If you’re looking for a super flavorful quick and easy dinner, this Thai basil chicken stir fry is for you

I LOVE Thai basil chicken. It gets my heart rate going not only because it’s perfectly spicy but also because it’s delicious. This is a super easy stir fry that is an incredible taste payoff for minimal prep. Goodbye delivery and hello home cooked meal!

Thai Basil Chicken Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

What is Thai basil chicken?

Thai basil chicken is a super popular Thai stir-fry dish that’s eaten both at home, in restaurants, and from street food stalls. The main ingredients are chicken, Thai basil, garlic, Thai chilis, and sauce. Sometimes it’s served up with a crispy fried egg. It’s one of our go-tos when we’re craving Thai food.

thai basil chicken recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to Make Thai Basil Chicken Stir Fry

1. Prep all of the ingredients: make the sauce by mixing together oyster sauce, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and sugar in a small bowl. Mince the garlic (a garlic press is your friend!), chop the chilies, wash and dry the basil, and cut your chicken pieces up into even chunks.

Thai Basil Chicken Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

2. Fry the aromatics: heat up some oil a wok or frying pan then very briefly lightly fry the garlic and chilis.

Thai Basil Chicken Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

3. Fry the chicken: add the chicken and cook, stirring until golden and cooked.

Thai Basil Chicken Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

4. Sauce: stir in the sauce and reduce.

Thai Basil Chicken Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

5. Basil: take the pan off the heat and mix in the basil. Enjoy!

Thai Basil Chicken Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Faster than getting your delivery order, am I right?!

What You Need to Make Thai Basil Chicken

Sugar, oil, garlic, chicken thighs – you can sub chicken breast too but chicken thighs are juicier and more flavorful.

Oyster Sauce
Oyster sauce is a thick and flavorful brown sauce that can be found in the Asian aisle of any grocery store. If you see the Lee Kum Kee bottle with the two people in boats, go for that one. It’s the premium oyster sauce which lists oysters as its first ingredient, unlike the one with the red panda label which has oysters listed further down the list.

oyster sauce | www.iamafoodblog.com

Dark Soy Sauce
You need both soy sauce and dark soy sauce for this dish – regular soy sauce adds salt and umami soy flavor; the dark adds a hint of caramel and color. If you don’t have dark soy sauce at home, you can skip out on it – your stir fry just won’t be as dark and glossy brown – but you should also give it a try. You can buy dark soy sauce easily online, and it will take your Asian/Chinese food to the next level. Once you buy a bottle, you can also use it for: Soy Sauce Chow Mein Zha Jiang Mian, and Taiwanese 3 Cup Chicken.

Thai Chilies
Thai red chilies are very, very spicy. Frying them mellows out the spice a little, but if you’re not a spice fiend, seed your chillies (use gloves!) or decrease the amount.

Thai Basil
The correct kind of basil to use for pad krapow gai is Thai holy basil. It can be incredibly difficult to buy outside of Thailand so the best sub you can use is regular Thai basil. Thai basil has a very slight licorice/fennel flavor to it that is super distinct. They sell Thai basil at most Asian grocery stores but if you can’t find it, you can sub regular sweet basil instead.

thai basil chicken recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Ground chicken vs chicken thighs vs chicken breasts

You’ll see Thai basil chicken made with ground chicken or cut up pieces of chicken thighs or breasts. In Thailand, the meat is cut up quite small, which is why you see minced/ground chicken as the most used protein for Thai basil chicken in North America. I’ve made it with both and it’s really about what you prefer.

If you don’t want to break out your knife to chop your chicken, using ground chicken is not just acceptable, pretty much standard everywhere including Thailand. And if you like your chopped chicken in larger or smaller pieces, that’s alright too! I tend to like my chicken pieces on the heartier side and Mike likes ground chicken so we make it both ways.

ground chicken thai basil chicken | www.iamafoodblog.com

What to eat it with

This recipe makes just enough sauce to coat the chicken plus a little extra for spooning on to your fluffy white rice. It’s a pretty flavorful (and by that I mean salty) so don’t be tempted to up the sauce amounts, it will be enough!

Speaking of sauce, this is meant to be eaten with fluffy white rice! The sauce and chicken go perfectly with the blank canvas rice provides. Of course if you want you can have it over your grain of choice or even noodles. Add some cucumbers for a bit of freshness and crunch or a crispy fried egg for some extra savory goodness.

Like all stir-fries, once you get going, it goes fast, so be sure to have all your ingredients prepped and sauces measured out before you even turn on the heat.

Is it spicy?

Yes, traditionally it is, but it doesn’t have to be. If you aren’t a spice head, feel free to decrease the chili amount, de-seed the chilis, or leave them out entirely.

chicken and rice forever,
xoxo steph

Thai Basil Chicken Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Thai Basil Chicken Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Thai Basil Chicken Recipe

This quick and easy Thai classic is an incredible taste payoff for minimal work.
Serves 2
4.57 from 23 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 2 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 3-4 Thai bird’s eye chili deseeded and finely chopped, see note
  • 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 20-30 leaves Thai basil
  • crispy fried egg if desired
  • rice to serve


  • In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of water with the oyster sauce, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and sugar.
    Thai Basil Chicken Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan over medium high heat. When hot and shimmery, add the garlic and chili, stirring, for about 10-30 seconds – you don’t want them to burn or brown.
    Thai Basil Chicken Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Add in the chicken and cook, tossing, until golden brown and cooked through.
    Thai Basil Chicken Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Add the sauce and cook until the sauce reduces slightly and coats the chicken.
    Thai Basil Chicken Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the basil.
    Thai Basil Chicken Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Enjoy immediately with fluffy white rice and a crispy egg, if desired.
    Thai Basil Chicken Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com


Estimated nutrition does not include rice or egg.

Estimated Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Thai Basil Chicken Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 306 Calories from Fat 137
% Daily Value*
Fat 15.2g23%
Saturated Fat 3.2g20%
Cholesterol 101mg34%
Sodium 690mg30%
Potassium 312mg9%
Carbohydrates 6.8g2%
Fiber 0.2g1%
Sugar 3.6g4%
Protein 3.5g7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


  1. Rod says:

    4 stars
    Seems like a decent recipe but you’ve gotta chop that chicken into manageable pieces.

    1. Stephanie says:

      hey rod,
      you can cut the chicken up any size you like!

  2. Ed says:

    5 stars
    Very easy to grow your own holy basil. I’ve got so much in my garden I can’t use it all.

    1. Stephanie says:

      ooh we should definitely try growing our own, thanks for the tip!

  3. Anna says:

    5 stars
    I’ve cooked this before I saw this recipe eventho I didn’t follow the exact to the T but it still turned out amazing. The easiest recipe yet the tastiest dish. Bon Appetit!

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi anna,
      so happy you liked it :)
      thanks for commenting!

  4. Mary says:

    I amvThsi and I thin you should use Chicken mince or cut to smaller piece ,its easy to cook and taste better.

  5. Robyn says:

    Looks amazing! I am allergic to shellfish so the oyster sauce is a problem. Any thoughts about substitutes? Thanks!!

    1. Stephanie says:

      5 stars
      you could skip out on it or there are actually some vegetarian oyster sauces out there that you can try – they’re made with mushrooms :)

  6. Stacy says:

    Where can you find dark soy sauce? I’ve looked in our markets (in Maine) and can’t find it. Is there a substitute? Thx

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi stacy,
      they carry it at asian grocery stores or online. if you can’t find it, you can skip it :)

  7. Stephen says:

    5 stars
    Super-easy to prepare. Flavor was excellent. I used chicken breast (which was what I had in the house) and it worked perfectly. I have Thai basil growing in my garden, which also worked really well. Overall… a keeper recipe!

    1. Stephanie says:

      ooh i need to start growing thai basil!! then it would be basil chicken everyday :)
      happy to hear it was good with chicken breast too. thanks for commenting!

      1. Russ says:

        I started growing thai basil years ago for this dish exclusively. Easy to grow, and you’ll find many other uses if you like it.

  8. Savalda says:

    5 stars
    I have made this three times with pork, chicken and shrimp. I have also added snap peas and bell peppers. I love this easy recipe to spice up my mundane week. I have also use several other recipes I really enjoy your blog and your instructions are quite simple and easy to do during the work week.

    1. Stephanie says:

      thanks for taking the time to comment savalda!
      so happy you like this recipe :) adding snaps and bell peppers is genius!

  9. Jenifer Provence says:

    My favorite Thai Basil Chicken in restaurants is with ground chicken. Any change ups to your recipe to use that instead of chicken pieces? My guess is that most restaurants might be using ground thigh meat however I am unsure of that.

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi! you can do a one to one sub! 1/2 lb ground chicken thighs :)

  10. Axel says:

    4 stars
    Great recipe, liked the the sauce with the chicken and basil, I ground up the chicken thighs cause I prefer the recipe with ground meat then with pieces. I also used faro instead of rice because I did not notice I was out of rice ?. Still came out quite good.

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Thanks for reading as always!
-Steph & Mike