Is Pad Thai Spicy?

freshly made pad thai

Pad Thai is a famous dish originating from Thailand. If you’ve never had this dish before, you maybe tempted to try some. Before you do, you may wonder if pad Thai is spicy or not.

Is Pad Thai Spicy?

Yes! Pad Thai is very spicy because it uses chili powder as an ingredient in its sauce mix. The amount of spice will vary depending on how much chili powder you use when preparing your dish.

What Makes Pad Thai Spicy?

There are three main ingredients that make pad thai spicy: chili, fish sauce, and sugar. The main ingredient that makes this dish spicy is the chili pepper.

But what chili pepper makes Pad Thai spicy? You might be surprised to learn that it’s not the hot red chili peppers you’re used to seeing in other Thai dishes like curry or green papaya salad. Instead, it’s a tiny red chili pepper known as prik kee noo, also known as bird’s eye chili or Thai chili pepper.

Bird’s eye chilies are small and round with an intense heat level (up to 100,000 Scoville units). They look like tiny cayenne peppers but are bright red instead of orange. You’ll often see them in dishes that use dried chilies such as tom yum soup or pad thai sauce.

Dried Or Fresh Chili Peppers For Pad Thai?

If you are eating pad Thai the traditional way, then it is best to use dried chilies. The reason for this is that the dried chilies will give more spice and flavor to your dish. However, if you want to add some heat to your pad Thai but do not want to overpower the dish with spice, then fresh chili peppers are also a good option.

Dried Red Chilies

There are numerous varieties of dried red chile peppers accessible on the market today. Some of them include Thai, cayenne, and ancho chili peppers. These types of dried chilies have been used in Asian cooking for centuries because they provide a lot of heat and flavor to dishes that need a kick in the pants!

Fresh Red Chilies

Fresh red chilies are usually milder than their dried counterparts but still provide some spice when added to a dish like pad Thai. Most supermarket shops carry fresh red chilies all year long, and they can be used right away after being picked up off the rack.

Is Pad Thai Traditionally Spicy?

Pad Thai is not traditionally spicy. In fact, it’s meant to be eaten with a sweet chili sauce and/or lime juice. The origins of pad thai trace back to Thailand, where people tend to be very particular about whether their food is spicy or not. Many people consider adding chili paste or powder to make something spicy; however, this isn’t traditional at all!

If you do like things spicy but still want some sweetness in your life (and who doesn’t?), consider asking for tamarind paste instead of sugar when ordering your pad thai at a restaurant or buying one from an Asian market–tamarind has a tangy flavor that will complement the noodles perfectly without making them taste overly sweet.

How to Avoid Burning Your Mouth Eating Pad Thai

While you can’t exactly take the heat out of pad thai (it’s a taste you either love or hate), there are ways to make it less spicy if you’re not a fan. Here are three tips for eating pad thai without burning your mouth with the spices:

1. Cut down on the spice by using less chili paste or by adding more sugar. The less chili you use, the less spicy it will be. In addition, adding sugar to the Pad Thai will help lessen the burning feeling when eating this dish.

2. Don’t drink anything while eating pad thai. Pad thai is pretty spicy, so if you drink something like water or soda while eating it, the heat from your mouth will cool down the food before it gets to your stomach. This causes your body to send more blood to your mouth to cool it off, causing more pain than usual when eating spicy food.

3. Eat pad Thai slowly. If you want to enjoy your spicy meal without being in pain for days after, then take your time with each bite. The slower you eat something spicy, the less intense the burn will be on your tongue and mouth.


As you can see, how spicy pad Thai is will depend on the amount of chili pepper you use. Of course, the more peppers, the hotter it will be.