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Thai Basil Chicken with Chili Garlic Sauce

4.91 from 20 votes

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Spicy Thai basil chicken stir-fried with fresh basil and Thai garlic sauce. This is weeknight cooking at its best! Cook this delicious dish in 15 minutes and serve with rice noodles or jasmine rice.

chunks of chicken in Thai basil sauce with red bell pepper, chili peppers, fresh basil and rice noodles in a gray serving bowl.

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 flavor-bomb sauce.

This dish scores in the top five of my favorite one-dish-and-done dinners.

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.

Cast iron skillet with chopped chicken in Thai basil sauce

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.

While by no means authentic, this totally mouthwatering chicken hits all the flavor buttons for me.

When it comes to Thai basil chicken, it’s always my favorite thing to order from the local Thai restaurant.

chunks of chicken in Thai basil sauce with red bell pepper, chili peppers, fresh basil and rice noodles in a gray serving bowl.

This is a spicy, tasty 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.

chunks of chicken in Thai basil sauce with red bell pepper, chili peppers, fresh basil and rice noodles in a gray serving bowl.

Ingredients in 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 basil)
  • Boneless chicken thigh or breast meat
  • Garlic
  • Red onion
  • Fresh red chili pepper
  • 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

  • Like it spicy-hot? 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
  • Add chopped scallion or green onion
  • Substitute ground chicken, pork or chopped shrimp or use cubed firm tofu

More fast and delicious weeknight dinners:

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Thai Basil Chicken with Chili Garlic Sauce

Karen Tedesco
The BEST 30-minute Thai basil chicken recipe, packed with fresh, flavorful ingredients. Not only does it taste fantastic, it's so much healthier than ordering takeout.
Print Pin Text
4.91 from 20 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Chicken
Cuisine Thai
Servings 6 servings


  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sake or dry sherry (optional)
  • pounds boneless skinless chicken (breasts or thighs)
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or honey
  • 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 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
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 or 2 fresh red hot chili peppers such as Thai or habanero depending on your heat preference, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups fresh Thai basil or sweet basil leaves

Garnish suggestions

  • Crushed roasted peanuts
  • Fresh sliced cucumber
  • Cooked jasmine rice or rice noodles
  • Chopped green onions


  • Stir together 1 tablespoon of the fish sauce with the sake (if using) in a mixing bowl. Slice the chicken into 1/2-inch chunks. Add the chicken to the bowl and toss to coat. 
  • To make the sauce, stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons fish sauce in a small bowl with the soy sauce, sugar, chili garlic sauce, cornstarch and water until sugar is dissolved. 
  • 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, 10 – 12 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 soy 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.


Calories: 218kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 1414mg | Potassium: 427mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1087IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 2mg
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Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about creating elevated dinners with everyday ingredients. Find simplified recipes made from scratch and enjoy incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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  1. 5 stars
    I love thai basil but hadn’t found a good recipe until now. Better than takeout and this will definitely be in our weekly rotation.

    I’m keto, and as such omitted the sugar and sake entirely. One comment for others making this recipe that if you like a good bit of sauce (and especially if you are omitting liquid ingredients like the sake), consider doubling the sauce part. (I’ll be doing that next time.)

    Great recipe, thank you!

  2. This was delicious. I will make it again.

  3. 5 stars
    This was delicious.. Easy to put together with pantry staples
    Will definitely be making this again and again. Thanks for sharing

  4. Wow this looks so delicious and vibrant! I am always on the lookout for quick weeknight dinners and this definitely fits the criteria. Looking forward to making it next week. Thank you!

  5. This looks perfect. I have been craving pad thai, but am not ready to dine out yet. This will be an ideal take out fake out! I think I will try it over cauliflower rice this weekend.

  6. Carol Weber says:

    Dear Karen – I always enjoy getting your e-mails. It is kind of like comfort food. You know comfort e-mails. I hope you are all doing well and Happy Birthday to Anabelle. The chicken with Thai Basil looks wonderful.
    Best to you all –


    1. Dear Carol- It’s so sweet to hear from you. You made my day! We all miss seeing you. XOXO