Traditional recipes

Thai chicken and basil stir fry recipe

Thai chicken and basil stir fry recipe

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This is delicious and easy to make. Make it as spicy as you like or keep it mild.

312 people made this

IngredientsServes: 6

  • 400g uncooked jasmine rice
  • 1L water
  • 180ml coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon red chilli flakes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh root ginger, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 500g skinless, boneless chicken breast fillets - cut into strips
  • 3 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 5 spring onions, chopped
  • 70g chopped fresh basil leaves

MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:20min ›Ready in:35min

  1. Bring rice and water to the boil in a pot. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes.
  2. In a bowl, mix the coconut milk, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce and red chilli flakes.
  3. In a frying pan or wok, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion, ginger and garlic, and cook until lightly browned. Mix in chicken strips, and cook about 3 minutes, until browned. Stir in the coconut milk sauce. Continue cooking until sauce is reduced be about 1/3. Mix in mushrooms, spring onions and basil, and cook until heated through. Serve over the cooked rice.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(426)

Reviews in English (301)

Loved this - so easy to make a tasted fantastic. Will be making this again in the very near future-03 Apr 2012

This is now one of my favourite recipes in life! Delish-09 May 2016

Just delicious! Added baby corn and mangetout and Thai 7 spice. yum-19 Feb 2016

  • For the Sauce:
  • 3 spring onions (sliced)
  • 1 chili (red fresh, or 1 tsp. chili sauce add more or less according to your preference)
  • 6 to 8 makrut lime leaves (cut into strips with scissors, available frozen in Asian/Chinese food stores)
  • 4 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 cup basil (fresh)
  • 2 tbsp. coconut (canola, or other vegetable oil)
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce (regular)
  • 1 tsp. dark soy sauce (or 1/2 tbsp. regular soy sauce)
  • 1 to 2 tsp. sugar (brown)
  • For the Chicken:
  • 3 chicken breasts (or 5 to 6 thighs, cut into strips or bite-size pieces)
  • 2 bell peppers (1 red, 1 green, chopped into bite-size pieces)
  • 1 onion (small chopped or cut into thin wedges)
  • 1 handful basil (fresh)
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil

Make the sauce by placing all sauce ingredients in a food processor or mini-chopper. When cutting the lime leaves, be sure to discard any inedible stems.

Process well to form a thick sauce or paste. Taste-test for sweetness/sour balance, adding more sugar to taste (you will adjust the other flavors later). Set aside.

Place 2 tbsp. oil in a wok or large frying pan and set over medium-high heat.

Add the onions and chicken.

Stir-fry 6 to 8 minutes, or until chicken is well cooked. When stir-frying, add a little white wine (1 tbsp. at a time) whenever the wok/pan becomes too dry. This will keep the ingredients cooking nicely without having to add more oil (and fat/calories).

Add the bell peppers, and stir-fry another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bell pepper pieces have softened slightly and are bright in color.

Turn heat down to medium. Now add the sauce, stirring well to incorporate.

Do a taste-test for salt and spice, adding more fish sauce if not salty enough, or more fresh chili (or chili sauce) if not spicy enough. If you prefer a "saucier" stir-fry, you can add a few tbsp. of chicken stock, coconut milk, or cream.

Tilt onto a serving dish or portion out onto individual plates. Add a generous topping of fresh basil, and serve with either white or brown rice, or Thai coconut rice.

Recipe Instructions

Start by cutting your chicken into slices.

Put the chicken into a bowl and add the fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and cornstarch. Mix it well, incorporating all the seasoning ingredients. Then just let it sit while you’re preparing the other ingredients.

Chop, slice, and dice everything you need.

Again, feel free to deviate from the veggie ingredients we have here. This recipe is more of a rough guideline than anything. This is a great dish to make if you want to use up odds and ends in your vegetable crisper (that’s what we were doing, anyway).

When you’re ready to cook, heat a wok over medium high heat and add a couple tablespoons of oil. Add the chicken and stir-fry until it’s got some color. Take the chicken out of the pan and set aside.

Add a little more oil to the pan and add all your vegetables, garlic, and chili. Stir-fry for a few minutes until the vegetables are tender. Take a minute to admire your handiwork. Pretttyyyy colors.

Add the chicken back to the pan along with the Thai basil and stir-fry until everything is well-combined, and the basil is wilted. (uhhhh….the thai basil may or may not be in this photo. We need to improve our photo timing.)

Plate, and serve hot with some rice!

…and maybe some bok choy that was also languishing in the fridge.

Enjoy it guys. Here’s the printable version:

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Recipe Summary

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (longer pieces cut crosswise in half again)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 6 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, halved and cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges
  • 2 bell peppers (red, yellow, green, or a mix, ribs and seeds removed), cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, larger leaves torn in half
  • Cooked white rice, for serving (optional)

Pat chicken pieces dry with paper towels. In a medium bowl, toss chicken with cornstarch until coated season generously with salt and pepper.

In a large wok or nonstick skillet, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high. Cook half the chicken, turning once, until browned, but not completely cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes total. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with another 2 teaspoons oil and remaining chicken. Transfer chicken to plate. Set aside. Wipe out skillet with a paper towel.

To skillet, add remaining 2 teaspoons oil, onion, and bell peppers cook over medium-high heat, tossing often, until beginning to brown, 3 minutes. Add garlic cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add 1/4 cup water, vinegar, soy sauce, and chicken to pan cook, tossing, until chicken is cooked through, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in basil leaves. Serve immediately, over white rice, if desired.

Ingredients you’ll need to make this Pad Kra Gai recipe (chicken Thai basil stir fry)

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this delicious pad kra pao recipe:

  • Minced chicken or pork – if you’re making this from chicken then it is called pad kra pao gai and if you’re making it with pork it is pad kra pao moo. It doesn’t matter which one you use, choose the one that suits your preference best. I personally always make this dish with chicken!
  • Holy basil – this is what will make an authentic pad kra pao recipe come to life.
  • Oyster sauce or Thai sweet dark soy sauce (like kecap manis) – an important ingredient. Some people like to use a combination of both but I only use either one. This will give color and sweetness.
  • Lots of garlic – this will give that lovely aroma and amazing flavor to your dish. This is mandatory!
  • Thai or bird’s eye chili – if you’re sensitive to heat, you can reduce or omit this. I suggest you try with at least one small chili as it is not pad kra pao if there’s not at least a small punch.
  • Sugar or honey – for extra sweetness. I used honey in this recipe but feel free to use regular sugar, I just moved back to Finland when I created this recipe and I only had honey on hand at the time. I use regular sugar nowadays.

What type of Basil?

Three preferred kinds of basil used for Thai cooking are Thai sweet basil, holy basil, and lemon basil. Holy basil has a peppery flavor that delivers the zing to Thai Basil Chicken but isn’t always available outside of Thailand.

If you don’t find it at a specialty produce shop or local Asian market, substitute Thai sweet basil. Add just a pinch of white pepper to deliver a unique peppery flavor.

Like many Thai recipes, this dish is a one-plate meal. Double the ingredients if you’re cooking for two.

Put the utensils, pans, and ingredients on the counter in order of their use. Start by cooking a pot of rice (Jasmine is especially tasty!) so it is ready to eat when the Thai Basil Chicken recipe is completed. The average cooking time for the recipe is 15 minutes – just enough time for the rice to be done!

Thai Basil Chicken Stir Fry

It’s safe to say that most of us are constantly on the lookout for quick and tasty meals that we can have on the dinner table in a half-hour or less. Thirty minutes seems to be the magic number to ease the stress of a busy weeknight, but a healthy and delicious dinner can be even faster. How does fifteen minutes sound? Pretty good, right? Realistically, you can get this stir-fry onto a plate in ten, but we’ll pad in five extra minutes to account for slow choppers.

Yup, ten minutes. But fast doesn’t mean you’re sacrificing flavor. This Thai Basil Chicken Stir Fry is layered with flavor – sweet, spicy, and fully satisfying. It’s based on a Thai classic, Pad Kra Prao Kai, and it can be made with pretty much any protein that strikes your fancy – ground beef, pork, turkey, or even lamb – whatever you happen to have on hand. It’s traditionally made with Thai basil (the kind with the purple stems), but you can substitute regular basil if you can’t find the former in your local produce section.

The key to getting this stir fry (or any stir fry, really) done quickly is to work with HIGH heat. Don’t be shy about cranking your stove dial to its highest setting, but make sure that you keep your ingredients moving. That’s why it’s called stir fry after all, you need to keep stirring. If you let the ingredients sit at such a high heat, they’ll burn. (It also helps to make sure your onion is sliced very thin. Smaller pieces mean a quicker cooking time.) We can promise this chicken stir fry is one you need any special cooking chops for it’s simple to throw together and oh-so reliably good.

Garlic Roasted Green Beans mentioned above:

Heat the oven to 500ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread an even layer of frozen green beans onto the baking sheet. Then sprinkle with sea salt, garlic powder (be generous here), and a drizzle of olive oil – toss together.

When you’re almost ready to serve dinner, pop the baking sheet into the oven on the middle rack and turn the oven up to broil. Watch the green beans carefully because they’re usually done within 5 minutes or so.

If you don’t want to turn on the oven, you can sauté them on the stove top in a large skillet over high heat as well. The key to both methods is the high heat because it adds so much flavor, but do keep a close eye on things so nothing burns!

Lastly if you can find it, definitely use Holy Basil as it’s authentic to this dish. However it does seem to be hard to find, (I haven’t seen it since we left Calgary) but I thought I’d mention it in case you have access to a good Asian grocery, or fun herbs at a local farmers market.

I hope you’ll enjoy this stir fry as much as we have! If you do make them, I hope you’ll leave me a comment/rating below. I always love hearing from you here. And over on Instagram where you can tag me at #getinspiredeveryday with your photos.

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Thai Basil Chicken Stir Fry

Thai Basil Chicken Stir Fry loaded with tons of fresh vegetables. A quick and easy one skillet weeknight meal that takes less than 30 minutes to make!

I love stir frys because they are quick and easy. Perfect for a busy weeknight. This Thai Basil Stir Fry takes just 30 minutes start to finish to throw together.

This colorful stir fry is loaded with tons of fresh vegetables. I choose my favorite: sugar snap peas, green and red bell peppers and onions. You can always substitute what you have on hand. Broccoli would also be a great addition.

There is a little bit of heat from the jalapeño. I like things exxxxxtra spicy so I add some Sriracha to my stir fry as well as extra jalapeño.

I cook the veggies on high heat so they get nice and caramelized on the outside and tender on the inside. I like to slightly under cook them so they still have a bit of a crunch to them.

You can always leave out the chicken if you are a vegetarian.

There’s not a lot of sauce in this stir fry either. Its light, crisp and loaded with flavor. The flavor comes from the chopped ginger, garlic, jalapeño, basil and hoisin sauce. If you are not familiar with hoisin sauce it kind of like an Asian barbecue sauce. A staple of stir-frys and marinades. It’s super thick like barbecue sauce and is slightly sweet. It is the perfect sauce for our stir fry.

For me the trick to an awesome stir fry is a hot pan. I like to get the vegetables caramelized on the outside but still have a nice bite to them. You can use a wok for this recipe or a large skillet.

Serve with a side of white or brown rice . Coconut rice would be awesome with this)

Love this Thai Basil Chicken Stir Fry? Here are some more 30 Minute Meals to try!

Chicken and holy basil stir-fry (gai pad graprow)

This recipe is for one of the favorite dishes of the Thai people and make sure you use holy basil, as it goes especially well with pork .



Skill level

The chicken can be substituted with pork, beef, squid, shrimp or seafood. This dish is often served at breakfast with a deep-fried egg, sunny side up, on top. One particular favourite is to make it with ground pork and lots of Thai chillies.


  • 10–12 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 10 long red chillies, sliced, plus 1–2 long red chillies extra, finely sliced
  • 2–3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 500 g chicken thigh fillets, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • pinch of white pepper
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 2 spring onions (scallions), cut into 3 cm lengths
  • 2–3 tbsp chicken stock
  • ½ bunch holy basil, leaves picked

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Put the garlic and chillies in a mortar and pound to a rough paste. Heat a wok until smoking hot then add the oil and swirl to coat the surface. Add the pounded chilli and garlic and stir-fry for 15–20 seconds. Add the chicken and stir-fry for 1–2 minutes, or until most of the chicken has changed colour. Stir in the oyster, soy and fish sauces and add the pepper, onion, spring onion and extra chilli. Keep stir-frying and when the chicken is just cooked, add the chicken stock. Turn off the heat and toss through the basil leaves. Transfer to a serving plate.

To fry the eggs, wipe out the wok and add the oil. When hot, gently pour in the eggs. Be careful as they crackle and pop. Fry the eggs until golden (they should stick together), then lift out with a slotted spoon and place on top of the chicken stir-fry.

Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Alice Storey and Georgina Larby. Creative concept by Belinda So.