Thai Basil Fried Rice

By: MeganPosted: 13/02/2024 Updated: 12/04/2024
Prep 5 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
This easy Thai basil fried rice is bursting with spicy, savory, and aromatic Thai flavors. Made with jasmine rice, fresh Thai basil, garlic, onion, hot Thai chilis, and an addicting umami sauce, this spicy and irresistible basil fried rice can be yours in under 20 minutes!
Thai Basil Fried Rice

There is nothing more satisfying than making restaurant-quality Thai food straight from your kitchen. This Thai basil fried rice recipe yields the most flavorful, umami-rich, and aromatic Thai fried rice that you will ever taste. The best part about this Thai basil chicken fried rice is that it is ready in under 20 minutes!

A spoonful of Thai basil fried rice lifted from a plate of fried rice.

We always reach for this spicy basil fried rice at least once a month for our meal prep rotation because it is so good and easy to make! If you are looking for more easy Thai recipes, check out our Thai pineapple fried rice, Thai fried rice, and Thai basil chicken.

What is Thai Basil Fried Rice?

Thai basil fried rice is a popular Thai dish that is made with day-old jasmine rice tossed with your choice of protein, eggs, garlic, Thai chilis, onions, Thai basil leaves, and a savory, umami-rich sauce.

This spicy Thai fried rice is typically prepared in a wok where the ingredients are stir-fried over high heat for a lightly caramelized flavor and texture.

A top down view of Thai basil fried rice surrounded by table settings.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

This spicy Thai basil fried rice is so delicious and easy to make! Here are three top reasons why you should make this recipe.

  1. Bold delicious flavors. This Thai basil fried recipe will allow you to make a restaurant-quality recipe at home! This basil fried rice is bursting with delicious aromatic, umami, and spicy flavors.
  2. Quick and Easy. Thai basil rice is so easy to make in under 20 minutes which is perfect for those busy weeknights or lazy weekends!
  3. Versatile. You can easily customize your Thai basil chicken fried rice by swapping out the protein, adjusting the spice level, or adding more vegetables!

Kitchen Equipment

You will need the following items of kitchen equipment to make this Thai basil fried rice recipe. I have linked everything that I used for you below.

  • Mixing Bowls: you will need mixing bowls to marinate the chicken, mix the sauce, and hold the measured ingredients.
  • Mortar and Pestle: a mortar and pestle will crush the garlic and Thai chilis together to release their natural oils.
  • Wok: a wok is ideal for cooking basil fried rice because the high walls make it easy to toss the rice while having even heat distribution.

Ingredients

You can find all of the ingredients for this Thai basil chicken fried rice recipe at your local Asian grocery store. I have linked everything that I used for you below.

Chicken Marinade

  • Chicken thigh: use boneless skinless chicken thighs for the juiciest chicken. You can alternatively use chicken breast, or tenders as well.
  • Soy Sauce: soy sauce is the main base of the chicken marinade.
  • Sugar: sugar sweetens the soy sauce.
  • White Pepper: white pepper adds a bright, earthy flavor to the chicken.
  • Water: water dilutes the soy sauce so it is not overly salty and overpowering.
All the ingredients for marinating chicken for Thai basil fried rice.

Thai Basil Fried Rice

  • Garlic: garlic adds a rich aromatic flavor to the basil rice.
  • Thai Chilis: Thai chilis are extremely hot! Adjust the amount of Thai chilis based on your heat tolerance level. I recommend de-seeding the chilis before using it for a less intense spice.
  • Oyster Sauce: oyster sauce adds a sweet, salty, umami-rich flavor to Thai rice.
  • Fish Sauce: fish sauce adds a complex sweet, savory, and earthy flavor.
  • Soy Sauce: use a light Thai soy sauce like Golden Mountain Sauce for a more authentic spicy Thai fried rice.
  • Sweet Soy Sauce: sweet soy sauce or kecap manis is a sweet, syrupy soy sauce that adds mostly sweetness with a hint of soy sauce flavor. It is what creates the dark, rich brown color.
  • Granulated Sugar: sugar balances out the highly salty flavors and lightly sweetens the rice.
  • Eggs: scrambled eggs add another protein source for a hearty spicy basil fried rice.
  • Yellow Onion: yellow onion adds an aromatic sweetness.
  • Day-Old Jasmine Rice: use cold day-old jasmine rice for the best texture, flavor, and consistency.
  • Thai Basil: Thai basil is the star of the dish! It adds a strong peppery, herbaceous, aromatic flavor.
All the ingredients to make Thai basil fried rice organized and labeled.

Substitutions and Additions

You can customize your Thai basil chicken fried rice recipe with the following substitutions and additions below!

Substitutions

  • Protein: instead of chicken, you can swap the protein for beef, pork, shrimp or tofu.
  • Vegetarian/Vegan: for a vegetarian or vegan version, you can swap the oyster sauce with vegan oyster sauce and use tamari instead of soy sauce.

Additions

  • Vegetables: you can opt for including more vegetables such as bell peppers, carrots, bean sprouts, broccoli, and mushrooms for a more well-rounded basil fried rice.
  • Pineapple: you can add pineapple for added freshness and sweetness.
  • Nuts: for texture, you can add toasted cashews or peanuts.

How to Make Thai Basil Fried Rice

Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to make this Thai basil fried rice recipe. I recommend having everything prepped and measured before you begin cooking.

  1. Marinate the chicken. In a small mixing bowl, add the chicken, soy sauce, sugar, white pepper, and water to mix to combine. Set aside to marinate for 15 minutes.
Chicken marinating in a large glass bowl.
  1. Create chili paste. In a mortar and pestle, add the roughly chopped garlic and Thai chilis and combine until it turns into a paste. This will release the oils of the chilis and garlic for a more fragrant dish.
Chili paste after being smashed in a pestle and mortar.
  1. Mix the sauce. In a small mixing bowl, combine the oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, sweet soy sauce (Kecap Manis), and sugar. Mix until the sugar is dissolved and everything is combined.
Thai basil fried rice sauce in a small glass bowl.
  1. Cook the chicken. In a wok or large pan, heat vegetable oil over high heat until hot. Then add the chicken and spread it out in one even layer across the wok. Sear on both sides until cooked and brown. Then remove from the pan and set aside.
Chicken cooked in a large wok.
  1. Cook the eggs. In the same wok or pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the scrambled eggs and gently scramble until cooked. Then remove and set aside.
Eggs scrambled in a large wok.
  1. Cook the rice. Next, add oil if needed over medium-high heat. Then add the onions and garlic chili paste and saute until fragrant about 1-2 minutes. Then add the rice and sauce. Toss until thoroughly combined and break apart any rice clumps with a spatula about 2-3 minutes.
Tossing rice with sauce and aromatics in a large wok.
  1. Add the chicken, eggs, and Thai basil Then add back the chicken, eggs, and Thai basil and toss until combined and the Thai basil has wilted, about 1 minute.
Tossing Thai fried rice in a large wok.
  1. Serve. Serve with fresh Thai basil, more chilis if needed, lime wedges, fried egg, and fresh cucumbers. Enjoy!
A plate of Thai basil fried rice served with sliced cucumbers and lime slices.

Tips for the Best Thai Basil Fried Rice

  • Use day-old rice! Using cold day-old jasmine rice is ideal since the grains are slightly drier which allows the rice to absorb the sauces and not become overly mushy and clumpy when cooked.
  • Adjust the spice level. Thai chilis are VERY hot. If you cannot handle the heat, I recommend omitting them completely. For a less spicy Thai basil rice, de-seed the Thai chili before using.
  • Mise en place. For the easiest, most seamless cooking, have all of the ingredients prepped, measured, and ready to go next to the stove before you begin cooking.

Storage Instructions

This Thai basil fried rice recipe is best served immediately when hot. You can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Reheat: You can reheat your spicy basil fried rice on the stove or cover it in the microwave until warm.

Frequently Asked Q’s and A’s

What type of rice to I use for Thai basil rice?

The best rice to use for this Thai basil fried rice recipe is day-old white Jasmine rice. Make sure to use day-old rice to prevent the rice from becoming overly mushy and wet when you toss everything together.

Can I make Thai basil fried rice vegetarian or vegan?

Yes! You can easily make a vegetarian or vegan basil fried rice by omitting the chicken and using tofu or other vegetables instead. Also, be sure to use vegan-friendly sauces as well.

How spicy is Thai basil fried rice?

The spice level of this basil fried rice depends on how many chili’s you use! I like to remove all the seeds of the Thai chilis for a more subtle level of spice. Or you can eliminate the Thai chilis for non-spicy Thai fried rice.

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Recipe

A plate of Thai basil fried rice served with sliced cucumbers and lime slices.

Thai Basil Fried Rice

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
This easy Thai basil fried rice is bursting with spicy, savory, and aromatic Thai flavors. Made with jasmine rice, fresh Thai basil, garlic, onion, hot Thai chilis, and an addicting umami sauce, this spicy and irresistible basil fried rice can be yours in under 20 minutes!
Print Recipe

Ingredients

Chicken Marinade

  • 8 oz chicken thigh cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon water

Thai Fried Rice

Serve

  • 1 Lime wedge cut
  • 1 Cucumber sliced

Instructions

  • Marinate the chicken. In a small mixing bowl, add the chicken, soy sauce, sugar, white pepper, and water to mix to combine. Set aside to marinate for 15 minutes.
  • Create chili paste. In a mortar and pestle, add the roughly chopped garlic and Thai chilis and combine until it turns into a paste. This will release the oils of the chilis and garlic for a more fragrant dish.
  • Mix the sauce. In a small mixing bowl, combine the oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, sweet soy sauce (Kecap Manis), and sugar. Mix until the sugar is dissolved and everything is combined.
  • Cook the chicken. In a wok or large pan, heat vegetable oil over high heat until hot. Then add the chicken and spread it out in one even layer across the wok. Sear on both sides until cooked and brown. Then remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Cook the eggs. In the same wok or pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the scrambled eggs and gently scramble until cooked. Then remove and set aside.
  • Cook the rice. Next, add oil if needed over medium-high heat. Then add the onions and garlic chili paste and saute until fragrant about 1-2 minutes. Then add the rice and sauce. Toss until thoroughly combined and break apart any rice clumps with a spatula about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the chicken, eggs, and Thai basil. Then add back the chicken, eggs, and Thai basil and toss until combined and the Thai basil has wilted, about 1 minute.
  • Serve. Serve with fresh Thai basil, more chilis if needed, lime wedges, fried egg, and fresh cucumbers. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Use cold day-old rice! Using cold day-old jasmine rice is ideal since the grains are slightly drier which allows the rice to absorb the sauces and not become overly mushy and clumpy when cooked.
  • Adjust the spice level. Thai chilis are VERY hot. If you cannot handle the heat, I recommend omitting them completely. For a less spicy Thai basil rice, de-seed the Thai chili before using.
  • Mise en place. For the easiest, most seamless cooking, have all of the ingredients prepped, measured, and ready to go next to the stove before you begin cooking.
  • Storage Instructions: This Thai basil fried rice recipe is best served immediately when hot. You can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Nutrition:

Calories: 1485kcal | Carbohydrates: 189g | Protein: 70g | Fat: 48g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Monounsaturated Fat: 19g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 550mg | Sodium: 4104mg | Potassium: 1592mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 2315IU | Vitamin C: 57mg | Calcium: 293mg | Iron: 7mg

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