It just might surprise you how easy this Thai Basil Chicken recipe is to make at home! You only need a few simple ingredients for this quick stir-fry dish: chicken thighs, fresh basil, and the secret ingredient—fish sauce. Serve it up with some rice, and your whole family might think you ordered takeout!

A white bowl is full of Jasmine rice and savory Thai basil chicken.

Easy Thai Basil Chicken

It’s not often I toot my own horn, but this recipe deserves an entire ROUND of tooting. (Okay, may have gotten carried away there!)

But in all seriousness, this Thai Basil Chicken is hands down one of the BEST stir-fry dishes I have ever made. Yup, maybe even better than this General Tso’s Chicken or this Beef Stir-Fry. And if you love Thai food, this is a must-try.

Not only is it incredibly simple to throw together—like under-30-minutes kind of easy.

But the fresh flavors of the basil leaves pair so beautifully with the slightly sweet and spicy sauce.

Juicy chicken and sautéed veggies make it super healthy, too.

And then my secret ingredient… a hint of fish sauce! It’s an absolute GAME CHANGER and gives the dish SO much umami flavor! It tastes just like—maybe even better!—than what I get at my local Thai restaurant.

Round out the meal with a side of jasmine ricebasmati rice or white rice and you’ll have a meal the entire family will love. And check out how to chiffonade basil for a truly awesome presentation. If you want more Thai flavor, try these Thai Chicken Meatballs or Ground Chicken Thai Lettuce Wraps, too!

Chicken, basil, peppers, fish sauce, and seasonings are the ingredients for this dish.

Ingredients

The simple ingredients you need to make this Thai basil chicken stir fry recipe include:

  • Chicken. Chicken thighs are the absolute best for this recipe. Look for boneless, skinless thighs and cut them into bite-sized pieces. You can sub chicken breasts if you prefer.
  • Veggies. While you can use just about anything, you definitely want onion or shallots to make the base. Jalapeño pepper or Thai chili peppers if you can find them, along with bell peppers, are perfect in this dish, as well. Check a local Asian market for Thai chilies if needed.
  • Garlic. Minced garlic cloves is a must to get the most flavor from this dish. Garlic powder can be subbed, though.
  • Soy sauce. Either regular soy sauce or low-sodium work. Or, stick with tamari or coconut aminos if they line up with your dietary needs.
  • Sugar. Brown sugar or white sugar can be used, depending on your personal preference. If you’re avoiding processed sugar, try coconut sugar.
  • Fish sauce. The key ingredient! This is so important for the umami flavor that makes this dish irresistible.
  • Cornstarch. Used to thicken the sauce; be sure not to miss this or it will be runny.
  • Basil. You can use whatever type of basil you like. For the most authentic flavor, fresh Thai basil is key. If needed, grab some sweet basil or regular basil from the grocery store if that’s all you can find.

How to Make Thai Basil Chicken

Below you’ll find the steps to make this Thai chicken stir fry at home:

Prep the Ingredients

First, take a few minutes to chop up the veggies.

You’ll want to use a sharp knife and a cutting board to slice the bell peppers into thin strips, mince the garlic, dice the jalapeño, and slice the onions.

You can also chiffonade cut the basil.

Then, add the soy sauce, brown sugar, warm water, cornstarch, and fish sauce to a medium-sized bowl. Whisk the sauce ingredients well, then set it aside.

Onions, bell pepper, and Thai chilies are sliced and diced.

Cook the Onion and Chicken

Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a wok over medium high heat. You can also use a large skillet if you don’t have a wok.

Once it’s heated for a minute or two, add in the sliced onion, garlic, and diced jalapeño to the hot pan. This step adds great flavor. Cook for 1 minute, just until the garlic starts to become fragrant.

Use the spatula to push the veggies to the side of the skillet and drizzle in another tablespoon of oil. When it’s hot, add in the pieces of chicken. 

Do not stir the chicken; rather let it cook for a couple of minutes to brown on one side. Then, flip the chicken and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. The chicken should be mostly cooked through.

Add the Peppers and Sauce

Toss in the sliced bell peppers with the chicken and onions. Continue cooking for another 1 to 2 minutes on medium-high heat.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and carefully stir in the savory sauce and toss to coat the chicken. Then, sprinkle the basil leaves and stir one more time. Cook for 30 seconds and remove the pan from the heat.

Serve in a small bowl over cooked rice topped with toasted sesame seeds and fresh herbs, if you like!

Meal Prep and Storage

  • How to prep ahead of time: Chop the veggies and cut the chicken the day before to save time. Keep them in Ziploc bags until you’re ready to use. You can whip up the sauce and keep it in a mason jar in the fridge, as well.
  • How to store: Keep leftover Thai basil chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 to 5 days.
  • How to freeze: Wrap leftover chicken tightly in a freezer-safe bag once completely cooled. It will last in the freezer for up to 3 to 6 months.
  • How to reheat: For the best results, warm the chicken and rice back up in a skillet over medium heat. You can also use the microwave.

Is Thai basil chicken good for you?

Yes! Thai basil chicken is a good-for-you main dish that also tastes delicious. To make it even better, skip the rice and go with cauliflower rice.

What can you do with a lot of Thai basil?

Thai basil chicken is a great way to use up a lot of Thai basil. You can also experiment with making your own pesto, or incorporating it into a Caprese salad. Alternately, you can learn how to dry basil so you have it on hand year-round.

An overhead shot of Thai basil chicken stir fry in a white bowl with rice.

What is Thai basil sauce made of?

The sauce for this Thai basil dish is made with a base of soy sauce along with brown sugar and fish sauce. It is perfect with fresh basil sprinkled on top.

Dietary Modifications

The recipe you’ll find below is already gluten-free as written.  Here are some adjustments and substitutions you can make to help it fit your other dietary requirements:

  • Sugar-free: Skip the brown sugar or sub in a natural sweetener, like honey or maple syrup.
  • Gluten-free: Go with coconut aminos and ensure your thickening agent is free of gluten.
  • Soy-free: Choose tamari or coconut aminos.

Expert Tips and Tricks

  • Small is best. Be sure the chunks of chicken are not too big so they cook evenly.
  • Smells fishy. Well, not really, but DON’T skip the fish sauce! It’s the key to this sauce.
  • Make it fancy. A chiffonade cut is so simple yet looks super impressive.
  • You choose. Serve this over rice, or keep it low-carb with cauliflower rice.
  • Plus it up. So many veggies would be delicious with this dish. Try broccoli, green beans, or even carrots. Or spice it up with extra Thai chilies. 
Two bowls of rice are topped with Thai basil chicken.

What to Serve with Thai Basil Chicken?

Thai basil chicken is a complete meal on its own, but there are some delicious sides you can add to it.

Of course, you need a base. Try Jasmine RiceInstant Pot Basmati Rice or Instant Pot White Rice. Or, change things up with Coconut Rice or Instant Pot Wild Rice.

Go low-carb with Cauliflower Rice.

This Thai Quinoa Salad is so flavorful, as well.

More Asian Stir-Fry Recipes

No matter the protein you prefer, there are delicious stir fries that will satisfy any craving.

Beef Stir-Fry is so full of flavor.

If you’re looking for another chicken recipe, try Honey Sesame Chicken and Broccoli Stir FryTeriyaki Chicken Stir Fry, or Cashew Chicken.

Teriyaki Shrimp Stir Fry is perfect for the seafood-lovers.

Or stick with the Thai theme and make this Peanut Sauce Recipe to drizzle on everything!

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 8 votes

Thai Basil Chicken Recipe

It just might surprise you how easy this Thai Basil Chicken recipe really is. You only need a few simple ingredients like chicken, basil, and the secret flavor maker—fish sauce. Serve it up with some rice, and your whole family might think you ordered takeout!
Yield 5 servings
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 30 minutes
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Ingredients 

  • 2 Tbsp. oil avocado or olive, divided
  • ½ white onion or 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 4-5 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1 red jalapeno pepper or 2-3 Thai chili peppers, finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ lbs. chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce or Tamari
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar or white
  • 2 Tbsp. water warm
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. fish sauce
  • ¾ oz. Thai basil leaves cut into 1-inch pieces

For Serving:

  • Cooked jasmine or long grain white rice
  • Toasted sesame seeds optional

Instructions 

  • Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Wait a minute or two for it to come to temperature and then add in the sliced onion, garlic, and diced jalapeno pepper. Cook for 1 minute, or until the garlic becomes fragrant.
  • Push the vegetables to the side of the skillet and add in the additional tablespoon of oil. Wait for it to heat up and then add in the chicken pieces. Leave the chicken undisturbed for a couple of minutes so it can brown on one side before flipping. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the chicken is almost cooked through.
  • Add in the bell peppers and continue cooking over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes.
  • Whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, warm water, cornstarch, and fish sauce in a medium-sized bowl. Pour this into the wok and toss to completely coat the chicken.
  • Reduce the heat to medium low and add in the basil leaves. Toss to combine and turn off the heat after 30 seconds.
  • Serve immediately over cooked rice with toasted sesame seeds.
Last step! If you make this, please leave a review letting us know how it was!

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 8 votes

Video

Notes

  • Nutritional information is calculated without rice.

Meal Prep and Storage

  • How to prep ahead of time: Chop the veggies and cut the chicken the day before to save time. Keep them in ziploc bags until you’re ready to use. You can whip up the sauce and keep it in a mason jar in the fridge, as well.
  • How to store: Keep leftover Thai basil chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 to 5 days.
  • How to freeze: Wrap leftover chicken tightly in a freezer-safe bag once completely cooled. It will last in the freezer for up to 3 to 6 months.
  • How to reheat: For the best results, warm the chicken and rice back up in a skillet over medium heat. You can also use the microwave.

Nutrition

Calories: 270kcal, Carbohydrates: 13g, Protein: 28g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 0.05g, Cholesterol: 129mg, Sodium: 776mg, Potassium: 463mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 1029IU, Vitamin C: 37mg, Calcium: 36mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Spouse loved it. I had 1 1/2 times the chicken and I doubled the sauce as he likes his stir-frys “saucy”. Like he will dump soy sauce on a bowl BEFORE TRYING IT. I still love him. Used a habanero as that’s what was in the fridge. It’s late fall, so no Thai Basil in my garden and I wasn’t willing to go to the Asian market where sometimes they have it…I used a combo of cilantro and the last bit of mint from my garden (that stuff is hardy!). I had read long ago in a Cook’s Illustrated that that’s a decent sub for Thai basil. A bit on the sweet side for me, but that’s any easy adjustment for the future!

    1. Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Holly! I’ve never tried that combination! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment and rating!

  2. 5 stars
    Wife loved it, gave it five stars.
    Fairly easy to make.
    Did ad some chunks of zucchini and yellow squash.
    Happy Wife Happy Life

    1. Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Doug! Love that your wife loved it! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment and rating!

    1. Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Rebecca! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment and rating!