This Thai basil chicken is finely diced chicken that is stir fried with bell peppers, shallots and fresh basil leaves, all in a savory sauce. A take out classic that’s quick and easy to make in the comfort of your own home!
Whenever I go to my local Thai restaurant, I order the Thai basil chicken. I just love the mix of chicken, fragrant Thai basil and veggies, all in the most fabulous sauce.
How do you make Thai basil chicken?
This recipe starts with coarsely chopped chicken thighs. The chicken is browned in a pan along with garlic, shallots, bell peppers and chili peppers. Whisk together chicken broth, oyster sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce and brown sugar to make the sauce for this dish. The sauce is poured into the chicken and vegetable mixture, then simmered until the sauce coats everything. The final step is to stir in fresh Thai basil leaves, then serve and enjoy.
Tips for the perfect dish
- The traditional method for this dish is to use chicken thighs that have been chopped into small pieces. The mixture resembles what you might find with a store bought ground chicken, but the texture is different which is why it’s important to chop your own chicken for the best results.
- This sauce calls for ingredients you may not already have in the pantry such as fish sauce and oyster sauce. These condiments are readily available in the Asian foods section of most grocery stores, as well as in Asian markets.
- You can make this dish as mild or as spicy as you like. If you don’t like spicy food, feel feel to omit the sliced chili peppers. If you like things hot, you can absolutely add more.
- Thai basil chicken stays fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. This dish can be frozen for up to 2 months. If you’re planning to freeze your finished chicken, I recommend omitting the basil and adding it after the chicken has been thawed and reheated.
What is the difference between Thai basil and regular basil?
Thai basil has a distinct appearance and flavor that is different from Italian style basil. In addition, Thai basil typically has purple stems, while Italian basil is all green. Thai basil has more of a licorice type, bolder flavor. Italian basil has a sweeter, milder flavor. If you can’t find Thai basil for this dish, you can substitute standard basil. The flavor may just be a bit different when compared to what you might get at a restaurant.
Thai basil chicken flavor variations
This dish is fabulous when served as-is, but you can also switch up the ingredients to customize the recipe to your tastes.
- Protein: Feel free to use ground chicken, or cubed chicken thighs instead of the coarsely chopped chicken. This recipe also works really well with sliced steak, shrimp or tofu.
- Vegetables: You can add more vegetables to this dish such as mushrooms, green beans or baby corn.
- Serving: While it is traditional to offer Thai basil chicken over steamed white rice, other great options include coconut rice, brown rice, quinoa or rice noodles.
Skip the takeout and make your own basil chicken instead; you’ll be glad you did!
More Asian inspired dishes
Thai Basil Chicken Video
Thai Basil Chicken
For the sauce
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons corn starch
For the stir fry
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs coarsely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper cored, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 green bell pepper cored, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup shallots diced
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 1 small serrano chili thinly sliced. omit if you don't like heat
- 1 cup small fresh Thai basil leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- rice for serving
For the sauce
- Place all the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk until well combined.
For the stir fry
- Heat the oil in a large pan over high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the red and green bell peppers and shallots, then cook for another 4-5 minutes or until peppers have softened.
- Add the garlic and serrano pepper. Cook for 1 more minute.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables, then bring to a simmer.
- Cook for 1-2 minutes or until sauce has just thickened. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Stir in the basil leaves, then serve immediately, over rice if desired.