15 Minute Thai Basil Chicken. When it comes to Thai recipes, this stir fry is one of the most popular and easiest to make. It's flavorful, fast, and is going to become one of your favorite quick dinners.
If you ask my old college roommate, Jackie, whether or not she would personally make a recipe (as I tend to do when floating ideas for the blog), her answer is pretty much always the same: "Does it have under 5 ingredients and take less than 20 minutes to make?" And the answer to that is pretty much always a frustrated "no", because truthfully, there aren't a whole lot of appetizing meals out there that fit that bill.
I was the same way in college, as a novice cook who really didn't know my way around a kitchen, nor have the money to buy tons of ingredients for every meal, nor the time to spend hours cooking and then cleaning every day when there were classes, studying, meetings, and social events to attend to. Sometimes I made pasta. Sometimes I had grilled chicken with one of those prepackaged side dishes. But most of the time, I simply walked up the stairs and rounded up my housemates for a quick drive to a hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant. Every one of us would order Thai Basil Chicken (AKA Pad Krapow Gai) and eat our entire plates with no leftovers (and with several refills of jasmine rice).
In fact, we did that at least twice a week. It was my favorite meal in college, despite the countless number of pizza and sandwich shops within walking distance, and the fact that driving anywhere meant spending a minimum of 45 minutes trying to find a parking spot upon your return. Thai Basil Chicken was worth it.
It wasn't until long after I'd graduated and moved away from New Brunswick, and still long after I started cooking on my own, that I realized that I could have been making Thai Basil Chicken at home the whole time, saving myself a ton of money in both the cost of eating out and parking tickets.
And while this 15 Minute Thai Basil Chicken doesn't quite fit Jackie's "5 ingredient" criteria, it comes in pretty close, especially when you consider that many of the ingredients are pantry staples, and that, like with any great stir fry, you can substitute in whatever vegetables you happen to have in the fridge if you'd like. I did ask Jackie if she would make this recipe (after she tried a big bowl when visiting last week) and she said, possibly for the first time ever, yes. "Yep. Believe it or not, I would."
I know that a lot of recipes claim to take just minutes to make, but when you actually get down to it, you find yourself spending hours in the kitchen and scratching your head wondering what kind of black magic BS the recipe creator is peddling when they say you can get it done in a quarter of the time. But this recipe-- this 15 Minute Thai Basil Chicken-- it really does only take 15 minutes to make.
Allow me to break it down for you.
It's going to take about 6 minutes to add oil to your wok and do all of the chopping, assuming you, like me, are not some sort of slicing master and you chop at a normal human pace. This includes chopping up your red bell pepper, slicing the shallots, mincing the garlic and the Thai chilies, slicing the basil, and chopping up the chicken thighs.
Then, it will take you a minute to make the sauce by whisking together oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, and sugar.
Next, you will add the bell pepper and green beans to your super-hot wok. Stir fry those for a minute.
Now you add in the chicken and break it apart, stir-frying until it's beginning to brown. Thanks to the high heat, this will only take 2 minutes.
At that point, it's time for the chilies, garlic and shallots you spent the bulk of your time chopping. Throw those bad boys in to get some serious flavor in your dish. Stir fry 'em for a minute.
And we can't forget that sauce. Pour it all over your stir fry and let the heat work its magic. After 2 more minutes, it will start to cling to the chicken and you will be convinced that if your wok wasn't as hot as your stove could possibly manage, you'd dive into that 15 Minute Thai Basil Chicken face first.
Of course, you need to add the basil in before it's actually "Thai Basil Chicken". Do that now, and stir fry for another minute, until the basil is wilted and the liquid has cooked off.
That is how you make my favorite dinner in 15 minutes.
A brief note about the chicken thighs: you absolutely can substitute in ground chicken if you prefer. However, chopping the chicken thighs yourself is going to result in better texture and flavor, and it takes, at the most, 2 minutes. Just wack away at that chicken with a cleaver and it will take even less time and allow you to get out all of your frustrations. I imagine that this is what people have in mind when they say that cooking is therapeutic.
Also, if you have a hard time finding thai basil or thai chilies (also called birds eye chilies), you can substitute there as well. You should be able to find them at your local Asian market (and if you google it, you'll likely find that there is one relatively close to you) but if you don't have one nearby, sub in a different hot chili and regular Italian basil. It is absolutely worth the effort to get the real thing because it is different, but in a pinch, those substitutions will do.
The point is, there's no excuse not to make this dish at home. It's so forgiving, so simple, and once you get the sauces, you will only have to remember a few ingredients on your next shopping trip so you can make it again. And trust me, you will wind up making this 15 Minute Thai Basil Chicken again.Print
15 Minute Thai Basil Chicken
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 8 ounces green beans
- 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, coarsely chopped
- 4 sliced shallots
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 minced Thai chilies, or to taste
- 1 cup very thinly sliced fresh Thai basil leaves
- Jasmine rice, to serve
- Heat the oil in a wok or heavy, high-walled skillet over high heat. As the wok is heating up, whisk together the oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, and sugar until well-combined. Set aside.
- Add the bell pepper and green beans to the hot wok. Stir-fry for one minute. Add in the chicken and stir-fry, breaking apart as you go, until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in the shallots, garlic, and Thai chilies. Cook until fragrant, about 1 more minute. Then, pour in the prepared sauce. Continue to cook until the sauce begins to glaze onto the meat, about 1-2 more minutes.
- Stir in the Thai basil leaves and cook until the chicken is completely cooked through, the basil is wilted, and the liquid has mostly evaporated. Serve warm with rice.
- Prep Time: 6 mins
- Cook Time: 9 mins
Sounds good. Will try. Thank u
I hope you love it, Ithyl!
Joan Townsend says
In the video is says to add hoisin sauce but in the printed recipe it says oyster sauce. Which is it??
The video is an error I'm working to fix-- So sorry about that! Please use the printed recipe directions and use Oyster Sauce! Sorry again!!
Instead of beans can I use boc choy
Hi WIlliam! You can sub boc choy or other vegetables if you'd like. Just keep in mind that you may have to steam your boc choy lightly first to get your desired texture.
Darin Seng says
Late to comment but I replaced the green beans with asparagus and I was not expected the best outcome. I was surprised that the asparagus strong flavor did not at all over power the dish in the least bit. Reason for the substitute was in my garden the asparagus was in season and the green beans were not yet and I had a ton of basil growing that I needed to use or lose. Likewise I have also substituted the Thai peppers with jalapenos a few times as well do to the abundance I had on hand. The recipe lends itself to a ton of versatility which I truly love about it. Even protein/meat changes have come out very well. I have even swapped out the rice for rice noodles and ramen noodles and its just so good. Well done posting the recipe and much appreciated.
Don't forget the Thai Fried egg! I feel it brings the whole dish together and is also quick to make. Not sure if they do that in restaurants, but that's how they do it in Thailand. Give it a try!
How do you do the Thai egg?
I love it with the fried egg! Such a great addition! 🙂
Stephanie Walter says
Tried this recipe last night and WOW!! So much flavor! It was the perfect Friday night treat. My husband cannot stop raving about it!
Fantastic! It took much longer than 15 minutes, but it was worth it! I used serranos and sweet basil and it was amazing!
I'm so glad you enjoyed it Stephanie!!
So delicious & fast! I had some Italian basil on hand and subbed in a Serrano pepper. Definitely going in the regular dinner rotation.
I'm glad you enjoyed it Katie! 🙂 And that your substitutions worked out well!
This was the perfect recipe for the thai basil that has been overflowing from my Aerogarden! Definitely going to make it again with what's left.
15 minutes was a bit of a stretch for me, but I'm notoriously slow at anything cooking related.
I used Thai basil from my aero garden too! Delicious!
Haha I have so much thai basil in mine, too. This is my go-to way to use it up!
Lol I have my areo garden also so thanks for posting glad it turned out great. I'm trying to find all the ingredients did you substitute anything?
This dish is so flavorful! Def adding it to my weekly rotation. I only added 1tbl of sugar and it can’t out perfect. 3 tbls seemed like a lot to me. We like to add hot sauce into it at the end!
I'm so glad you liked it!
loved this, agree with all the comments above and it's easy on the eyes too!
I love this recipe. A new favorite. This is my favorite Thai dish and I never realized how easy it is to make at home. A couple of things - definitely reduce the amount of sugar. I use a teaspoon of white sugar and a teaspoon of brown. And add a little bit of chicken broth to thin the sauce. The cook time is probably about 15 minutes, maybe a little less... But, this takes me closer to 30 minutes total, with all of the peeling and chopping of vegetables. I DEFINITELY recommend this recipe though. So easy and delicious.
I'm so glad you like it so much, and thank you for all of the feedback! 🙂
We love Thai basil chicken and have eaten it in numerous restaurants. This tasted just like our the one we get from our favorite spot. So easy and yummy! Though I will say, this for sure takes more than 15min if you include prep time.
So glad you enjoy it J!!
I love Thai Basil chicken and can’t wait to try this. Is there a particular brand of Oyster and fish sauce that you like to use? I bought fish sauce one time and didn’t like it at all but feel it may have been the brand(I got it at the grocery store instead of the Asian market)
Lee Kum Kee Premium is pretty dependable:)
I don't really have a favorite brand, but I probably wind up with Thai Kitchen most often. I think their fish sauce is pretty reliable.
I've had this recipe bookmarked forever and finally decided to take the plunge. I always keep the herb and sauce ingredients on hand, so I just had to pick up the fresh ingredients. I happen to live in the middle of nowhere, so I couldn't get Thai basil or chilies, but I subbed regular basil. The only grocery store I have access to is the absolute worst, so none of the peppers were labelled, so I guessed, and it is so hot that after chopping it my fingertips and nostrils have been stinging for about 30 minutes. Besides accidentally buying the hottest peppers, this turned out amazing! Rarely do I follow a recipe and it turns out delicious AND looks like the blogger's fancy photo, but this delivered! Rather than putting it over rice, I made lettuce wraps with it. I plan to eat the leftovers over rice, and I'm sure that will be delicious as well. It took longer than 15 minutes, but my knife-work is terrible, so if I cut that out I think it's pretty accurate. Great work with this! I look forward to searching for more gems!
Do you have a substitute for the fish sauce? Thought I had it on hand but don’t and now I’m in the middle of making this. Thanks
Great recipe! I used five Thai chilis to make it extra spicy, but didn’t know I needed to remove the seeds and we had smoke coming out of our ears!! We left out the fish sauce and used only 1/2 tspn of sugar and it was delicious. There is already sugar in the bottled oyster sauce we got anyway.
I love love love this recipe! I tried doubling it and it came out watery. Do you have a recommendation of how to double it? Maybe one of more thing and not the other? Love it so much, thank you!
Fantastic!! I used Serrano peppers from our garden instead of Thai chilies and everyone loved it! Restaurant quality!!
Likely there just wasn’t enough space in your pan for the ingredients and sauce to evaporate properly while cooking. Break the double batch up evenly between two pans the same size or just ready each batch separately and do one half after the other.
Ah makes sense! Thank you for the feedback!
Although it took me far longer than 15 minutes, it came out great!!! I also threw in some cubed zucchini too.
Can you substitute ground chicken for the chicken thighs??
Yes, in fact I had ground turkey I had to use up just the other day and I subbed that in. It's super versatile!
This dish was great! I made the recipe as written, with two small exceptions that I will keep tweaking going forward:
1. I only used 2 Tbsp of sugar, but it was still waaaay too much (like a teriyaki glaze). I think 2 tsp next time.
2. I didn’t trust the cook times on each added ingredient and doubled the minutes for each step, as I was using a 12” skillet on an electric range, but if I’d kept to the times as written, I think the veggies would have been perfect.
Great recipe, will make again!
Doug Hardt says
Serranos instead of Thai, basil instead of Thai - worked fine! Added steamed broccoli & cooked chicken separately (adding with the sauce). Will make again. Thanks.
I'm so glad to hear that it worked out well for you Doug! I bet the steamed broccoli was a great addition 🙂
Hi, I'm out of Oyester Sauce. Is there a substitute for it thati can use? Also, will the dish taste very different if I don't use Oyester Sauce at all?
Do you have Hoisin? Use hoisin and reduce the sugar and that will be a good alternative. Not the same, but still good!
It took me longer than 15 but was worth it. So good!
Can you substitute ground chicken for regular chicken?
Yes! 🙂 Ground chicken works fine!
Even if I substituted cilantro for basil and ground beef for chicken, the dish was a hit. The combination of sauces is a hit.
Way waaaay too sweet. Otherwise ok.
It took me 45min in total, but it was still worth it!
This was amazing!!! Easy to throw together. We didn’t have a Thai chili so we used a jalapeño, and we also used frozen green beans because our fresh ones looked bad. Didn’t have a shallot, so finely diced a white onion and left out the green pepper. Going forward we will replace the sugar with a monkfruit alternative to keep this extra healthy. The sauce was amazing and we will make this regularly from now! This is my first recipe from this blog, and it has my curiosity peeked as to how many other recipes are here that are also amazing. Can’t wait to try more. Thanks!
Emily M Mathless says
My husband makes this recipe all the time! I love it and it is quite addictive! Thanks so much!
Delicious!! Rating it a 4-star because of the title. Maybe if you're a professional chef it might take 15 minutes. OR if you have everything chopped, sliced & diced before you start the timer it might take 15 minutes. This took close to an hour to prepare. That being said, I will make it again some time because it WAS delicious. And it was a great recipe to use my thai basil from my backyard. Really think you should change the title, tho.
This recipe is awesome! I made it tonight for my husband, daughter and friend. It was a hit! Made it just like recipe. Next time I I’ll add more chili’s. We like it hot!
Tried this recipe this week and it tastes so good and easy! Just like what you can get from a restaurant! I used ground chicken which makes it even easier!
Great recipe. Turned out absolutely fantastic! Thank you!
Thus looks amazing, can I marinate the chicken before hand with the sauce? Or maybe something else you suggest?
Really good and easy! I added one tablespoon more Oyster and soy but kept the same amount of fish sauce and sugar to the sauce. I also used roasted broccoli leftover from last nights dinner instead of green beans. Really good flavor. Super yummy. My husband who really isn’t a fan of any Asian food said it was good!
Erica Mcfadgon says
This was a great use for the Thai basil overflowing on my deck herb garden. I followed the recipe as written and added sliced carrots with the bell pepper and green beans. Next time I might add cashews for taste, texture and crunch. I'm a slow, methodical cook who likes to do one thing at a time, so with all the chopping, prep, and cooking, it took longer than 15 minutes. That was okay because it was delicious!
Absolutely fantastic! I used broccoli instead of beans. What a flavor explosion! Chopping fresh chicken, shallots, garlic, bell pepper, broccoli, and basil took me waaaaaaay longer than the 6 minutes but it was worth it! This is a new family favorite - Thank you!
Valrun Valgeirsdottir says
This is so good.
Made it a few times at work, as I am a food mom , madmor, as we say here in Danmark , that is the cook who makes lunch at a work place Both our customers and the people at work love this dish. I of course make at least five times the recipe , so fry separately and add together in a big baking pan.
Love this dish
This turned out soo delicious! Next time I will stir fry the meat first and then the veggies because I like my veggies to be a tad bit crispy.
Dear every recipe blogger ever.
No matter how good the food is or how fantastic a writer you are, LITERALLY NO ONE WANTS TO READ A DISSERTATION TO GET TO THE RECIPE. How have y’all not figured this out yet.
Would make again. Lol
This is such a great recipe! It has been a monthly meal for my family during the past year. It is a recipe worth keeping long term. Thanks very much for sharing.
I like to add a 3-4 red/yellow bell peppers, so that increases the prep and cook time to about half an hour.
Overall, this is a 5 Star recipe.
Was constantly ordering this dish from the Thai restaurant. Decided to make it at home and save money. Fantastic recipe, fast and easy to make, and tastes just like the restaurant!!!
Fabulous. Another aerogarden user with a bumper crop of Thai basil. My husband said, “You can make that again!”
I have chicken breasts thawed in the fridge and have the fresh basil and beans I need to use from my garden. The breasts should work fine right? I have never tried a recipe like this where it says to chop the chicken.
While chicken thighs have more flavor and dry out less easily, chicken breasts will work just fine! Just make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
I've made this twice now and my wife and I really love it! I would say however, that you don't need the added sugar or at least not that much. The first time I omitted it by accident and we didn't realize anything was missing until the second time we made it and I saw it again in the recipe. The second time I added just 1 TS just to see and it was plenty but still to our tastes, unnecessary. I can't imagine using the full 3TS.
The other thing is you must be a super chef if it only took you 15 minutes to wash, chop AND cook everything. It took me at least 30 but probably a little longer.
Bottom line though is that it was worth it!