This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Spicy Thai basil chicken features stir-fried boneless chicken thighs with fresh basil and Thai garlic sauce. This is weeknight cooking at its best! Cook this delicious dish in 25 minutes and serve with rice noodles or steamed jasmine rice.
Thai basil chicken — pad krapow gai — hits all the taste buds. Sweet, spicy, hot and garlicky — plus it’s full of fresh vegetables and a sauce that is super tasty.
This dish scores in the top five of my favorite quick chicken dinner recipes. I really want you to try this recipe, because I have a feeling you’re going to crave it over and over again.
I’ve been cooking versions of this Thai basil sauce for years, and never get tired of it! While by no means an authentic Thai recipe, this is my version of the totally mouthwatering chicken dish that pushes all the flavor buttons.
The fact that it’s still on regular rotation says a lot about how good it is — it’s definitely a recipe you’ll want in your dinnertime bag of tricks.
When it comes to Thai basil chicken, it’s always my favorite thing to order from the local Thai restaurant.
This is a spicy chicken recipe to throw together when you want something wholesome and homemade, but just as hunger-satisfying as your favorite takeout.
- Not that into chicken? Try substituting an equal amount of thinly sliced beef or pork tenderloin for the chicken, or use tofu and stir-fried vegetables to make this a vegetarian main dish dinner.
Ingredients you need to make Thai basil chicken
This dish is has a handful of fresh ingredients, along with Asian condiments you might already have in the pantry:
- Fish Sauce
- Chili Garlic Sauce
- Soy Sauce or shoyu
- Sugar or honey
- Fresh basil (Thai or sweet Italian basil)
- Boneless chicken thigh or chicken breast meat
- Red onion or shallots
- Fresh red chili pepper, such as Thai chilies
- Red bell pepper
Chili garlic sauce is key to making this dish — it’s not very hot all by itself, but it has a wonderful savory flavor.
Make it your own
- If you enjoy spicy-hot flavors, just use more chili pepper to your taste.
- Sprinkle crushed peanuts or cashews on each serving.
- Stir in greens such as spinach or chopped bok choy until they wilt.
- Add chopped scallion or green onion.
- Substitute ground chicken, pork or chopped shrimp or use cubed firm tofu.
25-Minute Thai Basil Chicken with Chili Garlic Sauce
Thai Basil Sauce
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons mirin, or sake
- 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar or honey
- 2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons chicken broth, or water
- 1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken, thigh or breast meat
- 2 tablespoons toasted peanut oil, or other high-heat vegetable oil
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced into 1/4-inch strips
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced or grated
- 1 fresh red chili pepper, thinly sliced, or 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 cups fresh Thai basil or sweet basil leaves
- Crushed roasted peanuts
- Fresh sliced cucumber
- Chopped green onions
- Cooked jasmine rice or rice noodles
For the sauce
- To make the sauce, combine the fish sauce, mirin, tamari, sugar, chili garlic sauce, cornstarch and water until sugar is dissolved.
For the chicken
- Heat a large (12-inch) cast iron skillet or wok over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the oil and the chicken to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is seared and cooked through, about 10 minutes.
- Add the bell pepper and onion and continue cooking and stirring until the onions are softened, about 1 minute, then stir in the garlic and chili pepper.
- Stir in the sauce mixture and bring to a boil. Cook for another minute, then remove from the heat and add the basil leaves.
- Serve over cooked rice or rice noodles to soak up the delicious sauce.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- Make this dish as spicy as you want with more (or less) fresh red chili, or add crushed red chili.
- Instead of chicken, use with turkey or pork, peeled shrimp or cubed firm tofu.