Lean Cuisine Chicken Pad Thai Review

Lean Cuisine Chicken Pad Thai

If you’re even vaguely familiar with the Lean Cuisine brand of frozen meals, then you probably know their food typically comes in a rectangular box. Sometimes those boxes are longer in size, and sometimes they’re almost square, but we’ve been reviewing this stuff for years and every Lean Cuisine item we’ve ever tried has come in a rectangular box.

But those rectangular expectations crumble today, as we’re checking out the Lean Cuisine Chicken Pad Thai, which doesn’t come in a cardboard box at all — this comes in a plastic cup. You can imagine our surprise when we stumbled upon this in the freezer at our local grocery store. Yes, this is indeed a frozen food (though at a glance it might look like a dry noodle cup).

The cooking instructions here are similar to boxed foods — the only adjustments are about how you handle the packaging. You’ll simply peel off the plastic wrap, place the lid underneath the cup, then pop this into the microwave for four minutes. Give it a quick stir, then pop it back in for another minute.

The whole cup situation does bring to mind dry ramen cups, but this is not souplike at all. This is more what you’d expect from pad thai that comes in a box, like any other frozen meal. We’re really not sure why the folks at lean cuisine decided this one needed a cup when their other Asian noodle dishes get the standard box treatment.

Lean Cuisine Chicken Pad Thai

Right away, we need to say that the thai sauce here is the ruler of this dish. It soaks into every component of this meal, and you won’t find a bite that doesn’t taste like it. That’s a good thing, because this stuff is fantastic. It has a delicious, sweet flavor that makes this whole dish a craveable affair. Yes, based on the sauce alone, we’re pretty convinced this is a dish we’ll be returning to. You should be warned, of course, that it’s really sweet, so don’t go into it expecting something savory.

The snap peas are absolutely loaded with flavor. In fact, these are richer than we would have thought possible for frozen snap peas. We have a hunch that the thai sauce might actually be part of that, bringing more of the flavor up to the surface.

The carrots and peas don’t benefit quite as much as the snap peas, but the sauce does still improve them. There are also little chunks of scrambled egg in the mix, which is always a good touch.

The noodles are mediocre but forgivably so. They have a bit of a slimey quality to them, but they’re not terrible. They’re also broken up into smaller pieces than we’d have preferred.

Lean Cuisine Chicken Pad Thai

It’s the chicken, however, that’s the big problem. This stuff just isn’t good. It’s somehow still dry, even after being doused in the sauce, and it has a chalkiness to it that not even the delicious sauce can counter. Some pieces are soggy, while others are hard and gristly. This meal would have been much better without the chicken portion (and then our vegetarian friends could enjoy it too).

Though a majority of Lean Cuisine’s frozen foods are a bit lower in calories (hence the “Lean” part of Lean Cuisine), this one comes in at 430 calories. That’s actually not awful, but it’s also outside the range of diet food. This also has 660 mg of sodium, which is about average for a frozen meal (and less than we would have expected for a pad thai cup).

The Lean Cuisine Chicken Pad Thai is a really great frozen meal if you can forgive the lackluster noodles and the disappointing chicken portion. While we do wish those two components were improved, even as is, the overall flavor of this meal is really, really good. The sauce here works hard enough that it mitigates the dish’s biggest flaws. This pad thai isn’t perfect, but it’s still pretty darn tasty.

To learn more about the nutrition content, ingredients, or cooking instructions for this Lean Cuisine pad thai cup, check out our carton photos below.

Lean Cuisine Chicken Pad Thai
Lean Cuisine Chicken Pad Thai
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