too difficult to prepare and cook.”

“I love how easy and tasty this is. And there’s so many ways to do twists for other meals!”

🧘‍♀️ Pineapple Fried Quinoa
🌿 Thai Basil Fried Rice

Thai Green Beans

4.8 ⭐️ (15 ratings) | 30 mins

You can serve Pad Thai with any kind of greens you want. But I’m going to suggest the classic green beans (with a bit of Thai seasoning of course).

Green beans are simple to make and when cooked right, have a crisp-tender bite perfect for adding texture to your soft noodles. And Ambitious Kitchen seasons them with a nutty, umami-loaded sauce that’ll have your guests coming back for more.

What readers are saying…

“Made these beans this afternoon, very flavorful and delicious.”

“WOW oh WOW. These are so tasty! I’m officially addicted to these.”

“Made this yesterday and my husband has eaten all of them and is requesting another batch. Delicious!”

😋 Blistered Green Beans
🍋 Lemony Steamed Green Beans

Mango Sticky Rice

5.0 ⭐️ (57 ratings) | 35 mins

Mango sticky rice is the perfect sweet treat to end your Thai meal.

The nutty goodness of the coconut cream sauce smothering the rice, combined with the sweet-sour mangoes is exactly what you need to cleanse your palates after the salty, savory flavors of Pad Thai.

The only caveat with this recipe is you’ll need to plan ahead. The glutinous rice requires at least a two-hour soak before you can cook it. But I promise, this dessert’s worth the wait.

What readers are saying…

“My mangoes were extra sweet this time around and they paired beautifully with the coconut sauce.”

“I did everything else exactly how the recipe said and it was a hit… And for anyone reading these, just follow the directions and it’ll be bangin’!”

“I made this and it tasted AMAZING!!!”

😍 Mango Coconut Tapioca Pudding
🌿 Steamed Pandan Coconut Cake

What To Serve With Pad Thai – 17 Best Side Dishes

In this short recipe, I show you exactly what to serve with your pad thai.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Thai
Keyword: pad thai side dishes, what to serve with pad thai
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 114kcal


  • 1 portion chili peanut crunch
  • 1 portion green papaya salad
  • 1 portion shrimp tempura
  • 1 portion tom yum soup
  • 1 portion fresh spring rolls
  • 1 portion thai chicken satay … and more


  • Prepare your pad thai according to your favorite recipe.
  • In the meantime, choose one of the following sides to serve alongside it.
  • Side dishes include: Thai chicken satay, Asian cucumber salad, tom yum soup, chili peanut crunch, shrimp tempura, baked turkey meatballs, green papaya salad, stir-fried bok choy, Thai chicken lettuce wraps, Thai mango salad, Thai chicken wings, fresh spring rolls, Thai pineapple fried rice, bean sprout salad, crab rangoons, Thai green beans, and mango sticky rice.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!


Serving: 100g | Calories: 114kcal

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